OTTAWA, Aug. 14, 2019 /CNW/ - Accessibility in Canada is about creating communities, workplaces and services that enable everyone to participate fully in society without barriers. The Government of Canada believes that all Canadians deserve the same opportunities and chances at success.
The Honourable Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Public Services and Procurement and Accessibility, today announced the appointments of Philip Rizcallah as Chief Executive Officer, Paul Claude Bérubé as Chair, and Mary Reid as Vice Chair of the Canadian Accessibility Standards Development Organization (CASDO). Eight members of the board of directors were also named today. All appointments will be effective August 26, 2019.
The Chief Executive Officer is responsible for setting strategic direction and overseeing the activities of CASDO. In the mandate letter, Minister Qualtrough provided guidance to the Chair of the Board of Directors on the priorities for the organization.
CASDO is a new organization, established by the Accessible Canada Act. It is led by a board of directors, comprised of a majority of persons with disabilities and will develop accessibility standards for the federal jurisdiction, in collaboration with industry and the disability community.
These appointments were made under the Government of Canada's new approach to Governor in Council appointments. This approach supports open, transparent and merit-based selection processes that strive for gender parity and reflect Canada's diversity, to support Ministers in making appointment recommendations for positions within their portfolio by providing them with information and referrals.
"I am very pleased to announce 11 appointments to the Canadian Accessibility Standards Development Organization. Their individual and collective depth of knowledge and their extensive experience in the areas of accessibility, social change, human rights and inclusion advocacy will be a great asset to the organization. This step is an important milestone, bringing us closer to our ultimate goal: an accessible and inclusive Canada"
– The Honourable Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Public Services and Procurement and Accessibility
- The Accessible Canada Act was developed following the most inclusive and accessible consultations with the disability community in our country's history. More than 100 accessibility organizations and 6,000 Canadians shared their views and ideas about an accessible Canada.
- Bill C-81, the Accessible Canada Act received Royal Assent on June 21, 2019 and came into force on July 11, 2019.
- Canadian Accessibility Standards Development Organization
- Making an accessible Canada for persons with disabilities
- Accessibility Strategy for the Public Service of Canada
BACKGROUNDER – Biographies
Philip Rizcallah – Chief Executive Officer
For the past seven years, Philip Rizcallah has led teams at the National Research Council of Canada as Program Director, and prior to that as Director for the Building Regulations Resource Unit.
Known for his ability to effectively and efficiently manage programs consisting of multidisciplinary teams, Mr. Rizcallah has led strategic project proposals, secured financial commitments and built teams to execute these projects. He has developed and leveraged client relationships with many strategic government and construction industry partners including Canadian accessibility groups.
As a key player of the Regulatory Reconciliation Cooperation Table (RCT), and federal representative of the Federal Provincial Territorial Working Group, he worked to align National Codes in the country, introduce freely accessible codes and contributed to the development of the ongoing RCT Agreement, which will be key in harmonizing accessibility requirements across Canada.
As a Resource Director, Mr. Rizcallah's responsibilities included Codes Canada, which covers accessibility requirements for buildings.
A registered Professional Engineer in the province of Ontario, Mr. Rizcallah holds a Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering (Technical University of Nova Scotia) and a Bachelor of Science, Honours Mathematics (Dalhousie University).
Paul-Claude Bérubé - Chair
Paul-Claude Bérubé is a lawyer in Saint Jean sur Richelieu, Quebec. A member of the International Senior Lawyers Project (ISLP) since 2009, Mr. Bérubé has provided pro bono legal assistance to governments and civil society organizations in India, South Africa and Kenya. The major focus of Mr. Bérubé's effort for ISLP has been in Haiti where he provided training on drafting regulations and legislation on an annual basis from 2009 to 2013.
From 1999 to 2008, he was the National Chairperson of the Board of Directors for Independent Living Canada, an organization designed to facilitate greater independence through the active and meaningful involvement of persons living with any form of disability. He also has extensive experience in municipal politics, as well as the education and health sectors.
