About us.

Creating lasting change together.

Eviance, formerly known as the Canadian Centre for Disability Studies, was founded in 1995 under the leadership of Henry Enns, a celebrated trailblazer in the disability rights and independent living movement in Canada. For over 25 years we have been helping Canadians with disabilities and their allies advance human rights through intersectional community-based research that is co-created with diverse disability communities and is committed to sustainable solutions rooted in action.

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Our mission.

As a hub of knowledge on local, national, and global cross-disability issues, we seek to realize behavioural and system level change.

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Our vision.

An inclusive, equitable and accessible society that is sustainable for all.

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Our impact.

We enhance intersectional action-based solutions that advance human rights and equity-focused decision making in Canada.

A declaration of our work.

Eviance is a values-driven organization committed to exploring and challenging issues through a structural and systemic intersectional lens. Our researchers and knowledge mobilization staff are trained to conduct their work in a reflexive way that honours diverse knowledges, empowers the disability community and builds capacity for change. Intersectionality and reflexivity, inclusion and equity, human rights, connected work, sustainable solutions, and capacity building frame our commitment to our clients and our field.

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Intersectionality and reflexivity.

Intersectionality is central to our work, as we as an organization seek to understand the systems and processes of domination and oppression (e.g., sexism, racism, classism, colonialism, ageism, ableism, homophobia, sanism) that simultaneously produce experiences of discrimination and privilege and the complexity of how people individually experience discrimination and privilege based on these locations. We choose to go deeper into our practice by binding intersectionality to reflexivity through practicing a critical awareness of our privilege and social locations as researchers and educators.

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Inclusion and equity.

Our work engages inclusive practices and authentic engagement with diverse disability and equity-seeking groups as we focus exclusively on projects that promote inclusion and remove barriers to equity with, and for, people with disabilities.

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Human rights.

Our work is guided by, and furthers the social justice intent of, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), and other international social justice frameworks and global initiatives, such as Build Back Better and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).

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Connected work.

Eviance believes in connected work by building relationships and facilitating the sharing of diverse knowledges between grassroots groups, organizations, institutions, the private sector, government, and high-level policy makers. Our solutions network approach encourages strategic partnerships to create long lasting and grounded solutions to issues important to human rights and inclusion.

Sustainable solutions.

The central goal of our community-based research projects and knowledge-to-action activities is the development of recommendations that are attainable, easy to understand and easy to implement in order to create sustainable realistic change that is both long-term and transformative.

Capacity building.

Our organization has people with lived experiences and allies involved in all aspects of our work and we have a reputation for authentic engagement and reciprocal knowledge sharing. It’s through modeling our relational ways that we are able to work with others to build their capacity to do the same.

You can make a difference

Help to realize an inclusive society. Donate to Eviance today.

Our story.

In 1995, the Centre for Canadian Disability Studies (CCDS), now known as Eviance, incorporated and officially opened its new head office in Winnipeg, Manitoba. CCDS was developed as a knowledge hub, a place for the production of research and knowledge that could advance the disability movement.


We collaborated with our partners at the front of many firsts, including the development of the first Interdisciplinary Master of Disability Studies degree in Canada in partnership with the University of Manitoba, the establishment of Canada’s first Research Chair in Disability Studies in partnership with Royal Bank, the formation of the Disability Information Network, as well as playing an instrumental role in launching Disability Peoples’ International (DPI).


In 1981, our work hit the national stage at the United Nations Year of the Disabled conference and in 2001 we brought the Annual Society for Disability Studies Conference to Winnipeg, welcoming 350 people from 20 different countries. From our roots, we continue to build and bring together community to solve important issues and advance human rights, work that landed us the international Project Zero Award for innovative practices.


In 2018, CCDS became Eviance, a name which reflects the importance of evidence and advancement connected to people’s lives, and with it came an opportunity to reaffirm our commitment to the Winnipeg community, strengthen our efforts on a national scale to bring together and honour diverse knowledges and reflect these knowledges in the ‘e’s that come together to make our new Eviance logo.

CCDS and Henry Enns.

Henry Enns was a visionary who saw a better way and had a strong vision and sense of what was right and worked hard to challenge how society viewed individuals with disabilities. He is well known for his work with Disabled Peoples’ International (DPI) and in bringing its offices to Winnipeg, Manitoba and in pioneering the Independent Living Movement in Canada. Grounded in a commitment to the disability community throughout his advocacy career, Henry was instrumental in the development of Eviance and situating it as a key player in creating a knowledge base and innovation in the area of disabilities.

