Deborah Ainsworth is Executive Director of Disability Service Delivery at the British Columbia Ministry of Employment and Income Assistance. Ms. Ainsworth has worked in the British Columbia public sector for over 25 years and has experience in the areas of social and economic development, intergovernmental relations, program management and policy development. Since joining the Ministry of Employment and Income Assistance in 1998, she has provided leadership in the negotiation of federal/provincial agreements, managed the Province’s relationship with the federal government under the Canada/BC Labour Market Development Agreement, launched WorkAble Solutions (an initiative of the Minister’s Council on Employment for Persons with Disabilities), and managed the Employment Program for Persons With Disabilities. She is currently working on development of the Provincial Disability Strategy in support of government’s goal of building the best system of support in Canada for persons with disabilities. Prior to joining the ministry, Ms. Ainsworth spent several years in the economic development ministry working in the areas of infrastructure development, regional economic diversification, and employment programming. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Victoria.
Linda Bartram has a background in Physiotherapy and Gerontology. More recently, she has become an advocate for persons with disabilities, particularly those with vision loss. Ms. Bartam provides consultation regarding disability issues to community, government and corporations. Currently, she holds the position of co-chair of the Provincial Equipment and Assistive Devices Committee, a cross disability community group working with the provincial government to develop a Personal Supports Program for Persons with Disabilities in British Columbia. She also sits on the Access Advisory Committee for BC Ferries and is past president of the Victoria Chapter of the Alliance for Equality of Blind Canadians. She is married with two sons and loves to travel.
Michelle Bass is a University of Victoria Interdisciplinary doctoral candidate and CIHR doctoral scholar. Michelle brings to the subject matter of disability a keen scholarly interest in issues pertaining to stress and health, as well as years of experience as a practicing psycho-therapist.
Maureen Bradley is a media artist, curator and educator who has directed 32 short films and videos, three video installations and two web art projects. Her award winning productions have screened at galleries and festivals around the globe including the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Many of her productions have been broadcast in North America and abroad. In 1992, Maureen reached her largest audience of more than 15 million viewers appearing as a videographer on the CBC TV series Road Movies. Maureen's films break genres by fusing documentary, experimental and drama in works that explore gender identity, violence against women, queer identity and disability arts. Currently an Associate Professor in the Department of Writing at UVic, Maureen has taught film and video production at UBC, The University of Regina, Video In Studios, and Video Verité.
Vickie Cammack is a recognized Canadian source of inspiration, innovative ideas and demonstrable solutions related to community, citizenship and disability. Ms. Cammack is a co-founder of PLAN and co-author of Safe and Secure - Six Steps to Creating a Personal Future Plan for People with Disabilities. As a past college instructor at Douglas College in New Westminster, she designed a curriculum process for the preparation of caregivers that is being used in colleges and universities throughout British Columbia. Ms. Cammack is also the founding Director of the Family Support Institute of British Columbia. She is currently focused on the development, dissemination and application of ideas, concepts and processes that promote a more engaged and caring citizenship. Her innovative approaches to leadership development, social network facilitation and social accounting are key ingredients in her work of taking social inventions to scale.
Melissa Campbell works as a Child, Family & Community Consultant for the Provincial Services for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing under the Ministry of Children and Family Development. She supports families with deaf members and spends a great deal of time increasing awareness amongst professionals about hearing loss and its manifestations. What sets Ms. Campbell apart from the majority of the population is that she is Deaf and utilizes American Sign Language for her communication. She is a strong leader and an advocate in the Deaf Community and serves on many committees to promote opportunities and access for Deaf people in B.C. While Ms. Campbell is a strong believer that each person is unique, she views her deafness as a cultural entity rather than a disability. She feels that Deaf Culture is characterized as a sense of pride and community, and provides one with a more positive identity. Ms. Campbell is a Graduate student in the Child and Youth Care program at the University of Victoria.
