Accessibility Conference

Together, We HOLD The Power! Accessibility Conference & Fall Forum

October 18 & 19, 2018

Voice of Albertans with Disabilities is hosting its first Accessibility Conference and Forum! The conference and forum are a two day dialogue and information exchange, featuring an evening reception with a keynote speaker,  daytime workshops, information tables and presentations. The audience will go on a journey of topics that pertain to the theme “Together, We Hold the Power!” The purpose of the conference and forum will be to showcase where and how the community is moving forward toward inclusion and accessibility in Canadian society. A focus will be on action, strategies and tools that you can use.

  • Date: October 18 & 19
  • Location: Radisson Hotel - 4520 76 Avenue, Edmonton
  • ADF & iVAD Members Cost: $225
  • Non Members Cost: $250 
  • One Day Cost: $150
  • One Day Student Special: $75

Register online at EventBrite: (additional fees apply)

Registration Package - Download and email or mail it to VAD

Become a Conference Sponsor

Conference Sponsorship Information Sheet

  • Watch for updates on twitter. #VADConference2018
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Sponsor a Delegate Today

Individuals on a fixed income would like to attend our event, however, it is a cost that is out of range for many.

It is our hopes that we can raise some funds to sponsor individuals, who are without organizational sponsorship, to attend the conference. Please show your support for this conference in October, 2018.

Sponsor a Delegate Today:


Like and share a tweet with the hashtag #VADConference2018 and your organization will be entered to win a 'coffee break' sponsorship at the event - a value of over $1500.

Hotel Accommodations
The Conference hotel is Radisson hotel and convention center Edmonton, Address: 4520 76 Ave NW, Edmonton, AB T6B 0A5  Phone: (780) 468-5400  We have a block of rooms booked until September 18.


Thursday October 18


  • 12:30 Registration
  • Closed Captioning available during the forum
  • 1:00 pm Forum Starts
      • Patricia Pasemko - On Site Placement
  • 2:00 pm Coffee Break
      • Bill c-81 Accessible Canada Act
  • 4:00 pm Forum Ends


  • 5:00 pm Registration - Cash Bar
  • Closed Captioning available during the reception
  • 5:30 pm Opening Remarks, Networking Time and Appetizers
  • 6:00 pm Exploring the Collective Impact Opportunity
      • Tamarack Institute - Sylvia Cheuy
      • The keynote will provide an overview of the 3 pre-conditions and 5 conditions of Collective Impact and highlight how it is evolving. It will distinguish Collective Impact from other forms of collaboration and provide participants with the ability to discern when – and when not – it makes sense to use Collective Impact. Stories and experiences from others who have worked with Collective Impact will also be shared.
  • 7:30 pm Starry Night
      • Schizophrenia Society of Alberta
      • Starry Night was originally created in 1998, written by a group of individuals living with schizophrenia who shared their stories. Due to the popularity and powerful impact of the first performance over 20 years ago, the program has grown and continues to be presented to a variety of audiences and conferences across Alberta.

        The goal of the play is to help break down the stigma and misconceptions about schizophrenia. What is most unique about this experience is that all of the cast members who perform are living with schizophrenia or a related disorder. While everyone has difficult moments in life, we also experience moments of joy and happiness - this play aims to reflect that. Following the play there will be a question and answer period, where we encourage you to ask questions to our cast members about their personal experiences.

