KEYNOTE: Dr. Cindy Blackstock, Executive Director, First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada.

Jordan’s Principle: Achieving Equity for First Nations Children and Families

A member of the Gitksan First Nation, Dr. Cindy Blackstock has 25 years of social work experience specializing in child protection and Indigenous children’s rights. She has authored more than 50 publications and has collaborated with other Indigenous leaders to assist the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child in the development and adoption of a General Comment on the Rights of Indigenous children. In her keynote address, Dr. Blackstock will discuss the continuing mission to ensure protection of the rights and dignity of First Nations children and families.

KEYNOTE: Fred Penner, Award-Winning Canadian Entertainer

Never Underestimate Your Ability to Make a Difference in the Life of Another Person

Fred Penner is a gentle man with an undeniable ability to make you feel good about yourself. This iconic Canadian musical master brings more than 40 years of commitment, consistency and depth to a career that combines many genres of performing and communication. Fred continues to grow and create music for his generations of Fred Heads. From hosting the United Way National conference in Saskatoon to emceeing the renowned Polaris Music Awards and being part of the C3 Legacy Expedition supporting the truth and reconciliation process in remote parts of Canada, apparently retirement is not in the cards for Fred. Through music and storytelling, he reminds us of our purpose in others’ lives.

KEYNOTE: Zofia Dove, Palliative Communication Expert

It is Too Serious to be Serious

Not long ago, Zofia Dove was a new immigrant with little to no ability to communicate in English. Today, she combines her unique perspective on conversations around death and dying with her passion for humour as the power behind personal and professional transformations. She is the author of a local bestseller book entitled Unexpected Gifts. In this presentation, expect to be entertained and empowered while learning how communicating with lighthearted humour benefits clients and workplace teams.

KEYNOTE: River Christie-White, Hoop Dancer & Speaker

Hoops for Hope: A Journey of Acceptance Over Inclusion

River Christie-White is a First Nations youth from Oneida Nation of the Thames. He is a hoop dancer, fancy dancer, flute player, singer, presenter and motivational speaker. He has spent the last eight years traveling the pow wow trail to educate audiences on autism, bullying, suicide prevention and the importance of fostering inclusion. River will perform and speak about his experiences in advocacy.

 Carolyn Klassen, Family Therapist 

  • Honouring the Loneliness of the Journey

Our culture doesn’t always allow people to acknowledge the struggle of loneliness. This workshop will create space for people to acknowledge and honour their own loneliness, and will explore creating connected lives that lessen loneliness.

  • Vulnerability & Shame: Mentioning the Never Mentioned

Brené Brown’s TED talk on shame and vulnerability gave permission and language for the universal experience of shame, the inevitability of vulnerability and our desire to avoid both. This workshop will review the myths of vulnerability, the four self-conscious affects, and transforming our interactions with ourselves and the world.

Carolyn O. Klassen is a therapist and director at Conexus Counselling in Winnipeg. She has degrees in marriage, family, and child counselling and in occupational therapy. Carolyn taught for many years at the University of Manitoba, speaks widely and writes about aspects of connection, including a book and co-hosts a weekly conversation with Hal Anderson on 680 CJOB.

Debbie Cielen, Elder & Mentor

Miikana Pimatiziwin, Life’s Journey: Path to Healing and Reconciliation

Debbie Cielen (Good Talking Turtle) has been involved in cultural teaching and practice since the early 90s. Debbie is the elder-in-residence at Life’s Journey and has worked in social services for over 30 years. She managed the Indian Residential Schools Health Support program at Neeginan Centre for 10 years. Debbie is also a pipe carrier, lodge keeper, and long-time sun dancer. She will share information about the range of cultural services offered by Life’s Journey.

Dr. Janet Twyman, Educational Innovator 

Life in the Fast Lane: The Intersection of Education, Technology, & Behaviour Analysis

In this session, participants will examine components of instructional design and various instructional technology tools that support them, and discuss enhanced opportunities for behaviour analysis in education.