Born in colonial India in 1933, Bruce Carruthers attended to medical school at Queen’s University in Kingston ON, where he returned this year. After 5 years of postdoctoral work in the USA, Mr. Carruthers joined the full time medical faculty at the University of British Columbia, teaching clinical skills and practicing as a specialist in diabetes and metabolism. After 13 years, he launched a medical practice with a special interest in chronic pain and fatigue. Following his retirement at the age of 65, he became engaged in co-writing consensus clinical definitions and protocols for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia Syndrome. He has since returned to medical practice to implement his research. Mr. Carruthers’ approach to disability is based on a longstanding interest in consciousness and illness experience.
Kathryn Church is Associate Professor in the School of Disability at Ryerson University, where she teaches classes in community organizing and research methods. Since 2002, she has also directed the research program for the Ryerson-RBC Institute for Disability Studies Research and Education. Her interest in disability began in the mid-1980s when she coordinated a policy development initiative for the Canadian Mental Health Association (National). Her subsequent doctorate in the sociology of education explored psychiatric survivor involvement in community mental health policy. Dr. Church spent ten years doing community-based research with survivor-led organizations engaged in defining their own approach to economic development. Her publications include a dozen plain-text documents written for survivor organizations and a book titled Forbidden Narratives: Critical Autobiography as Social Science (1995). She uses interpretive methods that are sensitive to the subjectivities of researcher and researched, and is attentive to insider/outsider relations across identities and communities. A practitioner of arts-informed inquiry, Dr. Church experiments with alternative forms of writing and knowledge dissemination. She consulted to the documentary film Working Like Crazy, and was curator of Fabrications: Stitching Ourselves Together, an award-winning exhibit that toured six Canadian museums.
Valorie Crooks is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Geography at Simon Fraser University. She is also an Adjunct member of the Critical Disability Studies Programme at York University, Chair of the Association of American Geographers’ Disability Specialty Group, and an Advisory Committee member of the Disability Health Research Network. Using a biopsychosocial model of disablement she has explored the roles that space and specific places play in how people experience illness/impairment. Such work has enforced the fact that disability is the outcome of the process of disablement which has both a spatial and temporal reality. Much of her research has been conducted with women living with chronic illness. She has published her work in journals such as Disability Studies Quarterly, Disability & Society, and Health & Place.
Thirza puts the "and" in "Gay and Lesbian." She is involved in several communities/identities including Psychiatric Survivors, Crees, Mixed Race people, feminism, transgendered and queer communities, the BDSM community, and it goes on. Thirza likes political and activist art, independent and foreign film, and various counter-culture communities. She constantly evolves, not necessarily into the ways she expects. Right now Thirza is putting a lot of energy into disability rights, and getting emancipated from the psychiatric system.
Jim Derksen, a wheelchair user, was disabled at six years of age by polio. After attending university, Mr. Derksen joined the Company of Young Canadians and transferred the community development skills he learned to the disability rights movement. He helped to develop the Manitoba League of Persons with Disabilities (MLPD), the Council of Canadians with Disabilities (CCD), Disabled Peoples’ International (DPI) and the Canadian Disability Rights Council (CDRC.) In 1980, the Council of Canadians with Disabilities seconded Mr. Derksen to the Special Parliamentary Committee on the Disabled and the Handicapped in Ottawa. He successfully lobbied politicians and Department of Justice officials for the inclusion of people with disabilities in Section 15 of Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. As a result, Canada became the first country to provide constitutional protection for the rights of persons with disabilities. In 1986, Mr. Derksen joined the Manitoba public service, pioneering many new initiatives. Mr. Derksen retired from the Provincial Government in 2004. Currently, he resides in Winnipeg and works as a disability policy consultant as well as teaching a disability studies course at the University of Manitoba.
Robynne Edgar, Program Manager, has been with Network Environments for Aboriginal Research BC and the Aboriginal Health Research Group at the University of Victoria since the spring of 2006. She has worked with Aboriginal children and families for several years in positions ranging from front line to management, at both the federal and provincial political levels. She spent over five years as the Associate Executive Director with the Métis Children’s Commission, where she assisted in the writing and editing of the Métis Operational and Practice Standards and Indicators manual for social workers. Ms. Edgar was appointed as the provincially designated representative by the Ministry of Children and Family Development for all Métis children in care. This involved strategic work with social workers, family members, service providers and senior level Ministry officials. Her work in this area resulted in the development and implementation of a secure Métis child protection database for the province of BC, as well as performing training services on behalf of the BC Ministry for Children and Family Development for recently designated Aboriginal agencies.