Friday, October 19, 2018

  • Conference Room A will have ALS interpreters & Closed Captioning available
  • Conference Room B will have a Loop System in place
  • 8:00 Registration
  • Conference Room A
  • 8:30 Opening Remarks
  • 8:45 Collective Impact: Moving from Theory to Action
      • Tamarack Institute -Sylvia Cheuy
      • This interactive session will provide participants with an opportunity to explore the potential opportunities and challenges of applying the Collective Impact Framework and be introduced to, and have an opportunity to apply, tools designed to assess and plan how best to strengthen their work. Specific emphasis will be given to the importance of thinking beyond programmatic solutions to also consider necessary systems-change strategies to ensure your action has significant and lasting impact.
  • 10:45 - 15 minute break
  • 11:00 Conference Room A
  • Universal Design: Creating an Accessible and Age-friendly Edmonton
      • Zachary Weeks & Crystal Jones - AAC
      • Highlight AAC’s role in serving as a collaborative voice for Edmontonians experiencing disability: Together, We Hold the Power.
      • Delve into Universal Design Principles and the City of Edmonton’s Access Design Guide.
      • Lewis Farms Recreation Centre: Example of a new approach to collaboration between the City of Edmonton and citizens with disabilities.
  • Conference Room B
  • Built Environment & Accessibility
      • Ron Wickman - Architect
      • The purpose of the presentation is to identify an alternative form of housing to the typical builder’s homes, larger apartments, senior citizen villages and assisted living housing projects. The conclusion is that good housing is designed in the beginning to allow for easier future changes, additions and adaptations. Designing a dwelling with the needs of more persons in mind is not just a technical issue that we can deal with in the future, it is a creation act that we consider now so the future is better for everyone.
  • 12:00 Working Lunch Conference Room A
  • 12:20 Taking Action: What We Learned at Our Self-Advocacy Summit
      • Albertans Advocating for Change Together
        Sometimes people with developmental disabilities are not included in the mainstream of disability activism. We would educate people on what we learned at our summit and how they can join us in taking action on issues that we are all passionate about in the disability community, such as human rights, poverty reduction, affordable housing and inclusion.
  • 12:40 Update about iVAD
      • iVAD Representative
  • 1:00 - 15 minute break
  • 1:15 Conference Room A
  • Alberta Parks: Making Alberta Parks More Inclusive for Persons with a Disability
      • Leah Arnason - Alberta Parks
      • To demonstrate knowledge of mobility, vision and hearing loss infrastructure improvements for provincial parks.
  • Conference Room B
  • Online Care Provider Training – an asset for those on “Self-Managed or Family Managed Care”
      • Teren Clarke - Spinal Cord Injury Alberta
      • Self-managed care funding has been an option within home care (AHS) since the early 80ties. This program has been highly valued by persons with SCI and other disabilities (consumers) because it allows the consumer to control who provides care, scope of care services and at what time care is delivered. Recruitment and training of care providers can be onerous because of turnover in this field of service. Most consumers utilize anywhere between 2-4 care providers in a given week to give them intermittent/24 hour/7 days a week service. A consumer consultation which took place in 2013 identified the need for a training program that could be used by consumers who hire their own care providers. Thus a curriculum was developed and tested by a provincial committee of consumers and disability organization reps. This process was completed in 2015. The initial training program was taught by a team of volunteers from the community of persons with disabilities. Sustainability of the program was challenged because class sizes were small (10-15) and resources for volunteer coordination was limited. Therefore, through funding from SCI AB and The Alberta Paraplegic Foundation the initial curriculum was converted to online training by Momentum Inc. a company with expertise in developing online training for the not for profit sector. 
      • Presentation overview:
        Participants will be provided an overview of the 10 online training modules that make up “Care Provider Training”, the learning objectives for each module and the opportunity for participation into ongoing research into the impact on quality of life for consumers who utilize the training for their hired care providers, and learner satisfaction for the trainees.
  • 2:15 - 15 minute break
  • 2:30 Conference Room A
  • Bill c-81 Accessible Canada Act Panel
      • A selection of panelists - To Be announced
        • Hon. Randy Boissonnault - LIB, MP
        • Hon. Mike Lake, PC, MP
        • John Humphreys Centre
        • CCD
  • Conference Room B
  • Human Rights – Duty to Accommodate
      • Sushila Samy
  • 3:30 - 15 minute break
  • 3:45 - 4:15 Wrap up Speaker, Evaluations & Prize Give-a-way
      • must be in attendance to win


Thank you to Edmonton Community Foundation for your sponsorship.

Edmonton Community Foundation

Thank you to Construction & General Workers’ Union Local No 92 for your sponsorship!

Thank you to the CHHA-Calgary chapter for sponsoring the Closed Captioning  (CART) Costs!

Thank you to CNIB for their sponsorship!

Thank you to Spinal Cord Injury- Alberta for their Delegate Sponsorships!

Thank you to the Radisson Hotel and Conference Center for your Ramp sponsorship.

Thank you to the Canadian Hard of Hearing Association – Edmonton for the Loop sponsorship.

