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Members of the Advisory Group for Disability Issues

Membership


Diane Bergeron

Diane Bergeron is currently the Executive Director of Strategic Relations and Engagement at the CNIB.

CNIB is a registered charity, passionately providing community-based support, knowledge and a national voice to ensure that Canadians who are blind or partially sighted have the confidence, skills and opportunities to fully participate in life.

CNIB's dedicated specialists work with people of all ages in their own homes, communities or local CNIB offices providing the personalized rehabilitation support they need to see beyond vision loss, build their independence and lead the lives they want.

In addition to community-based services, CNIB also works hand-in-hand with Canadians who are blind or partially sighted to advocate for a barrier-free society, and strive to eliminate avoidable sight loss with world-class research and by promoting the importance of vision health through public education.

Ms. Bergeron holds a Master of Arts in Leadership from Royal Roads University. She is an alumnus of both the Management Studies and Rehabilitation Practitioner diploma programs at Grant MacEwan University. She also holds a Bachelor of Applied Human Service Administration program from Grant MacEwan University.


René Binet

Since 1999, René Binet has been the Director General of the Regroupement des personnes handicapées visuelles for the Capitale-Nationale and Chaudière-Appalaches regions, a member organization of the Regroupement des aveugles et amblyopes du Québec (RAAQ), which is part of the Confédération des organismes de personnes handicapées du Québec (COPHAN). COPHAN, which comprises approximately 60 organizations, is an independent community action group that collectively defends the rights of the disabled community, regardless of the type of functional limitation.

Mr. Binet, who is very involved in his community, has advocated for the rights of this community by serving on the Board of Directors of the RAAQ, among others, since 2001.

Beginning in 1993, he became a key proponent of Internet use by blind students. He graduated from Université Laval, where he studied political science and public communication. He also graduated from the Cégep de Sainte-Foy and the Cégep de Jonquière, and started out as a radio host with the CFVM radio station in Amqui, Quebec.


Dr. Gary Birch

Dr. Gary Birch is the Executive Director of the Neil Squire Society. He has been with the organization since 1988.

The Neil Squire Society is a national not-for-profit organization in Canada that has, for over 30 years, empowered Canadians with disabilities through the use of computer-based assistive technologies, research and development, and various employment programs. The Society helps clients remove barriers so that they can live independent lives and become active members of the workplace and our society. Specializing in education and workplace empowerment, the Society has served over 29,000 people since 1984.

The Neil Squire Society's headquarters are in Burnaby, British Columbia, with research and development labs in both Burnaby and Vancouver, British Columbia. Regional offices are located in Regina, Saskatchewan; Ottawa, Ontario; and Fredericton and Moncton, New Brunswick.

Dr. Birch holds a Doctorate in Electrical Engineering (Biomedical Signal Processing) and a Bachelor of Applied Science in Electrical Engineering from the University of British Columbia.


Kory Earle

Kory Earle is the President of People First of Canada.

People First of Canada is a national organization representing people with intellectual disabilities. The organization carries out its work through peer support, sharing personal stories, developing leadership skills, advocating for the right to choose where and with whom to live, and by ensuring that the voices of people with intellectual disabilities are heard and respected.

People First of Canada works to educate and influence communities and government to ensure that all people with intellectual disabilities are fully included and supported to live as equal citizens in Canada.

Mr. Earle is also the Inclusive Education Representative for People First of Canada.


Shelley Fletcher

Shelley Fletcher is the Executive Director of People First of Canada.

People First of Canada is a national organization representing people with intellectual disabilities. The organization carries out its work through peer support, sharing personal stories, developing leadership skills, advocating for the right to choose where and with whom to live, and by ensuring that the voices of people with intellectual disabilities are heard and respected.

People First of Canada works to educate and influence communities and government to ensure that all people with intellectual disabilities are fully included and supported to live as equal citizens in Canada.

Ms. Fletcher is also a representative on the Canadian Joint Task Force on the Right to Live in Community.


Frank Folino

Frank Folino is the President of the Canadian Association of the Deaf – Association des Sourds du Canada (CAD-ASC).

Founded in 1940, the CAD-ASC is the national consumer organization of Canada’s 357,000 Deaf citizens. The CAD-ASC provides consultation and information on Deaf needs and interests to the public, business, media, educators, governments and others. The CAD-ASC conducts research and collects data regarding Deaf issues; produces reports and provides expertise on these studies; and develops and implements pilot programs. The CAD-ASC offers assistance to Deaf organizations and service agencies across the country and also provides a library and resource centre on deafness at their office in Ottawa, Ontario. The CAD-ASC promotes and protects the rights, needs and concerns of those who are linguistically and culturally Deaf who use American Sign Language (ASL) and Langue des signes québécoise (LSQ).

Mr. Folino was born Deaf in Toronto, Ontario. He holds a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Political Science from York University.


James Hicks

James Hicks is the National Coordinator of the Council of Canadians with Disabilities (CCD).

CCD is a national human rights organization of people with disabilities working for an inclusive and accessible Canada. CCD's members include provincial, territorial and national cross-disability, consumer-controlled and human rights organizations.

CCD's priorities include disability-related support, poverty alleviation, increased employment for people with disabilities, promotion of human rights, ratification and implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, and ensuring that technology is developed according to the principles of universal design. CCD seeks to achieve these priorities through law reform, litigation, public education and dialogue with key decision-makers.

Mr. Hicks has been involved with disability issues as far back as the mid-1980s, both as a part of the disability movement and in his professional career. He has dedicated his career to addressing inequalities for persons with disabilities in the areas of human rights, labour market, pensions, access to services and poverty. James also sits on the Integrated Design Advisory Council for the Canadian Museum of Human Rights and the Advisory Group on Persons with Disabilities Data and Information Strategy.


Donna Jodhan

Donna Jodhan is past president and second vice-president of the Alliance for Equality of Blind Canadians (AEBC).

AEBC is a national charitable organization, founded in 1992, that is dedicated to promoting the increased inclusion of blind, deaf-blind and partially sighted Canadians in all aspects of social life, from employment to participation in elections. AEBC members, comprised of blind, deaf-blind and partially sighted consumers and supporters from across the country, participate in working groups and committees; engage with local, city-based chapters; and engage in public awareness and education activities on a daily basis.

Ms. Jodhan is currently the president and owner of Sterling Creations, a company that offers research, writing, and accessibility consulting services. She holds a Master of Business Administration from McGill University and has a broad range of professional certifications. Ms. Jodhan is also the founder and co-chair of Barrier-Free Canada.


Laurence Parent

Laurence Parent is a PhD candidate in Humanities at Concordia University. She holds a Master of Arts in Critical Disability Studies from York University and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Université du Québec à Montréal. She lives in Montréal and is passionate about disability activism, disability history and mobility. She is the co-founder of Québec accessible. Ms. Parent is involved with the Critical Disability Studies Working Group based at Concordia University. Her doctoral research examines the mobility of people with disabilities in Montréal and in New York City.