The team behind our work.

Our team comes with diverse backgrounds, expertise and experiences. We are bonded by the shared commitment to use our skills to create knowledge that brings forth change.

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Susan Hardie

Executive Director

Susan is the Executive Director of Eviance. She has a PhD from Wilfrid Laurier University and completed her post-doctoral research at the Centre for the Study of Gender, Social Inequalities and Mental Health (CGSM).

Susan has worked for over three decades in various capacities in the cross-disability and mental health fields. She is a knowledge leader and educator on emerging issues and has built Eviance into a national organization that champions authentic engagement and builds collaborations with historically siloed groups. These collaborations are informed by intersectionality, human rights and reflexivity, with a vision of making a difference in people’s lives.

Her achievements with Eviance include being an honoured presenter on intersectionality and disability at the Global Action of Disability Network Meeting hosted by Global Affairs Canada and working on inclusive education in the Ukraine, a project that received a Zero Project Award for innovation. Susan received this honour on behalf of Eviance at the United Nations in Vienna in 2016.

Areas of Significant Contribution: intersectionality, human rights and reflexivity, transformative leadership, ethics of care, justice and critique, meaningful engagement, transformative structural and system change, cross-disability and mental health, social development and welfare.

Associates

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Evan Wicklund

Manitoba Office Lead and Senior Research Officer

Evan Wicklund is the Manitoba Head Office Lead and a Research Officer at Eviance. Evan provides project management, research and administrative support for a variety of Eviance's research projects. He has a Masters of Arts Degree in Cultural Studies from the University of Winnipeg, where he focused on disability representation in textual studies informed by sociological and critical theory. Evan Believes That community-based research, intersectional critical thinking, and reflexive practice can advance egalitarian approaches to disability issues.

Knowledge Areas: intersectional thought, human rights and equity, cultural disability studies, qualitative research methods, project management

Evan Wicklund is the Manitoba Head Office Lead and a Research Officer at Eviance. Evan provides project management, research and administrative support for a variety of Eviance's research projects. He has a Masters of Arts Degree in Cultural Studies from the University of Winnipeg, where he focused on disability representation in textual studies informed by sociological and critical theory. Evan Believes That community-based research, intersectional critical thinking, and reflexive practice can advance egalitarian approaches to disability issues.

Knowledge Areas: intersectional thought, human rights and equity, cultural disability studies, qualitative research methods, project management

Olivia Boonstra

Senior Research Officer and Knowledge Mobilization Coordinator

Olivia is devoted to intersectional research and interested in connecting this experience as they continue to work in the area of disability justice. Olivia completed their Masters (MA) in Criminology and Social Justice at Toronto Metropolitan University (TMU) and has worked in community for the past eight years. Olivia brings a varied experience having previously worked on projects focused on harm reduction, anti-hate initiatives, prison abolition, and the issue of student debt for students with disabilities.

Knowledge Areas: public policy, investigative research, harm reduction, social justice, human rights, community engagement, abolition, critical criminology, disability justice, knowledge mobilization, content creation

Olivia is devoted to intersectional research and interested in connecting this experience as they continue to work in the area of disability justice. Olivia completed their Masters (MA) in Criminology and Social Justice at Toronto Metropolitan University (TMU) and has worked in community for the past eight years. Olivia brings a varied experience having previously worked on projects focused on harm reduction, anti-hate initiatives, prison abolition, and the issue of student debt for students with disabilities.

Knowledge Areas: public policy, investigative research, harm reduction, social justice, human rights, community engagement, abolition, critical criminology, disability justice, knowledge mobilization, content creation

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Amin Amir Ali

Digital Media Officer, Eviance

Amin is a marketing professional with experience in promoting disability inclusion. As a former External Engagement Manager at Pakistan's leading disability inclusion initiative called Network of Organizations Working with People with Disabilities Pakistan (NOWPDP), he successfully spearheaded the Rickshaw Project, a unique venture that employed persons with lower-limb disabilities as drivers of a fleet of hand-controlled rickshaws. He also played a key role in expanding NOWPDP's disability consulting program, which was recognized as an innovative initiative at the Zero Project awards held at the United Nations headquarters.

