History of Ostomy Canada Society - Part 1 (The Beginning)

The United Ostomy Association of Canada Inc. (UOAC) became an independent entity following a meeting of representatives of Canadian Chapters in Calgary in June 1997. In 2014, the name changed to Ostomy Canada Society – read more of our history below.

The United Ostomy Association of Canada Inc. (UOAC) became an independent entity following a meeting of representatives of Canadian Chapters in Calgary in June 1997.

Prior to that time, Canadian chapters had been affiliated with The United Ostomy Association Inc. (UOA), based in the United States. The UOA was founded in 1962 with the participation of people with ostomies who had formed informal self-help groups in both Canada and the United States. Canadian chapters were formed in all ten provinces and were affiliated with UOA. However, by the late 1970s, it had become obvious that Canadians had different needs in terms of advocacy than did Americans. Additionally, as the UOA could not issue tax receipts to Canadians, donations from Canada were declining. Consequently, in 1982 the board of directors of UOA Inc. approved the establishment of a Canadian office, located in Hamilton, ON with ‘Mr. Ostomy Canada’, Allan M. Porter as coordinator. Al continued in the role of coordinator until his retirement in 1994, managing an annual appeal for donations and responding to the needs of Canadian chapters.

In 1994 the Canadian office was relocated to premises in Mount Sinai Hospital, Toronto, ON. Les Kehoe became Executive Director in 1994 and retained that role until late 1998. The office remained in Mount Sinai Hospital until 2003 when it moved to its present location on Bloor Street in Toronto.

Meanwhile, in 1991, the United Ostomy Association of Canada had applied for letters patent under the auspices of the federal Minister of Corporate and Consumer Affairs, in order to place the Association on a more businesslike footing and to improve its profile. The first officers of the Association were elected in July 1992; however, the Association was still part of the larger United Ostomy Association Inc.

The first president of the independent UOAC was Maria Siegl. Unfortunately, she died in November 1997 and was not able to see UOAC fully develop.

A complete listing of past and present officers, directors, and staff of UOAC follows this article.

Since UOAC became an independent entity, it has initiated many projects. A number of Policy and Procedure Manuals were compiled, including those for general organizational policies, annual conference planning, and the UOAC Ostomy Youth Camp. Visiting program guidelines have also been published.

UOAC has two member-oriented general publications: Ostomy Canada magazine is a full-colour glossy magazine published twice per year and sent to all members of affiliated chapters. The UOAConnection is a newsletter sent to chapter presidents ten times per year. Both of these publications are prepared by volunteers. As well, a selection of educational material is available at a nominal charge from UOAC office.
(See the Publications section of the site.)

UOAC held its inaugural conference in Mississauga ON in 1998. In 1999 the conference was in Edmonton AB; in 2000 in Montreal QC; in 2001 in Richmond BC; in 2002 in Halifax NS, and in 2003 in Saskatoon SK. 2004 conference was held in Gander NF, and 2005 in Winnipeg MB. The 2006 conference was held in Moncton NB and the 2007 conference was held in Calgary AB. The 2008 conference was held in Hamilton ON. The conference has many informative sessions covering various aspects of life with an ostomy, as well as exhibits from ostomy product manufacturers and distributors, and social events. UOAC awards are presented in conjunction with the annual conference. The business of the association is managed through the Annual General Meeting, and pre- and post-conference meetings of the executive and board of directors.

Under the auspices of UOAC, each summer the UOAC Ostomy Youth Camp and its volunteer counselors welcome campers aged nine to 18 who have ostomies or related conditions. For more information, see the Youth Camp section on this site.

UOAC has established the District Support Services (DSS) to liaise with chapters and provide assistance and guidance, as well as to encourage the growth of chapters through locally based initiatives, such as building relationships with ET nurses, conducting visiting programs, and holding chapter meetings. DSS has an overall director, regional representatives, and chapter coordinators, all of whom are volunteers.

UOAC is funded through membership fees, proceeds from an annual appeal for funds, and through sponsorship of projects by manufacturers. Funding remains a priority, as services can only be delivered if revenues are stable.

The first recognized ostomy group began with patients from the Veterans Hospital, Valley Forge, Pennsylvania.

(From International Ostomy Association files)
‘In 1951, the patients of Ward Q and Ward T of New York City’s Mt. Sinai Hospital formed a support group. They were encouraged by two enlightened physicians, Dr. Albert J Lyons and Dr. George Schreiber, though their support of patient self-help was controversial. Dr. Lyons later published an article in a medical journal about the mutual aid concept and the experience of “QT, New York”. Similar efforts began to be undertaken in other US cities. One such city was St. Paul, Minnesota, the home of Archie Vinitsky. In 1956 QT New York invited all groups to meet. Forty persons from ten groups attended. Some obstacles prevented serious consideration of a national group, but they agreed to maintain contact. They established two journals, one for colostomies and the other for ileostomies. The ileostomy Quarterly is the forerunner of UOA Inc. Ostomy Quarterly.

In 1960 QT New York again invited all known groups — this time over 400 persons attended, including some from Canada. Most of the program was devoted to personal patient concerns and the management of individual groups, but at the end of the day, Archie Vinitsky came to the podium to inquire who was interested in working to form a national association. Eighteen people met that evening and took the first steps toward what is now the United Ostomy Association Inc., with Archie Vinitsky and Lucille Anderson of Los Angeles co-chairing the coordination committee.

At a follow-up meeting in Detroit in 1961, while objectives and mechanics were being worked out, an impasse developed over funding. Again Archie stepped forward. He asked for one of the groups present to issue a call to all known groups and to host another meeting, a constituting convention. Who accepted the challenge but Norma Gill of Cleveland, Ohio, who started with the $36.00 collected from among the people in that room. It was there in 1962 that representatives of 28 groups from the US and Canada met and officially declared the United Ostomy Association to exist. Albert I Lyons was UOA’ s first medical advisor, and Larry Litwak served as its first President.

By 1950, the Los Angeles Chapter was formed, and, in 1956, representatives from local ostomy groups met in New York City, and unification was discussed. These representatives met again in 1960, and a steering committee was formed to start unification. The steering committee met one year later in Detroit, Michigan, to set plans for the constituting convention.

In September 1962, in the English Room of the Pick-Carter Hotel, 100 ostomates from 24 groups met in Cleveland, Ohio, for the Constituting Convention. From Canada were representatives from the Montreal, Quebec and London, Ontario groups. At this convention, bylaws were approved, officers and directors were elected, the need for a national publication was identified, the Sam Dubin Award was established and dues were set at 50 cents per member. (Dues were waived for the first year.) The charter deadline was set for four months for other existing groups, and by that deadline, 28 groups had affiliated.

By the end of this first year, UOA became incorporated in the state qf New York, the first edition of the Ostomy Quarterly magazine debuted; and eight additional groups became affiliated, bringing the total to 36. Dues were increased to 75 cents, which included a subscription to the 0stomy Quarterly magazine.

The first executive director was hired in 1965, with an office at 1111 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles, California. Assessment for each member was raised to $1 as membership grew to 42 component groups.

In 1966, the Phoenix bird was adopted as the official logo of the United 0stomy Association, the regional program was established, with four regions in the United States and one in Canada. The Central Ohio Ileostomy Association hosted the first regional meeting in May of that year. Montreal, Quebec, hosted the 1967 UOA Annual Convention, the first held outside of the continental United States.

