Board of Directors
ARCH is guided by a dedicated and committed volunteer Board of Directors. ARCH’s Board of Directors is consumer-controlled and more than half are people with disabilities.
Jason Mitschele, Chairperson
Jason Mitschele has been practicing law as a Federal Prosecutor since 2003 for the Public Prosecution Service of Canada. His practice involves the prosecution of firearms and narcotics offences. He currently leads the Toronto Superior Court Team.
He graduated from the Faculty of Law at the University of Toronto in 2002.
Jason is a proud advocate for the rights of persons with disabilities and contributes to the following organizations as:
- National Advisor for Persons with Disabilities, Public Prosecution Service of Canada
- Board Chair, ARCH Disability Law Centre
- Member of the Ontario Courts Accessibility Committee, Secretary, Criminal Law Practice Group of the Advocates Society
- Director, Canadian National Institute for the Blind Foundation (CNIB)
- Volunteer Faculty, Faculty of Law, University of Toronto, Trial Advocacy Program
- Co-founder and co-chair, National Counsel of Employees Living with a Disability, Public Prosecution Service of Canada
- Action Canada Fellow for 2006-2007 where he was selected as one of 15 young Canadians from across Canada to work on a public policy project regarding the promotion of clean technologies in Canada
In July, 2019, Jason was proud and honoured to be the recipient of the National Heads of Prosecution Courage and Perseverance Award in Quebec City.
Jason continues to argue criminal cases at Provincial Court, The Superior Court of Justice and the Ontario Court of Appeal.
Jennifer Hiseler, Vice-Chairperson
Jennifer is an accessibility specialist with a background in the built environment, training, and policy work around the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act. She is a graduate of the Accessible Media Production programme at Mohawk College and works with the City of Toronto in the People and Equity Division.
Other experience with accessibility, disability, and inclusion comes from her education as an Orthotic and Prosthetic technician, work as a custom seating technician for high technology wheelchairs, and volunteer involvement with various organizations, primarily with #a11yTO (or Accessibility Toronto). Jenny also wears a prosthesis and always has. This lived experience brings insight and depth to her professional and volunteer work.
Sandi Bell, Vice-Chairperson
Ms. Sandi Bell is the President of EMPOWWORD Inc, a mediation and training & development firm. She has extensive background dealing with interpersonal and organizational conflict, strategic planning, change management, human rights, social justice, anti-racism and anti-oppression, child welfare, education, youth matters, accessibility, disability issues and equity/diversity/access/inclusion.
Throughout her terms as a Canadian Human Rights Commissioner, Sandi has been proud to engage in various levels of the National Aboriginal Initiative which is a multi-faceted set of strategies to assist members of the Aboriginal community to utilize their rights under the CHRC.
Ms. Bell advocated for and has provided extensive consultation services and training around the ODA, AODA, the Standards and the links to the Ontario Human Rights Code and has been a coach with the Windsor Law School Mediation Program and a guest lecturer with numerous educational facilities, including Osgoode Hall Law School. Sandi taught one of the Business Programs at Mohawk College and Community Development at Ryerson University’s Disability Studies Faculty.
Sandi was a school trustee in Hamilton for 12 years and served the education community as an appointed member of Ontario’s College of Teachers. She also served as a Member of the Appeal Division of the Immigration & Refugee Board.
Ms. Bell’s proudly self-identifies as an African-Canadian/Indigenous woman with a disability. Her passion to rid society of and prevent racism, discrimination and oppression is not a topic or research project; it is a way of life.
Laura Upans, Secretary/Treasurer
Laura Upans, BA (UBC), MPhil (Cambridge), JD (Ottawa), LLM (Columbia), is a human rights lawyer with a longstanding commitment to disability rights. She currently practises law at the Canadian Department of Justice (DOJ) and, at the international level, she has experience contributing on disability rights related matters for an international disabled persons’ organization (DPO), the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, the International Labour Organization and Human Rights Watch. Disability-related topics on which she has focussed in her work at the DOJ and academically include accessibility, inclusive education and employment, involuntary commitment and treatment, and disability rights advocacy strategies. Laura sits on the Board of Directors of Tamir, an Ottawa-based DPO, and has contributed to disability rights panels convened by the Government of Canada, UN DESA and Columbia University.