Speaker Bios

  • Amy Park & Tarah Patterson

    Albertans Advocating for Change Together (or AACT) is a provincial network of self-advocates with developmental disabilities representing regional self-advocacy groups, and their allies. We meet to learn from each other about issues and what self-advocacy groups are doing and to support each other to take more effective action. Every few years, we put on a Self-Advocacy Summit where up to 200 self-advocates and allies can connect, listen, learn and take action. Our most recent Summit was October 1 – 3, 2018.
  • Crystal Jones & Zachary Weeks

    Crystal Jones is active in the Edmonton deaf and art communities as an advocate, artist and supporter. She graduated from the University of Alberta in 2009 with her Bachelor of Physical Education, specializing in Adapted Physical Activity for Special Populations. Crystal has worked for the City of Edmonton since 2014.|

    Zachary has been a spokesperson on disability issues in the media since he was 18 years old and is currently chair of the Accessibility Advisory Committee. Zachary was a recipient of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2012 and is an alumni of the Governor General’s Canadian Leadership Conference.
  • Leah Arnason & Mary Salvani

    Leah Arnason is a Landscape Architect and Inclusion Planner with Alberta Parks. As a result of a loving relationship with her grandma, she has a passion for the independence of women, the participation in society of people with disabilities, and the best lifestyle possible for seniors.

    Mary Salvani is a self-advocate (person with a disability) and ally with people who have disabilities, who loves taking photos of animals and plants out in nature. In 2010 she became a volunteer with Alberta Park’s Push To Open program helping people with disabilities have fun outdoors. She met Jamie from Rocky Mountain Adaptive Sports Center at that time. Since then she has been on several outdoor adventures with Push To Open, and some with Jamie and his volunteers at RMASC. He helped her and her dad to take her aunt from Australia on her very first hiking trip in Banff back in 2012. Jamie introduced her to downhill skiing at Sunshine Village when her friends were taking lessons up there with the help of his hard-working volunteer instructors. He helped remove all the barriers so she could have fun with everyone else. It’s because of people like Jaime and the rest of the volunteers at RMASC people with disabilities can have fun doing various outdoor activities. Because of the experience she has had with RMASC and Push To Open she still enjoys being outdoors today and showing everyone that people with disabilities can enjoy the outdoors with their family, coworkers, and friends.
  • Hon. Randy Boissonnault, LIB, MP

    Randy Boissonnault was first elected as Member of Parliament in 2015. Shortly after his election he was appointed as Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage. As Parliamentary Secretary, Randy led official language consultations by hosting stakeholders at in 17 of the 22 meetings across the country. As Alberta Caucus Chair and As Vice Chair of Prairie and Northern Caucus, Randy led the development of the Western Economic Development Strategy, elements of which we anticipate to see highlighted in Budget 2018. As a proud member of Indigenous Caucus, he is now working with Minister Jane Philpott and other Caucus champions to pull together an effective Urban Indigenous Strategy. In April of 2016 he and his team dreamed big, defied the naysayers and staged the first raising of the Pride Flag by any Prime Minister on parliament Hill. In 2016 he was asked by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to take on a new role as Special Advisor to the Prime Minister on LGBTQ2 Issues and his responsibilities included preparing for the historic apology the Prime Minister gave to the LGBTQ2 community last fall. He was responsible for setting up the Energy & Environment Caucus in the national liberal caucus where MPs meet to shape policy and promote the importance of sustainability resource development. He is also an active member of the Standing Committee on Justice & Human Rights and will participate in four cities of the human trafficking study including a day spent with stakeholders here in Edmonton. He loves Edmonton, our risk taking spirit, our focus on results and making our city and our country better.
  • Hon. Mike Lake, PC, MP

    Mike is the Member of Parliament for Edmonton-Wetaskiwin, and was first elected in 2006. After his re-election in October, 2008, Mike was appointed Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Industry, a position to which he was re-appointed after the May 2011 election. On September 13, 2012 Mike was sworn into the Queen's Privy Council, after being asked by Prime Minister Stephen Harper to serve on a Cabinet Committee tasked with efforts to balance the federal budget. On October 19, 2015, he was re-elected to a fourth term, receiving the 5th highest vote total out of 1,800 candidates, from all parties, across the country. He currently serves as the Conservative Party Deputy Shadow Minister for International Development. Prior to entering federal politics, Mike worked for 10 years with the Edmonton Oilers Hockey Club where he served as National Accounts Manager, Director of Ticket Sales and Group Sales Manager. Mike holds a Bachelor of Commerce (with distinction) from the University of Alberta. Mike has two children, a son Jaden, 23, and daughter Jenae, 19. The Lakes have been active supporters of autism organizations, families and individuals across the country, and around the world, while sharing their story of life with Jaden, who has autism.
  • Ron Wickman

