Backgrounder: Chief Executive Officer and Board member’s biographies


Philip Rizcallah – Chief Executive Officer 

Since 2019, Philip Rizcallah has been the Chief Executive Officer and Deputy Head of Accessibility Standards Canada (ASC). Throughout this time, he has been leading this departmental corporation in setting initial policy, governance, and accreditation of the organization. He has also spearheaded the development of several accessibility standards to deliver on ASC’s mandate to help achieve a barrier-free Canada by 2040. 

Between 2014 and 2019, Mr. Rizcallah led teams at the National Research Council of Canada as Program Director, and prior to that as Director for the Building Regulations Resource Unit. His main responsibilities included Codes Canada, which covers accessibility requirements for buildings. 

Known for his ability to effectively and efficiently manage programs involving multidisciplinary teams, Mr. Rizcallah has led strategic project proposals, secured financial commitments and built teams to execute these projects. He has developed and leveraged client relationships with many strategic government and construction industry partners including Canadian accessibility groups. 

Between 2010 and 2018, Mr. Rizcallah was a key player with the Regulatory Reconciliation Cooperation Table (RCT), and federal representative with the Federal Provincial Territorial Working Group. While in this role, he worked to align National Codes in the country, introduce freely accessible codes and contributed to the development of the ongoing RCT Agreement, which will be key in harmonizing accessibility requirements across Canada. 

A registered Professional Engineer in the province of Ontario, Mr. Rizcallah holds a Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering (Technical University of Nova Scotia) and a Bachelor of Science, Honours Mathematics (Dalhousie University). 

Paul-Claude Bérubé - Chair

Paul-Claude Bérubé is a lawyer in Saint‑Jean‑sur‑Richelieu, Quebec. A member of the International Senior Lawyers Project (ISLP) since 2009, Mr. Bérubé has provided pro bono legal assistance to governments and civil society organizations in India, South Africa and Kenya. The major focus of Mr. Bérubé’s effort for ISLP has been in Haiti where he provided training on drafting regulations and legislation on an annual basis from 2009 to 2013.

From 1999 to 2008, he was the National Chairperson of the Board of Directors for Independent Living Canada, an organization designed to facilitate greater independence through the active and meaningful involvement of persons living with any form of disability. He also has extensive experience in municipal politics, as well as the education and health sectors.

Mr. Bérubé holds a Bachelor of Law (Université Laval), was called to the Quebec Bar in 1984, and became a member of its Arbitration Tribunal in 2012. He was also made an honorary member of the
Port-au-Prince Bar in Haiti in 2015.

Mary Reid - Vice-Chair

Mary Reid is an accessibility and inclusion specialist, with thirty-five years of experience applying that lens to community development, service delivery oversight, and the creation of policy and legislation.

As the Director of the Disability Policy Office for the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador from 2009 to 2018, Ms. Reid established a focal point for accessibility and inclusion within the provincial government. She has also held the positions of Accessibility Coordinator for the City of Ottawa and Executive Director for the Independent Living Resource Centre in St. John’s.

Ms. Reid has experience in developing and proposing standards for regulation, having done so for the Province of Ontario under its Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act. She has also been a board member for the Council of Canadians with Disabilities.

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

Dr. Joe McLaughlin - Director

Dr. Joe McLaughlin is the founder of McLaughlin Educational Consulting Services and President of the International Catholic Deaf Association for the Canada Section since 2012.

An American Sign Language user, Dr. McLaughlin’s research interests include social justice, development of non-profit organizations, and deaf studies. He was the Dean of Deaf Studies and Special Services at Ohlone College in Freemont, California, from 2004 to 2008, and is an adjunct professor with the University of British Columbia.

Dr. McLaughlin holds a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology (Gallaudet University, Washington, D.C.) and a Masters of Arts in Education and Counselling Psychology (University of British Columbia). He also holds a Doctor of Education in Higher Education Administration (Alliant International University, San Francisco, California).

Maureen Haan - Director

Maureen Haan is the President and CEO of the Canadian Council on Rehabilitation and Work, an organization dedicated to helping people with disabilities break down barriers to employment, and helping employers to become leaders in hiring and retaining employees with disabilities.

Ms. Haan is fluent in American Sign Language (ASL) and has extensive professional and volunteer experience in the areas of advocacy and rehabilitation. From 2001 to 2012, she was the Executive Director of Silent Voice, a not-for-profit organization that provides accessible programs and services to deaf adults, children and their families in ASL.

An advocate for the rights of persons with disabilities, Ms. Haan has participated on numerous boards, expert panels and committees. She is currently a board member for the Canadian Association of Supported Employment, and recently, a board member for the College of Vocational Rehabilitation Professionals. She is also a technical committee member at the Canadian Standards Association working to develop a Disability Management Systems standard, and a founder and principle member of the steering committee of the Disability and Work Canada Conference.

