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.
Susan holds a Bachelor of Physical Education from the University of Alberta. After obtaining her degree, she had the privilege of working as an Accessibility Advisor at the University of Alberta, with and in support of students experiencing accessibility related challenges, which sparked an interest in increasing community knowledge and awareness of accessibility related challenges faced by those experiencing disability.
Susan has participated in local, provincial, and national organizations, including memberships with the Post Secondary Accessibility and Disability Resource Association and the Accessibility and Inclusion Community of Practice with the Canadian Association of College and University Student Services. She has a passion for equity, inclusion, and community development and endeavours to give back to the greater Edmonton community as a member of the Accessibility Advisory Committee.
Chitra is an artist and designer working in the field of inclusive and universal product design and services. She was a third year Pharmacy student at the University of Alberta and later joined the Industrial Design program, where she completed numerous projects that specifically enable and support the priorities of access, for seniors with ambulatory challenges and individuals with physical disabilities. She designed a three-dimensional model of an inclusive and fully accessible community playground for children and caregivers of all abilities. Another project, Chitra built a design for an eating utensil, for individuals with severe arthritis and joint conditions, that offered enhanced client comfort, independence and dignity. She is a strong advocate for inclusive spaces, an efficient and professional team player and communicator.
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 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.
Jaime Caza, CFRE, is the Director, Philanthropy & Communications at the Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital Foundation. Jaime is passionate about advocacy and serving the community. After ten years working in the corporate sector, Jaime transitioned to the non-profit sector after her son became ill, and her family experienced raising a child with a medical disability. With ten years of experience in non-profit, including senior leadership roles at Ronald McDonald House Charities and the Edmonton Humane Society, Jaime brings an in-depth knowledge of building partnerships, developing programs, and engaging the community. As a person with severe hearing loss herself, Jaime understands the importance of inclusion intimately. Jaime’s role at the Glenrose Foundation has provided her with tremendous opportunities to see first-hand how innovation is advancing rehabilitative medicine and helping patients to re-imagine their futures after serious injury or illness.
In addition to her role as a full-time teacher, for the past 10 years Janet has also taken on the role of Department Head for Special Education at Austin O’Brien High School. Janet advocates for youth who are developmentally delayed by working with multiple agencies and stakeholders to create, support and expand services for these exceptional students. Janet believes in creating a dynamic, strong, caring inclusive community where everyone has equal access to programs and services. Janet strives to develop programs that enhance the quality of learning for all stakeholders, and she strives to offer inspiration to others and to demonstrate that together we can help everyone achieve their goals and dreams.
In 2009, Janet was honoured by the Alberta Government with an Excellence in Teaching Award. She represents her colleagues on the Executive of the Alberta Teachers’ Association of Local 54 Edmonton Catholic Teachers. Janet also works with the ATA committee at GETCA (Greater Edmonton Teacher Convention Association) and contributes her time and efforts to the annual Teachers’ Convention in Edmonton.
Crystal Jones has lived in Edmonton since 2001. Her roots begin in British Columbia before her parents decided to relocate to Hinton, Alberta. She graduated from the University of Alberta in 2009 with her Bachelor of Physical Education, specializing in Adapted Physical Activity for Special Populations. She worked for Canadian Tire for 16 years, wearing different hats throughout the year, before deciding it was time for a change, and made a transition to the City of Edmonton, working first in Support Staff Services and recently took on a new Clerk role in Financial Services.
Crystal has been deaf since the age of 2, due to meningitis. She has been active in the Deaf and Art communities for a number of years, both as an advocate or participant. As of November 2015, she accepted a role as Director at large for Alberta Association of the Deaf. She hopes to help improve the lives of deaf Albertans and educate others on deaf topics and issues. She has been a guest lecturer for a number of her old professors’ courses at the University of Alberta for almost 10 years. She primarily delivers lectures on hearing loss awareness for the course PERL 207: Adapted Physical Activity for Special Populations, and hopes to do more of these awareness lectures.