The approval of Cooperative Membership for foreign groups permitted four groups to become affiliated with UOA: Buenos Aires, Argentina: Dunedin, New Zealand; Farlov, Sweden; and Hants, England.

One of the most significant events that redirected the services of the United Ostomy Association occurred at the annual convention in Phoenix, Arizona, in 1968. A group of “stoma technicians” presented to the House of Delegates a proposal stating their intentions to form a new organization, known as the International Association of Enterostomal Therapy (IAET) (now Wound, Ostomy Care and Nursing Society). This organization would foster the training of technicians to provide more direct physical management support for the ostomy patient.

In 1969, several meetings were held with the American Cancer Society to discuss cooperation between ACS and UOA. And during this year, UOA began to publish and distribute ostomy literature, including Colostomies: A Guide and Ostomy Review. Dues were now $2, and the number of affiliated groups totaled 72.

Donald P. Binder became the executive director in 1970, working out of the office at 1111 Wilshire Boulevard. The World Work Committee was started at the eighth annual UOA Conference (changed from convention to better identify the purpose of the meeting). Publications continued to be produced through the efforts of the Publications Committee.

Ileostomy: A Guide, UOA Guide brochure, Visitor Folder and Anatomical Drawing of types of ostomies were published in 1971.

Regional boundaries were realigned increasing the regions to a total of 15, increased again by four regions in the following year, bringing the total to 19.

The UOA story was spreading throughout 1972. The Regional Program increased in field activities, requiring additional personnel. Its structure was redesigned, and regions were realigned, changing from 19 to 12. This structure has proven most efficient and presently remains the same.

Also in 1973, a Professional Advisory Board was established, and eight more publications became available. The organizational meeting of the International Ostomy Association was held in Malmo, Sweden, May 16-19, 1974, and UOA became a charter member and offered assistance through the payment of dues and organizational expertise.

On October 23, 1975, a documentary of Babe Didrikson was shown on CBS, with Susan Clark playing the role of Miss Didrikson, a sportswoman who continued her career as a golfer after having a colostomy. After the documentary, Miss Clark completed a 30-second videotape promoting UOA.

In 1977, Puerto Rico, Guam, the Yukon, and the Northwest Territories were accepted for affiliation, further expanding UOA’s service area. IAET (International Association for Enterostomal Therapists) presented the UOA president with the “Ostomy Bill of Rights”.

Two of UOA’s most significant programs began in 1978. A scholarship fund for Enterostomal Therapy Education (now known as the Archie Vinitsky Scholarship Fund) was approved, and the UOA Youth Rally began its annual conference for young people who have had ostomy surgery. The first youth Rally was held in Boulder, Colorado.

UOA purchased its own building at 2001 W Beverly Boulevard in Los Angeles in 1979. The first Visitor Education Manual was completed and approved as a standard for visiting training by UOA, ACS, and IAET. By the end of this decade, UOA membership reflected 554 affiliated chapters and approximately 40,458 members. Dues had increased to $4 per year.

In the meantime, in 1979, a steering committee meeting was held in Toronto, Ontario to look into the feasibility of a UOA Canada Association. It was attended by Lou Raffio (President, UOA), Lou Wray (Vice-President of UOA), Dave Metcalfe, Allan Porter, Genevieve Thompson, Dr. Kirkpatrick, and Bette Yetman. There were three concerns that mainly initiated the idea:

  1. UOA Inc. felt they could not look after Canadian interest or advocacy in the same manner as Canadians.
  2. Canadians were experiencing customs problems when ordering publications.
  3. Canadians were unable to receive tax-exempt receipts when donating to UOA Inc., therefore it was receiving few donations from Canada.

1982 was designated “The Year of the Double”, and each chapter was challenged to strive to double its membership. A Five-Year Plan was adopted, and the 0stomy Registry was established as the first data base on the ostomy population in the US and Canada.

A woman president was elected for the first time in the U0A’s 20-year history in 1982.

“Project Mexico” was originated by the United Ostomy Association with the approval of the International Ostomy Association. This project, now known as Project SHARE (Sending Help and Rehabilitation Everywhere) gathered ostomy supplies, donated by UOA members, and transported them to Mexico City to distribute to needy ostomy patients.

Dave Metcalfe in Victoria made valiant efforts trying to circumvent border and customs problems bringing in the 0stomy Quarterly but found it very difficult, eventually abandoning the project. Originally the UOA Canada Office was going to be centered in Winnipeg under Genevieve Thompson but difficulties arose and that idea also had to be shelved.

A Canadian office was established at the Hamilton & District Ontario Association office. Through the generosity of the Roman Catholic School Board in Hamilton, the Hamilton Chapter was offered a large room in the Sacred Heart School, 5 Hamilton Avenue and on May 11, 1982, hosted an open house of their “Osto-Center”. Gifts and donations of furniture, office and printing equipment enabled the chapter to not only provide space for a production area for its newsletter and other printed material, but also a reading area and a library of ostomy publications. With approval from members, the chapter offered space to Allan Porter for a Canadian UOA Office at the Osto-Center. UOA Inc. Board of Directors approved the establishment of the UOA’s Canadian Office in August 1982 and Allan Porter was able to see it established the same year, finally realizing his dream. The operation of the first year was managed at no cost to UOA Inc.

Allan set up a corner of the Osto-Centre (free of charge) and negotiated a one-year contract with UOA to act as Canadian Coordinator (with remuneration) which was renewed annually for some number of years. From 1983 to 1987 it was financed by UOA Inc. From 1988, at Allan Porter’s initiative, Canada conducted its own-fundraising and has paid its own way ever since.

Donald P. Binder officially “retired” from UOA, after 15 years of service in 1985. “The Year of the Youth” was the official theme for 1985 with special recognition and programming for UOA’s young membership. A Strategic Issues Study was authorized to study UOA’s membership needs, changes in the health care, delivery system and current trends in ostomy surgery.

“The Year of Ostomates In Celebration” marked the theme for 1987, as UOA celebrated 25 years of service. UOA sold its building at 2001 W. Beverly Boulevard and moved its headquarters into leased space at 36 Executive Park, Irvine, California.

Allan Porter applied to Revenue Canada for a Non-Profit Charitable Number to make it possible to issue receipts for income tax purposes. The Charitable Number 0766568-11 was issued on October 1, 1987. UOA Canada was to conduct annual direct appeals to all Canadian members of UOA for funds to support programs in Canada.

These funds, after meeting expenses of the fundraising and the Canadian office, were used to reimburse UOA for:

  1. expenses of Canadian Regional Program personnel
  2. expenses of conducting volunteer Training Programs with Canadian chapters
  3. expenses of the Canadian Affairs Committee
  4. expenses of other programs that may be developed for Canadian chapters and/or members.

So, in actual fact, UOA was now receiving donations from Canadian members but utilizing them directly for Canadians.

It was most desirable that Canada become an internationally recognized entity and country amongst the World Ostomy community. The International Relations Committee submitted a motion to allow UOA of Canada to become a full member of I0A. UOA Inc. Board of Directors accepted the motion at the Semi-Annual Board of Directors meeting in 1988 and Canada was accepted as a full member of IOA at the VI World Congress May 18, 1988, in Paris.

UOA Inc. began to prepare for its future with the appointment of a Strategic Planning Task Force, to study the needs of its membership, and for ostomates outside of its membership. A Norma Gill-Thompson Lectureship (the first Enterostomal Therapist in the world) was established by Hollister Incorporated to sponsor outstanding speakers at the UOA annual conference. A Parents of Ostomy Children task force was appointed as an outreach to parents and the medical community.

