Access Ontario II – Speaker Profiles

Keynote Speaker

  • Alvin Law – Keynote Speaker

Alvin is one of the infamous Thalidomide babies whose bodies were deformed in the early 1960's when their mothers took the prescription drug to treat morning sickness. Alvin shows the world that obstacles can be overcome with the right attitude.

Through his powerful imagery and storytelling, Alvin will tell the stories of his life. You will hear about the impact of those who entered his life, both good and bad. You will hear about his amazing parents who adopted this unwanted baby and proved wrong all the experts who predicted a life void of any quality. You will also see him use his feet to play the piano and drums.

Alvin has received several awards and distinctions including, the George Vanier Award for Outstanding Young Canadians, the Mount Royal College Most Distinguished Alumnus Award, and the Canadian Progress Club’s “Canadian of the Year”.

In 1988, Alvin created AJL Communications and turned his attention to full time motivational speaking. He now lives in Calgary, Alberta with his wife Darlene who also manages his career.


  • Shawn Brush

    Shawn is one of those rare musicians who are able to combine a fine-crafted musicianship with an unsurpassed talent for songwriting. He has won two Central Canadian Bluegrass Awards and worked alongside Fred J. Eaglesmith, Natalie MacMaster, Ray Materick and Sherry Kean to name just a few.  Shawn’s music is intense, genuine and deeply moving.
  • Michelle Chung

Michelle is 14 years old and a grade eight student at the Ernest C. Drury School for the Deaf in Milton, Ontario. She has appeared in public service announcements for the Hearing Foundation of Canada, and helped them to design their Christmas cards. She loves music, reading, and sports. Michelle began learning piano when she was five years old.     


Guest Speakers

  • Cam Jackson – M.P.P.

With 19 years of experience as an MPP, Cam is the Progressive Conservative advocate for community and social services, and long term care for seniors. He is an active member of the Burlington Association for the Intellectually Handicapped, Big Brothers, and the Royal Canadian Legion, Branch 60. He also serves as fundraising chair of the Burlington Breast Cancer Support Services Serenity Garden Initiative.

  • Chris Delaney

As a teenager, everything Chris did was about energy and intensity. He had a pro football future on the horizon, and spent his free time as a volunteer firefighter in Burlington. However, while attending University Chris began to lose his vision. Life as he knew it was virtually over. He had to be reborn, learn life’s lessons from a different perspective, and figure out just who he really was, and who he wanted to be.


Accessible Transportation

  • Alan Kirkpatrick – Manager of Transit, City of Burlington

As a transit manager, Alan works directly with accessible transit riders and groups. He is a certified engineering technologist and has been with the City of Burlington since 1982. Alan’s previous positions include, manager of parking, and assistant to the city manager.

  • Béatrice Schmied

Béatrice Schmied is the Executive Director of the Ontario Community Transportation Association, or OCTA.    OCTA represents the transit systems of over 60 Ontario municipalities, along with transportation partners in the health care and social service sectors.  Members also include suppliers to the industry and government representatives.

Beatrice encourages Transportation Providers to look at their entire customer base, when considering opportunities for future growth and change.  By doing so she believes that as our population ages, they will be well placed to cope with a larger and more diverse customer needs.

  • Glenn Barnes

Glenn Barnes is a graduate of Brock University and is soon to graduate Business Admin from University of Windsor. With a background in sports, working with young adults and teaching, Glenn continued his learning into disability issues after sustaining a spinal cord injury nearly 13 years ago. His passion is to improve the quality of life for people with disabilities, which has led him to work full-time for the TETRA Society, an organization enabling independence and creating opportunity through the creation of devices for people with disabilities. He is a seasoned public speaker, speaking widely on injury prevention, disability advocacy and transportation issues. Glenn also is a member of numerous committees including the Coalition for Persons with disabilities, Region of Peel Transhelp and its Accessibility Advisory Committee, the SmartRisk Foundation, Participation House, the Rick Hansen Foundation, as well as mentoring for the Canadian Paraplegic Association.