Kristi Falconer has been working with the Deaf community for the past 13 years as a Sign Language Interpreter. She has facilitated and presented several workshops during her career and currently works in the Resource Centre for Students with a Disability at the University of Victoria. In her capacity as Interpreter Coordinator she enjoys the task of working with students, departments and Faculties to promote a Deaf friendly campus. Ms. Falconer devotes much of her spare time to being a humanitarian. She has been involved with a small village in Zanzibar, East Africa for 3 years and has successfully set up several projects including a program for Deaf children. Ms. Falconer continues to inspire those around her by role modeling what it means ‘to make a difference in the world’.
Janine Gagnier is a Registered Nurse. Janine received her Bachelor of Science Degree in Nursing from the University of British Columbia in 1988. She is married, and has a teen-age daughter and son. Both are very pleasant and accepting of people that they meet, which is a reflection of their parents’ parenting values and skills. For the past twenty years Janine has worked in different professional capacities with First Nation communities on southern Vancouver Island. She has worked in Residential Care, Acute Care in hospital settings, and as a Community Home Care Nurse. Currently, Janine is the Health and Social Service Director for the Pacheedaht First Nation in Port Renfrew. She has worked for the Pacheedaht Band Council for twelve years. In her extensive work with First Nations people she has advocated for and assisted First Nation peoples with disabilities, in accessing needed services to which they are entitled.
Rachel Gold is an M.A. Candidate in Studies in Policy and Practice at the University of Victoria. Rachel has served as an advocate and counselor for children, youth, families and seniors, and has held a variety of roles supporting children in the education system. Her research interests focus on the disciplinary effects of the social relations of children who have Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder diagnoses.
Rachelle Hole is an assistant professor at the University of British Columbia Okanagan, School of Social Work. She teaches in the areas of social work, disability studies, and qualitative inquiry. Her teaching and research are informed by feminist and poststructural theories. Currently, Dr. Hole’s research activities include a project evaluating services and supports for adults with developmental disabilities in B.C., a study exploring the employment experiences of individuals with disabilities in the current political context emphasizing for-profit employment counselling services, and research exploring the theoretical concept of relational identities discursively performed in narratives of cultural Deafness. Rachelle has worked for over 20 years in a variety of capacities with Deaf, hard of hearing and deaf-blind individuals and their families.
Phyllis Gordon has been practicing law in Ontario since 1979. For ten years she had her own private practices in Hamilton and Kingston. Since then, her numerous senior positions have included Clinic Director of Parkdale Community Legal Services (affiliated with Osgoode Hall Law School), Chair of the Pay Equity Hearings Tribunal of Ontario, and Commissioner of the Canadian Human Rights Commission. Ms. Gordon was appointed the Executive Director of ARCH Disability Law Centre in June 2000. She has been active in all aspects of ARCH’s work, including legal writing and litigation on disability rights and accessibility. Most recently, she led ARCH’s telecommunications law initiative and authored a paper for the 2006 national forum “End Exclusion” about a federal disability act. Ms. Gordon has always been committed to social justice, has served on many community boards, and has been a frequent presenter to the legal community and the public. Over her career, she has mentored lawyers and law students interested in the practice of public interest law.
John Paul Jones is a Disability Management consultant for First Nation people with disabilities. He received his Graduate degree in Disability Management in May 2006 from the University of Northern British Columbia. He is the sole First Nation individual in Canada with the degree and to date he is also the only deaf student to graduate from this program. He holds undergraduate degrees in History (Trinity Western University, 1989) and Social Work (University of Victoria, 1997). John Paul was born in 1950 with a neurological disorder in his middle ears. In 1979, he was diagnosed with Meniere’s Disease, whose symptoms are fluctuating hearing loss, vertigo, and ringing of the ears. Consequently, he will be completely deaf before his 60th birthday. Nonetheless, John Paul has remained active in advocating for the needs of First Nation people with hearing loss and deafness. He currently lives in Port Renfrew where he is active in community affairs for the Pacheedaht First Nation, especially those with disabilities.