Dr. Janet Twyman is the founder of a learning sciences company, the director of innovation & technology at the Center on Innovations in Learning, and an associate professor at the University of Massachusetts. Her numerous articles, book chapters, and presentations cover behaviour analysis, instructional design, technology, and educational systems.

 Michael Baker

Disability Studies & Inclusion: Breaking Down Barriers

Michael Baker is a graduate student at the University of Manitoba completing his master’s thesis in inclusive education. He will be a PhD student in September at the University of Manitoba.  Michael is also a high school student service teacher and has been teaching for seven years in Manitoba.

Lesley Eblie Trudel, PhD, Educator

Seeking Mino-Pimatisiwin (Seeking The Good Life)

Dr. Lesley Eblie Trudel worked in public education in Manitoba for over thirty years, holding positions ranging from instructional to administrative. She is a retired assistant superintendent of schools and currently an assistant professor in the Faculty of Education at the University of Winnipeg. Dr. Trudel holds a PhD from the University of Manitoba. She has a keen interest in organizational learning and systemic change in diverse and inclusive educational communities.

Linton Sellen, Leadership Development Consultant & Trainer 

  • Authority is Not a Four-Letter Word
  • Myth of Motivation

These sessions will challenge conventional beliefs about leadership. Linton Sellen explores the meaning of authority, examines styles of management that harm team performance, and will help us to avoid being the bad boss that nobody wants to be.

Linton Sellen is an award-winning trainer of leaders who is celebrated for his original and practical insights. He received his post secondary education from the faculties of management and law at the University of Manitoba. After receiving his call to the Bar, he joined Canada’s Air Force and became an officer, a pilot, and placed in charge of teaching crew commanders how to lead their teams on operational missions.

Marie Antaya, Author & Speaker 

Take Charge of Your Time and Priorities

Ever start your day with high hopes of getting things done and then leave work feeling like you’ve accomplished nothing? In this interactive workshop, learn new strategies to gain control over the events that compete for your time.

Marie Antaya is an international speaker, educator and author of four books. She shares her expertise with clients in private, non-profit and public sector organizations leading numerous program and course development projects

Michael Jacques, Author & Self Advocate

The Journey of “Can’t Read, Can’t Write, Here’s My Book”

Michael Jacques lives and works in the Niagara region of Ontario, Canada. His first book, Can’t Read, Can’t Write, Here’s My Book, started out as his personal journal about living with autism and an intellectual disability. Michael has presented to students of all ages, parents and teachers about the importance of belonging and full inclusion in community. He sits on the board of Community Living Ontario. With an uplifting, humorous and positive attitude, Michael tells his stories and hopes to write more books that help create a more inclusive, diverse and compassionate world.

Panel: Allison Hay, Jackie Swirsky, & Julianne Panthei (pictured left to right)

“Tune-ing” Social Stories: The Power of Stories & Music to Effect Meaningful Social Connections & Interactions

Be motivated and inspired watching social stories come to life through videos and songs created by clinicians.  In this 2-part workshop, not only will you learn about the power of social stories, you will walk away with the confidence to create a person centered, musical story of your own.

Allison Hay is a music therapist at St.Amant. She has a degree in Music Therapy from the Canadian Mennonite University. In 2017, she traveled to Toronto to complete her training in neurologic music therapy. Allison  specializes in working with adults with developmental disabilities and autism.

Jackie Swirsky is a speech language pathologist at St.Amant. She has a master’s degree in speech language pathology from the University of Alberta and currently provides services to adults with developmental disabilities and autism, with a focus on augmentative alternative communication and dysphagia.

Julianne (Julie) worked in the arts for several years before switching paths to earn degrees in human development and psychology, and applied behaviour analysis (autism). Julie has worked in St.Amant’s day program and school, and is currently the clinical assistant in the speech language department.

Michael J. Kendrick, PhD.

Understanding and Addressing Vulnerability in Adult Home Sharing Arrangements

This session will examine vulnerabilities in residential arrangements commonly referred to as adult foster homes and board and care homes. It will also describe safeguards that could offset the limitations and constraints involved in these settings.