Mr. Bérubé holds a Bachelor of Law (Université Laval), was called to the Quebec Bar in 1984, and became a member of its Arbitration Tribunal in 2012. He was also made an honorary member of the
Port-au-Prince Bar in Haiti in 2015.
Mary Reid - Vice-Chair
Mary Reid is an accessibility and inclusion specialist, with thirty-five years of experience applying that lens to community development, service delivery oversight, and the creation of policy and legislation.
As the Director of the Disability Policy Office for the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador from 2009 to 2018, Ms. Reid established a focal point for accessibility and inclusion within the provincial government. She has also held the positions of Accessibility Coordinator for the City of Ottawa and Executive Director for the Independent Living Resource Centre in St. John's.
Ms. Reid has experience in developing and proposing standards for regulation, having done so for the Province of Ontario under its Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act. She has also been a board member for the Council of Canadians with Disabilities.
Ms. Reid holds Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Sociology (Mount Allison University).
Dr. Joe McLaughlin - Director
Dr. Joe McLaughlin is the founder of McLaughlin Educational Consulting Services and President of the International Catholic Deaf Association for the Canada Section since 2012.
An American Sign Language user, Dr. McLaughlin's research interests include social justice, development of non-profit organizations, and deaf studies. He was the Dean of Deaf Studies and Special Services at Ohlone College in Freemont, California, from 2004 to 2008, and is an adjunct professor with the University of British Columbia.
Dr. McLaughlin holds a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology (Gallaudet University, Washington, D.C.) and a Masters of Arts in Education and Counselling Psychology (University of British Columbia). He also holds a Doctor of Education in Higher Education Administration (Alliant International University, San Francisco, California).
Maureen Haan - Director
Maureen Haan is the President and CEO of the Canadian Council on Rehabilitation and Work, an organization dedicated to helping people with disabilities break down barriers to employment, and helping employers to become leaders in hiring and retaining employees with disabilities.
Ms. Haan is fluent in American Sign Language (ASL) and has extensive professional and volunteer experience in the areas of advocacy and rehabilitation. From 2001 to 2012, she was the Executive Director of Silent Voice, a not-for-profit organization that provides accessible programs and services to deaf adults, children and their families in ASL.
An advocate for the rights of persons with disabilities, Ms. Haan has participated on numerous boards, expert panels and committees. She is currently a board member for the Canadian Association of Supported Employment, and recently, a board member for the College of Vocational Rehabilitation Professionals. She is also a technical committee member at the Canadian Standards Association working to develop a Disability Management Systems standard, and a founder and principle member of the steering committee of the Disability and Work Canada Conference.
Ms. Haan holds a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology (York University).
Penny Hartin - Director
Penny Hartin is an experienced senior manager in the not-for-profit and voluntary sectors. Throughout her career, she has been dedicated to human rights advocacy, inclusion and disability rights legislation. She has managed multi-level organizations at the community, provincial, national and international levels.
Ms. Hartin worked for 27 years with the Canadian National Institute for the Blind (CNIB) in a variety of senior management roles. In 2006, she was appointed as the first Chief Executive Officer of the World Blind Union (WBU) where she remained until her retirement in June 2018. Ms. Hartin has also served on the United Nations Panel of Experts on Disability Issues, which monitors the Standard Rules on the Equalization of Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities.
She is a member of the CNIB National Board of Directors, the CNIB Deafblind Community Services Board, the Canadian Blind Sailing Association and the World Braille Foundation Board of Directors.
Ms. Hartin holds a Doctor of Laws (honoris causa) and a Bachelor of Science in Language (Laurentian University).
William Adair - Director
William Adair is the Executive Director of Spinal Cord Injury Canada, a charity that assists people with spinal cord injuries and other physical disabilities in achieving independence, self-reliance and full community participation.