UOA installed a toll-free number as an outreach for people who have or will have ostomy or related surgery and as a support for chapter members and chapter leadership. UOA membership in 1991 was approximately 43,000, representing 625 chapters and 78 friendly venture satellites.

It has only been through the contributions, support, and encouragement from the UOA Chapters and their members, that so much has been accomplished by so few. Together, we can look to the millennium and beyond to service of others.


Over the years, the arrangements worked well for Canadians until Allan Porter’s health began to deteriorate and he was unable to put the time into the office as he once had. He retired in September 1994. At his retirement party, members of the local chapter, Canadian President Sheelah Zapf, some UOAC Board of Director members and UOA Inc. President Linda Aukett were present to honor Allan for his many years of service and dedication to ostomates in the US and Canada, and also his achievements towards establishing a Canadian ostomy association identity.

A new administration took over on October 1 with Bette Yetman* installed as president. Vice President was George Beyrouty and Treasurer Jean Pierre Lapointe. Di Bracken continued as Secretary, and Sheelah Zapf was now Immediate Past President. Following Allan’s retirement, Les Kehoe assumed duties as Executive Director October 1, 1994. In the meantime, UOAC was offered free office space on the second floor of the Administration wing of Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto. As the hospital is the Inflammatory Bowel Disease Centre in Canada, it seemed a very fitting place to relocate from Hamilton. Consisting of what had been a one-bedroom suite, the bedroom was utilized as a waiting room, the sitting room is now Les’s office. The hospital even donated suitable furniture to complement the office.

Office hours were to be from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm EST, Monday through Wednesday, with the answering machine on 24 hours, 7 days a week. These hours were essentially ignored, with Les often working a five-and six-day week and 10- hour days establishing the office. This is a volunteer position and Les is working without remuneration for the benefit of ostomates.

Finances needed to be addressed immediately as donations were at a low ebb. In October, UOAC received a bequest of $25,000. So that UOAC would never again be in an alarming financial position, $22,000 was placed in a New Reserve Fund. Expenditures from the fund can only be made with a 2/3 majority vote of the Board of Directors.

Hollister Limited and ConvaTec, Division of Bristol-Myers Squibb Company, responded immediately and positively to a request for short term aid until the financial situation improved. These gifts amounted to more than $10,000 for each company.

Hollister Limited agreed to underwrite the printing and distribution of a number of issues of UOA Canada Talks (biannual publication) to approximately 4500 members along with the spring fundraising “Appeal”. ConvaTec offered to fund three two-day meetings during the following twelve months. As Executive and Board members are scattered from coast to coast, decision making and even ordinary business was difficult to conduct totally by mail. In February 1994, they offered a free “Travel Kit” with a value of $30 to anyone purchasing ostomy supplies, with UOAC receiving 50 cents for each request.

A monthly publication, The UOAConnection was initiated in October 1994, to provide greater communication among the chapters, updates from UOAC and its office, and general chapter news. Limited funds only permit circulation to the chapters, but many carry it in total or excerpts in their newsletters. The editor was Bette Yetman*.


1995 began on a sad note as Allan Porter passed away on January 18, 1995. Al was affectionately known as “Mr. UOA Canada”, a name that stayed with him always. He was the recipient of the UOA’s most prestigious Sam Dubin Award 1981, the first Canadian to be so honored. Al was presented with the Volunteer of the Year Award in 1987, by the Hamilton Volunteer community. The Allan Porter Award was initiated for persons making a substantial contribution to the Friends of Ostomates Worldwide Canada because of his assistance in helping found their organization. He was a good friend, champion of ostomy rights, founder of Hamilton & District Chapter, Coordinator of UOA Canada for 12 years, and an inspiration for all to follow as his work is continued.

The rest of 1995 was an exciting year in the area of planning. A task force, chaired by Maria Siegl, Nicole Kocajda (ConvaTec facilitator), Bette Yetman* (Ex officio/President UOAC), members Ron Bartlett, Dielwen Bracken, and Les Kehoe, held their first Strategic Planning Committee meeting on May 18, 19, in Toronto. The first priority was to develop a Policy and Procedures manual, undertaken by Ron Bartlett and presented to members at the Annual Meeting in August. The committee put together a plan for the upcoming years and will guide UOAC into the 21st century.

In the Advocacy field:

  1. UOAC responded to members’ concerns regarding the controversial Federal Government’s Disability Tax Credit (DTC) by publishing an informational resource free of charge for anyone considering applying for this benefit. Copies were mailed to each chapter which were well received and from the printing of 1,000 brochures, 600 were distributed in short order. Copies may be obtained by a written request to the UOAC Office.
  2. A letter of protest was sent to the President of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation to convey the outrage their TV program, “Side Effects”, detailing how a couple faced ostomy surgery, caused among our members.
  3. Lent support to Winnipeg, Manitoba and Metro Halifax, Nova Scotia Chapters in their rally to protest planned government changes to ostomy programs. Both reached a successful conclusion. An “Advocacy Mission Statement” was prepared for presentation at the Annual Meeting.


A February 24, 1996 meeting was held in Toronto attended by UOAC officers President Bette Yetman*, Executive Director Les Kehoe, Advisor Di Bracken, and UOA Inc. officers, President Gail Smuda and Executive Director Darlene Smith. Not only was this a very amicable meeting but it cleared up some contentious outstanding issues.

  1. As there had been a number of contracts between UOA Inc. and the Canadian Office negotiated between October 1, 1986, and May 1, 1989, it was decided that clarification was needed. To prevent further misunderstanding, a letter canceling all contracts was signed by the Presidents and Executive Directors. Darlene Smith extended an invitation to Les Kehoe to come to UOA Inc. Office in Irvine, California, in order to become familiar with its office procedures. This would enhance the working relationship between the two associations. It was decided that a contractual document was not necessary at this time.
  2. UOAC had always obtained all publications on consignment. At this meeting, the procedure has changed and cash on delivery procedure was initiated.
  3. Concern was expressed from UOA Inc. that it is losing significant income in subsidizing Canadian members. Currently, American members are paying $15.50 US and Canadian members are paying $18.00 Canadian. At the American rate of exchange, Canadian dues are approximately $13.07 US. This subject was brought up during the UOA Inc Semi-Annual Board of Directors meeting in Boston on May 16, 1995. After discussion, the Board members all agreed to leave Canadian dues at their present rate.

A national web site was brought online by Webmaster Bette Yetman*.

World Ostomy Day – October 5, 1996, was celebrated with an open house at the National Office hosted by Les Kehoe. A special ceremony preceded the opening at the Mount Sinai Hospital, dedicated to WOD and highlighted by a presentation of a $5,000 cheque to the Mount Sinai Inflammatory Disease Center from the proceeds of a sale of raffle tickets. ConvaTec sponsored a contest for Chapters who would celebrate WOD in the most unique way. Winners were: 1st Regina – ($500.00), 2nd Edmonton – ($200.00), 3rd Cape Breton – ($100.00).

To end the year on a positive note, the International Ostomy Association announced that their next Congress (held every three years) would be celebrated in Calgary, Alberta on June 15 to 18, 1997.


President Maria Siegl told members that 1997 would be a most eventful year for Canadian ostomates and outlined these plans:

  1. to decide the future of UOAC
  2. hold the first full-day Canadian General Meeting on Canadian soil
  3. host the 9th International Ostomy Association World Congress with over 60 member countries of the six continents invited to participate. The event, held every three years alternating among various countries.

