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June 16, 2004
For immediate release

Minister Announces Formation of Advisory Committee on Disability Issues

Health and Social Services

Hon. Chester Gillan, Minister Responsible for People with Disabilities, announced the establishment of the inaugural members to the Ministerial Advisory Committee on Disability Issues today. The committee will provide the minister with advice on a wide range of issues relating to the disability community.

Chaired by nationally recognized disability rights advocate and volunteer Tony Dolan, the committee is expected to bring a wide range of nonpartisan views and experience with disability issues. This knowledge will help to ensure that government has the widest possible perspective on issues of importance to Islanders with disabilities.

More than 60 nominations were received for the committee.

“We were very pleased with the response we received from our call for nominations,” the minister noted. “There were many worthy candidates for the positions, and narrowing it down to only 12 individuals was a challenge. The appointments range in duration from one to three years, so hopefully we will be able to bring some of the other nominees into the group as vacancies become available.”

In order to fulfil its mandate, the committee will have three primary functions:

• to convey information and research in order to enhance the minister’s understanding regarding persons with disabilities;

• to provide advice to government as it establishes priorities, develops policies and implements programs; and

• to establish and maintain an ongoing consultation with the disability community.

The group will meet at least four times per year. Members of the committee include people with disabilities, parents, service providers, and volunteers representing the geographic and cultural diversity of the Island.

Committee Chair Tony Dolan states, “Members of the committee have been appointed because of their individual skills and experiences and not to advocate on behalf of disability advocacy organizations. The intent is that the committee will help to ensure that the minister and government has a good understanding of matters relating to the disability community.”

Representatives come from all four health regions, and represent a wide variety of disabilities.

It was also announced that Twilah Stone has been appointed to be Vice Chair of the committee. The other members of the committee are Kevin Porter, Victor Gallant, Raeanne Garnhum, Sandra Boswell, Helene Garg, Stephen Pate, Willy Sigsworth, Joan teRaa, Kevin Walsh, and Debra Pagett.

The new committee is expected to meet for the first time in the near future.

Media Contact: Sara Underwood
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