  • Shauna Petrie

Shauna Petrie has used a wheelchair since a spinal cord injury in 1981 and has had a variety of adventures and misadventures in the world of travel and transportation. She spent seventeen years as an elementary school teacher but her passion for travel prompted a mid-life career change and she is currently working as a travel agent specializing in providing accessible travel and transportation to individuals with disabilities and their families. Shauna is a member of S.A.T.H (the Society for Accessible Travel & Hospitality). She also works part-time for the Canadian Paraplegic Association of Ontario in their membership services department and she is the chairperson of the Consumer Outreach Committee for the Ontario Neurotrauma Foundation.

Accessible Employment

  • Nadine Lauren – ODSP Employment Supports System Manager for Central West Region at the Provincial level.

Lauren has managed the employment supports program for the Ontario Disability Supports Program since it was launched in 1999. She has worked for the Ministry of Community and Social Services for the past 23 years in a variety of positions including, program supervisor for Ontario Works, and income maintenance supervisor under the Family Benefits Act.

  • Star Ristow-Bell – Director of Employment ACCESS.

Star became one of the first seven individuals in Ontario to be trained and certified to conduct outcome based performance measures for services to persons with developmental disabilities. Since joining the Employment ACCESS team in 1999, Star has contributed to the success and innovation of employment services to persons with disabilities through various projects and workshops. 

  • Ron Baliko – The Tetra Society of North America/Burlington Accessibility Advisory Committee

After suffering a spinal cord injury in 1985, Ron became passionate about improving the quality of life for disabled individuals. Over the past three years he has been a consultant for The Tetra Society of North America. Last year, Ron became a member of the Burlington Accessible Advisory Committee (BAAC) to try and improve the accessibility in our city, and voice others concerns.

Accessible Housing

  • Judith Binder – Panel Moderator

With 15 years of experience, Judith is the district manager at Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC). She is a designated member of both the Appraisal Institute of Canada and the Real Estate Institute of Canada. Judith serves on several municipal housing and homelessness advisory committees as a resource, and actively works with non-profits, co-operatives, and other housing stakeholders.

  • Cindy Kinnon – Executive Director, Participation House - Hamilton and District

As executive director of Participation House - Hamilton and District, Cindy has implemented new programs such as, Quality Improvement Framework, and the Healthy Workplace Program. She has volunteered many hours and has operated her own company, Kinnon and Associates, Strategic Leadership Consultants.

Access Advisory Committees

  • Wendy Goss - accessibility coordinator, City of Brampton

Wendy is currently the accessibility coordinator for the City of Brampton, and acts as a resource, providing guidance and direction, to staff and the Accessibility Advisory Committee. With 20 years of municipal experience Wendy has actively participated in the development and construction phases of a fully accessible park/playground and 150,000 square foot sports and recreation facility. 

  • Tracey Roetman

After a spinal cord injury confined her to a wheelchair, Tracey became an advocate for barrier-free living. She founded the first Accessibility Centre in Ontario, as well as Barrier-Free in Algoma, which is a district-wide organization dedicated to the removal of barriers. Tracey was the chair of the Municipal Accessibility Advisory Committee in 2002, and the first Access Ontario Conference. 

Children with disabilities

  • Jacki Oxley – Instructor - Continuing Teacher Education

    Jacki is dedicated to promoting opportunities for inclusive education where all members of the school community feel valued. She frequently speaks to parent groups and at conference workshops about topics dealing with a variety of aspects of special education and students with exceptionalities. Jacki’s current role involves leadership for system-wide initiatives in areas such as, accessibility and community agencies/organizations.
  • Judy Pryde

    Judy is a graduate of Brock University and has been involved with individuals who have a disability for over 20 years. She has worked at Community Living Mississauga for 18 years and is now the Executive Director of the Burlington Association for the Intellectually Handicapped providing support to children and adults who have an intellectual disability.
  • Heather White - Halton District School Board

    As a coordinator, Heather is actively involved in problem solving and planning for the needs of special education students in Halton. She works primarily in Milton and Acton schools, but also coordinates services for deaf and hard of hearing students and for slower paced learners. After many years as a special education teacher Heather joined the student services department in order to assist schools to meet the needs of children.  