To clarify several requests for clarification regarding future services if our status as part of UOA Inc. remains unchanged, the following explanation was given to members.

  1. As per UOA Standing Committee appointment, UOA Inc. requested certain functions and responsibilities from the Canadian Affairs Committee which are, since incorporation of UOAC provided by the Board of Directors and Executive Director of UOAC at no direct cost to UOA Inc., except for budget requests made by the Canadian Committee to UOA Inc., subject to acceptance or refusal by UOA Inc. In last year’s budget, we were granted $2000 for advocacy and a loan of $5000 for fundraising.
  2. The majority of the requested functions and services rendered were made possible through corporate sponsorship and other Canadian donations, with the assumption UOAC would become an independent entity. This support would, however, be withdrawn if we remain part of UOA Inc. Special services supplied by UOAC, including Canadian publications, will therefore no longer be possible.
  3. UOAC will have to revert to the paper organization which will be able to custom- clear shipments and make out tax receipts for donations. There will be no funds for meetings of the Canadian board of directors and therefore very little use for a board.
  4. UOA Inc. would again have to consider hiring and paying a Canadian office manager, rent suitable premises for an office location and supply the necessary services (telephone, fax, etc.). The cost could be subsidized by additional donations of Canadian members.
  5. Direct liaison with Canadian Allied Organizations and representation to Canadian government departments will no longer be continued by the present members of the board of directors of UOAC.
  6. A new format for the UOA Canada Talks was accepted and will feature 12 pages of glossy paper with four colour pages in place by the next issue. It is felt there is the expertise to produce such a magazine as the Ostomy International magazine is produced in Canada under a Canadian editor. The magazine would be known as Ostomy Canada and funded by Hollister Limited until the magazine became self-supporting. Roger Ivol volunteered his services as Editor, Roy Stewart as Graphics and Layout (both from Hamilton) and Pat Cimmeck (Calgary) assisting Roger and overseeing the printing of the magazine being done in Calgary.

As more concerns were being expressed at the idea of UOAC becoming autonomous, the following letter was received from a member who eloquently expressed why Canadian ostomates saw the need for their own organization:

“In the January 1997 Quarterly, I was pleased to read the open letter from the Executive Committee to Canadian members of UOA Inc. The Committee kindly expressed its high regard for the Canadian members, who are now considering the formation of a separate Canadian association. In writing these lines, I am officially representing no one but myself but I am confident my views are shared by many of my fellow ostomates. I don’t know what the outcome of this movement will be, but I anticipate the movement will succeed. Please do not think that we are discontented in any way with our fine American cousins. You have been wonderful to us and we keenly appreciate all the ways you have helped, for many decades. It is just that the time has come for us to form our own Canadian Association. Every other ostomy group in the world exists as an association within its own national borders. If the situation were reversed, and Americans all started as members of a Canadian group, I am sure they would long ago have founded their own association within the United States. Please understand that it is like young people who leave their parent’s homes to found a new home of their own. They always continue to hold their parents in high regard, to love them, to thank them, and to cooperate with them in every way possible. So it is with us. Thanks so much. As a past Chapter President, I know how much we owe you”. Ben Stidwill, Cornwall, Ontario.

June 15th, 1997 saw the founding of the autonomous independent United Ostomy Association of Canada Inc. The inaugural meeting called “Canada Day” was held in Calgary immediately preceding the 9th International Ostomy Association World Congress. 162 attended with registrations from Newfoundland to Vancouver Island. Vote by chapters for an autonomous Canadian association resulted in 42 ‘yes’ votes and 2 ‘no’. A four-step procedure immediately took place:

  1. a disaffiliation notice to UOA Inc.
  2. directing of membership fee to UOAC
  3. signing the affiliation papers
  4. chapter needing to update their bylaws.

The first training session of the newly organized District Support Services (DSS) was held on September 27, 28 in the Quality Hotel Airport in Mississauga. Four of the five District Representatives attended the training: Judy Steeves (Atlantic Region); Micheline Comeau, Quebec and Lorna Singh, Ontario (Central Region includes Quebec and Ontario); Sheelah Zapf (Prairie Region). David Metcalfe (Pacific Region) was unable to attend. Bobbie Brewer of Marietta, Georgia, who is Regional Service Director for UOA Inc. gave intensive training with an agenda that covered all topics pertinent to meet chapter needs.

November 6, 1997, brought a devastating blow to the organization when President Maria Siegl passed away after a brief battle with cancer. Vice President Dietwen (Di) Bracken assumed the leadership, pledging to continue Maria’s vision and to make UOAC into a strong, viable, caring association for all those who have, or will have ostomy or related surgery.


Starting 1998, Past President Bette Yetman* and her committee of Gerry Mulcahy, Visiting Chair of Metro Halifax Chapter, Ruth Kenney, Enterostomal Therapist, Victoria General Hospital, Halifax completed the Visiting Program Guidelines and a draft copy was sent to our medical advisors for their information and correction. Dr. Philip Gordon, Director, Colon and Rectal Surgery, Jewish General Hospital, Montreal, commented on the professional quality of the program.

The First Annual Conference was planned for the Delta Meadowvale, Mississauga, Ontario on August 20-22, 1998, with a fitting logo for our organization. “Invest in your future with UOAC”.

A toll-free telephone number was made available for the use of members through the generous funding of Hollister Limited (Canada).

With the support of Medical Advisor Dr. Zane Cohen, Chief of Surgery, Mount Sinai Hospital, Toronto, the UOAC office was moved to the 14th floor within the Inflammatory Bowel Disease floor at Mount Sinai Hospital. Executive Director Les Kehoe oversaw the move and feels this is a plus as it will be easier to interact with new patients should they request information, visiting, etc.

In March, Executive Director Les Kehoe announced that he will be resigning from his position, which he has held from October 1994, to run for Vice-President on the Board of Directors.

Because of costly expenses to order publications from UOA Inc., it was decided that it would be in Canada’s best interest at this time to begin to develop our own publications. A Publications Review Board will be created to ensure all the publications meet a professional standard.

A National Data Base is being developed under the direction of Al Markel. A 28-page booklet, Ostomy – A Reference Guide has been completed and was sent to the Medical Advisory Board for their critique, with the booklet expected to be printed in April and ready for delegates in August. The booklet was made possible by an educational grant from the ConvaTec Division of Bristol-Myers Squibb Canada, Inc.

The Inaugural Conference saw approximately 250 attendees. During the National Council Meeting, delegates selected a new logo for UOAC. Sites for the next two conferences are Edmonton in 1999 – Chair Sheelah Zapf; Montreal in 2000 – Chair Jean- Pierre Lapointe. A decision was made at the Inaugural Conference that UOAC would have a presentation of four Awards at the 1999 Annual Conference in Edmonton. These awards are:

  • Maple Leaf Award (highest and most prestigious award)
  • Past President Award (received upon vacating the position of Past President)
  • ET Recognition Award (only criteria is that one must be a Canadian ET)
  • The Unsung Hero Award

The Board of Directors set a budget and approved a motion to look for an office manager replacement. Thor B. Fredriksen Consulting was retained to take over the running of the office in December. The company has currently two full-time employees: Thor Fredriksen and Samantha Caravan.

Director Bev Fry offered to take over the position of Editor of the monthly bulletin, The UOAConnection from Bette Yetman* who had held the position since October 1994.


