NEADS National AccessAbility Week event, June 1, 2023: accessibility initiatives and best practices of disability organizations and post-secondary schools

Event Description:

National AccessAbility Week (NAAW) takes place every year starting on the last Sunday in May. It is a time when accessibility and inclusion are promoted across communities and workplaces and a time to celebrate the contributions of Canadians with disabilities. It is also an opportunity to recognize the efforts of Canadians who are actively removing barriers and ensuring persons with disabilities have an equal chance to participate in all aspects of Canadian society. To recognize this week, the National Educational Association of Disabled Students (NEADS) will host a panel event on Zoom highlighting accessibility initiatives and best practices of disability organizations and post-secondary schools. Join NEADS on June 1, 2023 from 3:00 p.m. - 4:30 p.m. ET for an interactive panel featuring representatives from Toronto Metropolitan University; The Centre for Research on Work Disability Policy; and Wavemakers. This will be a bilingual workshop and have ASL/LSQ and captions. Please register online by completing the Zoom form below. If you require any accommodations, contact Elizabeth Mohler at

Online registration is required - register here. This event is supported by the Government of Canada through Employment and Social Development Canada.

Bios for Our Speakers (note: Wavemakers speakers' bios are forthcoming)

Elizabeth Mohler, 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 previously worked at Ryerson Magnet as their Inclusive Hiring Project Coordinator. Elizabeth sits on the Canadian Institute for Health Research (CIHR) Advisory Committee on Accessibility and Systemic Ableism, and is an experienced presenter, keynote speaker, lecturer, and published writer. Elizabeth is currently conducting Doctoral research at Western University, where she explores how discourses and practices within Direct Funding shape how disabled persons access care,  and in what ways  service users resist and negotiate these discourses. When Elizabeth is not working, you can find her singing in one of her 2 choirs; running in High Park; or, doing triathlons with her guide, David.

Alexis Buettgen, PhD

Alexis describes herself: "I’m a community-engaged researcher, educator, and advocate, with over 15 years of experience in community-based research, health and social services, academic institutions, and activist organizations. I’ve dedicated my career to advancing research, practice and policy in the areas of social and climate justice; social, political and economic inclusion; poverty reduction and community capacity and coalition building with a particular interest in disability studies. My current research focuses on disability inclusion in the green economy and bridging the gap between academic knowledge and climate action through fieldwork carried out at local, national, and international levels."

Heather Willis, Accessibility Coordinator, Toronto Metropolitan University

Heather Willis is a proud graduate of Toronto Metropolitan’s School of Disability Studies, and has a post-graduate diploma in Disability Studies from the University of Leeds. 

Born in Toronto, Heather has been an accessibility advocate since she was a teenager growing up in an institution for disabled children. In the decades since, she has served on numerous committees and boards dedicated to the equity and full inclusion of persons with disabilities. In 2010, following a 25 year career at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, Heather joined Toronto Metropolitan University as its inaugural Accessibility Coordinator, now in the Office of the Vice President,  Equity and Community Inclusion. She leads TMU’s accessibility initiative, "ACCESS TMU", with the goal of identifying, removing and preventing accessibility barriers for all members of the university community.

Heather lives in Toronto with her husband and cat Charley. She enjoys reading, puzzles of any kind, kayaking and hanging out at her cottage in the Kawarthas.


Wavemakers is a groundbreaking work-integrated learning program, supported by the Government of Canada through the Innovative Work-Integrated Learning Program, designed to connect diverse post-secondary students with leading employers across Canada. 

Wavemakers is the ONLY innovative work-integrated learning program accessible to all Canadian post-secondary students, wherever they are, that leverages cutting-edge technologies, world-class experts, and critical employer networks so that students are ready to make waves towards a brighter future.

Emily Hartman, Wavemakers’ Director of Student Engagement

Emily (she/her) is the Director of Student Engagement for Wavemakers - a Canadian virtual reality career-building program that gives post-secondary students opportunities to thrive in the workplace of the future. She is an executive member of StartProud, supporting queer undergraduate students, and is on the Board of Directors for Step2Flourish a non-profit supporting students with mental health resources - causes she is personally connected to. Emily is focused on redefining learning and development opportunities for Canadian post-secondary students and uses critical feminist, artistic, and belonging-focused lenses in all her work.

Stephanie Evans, Memorial University Student

"Hi, I'm Stephanie Evans from St. John's, NL. I'm going into my last year of social work at Memorial University. One of my goals is to own a private practice one day focusing on mental health. I'm an advocate for people with disabilities and raising awareness on accessibility and inclusion. I started as a participant with Wavemakers in 2020, and after doing the program, I was invited to be on the advisory board, and I love it! One fun fact about me is that I'm on TeamNL for wheelchair basketball and competed in the Canada games in 2019."

For further information:

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

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