In addition to holding a Master's in Business Administration, Amin is currently pursuing a master’s degree in Disability Studies from the University of Manitoba. He is an International Visitors Leadership Exchange Program (IVLP) Fellow by the State Department of the United States and currently serves as a Digital Media Officer at Eviance.

Amin is a marketing professional with experience in promoting disability inclusion. As a former External Engagement Manager at Pakistan's leading disability inclusion initiative called Network of Organizations Working with People with Disabilities Pakistan (NOWPDP), he successfully spearheaded the Rickshaw Project, a unique venture that employed persons with lower-limb disabilities as drivers of a fleet of hand-controlled rickshaws. He also played a key role in expanding NOWPDP's disability consulting program, which was recognized as an innovative initiative at the Zero Project awards held at the United Nations headquarters.

In addition to holding a Master's in Business Administration, Amin is currently pursuing a master’s degree in Disability Studies from the University of Manitoba. He is an International Visitors Leadership Exchange Program (IVLP) Fellow by the State Department of the United States and currently serves as a Digital Media Officer at Eviance.

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Nicole Collier

Research Officer, Eviance

Nicole Collier is a Research Officer at Eviance. She holds a Bachelor of Philosophy (BPhil) in Interdisciplinary Leadership from the University of New Brunswick, where she developed an interest in policy, entrepreneurship, and governance. Nicole comes to Eviance with previous project experience in the areas of food security, mental health advocacy, and community development, and is excited to further her knowledge and work in the area of disability justice and intersectionality.

Nicole Collier is a Research Officer at Eviance. She holds a Bachelor of Philosophy (BPhil) in Interdisciplinary Leadership from the University of New Brunswick, where she developed an interest in policy, entrepreneurship, and governance. Nicole comes to Eviance with previous project experience in the areas of food security, mental health advocacy, and community development, and is excited to further her knowledge and work in the area of disability justice and intersectionality.

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Jan Palmer

Office Administrator

Jan Palmer is an Office Administrator with Eviance and is responsible for project tracking and bookkeeping. Jan has extensive experience in the non-profit sector in senior administrative positions, providing support over the years to a number of important organizations. She also has extensive experience in event planning and fundraising. Jan believes in supporting teams doing good work and provides exceptional organizational support as Eviance balances multiple projects, time sensitive objectives, payroll and bookkeeping.

Knowledge Areas: non-profit administration, event planning and fundraising, keeping Eviance organized.

Jan Palmer is an Office Administrator with Eviance and is responsible for project tracking and bookkeeping. Jan has extensive experience in the non-profit sector in senior administrative positions, providing support over the years to a number of important organizations. She also has extensive experience in event planning and fundraising. Jan believes in supporting teams doing good work and provides exceptional organizational support as Eviance balances multiple projects, time sensitive objectives, payroll and bookkeeping.

Knowledge Areas: non-profit administration, event planning and fundraising, keeping Eviance organized.

Chloée C. Godin-Jacques

Youth Intern

Chloée C. Godin-Jacques is a Youth Leadership Intern at Eviance and partakes in different research initiatives. Chloée is currently a Master’s Student in Cultural Studies at Queen’s University, where she is currently analyzing the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) through the intersectional lenses of Critical Disability Studies and Queer Theory. Chloée is a disabled activist, community-based researcher, and social entrepreneur.

Knowledge Areas: activism, empowerment, decision-making processes, disability justice model, international disability.

Chloée C. Godin-Jacques is a Youth Leadership Intern at Eviance and partakes in different research initiatives. Chloée is currently a Master’s Student in Cultural Studies at Queen’s University, where she is currently analyzing the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) through the intersectional lenses of Critical Disability Studies and Queer Theory. Chloée is a disabled activist, community-based researcher, and social entrepreneur.

Knowledge Areas: activism, empowerment, decision-making processes, disability justice model, international disability.

Our Board of Directors.

Eviance is led by a Board of Directors who are knowledge experts in the field of disability. These strong leaders ensure that disability voices are heard and that our strategic direction always remains on breaking down human rights and inclusion barriers. Board members are elected annually and assume responsibility for organizational governance and providing strategic and operational oversight of the organization.

