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Ontario Veterinary Medical Association

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Awards Program

OVMA award winners have demonstrated a wide range of outstanding work in their communities. Whether it’s volunteering for committees or associations, engaging in volunteer work at home or abroad, or working to improve animal welfare in the province, OVMA’s award winners are improving the veterinary profession for the better each and every day. Since the OVMA Awards Program was established in 1986, more than 80 individuals have been recognized with one of OVMA’s prestigious awards (see a list of past award winners (PDF)). 

Read the OVMA Awards Brochure for award categories and more information, or read our FAQ.

Do you know an outstanding veterinarian? Nominate them for next year's OVMA Awards.

Meet the 2018 OVMA Award Winners!

2018 Golden Life Membership Award - Nancy Caven, DVM

The Golden Life Membership Award is awarded to a veterinarian who is either retired or who has been in practice for a minimum of 30 years, and who has made extraordinary contributions to the veterinary profession. 


After graduating from the Ontario Veterinary College in 1980, Dr. Nancy Caven opened Mississippi Veterinary Services in Pakenham, Ont., with her husband, Dr. Larry Caven. As one of the first female large animal veterinarians in the area, the practice offered veterinary services to the farming community.

Today, with her husband retired from active practice, Dr. Caven continues to work full time, providing veterinary care to a range of animals. Over the years this has included everything from late night house calls, to herd health and emergency farm calls, all while raising five children and being active in her community. “Veterinary medicine should be fun!” she says. “Every day is different. We’re always seeing something new and should never stop learning.”

Dr. Caven has been a member of the Central Canada Veterinary Association (CCVA) for more than 30 years and served as president twice. She also served as a CCVA representative on the OVMA Board of Directors for eight years and more recently she sat on the OVMA Board of Directors as the District 9 (formally CCVA) representative for eight years.

Dr. Caven is generous with her time, willing to help other practitioners in need, and welcomes many high school and veterinary students into her practice for placements to gain valuable insight and experience. She’s a strong supporter of continuing education, as well as staying on top of advancements in veterinary technology and techniques, encouraging and enabling her staff to do the same.

She is an active member of the local community, coaching ringette and participating in 4-H and the curling club over the years. She also fundraises for various causes, including the Farley Foundation and the Arnprior Humane Society.

In addition to her work, Dr. Caven has a horse boarding facility and two purebred teams of Canadian horses. She’s also a proud grandmother to nine grandchildren.

In the words of Dr. Brian MacCormick, “Dr. Nancy always recognized that humans and animals would benefit from progressive programs and policies, but never lost her endearing heart for real-time care with real-time values and compassion. Dr. Nancy is a great friend, communicator, mentor and above all, an inspiration to all of us who passionately love veterinary medicine.”


Award of Merit - Matthew Croskery, DVM

The OVMA Award of Merit recognizes individuals for their practice of, or help to veterinary medicine. It is awarded for distinguished public service to the veterinary profession in any form. 


After graduating from the Ontario Veterinary College in 1998, Dr. Croskery worked at Southdown Animal Hospital for four years before purchasing Oakpark Pet Hospital in Oakville in 2001. Since then, the hospital has grown to include four full-time associates and more than 20 other team members, moving to a larger, more modern facility in 2015.

Oakpark Pet Hospital has established itself as a local leader in rehabilitation therapy, endoscopy, laparoscopy and advanced orthopedic surgery, thanks in part to Dr. Croskery’s passion for continuing education and dedication to staying on top of the latest veterinary therapies and technologies.  He leads by example, always working to improve and advance his own surgical and medical skills, and provides opportunities for staff to hone their skills. As one client says, “I drive almost three hours to see Dr. Matt at Oakpark Pet Hospital. His knowledge and honesty are refreshing.”

Dr. Croskery is active in the veterinary community, providing care for the Lions Foundation of Canada Dog Guides, the Oakville and Milton Humane Society, Peel Police Canine Unit and many other rescue organizations. He’s an active participant on the OVMA Economics Committee and a longtime supporter of the Farley Foundation, with Oakpark Pet Hospital being recognized as the top fundraising clinic in 2016, raising more than $11,000.

Dr. Croskery serves as a mentor for aspiring veterinarians, providing co-op opportunities for local high school students and placements for veterinary and veterinary technician students. He created an internal volunteer program for students to experience the veterinary environment and nurture their own interests in animal care. He also serves as coach of the Oakville Rangers and Oakville Hornets minor hockey teams.

As Hospital Manager Heather Kelly says, “This strong influence in both the local community, through coaching, mentorship of our youth in education, and the veterinary community, is one that should be recognized with his peer group as an example of what we should all aspire to.”