Mr. Adair has extensive professional and community experience in the areas of healthcare and disability. He is a founding member of the Canadian Disability Policy Alliance, the Ontario Neurotrama Foundation and Candlelighters Canada. Most recently, he has lent his leadership and expertise to the Government of Canada through the Federal Accessibility Legislation Alliance, the Working Group on Alternate Format Materials and the Parliamentary Precinct Advisory Panel.
Mr. Adair has a Bachelor of Science (University of Minnesota) and is a graduate of the Executive Leadership Course on the Management of Non-Profit Organizations (Harvard University). He received Canada's Meritorious Service Medal in 2016.
Brad McCannell - Director
Brad McCannell is the Vice-President, Access and Inclusion, for the Rick Hansen Foundation - responsible for the content and integrity of the Rick Hansen Foundation Accessibility Certification program and corresponding assessor training. He is also an active member of the International Paralympic Committee's Access Working Group and the Standards Council of Canada, contributing his expertise on accessibility across the entire built environment. Brad is a C6 quadriplegic and uses a wheelchair and service dog on a daily basis.
A professional access consultant since 1992, Mr. McCannell created Canadian Barrier Free Design Inc. to fill the gap between the building code requirements and the real needs of people with disabilities, older adults and seniors. He has extensive experience in the practical application of universal design and finding solutions that create meaningful access for people of all abilities. His accessibility consultation credits for buildings, organizations and events is a long one, including as the primary access consultant for the Vancouver International Airport, and the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympic & Paralympic Games, as well as developing and supporting access initiatives for the 2008, 2012 and 2016 Olympic & Paralympic Games, the City of Vancouver, and numerous post-secondary education campuses.
Mr. McCannell also shares his experiences and expertise through speaking engagements in the United States and Canada.
Kory L. Earle - Director
Kory L. Earle is an advocate for persons with disabilities and the current President of People First of Canada, a national non-profit organization for persons with intellectual disabilities that works to educate and influence communities and government for the full inclusion of all.
Mr. Earle became active with his local People First chapter in 2006 and within three years took on the role of President; he was also active in the provincial chapter – People First of Ontario. In 2009, Mr. Earle was appointed as the Youth Representative to the board of People First of Canada, and has been on the national board ever since.
Mr. Earle has extensive lived experience and has focussed much of his efforts on helping to build a more inclusive education system for persons with intellectual disabilities.
Mr. Earle's mission is to ensure that all persons with disabilities are welcomed and included in all aspects of Canadian society, and that everyone, whether they have a disability or not, is treated with dignity and respect.
Laurie Ringaert - Director
Laurie Ringaert is the owner and principal consultant of Changeweavers Consulting, a company helping organizations interested in change internally or regarding complex social, community and health system issues.
She has extensive experience in accessibility, universal design, disability and aging, spanning nearly three decades. She has led accessibility-related centres, developed and delivered accessibility-related courses, engaged in pioneering accessibility research and influenced policy both nationally and internationally.
Ms. Ringaert is a committee member of the Canadian Standards Association, and was recently appointed Vice Chair of its Barrier-Free Standing Committee.
She holds a Bachelor of Science, a Bachelor of Medical Rehabilitation in Occupational Therapy and a Masters Degree in Community Health Science (all from the University of Manitoba).
Rabia S. Khedr - Director
Rabia Khedr is a community leader dedicated to helping others address issues of fairness and justice, affecting persons with disabilities, women and diverse communities. She recently served as a Commissioner for the Ontario Human Rights Commission. She is the Chief Executive Officer of the Disability Empowerment Equality Network Support Services serving individuals with disabilities in Ontario and Executive Director of the Muslim Council of Peel supporting not-for-profit organizations and charities.
Ms. Khedr is founder of the Canadian Alliance on Race and Disability (CARD), which represents racialized individuals with disabilities and organizations in local, provincial and national consultations. She is also a member of the Mississauga Accessibility Advisory Committee.
