CCD Election Results

I am pleased to report that the CCD Council has elected two new officers to the Executive Committee: Pat Danforth as 2nd Vice Chair and Kathleen Thompson as Treasurer. 

Pat and Kathleen, welcome to the Executive team! 

The Executive Committee includes:

  • Jewelles Smith, Chairperson;
  • John Rae, 1st Vice Chair;
  • Pat Danforth, 2nd Vice Chair;
  • Carmela Hutchison, Secretary;
  • Kathleen Thompson, Treasurer;
  • Ellen Cohen,  Member-at-Large.  

Thanks to the outgoing 2nd Vice Chair and Treasurer, Carlos Sosa and Kory Earle, for their contributions to CCD. 

Earlier in the year, May Recollet-Goulais was elected as Member-at-Large on Council and Ellen Cohen was elected as Member-at-Large on the Executive Committee. 

Thanks to everyone who ran in CCD’s elections and to Carmela Hutchison for her work on the Nominating Committee.

As you will see from their biographies, the newly elected office holders bring a wealth of expertise to CCD.

~ Jewelles Smith,
CCD Chairperson

Pat Danforth

Pat Danforth has more than 30 years of governance and board experience in a wide variety of government and not for profit sectors. She is committed to embracing and leading change that makes a difference.

Pat has worked on rights based issues since becoming reliant on a wheelchair in 1970.  She has taken a leadership role with the Council of Canadians with Disabilities (CCD). She represents the Disability Alliance BC on CCD’s board. She also volunteers on CCD’s Transportation Committee and is a member of its Human Rights Committee.

She is a founding mother of the DisAbled Women’s Network (DAWN). Pat’s career includes work for provincial and federal governments, Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission, as well as the Canadian Labour Congress. Her varied background includes the Saskatchewan Public Service Commission Board of Commissioners, Regina Health District Board, National Transportation Agency and CUPE National’s Disability Working Group. She has specialist knowledge of rights and disability issues, policies and programs.

Pat currently serves on a variety of committees including:

  • BC Ferries Accessibility Advisory Committee
  • Chair, Disability Alliance BC
  • Transportation Committee and human rights committee
  • Council of Canadians with Disabilities
  • Working Group for development of Saanich Accessibility Committee

Past committee work includes Vice Chair, Accessible Transportation Advisory Committee, BC Transit and Member, Advisory Design Panel, District of Saanich.

Pat recognizes that volunteer work is essential in making a difference to the lives of people living with disabilities.


Professional Background

Dr. Kathleen Thompson manages her own health policy consulting company serving, primarily, the legal cannabis sector. In 2015, she founded the Cannabis Regulatory Research Group, an international consortium of regulatory exports in the global cannabis industry. Kathleen consults on cannabis policy to governments, industry, entrepreneurs and civil society. The focus of her work in the cannabis sector is to support all levels of government in Canada in developing legalization policies and regulations which ensure that vulnerable and marginalized Canadians, particularly people living with disabilities, have access to quality, affordable, tested cannabis within the new legalized framework. Kathleen consults and speaks on Cannabis and the Workplace with a focus on how the legalization of cannabis may impact persons living with disabilities who benefit from cannabis consumption. Additionally, she is partnering with Indigenous businesses in Western Canada on becoming Licensed Producers (LPs) of medicinal and recreational cannabis and hemp.

Since 1999, Kathleen has consulted on health policy initiatives to the mental health, disability and corrections sectors. She was the lead researcher for DISC, the Disability Income Support Coalition from 2010 – 2015. DISC consulted with the Government of Saskatchewan in implementing SAID, Saskatchewan Assured Income for Disability. Kathleen co-chaired the joint Government / DISC Evaluation and the Benefits committees. She is the Vice President of Saskatchewan Voice of People with Disabilities. Also, she is a long-standing Board Member with IHRAAM, the International Human Rights Association for American Minorities. IHRAAM is in consultative status with the United Nations and provides Alternative Reporting to the UN UPR on CERD, the Committee for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. Kathleen has represented IHRAAM at UN events in Geneva and New York. 

Education, Academic /Research Awards & Service Funding

Kathleen’s PhD is in Clinical Social Work from the University of Calgary (2011). Her studies were fully funded through a SSHRC Canada Graduate Scholarship (CGS) and studied the factors that support the recovery and well-being of older adults living with disabilities. Kathleen’s Master of Social Work (1999) and Bachelor of Arts Honours (Psychology, 1993) are both from the University of Regina. Both her undergraduate and master’s theses were on The Adoption Myth, focusing on the history of adoption policies in Saskatchewan.