A Strategic Planning Meeting was held in Toronto, March 5-7, chaired by Vice President Les Kehoe. On the agenda was the result of findings of a Task Force on the amalgamation of District Support Services and the Visiting Program. A recommendation from Revenue Canada that UOAC Inc. remove the term ‘advocacy’ from our current mission statement was discussed and implemented. Failure to comply in this regard could result in the charitable number being cancelled. Chapters were warned to follow this recommendation if they had adopted UOAC’s mission statement.

A mail vote was sent to all chapters to approve James Koshman as an honorary member of the organization and it was unanimously approved. He had provided pro bono legal services to UOAC for many years.

In 1988, The Renaissance Award Program (similar to UOA Inc.’s’ Great Comebacks Award) was launched in Quebec by Jean Pierre Lapointe, then President of the Colostomy & Ileostomy Association of Montreal and sponsored by ConvaTec. As UOAC is now its own entity, a decision was made to now encompass all of Canada for this prestigious award.

Edmonton Chapter hosted the Second Annual National Conference August 19-21, at the Delta Edmonton South Hotel with the theme, ‘The Magic of Friends’. During the Conference, a Visiting Training Session was held which was so successful, a decision was made to continue these Sessions at future Conferences.

By special appointment, Roger Ivol of Hamilton and Pat Cimmeck of Calgary were asked to continue as Editor and Assistant Editor respectively of Ostomy Canada.

Through the efforts of Ostomy Toronto, UOAC, and Mount Sinai Hospital, a Visitation Centre has been opened on the 14th floor of Mount Sinai Hospital, along with its Inflammatory Bowel Disease Centre. Certified visitors of Ostomy Toronto Chapter volunteer to man the Centre, offering information and emotional support to any persons about to have, or who have had an ostomy. Access is available to one of the largest assortments of literature and videos on ostomy and related surgeries in Canada. The chapter committed funds to not only furnish the Centre with comfortable furniture and a computer but to cover all expenses incurred, especially the cost of literature.

World Ostomy Day on October 2nd was again supported by ConvaTec, which donated $1,000 prize money for the top three chapters for promoted the innovative WOD activities in their community. To honor the occasion, pins and a poster were created through the generosity of Hollister Limited and sent to all chapters. UOAC celebrated WOD with a ceremony in the main lobby of Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto. As a WOD activity, a raffle was held with proceeds going to Friends of Ostomates Worldwide (FOW) Canada. Three prize- winners ($500, $200, $100) immediately donated their winnings back to FOW Canada. In total, FOW Canada received approximately $5,000 from ticket sales.

Metro Halifax Chapter hosted the first Cluster Meeting since UOAC became autonomous on October 23, with 42 people attending, representing 8 chapters throughout Nova Scotia and New Brunswick.


This year saw some very large projects planned and completed;

  • Policies and Procedures manual
  • General Manual for the operation of the organization
  • Detailed Annual Conference Planning Manual
  • UOAC Ostomy Youth Camp Manual
  • Ostomy Resource Centre Manual

Not only were they completed but presented to delegates at the National Council during the Third Annual Conference in Montreal on August 17-19.

UOAC established the Endowment Fund, which is a capital fund that will be held and allowed to grow so that in the future, earnings from it will provide revenue for UOAC to continue to generate and provide programs and services to Chapters and members.

Miramichi City, New Brunswick and Thunder Bay, Ontario affiliated as chapters, along with the newly formed Satellites, Annapolis Valley East of Metro Halifax, Nova Scotia chapter and North East of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan chapter. Unfortunately, Brandon/Westman chapter disbanded but many members joined the nearby Winnipeg chapter.

The French version of the UOAC title was formally accepted – L’association canadienne des personnes stomisées.

Edmonton and Cape Breton Chapters had gala celebrations for their 25th Anniversaries.


The 4th Annual Conference held in Richmond, B.C., August 16 – 18, 2001.

Gander & District, Newfoundland joined UOAC as a chapter.

Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto offered 16 of their replaced computers to UOAC. These were offered and shipped at no cost to chapters and all were distributed.

Spouses and Significant Others Committee was formed to explore the needs of spouses, significant others and/or family members of people having ostomy or related surgery.

Fredericton, New Brunswick Chapter celebrated its 25th Anniversary on September 22, 2001.


North Battleford satellite (Saskatoon) completed affiliation papers for UOAC.

The Fifth Annual Conference was held in Halifax, Nova Scotia, August 15 – 17, 2002.

The First UOAC Annual Golf Tournament was held Thursday, June 20, 2002, Cardinal Golf u0026amp; Country Club, Toronto.

It has only been through the contributions, support, and encouragement from the UOAC Chapters and their members, that so much has been accomplished by so few. Together, we can look to the millennium and beyond to service of others.

CICA (Canadian Independent Cameraman Association) presented UOAC Ostomy Youth Camp with a cheque for the proceeds of their annual golf tournament in the amount of $31,000.00.

Quebec chapters formed a new, separate association in Quebec in order to facilitate a meeting with the provincial government to seek an increase in the subsidy for ostomy supplies.


Creation of a formal Industry Advisory Committee by President Lorne Aronson

UOAC Ostomy Youth Camp video by CBC was filmed, produced and shown on national television. UOAC launched it at the conference in Saskatoon

The Awards program was revised by Vice-President Pat Cimmeck

The fiscal year-end was changed from September 30 to March 31 by Treasurer Gene Zapf

The Chapter Handbook was revised, reproduced and distributed by Jenny Robulack and Verna Petrie

The UOAC Services brochure that shows what UOAC has to offer, received a major revision by the committee of President Lorne Aronson, Vice-President Pat Cimmeck, Elizabeth Lindner and Joel Jacobson.

The board of directors made changes to the election policy. At the National Council meeting, nominations from the floor, for election to the board would no longer be accepted.

Hollister Limited Canada committed to financially support our Ostomy Canada magazine for another five (5) years.


UOAC changed the strategic planning process from MBO’s (Management By Objectives) to an Action and Tactical Plan. With the change to an Action and Tactical plan, it enabled committee chairs to specifically identify the goal(s) of their committee and the tactics of how they would achieve those goals and at what cost. New forms, the format, and the completion process were developed by Elizabeth Lindner and Pat Cimmeck.

With the changes to personal privacy information in Canada, UOAC developed a new Privacy Policy.  Bev Fry volunteered to be our first Privacy Officer.

After much consideration by the board and to reduce complications for the chapters, UOAC changed the process of collecting dues from twice- a – year dues billing to once-a-year dues billing.

The UOAC website underwent a major revision and update with a new webmaster, Wayne Spivak

Joel Jacobson and Dianne Lowe took over publication of the monthly Connection. Dianne Lowe updated the format and revised the name to the UOAConnection.

At the board of directors meeting in the fall of 2004, it was decided to pursue and obtain a professional corporate identity.  The purpose of this project was to help UOAC with fundraising endeavours in the corporate world; private donations, grants and any other areas that can help raise funds.  It would also be a big boost in building public awareness for the United Ostomy Association of Canada Inc.  UOAC would make the final product available to the chapters to help them with fundraising and public awareness-building efforts in their local area. The Corporate Identity committee members were Al Markel and Bev Fry who worked with the President, Pat Cimmeck


The President, under direction from and with approval of the board, retained new office staff and reduced office hours from five (5) days a week to three (3) days a week.

Janet Paquet became the new editor of Ostomy Canada

A new computer was purchased for the editor of Ostomy Canada

A SASO (Spouses and Significant Others) newsletter was published three times a year by chair Ann Ivol

The conference planning manual received a major revision by chair Bev Fry and volunteers Lynn Jamieson, Elizabeth Lindner, and Delilah Guy

Gerry Putman joined DSS (District Support Services) as a representative in the Ontario Region.

