Children, Seniors and Social Development
April 27, 2017

Provincial Government Announces Appointments to the Provincial Advisory Council for the Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities

The Provincial Government has appointed 12 individuals to the Provincial Advisory Council for the Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities.

The council, which comprises individuals who have extensive knowledge and personal experience related to inclusion, advises and informs the minister on disability-related issues, promotes awareness and identifies best approaches to remove barriers experienced by persons with disabilities.

Council appointments are: Paula Corcoran-Jacobs, Dennis Gill, Paula Gillis, Vikas Khaladkar, Nicole Marsh, Patricia Moores, Bruce Oldford, Cyril Peach, Fraser Piccott, Nancy Reid, Katarina Roxon and Marie Ryan (Chair). For biographies of the appointees, please see backgrounder below.

Applications are still being accepted and reviewed for six vacancies. These individuals will bring expertise from specific regions of the province, along with diverse backgrounds in disability rights.

The Provincial Government is committed to equity for persons with disabilities and continues to work with stakeholders, community groups and individuals to achieve equitable access to opportunities and services by persons with disabilities. This is supported by a number of initiatives and a commitment to develop a new, inclusion-based legislation.

These appointments were made through the merit-based appointment process established by the Independent Appointments Commission Act.

“I congratulate appointees and thank outgoing council members for their contributions. Members of the Provincial Advisory Council for the Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities bring with them a wealth of knowledge and understanding of disability-related barriers and issues experienced by people with disabilities. The advice provided by the council will help advance inclusion in the province and I look forward to working together. I also encourage others to apply to serve on the council.”
Honourable Sherry Gambin-Walsh
Minister Responsible for the Status of Persons with Disabilities

“The Provincial Advisory Council for the Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities is looking forward to building on the work to date. The council has a focus on inclusion and equity and will support government in its forward movement and decision-making in relation to policies that could impact persons with disabilities. We are eager to begin our work and advance the status of persons with disabilities in our province.”
Marie Ryan
Chair, Provincial Advisory Council for the Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities

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Media contacts
Krista Dalton
Children, Seniors and Social Development
709-729-3768, 685-6492

Marie Ryan
Chair, Provincial Advisory Council for the Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities
709-754-2065 ext. 240, 725-0701


Biographies of the appointees to the Provincial Advisory Council for the Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities

Paula Corcoran-Jacobs
Paula Corcoran-Jacobs is the provincial executive director of Consumers' Health Awareness Network Newfoundland and Labrador (CHANNAL). She brings both personal and professional experiences in mental health. Involved in the Understanding Changes Everything campaign, Paula shares her own amazing story, her fairy tale and powerful recovery journey. She is involved with the Mental Health Commission of Canada, the Department of Health and Community Services' Recovery Project and Bell's National Mental Health Advisory Committee.

Dennis Gill
Dennis Gill is a retired high school teacher and administrator whose son has disabilities. He has been president of the Newfoundland and Labrador Association for Community Living since 2011, participating in meetings of the Canadian Association for Community Living throughout the country. He received the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal for volunteer work with Pilley’s Island, and is dedicated to various committees and associations throughout Newfoundland and Labrador to help better the lives of people with disabilities. Dennis is a strong advocate for inclusive communities, where everyone belongs and everyone has something to contribute.

Paula Gillis
Paula Gillis has a lifelong connection for inclusion, both personally and professionally. Throughout her career and community involvement, Paula promotes the philosophy of inclusion, the importance of disability-related supports for students in school and post-secondary education. She is an accessibility services coordinator at the College of the North Atlantic and a member of the Association for Community Living.

Vikas Khaladkar
Vikas Khaladkar immigrated to Canada in 1962, moving to the province in 2007 to work as a Crown attorney with Special Prosecutions. Vikas, as chair of the project management team for the building of the First Nations University of Canada in Regina, Saskatchewan, brings professional experiences, an understanding of accessibility and the built environment. Vikas also shares a personal connection within the Deaf community which he feels has broadened his worldview and will be an asset for his work with the council.

Nicole Marsh
Nicole Marsh is Deaf and proud of it! She runs a successful social media consulting business and is an active member of numerous Deaf advocacy groups including: the Deaf Wireless Canada Committee (DWCC) and the Newfoundland and Labrador Association for the Deaf (NLAD). She studied sociology at Gallaudet, the only Deaf university in the world, and has travelled Canada to advocate for Deaf rights. Recently she presented on behalf of the DWCC at a Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications (CRTC) hearing regarding Deaf-friendly wireless service plans, and also participated in two CRTC hearings for 9-1-1 accessibility and review of the Wireless Code. Nicole is also involved with Inclusion NL, a provincial organization that promotes accessible workplaces throughout the province.

Patricia Moores
Patricia Moores is an occupational therapist who has a passion for inclusion. She has extensive experience in promoting participation and engagement of persons with disabilities (children, adults and seniors).

Bruce Oldford
Bruce Oldford, a retired superintendent of regional operations with Newfoundland Power Inc. and has been a safety trainer for many years. Bruce maintains a keen interest in worker safety and supports efforts to ensure injured workers and individuals with disabilities have opportunities for rewarding careers and productive lives. Bruce has a long history modifying his own work and personal environment to remove barriers as the result of a chronic auto-immune disease, and uses this learning to support others and advance inclusion in his community. Bruce lives in Grand Falls-Windsor.

Cyril Peach
Cyril Peach is a retired teacher who lives in Happy Valley-Goose Bay, currently working part time for 5 Wing Goose Bay teaching English as a Second Language. He is a member on the board of directors of the Coalition of Persons with Disabilities and founder/president of the Happy Valley -Goose Bay Branch of the Canadian Hard of Hearing Association. Cyril hopes his experience with various organizations that focus on inclusion and accessibility will be an asset to the council.

Fraser Piccott
Fraser Piccott is retired and a Canadian Armed Forces veteran who has professional experiences in business and community in supporting and advancing the lives of individuals who have intellectual disabilities. Fraser brings vast experiences from work with numerous associations and boards including St. John’s Board of Trade, NL Road Builders Association, Eastern Residential Support Board, Canadian Association for Community Living, NL Association for Community Living and Vera Perlin Society. Fraser is currently vice chairperson of Avalon Employment Inc.

Nancy Reid
Nancy Reid has personal lived experience with disability and is a parent of a young adult who has multiple disabilities. She has a passion for advocacy and has worked in various related roles. Today, Nancy uses her professional and personal experience in her work with the Newfoundland and Labrador Coalition of Persons with Disabilities.

Katarina Roxon
Katarina Roxon is a gold medalist of the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio, Brazil. She is active in War Amps Canada, Canadian Paralympic Team, Canadian Para Swim Team and Swimming Newfoundland and Labrador-Swimmer with a Disability. Katarina promotes athletes with disabilities through speaking engagements in schools and other organizations.

Marie Ryan, Chair
Marie Ryan, partner with Goss Gilroy Inc., is a long-time advocate of social justice and inclusion. After acquiring her disability, she immersed herself in working with organizations of and for persons with disabilities locally, regionally, provincially and nationally, including eight years as chairperson of the Council of Canadians with Disabilities.

2017 04 27                              2:45 p.m.