Ashfaq (Kash) Husain
Kash, as he is known by most of his colleagues, is a graduate of Mount Allison University and Dalhousie University, where he obtained a B. Eng. in Electrical Engineering. Upon graduation, Kash worked as a Consulting Engineer designing Electrical Power and Distribution Systems for large industrial plants. These would include: Oil Refineries, Pulp and Paper Mills, Waste Water Treatment Plants, Airports, Dockyards, to name a few.
All that changed on March 31, 2000, when Kash left his employment because he was experiencing severe vision loss. Kash had been diagnosed with Retinitis Pigmentosa, a degenerative condition of the retina. They say that when one door closes another one opens.
In his case the door was labeled “Volunteerism”, something Kash was familiar with. He could now spend more of his time sharing his knowledge and experience with others. He volunteers with the City of London, sitting on DIAAC and the Accessibility Advisory Committee – where he was their inaugural Chair (2001-2005). He also volunteers with the CNIB, FFB (Foundation Fighting Blindness), the UWO School of Occupational Therapy and the IEEE.
Kash strongly believes that sharing his knowledge, experiences and collaborating with others can build an inclusive and welcoming community for all.
Kash has a long history of volunteerism in London, Ontario including: Diversity, Inclusion and Anti Oppression Advisory Committee. Member representing persons with disabilities; Accessibility Advisory Committee, Inaugural Chair;, Community, Diversity and Inclusion Strategy Committee, Co-Chair of the City wide initiative to insure the City of London is a welcoming and inclusive community for all of its citizens. This will also include addressing the issues raised by the “Black Lives Matter”, London movement; Fighting Blindness Canada; Independent Living Centre London and Area; CNIB Foundation; Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers: (IEEE).
Kash received the following award: 2012 – Queen Elizabeth 11 Diamond Jubilee Medal; 2011 – June Callwood Outstanding Achievement Award for Voluntarism in Ontario; 2011 – Wally S Read Award for Volunteerism with IEEE Canada.
Claudette has been on other boards for at least 5 years total. She has lived experience living on reserve for 11 years and work experience on reserve for 15 years. On and off reserve, she has been an advocate for marginalized indigenous people including those with disabilities in such roles as a National Aboriginal Drug and Alcohol Program worker (addictions worker), an Early Childhood Educator, a Family Support worker, an Aboriginal Best Start Service Connector, and her current role as an Indigenous Student Advisor. She continues to advocate for those that need her to be their voice.
Dolly is the Clinical and Research Bioethicist at Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital and the Youth Engagement Strategy Lead.
She is particularly interested in pediatric rehabilitation issues that arise in both clinical care and research with children and youth with chronic illness and disabilities. Dolly was the first former patient to join the SickKids Research Ethics Board as a Community Member and has held progressive leadership positions on REBs since, including Ethics member, Vice-Chair and Interim Chair. Dolly has over fifteen years’ experience on pediatric research ethics boards, acute and rehabilitation focused boards as well provincial review boards.
Dolly is a nationally and internationally sought after leader in Lived Experience roles and has been the Youth Engagement Strategy Lead at Holland Bloorview since its inception in 2012. Dolly has extensive experience training and supporting youth and young adults in advocacy and partnering in the areas of service & care delivery, teaching & education of healthcare providers, clients & families, as well as research and policy.
Dolly’s own lived experience of growing up with a physical disability led her to advocate for a Lived Experience role on the clinical healthcare teams. Dolly created the Youth Facilitator role, which has been Ministry-funded since 2006 at Holland Bloorview. Over the last five years she has led the expansion of the role to multiple healthcare teams. She has also supported the implementation of the Youth Facilitator role at Toronto Rehab, UHN.
Dr. Douglas Waxman
Douglas holds a Ph.D. in Critical Disability Studies from York University.
Douglas’ research focus on discrimination, human rights, disability policy and organizational behavior, Douglas’s work focuses, employers’ behaviors towards employees with disabilities and human rights disability and employment issues. Douglas developed an online comprehensive resource of human rights law literature with respect to disability and employment and has published on how to affect corporate cultural change to integrate employees with disabilities.
