Executive Director

Michael McDonald has been committed to furthering the student cause for the better part of the past decade. Originally from Gatineau, Quebec, he completed a DEC at Heritage College, an undergraduate degree in Political Studies at Bishop’s University and a Master’s degree in International Environmental Law at Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia. Throughout his education he was involved in student politics, with a specific focus on questions of accessibility. Outside of his studies, Michael has worked in a variety of roles including positions with a political party, a bank, the federal government, and three years with CASA as Stakeholder Relations Manager. When not in the office, Michael always looks forward to a good debate, a discussion about hockey or a history lesson.

You can reach Michael at (613) 236-3457 ext 222


Public Affairs Officer

Amélie completed her undergraduate and graduate degrees at l’Université de Montréal in Political Science. A native of the National Capital, she is perfectly bilingual with an understanding and keen interest for political and policy issues on multiple scales. She began her career as a junior political advisor at the Department of Foreign Affairs before entering the world of public relations and government communications. Outside of work, Amélie enjoys running, playing tennis and soccer, in addition to attending regular moksha yoga classes. She is also an avid reader with an affinity for Canadian literature.

You can reach Amélie at (613) 236-3457 ext 224


Government and Stakeholder Relations Officer

Matthew is originally from Vancouver, British Columbia and completed his undergraduate degree at Acadia University. During his studies he was active in student politics, serving three years on the Acadia Students’ Union Executive. Further to that he served as Vice-Chair of Students Nova Scotia, and was engaged with CASA during his two years as a delegate. During his time at Acadia, he developed a strong passion for student advocacy and that is what guides his work at CASA today. Away from work, Matthew is an avid reader, a full-time fantasy football coach and a diehard Manchester United fan.

You may contact Matthew Rios at (613) 236-3457 ext 221


Director of Special Projects

Viviane completed a Bachelor of International Development at the University of Ottawa, as well as a License in Civil Law (LL.L) and a Masters of Law (LL.M.). Combined with her previous experience as a policy analyst at CASA and as a public servant, she brings a strong background in Law and policy analysis to the organization. Having specialized in Human Rights Law, she is particularly passionate about vulnerable populations and social justice issues that affect students in Canada and abroad. For instance, she has a strong interest for Indigenous education, mental health concerns, international education, students suffering from disabilities, youth emerging from low-income families, etc. Viviane has studied and traveled worldwide, and has a passion for international cultures. Outside of work, she loves hiking, playing ultimate Frisbee, and having lengthy conversations about interior design.

You can reach Viviane at (613) 236-3457 ext 227


Director of Policy and Research

Patrick Snider brings a strong background in policy analysis and political experience to CASA. He graduated from Carleton University, acquiring a Master’s Degree in Political Science, and has experience performing research and policy analysis on Parliament Hill for a number of MPs, as well as off the hill with a number of advocacy groups and professional associations. He has also worked on the ground in election campaigns at the federal, provincial and municipal levels. He has lived in Ottawa all his life, except for when he was living in Korea and Texas, and is an avid runner, skier and fencer.

You can reach Patrick at (613) 236-3457 ext 223


Office Manager

Ellen Wightman was born and raised in Blackpool, England where she earned a B.A. in Business Management. Ellen has gained a variety of professional experience, having worked in Oman as a controller for a national manufacturing company, a statistician for the German civil service and as a banker with HSBC UK. She brings to CASA over 25 years of experience in accounting and office administration.

She may be reached at (613) 236-3457 ext 226