UOAC welcomed a new chapter, Sherbrooke Association des Personnes Stomisees from Quebec and a new satellite, Comox Valley on the Sunshine Coast of B.C.


Quebec chapters were successful in their negotiations with the provincial government and were awarded an increase in the personal subsidy for ostomy supplies with the increase to be effective in 2007

The Professional Corporate Identity project video was completed and officially launched in Saskatoon in March 2006.  It was also distributed to the chapters at the Conference in Moncton.

Paul Meise, of the  Kelowna chapter, was appointed by the President to the DSS committee as a representative for the Pacific Region

Sarnia Lambton chapter resumed activities after a hiatus

Judy Steeves was successful in obtaining another volunteer grant for UOAC from the Bank of Montreal

A committee for “Government Subsidies for Ostomy Supplies” was formed. Members of DSS and the board participated in this committee which presented a brief to the Premiers of each Atlantic province to aid in the efforts to provide provincial reimbursement for ostomy supplies.

Charitable receipts were changed according to CRA (Canada Revenue Agency) requirements.

The Quark word processing program was purchased for the editor of Ostomy Canada

The editor of Ostomy Canada received many new requests from editors of other journals around the world, to reprint articles from our magazine

A new database computer program for the office was approved by the board and purchased. The old one was not user-friendly and did not enable the office to operate efficiently.

Delilah Guy developed a new approach to celebrating World Ostomy Day by suggesting that the chapters hold a Bowl-a-Thon.  Many chapters did participate.

Proclamations from the City of Toronto and the Prime Minister’s Office have been obtained in honor of World Ostomy Day

The Fredericton and District Chapter celebrated its 30th anniversary.

At the Annual General Meeting of UOAC held in Moncton NB in August, a new chapter Quesnel and District was affiliated.

Toronto’s Nathan Philips Square was the site of our official celebrations for World Ostomy Day on October 7, 2006. The theme ‘Living Life to the Full’ was demonstrated throughout the celebrations. Chapters from the Greater Toronto Area and several guests attended. Greetings and good wishes were presented by Gene Zapf, Treasurer of the International Ostomy Association (IOA); UOAC World Ostomy Day Co-Chair Sheelah Zapf; President, Astrid Graham of Friends of Ostomates Worldwide Canada (FOWC); Doug Graham, UOAC President and Vice President of North and Central America and the Caribbean Ostomy Association (NCACOA). Industry representatives, Peter Pichini of Coloplast; Fabien Paquette of ConvaTec and Scott Holloway of Hollister also provided greetings and best wishes. Doctor Fred Saibil, author of the book, ‘Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis’ was the guest speaker. He provided a humorous and very informative talk. The newest edition of his book was available and sold by UOAC to attendees. Doctor Saibil personally signed each copy. The UOAC video, ‘A New Way of Life’ was a feature presentation. UOAC was the runner up recipient of the Coloplast Merit Award for the Americas and received a diploma and a cheque of US $1,500.00.

Toronto hosted the UOAC Golf Tournament on October 11, 2006. It was a great success with 116 golfers registered. With the support of the National Office and the enthusiastic efforts of the Chapter Members, these partnerships do more than provide funding for us to carry on with our mission. They generate awareness in the community that will someday make the word Ostomy recognized by many.

The Board of Directors met in Mississauga on the west side of Toronto between October 26 and 29, 2006. The change of venue was welcomed by your Board Members and with the meetings being in the hotel it reduced the travel time to and from the hotel and meeting places of the past. The hotel offered a pleasant environment and this was conducive to a very productive meeting.

The National Funds Appeal moved to spring rather than a fall appeal. An appeal in April of each year helps reduce confusion of Chapter membership dues billing and fundraising that takes place each fall by many Chapters. Also, it will place our appeals within the fiscal years the budget is set for.


President Doug Graham presented a cheque for $3,500.00 to Doctor Zane Cohen at Mount Sinai Hospital, Inflammatory Bowel Disease Centre on February 19, 2007. The cheque was from the Shirley and Jack Bedder Foundation, a fund that was administered by the United Ostomy Association of Canada and began on July 2, 1996. The funds were designated to purchase equipment for Mount Sinai Hospital IBD unit.

A formal contract of employment was developed, presented and then signed by our office person, Marion Whate. It was the first formal contract and contained twenty-two articles of what is legally required in the Province of Ontario.

Mr. Jean-Pierre Lapointe, President of the Montreal Ileostomy and Colostomy Association, his family and Doug Graham were invited to Rideau Hall, home of the Right Honourable, Michaelle Jean, Governor-General of Canada. Jean-Pierre received the Caring Canadian Award. The award formally recognizes Canadians who have performed an outstanding service to their fellow man. It consists of the presentation by the Governor-General of a certificate and a lapel pin with a maple leaf that symbolizes Canadians, a helping hand that symbolizes their generosity and a heart that represents the openheartedness of volunteers and caregivers. Jean-Pierre was recognized for his many years of helping people with Ostomy surgery in Canada and less developed countries. The ceremony was regal and several times during Jean-Pierre’s presentation the Governor-General mentioned UOAC and FOW Canada. Jean-Pierre is indeed a humanitarian and has increased awareness of the word Ostomy for many Canadians.

The International Ostomy Association (IOA) held its 12th Congress and Conference in Puerto Real, Puerto Rico from August 7 to 12, 2007. Delegates Doug Graham and Janet Paquet represented Canada. Janet participated in the 20/40 meetings and activities. Doug was elected President of the North and Central American and Caribbean Ostomy Association (NCACOA). Janet accepted the Chair of the NCACOA 20/40 Group.

UOAC 10th Annual Conference and Anniversary celebration was indeed a gala event. It was held in Calgary from August 16 to 18, 2007, Alberta where the meeting of 1997 that moved us to an independent association took place. The conference committee was congratulated for their hard work in hosting this excellent conference and anniversary celebration.

At the Annual General Meeting, it was decided that the Board of Directors consider that the National Conference would be held every two years and the Board is given the flexibility and time to consider it.

A motion that the 2009 UOAC Conference be hosted by the Cape Breton Chapter in Sydney, Nova Scotia was carried.

The Saint John Ostomy Association helped G. O’Hara celebrate his one-hundredth birthday on September 14, 2007. An open house party was held at the Assumption Centre, Saint John, New Brunswick. UOAC sent a letter of congratulations on behalf of our membership and wished Greg well.

A five-year lease agreement was signed for our National Office in October 2007. The agreement had no increases or changes from the previous year. Ostomy Toronto continues to share the office.

The Board of Directors met in Toronto on October 19 – 21, 2007 and recommended having biennial conferences on the even years starting in 2010. The 2008 conference in Hamilton was not changed.

The Spouses and Significant Others (SASO) Committee Chair, Ann Ivol, requested to have our SASO members participate in a research project proposed by a surgical nurse, who had worked with Ostomy patients, for her master’s thesis at the University of New Brunswick. A brief article was placed in our Connection offering any SASO Members the choice to participate.

Winnipeg Chapter celebrated its 35th anniversary.

The Chapter Handbook and Visitors Training Manual were updated and revisions were made by Verna Petrie and formatted by Astrid Graham. The office staff completed the printing and binding of the Chapter Handbook and the Visitor’s Training Manual and they were mailed to each Chapter President.

