A Year in Review: Looking Back at the first NEADS State of the Schools Tour, event on Zoom July 18th!!

Moderator: Elizabeth Mohler

Join the National Educational Association of Disabled Students (NEADS) on Tuesday, July 18th from 3:00 PM - 4:00 PM ET via zoom for another engaging panel with NEADS researcher, Elizabeth Mohler, and disabled student leader panelists who will share their reflections hosting one of our State of the Schools (SOS) tour stops. Panelists Ashton Forrest, Antonia Francis, Julia Denley, Stéphane Braney and Stacy Casimir will discuss why events like the SOS tour are critical for community engagement and networking and how events lead by and for disabled students fill a needed gap in advocacy on post-secondary campuses. In this panel, we will hear what initiatives our panelists are undertaking in the coming academic year and any advice they have for disabled students wanting to get involved on their campuses.

Simultaneous French-English interpretation, closed captioning in French and English, and American Sign Language (ASL) and Langue Québécois de Signe (LSQ) interpretation will be provided - please email to request additional accessibility features. Online registration is required - register here. This event is supported by Employment and Social Development Canada, and is a feature of our Virtual Access for All webinar series.

About NEADS’ State of the Schools Tour

NEADS' State of the Schools Tour is a hybrid cross-Canada tour visiting disabled student groups and post-secondary institutions across Canada from November 2022 to June 2023.

Partnering with local disabled student groups and community organizations, the Tour provides an opportunity for disabled students to share their lived experience and perspectives to help inform NEADS' programming and State of the Schools Reports. Tour stops included St John's, Halifax, Toronto, Ottawa, Montréal, Victoria, and Winnipeg.  We are excited to share that The Government of Canada — through the Supports for Student Learning Program—  will be providing another two years of funding for the Virtual Access for All Project after the project’s end date of July 31, because of demonstrated success and results.  

Panel Bios:

Stéphane Braney, Quebec Association for Equity and Inclusion in Post-Secondary Education (AQEIPS) Executive Director

Stéphane Braney (il/he/him) was a project manager for AQEIPS before becoming the Executive Director in August 2022. He holds a bachelor’s in Business Administration (B.A.A.) from TÉLUQ University and is currently enrolled in the Graduate Diploma in Information Technology Governance of the same university. He was the founding president of the Stéphane Braney Foundation (1998 to 2013). He is also the head of Braney & Associates Inc., a management consulting firm. He served as a municipal councillor for the City of Lachute where he worked with several committees. He has several years of experience in the community sector as a speaker and motivator. He has been a volunteer in his local community for many years and has served on many boards. Stéphane is passionate about advocating for the rights of people with disabilities and is a strong defender of their inclusion in education, active life, and the labour market. Stéphane became quadriplegic following a diving accident in an above-ground pool on July 22, 1994, at the age of 27. He chose to focus on what he had left rather than what he had lost; the use of his four limbs. So only one year after his accident he gave his first conference under the theme “I chose life”!    

Stacy Casimir, Chargée de communications | Communications officer
Association québécoise pour l'équité et l'inclusion au postsecondaire (AQEIPS) | Quebec Association for Equity and Inclusion in Post-Secondary Education (AQEIPS)

Stacy is a communications student at the Université de Montréal, where she is pursuing her bachelor's degree. Passionate about people, she has been thriving in her work with the Association québécoise pour l'équité et l'inclusion des personnes handicapées (AQEIPS) for the past year. In this essential role, she acquires the skills needed to promote and protect the rights of people with disabilities.

Outside of her studies and work, Stacy volunteers for a variety of causes, notably within her university community and with the youth in Montréal-Nord. She spends part of her free time reading, swimming and exploring new experiences. She also enjoys relaxing by watching series on Netflix.

Julia Denley, Chairperson, University of Victoria's Society for Students With A Disability

Julia Denley (she/they) is the Chairperson of the UVic Society for Students with a Disability (SSD) and is an undergraduate biology student. She is a neurodivergent and queer student leader and disability advocate living with multiple physical and mental health disabilities.

They have been on the Board of UVic’s Society for Students with a Disability for the past three years, and presently serves as the SSD’s Student Liaison. She also Co-Chairs the SSD’s Access4All campaign, which advocates for equitable access to higher education by maintaining online learning options that were implemented during the pandemic.

Ashton Forrest, Accessibility Commissioner

Ashton Forrest (she/her/them) is a Master’s candidate in the Department of Philosophy at Western University. Her areas of scholarly focus are justice and human rights as they pertain to moral, legal, and political philosophy. As a person with a debilitating chronic condition called scleroderma, she has spent over a decade advocating for and raising awareness about accessibility and disability issues on the local, provincial, and national stage. She has served on the City of London’s Accessibility Advisory Committee, Cheshire London’s Cultural Competency Committee, and was the former Student Accessibility Consultant with the Academic Support and Engagement Office at Western.  As a former member of the Post-Secondary Education Standards Committee for the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) she worked with other accessibility experts and advocates to create an Accessible Education Standard for the AODA. She is currently the Society of Graduate Students’ (SOGS) Accessibility Commissioner and works with the Accessibility Commission to raise awareness about disability/accessibility issues and advocate for change within SOGS and the university. Ashton’s main goal is to ensure the voices of people with disabilities are reflected in policy, programming, and the built environment throughout society, especially in the healthcare and education sectors. She lives by the phrase “Nothing about us without us!” For her work and advocacy on accessibility and disability issues she was recognized on the 2023 Mayor’s New Year’s Honour List.

Antonia Francis, NEADS Newfoundland and Labrador Director/Secretary

Antonia sits on the NEADS board of directors as the board secretary. She has spent over 3 years at MUNDISC (Memorial Disability Information Support Centre) at Memorial University of Newfoundland and is an experienced advocate for accessibility and accommodations. In addition to this she is the current Disability Commissioner for the Canadian Federation of Students as she finishes off her Masters degree in Employment Relations.

Panel Moderator:

Elizabeth Mohler, NEADS Research Consultant

Elizabeth Mohler currently works for NEADS as a Research Consultant, where she leads the Virtual Access for All Project and writes its quarterly publication, State of the Schools. She also works for Left Turn Right Turn as an accessibility specialist; sits on the Canadian Institute for Health Research external advisory committee on systemic ableism and accessibility; and, is an experienced presenter, keynote speaker, lecturer, and published writer. Elizabeth is currently a doctoral candidate at Western University in the Health and Rehabilitation Sciences Program. Her work explores how discourses and practices within Direct Funding shape how disabled persons access services, and in what ways service users resist and negotiate these discourses. Follow Elizabeth’s work at:

National Educational Association of Disabled Students (NEADS)
Rm. 514 Unicentre, Carleton University
Ottawa, Ontario, K1S 5B6

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