Victor Michael Catano

November 20, 1944May 10, 2019

Victor Michael Catano died peacefully in his sleep on Friday, May 10, 2019, at the age of 74, with his beloved wife Janis by his side. He is also survived by his two sons, Victor Gabriel (Kim) Catano and Michael Damian Catano.

Victor was a professor at Saint Mary’s University for 46 years. He was a leader in the field of Industrial/Organizational psychology and his textbook is used in universities across Canada to this day. He won numerous academic awards, honours, and distinctions—including a special citation for his work with the Canadian Military signed by Queen Elizabeth II—and authored over 150 research publications.

Victor’s fierce advocacy, activism, and dedication related to union work was respected and admired by his colleagues across the country. He is remembered fondly as the past President of both the SMU Faculty Union and The Canadian Association of University Teachers. In March, he celebrated his 50th wedding anniversary with Janis. From their first date at a Simon & Garfunkle concert to their final days together, they shared a lifetime of happiness. He loved to travel, see theatre on Broadway and in the West End, and cheer on his Toronto Blue Jays.

The Catano family would like to thank the many medical professionals and caregivers who helped Victor over the last few years.

There will be a memorial held in The McNally Room at Saint Mary’s University on Tuesday, June 04, 2019, at 1:00 PM.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that you make a donation to Phoenix Youth Programs ( or to the Victor Catano I/O Graduate Travel Scholarship (contact

Please honour his memory by never crossing a picket line and always supporting the union cause.


No services are scheduled at this time. Receive a notification when services are updated.


Victor Michael Catano

have a memory or condolence to add?

Monica Belcourt

May 22, 2019

I knew Vic over many decades in three roles. When I was Director of the School of HRM at York University, Vic was an external examiner of our HR undergraduate and graduate programs, as well as the external examiner for many HR theses and dissertations. We also worked together on the establishment of the Certification process for HR professionals in Canada, when I was President of HRPA. As well, he was the lead author of the very successful textbook, Recruitment and Selection in Canada, part of the Nelson HR Series for which I was series editor. In every role, his most outstanding characteristic was his integrity - an honest, ethical man with strong principles. Vic's work in these roles was always extremely professional, knowledgeable and competent. In every case, he was reliable and tireless. In summary, he was a wonderful and valuable colleague. The academic community had enormous respect for Vic Catano and we are all very sad.

John Johnston

May 18, 2019

I could never find the words to properly express how I am feeling about Vic’s passing. Vic was a major influence in my life since I met him in 1987 when I started my part time studies at Saint Mary’s. Vic was one of the people who encouraged and inspired me to pursue a career in I/O Psychology as a Personnel Selection Officer and he stuck with me throughout that journey. He was a strong supporter, trusted advisor and inspirational leader to me throughout my studies and later when we became colleagues and collaborators in research. I feel very fortunate to have had the benefit of Vic’s influence in my life. I will remember him as a revered figure in I/O Psychology, a trusted colleague, a mentor, and a friend. I will miss him dearly.
To Jan and the boys; please accept my sincere condolences in this time of sorrow.

Angela Bissonnette, M.Sc, Ph.D

May 17, 2019

Words cannot express how saddened I was to hear of Vic’s passing. When I first met Vic during my Masters studies I found him an imposing figure, over time I discovered a deeply kind, brilliant and compassionate teacher, thesis and doctoral advisor. I will be forever grateful to Vic for all he taught me . The world is a darker place without him. My deepest sympathies to Jan and family.

Cielo Zhang

May 17, 2019

I am deeply saddened by the passing of Dr. Vic Catano.
As one of the last students that Vic has supervised, I appreciate so much the opportunity of learning from him. He was such an icon in I/O Psychology, and his legacy to this field is priceless. As a student, I was lucky to be nurtured by this legendary figure. Despite his highly admired position, he was always generous, kind, and diligent. He was passionate, supportive, and generous to his students, and I am so grateful I was one of them. His guidance and encouragement will keep impacting me, and I will be carrying such legacy and strive to become someone impactful, too.

michael overington

May 16, 2019

I never knew anything of Victor's private life (I always called him Victor despite his insistent requests that I should call him Vic). I regarded him with great respect for he worked tirelessly for our little union at St. Mary's - the first among academics in Canada. I found him an eloquent, empassioned and principled advocate for the work of unions.

