Disability Advisory Committee

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On April 9, 2021, the Committee released its second annual report. Read the report below.

Role

The Disability Advisory Committee advises the Minister of National Revenue and the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) on how the Agency can improve the way it administers and interprets tax measures for Canadians with disabilities. 

Annual Reports

2020

2019

Members

The Committee is made up of 12 members and 2 co-chairs and includes professionals from various fields, such as health professionals, lawyers, accountants, and tax professionals, as well as advocates of the disability community, representatives of indigenous communities, and persons with disabilities.

Members of the Disability Advisory Committee alongside Parliamentary Secretary Francesco Sorbara and Commissioner Bob Hamilton at their virtual meeting on April 14, 2021.

Members of the Disability Advisory Committee alongside Parliamentary Secretary Francesco Sorbara and Commissioner Bob Hamilton at their virtual meeting on April 14, 2021.

Membership

Frank Vermaeten, Co-Chair

Dr. Karen R. Cohen, Ph.D., Co-Chair

Sherri Torjman, Vice-Chair

Laurie Beachell

Gary Birch, O.C., O.B.C.

Roberta Heale

Ray McGuire 

Ray McGuire is a member of the Choctaw Nation, located in Oklahoma, U.S.A. Ray enjoys a long history of working and volunteering with Indigenous communities both within British Columbia and in Alberta. As a registered Social Worker, contractor and consultant within British Columbia, Ray has been involved in a number of local, regional, and provincial initiatives within both the Indigenous disability and health sectors. Ray brings a wealth of knowledge, experience to the British Columbia Aboriginal Network on Disability Society Board of Directors and is well known, respected and recognized for his work across the province.

Marie Ryan 

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Marie Ryan is a partner with Goss Gilroy, a management-consulting firm. She acquired her disability in the late eighties and soon began her work with organizations for persons with disabilities, as well as volunteering more generally in the community. Marie sat as the provincial Chair of the Coalition of Persons with Disabilities for eight years, was the Chair of the Council of Canadians with Disabilities (CCD) for eight years, and chaired their Social Policy Working Group for about ten years, ending her tenure with CCD in 2014. In 2017, Marie was appointed Chair of the Provincial Advisory Committee for the Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities, a position she held for 2 years.

She has extensive experience working with diverse populations including youth/youth at-risk, persons with disabilities, Indigenous people, newcomers, women and children experiencing violence, and those experiencing homelessness, mental illness, addiction and/or living in poverty. Marie was recognized in January 2018 when she was inducted into the Order of Newfoundland and Labrador. She was also inducted into the NL Volunteer Hall of Fame in 2015. Marie resides in Newfoundland and Labrador.

Sharon McCarry 

Sharon McCarry

Sharon McCarry is the founder and Executive Director of La Fondation Place Coco, which manages and operates The Little Red Playhouse, a center that integrates neuro-typical children and children with an autism spectrum disorder. Sharon serves on the Parent Advisory Committee for the Strongest Families Institute and the Child-Bright Network. She has been helping parents navigate the health system and supporting them when applying for the DTC for the last 12 years.

She is the parent of two children, one of whom is diagnosed with Autism and one with Crohn's disease. Sharon resides in Montréal, Quebec.

Brendon Pooran

Brendon Pooran

Brendon Pooran is the Managing Partner of PooranLaw Professional Corporation, a law firm based in Toronto which provides advice to people with disabilities, their families and community-based organizations within the disability sector.  His primary areas of practice include trust and estate planning, disability law and corporate law for non-profits and charities.  He has been very involved in law and policy reforms efforts involving issues and initiatives affecting people with disabilities including the legal capacity, affordable housing, social assistance programs and the Registered Disability Saving Plan. In addition to his practice, Brendon is a professor of Disability Law at York University and a former Senior Lawyer Member on the Ontario Consent & Capacity Board.  He is also a founding director of PLAN Toronto (now Partners for Planning) and Chair of the Board of Microboards Ontario, both non-profit organizations focused on future planning for people with disabilities and their families.  Before entering the legal profession, Brendon spent several years as a management consultant where he advised state and local government agencies in the United States.

Dr. Olaf Kraus de Camargo

Dr. Olaf Kraus de Camargo

Dr. Olaf Kraus de Camargo is an Associate Professor in the Department of Pediatrics at McMaster University. He completed his medical education and pediatric training in Brazil, followed by a residency in Germany where he received training in developmental-behavioural pediatrics and child neurology.

Prior to joining the faculty at McMaster, Dr. Kraus de Camargo held positions in Germany as a Professor of Social Medicine at the University of Applied Sciences Nordhausen and as CEO and Medical Director of Kinderzentrum Pelzerhaken gGmbH, an inpatient and outpatient facility for children with developmental-behavioural disabilities and chronic neurologic disorders.