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Brooke Sillaby

Chair

Brooke Sillaby joined the Eviance board in 2017, currently servicing as our Chair. Brooke holds an MA in Health and Aging from McMaster University.

Brooke is well known for her engagement in the working dog world, being a breeder and an owner-trainer herself and presenting at an international level on the policy needs around working dogs. She focuses her work and advocacy in policy arenas where she feels there is the most possibility for impact. Affecting policy is important so that you can get somewhere, instead of putting band-aids on things.”

For Brooke, as an indigenous woman from the Chippewas of Georgina Island, as well as being visually impaired and a guide dog user, Eviance’s intersectional approach is important. “I like that Eviance looks at a disability as an array of issues and that we look at it from a variety of perspectives. There is a little bit of everything.”

Board Members

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Peter Dunn

Vice-Chair

Dr. Peter Dunn, PhD, joined the Eviance board in 2015, and is currently serving as our Vice-Chair. He is a retired professor from the Faculty of Social Work at Wilfrid Laurier University and has a background working in grass-roots organizing, social planning and social justice. He has completed several SSHRC/CURA funded national research projects related to disability inclusion and oppression. “I am excited to serve on Eviance’s board and to use my knowledge and skills to help them advance disability research.”

Dr. Peter Dunn, PhD, joined the Eviance board in 2015, and is currently serving as our Vice-Chair. He is a retired professor from the Faculty of Social Work at Wilfrid Laurier University and has a background working in grass-roots organizing, social planning and social justice. He has completed several SSHRC/CURA funded national research projects related to disability inclusion and oppression. “I am excited to serve on Eviance’s board and to use my knowledge and skills to help them advance disability research.”

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Patti Chiappetta

Secretary

Patti Chiappetta joined the Eviance Board in 2020. She is the board Secretary as well as works with the nomination committee. Patti is the Executive Director of Innovative LIFE Options. Prior to this she worked for the Province of Manitoba as ED of the Seniors and Healthy Aging Secretariat. She sits on various local and provincial committees and boards, and is active in accessibility and inclusion issues. As a new member, “ I am very excited to be part of the Eviance journey and the great work being done.”

Patti Chiappetta joined the Eviance Board in 2020. She is the board Secretary as well as works with the nomination committee. Patti is the Executive Director of Innovative LIFE Options. Prior to this she worked for the Province of Manitoba as ED of the Seniors and Healthy Aging Secretariat. She sits on various local and provincial committees and boards, and is active in accessibility and inclusion issues. As a new member, “ I am very excited to be part of the Eviance journey and the great work being done.”

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Ernie Kowalec

Treasurer

Ernie Kowalec joined the board in 2014 and serves as the board Treasurer. Ernie has a BA in Economics and hails from the commercial banking world. He has extensive experience working in economic development, employment and immigration. Enjoying his retirement, Ernie joined our board when he heard the need for a treasurer. “I appreciate the objectives of Eviance and I’m committed to supporting the leadership of this team so the organization continues to build and grow.”

Ernie Kowalec joined the board in 2014 and serves as the board Treasurer. Ernie has a BA in Economics and hails from the commercial banking world. He has extensive experience working in economic development, employment and immigration. Enjoying his retirement, Ernie joined our board when he heard the need for a treasurer. “I appreciate the objectives of Eviance and I’m committed to supporting the leadership of this team so the organization continues to build and grow.”

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Cindy Jiang

Member-at-Large

Cindy Jiang joined the Eviance board in 2020, serving as a Member-at-Large. Cindy is currently completing her PhD in Critical Disability Studies at York University. She is a researcher and advocate focusing on mental health and disability health, “I joined Eviance because of its alignment with my research, advocacy and personal experiences with disability.” Cindy is an associate researcher at the York Center for Asian Studies as well as the Robarts Centre for Canadian Studies.

Cindy Jiang joined the Eviance board in 2020, serving as a Member-at-Large. Cindy is currently completing her PhD in Critical Disability Studies at York University. She is a researcher and advocate focusing on mental health and disability health, “I joined Eviance because of its alignment with my research, advocacy and personal experiences with disability.” Cindy is an associate researcher at the York Center for Asian Studies as well as the Robarts Centre for Canadian Studies.