Dianne Garde from the Ostomy Toronto Chapter accepted the appointment of Conference Administrator on December 21, 2007. Dianne has a great history with the United Ostomy Association (UOA), the UOAC and with the Canadian Association for Enterostomal Therapy (CAET). She has been involved in coordinating many conferences.


Our mission statement remains our primary goal followed by the support of our Chapters and recruiting new members.

Calgary Ostomy Society (COS) celebrated its 40th anniversary, February 24, 2008

A meeting in Washington February 26 to 28, 2008, with Jean-Pierre Lapointe, Rob Hill, Intestinal Disease Education Awareness Society (IDEAS), Fabien Paquette, ConvaTec Canada, and Doug Graham concluded that Canada, through UOAC, would become one of the many countries that are participating in the Great Comebacks Program. ConvaTec Canada has sponsored the Renaissance Awards Program even before its acceptance as a Canada wide program. They also sponsored the Great Comebacks Program that has similar objectives as the Renaissance Awards Program. Great Comebacks originated in the United States of America and was founded by the exceptional football player and champion of Ostomates, Rolf Benirschke. Rob Hill of our Vancouver Chapter is an ambassador of the Great Comebacks Awards Program and has traveled to many countries to share his experiences and fighting spirit with others.
UOAC is now a partner in the Great Comebacks Program and will maintain our historical past by naming our program, ‘Renaissance Great Comebacks Program’. This Program will help us to spread the word that Ostomy is not an end but a beginning of a better life.

Janet Paquet was appointed Chair of the IOA 20/40 Group in April 2008.

Metro Halifax Chapter celebrated its 35th anniversary on June 1, 2008.

Prince Edward Island Ostomy Association celebrated its 30th anniversary, June 3, 2008.

The UOAC 11th Annual Conference was held in Hamilton, Ontario August 14 to 16, 2008. A meeting with Industry Representatives; Coloplast, ConvaTec, Hollister and the UOAC Executive Committee, was held on August 14. A proposal for funding on the odd-numbered years when conferences are not scheduled was agreed to in principle by the Industry Representatives, pending the decision of the Delegates at the Annual General Meeting to hold our conferences on a biennial schedule.

The AGM was on August 16 and a motion was carried to have our conferences every two years on the even-numbered years to begin following this 2008 Conference.  That meant that the conference to be held in Sydney Nova Scotia in 2009 was moved to 2010.

A recommendation of the Board of Directors not to hire a professional organizer for UOAC conferences was carried.

The Oxford County Ostomy Group joined as a Satellite of Brantford and District Ostomy Association as of July 1, 2008.

Click here to read the UOAC History by Ron Bartlett, 2008


  • Creation of “Parents of Children with an Ostomy” group
  • Delegates of UOAC met with airport security people to discuss travel requirements for ostomates
  • World Ostomy Day held in October
  • Facebook group and an email discussion group were started
  • A new website was created using a Content Management System
  • UOAA conference held in New Orleans
  • UOAC AGM held at the Marriott Residence Inn in Ottawa, ON
  • UOAC conducted a survey about ostomy supply costs in Ontario
  • Ostomy Muskoka joined as a chapter
  • A Western Area information meeting in Kelowna British Columbia was held on October 2 and 3, 2009.

With music playing, balloons rising to the heavens, and the national board of directors in attendance, World Ostomy Day 2009 had a rousing Canadian kickoff in Halifax Saturday, October 3.

Close to 100 people, all wearing white tee-shirts with ―World Ostomy Day 2009 printed on the front and ―Reaching Out printed on the back, attended the gala event held in a downtown park. Hundreds walked by on a sunny warm fall afternoon, many stopping to ask questions about ostomies or receive a specially-prepared handout from members of the Metro Halifax chapter.

The celebrants heard brief speeches from government officials and UOAC president Les Kehoe. National WOD chair Delilah Guy made presentations to representatives of the major suppliers. A walk through the park took place as participants carried placards with phrases such as ―We Love Our ETs and ―It’s In The Bag and ―Living Life Fully, showing passers-by how vibrant and lively ostomates can be.

Les and long-time Halifax member, and former UOAC and FOWC president, Bette Yetman, cut a WOD cake.


  • Ontario survey about ostomy supplies was collected and entered into a database.
  • Full-body scanners introduced at many airports in Canada. UOAC met with airport security to express concerns of ostomates.
  • Halton Peel chapter celebrated 25th
  • 12th Conference held in Sydney, NS August 19 to August 21, 2010.
  • International Ostomy Association (IOA) had a major restructuring. UOAC became part of NCACOA which includes: Canada, Mexico, Puerto Rico, and the United States.
  • UOAC produced a traveler’s communication card.


  • New services brochure produced by UOAC.
  • UOAC started an online discussion board.
  • UOAC started to accept donations through CanadaHelps.com
  • UOAA conference held in Reno.
  • Saskatoon Ostomy Association hosted the Chapter Information Session and AGM.
  • UOAC gets help from an outside facilitator to prepare a new strategic plan.
  • Fredericton chapter held its 35th
  • Halifax chapter hosted a Chapter Information Session.
  • Oshawa and District Ostomy Association had its 40th Anniversary.
  • Southwest Nova Scotia Ostomy Chapter of UOAC celebrated its 35th Anniversary.


  • UOAC goes into social networking with Twitter, LinkedIn and Google +.
  • 13th Conference held in Toronto, ON August 15-18, 2012.
  • A new strategic plan was introduced at the Toronto conference, including a five-year plan. The plan was approved at the National Council meeting.
  • World Ostomy Day held on October 6, 2012. Canada moved the date to September 29, 2012.
  • Edmonton chapter celebrated its 40th
  • UOAC started a blog.
  • UOAC started an online map of chapter locations across Canada.


  • UOAC started to use GoToMeeting for the monthly board of directors meetings.
  • UOAC started to receive donations from PayPal.
  • A revised SASO brochure was produced by UOAC.
  • Paul Riome from Saskatoon takes Gastronaut Hogus on a trekking trip up some pretty tall mountains in Nepal. Paul went on to become the Canadian ambassador of the gastronaut puppets.
  • UOAA conference held in Jacksonville.
  • UOAC was the winner of The Coloplast Merit Award 2012 for region The Americas. This was a contest for World Ostomy Day in 2012.
  • Chapter Information Session and Annual General Meeting held in Halifax, NS to coincide with their 40th
  • If an ostomate is travelling, it was suggested to inform CATSA of one’s flight time and number, and approximate traveler arrival time at security check-in, a smooth transition through the process will be “guaranteed”. This initiative was started after a productive meeting in Halifax between CATSA personnel and Halifax chapter members.
  • The first annual Stoma Stroll was started. Seven chapters participated, as well as a virtual walk.
  • UOAC held an online auction to raise funds.
  • An Ad Hoc committee was struck to try to get the ADP grant in Ontario increased. Two members of the UOAC board, as well as chapter presidents in Ontario, participated.


