About Us

Who we are:

JETAA Ottawa was founded in 1991 and is one of 52 JETAA chapters in 17 countries, which have over 60,000 members worldwide. We are alumni of the Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) Programme and our members, located in and around Ottawa, have participated in the JET Programme as an Assistant Language Teacher or a Coordinator for International Relations.

What we do:

We promote deeper and stronger relations between Japan and Canada. Together with the Embassy of Japan in Canada, we help promote the JET Programme, assist with JET application interviews and pre-departure orientation, and offer support and information to JET alumni.

President Rob Lavoie

Rob was an ALT on the JET Programme from 2013 to 2018 in the rural suburbs of Hagi, Yamaguchi. Of those 5 years, he spent 3 of them serving as Prefectural Advisor for the Prefectural Board of Education. He holds a B.A. in Linguistics with a minor in Japanese and a one-year study abroad in Osaka. He loves Japanese rock music (esp. Radwimps) and also really enjoys collecting and reading manga. He passed the JLPT N2 in 2016 and eventually plans to stop slacking and go for his N1 certification.

Vice-President Brandon Wallace

Brandon Wallace was an Assistant Language Teacher (ALT) on the JET Programme, placed in Akashi city, Hyogo Prefecture, Japan from 2011 to 2013. He holds an M.A. in Philosophy from the New School for Social Research, NYC, with a particular interest in political philosophy. He has a passion for all things Japanese, including history, politics, language, and culture. He has passed the N3 level of the Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT). He currently works as Cultural Assistant at the Embassy of Japan.

Secretary Anna Rayner-Grignon

Anna was an ALT for 5 years, 2010 – 2015, in Kumamoto and currently works for the Political Section in the Embassy of Japan. She enjoys reading, cooking, and very slowly preparing for the N1 JLPT. Having served as newsletter editor for the past few years, Anna has now taken on the Secretary role and looks forward to the new challenge.

Treasurer Caitlin Wilson

Event Coordinator Laurel Lavoie

Laurel Lavoie was an ALT in Hagi, Yamaguchi prefecture from 2014 to 2018. Born and raised in California, she moved to Ottawa after JET to start a life in Canada with her husband. She has a BA in Language Studies with a focus on Japanese from the University of California, Santa Cruz. Her future aspirations are to continue getting paid to read picture books to small children as an elementary school teacher.

Webmaster & Newsletter Editor Sabrina Gauthier

Sabrina Gauthier was an ALT on the JET Programme in Nonoichi City, Ishikawa Prefecture from 2014 to 2017. She discovered a passion for taiko drumming in Japan and continues to play now with Oto-Wa Taiko. She holds a B.A. in English-French Translation and a JLPT N3 Certification. She moved to Ottawa from Montreal in 2019 and works as a Cultural Assistant at the Embassy of Japan.

Policy Coordinator Tyler Bissonnette

Tyler Bissonnette was an ALT on the JET Programme Tamba City, Hyogo Prefecture from 2013 to 2017. During that time he worked for National AJET as the Block Representative of Hyogo, Kyoto, and Shiga and had the role of Representative Team Leader. He holds an Honours B.A. in Psychology with a minor in History from the University of Ottawa and worked for the Paper Selection Committee of the Embassy of Japan in Ottawa in late 2017/early 2018.

Social Media Coordinator Shuaib Syed

Shuaib Syed is a former junior high school ALT who worked on a series of wonderful islands known as Miyakojima within the subtropical prefecture of Okinawa. During his two and a half years there, he served as Representative for the OkiAJET group and Block leader for ALTs in Miyakojima. He has also been invited to lead workshops for the JET Post-Arrival Orientations in Tokyo on three occasions during 2018/2019. He holds a M.Sc. in Neurosciences from Carleton University and is slowly aiming for the N3 JLPT certification. His hobbies include calligraphy, rock-climbing and cooking.

External Relations Coordinator Charles Dauphinais

Special Events Coordinator Erica Long

Erica Long was an ALT on the JET Programme in Ashikita, a small town of 20,000 in Kumamoto Prefecture, from 2006 to 2011. She is originally from B.C. but on returning to Canada she moved to another small city of 20,000 in Canada’s north, Yellowknife. Since moving to Ottawa in 2016 she has enjoyed the many opportunities to become involved with JETAA Ottawa and other Japan related groups in the city.

Translator Mahmoud Khabatou

Mahmoud Khabatou was an ALT in Hyogo’s Nishinomiya City from 2013 to 2018. He holds an Honors B.A. in History with a minor in Sociology from Carleton University. He also worked on the Paper Selection Committee of the Embassy of Japan in late 2019/early 2020. An avid reader and writer, he submitted his first comic for publication by age seven, but never heard back from the company because, well, Super Fish Man just wasn’t cool enough. These days, he’s still bad at writing, but hopes to receive the Best Bad Writer award before 2020 is out.