The Accessibility Advisory Committee (formerly Advisory Board on Services for Persons with Disabilities) is a resource group reporting directly to City Council on issues, needs and services related to persons with disabilities. The committee is also a source of information and advice to City Council, City departments and citizens.

David Achuroa

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David Achuroa, holds a science degree in community nutrition from the University of Development Studies in Northern Ghana, and Master’s degree in anthropology from the University of Calgary. His graduate thesis explored the web of cultural practices and systems that influence parental understanding and caring of children with disabilities among the Bulsa in Northern Ghana.

David, a disability advocate, nutritionist, social anthropologist, and policy analyst, undertakes research that increases our knowledge in how institutional, attitudinal, environmental, and communication barriers impact the lives and well-being of people with disabilities. He is a strategic thinker and his knowledge and disability experience has informed decision-making on social supports and services. He loves to volunteer, and has dedicated part of his free time to serve non profit organizations in Edmonton and Calgary. He currently lives in Edmonton.

Dana Antayá-Moore

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Dana Antayá-Moore has over 30 years’ experience, in both education and government contexts. She holds a Master of Education in Educational Psychology from the University of Alberta, a Foundations of Public Participation certificate from the Canadian Trainers Collective and an Essentials of Program Evaluation certificate from the Canadian
Evaluation Society She has also completed GBA+ training.

Dana is currently a member of the Friends of the Steadward Centre board: focused on facilitating adapted physical activity and parasport opportunities for everyone; and the Ability Centred Employment Service (ACES) board: with a vision is to enable each individual, regardless of disability, to live a full life and be integrated into the community.

Relationships matter to Dana and she is known for her ability to bring people together and create space for conversation and learning to occur. She is able to listen in to conversations, identify the common threads or throughlines, and pose questions that draw out the conversation and surface new understandings.

Dana loves spending time with her husband and son, as well as reading, knitting, and spending time outdoors, be that walking with friends, cross-country skiing, cycling, or paddling.

Bobbi Belsek

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Bobbi holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree and a Bachelor of Education After Degree from Concordia University of Edmonton. Over the past eight years, he has taught a variety of
grades from Kindergarten to Grade 9 in Edmonton area school divisions.

A lifelong Edmontonian, Bobbi has used a wheelchair for more than ten years. He has seen the many ways that Edmonton has started to improve accessibility such as the introduction of kneeling buses. Bobbi has also noticed how the City of Edmonton has areas to improve in
including those with disabilities. When not working, Bobbi is an active participant in sport.
Weight lifting, playing sledge hockey, lane swimming and recently taking up cross country sit
skiing are ways that Bobbi aims to keep active.

Kassi Boyd

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Kassi Boyd is a second year Ph.D. student in the Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine at the University of Alberta. At the core of Kassi's research interests are the lived experiences of children who experience disability. As such, Kassi has a keen interest in critical disability studies, social inclusion, child-driven culture, and the constructions of childhood disability. In her doctoral work, she plans to explore the experiences of inclusion in child-driven culture, from the perspectives of children that live with autism. It is her hope that her work will contribute to the advancement of inclusion initiatives and policies. 

Kassi has lived in Edmonton for 10 years. When she is not on the University of Alberta campus, Kassi can be found trail running, road cycling, playing soccer, petting dogs, or sipping coffee. She also works as a grant writer for The Steadward Centre for Personal & Physical Achievement, University of Alberta, a non-profit research, teaching, and service delivery centre for people that experience disability. Kassi is proud to call Edmonton home, and is excited to continue working toward improving the accessibility and inclusivity of this great city. 

Carleen Brenneis

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Carleen is a lifelong Edmontonian, who enjoys living and working in this Northern city. A Registered Nurse, with a background in transitions, seniors and palliative care, Carleen is focused on community care. She has a Master’s degree in Health Services Administration and her interests are in compassionate communities and knowledge translation. Being involved in education, research and policy, Carleen is able to assist in interpreting results and applying them to improve communication and care.

Carleen is also a board member of the Edmonton Seniors Coordinating Council which works with senior service agencies and other stakeholders in the seniors sector to build an Age Friendly Edmonton. Carleen is aware of issues and successes related to accessibility through her work in transitions of care, caregiver support and family and friends.

