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Citizens With Disabilities – Ontario (CWDO) is committed to the rights of all persons to participate fully in the civil, cultural, economic, political and social life of their communities.

CWDO Board Members

LAURIE ALPHONSE - Ottawa, Ontario

Interests and background to follow.


ERICA CARSON - Ottawa, Ontario

Interests:  Accessibility, arts and culture, disability pride, employment, transportation

Background: Erica is a Carleton University student in the Bachelor of Arts Honours program in Women and Gender studies. She is a woman living with a physical disability who learned early on the importance of self-advocacy in order to be able to attain goals both in pursuit of an education, and as a member of the workforce. During her first two years at Carleton she has found her passion within the field of disability studies and intends on doing her Masters Degree in Disability Studies. Erica believes that she can bring a passion and unique vision to Citizens with Disabilities - Ontario. She appreciates that she will gain a tremendous amount of knowledge about issues and challenges that many other people with disabilities live with in order to work towards breaking down barriers around mobility issues for this population.

CINDY GORLEWSKI - Greater Toronto Area (GTA)

Interests: mobility issues

Background: Cindy has a BA-BPHE from Queens, a B.Ed. from U of Toronto and an MBA from the University of Western Ontario. She represented Canada at the International Olympic Academy in 1983. Cindy worked in amateur sport and was a flight attendant for Air Canada, before finally settling down to teach French with the York District Catholic School Board. While teaching, Cindy worked with special needs children and with those children requiring individual education plans. Cindy is presently on leave, using her experience with limited mobility to be active in advocating for accessibility. She has chaired the Newmarket Accessibility Advisory Committee (AAC) since 2003, she sits on the York Regional AAC and facilitates workshops to educate others about accessibility awareness. Cindy also sits on the Newmarket Heritage Committee.


WILLIAM GOURSKY - Region of Peel - GTA, Ontario

Interests:  Arts and Culture; Accessibility; Housing

Background:  William has had a long and varied career working with community committees and organizations both as participant and as chair. He has been advocating for the full community participation of all residents regardless of what type of disability they may have. He has currently been involved in developing along with Region of Peel staff, Universal Accessibility Standards for all future affordable housing that the Region will be building. In addition, he is involved in promoting Spinal Cord Injury with his working on the committee of Rick Hansen's Wheels in Motion event in Brampton. In his role as Chair of the Accessibility Advisory Committee of the Region of Peel, William is involved in assisting in the setting up of staff training programs regarding the Provincial Standards as they are being approved. William is also a member of the Community Investment Cabinet for the United Way of Peel.

As a board member he would like to see the CWDO continue in its strong advocacy role and would be able to use his lengthy experience as the Executive Director of the Etobicoke Social Planning to assist.

William was awarded the Canada 185 medal as well as the Queen's Golden Jubilee medal for his work in the community.


MELISSA GRAHAM - London, Ontario (on leave of absence)

Interests: mobility issues, mental health, accessible housing, affordable housing, recreation, young adults with a disability

Background: As a person with a disability, fighting for awareness and access has continually been a part of Melissa's life. Her particular interest lies with youth and young adults with disabilities, and their struggles to find a voice in an environment that's still adapting to them. As a recent social work graduate, Melissa finds herself advocating for this voice in her field and volunteer experiences. "The really lucky people don't always have the best of everything. They are the ones who make the most of whatever life throws them." ~ Anonymous  


TERRANCE J. GREEN - Ottawa, Ontario

Interests: strategic planning, education, housing, recreation, transportation

Background: Terrance has advocated for over four decades, with advocacy groups, and on his own, to enhance and protect the rights of people with disabilities. Starting in Nova Scotia with the Canadian Council of the Blind, and a newspaper called Touchstone, uncovering and removing barriers. Employed with Transport Canada, he received an award of excellence for his work in equity in human resources planning.
1992, in Ottawa, most of his activities were issue driven; i.e., municipal and Provincial elections, transportation, education, and audible pedestrian signals.

In 2001, as a lawyer, his areas of interest became access to justice, transportation, education, and community or social participation.