Crystal keeps herself busy with gardening, painting, reading, working out at the gym, and is well known on social media for her favourite hashtag #allthingsgreen, as she loves anything that is green and alive.
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 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 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.
Jason Pisesky (Chair)
Jason is a born and raised Edmontonian. He attended the University of Alberta, attaining his Bachelor of Arts degree in 2011 and his Juris Doctorate in 2014. He was called to the Alberta bar in 2015 and is currently practicing tax law at a downtown law firm.
Jason is aware of the issues facing individuals across the disability spectrum because of his parents, who work in homes across Edmonton assisting individuals with varying degrees of mental and physical impairments.
Paige Reeves is first and foremost a wife, sister, daughter, and friend. By trade, Paige is a Registered Occupational therapist and Ph.D. Student in the faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine at the University of Alberta. Her lived experiences as sister and friend to individuals with diverse abilities spurred her to consider research as a career path and are what continues to fuel her passion for the work she does. Her research interests include critical disability studies, social justice, social inclusion, and disability and identity. In her doctoral work she is exploring friendship and social connectedness amongst individuals with disabilities. It is Paige’s hope that her research will uncover valuable information about social connection for youth with disabilities that can inform inclusion policy and the growth of community capacity to support individuals with disabilities to lead full, rich lives in the community.
Paige is passionate about making change in her community and devotes much of her free time to local community work. She is a member of the Rotary Club of Edmonton Whyte Avenue and sits on the Rotary Employment Partnership Steering Committee. She has also co-founded a local community group, RootEd., which aims to increase social connectedness amongst adults with disabilities in Edmonton.
Tracey has lived in Edmonton since 2017, having moved from Grande Prairie where she spent 18 years. She is a Registered Nurse, specialized in the operating room and currently working at the Royal Alexandra Hospital. Since 2004, Tracey has worked in the operating room as a front line nurse, a Clinical Nurse Educator and also as a Nurse Manager for the operating and post anesthetic unit. Tracey also provides sessional instruction at MacEwan University teaching the Perioperative Nursing Certificate. Tracey’s experience with disability and accessibility issues is a result of her son’s permanent physical disability. Now nearing twenty-one, the last two decades have required patience and creativity to overcome physical barriers in the environment and community. This required liaising with community organizations and various programs to advocate and improve his daily, independent living.
Since 2015, Tracey has assisted in coaching and team leading for Team Canada for her son as he competes on international platforms in the sport of para power lifting. This experience has exposed her to numerous disabilities on a global scale having travelled to numerous places around the world. She and her son have learned to navigate the world in a wheelchair.
Nadeem arrived on the Canadian stage at the age of 2 from Moshi, Tanzania, East Africa; taking residence and making a home in Toronto, Ontario, with his family. Nadeem studied, worked and created a name for himself as an analyst and project manager in the Canadian Telecommunications Industry until 2005. He then decided to take a role as a consultant, on the ground with an AKDN sister company in Asia. During this time Nadeem came back to Toronto to have his first and only daughter, and he and his family moved to Edmonton in 2010.
In February 2014, Nadeem was struck with a sudden and undiagnosed brain aneurysm causing a stroke and leaving Nadeem with paralysis on the left side. However, after a lot of hard work in full time rehabilitation for over a year and a half, Nadeem was able to leave his wheelchair and was able to ambulate using what was left of his own feet, talk and be partially mobile to follow his dream to help others follow their dreams.
At this point Nadeem uses his Challenge Leadership skills In governance, continuous improvement and operational effectiveness in various Not for profit Boards in Canada to continue his work as a challenge driven leader to help resolve & eradicate challenges creatively by choreographing work using professional skills.
Vanessa Van was born with severe and profound hearing loss, and she wears a hearing aid. She works full time with the City of Edmonton as a Travel and Training Coordinator.
She is in the Accounting and Strategic Measurement program with MacEwan University, and attends classes part-time.
Her interests are gardening, travelling, reading, and card making. She has a hidden talent, she lip-reads very well especially from a distance. She is a very motivated and detailed individual.