February 27, 2022

GUELPH – The Ontario Association of Veterinary Technicians (OAVT) has announced their 2021 Annual Awards and Pin Recipients. The annual OAVT Awards celebrate those whose contributions over the preceding year have gone above and beyond in a variety of ways, for animals, clients, employers, co-workers and students. Award winners are nominated by their colleagues and members of the public.

The OAVT RVT of the Year Award recognizes an RVT in good standing with the OAVT who exemplifies dedication to the humane medical treatment of animals and excels in all aspects of their field. Candidates demonstrate enthusiasm for their chosen profession, dedication to animal health care, and support for a cohesive team environment. Their concern for animal welfare stands out to others in their workplace. This individual works to augment the image and recognition for RVTs in veterinary medical communities and to the public through their professionalism and overall direction. The 2021 recipient is Rebecca Bartley, RVT. Rebecca is well-known as a dedicated hard worker, so committed to putting patients at ease that she founded a company that enables at-home care for small animals, not only making it more convenient to get care for pets, but potentially resulting in more accurate test results and a better overall experience for animals for whom a trip to the veterinarian can be stressful. Rebecca’s passion for patient care has not only resulted in an innovative business idea, but has also solidified her spot as the OAVT’s 2021 RVT of the Year Award recipient.

The OAVT Appreciation Award recognizes an organization or stakeholder in the animal health community who has demonstrated outstanding support and contribution to the increased awareness of the field of veterinary technology. The recipient has furthered the image of the Registered Veterinary Technician (RVT) through encouragement and support of the profession. The 2021 recipient of this award is Marg Brown, RVT. Marg’s stand-out career included 30 years teaching Veterinary Technician students at Seneca College, preparing students for their careers as RVTs. Marg’s students have themselves gone on to become award-winning RVTs in different areas. Marg’s teaching, along with the volunteer hours put in to promote and advance the profession, including sitting on the OAVT Board of Directors made this recipient a worthy choice.

The OAVT Merit Award recognizes an RVT in good standing with the OAVT who has demonstrated a long-standing history of community service and dedication at the regional, provincial, or national level in a professionally related association. This individual has continuously promoted and enhanced the image of OAVT members and the field of veterinary technology through their positive interactions with the public and community members. The 2021 recipient of this award is Tanya Arland, RVT. Throughout more than 20 years in the industry, Tanya’s smile, enthusiasm and energy have helped lift those around her. Tanya’s dedication to community service led her to volunteering with a local youth shelter that supports homeless and at-risk youth and their pets. Tanya ensures that the animals are well taken care of, and receive appropriate food and medical care, sometimes spending her own money on supplies to help support these pets.

The RVT Outstanding Contributions Award is presented to an RVT in good standing with the OAVT who has demonstrated outstanding support for the RVT profession. Their contributions have had a progressive impact on the Association, or the awareness of the RVT profession. They continually enhance the image of the members of the OAVT through their positive example in their field. The 2021 recipient is Andrea Steele, RVT VTS (ECC), who spent 20 years as an ICU technician at the Ontario Veterinary College Teaching Hospital and now supervises the area has consistently been a positive role model for colleagues. Proud of her role as an RVT, she is an inspiring leader and a speaker in demand for veterinary conferences, including the OAVT’s recently concluded 2022 conference!

The Veterinarian Appreciation Award recognizes a veterinarian who is in good standing with their provincial accrediting body that has demonstrated outstanding support of and contributions to the increased awareness of the role of the RVT as part of the complete animal health care team and encourages a team approach to veterinary medicine. The 2021 recipient is Dr. Andrea Bessay-Torfs. Dr. Bessay-Torfs makes sure that the RVTs she works with know that they and their work are appreciated, valued and trusted. As an advocate for RVTs, Dr. Bessay-Torfs also helps to educate clients that some tasks, such as drawing blood or placing a catheter are best performed by RVTs rather than a veterinarian. She is also respectful and helpful with new graduates who appreciate her support and give her credit for helping them become better RVTs.

In addition to the annual awards, the OAVT also recognizes members for years of membership milestones. For 2021, the OAVT awarded pins to 160 members, including two members who received their 50-year pins. Those members are Sue Day and Pam Pooley, who attended Centralia College’s Animal Health Technology program together starting in 1970 and are still friends today. They were Animal Health Technicians long before the title of Registered Veterinary Technician existed, and both attended the first meeting of the Canadian Association of Animal Health Technicians (CAAHT), a precursor to the OAVT, back in 1972.

Congratulations to all of the OAVT’s 2021 Award and Pin recipients. Thank you for your dedication to furthering RVTs so honourably.

The Ontario Association of Veterinary Technicians (OAVT) is the regulatory body and member association for Registered Veterinary Technicians in Ontario with over 4,000 RVT members.


Media Enquiries: Jay Millington

Communications and Advocacy Manager


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