Greg McMeekin, Chair
Greg McMeekin of Calgary is the current Vice-Chair of the City of Calgary’s Advisory Committee on Accessibility and a former member of the Premier’s Council on the Status of Persons with Disabilities. He was called to the Alberta bar at the Calgary Courts in 2016. Greg has many connections within the disability community, both as an advocate and liaison as well as having a disability himself, cerebral palsy.
Alison Cutknife of Maskwacis is an Anishinaabekwe of the Aamjiwnaang First Nation (Ontario), which is a member of the Samson Cree First Nation. One of her daughters has cerebral palsy. Over the past 25 years, Alison has been an active advocate for families of children with disabilities who live on reserves. Her work includes developing the first Early Childhood Intervention Program on reserve, establishing an annual community National Child Day event and conducting culturally appropriate indigenous parent programs. Teaching is Alison’s profession and lifelong learning is her pastime. Contact Alison
Cathy Smith of Barrhead is a parent of a 43-year-old woman with a rare disability known as Angelman Syndrome. In caring for her daughter through many years, she has furthered her education in a way that was both extremely challenging and far more rewarding than any educational institution could provide. Through her years working with Alberta Children’s Services, in non-profit organizations as a frontline caregiver and as a volunteer in her community, Cathy commits herself to promote inclusion, accessibility and quality of life for all people with disabilities. Contact Cathy
Charlene Tolentino is a public guardian representative for the Office the Public Guardian & Trustee. She has vast experience in the disability sector as a former service coordinator with Disability Services for the Government of Alberta. As a licensed attorney (New York), she has over 10 years’ experience providing advocacy support to children in foster care, as well as adults with disabilities in both the United States and Canada. Charlene is also the mother of a child with a disability.
Garth Rowswell, MLA for Vermilion-Lloydminster-Wainwright, is a current member of the Legislative Assembly of Alberta. Prior to serving with the Legislative Assembly, Garth was a financial advisor for over 16 years and has an extensive background in agriculture business. Garth is actively involved in his community. He has served as board member and president of various clubs and organizations including the Rotary Club of Lloydminster and the Canadian Association of Agri-Retailers. Garth holds a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture from the University of Alberta. Contact Garth.
Heath Birkholz is a community advocate coordinator for Self Advocacy Federation Edmonton and a freelance writer and facilitator who contributes to community building and development by creating accessible tools for individuals with disabilities. Heath is an integrated dancer/choreographer and former community liaison with CRIPSiE, an organization run by artists with disabilities. He is also a community liaison with Solidance and cofounder of Rights to Love, an organization that provides sexual health education and support for people with disabilities.
Neil Pierce of Edmonton has served in leadership roles with Workers’ Compensation Boards of Ontario and North West Territories, the Canadian Paraplegic Association (Alberta), Alberta Paraplegic Foundation, Multiple Sclerosis Society of Alberta, Muscular Dystrophy Canada (Western Canada) and the Parkinson’s Association of Alberta. He helped develop programs that continue to benefit those with spinal cord injuries and other physical disabilities, including the Alberta Neurotrauma Initiative, the Champions Career Centre, the Way Forward MS Strategy and the Alberta MS Regional Research and Training Centre. Neil has received the Canadian Paraplegic Association’s Honourable Lois Hole Community Development Award, an Alberta Civil Trial Lawyers’ Association social justice award and the Council’s Gary McPherson Leadership Award. Contact Neil
As a mother of a son with a developmental disability, Shino Nakane of Calgary has a passion for helping non-profit groups that strive to meet the unique needs of families like hers. Shino currently manages community relations with Autism Society Alberta, helping launch province-wide initiatives like Autism Alberta's Alliance. She has volunteered on a variety of boards and committees over the past decade, including the Alberta Children's Hospital. She continually strives to spearhead efforts so that all people are able to live in accessible and inclusive communities. Contact Shino
Tracy L. Allard, MLA for Grande Prairie, is a current member of the Legislative Assembly of Alberta. Prior to serving with the Legislative Assembly, Tracy franchised Tim Hortons restaurants in British Columbia and in Grande Prairie. Active in her community, she served as a director with the Tim Horton Children's Foundation. She was board president of the Grande Prairie Boys' Choir and sat on the Grande Prairie Regional Hospital Foundation Capital Cabinet. Tracy holds a Bachelor of Commerce and a Certificate in Disability Management from the University of British Columbia. Contact Tracy.
To contact the Premier’s Council Secretariat:
Suite 1110, 10055 106 Street
Edmonton, Alberta T5J 2Y2
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