About Us

directors and advisors

Our Board of Directors

Autism Canada is governed by a volunteer Board of Directors and an ASD Advisory Ambassador. The Board also has four committees for Marketing and Communications, Finance and Audit, Nomination and Governance, and Fund Development. 

Autism Canada’s board drives the strategic direction of the organization and establishes its policies, vision, mission and values. If you are interested in joining this strong team of leaders, please contact the board chair by email at info@autismcanada.org.

Chair

Dermot Cleary

Dermot is a photographer/director who has executed advertising, editorial and personal fine art projects worldwide over the last 20 years.

Through the medium of visual storytelling, Dermot has developed a deep respect for, and commitment to, the collaborative process and the successful translation of concept into finished product.

In his spare time Dermot enjoys the mostly-humbling experience of functional fitness workouts.
Dermot studied photography and fine art at the Ontario College of Art. He is the father of two boys.

Vice-Chair

Dr. Suzanne Lewis

Professionally, Dr. Suzanne Lewis is a physician specialist in Pediatrics (FRCPC; 1990) and Clinical Genetics (FCCMG; 1991), a Clinical Professor in the Department of Medical Genetics at UBC, Senior Clinician Investigator with BC Children’s Hospital Research Institute. Suzanne also leads the Autism SPectrum Interdisciplinary REsearch (ASPIRE) Program and Chairs the iTARGET Autism Research Collaborative. 

Suzanne’s collaborative work focuses on the advancement of early, effective and personalized diagnostic, treatment and support services to improve the health, function and quality of life for those living with autism.

Treasurer

Tim Berry

Tim brings over 30 years of financial expertise including senior financial roles in for-profit and not-for-profit organizations. Tim is a CPA and holds an MBA from the Ivey School of Business at Western University. Currently, he is Director of Finance and IT at Ombudsman of Ontario. Tim has extensive Board experience having served as Treasurer for both the United Way of Greater Simcoe County and the Children’s Treatment Network of Simcoe York. He is currently Treasurer of ShelterBox Canada and Treasurer of Simcoe Community Services

Director

Larry Bellehumeur

Larry is an Entrepreneur in the field of Wireless Communications with 20+ years of experience in Technology, Sales, Marketing and Business Development. In addition to his executive duties with Novotech, he leads a team of 15 Sales and Marketing professionals across North America focusing in the emerging area known as “The Internet of Things”. One of his passions is to work with companies who are developing technology to improve the quality of life for those with Autism.

Prior to starting his own business in 2009, he worked in a number of Management roles in the Telecom sector. Larry lives in Calgary with his wife and two sons, one of whom is on the spectrum.

Director

Jennifer Ho

Jennifer comes to us with 11 years of leadership experience and 15 years of clinical knowledge working in both the public and private health care sector. As a registered occupational therapist, Jennifer has worked with individuals with mental health issues, orthopedic disorders, and neurological conditions. Currently, Jennifer is a Director at Ontario Health and supports the Ministry of Health to implement health care initiatives to enhance the quality of home and community services to patients and their caregivers in Ontario.

Director

Sally Ginter

Sally was appointed Chief Executive Officer of Ronald McDonald House Charities Toronto in August 2016. She has more than 20 years of experience in both the private and not-for-profit sectors. She has held the position of President and CEO of Kerry’s Place Autism Services, North America’s largest autism service provider, as well as Regional Executive Director for the Canadian Cancer Society. Sally is a volunteer Director on Autism Canada’s National Board of Directors.

Sally holds an honours BA in English literature from Trent University and an MBA from Athabasca University. Sally lives in Aurora with her husband Lauren, daughter Madeline and son Carson.

Director

Tom Jackman

Tom is an advocate for acceptance of people on the autism spectrum. He is featured in the film Autism Grows Up, a Kelly Brothers / Ability Hub production, which takes a look at the employment related challenges of young adults living on the spectrum. He is also featured in the book Autism: The Gift That Needs to Be Opened; a resource aimed at improving the lives of parents, educators, and persons on the autism spectrum.

Director

Liz Phipps

Liz is an autism advocate and parent to a teenaged son with ASD. Liz left her career in financial services in 2010 to focus on not-for-profit work and was the Executive Director of Unity for Autism and worked in fund development for Autism Ontario. She has been featured on radio, television and in print, speaking on a variety of subjects as it relates to autism. She works extensively with the Toronto District School Board, advocating and supporting neurodiverse students. Liz also has a daughter and does volunteer work at Havergal College.

Director

Kodette LaBarbera

Kodette LaBarbera is a wife and mother who has built her life on building better communities through a healthy, active and charitable lifestyle.  

Kodette is a devoted wife to former NHL goalie Jason LaBarbera and mother to two sons, Easton and Ryder. In 2013, she began co-starring on the W Network’s hit TV show “Hockey Wives”. Through the popular docu-series, she showcased her charitable endeavors, focusing on her commitment to Autism – a cause close to her heart.  

In 2012, Kodette’s eldest son was diagnosed with autism at the age of three. Since then, Kodette has remained committed to ensuring Ryder’s success through her own education and by raising funds and awareness for research and support programs with multiple local and national organizations.  

Kodette’s philanthropic efforts have resulted in over $1,500,000 raised for multiple charities in Canada and the United States. Now that Jason has retired from the NHL and working as a goalie coach for the Calgary Hitmen and Hockey Canada, the family has made Calgary their year-round home.  Kodette loves being able to connect with her fans and other parents and families. She loves hearing from other parents with autistic children to share success stories and being able to help those trying to balance a healthy lifestyle through fitness, nutrition and social outings!

Director

Paul Finch

Paul was elected treasurer and chief financial officer of the British Columbia Government and Service Employees’ Union (BCGEU) in 2014 and re-elected in 2017. He is responsible for the BCGEU’s ethical investment program and policy on housing affordability and land economics. Prior to this, Paul served as the BCGEU’s executive vice president for three years.

Paul is a plan partner representative for the public service and college pension plans, a trustee on the Public Service Pension Plan Board of Trustees and is chairperson of the BC Target Benefit Pension Plan. He also serves on the National Executive Board of the National Union of Public and General Employees and the Executive Council of the BC Federation of Labour

Paul has completed the Directors Education Program at the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management. He was appointed a Director for the Board of the BC Investment Management Corporation in April of 2019. During his career in the civil service, Paul worked primarily in real estate and IT project management.

ASD Advisory Ambassadors

An Autism Ambassador for Autism Canada is an advocate for and from the autistic community who believes in our organization, and our guiding principals.  We depend on our team of subject matter experts to help offer guidance and support for individuals with Autism and their families living in Canada and to ensure that people on the Autism Spectrum have full, healthy, and happy lives.  

Autism Canada is the only Canadian autism advocacy organization with a national perspective on the issues currently facing those with ASD, their families and other stakeholders.  

They help us all to See the Spectrum Differently.

Chair of ASD Ambassadors Committee

Tom Jackman

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