Meet our accessibility experts
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Advisory panel biographies
Cheryl Hodder, QC
Cheryl is Senior Vice-President, Corporate Affairs and Sustainability at Canada Post. In addition to leading Canada Post’s legal and corporate security teams, Cheryl oversees matters of accessibility, environmental sustainability, indigenous affairs, community engagement, stakeholder collaboration, and openness and transparency.
Cheryl joined Canada Post as General Counsel in July 2019 and since then has helped ensure the company’s business practices, policies and dealings meet regulatory requirements. She provides counsel to Canada Post, its subsidiaries and the Board of Directors.
Cheryl has more than 25 years of legal and executive business experience. She was most recently Partner and Vice Chair of the Board of Directors at McInnes Cooper, one of Canada’s 25 largest law firms. She has been named in The Best Lawyers in Canada since 2011 in the area of corporate governance and, in 2010, was named Atlantic Canada’s first Women of Influence. She is also listed as a notable practitioner in business law by Chambers Canada. She was appointed Queen’s Counsel in 2010.
Cheryl received the Canadian Bar Association’s Community Service Award for her contributions to many community organizations and boards, including the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation.
Cheryl has served as a private company and Crown corporation Director and is currently a member of the Mount Allison University Board of Regents.
She earned her Bachelor of Arts and Education degrees from Mount Allison University and her Bachelor of Law from the University of New Brunswick. She is also a Member of the Institute of Corporate Directors (ICD) and a holder of the ICD Director designation.
Neil Belanger has over 30 years of experience in the disability and health sectors. Neil is the Executive Director of the British Columbia Aboriginal Network on Disability Society or BCANDS, a position he has held since 2009. BCANDS is the only Indigenous disability organization of its kind in Canada and has been recognized nationally and internationally for its work in Indigenous disability, receiving seven national and provincial awards of excellence since 2013. In 2017, Neil presented on Indigenous disability issues to the United Nations’ International Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in Geneva.
In addition to his work at BCANDS, Neil serves in a variety of advisory roles to provincial ministry initiatives, as well as to federally funded and community-based organizations. These include: member of the Minister’s Advisory Forum on Poverty Reduction; member of the Minister’s Council on Employment and Accessibility; member of the Minister’s Registered Disability Savings Plan (RDSP) Action Group; member of the Assistant Deputy Minister’s Supporting Increased Participation (SIP) Committee; leadership team member with the Federal Accessibility Legislation Alliance; and as a board member for Inclusion BC.
Neil is a member of the Lax Se el (Frog) Clan of the Gitxsan First Nation and resides in Victoria with his wife and two children.
Blind since childhood, Diane Bergeron has been defying stereotypes all her life. Now the Vice- President, Engagement and International Affairs for the Canadian National Institute for the Blind (CNIB), Diane has dedicated her career to advocating for the rights of people with sight loss in Canada. She caught the challenge bug while tandem skydiving for the first time. She moved on to stock-car racing, and once even rappelled down the side of a 29-storey building in a superhero costume as part of a fundraiser. In August 2017, Diane completed a full IRONMAN challenge at Mont Tremblant.
Diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa as a young child, Diane was declared legally blind at the age of 10 and lost all her sight before turning 30. Much of her recent work at the CNIB has involved breaking barriers for persons with sight loss. Whether it's ensuring equal voting rights for the visually-impaired or raising funds to bring electronic braille readers to a blind school in Rwanda, Diane believes that people should have equal opportunity and treatment.
Gary Birch was appointed director of research and development at the Neil Squire Society in 1988 and appointed executive director in 1994. He earned his B.A. Sc. in Electrical Engineering in 1983, and in 1988 received a Doctorate in Electrical Engineering (Biomedical Signal Processing), both from the University of British Columbia. His specific areas of expertise are assistive technologies, direct brain-computer interface, digital signal processing, human-machine interface systems and service delivery programs for persons with disabilities.
In 2008 Gary was appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada, Canada’s highest civilian honour for lifetime achievement, for his work with the Neil Squire Society. In 2012 he was awarded the Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Medal, and in 2017 he was appointed to the Order of British Columbia, the province’s highest form of recognition.
Kory Earle is a young disability rights advocate in Ontario. Kory is the current president of People First of Canada and has been involved with the organization since 2006 on the local, provincial and national level.
Kory's mission is to ensure that all people with disabilities are treated equally and that their rights are respected, and in his advocacy work, he makes sure he is speaking for himself as well as those whose voices are not being heard.