In addition to receiving the highest level of federal funding for her PhD studies, Kathleen has won numerous other awards and raised significant funds for program development:

  • Dr. Lionel and Mrs. Mary Hastings Award for Clinical Excellence (2013 – Schizophrenia Society of Saskatchewan)
  • Saskatoon Health Region Bravo Award (2012 – Group award to the Friends of the Dubé Centre)
  • Federal Homelessness Initiative ($250,000) (2011 – Government of Canada – Canadian Mental Health Association – Regina Branch)
  • Early Intervention Centre ($1,000,060 and $1,000,000 annually) ( 2007 – 2008 – Government of Saskatchewan and Canadian Mental Health Association – Saskatchewan Division)
  • Dean’s Research Excellence Award (2004 – 2005 – Graduate Studies – University of Calgary)
  • Research Development Grant (2002 – Prairie Women’s Health Centre of Excellence (PWHCE))

Background and Current Activity Alignment

Kathleen is well positioned to successfully fulfill the role of Treasurer with the Council of Canadians with Disabilities (CCD). She has been an Executive Director (ED) of a provincial charity, the Schizophrenia Society of Saskatchewan. Also, she sat on the Finance Committee while serving as a long-standing Board Member with the Canadian Mental Health Association – Saskatchewan Division. Furthermore, she has run a successful, for-profit consulting company for 25 years and is active at international, national and provincial levels. Kathleen has the training and background necessary to be a strong Treasurer to the CCD.

Finally, the industry Kathleen works in, the legal cannabis sector, is the fastest growing industry in Canada. It is estimated that by 2020, the legal cannabis industry will employ more people than all of industry, combined. Kathleen is solidly positioned to leverage significant federal and private sector funding to support inclusive and healthy policies impacting the disability sector on legalization of cannabis in Canada. Successfully fulfilling the role of Treasurer for the CCD could allow for the CCD to have a significant voice on behalf of Canadians living with disabilities on how effective cannabis legalization policies and regulations can and should unfold within Canadian communities.

Ellen Cohen

My experience includes participation on local board, provincial boards, national boards and committees. Using an intersectional lens my participation on this committee will highlight the impact of psycho/social disabilities across the whole disability community.

I have worked in the mental health field with consumer led organizations over two decades as an experienced facilitator and coordinator. Working in the capacity of consultant, I was developing workshops in all areas of nonprofit management and leadership, based on the individual needs of the consumer organizations.

The skills I bring are:

  • Provided expertise and support in the development of programs, and infrastructures for grassroots organizations;
  • Developed and delivered workshops, training modules and educational resources in all areas of nonprofit management and leadership;
  • Supported the implementation and policy development of a provincial strategy for mental health reform;
  • Facilitated the development and coordination of a regional network for grassroots mental health organizations in Northeast Ontario.

I am passionate about change, and looking into the future for the CCD and all of the consumer organizations. I am very excited about the future and what is in store. I would like to play a larger part along the path of our community going forward.  I am confident that my knowledge and experience in community development, capacity building, networking and organizational development will be an asset to the CCD executive team.

I am the National Coordinator of the National Network for Mental Health.

May Recollet Goulais

May Recollet-Goulais is from the Wikwemikong Unceded Indian Reservation.  She is a product of colonization.  Her time with her birth family was short lived, as she was apprehended and placed in two foster homes.  At this time, she suffered the loss of what she knew; her family, her language, her culture, and her identity as an Anishinabe Kwe (Ojibway woman).  It was during her time in foster care that she experienced the weakening of her spirit through physical, mental, emotional, sexual and spiritual abuse. 

During May’s adolescence years, she relocated to North Bay where she attended secondary school.  Her attempt to cope with the years that shattered her life of innocence caused her to live in the fast paced world and her wandering years became a time of destruction.  At a turning point in her life she reached out to the western counseling practices to address the trauma she continued to live through.  In time, she realized that this type of healing did not coincide with her wellness plan.  And so her walk became with the referral of a Traditional Grandmother who shared her knowledge and walked along side of her healing journey.  It was through the combination of western and spiritual teachings she was able to retrieve her personal bundle.  A bundle that has formed the woman that she takes pride in and a walk that healed her wounded spirit.  May married into and resides on Nipissing First Nation # 10 where she raised her daughter. She passed on her teachings to her daughter and committed to end the cycle of oppression and violence with her family.  

May was driven to complete her post-secondary education in hopes to make a difference with her people and she had a strong desire to advocate and support Anishinabe nations.  After obtaining her education from Canadore College and Nipissing University, she began her career working within the Social Service sector.  Her career began within the mainstream agencies and through this work she was educated on the human experiences occurring in the Nipissing District. 

She was given the opportunity to do this important work through collaboration between Amelia Rising Sexual Assault Centre and the Union of Ontario Indians.  It was at this time that May began to flourish where she and a colleague developed a manual:  Fireweed: Rites of Passage, Male Childhood Sexual Abuse.  This manual supports western and First Nation healing practices.  This opened the door to train other frontline workers within the Robinson-Heron treaty area to deliver this program.  She continues to offer this training whenever the opportunity sees fit. 

May presently works at the North Bay Indian Friendship Centre as the Healing and Wellness Coordinator.    She incorporates both Western and First Nation theories.  May is committed to her responsibility to share the teachings and appreciates her role as a support to assist in the healing process for those in need.  May’s desire to keep the culture alive in the community does not stop with her employment. 

She is community driven and assists many Elders and Grandmothers in their efforts to bring cultural awareness.   In sum, May has received her teachings from many Elders and Grandmothers who have assisted her in understanding and moving beyond her childhood traumatic experiences.  Today, May shares this knowledge with those who seek Native customs to support their healing journey through a personal wellness plan.   May believes “you live your life according to the hurdles you overcome and build strength by sharing your story in hopes to give courage to change a wounded life.”