Award of Merit - Mark de Wolde, DVM

The OVMA Award of Merit recognizes individuals for their practice of, or help to veterinary medicine. It is awarded for distinguished public service to the veterinary profession in any form. 


After graduating from the Ontario Veterinary College in 1993, Dr. Mark de Wolde practiced in the Kingston area and then spent time working in Surrey, England, before returning to Southern Ontario to eventually open four practices in the Kingston-Napanee region: Bath Village Veterinary Services, the Lennox & Addington Animal Hospital, Limestone City Animal Hospital and the Kingston West Veterinary Hospital. In 2010, Dr. de Wolde and his business partner opened the Kingston Napanee Spay Neuter Clinic in response to animal overpopulation issues in the area. To date, more than 10,000 sterilization procedures have been performed at the clinic.

Dr. de Wolde is active in the veterinary community, and has been involved with investigations and mentorship programs through the College of Veterinarians of Ontario . He’s president of the Upper Canada Veterinary Group, an animal hospital management team, and president of Lenio Pharmaceuticals. He’s also president of the Kingston Regional Pet Hospital Professional Corporation (the local cooperative emergency hospital) and a member of Veterinary Management Group 32, a subsidiary of Veterinary Study Groups.

In addition to his professional achievements, Dr. de Wolde and his family are avid contributors to World Vision, the OSPCA, the Kingston Humane Society, the Canadian Cancer Society, Kingston Animal Rescue, Wolfe Island Friends of Ferals, Napanee Community Kitten Rescue, Spay Neuter Kingston Initiative, the Children's Aid Society, the Kingston Pregnancy Care Centre and the CRC Refugee Programs.

Dr. de Wolde was nominated for the Kingston Whig-Standard’s Salute to Businessmen Award, and was the recipient of Kingston This Week’s People’s Choice Veterinarian and Veterinary Practice of the Year several times.

As one of his colleagues says, “He strives for perfection in the surgery room and is very personable in the exam room … Dr. Mark de Wolde is someone I would work for over and over again, and always trust my own pets to his care.”

Veterinarian honoured by provincial association - The Kingston Whig-Standard

Local veterinarian 2018 recipient of OVMA's Award of Merit - The Napanee Beaver


Rising Star Award - Michelle DaCosta, DVM

The Rising Star Award is presented to an associate veterinarian who has demonstrated superior leadership in their place of employment and their community; for the betterment of animal welfare and/or their clients and/or their colleagues in the veterinary profession.


Dr. Michelle DaCosta started working at Watzin Veterinary Clinic as an associate veterinarian shortly after graduating from the Ontario Veterinary College in 2015. A skilled communicator, excellent medical practitioner and surgeon, she’s brought fresh ideas to the clinic that have reshaped many policies and practices.

Dr. DaCosta took special interest in the “Feline Friendly” initiative at the clinic, spearheading renovations that included a feline-friendly section of the waiting room and feline-only exam rooms equipped with calming music, pheromone diffusers and non-slip counter mats. Dr. DaCosta is certified in “Fear Free” practices and methods, and was paramount in assisting with the development and growth of these practices within the clinic. She continuously enforces the standards of practice for feline patients to reduce fear and stress, and has supervised the training of all staff on this effort.

Dr. DaCosta is currently working toward her certification in canine rehabilitation and physiotherapy through the University of Tennessee. She initiated a physiotherapy and rehabilitation program at Watzin Veterinary Clinic to assist injured and elderly patients, which included new equipment and a structured program.

In 2016, Dr. DaCosta successfully launched a kitten adoption program at the clinic that has resulted in the adoption of more than 60 kittens.

She volunteers for the clinic's annual charity dog wash and pet pictures with Santa events, which have raised more than $7,000 for the Farley Foundation over the last two years. Dr. DaCosta also spearheaded the clinic’s involvement with the Hamilton Burlington SPCA's Trap, Neuter and Return program to help sterilize, vaccinate and microchip stray cats. In 2017, she started participating in a pet visiting program through the Hamilton Burlington SPCA, where she and her two dogs pay monthly visits to seniors and individuals with special needs.

In the words of her nominator, Dr. Sandra Watzin, “She is kind and compassionate, she is intelligent and always willing to improve, she has a natural sense for veterinary medicine, and an innate capacity to understand her patients and clients. She is adored by my entire team. She is one of the most effective communicators I have ever known, she is driven by her passion and commitment … in over 27 years in practice she is not only the best new graduate I have ever worked with, but she is also the best veterinarian.”

Waterdown veterinarian Dr. Michelle DaCosta a 'Rising Star' - Flamborough Review


420 Bronte Street South,
Suite 205,
Milton, Ontario L9T 0H9
Phone: 905.875.0756 / (toll free) 1.800.670.1702  



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