Prior to his doctoral program, Douglas received his Juris Doctor degree from Osgoode Hall Law School and an Executive Masters in Public Administration from NYU’s Wagner Graduate School of Public Service.
Before entering academia, Douglas, a lawyer by trade, practiced as National Insolvency Manager at PricewaterhouseCoopers (formerly Price Waterhouse), where he was published on insolvency and commodity tax issues. Douglas has more than 15 years of business experience in the environmental industry.
Douglas is the former Chair of the Board of directors of ARCH Disability Law Centre. He has also devoted portion of his volunteer career to policy, with the Learning Disability Association of Ontario, where he has had roles ranging from committee member to President.
With her own personal experience of mental illness and as a supportive family member, Ellen always knew she would be a helper. As an advocate, educator and organizer. She has enjoyed a long career in advocacy, social work and working in mental health. She holds a degree in Sociology and Social Welfare, and a diploma in Social Services, is a lifelong learner. Ellen has held positions experiencing all levels of government; as a social service worker with the city of Toronto, Ontario probation and parole as a probation officer and as an early childhood educator. She has worked for over 30 years in community mental health, facilitating and supporting the development of the Ontario infrastructure of consumer – survivor peer led organizations.
She has volunteered in community on a variety of boards and committees and shares a long history with the National Network for Mental Health. She has a keen understanding of mental health across the lifespan and the issues facing people living in Canada with mental illness and the intersection of mental illness within the disability and deaf communities. Ellen is the current co-chair of the Canadian Alliance for Mental Illness and Mental Health (CAMIMH) where she represents the consumer perspective as a member of the National Network for Mental Health (NNMH).
Shifting their focus to the disability community, NNMH now plays a pivotal role in bridging the mental health community to the larger disability movement, and bringing awareness of the intersections of disability into the mental health sector. This is shift into the disability community has enabled the NNMH to become actively involved human rights and social justice work along side our partners from the disability community. Working on issues relevant to the good health and well being of all Canadians from coast to coast to coast.
Emily has a Master’s Degree in Critical Disability Studies from York University. They are invested in intersectional approaches to thinking about disability issues with a strong focus on the social determinants of health. They are passionate about the moving beyond individual models of accommodation towards a more accessible society. They identify as a person with multiple invisible disabilities and they are particularly interested in mental health advocacy.
Gillespie’s work at non-profits as well as volunteer work often focuses on the intersection of disability and Gender Based Violence. For instance, they volunteer on the Accessibility Advisory Committee for Take Back the Night. Gillespie is also a published author, and seeks to explore advocacy and representation through fiction and increase accessibility in the Toronto art community.
Gillespie has also worked as a research assistant on projects that examine obstacles to an accessible Canada, ranging from barriers to accessible afterschool programming, to barriers Aboriginal people with disabilities experience accessing healthcare and education. They have also worked at post-secondary institutions, focusing on accessibility for students with disabilities. Gillespie currently works as a freelance accessibility consultant and writer.
Harjot Kaur Dosanjh
Harjot Kaur Dosanjh has a passion for advocating for the rights of vulnerable communities and protecting the environment. She is the first lawyer in her family and currently serves as counsel with the OPGT where she advocates for incapable adults primarily in family law and civil matters. Her past experiences include the Disability Law Intensive with ARCH, where she worked on client advocacy, public legal education and law reform; as an advocate with the Fair Change Pro Bono Legal Clinic advocating for street-involved individuals; and as a volunteer on the Distress Line at the Canadian Mental Health Association. She is also an organizer and volunteer with the Sikh Family Helpline which is a peer-to-peer helpline servicing the Sikh community in Canada in Punjabi and English to connect the community with linguistically and culturally appropriate resources. Harjot’s experiences have taken her across Canada and the world, including international development work in Cambodia with the Legal Aid of Cambodia, and an arctic expedition with the Canada C3 journey with a focus on the environment, reconciliation, diversity and inclusion and youth engagement. These experiences have strengthened Harjot’s commitment to advocating for marginalized communities and working towards an inclusive society.