    Ron Wickman was born in Edmonton, Alberta, and in 1991 received his Master of Architecture at the Technical University of Nova Scotia. He set up his own Edmonton based practice in January 1995. Ron’s interest and expertise is Accessible Architecture. He also has a special interest in multi-family housing and urban and community planning. He is committed to providing affordable, accessible and adaptable housing and has won several housing competitions.
  • Sylvia Chuey - Key Note Speaker

    Sylvia provides coaching, leadership and support in the fields of collaborative leadership; collective impact and community engagement. She is an internationally recognized trainer and community builder and is also Editor of Engage!, Tamarack’s award-winning e-magazine. Over the past five years, much of Sylvia’s work has focused on building awareness and capacity in Collective Impact throughout North America. Prior to joining Tamarack full-time, Sylvia was the founding Director of Headwaters Communities in Action (HCIA), a grassroots citizen collaboration that fosters leadership and action in support of a long-term vision of well-being for Ontario's Headwaters region. The lived experience of starting and growing an effective regional collective impact effort in rural Ontario resonates deeply with clients in rural, small urban and more remote settings. Sylvia is a skilled facilitator and has a proven track record in finding and securing grant funding – both project and capital -- to support innovative community projects. She recently completed her Masters Diploma in Social Innovation at the University of Waterloo where she explored opportunities to create change within regional food systems.
  • Teren Clarke

    Teren is the CEO with SCI Alberta since 1995. Prior to that she was the National Director of Programs and Services for Muscular Dystrophy Canada. She has also worked in the health care sector in leadership roles and has served on several national committees and participated in national level consultations regarding health and disability. Teren has a Bachelor of Nursing from U of C and a Masters in management form McGill University.
  • Marilyn Rose

    Marilyn Rose's background in Human Services spans over 30 years. She has worked as a Community Development Consultant In the Disability Non-Profit Community over the past 10 years. She currently has a contract with PLAN Edmonton as their Network Coordinator, supporting Individuals with a disability, to build their own Personal Network. As a Singer-Songwriter, Marilyn writes songs to Inspire others to live life to the fullest. She has written & performed theme songs for National Conferences & workshops, encouraging audience participation to Involve them in understanding & connecting with the essence of the conference. She is passionate about making a positive difference in the lives of others whether it is through her work as a Consultant, as a Singer Songwriter, or in her personal life & community. Marilyn resides in Edmonton, is married with 4 grown children & 5 grandchildren.
  • Patricia Pasemko

    Patricia Pasemko is the Executive Director for On Site Placement (OSP), a not-for profit dedicated to creating employment opportunities for individuals facing barriers by matching their skills and abilities with business and community partners. Patricia is committed to building OSP into a successful social enterprise but at the same time, her vision extends beyond OSP into the broader system of support. Her vision is for a “hub” or central governing body that connects all of the agencies to advance the well-being of individuals living with disability. The hub would be responsible for assessing clients for all of their needs, whether housing, training, care or employment and connecting them with the right agency at the right time to advance their well-being. When the client is ready to move into the next phase of their journey, the hub makes a new connection and transitions the client to a new agency. By changing the way in which support organizations are organized and work together we can make great strides towards advancing the well-being of people living with disability.
  • Sushila Samy

    Sushila Samy is the Diversity Specialist for the Alberta Human Rights Commission. She is a Chartered Professional in Human Resources. She has extensive experience in human rights education, employment equity and diversity training. She is a trained facilitator and public speaker and has developed and facilitated numerous workshops for governments, educational institutions, and the corporate and not-for-profit sectors. She has presented at many conferences and events. She has managed several projects including the Canadian Coalition of Municipalities Against Racism and Discrimination, a UNESCO initiative undertaken by the City of Edmonton. During this work, she collaborated with various stakeholders to develop an Action Plan for the City of Edmonton. Sushila has received awards and citations for her work in the human rights and diversity area.