As a kind of social psychologist in a different tradition from his own, we were never of one mind. We were always civil and respectful in our relations; but never close. However, I wish to pay tribute to a man who lived his life well, struggled for his values and beliefs and achieved much. Few of us will do as much. Grieve him keenly and celebrate a good life. Michael Overington

Tanya Bilsbury

May 16, 2019

I am sad to hear of Vic's passing, but very grateful that I was able to be at SMU for his last couple of years. There was so much about Vic that I admire, I don't know where to start. It might be his generosity and kindness. Somehow in spite of his legendary productivity, he was highly accessible and always had time for people. He was generous with his wisdom, and was a fountain of good advice. I'll always remember how he gave my PhD class an entire year after the end of class to submit our term paper. I ended up using most of it due to my own health problems, but the width of his accommodation made it so that they weren't even an issue, and he didn't try to make a point by putting any unnecessary stress or pressure on people. I was really touched by that. He was wise and considerate. About a month before he died, I heard that he was retiring, and, sad that he was leaving, I paid him a visit in his office to tell him exactly how much I admired and appreciated him, and how grateful I was to have had the opportunity to learn from him, and how I hoped I might become a bit like him one day. I'm so glad I got to do that.

Damian O'Keefe

May 15, 2019

I am deeply saddened by the passing of Vic. Vic was my Master’s thesis supervisor, co-author on book chapters and academic journal papers, and a trusted colleague and mentor for the few years that I taught at SMU. He had a HUGE impact on my career, I will be forever in his debt.

My sincere condolences to Jan and family.

Damian O’Keefe

Kelly Farley

May 15, 2019

The following message was sent this morning to all members of the Director General Military Personnel Research and Analysis division of DND.
It is with deep sadness that we learned of the passing of our dear friend and colleague, Dr. Vic Catano. Vic was an icon in I/O Psychology in Canada and was a huge influence on Psychology in the Military.
His direct influence, evident through over 50 academic publications, internal research papers, and presentations on a variety of Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) personnel topics (e.g., utility analysis of the Canadian Forces Aptitude Test, clustering CAF occupations to better understand military occupation structure, identifying selection predictors for various military occupations) has had an enormous impact on personnel selection policy for the CAF.
Vic’s indirect influence on the CAF is evident in his supervision of 17 masters/doctoral students who have since worked on personnel research and policy for the CAF, and many of whom have been promoted to senior officers (10 Lieutenant-Colonels and one Colonel) or have held executive positions within the Department of National Defence.
His textbook on Recruitment and Selection in Canada has been a mainstay in the training programme for Personnel Selection Officers, and his collaborations with selection researchers at the Director General Military Personnel Research and Analysis has been highly influential.
Vic's absence will be deeply felt by the military personnel research community."
On a personal note, Vic was my Master's supervisor and friend. I will miss him a lot.
Our sincere heartfelt condolences to Vic's family and to all our friends at Saint Mary's University and the I/O community across Canada.
Kelly M.J. Farley, PhD

Todd Leader

May 14, 2019

I've known Vic since 1987. He was a good man. From the time he took over as Chair of the Psychology Department at SMU, he was a mentor to me. I was young and had so much to learn. He also served as my Supervisor for my registration candidacy with the NS Board of Examiners in Psychology in the 1990s. He was respectful, calm, non-judgmental, supportive, and ALWAYS an educator. He was humble and inclusive as a boss, but also able to be directive when needed. In other words, he was a leader. I will miss this man for whom I had much love and respect. He has influenced me and my life in both implicit and explicit ways.

Jan, my public health advocacy colleague from many years ago, I am so sorry for your loss. Please take care of yourself during this difficult time.

With love, Todd