Biographies: Members of Accessibility Standards Canada's Board of Directors

Chairperson: J. Paul Walsh

Profile picture of J. Paul Walsh

Since January 2021, J. Paul Walsh has been the Chief Executive Officer at the Autism Society of Newfoundland & Labrador. He is responsible for the overall direction of the organization and oversight of its daily operations.

Previously, Mr. Walsh worked in the private industry in the banking and utility sector for 35 years. During that time, he was also a course instructor at the Faculty of Business Administration, Memorial University. He holds a Bachelor of Commerce, Master of Business Administration, and a Master’s Certificate in Project Management.

Over the years, Mr. Walsh has done various community and volunteer work on boards, committees, and councils. These include the St. John’s Transportation Commission, the Coalition of Persons with Disabilities-Newfoundland and Labrador, and the Newfoundland and Labrador Provincial Advisory Council for the Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities.

He is a mentor, coach, and leader with a strong track record of developing emerging professionals. Mr. Walsh was the recipient of EmpowerNL’s 2020 Cecilia Carroll Award for Independent Living in recognition of his personal commitment exceeding 20 years to the full inclusion of people with disabilities. He was also a finalist for the Newfoundland and Labrador Human Rights Award.

Vice-Chairperson: Mary Reid

Mary Reid is an accessibility and inclusion specialist. She has worked for 35 years to bring accessibility and inclusion to community development, service delivery and the creation of policies and laws.

Ms. Reid was the Director of the Disability Policy Office for the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador from 2009 to 2018. She worked to make people aware of how important accessibility and inclusion are at the provincial government. She was also Accessibility Coordinator for the City of Ottawa and Executive Director for the Independent Living Resource Centre in St. John’s.

Ms. Reid has a lot of experience creating and suggesting standards and rules. She has done work in this area within the Province of Ontario under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act. She has also been a board member for the Council of Canadians with Disabilities.

Ms. Reid has a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Sociology (Mount Allison University).

Director: William Adair

William Adair is the Executive Director of Spinal Cord Injury Canada, a charity that helps people with spinal cord injuries and other physical disabilities to be able to do more on their own and be fully part of their community.

Mr. Adair has a lot of experience in the areas of healthcare and disability. He was one of the members who started the Canadian Disability Policy Alliance, the Ontario Neurotrama Foundation, and Candlelighters Canada. He has also helped the Government of Canada through the Federal Accessibility Legislation Alliance, the Working Group on Alternate Format Materials and the Parliamentary Precinct Advisory Panel.

Mr. Adair has a Bachelor of Science (University of Minnesota). He did the Executive Leadership Course on the Management of Non-Profit Organizations (Harvard University). He received Canada’s Meritorious Service Medal in 2016, which is an award for great Canadians who have done wonderful things that bring honour to our country.

Director: Wissam Constantin

Wissam Constantin is a well-known leader in the Deaf community since moving to Canada in 2017. Mr. Constantin is a Community and Events Manager at Canadian Administrator of Video Relay Services (CAV) since 2022.

Mr. Constantin shares his true passion as a Deaf advocate for a better quality of life in the Deaf community, especially those who use sign language as the primary language of communication. He was involved with the Canadian Association of the Deaf (CAD) for several years as a former President, Vice-President and Project Director.

Mr. Constantin participated in federal government consultations on policy developments and accessibility implementations, especially public proceedings with the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC). He was also on the Canadian Association of the Deaf’s committee for organizing and advocating for ASL-LSQ legal recognition in Canada in 2018-2019.

Mr. Constantin was the first Deaf university graduate in Lebanon, where he earned a Bachelor of Science in Medical Laboratory Technology and a Master’s degree in Microbiology and Immunology. He is currently completing a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science for Canadian Politics and Public Policy, with a minor in Law at Carleton University, Ottawa.

Director: Kory L. Earle

Kory L. Earle is a supporter of the rights of persons with disabilities. Right now, he is the President of People First of Canada, an organization for persons with intellectual disabilities. The organization works to educate communities and government so that everyone can be fully included.