Senator Michael Kirby holds a Ph.D. in Applied Mathematics from Northwestern University and an honorary degree of Doctor of Law from Dalhousie University. His numerous political appointments have included serving as Assistant Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister and Principal Assistant to the Premier of Nova Scotia. From 1980 to 1983, Senator Kirby was Secretary to the Cabinet for Federal-Provincial Relations and Deputy Clerk of the Privy Council. In this capacity, Senator Kirby was deeply involved in the negotiations which led to the patriation of the Canadian Constitution and the inclusion of the Charter of Rights in the Constitution. He was summoned to the Senate in 1984 and retired in 2006. Senator Kirby’s corporate appointments include serving as Senior Corporate Vice-President of Canadian National and Vice-President of Goldfarb Consultants. He has also served as a member of the Board of Directors of several companies. From 1999 to 2006, Senator Kirby was the Chairman of the Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology, which focused primarily on Canada’s health care system. In 2002, the Standing Committee’s study of the hospital and doctor system culminated in a report proposing recommendations, many of which are currently being enacted by government. In May 2006, the Committee completed a study of Mental Health Mental Illness and Addiction. The final report, Out of the Shadows at Last, was released on May 9, 2006.
Dr. Andrew Kmetic earned his Ph.D. in Epidemiology and Biostatistics at McGill University. His Ph.D. thesis involved the development of Bayesian statistical techniques to adjust for selection bias and measurement error in data from the Canadian Multicentre Osteoporosis Study. After the completion of his Ph.D., he pursued a post-doctoral fellowship in spatial epidemiology at the University of British Columbia. Dr. Kmetic is currently an Adjunct Assistant Professor at the University of Victoria in the Faculty of Human and Social Development and is the Assistant Director of the UVic Aboriginal Health Research Group. The main area of Dr. Kmetic’s research is chronic diseases in the Aboriginal population. His research interests include spatial epidemiology, multilevel modeling, social determinants of health, and Bayesian statistics.
Nigel Livingston is the father of a special needs child and is the founder-director of CanAssist (formerly know as UVATT- the University of Victoria Assistive Technology Team). This program is dedicated to developing devices, technology and services that improve the quality of life of those with disabilities. Since its inception in 1999, the program has taken on over 140 projects, engaged more that 1400 students and over 50 faculty and staff members from virtually every discipline on campus. In addition, large numbers of community volunteers—including health care professionals and retired engineers, seamstresses and machinists – have been engaged. CanAssist provides support to families and individuals across the county and around the world. In 2005, it was the recipient of the inaugural Lieutenant Governor’s Award for innovative technology.
Stephen Lytton is the Vice-President of the British Columbia Aboriginal Network on Disability Society (BCANDS). Stephen is a member of the Nlha’7kapmx (formerly Thompson Indians) People and attended St. George’s Indian Residential School in Lytton, BC. He was born affected with Cerebral Palsy at birth in 1955 in Lytton. During childhood the Cerebral Palsy caused many developmental delays for which he received extensive, multiple corrective surgeries, resulting in lengthy hospital stays. Nonetheless, at St. George’s Indian Residential School Stephen participated in various organized activities which were foundational to his future role as a social activist for the needs of First Nation people with disabilities. In this regard, Stephen refuses to accept the marginalization of First Nation people with disabilities. Conversely, he values and promotes their active participation in community planning.
Marlie Manning is a relative newcomer to Victoria. She hails from Central Canada, where she had a practice in psychotherapy and counseling for several decades, and more recently from Nova Scotia, where she returned to university for studies in gerontology. Her area of professional interest is now home and community care, its users and their support networks.
Namaste Marsden, BA, LLB, is Gitksan from Gitanyow, BC. Namaste is currently the Senior Advisor for the Canadian Institutes of Health Research – Institute of Aboriginal Peoples’ Health at the University of Victoria. She has worked for Aboriginal and health organizations for over 10 years in the areas of community-based research, program development and administration.