For over 40 years, Michael J. Kendrick PhD has been known internationally for his consulting work in human and community services. As an advocate, teacher, writer and advisor, he has worked with governments, service organizations, advocacy groups, professional bodies, service providers and small community groups. Dr. Kendrick’s expertise includes ethical leadership, safeguarding vulnerable people, and social ethics.

Judy Wasylycia-Leis

The Personal is Political: Lessons Learned from a Lifetime of Care and Advocacy

Judy Wasylycia-Leis’ political career spanned decades, and so has her personal life’s work as a parent and advocate. As a Member of Parliament and MLA, Judy held critic posts including responsibility for Persons with Disabilities. She led numerous initiatives pertaining to supports for family caregivers, employment equity, and the ratification and implementation of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Judy’s politics have always been personal. One of her sons, Nick, was born with a disability. Now over 30, Nick is supported by EPIC Opportunities in a home he shares with two friends.

Judy will reflect on the intersections between family and political life, share memories of her work for social change, and talk about what it was like to be a high profile politician and a parent breaking barriers for people with disabilities.

Andrée Huberdeau and Randy Antonio, Winnipeg Police Service

Police Perspectives

Patrol Sergeant Andrée Huberdeau has been a police officer for over 20 years. She is currently a supervisor at the Winnipeg Police Service Training Academy and deeply values education, whether it be for new recruits or experienced police officers.  Andrée has an eighteen year old son on the autism spectrum and is particularly passionate about mental health and disabilities training.

Sargeant Randy Antonio has over 30 years of experience in the field of law enforcement, the last 25 with Winnipeg Police where he is currently the supervisor of research and development unit in the organizational development and support division. Randy is also the ground search and rescue coordinator for the City of Winnipeg and a member of the disaster management response team. He is the founder of the Winnipeg Search and Rescue Volunteer Association and Project Lifesaver Manitoba.

Dr. Reece Malone, Baden Gaeke Franz and J Fiedler  (Pictured left to right)

Let’s Talk About Gender and Sexuality


This panel discussion on sexuality and gender expression invites participants to be present during a mindful conversation about the importance of understanding gender expression and sexuality preferences for all people. Gain insights into how to respectfully and effectively support people in identities and choices.

Dr. Reece Malone is the CEO and lead trainer and supervisor of Diversity Essentials. He is a certified sexologist and holds a Masters degree in public health and holds  doctorate in human sexuality. Dr. Malone is a certified sexuality educator and supervisor through the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors and Therapists, and a Florida state certified sex therapist.

Baden Gaeke Franz is an autistic self-advocate and the Manitoba chapter president of Autistics United Canada: a grassroots organization by and for autistic people. They have presented to Manitoba government clinical staff, consulted on accessibility legislation, and wrote documents for the United Nations.

J Fiedler is a social worker from Detroit, Michigan. While in Detroit they worked in case management with people living with HIV/AIDS and youth development through bicycle mechanics and advocacy. Since immigrating to Canada in 2016, J has been facilitating workshops on sexuality as part of the team at SERC.

Rosalyn Howard, Consultant & Educator

Navigating Change: Awareness and Action

This session will help you manage change more effectively. You will examine the dynamics of change, including typical impacts on the people involved, and come away with new ideas and tools you can use when managing your change process.

Rosalyn Howard is a seasoned facilitator and consultant with a positive, collaborative, and strengths-based approach. In her business, hct Howard Consulting & Training, she works with local and national organizations to focus on change management, leadership and strategic planning. She is also municipal councilor in Dunnottar, Manitoba.

Shane T. Spiker, Applied Behaviour Analyst & Educator 

  • Self-Care in a Behavior Analytic World

Dr. Spiker will present new research on the current status of self-care within behavior analytic practice and will discuss ethical implications regarding self-care and self-care deficits in behavior analytic practice.

  • A Casual Review of All the Behaviour We’re Afraid to See

This discussion will use case studies to review challenging behaviour and treatment in the home and community setting, ethical considerations in the treatment of more severe circumstances, and unique concerns regarding sexual behavior.