On the national level, Kory is also active on the Inclusive Education committee for People First of Canada and uses his own lived experiences in the school system to help build more inclusive actions and attitudes in education for people with intellectual disabilities. Kory has given many presentations to diverse groups through both his career and his work with People First.
A highlight in Kory’s career is presenting at the 9th Conference of State Parties at the United Nations in New York City in 2016. The experience of being at the UN and having the opportunity to share Canada’s barriers, struggles and successes with others from all over the world is something Kory never imagined himself doing.
Kory credits the founding members of the People First movement for helping him develop as a leader and activist and continues this role by mentoring new members to the movement.
Steven Estey is a former human rights officer at Disabled Peoples’ International (DPI), a Canadian NGO that has worked globally for over 30 years to advance the human rights of persons with disabilities. He is also the past chair of the International Committee of the Council of Canadians with Disabilities (CCD), and past vice-chair of CCD’s National Council. In August of 2018, Steven was asked by the CCD National Council to join the CCD’s staff.
For more than 25 years Steven has worked with disabled peoples' organizations, human rights institutions, governments, intergovernmental organizations and United Nations agencies to advance disability rights. Over time he has gained wide experience in the areas of international cooperation, economic development, human rights and disability. He has appeared before parliamentary committees in Canada and spoken on human rights and people with disabilities at the United Nations and in many countries around the world.
From 2003 until 2006, when negotiations concluded successfully, Steven was advisor to the Canadian government’s delegation to the United Nations, which drafted the new Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities (CRPD). From 2007 until 2010 he led DPI’s work to encourage governments around the world to ratify the CRPD. Since leaving DPI in 2010, he has devoted his time to teaching and projects strategically aimed at the effective implementation of the CRPD and related to the full realization of human rights for people with disabilities.
Steven has a Bachelor’s degree in Philosophy from St. Francis Xavier University and a Master’s in International Development Studies from Saint Mary’s University; both are in Nova Scotia.
Shelley Fletcher has been the executive director of People First of Canada since 2002. Prior to her national position, Shelley had been employed and active in the disability rights movement locally and provincially in Manitoba.
Once introduced to the People First movement, Shelley began volunteering, which soon turned into a full-time national position.
A strong advocate for people labelled with an intellectual disability, Shelley credits People First for providing her with some amazing opportunities in her national role. She is proud to have been part of the team that produced The Freedom Tour, and was honoured to speak at the United Nations headquarters in New York City. Shelley is also a representative on the Canadian Joint Task Force on the Right to Live in Community.
Through People First, Shelley’s involvement with the international disability community has provided her with very moving experiences regarding the lives and treatment of people with intellectual disabilities throughout the world. She is acutely aware of the exclusion and discrimination that many people with intellectual disabilities face in their lives and works daily towards advancing the agenda on a more inclusive Canada.
Shelley spent the last 17 years living in rural Manitoba and recently relocated in Winnipeg with her two children.
Claude Guimond was born near Rimouski, in the Bas-Saint-Laurent region, and has lived in Montreal since 2013. He completed his agricultural studies in Rimouski in 1982 and obtained an advanced graduate diploma from Université de Rimouski in 2016. Claude worked as a dairy farmer from 1989 to 2015, and was also president of the Union des producteurs agricoles du Bas-Saint-Laurent (Farmers’ union of the Bas-Saint-Laurent region) from 1998 to 2008, as well as a member of the House of Commons from 2008 to 2011. Since spring 2018, he has worked as executive director of the Confédération des organismes de personnes handicapées du Québec (Quebec confederation of organizations for persons with disabilities).
After completing his MSW at Wilfred Laurier University, Dean began his career at the Ontario March of Dimes as a community development officer and was quickly promoted to regional director. He moved to Ottawa in 1980 to become executive director of the Canadian Wheelchair Sports Association and after ten years, he joined the team at Carleton University to open the Paul Menton Centre for Students with Disabilities (PMC). Dean recently completed a six-year term as acting director of Carleton’s READ Initiative (Research, Education, Accessibility and Design). He will continue as a special advisor to the READ Initiative.
Dean enjoyed a long career as a competitive athlete representing Canada with medal performances in Paralympics and World Championships in over three decades, highlighted by a gold medal in the 1976 Olympiad, a bronze medal in the 1994 Winter Paralympics in Lillehammer and a silver medal in the 1998 Winter Paralympics in Nagano. He competed in snooker, wheelchair basketball, wheelchair tennis and sledge hockey.