Dr. Kraus de Camargo is a scientist at the CanChild Centre for Childhood Disability Research and a member of MacART (McMaster Autism Research Team). He practices as a developmental pediatrician at the Ron Joyce Children’s Health Centre in Hamilton, Ontario.

Since 2001, Olaf Kraus de Camargo has been involved with the implementation of the WHO - International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF). He co-edited the book ICF: A Hands-On Approach for Clinicians and Families.

View Dr. Kraus de Camargo's research and publications on ResearchGate, a digital network dedicated to science and research.

Jonathan Lai

Jonathan Lai

Jonathan Lai (PhD) is the Executive Director at the Canadian Autism Spectrum Disorders Alliance (CASDA). He also holds an Adjunct Faculty position in Health Services Research at the Institute of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation (IHPME) in the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto. At CASDA, Jonathan's current work involves responding to emerging policy gaps in the autism sector and being a constructive policy idea generator to guide the development of a National Autism Strategy in Canada.

Jonathan’s career has moved from generating research to policy impact in the autism and disability sector. Previously, he completed a postdoctoral fellowship at York University followed by a Health System Impact Fellowship at McGill University and the Centre for Innovation in Autism and Intellectual Disabilities in Montreal. In his work, he researched predictors of changes in service use for people with developmental disabilities. He has led the development of a program evaluation of a specialized medical-dental primary care clinic for people with developmental disabilities, led policy dialogues, and hosted Side Events at the United Nations Convention of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. His graduate training in Neuroscience at Guelph and McMaster focused on gene-environment influences on the developing brain, funded consecutively by Ontario Mental Health Foundation and a CIHR Vanier Scholarship.

Dr. Marie-Hélène Chomienne

Dr. Marie-Hélène Chomienne

Marie-Hélène Chomienne is a Family physician and clinical investigator. She has a medical degree from the University of Paris, France (1982) and University of Sherbrooke, Canada (1982), and Canadian College of Family Physician (1985) as well as a Master’s degree in epidemiology, University of Ottawa, Canada (2004). She is assistant professor at the Faculty of Medicine with cross appointments at the faculty of Education and the School of Epidemiology and Public Health at the University of Ottawa, Canada.

She works as Hospitalist at the Montfort Hospital, an academic institution in Ottawa, Canada and a Clinical Investigator, senior scientist at the Institut du Savoir Montfort and the CT Lamont Primary Care Research Centre. Main research interests are Mental health care in primary care, Health Services. She holds a Research Chair Fancophonie internationale sur « L’état de santé physique et mental de l’immigrant ou réfugié francophone d’Afrique Subsaharienne »

Dr. Chomienne is a member of the Médecins Francophones du Canada and the Canadian College of Family physicians. She is recipient of the Canadian Association for Medical Education Certificate of Merit, Outstanding Support to the Resident Scholarly Project and the 15 Years of service Awards from the Department of Family Medicine University of Ottawa and the Prix Antares Rayonnement Award from the Montfort Hospital.

Janean Marshall

Janean Marshall

Janean Marshall is a Mi’kmaw educator with over 19 years of experience in the field of inclusion and literacy. A junior high literacy teacher for over 10 years with Eskasoni School board and the past 8 years with MI’kmaw Kina’matnewey as the Student Services Consultant. She has been a part time professor for Saint Francis Xavier University since 2018 in the BEd and MEd programs as an Inclusive Education leader in Curriculum and Administration.

She is the Yoga in Schools lead for Mi’kmaw Kina’matnewey and along with the Breathing Space staff have trained over 50 teachers in their 200hr Yoga Teacher Training Certification. She herself is trained over 500hrs in Yoga and 100hrs in Mindfulness. She has numerous degrees including two Med degrees in Administration and Leadership and Curriculum in inclusion.

She is a strong advocate for Diverse learners across the province and is the Mi’kmaw representative for the board of directors for Autism Nova Scotia and Nova Scotia Early Childhood Development Intervention Services. She has developed and implemented Snoozelyn rooms within Mi’kmaw Communities in collaboration with Flaghouse Canada.

She is an inclusive practitioner of evidence based strategies such as TEACCH, PEERS, STAR and PECS. She is a mother of a teen with Autism and he along with many other Diverse Learners have been her greatest teachers. Mi’kmaq language and culture and the inclusive philosophy of her nation grounds her how she sees and supports Diverse learners across Mi’kma’ki (the ancestral lands of the Mi’kmaw Nation).

It is important to note that the Committee members are not Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) employees, which means they cannot review or assist with applications for the DTC. If you disagree with the CRA’s decision and require additional information, please visit: If your DTC application is denied. You can also obtain assistance by calling the individual tax enquiries service at 1-800-959-8281.

For more information, please visit tax credits and deductions for persons with disabilities.

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