Dr. Shane T. Spiker is a board certified behavior analyst in Ormond Beach, Florida. He has a PhD in clinical psychology and has been deeply immersed in the field of behaviour analysis for 10 years, mostly with adults with autism and other developmental disabilities.

Tamar Heller, PhD

Healthy Lifestyles for Adults Aging with Intellectual and Development Disabilities

This presentation will explore the latest research findings on the health of people aging with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) and present interventions to address these issues. Participants will identify age-related health issues affecting adults with IDD and will learn about supporting healthy lifestyles for aging adults with IDD.

Dr. Heller heads the disability and human development department at the University of Illinois in Chicago and its University Center of Excellence in Developmental Disabilities.

Dr. Mamadou Ka

Understanding Cultural Differences to Work Harmoniously with Newcomers

In this session, Dr. Mamadou Ka will provide insights to better your understanding of cultural diversity and to expand your ability to effectively support people.

Dr. Mamadou Ka is an adjunct professor at the Université de Saint-Boniface and a consultant in cross-cultural and diversity management. He holds a doctorate in leadership and diversity management from Simon Fraser University (Vancouver), a master’s degree in political studies from the University of Manitoba and has completed his Ph.D course work in political science at the University of Laval, which he teaches at the Université de Saint-Boniface.

Katarina Lee

Changing The Lens: The Value of Suffering in the Disability Context

Katarina Lee earned her degree in philosophy from the University of Dallas, her MA  in bioethics from New York University, her JD in health law and bioethics from the University of Minnesota and her post-doctoral clinical ethics fellowship from Baylor College of Medicine and Houston Methodist Hospital. Katarina is a clinical ethicist at St. Boniface Hospital and the Catholic Health Corporation of Manitoba’s communities of service and an assistant professor in the department of family medicine at the University of Manitoba.

Allison Hay & Jenny-Lynn Reid

Virtual Music Instrument: Unleash Your Creativity with the VMI

This interactive workshop will give you the tools and confidence to create music with fun visuals, using technology as simple as a laptop and webcam. Unleash your creativity with the VMI; free software that’s designed to make music easily and accessibly..

Allison Hay is a music therapist at St.Amant who graduated from the music therapy program at the Canadian Mennonite University. In 2017, she traveled to Toronto to complete her training in neurologic music therapy. Allison specializes in working with adults with developmental disabilities and autism.

Jenny-Lynn Reid is a speech language pathologist at St.Amant. She graduated with a MSc in speech language pathology from the University of Alberta. Jenny-Lynn supports adults with developmental disabilities and autism at St.Amant and in the community.

Roger J. Stancliffe

  • End-of-Life Research and People with Intellectual and Developmental Disability

People with an intellectual disability have the right to know about dying, but few have opportunities to understand or plan for end-of-life. Roger will report on the first controlled research findings measuring the psychological effects of extended exposure to end-of-life conversations.

  • Retirement and People with Intellectual Disability

More and more adults with an intellectual disability are now living beyond the average retirement age. This session looks into research findings about transitioning to retirement from paid work, and beyond.

  • TEL: A Free Online Resource on End-of-Life and People with Intellectual Disability (ID)

This workshop will present an overview of how to teach people with ID about end-of-life.  The session will focus on a demonstration of a free online resource featuring short videos with real people with ID, and disability support staff.

Roger J. Stancliffe is an Australian researcher in the intellectual and developmental disability field. He leads the disability services stream at the University of Sydney’s Centre for Disability Research and Policy.

J Fiedler

Lindsay McCombe

Lindsay McCombe received her MA degree in 2017 from the University of Manitoba, specializing in applied behaviour analysis. She has worked at St.Amant for eight years, and held the position of research coordinator for the last five years. She has co-authored five peer-reviewed journal articles, contributed to a book chapter on how to teach compliance, and presented at several national and international conferences.