A motivational speaker and a documentary commentator, Ms. Khedr has received numerous awards for her humanitarian services, including a Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Metal.
Ms. Khedr holds a Bachelor of Arts (University of Toronto) and a Master of Arts (York University).
BACKGROUNDER - Mandate Letter
Dear Paul-Claude Bérubé:
Congratulations on your appointment as the first Chair of the Board of Directors of the Canadian Accessibility Standards Development Organization (CASDO), effective August 26, 2019. Your work at the national level to promote an inclusive and accessible society through the active and meaningful involvement of persons with disabilities, along with your legal training and knowledge of legislation and regulation development, will be strong assets to the organization.
We are looking to a brighter future for persons with disabilities. Our government is working hard to strengthen the rights of all persons with disabilities and to promote a culture of inclusion that values everyone's contributions to society. In support of this, the Government recently passed the Accessible Canada Act. Its purpose is to benefit all persons, especially persons with disabilities, working towards a Canada without barriers.
The Accessible Canada Act will support a long overdue culture shift. It sends a clear message to Canadians that persons with disabilities will no longer be treated as an afterthought: that systems will be designed inclusively from the start. It is our systems, our policies, our practices and our laws that need to be fixed, not our people. Making real and lasting progress will require changing attitudes and perceptions about accessibility, inclusion and persons with disabilities. Helping to achieve this broad culture change will form part of the core of your work moving forward.
Mandated with contributing to a barrier-free Canada, CASDO is responsible for developing and reviewing accessibility standards, promoting research on barrier identification, prevention and removal, and sharing information related to accessibility.
CASDO will play a critical role in achieving the objectives of this historic piece of legislation. As the Chair of CASDO's Board of Directors, you, together with the Chief Executive Officer, will ensure that the organization is set up quickly, that the work of the organization reflects the priorities and diverse experiences of persons with disabilities, and that there is transparent accountability to Canadians.
In fulfilling its mandate, CASDO will need to draw on the experience and expertise of persons with disabilities and their representative organizations, Indigenous people, organizations and governments, provincial and territorial governments, municipal governments, technical experts, and industry, while ensuring that standards development and review processes are open and inclusive.
The importance of the standards that CASDO will develop cannot be understated. They will inform regulations, serve as a resource to governments and businesses outside of federal jurisdiction, and could be applied internationally as accessibility best practices.
Within the Canadian context, harmonization of standards between the Government of Canada and the provinces and territories will be critical to ensure that persons with disabilities can expect consistent experiences across the country.
As CASDO begins its work, you may wish to focus on the following:
- In consultation with persons with disabilities, establish priorities for the development of accessibility standards. You may want to note that, during the consultation that informed the development of the Accessible Canada Act, the disability community identified employment and emergency services management, under the areas of communication and service delivery, as key priorities.
- In consultation with persons with disabilities, identify priorities for research, supported by grants and contributions programming, to inform the next generation of accessibility standards.
- Consider the landscape of existing standards and how these can be incorporated and improved as basis for early standards development.
- Prioritize barrier-free and inclusive practices for employees, as a means to supporting larger culture change. CASDO should be looked to as a model of an inclusive and accessible workplace.
CASDO is the first institution of its kind in Canada, and one of only a few in the world, that ensures persons with disabilities have leadership in identifying the accessibility standards that are required. It is an embodiment of the disability community's philosophy of "Nothing without us."
I know that I can count on you to fulfill the important responsibilities entrusted to you. In turn, please know that you have my support in your role as Chair of the Board of Directors. I look forward to a productive and collaborative working relationship.
The Honourable Carla Qualtrough, P.C., M.P.
Minister of Public Services and Procurement and Accessibility
SOURCE Employment and Social Development Canada
For further information: Marielle Hossack, Press Secretary, Office of the Honourable Carla Qualtrough, 819-956-3239, firstname.lastname@example.org; Media Relations Office, Employment and Social Development Canada, 819-994-5559, email@example.com