SARA JARVIS – Ottawa, Ontario

Interests: Arts and Culture; Accessibility; Employment; ODSP/Income Security; Transportation

Background:  Sara has a very eclectic background and has worn several different hats in her professional career, which was mostly in the non-profit sector. Since establishing her business as a full-time Glass Artist, she has used every skill she learned throughout her career and has learned new ones to support her new role of creative entrepreneur and arts advocate.  As a personable person, Jarvis has excellent communication skills and she embraces most situations with a sense of confidence. She is passionate about making things better for people with disabilities and is keenly aware of the stresses in life coupled with negative public perception that intertwines the daily struggle of persons with disabilities contending with ODSP.

CHRISTINE KELLY - Ottawa, Ontario

Interests: mobility issues, mental health, attendant services

Background: Christine Kelly is a PhD student in Canadian Studies at Carleton University where her research examines the complex relationships that form between people with disabilities and their support providers. Christine has an MA in Disability Studies from the University of Manitoba and she continues to be actively involved in the field of disability studies. In the past, Christine has worked as a research assistant on the large scale research project “Disability and Information Technologies” (Dis-IT) as well as for the Canadian Mental Health Association, Manitoba Division. In her spare time, Christine volunteers as a sports attendant for National Boccia team organized through the Canadian Cerebral Palsy Association.



Interests:  Arts and recreation, education, employment and human rights

Background: Donna is a graduate of McGill University of Montreal; with a Master’s in Business Administration majoring in International Business and a Diploma in Management and has other degrees and certifications including French translator. Donna is an author and has worked in the IT profession for companies such as Royal Bank of Canada, IBM Canada, and the Bank of Montreal. For the past 15 years, she has been an entrepreneur and is the President of Sterling Creations. Donna is passionate about advocacy and cares deeply about the future of kids with special needs, especially those who are blind and visually impaired. For the past nine years, she has been heavily involved in human rights complaints and charter challenges regarding equal access to websites and information on the Internet. Donna is the second vice president of the Alliance for Equality of Blind Canadians and an executive on the board of the United States Blind Chess Association.


BARBARA LOO - Toronto, Ontario

Interests: Employment

Background: Barbara holds an MBA in Finance and Accounting. She has held numerous positions at various financial institutions and has organized events ranging from fundraising, food drives, employee recognition programs, to inviting key note speakers on issues on employment. Barbara believes people with disabilities should be entitled to equitable employment. She also believes they should be given the same rights and opportunities as everybody else - a right to belong and participate fully in our society; a right to dignity and respect in the workplace and beyond; the freedom to make of our lives what we wish. Barbara also advocates the recognition of people with disabilities for their contributions to our society.



Interests: strategic planning, human rights, employment, mobility issues and all issues of concern to CWDO

Background: Stefanie has dedicated both her professional career and volunteer associations toward the advancement of services and rights for people with disabilities.

Prior to entering law school, Stefanie had a career in the financial industry where she held a variety of managerial positions. While there, she contributed to many panels and delivered workshops on the inclusion of people with disabilities.

While attending Osgoode Hall Law School, Stefanie was accepted into the poverty law program and worked at the Parkdale Community Legal Clinic in the Family Law division. Stefanie completed her articles of clerkship at ARCH: Disability Law Clinic focusing on disability litigation. Once called, Stefanie was a Policy Advisor at the Accessibility Directorate of Ontario where she was the sole advisor for the Minister's Accessibility Advisory Council of Ontario.

Stefanie then had a sole practice for a number of years, then moved into the role of Employment Equity Consultant and now as a Disability Co-ordinator at a University.

Stefanie's volunteer activities have spanned from working overseas with abused and abandoned children in Grenada, to numerous Treasurer and Director positions on various non-profit boards.
Currently, Stefanie is the Co-chair and a founding member of CWDO. She serves on CCD's Human Rights Committee and sits on the Law Society of Upper Canada's Disability Working Group. Stefanie has also been appointed to the Employment Standards Committee for the AODA.


ANN MARTINDALE - Toronto, Ontario

Interests: Aging with a disability; Arts and Culture; Assistive devices; Attendant services; Accessibility; Education; Employment; Housing; ODSP/Income Security; Transportation

Background: Ann is 47 years old and was born in Toronto. She was diagnosed with Epilepsy at the age of 29, and with Osteoarthritis in her mid-thirties. Ann has served as Epilepsy Toronto's representative on the Special Education Advisory Committee (SEAC) of the Toronto District School Board. She is a member of the Arthritis Society's Canadian Arthritis Patients Alliance (CAPA), and the AODA Alliance. Ann has previously served on the Board of Directors of Epilepsy York Region for a period of 4 years ending in April of 1999. Ann is currently serving as Epilepsy Ontario's representative on the Board of Directors of the ARCH Disability Law Centre. She is a certified Health Care Aide, but due to the physical limitations imposed by severe Osteoarthritis, she is no longer able to work in that field.