Joyce Douglas and Daniel Preteau

Barriers to Inclusion: Overcoming Barriers One Case at a Time

Daniel Preteau has taught at early, middle and senior years. He has been a guidance counsellor, resource teacher, principal of a K-12 rural school, urban high school and a K-8 urban school. Currently, he is the Director of Student Services at the Division Scolaire Franco Manitobaine. He holds a bachelor of education from Université St-Boniface, ACCP certificate in counselling from the University of Manitoba.

Joyce Douglas is the principal of St.Amant School, a position she has held for six years in a school she has worked in for over 20 years. St.Amant School meets the needs of students who live with developmental disabilities. Joyce believes in the power of inclusion; which to her means that everyone has a place to learn where they feel welcome and valued. Joyce is a past co-chair of the  Canadian Conference on Developmental Disabilities and Autism.

In the 2018-2019 school year, an agreement was reached between Division Scolaire Franco-Manitobaine and St.Amant School to support a student in a new and innovative manner. Daniel Preteau and Joyce Douglas looked at barriers to the student’s meaningful school experience in his home school. With a strong focus on both family-centered care, a shared belief in meaningful inclusion and a willingness to be creative, a plan was put in place. The result of this collaboration was that a student did not have to leave his home school. Through this case study, Daniel and Joyce will identify what barriers existed, what was done to overcome them, and the result of this partnership.

Margherita Cameranesi, Dr. Charmaine Dubé & Dr. Shahin Shooshtari 

Panel: Quality of Life of Persons with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities

Margherita Cameranesi is a clinical psychologist and a doctoral candidate in the applied health sciences PhD program at the University of Manitoba.

Dr. Charmayne Dubé is the senior director of resource services within New Directions, and an adjunct professor in the occupational therapy department at the College of Rehabilitation Sciences of Manitoba.

Dr. Shahin Shooshtari is a professor in the community health sciences department at the University of Manitoba. She is also a researcher with St.Amant Research Centre in Winnipeg. Dr. Shooshtari’s interdisciplinary program of research is focused on the health and well-being of persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

(Pictured left to right) 


Senator Jim Munson and Michael Trinque

C-81 – An Act to Ensure a Barrier-Free Canada

Senator Jim Munson is best known to Canadians as a trusted journalist. In 2003, he was appointed to the Senate, acting as a vocal advocate for Canadians with diverse abilities. His leadership in parliament led to the adoption of legislation respecting World Autism Awareness Day and the landmark Senate report, Pay Now or Pay Later: Autism Families in Crisis. Senator Munson will discuss his work on this landmark legislation and what it means for employment, built environments, and communications

In addition to acting as an assistant to Senator Munson, Michael Trinque is in the mentorship program at DragonFly in Ottawa and has danced through creative expression with Propeller Dance.

Norm Martin

Seven Sacred Teachings in Clinical Practice

Norm Martin is a clinical educator at St.Amant, working with the Jordan’s Principle Child First Initiative. He is an experienced facilitator and proprietor of 7th Teaching Consulting. Norm has worked for the past 14 years in the health care field, where he facilitates Indigenous awareness and anti-racism training to health care professionals. He is a member of Barren Lands First Nation and has traveled across Manitoba while delivering services with various health care organizations.

Baden Gaeke Franz

Ten Things Autistic People Wish You Knew

In this session, Baden explores common misconceptions about autism, explanations of how autistic people see the world, and best practices for working and interacting with autistic people. The session will end with a question and answer period in which you can ask any questions you have about autism, autistic culture, and neurodiversity.

Baden Gaeke Franz is an autistic self-advocate and Manitoba chapter president of Autistics United Canada: a grassroots organization by and for autistic people. They have presented to Manitoba government clinical staff, consulted on accessibility legislation, and wrote documents for the United Nations.

Jennifer Kilimnik

Network with Jen!

Connect with others attending the conference to share ideas and inspiration! You’ll enjoy facilitated conversation opportunities or find some interesting people to share conversations with on your own.