Since 2006, Mr. Earle has been involved with his local People First group, and he became the President in 2009. He was also part of the People First of Ontario group. In 2009, Mr. Earle was appointed as the Youth Representative to the Board of Directors of People First of Canada, and has been on that Board of Directors ever since.

Mr. Earle has a lot of personal experience and has spent a lot of his time helping to build a more inclusive school system for persons with intellectual disabilities.

Mr. Earle’s goal is to make sure that all persons with disabilities are included in all parts of Canadian society, and that everyone is treated with respect.

Director: Maureen Haan

Maureen Haan is the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Canadian Council on Rehabilitation and Work. This organization helps persons with disabilities to overcome obstacles with getting a job and also helps bosses to become leaders in hiring and keeping employees with disabilities.

Ms. Haan speaks American Sign Language and she has a lot of professional and volunteer experience. From 2001 to 2012, she was the Executive Director of Silent Voice, an organization that has programs and services for deaf adults, children and their families in American Sign Language.

Ms. Haan defends the rights of persons with disabilities and has been a member of many groups and committees. She is a board member for the Canadian Association of Supported Employment and a board member for the College of Vocational Rehabilitation Professionals. She is a member at the Canadian Standards Association, and a member of the Disability and Work Canada Conference committee.

Ms. Haan has a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology (York University).

Director: Brad McCannell

Brad McCannell photo

Brad McCannell is the Vice-President, Access and Inclusion, for the Rick Hansen Foundation. He is also a member of the International Paralympic Committee’s Access Working Group and the Standards Council of Canada. He provides his experience with accessibility in the whole built environment. Mr. McCannell uses a wheelchair and a service dog every day.

Mr. McCannell has been an access consultant since 1992 and created Canadian Barrier Free Design Inc. to fill the gap between the building rules and the real needs of persons with disabilities, older adults and seniors.

He has a lot of experience in design and finding ways to create access for people of all abilities. He has given accessibility advice for many buildings, organizations and events. He has also been a consultant for the Vancouver International Airport and the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Games. He created and supported accessibility projects for the 2008, 2012 and 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games, as well as for the City of Vancouver and many universities and colleges.

Mr. McCannell also shares his experience at conferences in Canada and the United States.

Director: Laurie Ringaert

Laurie Ringaert photo

Laurie Ringaert is the owner and main consultant of Change Weavers Consulting, Winnipeg and Nanaimo.

She has almost 30 years of experience in accessibility, design, disability and aging. She has led accessibility centres (Universal Design Institute, University of Manitoba; Centre for Universal Design, North Carolina State University) and has created and taught accessibility classes. She was also the Manager of the Measuring Up the North project in Prince George, British Columbia, which helped 40 communities to become more accessible for persons with disabilities. She has also created guidelines for outdoor recreation (such as parks) and gave her opinion on national and international policies.

She was also a member of the Canadian Centre on Disability Studies. She has been part of the National Building Code and two Canadian Standards Association (CSA) committees, including the bank machine standard. Ms. Ringaert is currently Vice Chair of the CSA-B651 Accessible Design for the Built Environment.

Laurie Ringaert has Bachelor of Science, a Bachelor of Medical Rehabilitation in Occupational Therapy and a Master of Science.

Director: Christopher T. Sutton

Christopher T. Sutton has more than two decades of executive experience, where he has made significant contributions to organizations serving individuals with disabilities in the United States and Canada. He has assumed leadership positions across the not-for-profit, public, and start-up sectors. Currently, he serves as the Chief Executive Officer at Wavefront Centre for Communication Accessibility.

Mr. Sutton is widely recognized as an expert in inclusion, diversity, equity, and accessibility (IDEA). He actively engages in multiple national and provincial committees, and his involvement in various consumer/industry working groups has fostered accessibility and inclusion for diverse audiences. His personal experience with hearing loss and the barriers he faced while living with a disability have informed his deep commitment to accessibility and inclusion.

Mr. Sutton holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Gallaudet University and a Master of Business Administration from the Ivey Business School at the University of Western Ontario. Further demonstrating his passion for lifelong learning, he is currently enrolled in the Director Education Program at the University of Toronto - Rothman School of Management.