TERRIE MEEHAN - Ottawa, Ontario

Interests: mobility issues, accessible housing, affordable housing

Background: Terrie is a mother of three and has a long history of social activism. She has a strong interest in disability, anti-poverty and anti-homelessness activism and strives to work on lessening the injustices she sees in all three areas. As a person with "ability challenges," Terrie sees barriers as things to erode. Terrie prefers working on solutions.


DOUG MILLMAN - Huntsville, Ontario 

Interests: hearing, mental health, learning disabilities, education, built environment, recreation, creative arts
Background: Doug is a retired engineering technologist with 35 years experience in reviewing both the public and the private built environment. He is using his background as a voting member of the AODA Committee for the Built Environment. Also at the present time, Doug is a Director of CWDO; with responsibilities including Vice-Chair, and Chair of both the Mental Health and Recreation Committees.

He independently performed the Site Plan Review for the Huntsville Accessibility Advisory Committee. Previous Board positions have included a nursing home and a not-for-profit daycare centre, which is unique in the area as admitting all disabled children.


MELANIE MOORE - Toronto, Ontario

Interests and background to follow.

TRACY ODELL - Toronto (Scarborough), Ontario

Interests: mobility issues and all other disability issues to some extent, including learning disabilities, developmental disabilities, and attention deficit disorders with and without hyperactivity (ADD and ADHD)

Background: Tracy Odell is a life-long advocate for independent living and the right of people with disabilities to live in the community. Tracy has assisted in founding numerous supportive housing programs with attendant services, is credited with the establishment of "Nurturing Assistance," has published articles and appeared in videos to raise awareness of issues relating to disability.

She is currently a board member and member of the Executive of CWDO. Tracy has a Masters degree in Critical Disability Studies, and a B.A and B.Ed. in English and Special Education. Working full time and self-managing her attendant services, Tracy lives with her husband, two daughters, granddaughter and assorted pets in Scarborough.

SANDRA SALAMON - Thunder Bay, Ontario

Interests: mobility issues, inclusion

Background: Sandra has learned that you don't get things for free in life, you have to fight for them. Because she has a disability, she has to fight harder.

Sandra believes it is much easier to fight for your rights when you are in a group. She has worked along with many groups which fight for the rights of persons of disability and strive to make all of our lives better. She is involved with groups such as Persons United for Self Help, Northwestern Ontario; Handicapped Action Group in Thunder Bay; the Canadian Paraplegic Association; DisAbled Women's Network; and the National Educational Association of Disabled Students. One of the main themes in each of these organizations is that it is always better to have the support of a group of people than to try and do something alone.

PAT SEED - Thunder Bay, Ontario

Interests: strategic planning, technology, marketing, information technology and communications, aging and disability, attendant service quality committee, built environment, education, employment, fundraising, housing, mental health, recreation, and transportation

Background: Pat holds her B.A. in Speech Communications. She has taught and continues to teach Speaking with Confidence and Public Speaking to Broadcasters and other Professionals. She is also a professional Public and Motivational Speaker, as well as a Writer.

Pat is totally blind from birth. She originally used a white cane for mobility, but has been travelling with Guide Dogs at her side since November of 1996.

Pat has worked for Bell Canada and Confederation College. She also was employed as the Information and Referral Coordinator of the Thunder Bay Independent Living Resource Centre for seven and a half years.
Pat began her Professional volunteering career for non-profit organizations, her Parish church, and other organizations in 1980. She still volunteers today and is now a Consultant and Resource person in many areas for many organizations.

Pat is currently the Senior Technical Support and Resource Person for IDEAL Registered Online Conferencing, A member of the Steering and Logistics Committees for the Thunder Bay Leadership Forum 2007, a member of the Business Women's Network of Thunder Bay, as well as many other organizations. "If you think you can, you might; if you Know and Believe you can, you Will!" © May 2004 by Pat Seed



Interests and background to follow.