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Mohamed Ibrahim

Member-at-Large

Dr. Ibrahim joined the Eviance board in 2020, serving as a Member-At-Large. He holds a PhD from Simon Fraser University. Mohamed is a research professor at the UBC School of Social Work, I think what drew me to Eviance is the work they do in terms of disabilities especially psychosocial disabilities and human rights which are areas of research and scholarly interest to me.” Mohamed currently consults with the World Health Organization in developing mental health and psychosocial support services in complex humanitarian settings.

Dr. Ibrahim joined the Eviance board in 2020, serving as a Member-At-Large. He holds a PhD from Simon Fraser University. Mohamed is a research professor at the UBC School of Social Work, I think what drew me to Eviance is the work they do in terms of disabilities especially psychosocial disabilities and human rights which are areas of research and scholarly interest to me.” Mohamed currently consults with the World Health Organization in developing mental health and psychosocial support services in complex humanitarian settings.

Kate Deacon

Member-at-Large

Kate Deacon, RSW, joined the Eviance board in 2021, and is currently serving as a Member-at-Large. Kate is a social worker and programs and services manager at Independent Living Centre of Kingston. Kate also sits on the Municipal Accessibility Advisory Committee for the City of Kingston. "Through my own lived experiences and in my professional role, I see the impact Eviance's work has on the disability movement every day. Knowledge is so vital to moving forward and I want to support Eviance in continuing to lead the way in disability research".

Kate Deacon, RSW, joined the Eviance board in 2021, and is currently serving as a Member-at-Large. Kate is a social worker and programs and services manager at Independent Living Centre of Kingston. Kate also sits on the Municipal Accessibility Advisory Committee for the City of Kingston. "Through my own lived experiences and in my professional role, I see the impact Eviance's work has on the disability movement every day. Knowledge is so vital to moving forward and I want to support Eviance in continuing to lead the way in disability research".

Lorelei Root

Member-at-Large

Lorelei Root joined the Eviance board in 2021, as a Member-at-Large. Lorelei is a digital accessibility specialist with a career in making digital content more accessible to people with disabilities. She is the vice-chair of the City of Guelph’s Accessibility Advocacy committee and serves on a number of other boards and committees in an accessibility advisory capacity. Eviance and our work holds a special place for Lorelei, “Cross-disability accessibility advocacy is a driving passion of mine, so I am excited to work with Eviance because I want to contribute to a world with as few barriers as possible. I am a firm believer in "nothing about us without us" and also believe that any progress toward access inclusion needs to be diverse, with an intersectional view and built on an anti-oppressive and anti-racist framework. I am glad to be working with an organization that shares those values.”

Lorelei Root joined the Eviance board in 2021, as a Member-at-Large. Lorelei is a digital accessibility specialist with a career in making digital content more accessible to people with disabilities. She is the vice-chair of the City of Guelph’s Accessibility Advocacy committee and serves on a number of other boards and committees in an accessibility advisory capacity. Eviance and our work holds a special place for Lorelei, “Cross-disability accessibility advocacy is a driving passion of mine, so I am excited to work with Eviance because I want to contribute to a world with as few barriers as possible. I am a firm believer in "nothing about us without us" and also believe that any progress toward access inclusion needs to be diverse, with an intersectional view and built on an anti-oppressive and anti-racist framework. I am glad to be working with an organization that shares those values.”

Seonghwi Bang

Member-at-large

Seonghwi Bang holds a Ph.D. from the University of Manitoba specializing in understanding autism, its approaches, and the family needs of autistic children. In addition, she has served individuals with diverse disabilities in the community for many years and is currently serving as a Research Coordinator at the University of Calgary Faculty of Social Work. “I honour the Eviance vision and our community-based projects and research with, and for, the diverse disability communities. I am excited to be part of their history and contribute my passion to our collective work to improve the quality of life of individuals with disabilities, and their families, friends and communities.”

Seonghwi Bang holds a Ph.D. from the University of Manitoba specializing in understanding autism, its approaches, and the family needs of autistic children. In addition, she has served individuals with diverse disabilities in the community for many years and is currently serving as a Research Coordinator at the University of Calgary Faculty of Social Work. “I honour the Eviance vision and our community-based projects and research with, and for, the diverse disability communities. I am excited to be part of their history and contribute my passion to our collective work to improve the quality of life of individuals with disabilities, and their families, friends and communities.”

Affiliations

We believe in connected work and in continuously refining our practice. We are proud members of the following affiliations:

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