Catherine Mateer is a Clinical Neuropsychologist, a Professor of Psychology, and the Associate Vice-President Academic Planning at the University of Victoria. She is internationally known for her clinical and research contributions to the field of cognitive rehabilitation for individuals who have sustained brain injury. Dr. Mateer has published widely on the management of acquired difficulties with initiation, attention, memory, executive function, and awareness, and has been a strong proponent of integrating approaches to the management of cognitive, emotional, and psychosocial functioning. She has over 90 publications and 3 books on these and other topics, has presented her work in many countries, and is strongly committed to the integration of research and clinical practice.
Eileen McKee, MSW, MBA, has been working with the Canadian Working Group on HIV and Rehabilitation (CWGHR) since January 2005 as manager of the ‘Episodic Disabilities’ Project, a national cross-disability project including people living with HIV and people living with other episodic disabilities. Through this project, CWGHR has researched income support and disability policies internationally, recommended models to accommodate the needs of people living with episodic disabilities and undertook a cost-benefit analysis of these models. A pilot project is now being developed to test and evaluate the models in a Canadian context. The result will be evidence-based recommendations for policy improvements that will contribute to opportunities for labour force participation and social inclusion of people living with episodic disabilities.
Geoff McMurchy is an artist with varied interests. He was on his way to study printmaking at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design in 1977, when he dove into a lake and broke his neck. After rehabilitation, he was swept up in the disability advocacy movement, expressing his creativity by helping to design and implement innovative events and programs for the BC Coalition of People with Disabilities in Vancouver, and by doing freelance graphic design work. He is now, as Artistic Director for the Society for Disability Arts and Culture, able to merge the two major interests in his life – art and advocacy. He is very excited about what artists with disabilities can do – for themselves, for other people with disabilities and for the community at large. Mr. McMurchy is currently organizing the kickstART Victoria Festival of Disability Arts and Culture scheduled for the Spring of 2008.
Pamela Moss has been at the University of Victoria since 1992. Her research focuses on women's experiences with contested illness, especially Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME), or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS). She concentrates her activism on raising awareness about the exclusion and marginalization of persons with invisible or unapparent disabilities. She is currently researching twentieth century conceptualizations of fatigue and examining the gendering of nervous disorders and war neuroses. In her teaching, she encourages students to develop nuanced understandings of contemporary and historical social, cultural and political environments from a critical vantage point via theories of knowledge formation and social justice.
Earl Nowgesic, an Ojibway from the Gull Bay First Nation in Northern Ontario, has more than 20 years of experience working in the health sector at regional, national and international levels. He is currently the inaugural Associate Director of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research - Institute of Aboriginal Peoples’ Health. He is also an adjunct assistant professor at the University of Victoria, Faculty of Human and Social Development. Mr. Nowgesic holds a Master of Health Science Degree (MHSc) in Community Health and Epidemiology from the University of Toronto and an undergraduate degree in nursing (BScN) from the University of Ottawa. He is a graduate of the Field Epidemiology Training Program of Health Canada, Laboratory Centre for Disease Control and past President of the Canadian Society for Circumpolar Health.
Velten Pilger is the initial Coordinator for the University of Victoria Node of Network Environments for Aboriginal Health Research. He was previously employed as the Programs Manager at the Canadian Institute for Health Research- Institute of Aboriginal Peoples Health (CIHR-IAPH), based at the University of Victoria.
Velten has had many varied work experiences, ranging from investigating a variety of health issues with the Office of the Ombudsman, to working with the Refugee Board.
Velten has participated in and attended a variety of summits and conferences. He has attended the Knowledge Translation Summit held at the First Nations University located in Regina, Saskatchewan. He was present as a delegate to the ”Many Hands one Dream” Summit held in Victoria, British Columbia, as well as “Lighting a Fire” conference held at the University of Victoria which launched Network Environments for Aboriginal Health.
Bridget Preston is the District Director for Veterans Affairs on Vancouver Island. The Victoria District office of 60 employees provide services and benefits to 14,000 still serving CF Members, released Veterans and their families.
