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.
Douglas Waxman, Chairperson
Douglas is a Ph.D. Candidate in Critical Disability Studies at York University. With a 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 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.
Jennifer Hiseler, Vice-Chairperson
Jennifer is an accessibility specialist with a background in the built environment, where she leads large-portfolio audit projects and provides training on the requirements of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act. She is currently enrolled in the Accessible Media Production program at Mohawk College.
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.
Jason Mitchele, Treasurer
Jason Mitchele 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 graduated from the Faculty of Law at the University of Toronto.
He is a proud advocate for the promotion of equality for persons with disabilities and contributes to the following organizations as:
- National Advisor for Persons with Disabilities for the Public Prosecution Service of Canada
- Member, Toronto Accessibility Advisory Committee
- Director for the Canadian National Institute for the Blind Foundation (CNIB) – Ontario and Quebec Advisory Board
- Adjunct Professor in Training, Faculty of Law, University of Toronto, Trial Advocacy Program
- Member of the National Equity and Diversity Committee, Public Prosecution Service of Canada
- Board member, Guide Dogs for the Blind, Alumni Advisory Board
- 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
He is currently working with his colleague Ira Glasner on multiple cases involving the dark web in relation to the selling of controlled substances over the dark web in exchange for bit coin. Jason and Ira will also be working with the new Coordinated Ciber Centre of the Toronto Police Service in one of their first bit coin seizures. Jason and Ira have also authored a paper on bit coin prosecutions to be published in an up-coming addition of Criminal Law Quarterly.
Emily Gillespie, Secretary
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.
Ashfaw (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.
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.
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.
Michelle is a first 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 as well as the student group OUTLaws, which is the Queer law student group. Outside of volunteer work and school, Michelle co-owns and operates her own disability and accessibility consulting business called Blind Girl Inc. Michelle is also currently on contract with Inside Out Film Festival working to increase access for folks with disabilities in the film festival industry.
Michelle is passionate about disability, accessibility, equity and inclusion. Much of the work she completed in her undergrad was from a lens of intersectionality and questioning the systems that keep certain groups oppressed. As an individual with intersecting identities of oppression, Michelle strives to use her lived experience to connect with other groups and create conversations about access and community care. 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. Michelle also has an interest in completing her Masters of Social Work degree to help provide the emotional support to her clients.
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.
Richard (“Rick”) Welland is an Associate Professor in the Department of Applied Linguistics at Brock University and a registered Speech-Language Pathologist. His interest in law and disability began in the 1990s, when he joined the Legislative Affairs Committee of his provincial professional association. A major project of that committee was to review and submit comments on draft legislation to an All-Party Committee of the Ontario Legislature.
Rick later pursued his interest in disability-related legal issues by consulting with an Ottawa-based law firm on a civil case between their client and The City of Ottawa. His written expert report on voice production and gender rights contributed significantly to the out-of-court settlement in the plaintiff’s favour. In 2017, Rick was appointed to the Health Care Standard Development Committee, a committee responsible for developing a new Standard under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 (AODA). He learned of ARCH Disability Law Centre from his work on that committee.
Roxanne Mykitiuk is a Full Professor at Osgoode Hall Law School, where she engages in research and teaching in the areas of Disability Law, Health Law, Bioethics and Family Law. She is the founder and Director of the Disability Law Intensive clinical program and the Director of Osgoode’s part-time LLM program specializing in Health Law. Roxanne is also the Faculty Co-Chair of Enable York and is a member of the core faculty in the graduate program in Critical Disability Studies at York University. She was the Chair of York University’s Senate from 2013-2015.
Roxanne is nationally and internationally recognized for her work in disability law and the regulation of reproductive and genetic technologies and reproductive health more generally. She was Senior Legal Researcher for the Canadian Royal Commission on New Reproductive Technologies; a member of the Ontario, Advisory Committee on Genetics; a member of the Ethics Committee of the Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists of Canada; scholar in residence at the Law Commission of Ontario working on the Disability and Law Project. She has been consulted by a range of actors in policy making and litigation contexts and provided expert opinions related to her areas of expertise.
She is passionate about using her platforms as an educator, researcher, writer and advocate to work collaboratively for disability justice and disability rights.
Wade practices human rights law at Ross & McBride LLP in Hamilton, Ontario. Prior to practice Wade obtained his juris doctor degree from the University of Toronto. During law school Wade interned with the International Labour Organization in Geneva, Switzerland, working directly with Guido Raimondi (currently Judge and Vice-President of the European Court of Human Rights). Prior to articling with Ross & McBride LLP, Wade worked for Justice Robert Sharpe of the Ontario Court of Appeal. In 2013, Wade completed his LL.M. at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, where he placed within the top three students in his program. While studying at Cornell, Wade traveled to Buenos Aires, Argentina as part of a four-member fact-finding team to explore the causes, conditions and consequences of female imprisonment in the federal prison system. This study resulted in an extensive report which was presented in collaboration with the United Nations Special Rapporteur for Violence Against Women.
Wade is an applicant-side representative on the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario’s Practice Advisory Committee, and sits on the Board of Directors of the United Way of Burlington and Greater Hamilton, Grimsby Affordable Housing Partnership and Volunteer Hamilton. Wade also volunteers as an officer on the Ontario Bar Association’s Constitutional, Civil Liberties and Human Rights Section Executive.
Research Interests: Immigrant Workers, Acquired Disability, Race, Intersectionality, WSIB, Immigration Policy
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.