Recipients 2017

Accessibility Award FINALIST Kim Kilpatrick

Kim Kilpatrick is a passionate advocate in Ottawa working to ensure that services, programs, websites, technology and the built environment are accessible for people who are blind/visually impaired. Kim has, on numerous occasions, shared her knowledge and experience with City departments and partners to enhance the accessible design of City projects and services. Her contributions have been described as “innovative and creative … beyond the standards and cannot be taught in a book”. She has been involved in the following projects: OC Transpo Working Group to implement exterior bus announcements, National Capital Heavy Construction Association Education Series, testing electronic tools and technology to be used in the City’s public engagement strategy, as a speaker at a City conference for municipalities across Ontario on best practices for an accessible built environment. Kim’s easygoing and deliberative manner are key to her ability to assist others to comprehensively review accessibility requirements to ensure the needs of our diverse community are incorporated in to City work and projects.


Advocacy Award FINALIST Raphael Amato

Raphael Amato is a committed advocate for people with disabilities. He is known as a speaker, education facilitator and leadership developer: who teaches and models inclusion in everything he does, challenging everyone to move beyond inclusion and into active participation and engagement of all. His heart-centred, authentic approach has changed many lives by creating dialogues focused on living together, accepting each other and learning from those whose gifts are not revealed in society as easily. Raphael has worked primarily with L’Arche, and other organizations, for more than 40 years in Scotland, Montreal and Ottawa. He is also an independent consultant, facilitator and emotional intelligence coach. He mentors and coaches new leaders in the community, with and without disabilities, in authentic and deep self-exploration, encouraging them to reach their true potential. Raphael tireless advocates for people with disabilities wherever he goes. His focus is on inclusiveness and accessibility leaving no room for any kind of discrimination.

Advocacy Award FINALIST John-David Skene

John-David Skene, aka JD, is a passionate advocate for himself and others with physical limitations. He works hard to enhance opportunities for accessibility, independence and inclusivity within the community. JD has cerebral palsy, is a graduate of four Algonquin College programs, and the founder of his own business – Barrier Buster. He is a culinary arts student at Algonquin College and the inventor of the Whiskspenser, an adaptive tool that allows people to whisk and dispense simultaneously. He is noted for his positive, never-give-up attitude – “If I don’t break down those barriers, who will?” Through his daily interactions and some media exposure including Ottawa’s Regional Contact, JD has been able to make people think about the challenges, specifically in culinary arts, that individuals with physical limitations face and what can be done to break down those barriers.

Artistic Excellence Award FINALIST Isabella MacKay

Isabella MacKay has many talents – dancer, actor and musician. She is 15 years old and has cerebral palsy which affects her strength and mobility. Isabella developed her dance skills through the Ottawa Children’s Treatment Centre “I Love to Dance” program. At age four, she started to play the violin to increase her mobility, control and strength and quickly exceeded all expectations. She is now involved in the Ottawa Junior Youth Orchestra and has participated in national music festival competitions and many performances in the Ottawa area. Isabella is also an active participant in her school’s drama program and has volunteered with the Orpheus Musical Theatre. Her dramatic talent is highlighted in a video she made as part of the Ottawa Public Library’s Teen Video Competition in which she placed third. Isabella played the part of Melody, from Sharon Draper’s novel “Out of My Mind”. Melody, like, Isabella, refuses to be defined by her disability and is determined to have a voice and be heard.

Career Award FINALIST Kent Kirkpatrick

Until his recent retirement, Kent Kirkpatrick was the City Manager for the City of Ottawa for 12 years. He is known as a dedicated public servant and an inspiring leader who changed the culture across Ottawa with respect to accessibility and inclusion. As a person with a disability, Kent led by example, illustrating the importance of enshrining accessibility in the work of the City, not because it is the law, but because it is the right thing to do to better serve everyone. Under his leadership the City established an Accessibility Office, all staff were trained in the Accessibility Standards for Customer Service long before it was a legislated requirement, and numerous initiatives were introduced including: Diversity Snapshots of Persons with Disabilities, a Corporate Accessibility Impact Checklist, the City’s Accessibility Design Standards, the Building Retrofit Program, accessible transportation for residents and encouraging open dialogues within the City about mental health issues. Kent developed accessibility champions through every interaction, policy and operational decision thus leading and fostering a culture change across the City. Kent also contributed his time as a member of the Board of Directors for the Multiple Sclerosis Society in Ottawa, Ontario and Nunavut and by being open about his own disabilities he has inspired many other people.

Community Leader Award FINALIST Karen Scott

Karen Scott’s focus has always been to eliminate barriers which prevent individuals with disabilities from living as full a life as possible. She believes in universal inclusion. Karen has been involved with the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada since 2010 as an Ambassador for the Ottawa Chapter and the Ontario and Nunavut Social Action Committee. She is also involved with the Seniors Transportation Committee of the Council of Aging Ottawa, and the Ottawa Disability Coalition. In addition, Karen has worked on several collaborative projects: an audit of the accessibility of medical walk-in clinics (Champlain Local Health Integration Network) and the Accessibility Matters audit for pedestrians using mobility devices (Ottawa Disability Coalition and Ecology Ottawa). Karen’s leadership has assisted in advancing the rights of persons living with disabilities. Her unrelenting dedication to advocacy, organizational skills, charm and personal approach, including telling her story as a HealthPartners speaker, has proved successful in influencing positive change in Ottawa.