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

Penny Hartin - Director

Penny Hartin is an experienced senior manager in the not-for-profit and voluntary sectors. Throughout her career, she has been dedicated to human rights advocacy, inclusion and disability rights legislation. She has managed multi-level organizations at the community, provincial, national and international levels.

Ms. Hartin worked for 27 years with the Canadian National Institute for the Blind (CNIB) in a variety of senior management roles. In 2006, she was appointed as the first Chief Executive Officer of the World Blind Union (WBU) where she remained until her retirement in June 2018. Ms. Hartin has also served on the United Nations Panel of Experts on Disability Issues, which monitors the Standard Rules on the Equalization of Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities.

She is a member of the CNIB National Board of Directors, the CNIB Deafblind Community Services Board, the Canadian Blind Sailing Association and the World Braille Foundation Board of Directors.

Ms. Hartin holds a Doctor of Laws (honoris causa) and a Bachelor of Science in Language (Laurentian University).

William Adair - Director

William Adair is the Executive Director of Spinal Cord Injury Canada, a charity that assists people with spinal cord injuries and other physical disabilities in achieving independence, self-reliance and full community participation.

Mr. Adair has extensive professional and community experience in the areas of healthcare and disability. He is a founding member of the Canadian Disability Policy Alliance, the Ontario Neurotrama Foundation and Candlelighters Canada. Most recently, he has lent his leadership and expertise to 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) and is a graduate of the Executive Leadership Course on the Management of Non-Profit Organizations (Harvard University). He received Canada’s Meritorious Service Medal in 2016.

Brad McCannell - Director

Brad McCannell is the Vice-President, Access and Inclusion, for the Rick Hansen Foundation - responsible for the content and integrity of the Rick Hansen Foundation Accessibility Certification program and corresponding assessor training. He is also an active member of the International Paralympic Committee’s Access Working Group and the Standards Council of Canada, contributing his expertise on accessibility across the entire built environment. Brad is a C6 quadriplegic and uses a wheelchair and service dog on a daily basis.

A professional access consultant since 1992, Mr. McCannell created Canadian Barrier Free Design Inc. to fill the gap between the building code requirements and the real needs of people with disabilities, older adults and seniors. He has extensive experience in the practical application of universal design and finding solutions that create meaningful access for people of all abilities. His accessibility consultation credits for buildings, organizations and events is a long one, including as the primary access consultant for the Vancouver International Airport, and the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympic & Paralympic Games, as well as developing and supporting access initiatives for the 2008, 2012 and 2016 Olympic & Paralympic Games, the City of Vancouver, and numerous post-secondary education campuses.

Mr. McCannell also shares his experiences and expertise through speaking engagements in the United States and Canada.

Kory L. Earle - Director

Kory L. Earle is an advocate for persons with disabilities and the current President of People First of Canada, a national non-profit organization for persons with intellectual disabilities that works to educate and influence communities and government for the full inclusion of all.

Mr. Earle became active with his local People First chapter in 2006 and within three years took on the role of President; he was also active in the provincial chapter – People First of Ontario. In 2009, Mr. Earle was appointed as the Youth Representative to the board of People First of Canada, and has been on the national board ever since.

Mr. Earle has extensive lived experience and has focussed much of his efforts on helping to build a more inclusive education system for persons with intellectual disabilities.

Mr. Earle’s mission is to ensure that all persons with disabilities are welcomed and included in all aspects of Canadian society, and that everyone, whether they have a disability or not, is treated with dignity and respect.

Laurie Ringaert - Director

Laurie Ringaert is the owner and principal consultant of Changeweavers Consulting, a company helping organizations interested in change internally or regarding complex social, community and health system issues.

She has extensive experience in accessibility, universal design, disability and aging, spanning nearly three decades. She has led accessibility-related centres, developed and delivered accessibility-related courses, engaged in pioneering accessibility research and influenced policy both nationally and internationally.

Ms. Ringaert is a committee member of the Canadian Standards Association, and was recently appointed Vice Chair of its Barrier-Free Standing Committee.

She holds a Bachelor of Science, a Bachelor of Medical Rehabilitation in Occupational Therapy and a Masters Degree in Community Health Science (all from the University of Manitoba).

Rabia S. Khedr - Director

Rabia Khedr is a community leader dedicated to helping others address issues of fairness and justice, affecting persons with disabilities, women and diverse communities. She recently served as a Commissioner for the Ontario Human Rights Commission. She is the Chief Executive Officer of the Disability Empowerment Equality Network Support Services serving individuals with disabilities in Ontario and Executive Director of the Muslim Council of Peel supporting not-for-profit organizations and charities.

Ms. Khedr is founder of the Canadian Alliance on Race and Disability (CARD), which represents racialized individuals with disabilities and organizations in local, provincial and national consultations. She is also a member of the Mississauga Accessibility Advisory Committee.

A motivational speaker and a documentary commentator, Ms. Khedr has received numerous awards for her humanitarian services, including a Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Metal.

Ms. Khedr holds a Bachelor of Arts (University of Toronto) and a Master of Arts (York University).

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