Directors and advisors

Select any of the following photographs to read the associated biography.

Patron

  • David Onley

    Hon. David Onley

    David Onley

    Hon. David Onley

    The Honourable David C. Onley served as Ontario’s 28th Lieutenant Governor from 2007 to 2014, following a distinguished career as a broadcaster. As Ontario’s first Lieutenant Governor with a physical disability, his Honour adopted accessibility as the overarching theme of his mandate. He has championed disability issues for many years, and served as chair of the Accessibility Standards Advisory Council of the Government of Ontario and an accessibility council member for the Rogers Centre and the Air Canada Centre.

    In October 2014, Mr. Onley was appointed Special Advisor, Accessibility, to the Minister of Economic Development, Employment and Infrastructure for Ontario. In this role, he has continued to break down barriers and promote the economic benefits of inclusion and employment of people with disabilities, championing accessibility across the province.

    Mr. Onley is the recipient of the Rick Hansen Award of Excellence, the Courage to Come Back Award and has been inducted into the Canadian Disability Hall of Fame. He holds 11 honorary degrees.

Chair

  • Kathy Martin

    Kathy Martin

    VP, HR

    Acklands Grainger Inc.

    Kathy Martin

    Kathy Martin

    VP, HR

    Acklands Grainger Inc.

    Ms. Martin is Vice President, Human Resources at Acklands-Grainger. As a retail executive with senior leadership experience at iconic Canadian brands Loblaw Companies Limited and Canadian Tire Corporation, Kathy has worked in operational and human resources roles, developing a keen understanding of both business strategy and people management.

    A member of the Government of Canada’s 2012 Panel on Labour Market Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities, Kathy was recognized as a 2012 Canadian Diversity Champion by the Women of Influence advocacy group. As Chair of Canadian Business SenseAbility, Kathy’s goal is to awaken business leaders to the skilled yet untapped talent pool that exists within the disabled community.

Board of Directors

  • Ken Fredeen

    Kenneth Fredeen

    General Counsel

    Deloitte LLP

    Ken Fredeen

    Kenneth Fredeen

    General Counsel

    Deloitte LLP

    Mr. Fredeen is General Counsel and a member of the Leadership Team of Deloitte LLP, Canada’s largest professional services firm. Mr. Fredeen is a leader in the legal community and in 2013 was named one of Canada’s 25 most influential lawyers in Canada. He is one of the founding members of Legal Leaders for Diversity and is now Chair of the Executive, Chair of The Learning Partnership Board and serves on the Board of the Canadian Centre for Ethics & Corporate Policy. In 2012, he was appointed Chair of the Government of Canada’s Panel on Labour Market Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities, an initiative cited for its widely acclaimed report, Rethinking DisAbility in the Private Sector published in January 2013.

    In 2012, Mr. Fredeen was awarded the Queen’s Jubilee Medal for his leadership on diversity and community service. In 2014, the Canadian Foundation for Physically Disabled Persons honoured him with the King Clancy Award for his significant contributions to advancing employment and opportunities for people with disabilities.

  • Mark Wafer

    Mark Wafer

    CEO

    Megleen Inc.

    Mark Wafer

    Mark Wafer

    CEO

    Megleen Inc.

    Mr. Wafer is a former Tim Hortons restaurant owner in Toronto. During his 25 years as a business owner, Mark and his wife Valarie hired close to 200 workers with disabilities into meaningful and competitively-paid positions, making up approximately 17% of their workforce. Mark believes there is a clear and compelling business case for real inclusion.

    Mark was one of four private-sector members named to Canada’s 2012 Panel on Labour Market Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities, and a co-founder of Canadian Business SenseAbility. Mark is an advisor to various levels of government both nationally and internationally, and is a sought-after keynote speaker.

    Mark is a recipient of Canada’s Meritorious Service Cross, the Ontario Medal for Good Citizenship and was inducted into the Canadian Disability Hall of Fame in 2014.

  • Alison Burgess

    Alison Burgess

    VP, Process

    Loblaw Co. Ltd.

    Alison Burgess

    Alison Burgess

    VP, Process

    Loblaw Co. Ltd.

    Ms. Burgess is Vice President, Process Design and Build at Loblaw Companies Ltd. She has worked in a variety of senior roles in both retail and manufacturing. A graduate of the University of Waterloo, she has extensive facilitation, program management, and process improvement experience and is a certified Six Sigma Black Belt and Lean Expert.

    Alison serves as Executive Sponsor of Disabilities Inclusion at Loblaw, and sets the company’s strategy and goals as they relate to persons with disabilities. She champions initiatives aimed at making Loblaw an accessible place to work and shop.

  • Vanessa White

    Vanessa White

    Chief HR Officer

    Maple Lodge Farms

    Vanessa White

    Vanessa White

    Chief HR Officer

    Maple Lodge Farms

    Ms. White is the Chief Human Resources Officer at Maple Lodge Farms Ltd., located in Brampton, Ontario. Vanessa has an extensive background in human resources, bringing more than 20 years of experience from some of Canada’s top 100 employers, including Sodexo Canada and Coca-Cola Bottling. Deeply committed to diversity and inclusion, Vanessa was a founding member and national chair of Sodexo’s Women in Leadership and Learning, an Advisory Board Member for the Canadian Institute of Diversity and Inclusion (CIDI), and is a founding board member of Canadian Business SenseAbility.

    A native of Nova Scotia, Vanessa graduated from Mount Saint Vincent University in Halifax, NS and achieved her certificate in Human Resources Management from St. Mary’s University.