Michael J. Prince is the Lansdowne Professor of Social Policy in the Faculty of Human and Social Development at the University of Victoria. He was a faculty member at Carleton University, from 1978 to 1988, in the School of Public Administration. Dr. Prince has been a consultant or advisor to several departments and agencies of the federal government as well as to certain provincial, territorial, First Nations, and local governments, non-profit agencies, and four Royal commissions. From 1997 to 2005 he served as Associate Dean and Acting Dean of the Faculty of Human and Social Development.
Dr. Jeff Reading is the inaugural Scientific Director of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research - Institute of Aboriginal Peoples' Health, based at the University of Victoria. He is also a full professor in the Faculty of Human and Social Development and a faculty associate with the Indigenous Governance Program. For more than two decades, Dr. Reading has dedicated his energy to enhancing knowledge and focus on the importance of Aboriginal health issues in Canadian society. As an epidemiologist, his research has brought attention to such critical issues as disease prevention, tobacco use and misuse, healthy living, accessibility to health care, and diabetes among Aboriginal people in Canada. As an Aboriginal person, Dr. Reading personifies innovative and visionary thinking that encourages the meaningful involvement of community people working alongside multi-disciplinary teams of health researchers, each contributing their own perspectives and expertise. Distinguished as a leading national and international expert in indigenous health research, Dr. Reading’s dedication to the pursuit of excellence in research is broadly recognized in academic and government circles and by Aboriginal leadership in Canada.
Marcia Rioux is a professor at the School of Health Policy and Management. Her research addresses a broad range of public and health policy issues including health and human rights, universal education, international monitoring of disability rights, the impact of globalization on welfare policy, literacy policy, disability policy, and social inclusion. She has written extensively on the development of a theoretical framework of disability that is grounded in equality and the recognition of disability as a socio-political and human rights issue. Dr. Rioux is internationally known for having taught, researched and advised on policy issues in numerous countries. She has lectured throughout the Americas, Europe and India, and has been an advisor to a number of federal and provincial commissions, parliamentary committees, international NGOs and United Nations agencies. Currently, Dr. Rioux is writing a book on law and disability and is engaged in a number of international research projects.
Manda Roddick is currently a Master’s of Arts Candidate in the Department of Sociology. Her interest in being a book club facilitator for Engaging Disability stems from both personal and professional interests in health and disability. For the past two years, Manda has worked for the Red Cross instructing First Aid and CPR courses with a large focus on health promotion and disability prevention. Additionally, she has previously worked as a home support worker and as an Easter Seals camp counselor with children living with Muscular Dystrophy, Cerebral Palsy and Spina Bifida. In 2006, Manda was diagnosed with a form of inflammatory arthritis (spondylaropathy) that causes reduced mobility and joint pain, which has significantly impacted the way she lives on a daily basis. She is anticipating that raising awareness and celebrating the diversity of ways people live with disabilities will be an exciting experience that she looks forward to sharing with those involved in Engaging Disability.
As the father of a traumatic brain injury survivor, Mr. Rossiter knows what it is like to receive a phone call at 3:00 a.m. with the news that his son has been critically injured and may not live. He sold his home and business interests in Northwestern British Columbia to move to Vancouver and be close to his son in the hospital. Becoming involved with the brain-injury community, Mike accepted the position of board member of the Brain Associations of BC. He sits on the steering committee of the Pacific Coast Brain Injury Conference and the advisory committee of the British Columbia Neurotrauma Fund. As publisher of the Headline Magazine, he advocates for services and support for survivors and their families throughout British Columbia. Mr. Rossiter has worked and been associated with the print industry for 40 years, first as owner and manager of a successful printing business and, for the past 11 years, as a graphic designer in Greater Vancouver. He shares his vision of “making BC a better place for people with brain injuries to live in” with many people while continuing to advocate for his son.
