Brian Bennison Practitioner Award

2023 Award Winner: Chelsea Lazar

The Brian Bennison Practitioner Award recipient is a TR practitioner, working in direct client service capacity, who has made significant and outstanding contributions to the field of Therapeutic Recreation through their work, advocacy and/or community involvement. The award is presented to a practitioner who has demonstrated excellence in relation to the Core Values, Standards of Practice and Scope of Practice.

Brian Bennison was a founding TRO Board Member and spent 10 consecutive years on the TRO Board of Directors. During this time, he gave so much of himself to advance the field of Therapeutic Recreation in the province of Ontario and built the foundation for Therapeutic Recreation Ontario (TRO). When he announced he was not running again, it was decided that our first professional award would be created and named in his honour to acknowledge his contributions to the organization and the field. The Brian Bennison Practioner Award was unveiled at the TRO conference at Horseshoe Resort in 2005, a conference for which Brian was the Co-Chair. Brian returned to the TRO Board for an additional two-year term. He is currently involved with TRO as a member on the Therapeutic Recreation Provincial Education Steering Committee (TRPESC).


Past Award Winners

2022 Chelsea Lazar
2021 Lindsay Passfield-Leu, Osgoode Home Care, R/TRO
2020 Beverly Farrell, R/TRO
2019 Shelagh Keesmaat, R/TRO
2018 Lesley Breen, R/TRO
2017 Sandra Berzaitis-Smith
2016 Sara Richardson-Brown, R/TRO
2015 Rebecca Thompson, R/TRO
2014 Shannon McCallum, R/TRO
2013 Nancy Bowers-Ivanski
2012 Lynn Curley
2011 Dan Houle
2009 Janet Griffin
2008 Peggy Allin
2007 Bernice Miller
2006 Leona Leduc


Award Information

The Winner Receives

  • One Complimentary Registered Professional membership renewal
  • Professional Contribution points for initial Registration (R/TRO, R/TRO DIP) application (awarded = 3, nominated = 2, to a maximum total of 4 points)
  • Recognition at the Annual TRO Conference Awards Ceremony Dinner (including two complimentary tickets)
  • TRO Award Plaque
  • Recognition in various TRO communications: TRO website, e-TRO newsletter, social media, etc.

Nomination Criteria

A nominee must be a Registered (R/TRO, R/TRO DIP) member of TRO and work in a direct client service capacity. Nominees may not be a current member of the Board of Directors of TRO.

Selection Process

The Awards Sub-Committee consists of a minimum of three volunteers including: at least one representative from the Membership Services Committee and up to six TRO members (TRO’s Communications Coordinator is an ex-officio member). It is responsible for reviewing TRO award nominations and will forward recommendations to the Membership Services Committee for approval by the TRO board of directors. The selection committee will identify if there is a conflict of interest with any of the award categories, any persons with a conflict of interest will not be part of the discussion and decision-making process for that award.

Application Requirements

Anyone may nominate a Registered Professional member for this award.

How To Apply

  1. Download the award nomination form questions (Brian Bennison Practitioner Award Nomination Form Questions), complete and save on your computer. NOTE: TRO accepts 2 different formats for nominations now: written and video!
  2. Upload your completed form describing how your nominee meets the criteria for this award.
  3. Complete and submit the award nomination form. Youtube videos should be set to UNLISTED. Please submit the link in the form below.
  4. The nominator must provide a maximum of two letters of reference for the nominee. Please email reference letters directly to
  5. Additional supporting documentation is encouraged and may also be submitted by email to (e.g., articles, news releases, photos, publications, program details)

Established in 1999, Therapeutic Recreation Ontario (TRO) is the only professional association that represents Therapeutic Recreation practitioners in the province.

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