Premier’s Council 2015 Award Winners - Alberta Human Services - Government of Alberta

Premier’s Council 2015 Award Winners

Cal Schuler (Calgary) – Gary McPherson Leadership Award

Cal Schuler is a man of vision, commitment and connection, over the span of four decades; Cal has forged powerful inroads for those with disabilities and contributed wholeheartedly to numerous community initiatives.

His career began and flourished following his injury in 1975, where he spent 17 months in the hospital, but his personal experience with a spinal cord injury has fueled his true passion – to assist others who also live with various other disabling conditions, and to promote disability awareness and barrier-free environments.

Since graduating from Mount Royal College in Rehabilitation Services, Cal has been an active leader and participant on numerous boards and committees on local and provincial levels. Over the years he has coordinated and guided numerous projects and owns and operates, Spectra Alternative Solutions, geared to facilitate disability awareness and sensitivity training, promote barrier-free activity, develop corporate policy, provide support and actively change conditions that negatively impact upon full participation for persons with disabilities. In addition to this, Cal has also worked for the past eight years as the full-time Community Development Coordinator with Spinal Cord Injury Alberta (formerly Canadian Paraplegic Association).

Cal has been recognized for his efforts in working for and on behalf of people with disabilities, as a recipient of the Queens Golden Jubilee Medal, the Access Recognition Award through the City of Calgary’s Advisory Committee on Accessibility, and with the Premier’s Council on the Status of Persons with Disabilities award for Excellence in the category of Public Awareness.

Cal is well known for his humour, forthright nature and genuine desire to improve our community for all of us, and is truly awe-inspiring and fundamentally motivating.

Joey Moss (Edmonton) - Marlin Styner Achievement Award

Joey Moss was born and raised in Edmonton and is best known for his passion and commitment towards his job with the Edmonton Oilers of the National Hockey League and his work with the Edmonton Eskimos of the Canadian Football League.

Joey met Wayne Gretzky in 1985, and Wayne was so impressed with Joey’s dedication to his job at the time, that he recommended him for a position helping out with the equipment manager for the Edmonton Oilers. Joey was doing such a great job that he was also recommended to work with the Edmonton Eskimos during the summer when the Oilers were off season.

Joey was born with Down syndrome during a time when people with disabilities were not typically seen in the work force. He has had a long and successful career and is a role model for many of our young people.

In 2008, a mural, located on 99th Street in Edmonton, was dedicated to Joey for his dedication to the Edmonton Eskimos and the Oilers. In 2012 he received the Diamond Jubilee Medal and in the spring of 2015 was inducted into the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame.

Chris Schamber (Lethbridge) - Award of Excellence in Community

Chris Schamber is well known for his dedication to improving accessibility for people with disabilities in Lethbridge.

Chris began using a wheelchair due to an injury he experienced as a young man. Over time, he began exploring his community through a new lens and realized that he could use his situation to help himself and others gain a more Accessible, Barrier-Free community.

Chris made countless presentations to the city over the years, identifying accessibility issues the city is facing and solutions to address them. Over the past few years, he also frequently attends city council meetings. The city periodically hires him for consultations on barrier free access as they need.

With a background in Engineering Design and Drafting, Chris started his own business in 2006, Quad Design and Barrier Free Consulting. He noticed the need for accessible housing in Lethbridge and has designed some accessible suites and consulted on a few other accessible suites. Today, his business extends too many areas, in addition to consulting. Chris has also opened a local chapter for the Tetra Society of North America, an organization which offers and builds assistive devices for people with disabilities.

Chris is a dedicated volunteer to many initiatives and organizations, including the International Day of Persons with Disabilities and the Rick Hansen Foundation.

Chris is a powerful voice for equality, inclusion and independence, exemplifying courage in everything he does.

Lisa Doolittle (Lethbridge) - Award of Excellence in Education

Professor Doolittle (Lisa) teaches in the Fine Arts Faculty at the University of Lethbridge and has demonstrated her commitment towards inclusive education.

Lisa was the co-creator in a Department of Theatre and Dramatic Arts Main Stage production called “Unlimited”, presented in as part of the department’s 2014-15 season of public performances. Starting with a mixed abilities course in dance-theatre, the “Unlimited” production process included students with developmental disabilities, working alongside other students and community members to create, rehearse and perform an original show on the theme of inclusion. Lisa worked tirelessly to promote inclusion by attending meetings, planning, and consulting local community support organizations (LACL, SAIPA and SRSAN) and collaborating with Pamela Boyd, a professional artist from Calgary, experienced in mixed ability dance-theatre. The production serves as an example of what a fully inclusive model of education could look like in a university.

“Unlimited” had a positive impact on all those directly involved by fostering an inclusive arts community. It also benefitted the university and larger community by giving an example of what inclusion can look like.

Lisa continues her project of inclusive education through her involvement with members of a nation-wide team researching Arts for Social Change (ASC). She also promotes inclusion in her own classroom, working to create more opportunities for a diversity of people to create art through dance and theatre, and she is working with the university administration towards a truly inclusive environment in a university setting.

The mixed-ability dance class, the production of “Unlimited” and recognition of Lisa at many community events, demonstrates the significant impact Lisa has left on the Lethbridge community and beyond in breaking down barriers.

Port O’Call Safeway (Red Deer) – Award of Excellence in Employment

Port O’Call Safeway in Red Deer is recognized for equal treatment and respect towards all of their employees, volunteers and customers regardless of their diverse abilities.

Safeway hires many different types of individuals, including people with disabilities. “As a company we focus on people’s abilities, rather than their disabilities. It’s proven to be very successful as many employees we hire with disabilities are long term, valued members of our team,” says Store Manager Doug Ross.

Customer Service Staff are also trained to provide personal assistance in grocery shopping to their customers if needed.

In additional to providing meaningful work experience for people with disabilities, the Port O’Call Safeway partners with Muscular Dystrophy Canada, Easter Seals and Special Olympics, through store fundraising and by creating awareness in the community. Other partners of Safeway include the Red Deer Food Bank Society, The Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation and Prostate Cancer Canada.

Doug Ross, the Manager of Port O' Call Safeway has kept this tradition held at this store for many years to treat and be helpful to anyone regardless of their abilities.

Accessible Housing, Ramp-It-Up Project (Calgary) – Award of Excellence in Public Awareness

The Ramp-It-Up Project creates communities where every person can access every space through a fun and engaging community project that raises awareness and helps remove barriers. Physical barriers in neighbourhoods can prevent many individuals from accessing their community. A simple ramp can make life easier for everyone.

Inspired by other ramp projects in Canadian municipalities, Accessible Housing organization in Calgary, approached inner-city businesses and business revitalization zones to see if the environment was receptive for the Ramp-It-Up Project. Businesses were very interested and funding was secured. With labour from inspired volunteers and leadership from small businesses, the Ramp-It-Up Project began offering single stepped storefronts with a custom ramp made at no cost to owners. The brightly coloured ramps created curiosity and people started talking, building awareness of issues of accessibility. The ramped storefronts proved to be beneficial not only individuals using wheels chairs, but also to individuals pushing strollers, pulling wheeled shopping bags, couriers using dollies, seniors and individuals using mobility aids. Business owners have increased their customer base.

The project provided a dozen ramps to local businesses and gained a great deal of media attention, including newspaper, television, web and radio. This helped to raise public awareness of accessibility and inclusion that reached beyond the individuals that were directly involved in the Ramp-It-Up project.

Modified: 2015-12-03
PID: 18335