Spinal Cord Injury Ontario


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Annual General Meeting

Wednesday, June 16, 2021

The second entirely virtual Spinal Cord Injury Ontario Annual General Meeting (AGM) was successful as a result of the time and engagement spent by the community members who attended, including staff, volunteers, Board members and corporate and individual partners. The AGM is a formal meeting which all Canadian charities must hold with their Board and community members as a legal requirement of our bylaws as well as the Ontario Corporations Act. In addition to the business aspect of the 2021 AGM, several special guests also took the stage to reflect on their experience’s past year.

The CEO of Spinal Cord Injury Ontario (SCIO), Stuart Howe, kicked off the meeting with an introduction to the AGM as well as invited Wendy Hough to provide a SCIO specific land acknowledgement of which she was the primary author.

Next, Howe introduced Bob Nigol, the Chair of the Board of Directors to declarer the meeting as duly constituted. Before starting the meeting, a short video of the organizations past year’s accomplishments was shown to the attendees. After the video as well as an inspiring message from Stuart demonstrating the resilience and strength of SCIO, Stuart moved on to discuss the strategic objectives of this past year.

The strategic objectives include expanding SCIO’s impact, sharing knowledge and amplifying our community’s voice. The report provides a mere snapshot of the trials and tribulations as well as the opportunities, hence why this years Annual Report is titled “Unparalleled- A Year Like No Other”

Following this, Alex McKinnon, the Treasurer of SCIO, provided a through summary of the Treasurer’s Report and annual financial statements. McKinnon then concluded his piece by sharing that the accounting firm Grant Thornton has conducted an audit of SCIO’s financial statements for the year ended March 31, 2021, and a condensed version of which can be found online.

Before the election of the incoming Board of Directors for 2021-2022, Bob introduced Dana Francoz, a dedicated volunteer Member of the Board.

Dana announced the 2020-2021 core award recipients:

  • This year’s Patti Dawson Activist of the Year is Dave Shannon, a long-time activist and advocate for individuals with disabilities. Throughout the past three decades, Shone has shed light on disability issues and has worked to preserve the civil liberties and human rights of people challenged by poverty, disability and discrimination. Dave has been a superior leader, mentor and engaged participant with SCIO and we are extremely grateful for his commitment to advancing out advocacy priorities forward.
  • This year’s Employer of the Year is Home Depot Store at Gerrard Square. Home Depot’s corporate responsibility is to reflect, respect and supports diversity, equity and inclusion among their associates and suppliers and this is exactly what the Gerrard Square location did. By hiring and accommodating a jobseeker during the challenging COVID-19 pandemic, they provided an opportunity for their employee to shine and demonstrate his potential in the work force, thereby establishing them as a top employer choice for our candidates. Kali Kefalianos represented Home Depot at Gerrard Square at the meeting.
  • This year’s Vigmond Philanthropy Award was awarded to two men who have made a deep and positive difference in the London Region community. These two men are Paul and John Shamoon of Stride Rehabilitation. Paul and John have been supporting SCIO for the last five years and in that short time, they have contributed not only donations and sponsorships, but many volunteer hours. They have consistently encouraged their staff and other local business to support our organization through event sponsorship and teams. Paul and John then both provided their remarks to those in attendance.
  • This year we inaugurated the SCIO Builder Award. This award honours our founders, past CEOs and those ho have built lasting improvements for people with SCI. The SCIO Builder Award recognizes an outstanding individual who has demonstrated long-term, influential commitment to SCIO’s mission of delivering and champion excellence in support, advocacy and service for and with people with spinal cord injuries. This years recipient of the Builder Award is Kevin Holmes. In his 16 years of engagement with SCIO, Kevin has become an everyday hero who has made an enormous impact, advancing our mission any chance he gets. We are very grateful for Kevin’s contributions to our SCI community and his passion lights a spark in others to follow in his footsteps.

After the announcements of the award recipients, Dana introduced Sarah Hicks, the Vice Chair and Chair of Governance and Nominations Committee to present the proposed Board of Directors for the next year.

Before presenting the slate for 2021-2022, Sarah recognized three invaluable volunteers who are stepping down from the Board. The three individuals are Craig Brown who joined the board in 2013, Bob Nigol who joined the board in 2010 and became Chair in 2013, and Shaun Westlake who is currently the longest-standing board member who joined in 2008.

After this, Sarah proceeded to announce the individuals who have been elected Directors of Spinal Cord Injury Ontario until the next AGM or until their successors have been duly elected or appointed.

These individuals include:

  • Mark Abraham
  • Kent Bassett-Spiers
  • Heather Flett
  • Dana Francoz
  • Gary Froude
  • Omar Ha-Redeye
  • Sarah Hicks
  • Barbara Ibbitson
  • Taylor Lindsay-Noel
  • Joanne MacDonald
  • Emily McIntyre
  • Alex McKinnon
  • Julie Sawchuk
  • Karen Vigmond
  • Eugene Wai
  • Thadeus Weiss

After the announcement of the new Directors of Spinal Cord Injury Ontario, Bob and Stuart provided their thanks to our sponsors, volunteers, staff and community members involved in making 2021 a successful year. To conclude the meeting Stuart mentioned SCIO is in the midst of developing an Equity, Diversity and Inclusion strategy as well as plans to improve access to mental health and other ehealth supports and expanding Cortree TV.

Thanks to all who could join us for this special meeting and for contributing to a year like no other at SCIO. We love our community and this 90-minute meeting demonstrated so many reasons why.

If you would like to watch the AGM recording, we kindly invite you to watch the YouTube video we have posted to our page!


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