Marie Dancsok

Marie (she/her) has been involved in Mental Health and Disability issues for over 30 years.  Marie’s career started as a Psychiatric Nurse in Canada and abroad.  Upon returning to Canada Marie was the Executive Director of the Canadian Mental Health Association in Regina.  Along with that role Marie sat on the Regina Access Advisory Committee.  Marie’s mental health profession has been complemented by working for organized labour as a Vocational Counsellor, Labour Relations Officer and as an Educator.  

Throughout her career Marie has always been an advocate for Mental Health and Disability Issues.  She spent 10 years with the Mental Health Commission of Canada as an advisory member and championed several projects related to Mental Health in the workplace including participating in the CSA Approved Psychological Safety Standard and chairing the Aspiring Workforce project.  Marie received her Masters in Disability and Community Studies in 2014 and identifies as a lifelong learner. 

Marie is passionate in helping create accessible and inclusive communities and workplaces.  Marie is an avid champion of the Psychological Safety Standard and in ensuring services and resources are recovery focused.

 

Sheri Klassen

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Sheri Klassen is a dedicated mother of two children as well as a family physician who has served the Edmonton community for over 15 years. Along with her husband, she has been facing the joys and challenges of raising two children with disabilities. She has been a successful advocate for effective inclusion in her community schools, recreational programs and support services.  She feels strongly about rallying parents in her community to share resources and experiences with the goal of raising families that feel connected and supported. She believes differences of all types (including cognitive) are a part of being human, and as a society we need to go beyond tolerating and even accepting differences, to embracing and harmonizing differences. 

When Sheri isn’t working or navigating her children’s schedules, she loves heading into the river valley for a run while listening to a good podcast. 

Patricia Kocon

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Patricia is an Occupational Therapist working with children with complex needs in a community setting. Her experience in working with these diverse children and their families has highlighted the struggles they face in attaining accessibility in their homes and in the community, and has given Patricia a drive to advocate and effect changes at a deeper, community level, and to bring the needs and viewpoints of those facing challenges to those in a position to make changes. A university course on Universal Design was an inspirational turning point, leading

Patricia into the world of barrier free design and a passion for the principles of aging-in-place. Patricia has extensive community volunteer involvement, serving on the boards of various minor sports organizations and school councils, and currently volunteers for the Society of Alberta Occupational Therapists and the Alberta Diabetes Foundation. She looks forward to bringing her skills and experience to this committee of diverse, passionate and community-focused team members, advocating for inclusion and accessibility.

Tonia LaRiviere (Chair)

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Tonia LaRiviere was diagnosed with Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis when she was 12 years old.  Since then, she has experienced various degrees of disability. Since 2015 she has been participating in para-sport, where she experienced first hand the difference that can be made in lives when the proper supports exist in a community.

For over 20 year she has been working in communications and events supporting different not-for-profit festivals, campaigns and initiatives in the city as a publicist, director and board member.

She currently sits on the Alberta/Northwest Territories Divisional Board of Directors for the Arthritis Society and has contributed to educational advancements at the Steadward Centre for Personal and Physical Achievement. 

Douglas Rudolph

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Prior to my moving to Edmonton in 2020, I had the opportunity to sit on a multitude of boards within the not for profit sector. Both boards directly had impact on the lives, and inclusivity of persons with visual impairments, one being directly involved with service delivery & programming and the other being a provincial sports governing body. In conjunction with this amazing experience, I also had the opportunity to work within the Government of Saskatchewan, in the Ministry of Social Services Disability Programs unit, which had a direct impact in bettering the lives of persons with various disabilities.

I believe that one factor of a great community, a great city is ensuring accessibility and inclusivity to everybody, within all sectors of one's life, environment, and innovative thinking as to how one can improve the lives of people by implementing features that one may have not thought of as being needed. I have always thought this way as a result of my own disability, which has guided my direction in life and work / volunteer opportunities.
 