Dean has also enjoyed a long career in various volunteer capacities serving persons with disabilities. He recently completed a three-year term on the Province of Ontario Accessibility Standards Advisory Committee/Standards Development Committee.
Danis Prud’homme completed his studies in Business Administration at the Royal Military College of Canada and in Management and Philanthropy at Indiana University. He has more than 25 years of experience in team and project management, in public relations and in business development. During his career, he has held positions as campaign director, major and planned donations director, development director and general manager with various foundations focussing particularly on cancer and diabetes research, as well as for HEC Montréal, Polytechnique Montréal and McGill University. He was appointed to the position of executive director of Réseau FADOQ in November 2008.
Andria Spindel has a BA from University of Calgary and an MSW from UBC. In 2013, she was recognized by the University of Guelph for her contributions to Canadians with disabilities and was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Laws.
From 1981 to 2018, Andria was President and CEO of March of Dimes Canada, which until 2006 was Ontario March of Dimes. Andria reorganized the organization, re-registered it as a federal charity and successfully extended services to eight provinces and one territory, while introducing an expanded range of programs for people with disabilities and their caregivers.
In 1992, she incorporated a subsidiary charity, Non Profit Housing Corporation, for which she is also executive staff, and in 2013 it was also converted into a national entity. Together these community agencies have a budget of over $140M and serve 75,000 individuals annually.
A trained research scientist, Pam comes to the MS Society from Alberta Innovates where she spent over a decade and a half leading innovation and change. Her leadership at Alberta Innovates included significantly growing the health research portfolio and strengthening integration of research and health systems to maximize impact for patients and providers. She also led the establishment of a new Alberta Innovates organization that consolidated four corporations across the health, energy, agriculture, and forestry sectors. Pam started her career as a faculty member at the University of Calgary at Hotchkiss Brain Institute and then moved to Alberta Heritage Foundation for Medical Research where she held several leadership roles.
Pam believes strongly in collaboration and building robust relationships – and has had a career of working with various stakeholders including from government, private sector and clinical networks. Collaborating with the board, she will lead a new strategic undertaking that will ensure the MS Society remains a strong national, bilingual organization that delivers exceptional community-based programs focused on enhancing the quality of life of Canadians living with MS.
Hailing from Calgary, Pam is a published researcher and has been awarded the Canadian Psychological Association of Excellence and the Neuroscience Canada Foundation Award. Pam believes in achieving impact in the health domain, a passion she developed as a basic scientist with a strong desire to facilitate the linkage between basic research and clinical care. Pam is motivated and excited by the ability to touch people affected by MS and their families in a more tangible way.
Marissa Lennox is the Chief Policy Officer of the Canadian Association for Retired Persons (CARP). In this role, Marissa is responsible for establishing CARP’s policy priorities, directing advocacy, developing the engagement strategy, and overseeing CARP’s government relations. For over four years, Marissa has served CARP’s membership under the key pillars of advocacy, benefits and community.
Though her expertise in developing policy, Marissa has played a key role in recommending enhancements to the Canada Pension Plan (CPP), provided recommendations on monetary increases and the removal of barriers for Canadians for the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS), advised governments to provide critical protections to the 1.3 million Canadians who have corporate defined-benefit pension plans, and educated governments on the need to fully fund critical vaccines for older adults.
Marissa is a frequent commentator in the media and host of theZoomer, a current affairs roundtable discussion show on ZoomerMedia’s VisionTV, which focuses on issues that matter most to Canadians 45+. She is a member of the Retiree Advisory Panel for the Financial Services Regulatory Authority of Ontario (FSRA), and the Consumer Medication Incident Reporting Advisory Committee for ISMP Canada.
Marissa holds an Honours degree in Political Science from the University of Toronto, and a Master of Public Policy degree from the Robert F. Wagner Graduate School at New York University.
Feedback and customer support
We welcome feedback on the accessibility of our products and services. There are a few different ways to get in touch with our support team. We have initiatives in place to improve the accessibility of our support channels in 2019.
Our customer service representatives are available to provide support 7 days a week.
Chat is available:
Monday to Friday, 7 am to 11 pm ET
Saturday and Sunday, 9 am to 9 pm ET
We provide customer support over the phone in both English and French. We also offer a TTY phone number
for use by customers with compatible devices.