JEFFREY STARK - Kanata, Ontario

Interests:  IT, assistive/adaptive technology and accessibility

Background:  For the last 20 years, technology has been Jeffrey’s focus both professionally and personally. Professionally, Jeffrey is widely respected as an expert in his field of interest and has been a guiding voice in a number of accessibility initiatives in Canada. He has provided training for developers, publishers, technicians and a wide variety of other audiences across Canada on topics such as accessible application design, web accessibility and adaptive computer technology. Jeffrey manages a program which continues to be a driving force in the fields of accessibility and adaptive computer technology and has been internationally recognized for the unique services provided to persons with disabilities, injuries and ergonomic requirements.

In his personal life, Jeffrey has been advocating for accessibility and inclusion within Canada. Jeffrey strongly believes in the need for institutionalization of accessibility requirements into all areas with an IT component. There are internationally recognized standards that developers need to follow in order for a system to be accessible. This is a little like the accessibility standards in the build environment (i.e. doorways have to be a certain width to accommodate a wheelchair, ramps, signage, contrasting colors etc). The same exists in web content, applications and other systems. Accessibility means that people with and without disabilities can perceive, understand, navigate, and interact with information, services and applications. The adoption of accessibility standards, guidelines and best practices ensure that systemic barriers are eliminated prior to individual accommodations.

Jeffrey is very aware of the technology that is deployed across Canada in the general public. He regularly volunteers his technical services in the general public to persons with disabilities and families of persons with disabilities who require technological accommodations.

DALE STEVENSON - Ottawa, Ontario

Interests: mobility issues, technology, recreation, political activism

Background: Dale has varied experience of disability through academic studies, working in the disability community and for the federal government. Currently, He is in the process of writing his Master’s thesis in Disability Studies at the University of Manitoba where he is exploring the masculinity of men with disabilities. Within the disability community, he is involved with Paralympic sport, volunteerism, and political activism. Further, Dale has gained research experience / accessible web design with: the Council of Canadians with Disabilities, the Canadian Centre on Disability Studies, and Human Resources and Social Development Canada. He has recently gained some experience with Accessibility Advisory Committees and is looking forward to the implementation of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act. As a person with a disability he brings a valuable perspective to his role with CWDO.


MARLENE THOMAS - Hamilton, Ontario

Interests:  Aging with a disability; Accessibility; Education; Housing; ODSP/Income Security; Transportation

Background:  For more than 25 years, Marlene has been a Community and Social Development Consultant specializing in Human Rights and anti-Racism issues, an Educator/Public Speaker on Self and Group Motivation and Empowerment, Past Vice-Chairperson of the City of Hamilton's Advisory Committee for Persons with Disability, former Co-Chairperson (with former Mayor Bob Morrow for 13 years) of the Mayor's Committee Against Racism and Discrimination, member of the Government of Ontario Cabinet Roundtable on antiracism representing the Southwestern region, Founder of Hamilton Cultural and Ethnic Mosaic Association, Founder of KUUMBA (Creativity) Enterprises. Co-Founder of Rev. John C. Holland Awards of Excellence. Marlene believes every person should be treated with equality with no exception. She wants to know she is accepted, not merely tolerated.


SAMANTHA WALSH - Toronto, Ontario

Interests:  Aging with a disability; arts and culture; accessibility; education; employment; housing; mental health; ODSP/income security; recreation; transportation

Background: Samantha has experience with activist work, political organization and social justice movements. She also has an extensive disability studies background. Samantha is trained in an anti-oppressive framework for group organizing and brings both lived experience of disability as well as professional work with people with intellectual disabilities.

SOUSAN ZARIBAF - Toronto, Ontario

Interests: Aging with a disability; Arts and Culture; Attendant services; Accessibility; Employment; Housing; Recreation

Background:   As a college student, Sousan formed a Union for Students with Disabilities, organized meetings with administrators and teachers to discuss accessibility on campus, and secured improved services for students with disabilities in the classroom. She served on the Board of Directors of Aldebrain Attendant Care Services of Toronto as Secretary, promoting accessible housing for many years. Sousan participated in successful negotiations with the Ontario Ministry of Housing to secure approval for funding to start construction of an apartment building which integrated wheelchair accessible units with support services in a public community setting. She met with Ruth Grier, then Minister of Health, to advocate the great need for social housing in Toronto.

Since commencing employment at TD Canada Trust, Sousan has been an active participant in the Bank's advocacy and employment diversity programs, recently serving on a panel organized by TD to speak to 50
employers from all industries, explaining the tangible advantages in hiring more persons with disabilities.

Updated June 18, 2010