Jennifer Kilimnik is a skilled facilitator with a passion for connecting people and looking for ways to inspire. She specializes in applying positive psychology to organizational environments to help people realize their potential, promote creativity, and maximize team performance. Jennifer is the director of human resources at St.Amant.

Michael Clausen

Building an Effective Human Rights Committee


All people have the same rights under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and The U.N. Declaration on Rights. Human rights committees play a critical role in upholding and protecting the rights of people served by organizations. In this workshop, we will explore best practices and provide resources to build and support an effective and diverse human rights committee. Michael Clausen has been supporting organizations to improve the quality of their services since 2002. As a quality enhancement specialist and liaison with The Council on Quality and Leadership, he works with organizations in the US and Canada to provide services for people they support through accreditation and staff development.

Life’s Journey Traditional Drum Group

Life’s Journey Miikana Pimatiziwin (Life Path) traditional drum group has been traditional drumming for over 10 years. The group has opened with traditional drumming at numerous conferences and community events, such as the Looking After Each Other Elders gathering, International Day of Persons with Disabilities, Canada Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Research Network symposium recently held at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights. Miikana Pimatiziwin knows 14 traditional songs and looks forward to opening many more conferences in the future.

Trevi B. Freeze, Dr. Zana Marie Lutfiyya, and Dr. Rick Freeze

On the Journey Together: The Campus Life program at the University of Manitoba

The University of Manitoba’s award-winning Campus Life programs gives students with intellectual and developmental disabilities the support they need to audit courses at the University of Manitoba and to participate in a variety of academic and social opportunities. In this presentation, we’ll hear about the program’s inception and journey, and the social changes it has faced over the past 15 years.

Trevi B. Freeze is the coordinator of the award-winning Campus Life program at the University of Manitoba. She holds a M.Ed. in counselling psychology and is in her final year of doctoral studies.

Dr. Zana Marie Lutfiyyais is a faculty member in the faculty of education at the University of Manitoba. Her research focuses on social participation of individuals with intellectual disabilities.

Dr. Rick Freeze is a professor of inclusive education in the administration, foundations and psychology departments of the faculty of education at the University of Manitoba.

Dr. Genevieve Roy-Wsiaki

Promoting Multilingual Service Options for Autism Intervention: An Evaluation of the French Adaptation of Simple Steps Online Teaching Platform

The Simple Steps Autism Platform is a practical way of sharing autism symptoms and treatment information in different languages. This study examined the French version of this website. Parents, professionals, and university students reviewed the site and answered a questionnaire. Results showed positive impressions of the website and content.

Dr. Genevieve Roy-Wsiaki is an associate professor at the Université de Saint-Boniface and an adjunct professor for the Department of Psychology at the University of Manitoba. She is also a board-certified behaviour analyst. Her research interests focus primarily on autism spectrum disorder.

Independent Living Resource Centre & Public Interest Law Centre

Winnipeg’s Handi-Transit Service: From Ombudsman Complaint to Investigation Report and Beyond

Representatives from ILRC and PILC will report on findings of an investigation by the Manitoba ombudsman into the City of Winnipeg’s Handi-Transit Service; now called Transit Plus. The investigation was launched in response to a 42-page complaint from ILRC alleging sweeping issues within the system resulting in poor service, access barriers, and human rights violations. The ombudsman made 19 recommendations to improve the service and found that in many instances, Handi-Transit provides a reasonably equivalent service to fixed-route transit, but in certain areas falls short.

ILRC supports citizens with disabilities to make choices and take responsibility for the development and management of personal and community resources. PILC advocates for groups and individuals on issues affecting the environment, human rights, Indigenous people, consumers and low-income persons.

Leslie Udell

Towards Building Dementia Knowledgeable Teams

Dementia is on the rise across the general population and including people with an intellectual disability. A well-trained, knowledgeable workforce is essential to provide quality supports. Leslie’s presentation will overview the NTG Dementia Capable Support of Adults with Intellectual Disabilities & Dementia curriculum.

Leslie is a staff development facilitator with an organization that supports adults with an intellectual disability. She is a Master Instructor for the NTG-Canada Dementia Curriculum.