Barrier-Free BC Steering Committee
Rob Sleath – Chair, Barrier-Free BC
Rob recently completed his 6-year term as a director on CNIB’s National Board and continues to serve as an active member on several committees within CNIB . He is founding member and Chair of Access for Sight Impaired Consumers and immediate past-president of ComPACT (Committee for the Promotion of Accessible Conventional Transit). In 2007, Rob was appointed to the role of Chair of the South Coast British Columbia Transportation Authority’s Advisory Committee – an active committee which assists Metro Vancouver’s public transit authority on accessible policies and service delivery. He served in this capacity for 4 years, concluding his term in December 2011. As a member of BASICS (Blind and Sight Impaired Consumers) Rob provides disability awareness seminars to public transit operators in the Metro Vancouver area. His community involvement was recently recognized by the BC Achievement Foundation when Rob was selected as one of BC’s 2008 Community Achievement Award recipients. He was recently nominated for the Community Leader: BC & the North Regional Prime Minister’s Award for years of outstanding community service. In 2012 Rob was presented with Queen Elizabeth’s Diamond Jubilee Medal in recognition of his community service.
Shawn Marsolais – Member-at-Large
Shawn is the founder of Blind Beginnings, a not-for-profit whose vision is a world where seeing things differently inspires limitless possibilities. She has competed at the Paralympic Games, recently completed a Masters in Vocational Rehabilitation Counselling, and has provided blind awareness training to new bus drivers through Mountain Bus Company since 2002. Shawn has held volunteer Board roles at: Access for Sight Impaired Consumers, BC Blind Sports & Recreation Association, Canadian Blind Sports Association, Braille Literacy Canada, and the Camp Hornby Society.
John Mulka – Member-at-Large
John is the Executive Director & Regional Vice President, CNIB, British Columbia and Northern Canada. He is passionate about making Canada and the Province of British Columbia the most accessible jurisdictions in the world. John has dedicated his professional career to improving and enabling independence in the lives of people with disabilities.
Brent Page – Member-at-Large
Brent is the National Manager for Community Engagement & Integration Services for March of Dimes Canada. He has been involved in disability and inclusion advocacy since first volunteering for the Canadian Red Cross in the late 1970s. Brent wrote Ontario Red Cross’ position paper on the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disability Act (AODA) and sat on the Province of Ontario’s Built Environment Standards Development Committee that worked to harmonize the AODA with the Ontario Building Code. Brent lives and works in Vancouver, British Columbia.
Reed Poynter Chair, Communications Sub-Committee
Reed worked in the IT industry from 1977 to 2005 in Vancouver, Halifax, Winnipeg and Langley where he retired as a Senior Systems Analyst.
He is a great “people person” and is passionate about improving accessibility for all Canadians. In his retirement from Telus in 2005, Reed has volunteered with CNIB as a Peer Counseling/support person and as Chair of CNIB’s Lower Mainland, South Coast and Fraser Valley Regional Advisory Board.
He has also worked as a volunteer with The Nordic Racers (para-Nordic) Cross-country Ski Club and The Langley’s Children Society.
Reed is a member at large on the Access For Sight Impaired Consumers Board in Vancouver.
Albert Ruel – Member-at-Large
Albert is experienced in advocacy for people with visual impairments and rehabilitation. He holds a Social Service Worker Certificate and is passionate about helping people connect with their needs. Most importantly, Albert is solution-focused, flexible, has a positive attitude and has a great sense of humour.
Victor Schwartzman – Member-at-Large
Victor investigated human rights complaints for the Manitoba Human Rights Commission for 23 years. Since retiring, he has written a weekly satirical column on disability issues in Canada, and recently started a one hour radio show on disability issues for CFRO-FM. He is a writer, and has some published work to his credit.
Greg Koyl – Member-at-Large
Greg spent his formative years in the Toronto area before moving to Guelph to work on an Arts and Science under-graduate degree. After several semesters, Greg moved West to work in the Yarrow Shipyard and in several BC Forest Products sawmills. Following that, Greg moved to Northern BC, the Yukon and the Northwest Territories to work as both a development and production underground miner.
In the late 1970s, Greg moved back to Victoria where he completed his undergraduate degree in Economics, History and Political Science. Following that, Greg earned a Master Degree in Public Administration and was hired by the British Columbia Provincial Government. Greg worked in Treasury Board Staff of the Ministry of Finance and was seconded to the Premier’s Office to work on special projects including contract management. He then moved to the Inter-governmental Relations Branch where he worked on constitutional and economic issues important to British Columbia.
In 1991, Greg was appointed Assistant Deputy Minister of Corporate Services Division in the Ministry of Environment, Lands and Parks and also served as Assistant Deputy Minister of Regional Operation and Enforcement and acted as Deputy Minister for a prolonged period of time.
Late in the 1990s, Greg moved to the BC Forest Service and was appointed as Assistant Deputy Minister of Operations Division. After several years, Greg was stricken with very severe clinical mental illness and had to step away from the workplace to which he would not, regrettably, ever return.
In addition to the clinical mental illness, Greg developed severe glaucoma several years ago and is now functionally blind. While these challenges are frustrating, Greg’s perspective is always to “keep smiling and rock on”.
David Lepofsky – Advisor
In 1979, David Lepofsky graduated with honours From Osgoode Hall Law School with a Bachelor of Laws. He obtained a Masters of Law from the Harvard Law School in 1982. Since his admission to the Ontario Bar in 1981, he has practiced law in the Ontario Public Service in the areas of constitutional, civil, administrative and most recently, criminal law. Since 1991, he has also served as a part time member of the University of Toronto Faculty of Law, where he teaches an advanced constitutional law seminar on freedom of expression and press.
Since the late 1970s, he has been active in a volunteer capacity, advocating for new laws to protect the rights of persons with disabilities in Canada. In 1980, he appeared before the Joint Committee of the Senate and the House of Commons on the Constitution of Canada, on behalf of the Canadian National Institute for the Blind for an amendment to the proposed Charter of Rights, to guarantee equality rights to persons with disabilities. The efforts of a great many combined to lead Parliament to pass the disability amendment to the Charter.
From 1980 to 1982, he was on the leadership team of a broad disability coalition that successfully advocated for inclusion of protection against discrimination based on disability in the Ontario Human Rights Code.
From 1994 to 2005, he led the Ontarians with Disabilities Act Committee. That coalition successfully campaigned for ten years to win passage of two new Ontario laws to make Ontario fully accessible to persons with disabilities, the Ontarians with Disabilities Act 2001 and the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act 2005. Since then, he has helped in efforts to get that law effectively implemented. As of late February, 2009, David became the chair of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Alliance.
Starting in 1994, he campaigned to get the Toronto Transit Commission to announce all subway stops, and later all bus stops, for the benefit of passengers with vision loss. Between 2001 and 2007 he fought two cases against TTC. In 2005, the Human Rights Tribunal ordered TTC to consistently announce all subway stops and in 2007 TTC was further ordered to announce all bus and streetcar stops.
Awards include investiture in the Order of Canada (1995), the Order of Ontario (2007), and the Terry Fox Hall of Fame (2003), honorary doctorates from Queen’s University and the University of Western Ontario.