Judy Z. Segal teaches courses in the history and theory of rhetoric and in the rhetoric of science and medicine. She is author of Health and the Rhetoric of Medicine (Southern Illinois University Press, 2005), and articles appearing in such journals as Health, Social Science and Medicine, Journal of Medical Humanities, Rhetoric Society Quarterly, Rhetoric Review, and Configurations. In her work, she turns to rhetorical theory and criticism for approaches to questions concerning patient nonadherence to physicians' advice; trust in medical experts; end-of-life decision making; illness anxiety, contested illnesses, and illness narratives. Prof. Segal's current project, funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, is a study of pharmaceutical marketing and human values. She is a member of the President's International Advisory Committee of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and a Distinguished Scholar in Residence of the Peter Wall Institute for Advanced Studies.
Geoff Sing is the Manager of Community Resources with the Cridge Centre for the Family, where the majority of his work is centered around the field of brain injury. He is the Manager of Macdonald House, a 10 bed residence for survivors of a brain injury. Mr. Sing oversees a number of community-based contracts for survivors of a brain injury. In partnership with the Planned Lifetime Advocacy Network, he participated in initiating 20 Networks of Support for survivors of brain injury which seek to help them overcome isolation when they reside in community. In partnership with the Rick Hanson Neurotrauma Program, Mr. Sing helped establish Crews at Work, a supported employment program for survivors of a brain injury. He is in the Steering Committee for the Pacific Coast Brain Injury Conference – Canada’s premier conference on brain injury. Mr. Sing is a survivor of a brain injury, and this does help him to be able to relate to the needs and losses that survivors experience.
For the past five years Mr. Timmermans has been managing Providence Farm. Before moving west to complete a Child and Youth Care degree at the University of Victoria, he grew up in southern Ontario, immersed in the greenhouse business. During that time, he completed a Horticultural Diploma and ran his own commercial cut rose business for three years before deciding to travel. Mr. Timmermans sailed for over six months, along the west coast of Europe and throughout the South Pacific on the Pacific Swift with the Sail and Life Training Society (SALTS) out of Victoria. SALTS provided the opportunity to combine hands on work with people - which has been the mantra since then. After working for SALTS for five seasons, Mr. Timmermans worked with the Street Outreach program at the YM-YWCA in Victoria for several years. Providence Farm has provided the opportunity to combine horticultural skills with human service skills.
Will Weigler has been working in community-based arts for over twenty years. He is the author of Strategies for Playbuilding: helping groups translate issues into theatre (Heinemann, 2001). Mr. Weigler is currently working towards his doctorate in Applied Theatre at the University of Victoria.
Andrew Wharton has worked for the British Columbia public service since 1989 and has been the Assistant Deputy Minister of Integrated Social Development Service Delivery since February 2006. His current responsibilities include leading the cross-ministry work on the development and implementation of a Provincial Disability Strategy. A key focus of the Strategy will be ensuring that the Province takes a citizen-centered approach to the planning and delivery of disability services and supports. In particular, the Strategy includes initiatives that will lead to better information-sharing and integration of services across ministries/agencies.
Zulis Yalte, a multi-media artist, describes her art since childhood as her interface with the visible and invisible worlds. As her art expression evolved, an ability as a compassionate healer with a strong sense of socio/eco/political conscience also developed. Increasingly, her activism aligns with personal growth expressed through art, and is embedded in her penchant for revealing concerns through symbol and metaphor. Zulis holds a Bachelor of Science in Nursing Degree, a Nurse Practitioner Diploma (Northern Nurse), was a scholarship student at The Emily Carr College of Art and Design and is affiliated with the University of Victoria Graduate Studies: Nursing, Policy and Practice, (as her body allows since an occupational exposure to mould/toxins). Her graduate work is arts based research taking the form of a conceptual sculptural installation: Border Crossings. The installation focuses on exploring power relationships, contested and disabling illness and the multidimensional nature of being. She makes her home on Gabriola Island, BC
Elisse Zack, M.Ed., M.Mgt. is Executive Director of the Canadian Working Group on HIV and Rehabilitation (CWGHR). She has been working with CWGHR since its inception in 1998. CWGHR works to bridge the traditionally separate worlds of HIV, disability and rehabilitation through rehabilitation research, education and cross-sector partnerships. Ms. Zack has been working with people living with HIV/AIDS at the national level since 1994, including management of a national educational project on HIV and tuberculosis (TB) with the Canadian AIDS Society.