  • The former District Support Services (DSS) was re-named to Chapter Outreach Support Services (COSS).
  • The monthly newsletter, the UOAConnection, was renamed to Ostomy Canada Connects.
  • UOAC starts and an online petition to try to get the Ontario government to increase the ostomy reimbursement under the ADP program.
  • Jim Fitzgerald and Jason Boyd raise awareness and funds for Ostomy Youth Camp by paddling in extreme races.
  • UOAC produced a new services brochure.
  • 14th Conference in St. John’s Newfoundland.
  • A special resolution to change the bylaws to conform to the new Canada Not-For-Profit Corporations Act was passed at the National Council meeting in August.
  • United Ostomy Association of Canada’s name officially changed to the Ostomy Canada Society. New logo to go along with the new name.
  • A new website was launched on July 1.
  • The name of our youth camp was changed from UOAC Ostomy Youth Camp to Ostomy Canada Youth Camp.
  • 2nd Annual Stoma Stroll held October 4, 2014, with seven chapters participating.
  • We started a bursary program for post-secondary students and for nurses who are studying to become ETs.
  • Ostomy Canada Society joined Pinterest.
  • Three classes of membership were eliminated and a new category – Ostomy Supporter was initiated. For $20 annually, a Ostomy Supporter does not need to be a member of a chapter and can receive the Ostomy Canada magazine and the Ostomy Canada Connects newsletter.
  • A fundraising page on CanadaHelps.com was started.


  • Our new names have now been officially recognized by Industry Canada.
  • United Ostomy Associations of America had their biennial conference from September 1 – 6, 2015 in St. Louis, Missouri.
  • 14th Conference in St. John’s, NL and co-host Gander, NL each received $2000 a share of profit from the conference.
  • We received a generous donation from the estate of Anne Hoggan McMillan Ames.
  • The Bursary Committee awarded two winners for the ET bursary. They are Nancy Vokey from East St. Paul, MB and Meghan Maloney from Nanaimo, BC. There were also two winners for the Post-Secondary bursary. They are Maria-Jose Bouey from Toronto, ON and Carly Lindsay from Waterford, ON.
  • September 19 and 20, 2015 – Chapter Information Session and AGM in Burlington, Ontario.
  • Ostomy Canada Youth Camp was July 26 – 31, 2015.
  • The membership category of Ostomy Supporter was created. Other membership types were eliminated.
  • Ostomy Canada Society began to partner with CAET to investigate and publish information about ostomy reimbursement in the different provinces in Canada.
  • A media campaign through MediaPlanet and the National Post, with a 10-page feature on Digestive Wellness, launched in the March 28 edition of the National Post.
  • A Governance Advisory Working Group was struck to come up with new ideas on how to govern our society.
  • Website refresh – our webmaster, Angie Schickerowski, refreshed the website with a new look and feel.
  • A French version of our services brochure was created and printed.
  • The GI Js (Jim Fitzgerald and Jason Boyd) did some fundraising for Ostomy Canada Youth Camp.
  • A pilot program started to form Peer Support Groups.
  • Advertising rate documents were updated to include advertising on the website.
  • An online survey was conducted regarding the cost of ostomy supplies.
  • The national office moved from Bloor Street in Toronto to Ambler Drive in Mississauga.
  • During the last weekend in September, Ostomy Canada Society had a booth at the Association Québécoise des Personnes Stomisées (AQPS) Congrès in Quebec City.
  • We participated in Giving Tuesday – December 1, 2015.
  • World Ostomy Day was October 3, 2015. The theme was `Many Stories, One Voice`. Winners of the contest in Canada were Regina, Saskatoon, and Halifax.
  • On September 11, 2015, the government of Ontario announced increases in the Assistive Devices Program (ADP). Ostomy Canada Society and the Canadian Association of Enterostomal Therapists (CAET) joined with the Ontario Government in a press release.


  • A survey about Ostomy Supply Costs was completed.
  • May 7, 2016, Regina Ostomy Chapter Spring Seminar.
  • Jim Fitzgerald and Jason Boyd held a fundraiser for Ostomy Canada Youth Camp.
  • July 24- 29, 2016 Ostomy Canada Youth Camp.
  • Biennial conference in Winnipeg, MB, August 17-21, 2016.
  • 4th Annual Stoma Stroll was held on October 1, 2016.
  • October 22, 2016, Gander & District Ostomy Chapter Education Day Seminar.
  • We participated in Giving Tuesday – November 29, 2016.
  • 16,609 visitors to our website.


  • January 27th, we were saddened by the news that Marion Whate, UOAC Office Coordinator, had passed away.
  • April 22, 2017 – Ostomy Educational Seminar – Saskatoon, SK
  • At the Special Meeting on April 22, 2017, two motions, Rules for Meetings and Procedures for Meetings were approved and carried. Ostomy Canada Society was now in a position to hold member meetings, simultaneously, in-person with participation by electronic means.
  • April 28-30, 2017 – Chapter Outreach Support Services Report – Atlantic Region, Truro, NS.
  • July 23 – 28, 2017 – Ostomy Canada Youth Camp
  • August 19, 2017 – Annual General Meeting – Mississauga, ON, and online.
  • September 30, 2017- Regional Conference St. John’s, NL
  • September 28-30, 2017 – The 5th Congress of the Quebec Association of Ostomy (AQPS) in Montreal, PQ.
  • A brochure for Disability Tax Credit for People Living with an Ostomy, in both English and French, was now available on the Ostomy Canada website.
  • 5th Annual Stoma Stroll was held on October 7, 2017.
  • 21,818 visitors to our website.


  • May 4 – 5, 2018: The Power of You – Spring 2018 Educational Seminar – Regina Ostomy Chapter.
  • A Questionnaire was sent to all chapter members.
  • April 4th, 2018 Ostomy Canada Society, in collaboration with Crohn’s and Colitis Canada, was part of a Facebook Live Event
  • Hamilton & District celebrated 50 years on May 11, 2018, with a Gala.
  • June 3, 2018 – Ostomy Halifax Society – a 45th-anniversary celebration
  • A special meeting of members of the National Council was held on June 23, 2018, to discuss the Special Resolution to update and amend the terms of affiliation for members of Ostomy Canada.
  • July 8 – July 13, 2018 – Ostomy Canada Youth Camp
  • August 18, 2018, Annual General Meeting, Mississauga, Ontario.
  • 6th Annual Stoma Stroll held Saturday, October 6, 2018. Theme: Speaking Out Changes Lives.
  • Ostomy Outreach Atlantic Education Day in Moncton, NB – October 13, 2018
  • Prince Edward Island formed a Support Group and successfully lobbied the Provincial government to financially support Ostomy Supplies.
  • In November, the l’Association d’iléostomie et colostomie de Montréal (Ileostomy and Colostomy Association of Montreal) celebrated its 60th Anniversary. This association was the first chapter in Canada and one of the original members of the United Ostomy Association Inc.
  • National office software converted to Blackbaud eTapestry.
  • 17,381 visitors to our website


  • February 20 – Past President Mike Woolridge passed away.
  • Educational Seminar, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. April 26th, 27th, 2019.
  • Special Meeting of National Council—May 27, 2019
  • Ostomy Canada Youth Camp—-July 7 –12, 2019.
  • Annual General Meeting and Regional Informational Information Session, Saturday, August 17, 2019. Inn on the Lake, 3009 Highway 2, Falls River, NS.
  • August 18, the first board meeting was held since the governance of the Society was transferred to the Board of Directors.
  • Moncton Educational Seminar—September 14, 2019
  • 7th Annuals Stoma Stroll was held on Saturday, October 5, 2019.
  • AQPS National Congress – October 12 – 13, 2019 – Trois-Rivières, QC.
  • Ostomy NL Exploits Valley Conference November 2nd, 2019, Barney’s Restaurant, Grand Falls –Windsor, NL
  • 20,635 visitors to our website.

Go to History of Ostomy Canada Society – Part 2 (The Evolution)

Go to History of Ostomy Canada Society – Part 2 (The Evolution)