  • Per Scott

    Per Scott

    VP, HR

    RBC

    Per Scott

    Per Scott

    VP, HR

    RBC

    Mr. Scott is Vice President, Human Resources at Royal Bank of Canada. Per is responsible for areas that enable and support the engagement and performance of the RBC workforce. These include diversity, employee relations, employee engagement and the RBC employee opinion survey; performance and career management; strategic workforce management; and employment brand communications. Per is a member of the Human Resources Operating Committee and the RBC Diversity Leadership Council.

    Outside the bank, Per serves on the Human Resources Policy Committee of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce and the Advisory Board for Center for Effective Organizations at the Marshall School of Business, University of Southern California.

  • Charles Gervais

    Charles Gervais

    General Counsel

    Assumption Life

    Charles Gervais

    Charles Gervais

    General Counsel

    Assumption Life

    Mr. Gervais is General Counsel at Assumption Mutual Life Insurance Company, a Life Insurance Company based in Moncton, New-Brunswick. Charles is also Chief Compliance Officer, Chief Complaint Officer, Chief Privacy Officer and Chief Anti-Money Laundering Officer for Assumption Life. Charles has been part of Legal Leaders for Diversity (LLD) since its inception, and serves as the Chair of the New Brunswick Chapter of LLD.

    Charles has also been proud to serve on a number of Boards where he promoted the rights and interests of minorities, including disabled people and other vulnerable groups. These Boards include L’Association des juristes d’expression française du Nouveau-Brunswick, Dieppe COOP, and the Research Ethics Committee of the Beausé jour Health Institute.

  • Julia Hanigsberg

    Julia Hanigsberg

    Pres. and CEO

    Holland Bloorview

    Julia Hanigsberg

    Julia Hanigsberg

    Pres. and CEO

    Holland Bloorview

    Ms. Hanigsberg is President and Chief Executive Officer of Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital, Canada’s largest paediatric rehabilitation hospital. Prior to joining Holland Bloorview, she held positions at Ryerson University as Vice President, Administration and Finance and served as Ryerson University’s first General Counsel and Secretary of the Board of Governors. Prior to joining Ryerson, she held a variety of positions with the Government of Ontario.

    Julia is a graduate of McGill Faculty of Law and Columbia Law School.

  • Joan Turner

    Joan Turner

    Past CEO

    SenseAbility

    Joan Turner

    Joan Turner

    Past CEO

    SenseAbility

    Ms. Turner was the founding CEO of Canadian Business SenseAbility. In 2013, she began with a goal of creating a national business network, uniquely focused on helping businesses become more accessible and inclusive of people with disabilities, in all aspects of their business. Under Joan’s leadership, SenseAbility has grown and evolved to deliver a comprehensive program of business-focused resources, training, events and advisory services, helping businesses advance to the forefront of disability inclusion practice.

    Joan joined SenseAbility after more than 25 years of senior sales and marketing roles in the telecommunications industry. Joan’s extensive experience working with businesses of all sizes, identifying business needs and creating tailored solutions has ideally positioned her to engage and support Canadian companies in hiring people with disabilities and attracting them as customers.

Advisors

The Canadian Business SenseAbility advisory board members are leaders in technology, business and community engagement. They play a vital role in helping us shape our strategy and ensure we approach business in a holistic way.

  • Gary Birch

    Gary Birch

    E. D.

    Neil Squire Society

    Gary Birch

    Gary Birch

    E. D.

    Neil Squire Society

    Gary Birch is an expert in Brain-Computer Interface (BCI) technology and Executive Director of the Neil Squire Society. Mobility impaired after a car accident in 1975, Dr. Birch was one of the original players of wheelchair rugby known as “Murderball” and won several medals in the 1980 Summer Paralympics in the Netherlands. He continues to champion accessibility through his Research and Development work in assistive technologies at the University of British Columbia and with the Neil Squire Society.

    Dr. Birch, who holds a B.A. Sc. in Electrical Engineering and a Doctorate in Electrical Engineering, was appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada in 2008.

  • Rich Donovan

    Rich Donovan

    CEO

    The Return on Disability Group

    Rich Donovan

    Rich Donovan

    CEO

    The Return on Disability Group

    Rich Donovan is a globally recognized subject matter expert on the convergence of disability and corporate profitability. His 2012 research paper, The Global Economics of Disability, is frequently quoted by businesses, governments and NGOs. Prior to The Return on Disability Group, Mr. Donovan founded Lime, a leading third party recruiter in the disability space, where he helped Google, PepsiCo, Bank of America/Merrill Lynch, IBM and TD Bank attract and retain top talent. Previously, he was a Proprietary Trader and Portfolio Manager at Merrill Lynch.

    Mr. Donovan holds an MBA from Columbia Business School and a BBA from Schulich School of Business at York University, and happens to have cerebral palsy. He is Chair of the Accessibility Standards Advisory Council (ASAC) providing high-level strategic advice to the Ontario Minister of Economic Development, Employment and Infrastructure.

  • Norah Flaherty

    Norah Flaherty

    Business Consultant

    Norah Flaherty

    Norah Flaherty

    Business Consultant

    Norah Flaherty is a Business Consultant and Management Trainer with expertise in disability-related issues. She serves on the Board of Directors of Community Living BC and on its Provincial Advisory Committee. A former Lecturer at Concordia University in Montreal, Ms. Flaherty has also served on several education–related boards including that of the École Française Internationale de Vancouver. She founded the West Point Grey Ball Hockey Team for young men with developmental disabilities, and is a member of the Program Committee of the Canucks Autism Network.

    Ms. Flaherty holds a Bachelor of Education and Master of Science in Renewable Resources from McGill University, as well as a MBA from Concordia University, Montreal.