During 2004 and 2005 she chaired a task force regarding special education services, which reviewed the availability and accessibility of special education programs and services in the north areas of Halton, within the boundaries of Milton and Halton Hills.

Design Guidelines

  • Bill Campbell

    Bill Campbell is the divisional manager, facilities design and construction, for the City of London. He is responsible for long range strategic planning, project specific construction project management, asset management and maintenance planning.

  • Betty Richards

    Betty Richards has been employed at the City of Guelph for 15 years and has been the administrator of disability services for 10 years. In this position she has been responsible for developing many programs and services for persons with disabilities as well as initiating the formation of the four Guelph barrier free committees (advisory, recreation, education and transportation). The City of Guelph has been listed on the Ministry of Citizenship’s website as an example of municipal best practices in the areas of accessibility. In March 2005 Betty Richards received the Woman of Distinction award for her work in removing barriers to access for persons with disabilities living in Guelph.

Accessible Finances and Taxation Issues

  • Ron Rousseaux - President of Today & Tomorrow Financial Services in Burlington

Ron has spent many years in managerial positions with Revenue Canada. He is a member of several finance/taxation related societies and trade associations and is one of a very few certified senior advisors in Canada. Ron has extensive experience in personal and industrial financing, taxation and estate planning and is currently writing a book for seniors and the disabled that will address available assistance from many different sources.

Sports and Recreation

  • Diane Boumeester, Special Olympics Ontario

    Diane Boumeester comes from the Halton community; she is the current area coordinator with Special Olympics Ontario. Diane coordinates sport and community programs for people with an intellectual disability. Her role is to work with schools, community groups and local organizations to ensure that Special Olympic athletes, volunteers and families have full access to facilities and services for their sport program.
  • Erin Hamilton

Erin has been involved in the amateur sport community for over six years. She spent three years with HIGH FIVE and has been involved in sport for persons with physical disabilities at Paralympics Ontario for the past two years. She also worked at the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games and was involved with the organization of the Pro Beach Volleyball Tour for two summers.

Understanding and working with the ODA

  • David Lepofsky, Lawyer

With over 20 years of experience in civil litigation, administrative law, constitutional law and most recently criminal law, David is the Associate Head of the Public Law section of Ontario’s Bar.

He has authored and published over 25 law journal articles as well as a book entitled “Open Justice” – the Constitutional Right to Attend and Speak in Criminal Proceedings in Canada.

David volunteers as Chair of the Ontarians with Disabilities Act Committee, and is the Founding President of the Canadian Association of Visually Impaired Lawyers.

For his contributions David has won many awards and received distinctions such as, the Terry Fox Hall of Fame awarded by the Canadian Foundation for the Physically Disabled, and the Law Society of Upper Canada’s Lincoln Alexander Award in recognition of his commitment to public and community service.

Working with municipalities on site-plan reviews

  • Matthew Fleet

    Matthew offers both knowledge and first hand experience in the field of barrier-free and universal design. Following a spinal cord injury in 1988, Matthew has developed a personal insight in this field. As a partner in Inclusive Planning Solutions, Matthew has worked on a number of projects to help clients achieve their accessibility goals. Projects have included audits of drawings, audits of existing buildings and worked with Designable Environments in developing accessibility design standards for the City of London and City of Guelph. Matthew has also worked for the Universal Design Centre at Sheridan College and does project coordination for the Tetra Society and a number of employment programs for persons with disabilities. Outside of the design field, Matthew works part time as a visual artist.

Construction Projects

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