Education Award FINALIST Shawna Adams

Shawna Adams, an Educational Assistant at Lisgar Collegiate Institute, works alongside her colleagues in the Special Education Department to support over 500 students with Individual Education Plans (IEP) and a variety of learning exceptionalities. Shawna is known as a supportive, calming and empowering individual throughout the school community that includes her colleagues, students and their parents. She is dedicated to working with all parties to maximize an individual student’s success. Helping students to understand curriculum, how to access IEP accommodations and how to advocate for themselves in school and in life. Shawna is an asset to her colleagues by offering support to them within their classroom settings as well as sharing her knowledge and expertise in working with exceptional students. Shawna acts as a voice for those whose voice isn’t loud enough, as an advocate for those who need one and as a role model for all, exemplifying the power of kindness.

Education Award FINALIST Gordon McGregor

The trades can be a challenging area for inclusive employment due to the skill requirements in apprenticing and mastering a trade. Gordon McGregor has shown a passion for developing and implementing innovative supports and teaching techniques that are adaptive for individuals with disabilities. Through his work as the Apprentice Success Specialist with the Centre for Accessible Learning at Algonquin College over the last 12 years, Gordon has increased the number of people with disabilities successfully graduating, with a strong skill level, into the trades workforce. An important part of this success is his work with employers to ensure a support system is in place for the apprentice with a disability. Through Gordon’s efforts the trade sector has learned that, with a little adaptation, people with disabilities can be strong coworkers, colleagues, team members, bosses and friends in communities that have not traditionally explored this demographic for the hard skills and abilities to master a trade.

Employee Award FINALIST Emily Menard

Emily Menard has been working as a general office clerk at Welch LLP Chartered Public Accountants since April 2015. Her responsibilities include providing a clean and comfortable environment across the five floors of the firm’s offices: 16 boardrooms, 11 print stations and four kitchens. Emily is known for her positive attitude, work ethic, professionalism and outgoing personality. She connects with staff and clients, stopping in the waiting area to chat with visitors and put them at their ease. Emily is always willing to help the staff save time and focus on their tasks, she does this by asking questions and then taking responsibility for things that she can do to help them out.

Employer Award FINALIST - The WORKS Gourmet Burger Bistro - Dave Demers and Grant Webb

Dave Demers and Grant Webb, owners of The WORKS Gourmet Burger Bistro, are champions and leaders in our community for the hiring of people with disabilities. They have worked closely with LiveWorkPlay employment supports and have employed people with disabilities at all four locations (Barrhaven, Kanata, Orleans and Hunt Club). The culture that Dave and Grant have instilled at their four franchise locations is an appreciation for different learning styles. While not specific to people with disabilities it has made possible the flexible training methods that help all employees to learn effectively and be at their best. Some of the people with disabilities they employed have gone on to pursue other careers thanks to the opportunity they received at The WORKS. Dave and Grant are passionate about the value and importance of hiring people with disabilities and have contributed to conferences, videos, news articles and public services features encouraging other employers to consider hiring people with disabilities. They talk enthusiastically about these employees’ talents, capacities, commitment to work and contributions to the organization’s bottom line.

Volunteer Award FINALIST Will Riley

Will Riley is a shining example of the many ways youth are giving back to their communities. In 2014, Will learned about plans to build and open the Abilities Centre Ottawa (ACO) in LeBreton Flats. The ACO will be a fully-integrated inclusive, multi-purpose and accessible recreation facility designed to meet the needs of people of all abilities. Will is helping make this possible through his fundraising efforts. To raise the money he collects empty bottles, recycles cans, and inspires others in his community to run fundraisers. Will’s outgoing personality and sincere desire to make a difference has inspired his peers to help, as well as many older members of the community. To date he has raised over $3,000. What makes this even more remarkable is that Will is only 12 years old!

Volunteer Opportunities Award FINALIST CHEO-OCTC Me to We Club

The CHEO-OCTC Me to We Club is a one-of-a-kind club. Its members – Bryce Desrochers, Amy Lawford, Matthew Maynard, Andrew Maynard, Isabella MacKay, Malcolm McLarty, Kellen Schelyer and Alicia Wotherspoon, and are focused on creating awareness of, and advocating for, an inclusive society. The overall goal of the club is to work together on number of fundraising/awareness initiatives during the school year to support at least one local and one global cause. To date, they have collected over 692 lbs of food and essential supplies for the Parkdale Food Centre and raised nearly $1,900 for local and international charities. In 2017, the club decided to support the WE are ONE campaign by showcasing the capacities of people with disabilities to demonstrate to the world, that despite our differences, we are all alike – We are One! The club members worked as a team to develop and produce a video that focused on each person’s interests, abilities and adaptations. The objective of the video is to create awareness and spread the message of inclusion while highlighting the many things that people with disabilities can do. The wanted to focus on abilities rather than the barriers. The club hopes that their video will be shared far and wide. Plans are now in place for their next campaign. They have designed and will be making and selling Accessibility/Inclusion Rafikis (a glass bead “friendship” bracelets) in the colours of the Forward Movement icon. All funds raised will be allocated to repainting the accessible parking spots at CHEO-OCTC with the Forward Movement accessibility icon.

Youth Award FINALIST Isaiah Boylan

From the age of 13, Isaiah has spoken about what it means to him, and others, to live with the permanent brain injury – Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) and the ways to prevent it. He recently summed up his motivation to speak out “Accepting, acknowledging and teaching others about it [FASD] helps us understand ourselves and also helps us to advocate for ourselves”. Isaiah is a role model, an example of what it takes to overcome obstacles and persevere over all challenges. He is known as a gifted speaker who shares his experiences with openness, honesty and a sense of humour. His approach demystifies this disorder and highlights the strengths and needs of individuals living with FASD. He is a strong advocate for himself and others with FASD and works to breakdown the barrier of stigma so often associated with this disorder.