Keri, MBA, LLM has over 20 years of experience working in leadership in not-for-profit and health organizations. She started her career at the Canadian Diabetes Association, now Diabetes Canada after volunteering there shortly after her own diagnosis of Type 1 diabetes in university. She moved to a position as a Business Manager at London Health Sciences Centre, and then spent 11 years developing a large primary care organization – building all operational components, developing a leadership team, and supporting the Board of Directors as they moved from being an operational/working board to implementing a policy framework where they became focused on their strategic role (Thames Valley Family Health Team). Since 2018, Keri has been a consultant working with the Centre for Organizational Effectiveness, supporting not-for-profits of many sizes and from many sectors with strategic planning, governance training, bylaw and policy development, and operational assessments and improvements.
As Keri moved through her career, she developed a strong appreciation for the impact that access to justice has for individuals and communities as they strive for equity in their ability to pursue and achieve good health, well-being, and quality of life. As a result of this, Keri chose to pursue a Master of Laws with a focus on administrative law, completed in 2020.
Career experience and a Master of Business administration degree has provided Keri with a strong background in leadership, management, governance, strategic planning, human resources, enterprise risk management, organizational development, and change management. Keri is a strong planner and implementor with a focus on ensuring organizational development and change management needs are attended to in these processes.
Keri has engaged in the community through teaching at the University of Western Ontario and Fanshawe College, serving previously as Chair of the Family Selection and Support Committee at Habitat for Humanity Heartland and as a past-board member (and past chair) of the Board of the Association of Family Health Teams of Ontario. She has previously served as a member of the Quality-of-Care Committee of St. Joseph’s Healthcare London and as a member of the Legal Aid Ontario Area Committee for Southwestern Ontario. Currently Keri is a Public Appointments Council Member at College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario, and an Owner Representative at Libro Credit Union.
Keri is passionate about life-long learning and seeking out ways to utilize her skills to support a better world locally, provincially, nationally, and globally.
Michelle is a second year law student in the extended time program at Osgoode Law at York University. Michelle has her Bachelor of Arts Degree Honours from Ryerson University, along with a minor in Public Policy and Political Science. Michelle has over 15 years of work and lived experience in the areas of disability, advocacy, and community based organizing. Michelle has served as an ambassador for the Canadian National Institute for the Blind and Lions Foundation of Canada Dog Guides. Currently Michelle sits on the executive board as Treasurer for the National Education Association of Disabled Students as well as filling her current role as a Director on the ARCH Board of Directors. At school Michelle is an active member of the Osgoode Disability Collective. In her law program Michelle is focused on human rights law, disability law, and family law. Upon completion of her law degree, Michelle hopes to work in family law helping families with disabilities navigate systems like the healthcare and/or education system.
Paul was born and raised in Toronto, Ontario with the neuro tube birth defect, Spina Bifida & Hydrocephalus. He hold an Honours, Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from York University and graduated from the University of Ottawa, Faculty of Law.
He has an interest in promoting and growing equality seeking groups and wants to see the disabled community continue to visibly advocate for breaking down barriers that impede accessibility to a society and environment responsive to equity, diversity and inclusion everywhere!
He is a member of the Criminal Lawyers Association, Diversity Committee; Criminal Lawyers Association, Abilities Discussion Group; and, the City of Richmond Hill, Accessibility Committee.
Yvonne Simpson is a PhD candidate at York University, Faculty of Health Policy Management. Currently she works as a Teaching Assistant at York University, Faculty of Liberal Arts and Professional Studies (LAPS), Department of Human Rights and Equity Studies. She also works as a part-time faculty member in the York/Seneca Rehabilitation Certificate Program. She holds a Master’s Degree in Education from the University of Calgary with a specialization in Community Rehabilitation and Disability Studies as well as a certificate in rehabilitation counselling. She has worked as an educator, practitioner and advocate in the disabilities field for many years, and has held various leadership roles in the private sector insurance industry, public sector education and social service agencies.
As a social justice advocate, Yvonne has worked to build strategic alliances with workplace stakeholders including academic and non-academic administrators, employees, unions, and external business partners. As a graduate student, her research focuses on human rights and social justice in the context of acquired workplace disability among immigrant workers. Her dissertation occurs at the intersection of race, immigration and WSIB policies.