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History

The Coalition for Persons with Disabilities was formed as a not-for-profit community-based partnership of persons with disabilities and community groups working collaboratively to affect positive changes for persons with disabilities in the regions of Peel, Halton and Dufferin. Operating since 1985, it was established in order to avoid duplication of services and to foster cooperation, trust and collaboration to meet the challenges faced by persons with disabilities.


Vision

The Coalition continues its vision for independence and inclusion for persons with disabilities through a number of community-based programs and services. From offices in Mississauga and Brampton, these programs serve the regions of Peel, Halton and Dufferin. Projects of the Coalition are funded, in whole or in part, by the Government of Canada and Government of Ontario.


Board of Directors

Vision and governance for the Coalition are provided by a Board of Directors. Persons with disabilities are represented in the majority of seats on the board. Meetings are held 6 times annually and an Annual General Meeting is held in June.


Meet Our Board


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Dina Barazza
Chairperson
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Mrs. Barazza has over 20 years experience in business, human resources and training. As a subject expert in learning and mentoring she brings her leadership and business know how to the fore front of the Coalition.

Part-time Dina canvasses for the Cancer Society, Fosters homeless pets and is the Founder of Avanti Women, a volunteer organization for women to move forward professionally and personally through networking, mentoring and learning. .

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Paula Olthuis
Vice Chairperson
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Paula worked in the Human Resources environment for fourteen years. She is a published author of poetry and children’s books. A University of Toronto (B.A. History Specialist) graduate with diplomas in Business Management and Journalism Paula has acted as Chair, Vice Chair, Treasurer, and Secretary for various volunteer groups and especially enjoyed being a coach for Dale Carnegie seminars.

Being a board member for the Coalition for Persons with Disabilities has been the most informative and enjoyable experience of her life. Paula’s journey began when she was asked to be Miss Easter Seal at the age of five and seven..

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Shauna Petrie
Past Chairperson
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Shauna began her career as an elementary school teacher after completing a Specialized Honours Degree in French at York University before a Bachelors and Masters Degree in Education from the University of Ottawa. Today she is an owner and director of Sea Wheels Inc, an organization dedicated to facilitating travel opportunities for persons with disabilities.

Shauna is an accomplished travel writer and her work has been featured in publications such as Active Living, Outspoken, Abilities, Total Access and 50+ Magazine. She is in high demand as speaker on the topic of accessible travel where she continues to profile the growing list of destinations which have opened their doors and minds to travelers with disabilities.

Shauna also has extensive experience in the non-profit sector. She has served on the Board of Directors of the Canadian Paraplegic Association, the Ontario Neurotrauma Foundation and the Ontario Curling Association.

Curling is one of Shauna's greatest passions and she was a 2011 Provincial Champion as well as a gold medal winner in the Ontario Winter games. She was also recognized with the Community Activism Award from the Government of Ontario for her extensive work in the non-profit sector. She was chosen to be a Rick Hansen Medal Bearer in 2012 and recently completed her first half-marathon. .

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Julie Hitchcock
Secretary
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Julie has worked in the field of permanent physical disabilities since 1994 providing front line support, management and resource coordination throughout Toronto, Peel and Halton.

Passion, right to risk, advocacy and client-centered programs are at the heart of Julie’s work. She has also experienced disabilities within her own family and friends making her further aware of ‘abilities’ and the need for accessibility and inclusion. Julie brings this experience and insight to the Board where she can continue to learn, grow and contribute.

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Ilija Dimeski
Board Member
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Ilija Dimeski is an avid advocate of human rights by constantly raising awareness about issues concerning the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedom, including issues surrounding race, gender, class, age, ability, and generally the rights of persons who are marginalized or disadvantaged.

As a young scholar, he is able to provide a different perspective into such issues and engage in critical discussions that can be both enlightening and educational. Ilija has been very involved in a variety of community and campus groups, all of which have a social justice and advocacy focus. Through these various experiences, he has gained first-hand experience helping achieve social justice for marginalized individuals in society. Ilija has an immense passion to help those most in need and to constantly apply his skills and knowledge into action in order to better serve the community as a whole.

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Contact Us

  • 10 Kingsbridge Garden Circle, Suite 403, Mississauga, ON, L5R 3K6
  • Phone: 905.755.9734
  • Toll Free: 1.866.969.9734
  • Fax: 905.755.9953
  • TTY: 905.755.9958
  • Email: Diana.StJohn@disabilityaccess.org