HI Canada National Office

To us, being travel conscious means travelling with open-mindedness, togetherness and mindfulness at the forefront. We want to help shape a global movement of conscious travellers who strive to create a more peaceful, tolerant world.

Open-mindedness

We welcome people and ideas from all places.

We believe everyone should be free to express their point of view.

We encourage the sharing of knowledge, experience and beliefs.

Togetherness

We believe experiences are better lived when shared with others in friendship and understanding.

We believe in collaboration and the power of the collective: all for one and one for all.

Mindfulness

We’re on a mission to leave the world better than found.

We raise consciousness about a better way of travelling, to being thankful and respectful of the people and the places that make each moment unique and memorable.

Meet the Board

Catherine Roch-Hansen, Chair

Catherine is an avid traveller. She believes in the power of cultural exchanges as a means to break down barriers. With a masters in Economics, Catherine has worked as a public financial management consultant & project manager in over a dozen countries across Africa as well as in her hometown of Montreal. Through her involvement in HI Canada, she hopes to encourage travellers, local and international, to discover Canada through a seamless and engaging hosteling experience.

Othello Tuason, 1st Vice Chair

Othello was raised in Western Canada, where his love of the outdoors and travel was shaped.  Trekking/backpacking, rock climbing, skiing, snowboarding and fly fishing are often ways he enjoys the endless sunny days of southern Alberta. Othello is trained primarily in finance and strategy, and has studied in the University of Calgary, for his Bachelors of Commerce, and Dalhousie University for his Masters of Business Administration, as well as the US and Mexico (on exchange).  He has worked in West Coast, Prairies, and Central Canada. His professional credentials are available on LinkedIn.

On the travel side, Othello has touched each province, and is planning to visit the three territories (fishing and hiking, maybe?).  Internationally, he’s seen North and Central America, Europe, and Pac-Asia.  So his combination of work, education, and travel across this country provides a unique Canadian perspective.  He lives in Calgary, with his wife and their two children, and is the Chief Corporate Officer of viiz Communications, serving the telecommunications industry.

James Wyatt, 2nd Vice Chair

James has enjoyed hostels for many years and strongly believes in the mission statement of Hostelling International. He brings years of experience in the fields of tourism, education, and sports and recreation. After 7 years of regional board service including service as Chair he is proud to now serve at the national level on the HI Canada Board. He is committed to strong governance that is reflective of its members and embraces the opportunity to assist the national board in fulfilling its various roles and responsibilities. While appreciative of the degree to which traveling and the subsequent socio-cultural experiences enrich people’s lives he is inspired by the fact that hostelling is a wonderful opportunity to broadens one’s horizons and to ultimately galvanize the global citizen.

Jason Demers, Secretary

Jason is an active hosteller and life-time member. His first introduction to hostelling was on his first European trip where many friendships were formed along his travels. This has continued closer to home where he has introduced many to the value and beauty of the HI network in the west. 

Jason’s entire career has been served in the non-profit sector where he has played an active role in assisting organizations plan and meet their fundraising goals. This has carried on to the board’s he has served on. Although Governance was not his fondest topic at the beginning, governance has become an area of expertise and a topic for which he enjoys delving into. 

Giving back is something Jason strongly believes and is a significant reason why he has spent over a decade serving on various HI Canada regional boards (HIC Northern Alberta Region and HIC Pacific Mountain Region) and now the HI Canada board. 

When not working or volunteering Jason can be found on a road (gravel or paved), trail hiking or body of water kayaking. 

John Hutchings, Director

Growing up both in Ottawa and outside Canada, John came to know travel and intercultural exchange through his family’s frequent moves – gaining not only some wanderlust to see more of Canada and more of the world, but an appreciation of how travellers can come together to enrich themselves and their communities. Now a lawyer practising in Toronto, he works as legal counsel to the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB) where he has also served in adjudicative, policy and managerial roles. John first joined Canada’s public service in 2007. He has also worked for the Ontario public service and as a director of a community legal clinic in Montreal. He is keen to contribute to HI Canada’s vision of conscious travel and community.

François Bédard, Director

François began his career as director of Service Plein Air Kébec, an organization specialized in the operation of a network of outdoor recreation centre. He then directed the Groupe de l'Ajisme in Québec (fédération; hostels; travel agency; outdoor equipment store), and worked in the cultural events sector. He is currently pursuing an academic career in the Department of Urban and Tourism Studies at the Université du Québec in Montréal. As part of his research and community service activities, he directs the Global Destination Centre of Excellence, created with the World Tourism Organization and the National Geographic Society. He is excited to be reconnecting with youth tourism by serving on the Board of Directors of HI Canada.