Patricia Rzechowka

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At age 23, Patricia Rzechowka had just graduated from University when she was
diagnosed with multiple sclerosis after losing vision in her left eye. She committed to
maintaining an active lifestyle by signing up for the MS Bike-Leduc to Camrose and
regained her eyesight. That first ride began her desire to volunteer with the MS
Society in Edmonton and she has been contributing to the cause ever since. She is
now spokesperson for the MS Society’s annual MS Bike-Leduc to Camrose and rides
in the 2-day 180 km road bike tour. In addition to the MS Bike, Patrycia participates
in the Jayman BUILT MS Walk, Burgers to Beat MS, MS Golf and hosts innovative
fundraising events in support of the MS Society. To date, Patricia has personally
raised over $100,000. Patricia is the Chair of the MS Society’s Edmonton & Capital
Region Chapter Council and has also been a member of the MS Society’s Research
Review Panel, where she has provided perspective and the ‘lived MS experience’ in
shaping some of the country’s most promising research proposals. Despite living
daily with her own MS realities, and the ups and downs they bring, Patricia
constantly reaches out to provide support to others living with the disease.
Through her relationship-building acumen and impressive social media reach,
Patricia has a remarkable ability to connect and bring people together, while also
raising incredible awareness in support of the cause. She’s part of Avenue
Edmonton’s Top 40 Under 40 (Class of 2017), solidifying her status of one of the
most influential young people and dedicated MS advocates in the city. Patricia
shared the intimate details of what life with MS can be like through the
documentary about her story called MS’ed With the Wrong Girl which was released
in the spring of 2019. Patricia is currently employed by the Government of Alberta
as an Engagement and Ministry Events Coordinator for Justice and Solicitor General.
She has been with the government for almost eight years in various roles but has
really found her passion in her current role.

Cynthia Sneddon 

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Cynthia Sneddon (they/she) is a chronically ill and neurodivergent writer in Edmonton. They have spoken both locally and internationally on issues of disability at roundtable discussions and online summits organized by (and for) the disabled community. Cynthia is passionate about the culture of disability, including the values of collective care and interdependence, and has written about the need for disabled representation in community leadership roles.

Cynthia is a University of Alberta graduate with a Bachelor of Arts in English. They are a member of the 2SLGBTQ+ community and an advocate for intersectionally accessible spaces. They are an avid reader, an okay D&D player, and even more okay at cake decorating.

Ilara Stefaniuk-Gaudet

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Ilara Stefaniuk-Gaudet is a passionate artist who is committed to creating positive change in the world. They have been a community builder at heart their entire life and in a professional capacity for nearly twenty years. Currently, working as Director of Religious Education at Westwood Unitarian Congregation, Ilara takes great pride in their ability to adapt to a changing world and offer support where support is needed.

Born with severe kidney disease, Ilara has been a member of the disability community their entire life in many capacities. Their observations of the injustices experienced by folx with disabilities was their first introduction into seeing the need for advocacy. With time, they have gained the deeply held awareness that justice work must be intersectional work. It is this awareness and their creative ability to think out of the box that Ilara is most excited to contribute to the Accessibility Advisory Committee.

Marcy Vautour

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Marcy Vautour is a resident of Edmonton, AB. She has more than a decade of experience in advocacy, non-profits, and housing. She has been a powerful voice for those with disabilities. She has a strong interest in accessibility stemming from her own experiences as a person who has been hard of hearing since birth.

Marcy is also the Founder and CEO of Healthy Healing Coaches Ltd that gives a voice to the voiceless. They provide coaching to those with a disability.

Marcy Vautour is on the Board of Directors for CHHA — Edmonton (Canadian Hard of Hearing Association) and she is a stride advocate for John Humphrey Centre for Peace & Human Rights. She is a Director (Sponsorship) for Women in Bloom. 

She is also a motivational speaker and speaks at conferences and online on numerous topics facing people with disabilities, including, employment, finding your voice, accessibility, and homelessness.

Marcy is a Pomeranian enthusiast, and a novice ukulele player.

Zachary Weeks

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Born and raised in Edmonton, Zachary has been featured in the media as a spokesperson on disability issues since he was 18. He has consulted on a variety of building developments, including the Glenrose's Bill Black Auditorium, the Walterdale Theatre and Rogers Place.  Zachary was a recipient of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2012 and is an alumnus of the Governor General’s Canadian Leadership Conference. He was co-chair of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities planning committee in Edmonton from 2011 to 2014. He has been an active member of the City of Edmonton’s Accessibility Advisory Committee (AAC) since 2013, serving as chair of the Community Engagement Committee until 2016, and then as chair of the AAC until 2019. His personal interests include cheering on the Edmonton Oilers and spending quality time with his wife and family.