Dr. John Gray is one of Canada’s leading authorities on mental health policy. A family member and also a mental health professional with clinical and management experience, John has consulted widely on issues related to mental health legislation across the country and the unique challenges faced by people living with psychiatric disorders including access to appropriate mental health services.
John has a Ph.D. in psychology from the Institute of Psychiatry, University of London, UK and a M.A. in clinical psychology from the University of Canterbury, New Zealand. He has worked in Saskatchewan as a clinician and executive director of the province's psychiatric hospital. For more than 20 years, he was a program advisor on the British Columbia Mental Health Act while working in the provincial Ministry of Health.
John has published numerous articles and is the lead author of Canadian Mental Health Law and Policy, 2nd Edition. He has also served on the boards of the Canadian Mental Health Association in Saskatchewan, the Victoria and British Columbia Schizophrenia Societies' boards, and is a past president of the Canadian Schizophrenia Society.
Dr. Michael Prince has been a passionate advocate for people with disabilities and their families for more than 30 years. As the Lansdowne Professor of Social Policy at the University of Victoria, BC, Prince teaches courses in public policy and practice as well as activism and advocacy, and his current research interests include trends in Canadian social policy; federal-provincial relations; trauma of veterans; pension reform; aboriginal governance; and, disability politics and policy issue.
In addition to his teaching and research responsibilities, Michael has been an advisor to various federal, provincial, territorial, and municipal government agencies; four Royal commissions; and, to a number of parliamentary committees federally and provincially. As a policy consultant, Michael is a frequent media commentator on both radio and television, locally and nationally. He has published over 60 articles and opinion editorials in newspapers and professional periodicals. As an author, he has published over 250 publications including 19 books (authored, co-authored and edited) and 40 articles in scholarly journals. An active volunteer, Michael serves on numerous boards.
Ryan Tonkin is returning to the University of Victoria this fall, focusing his doctoral research with the doctrines of justice in the context of taxation and income inequality. A graduate of Harvard Law School and the University of Victoria with a Masters of Philosophy degree, Ryan has considerable experience providing advocacy and assistance to applicants for the Disability Tax Credit, RDSP and CPP Disability programs as the former executive director of Justice as Fairness Society and as project director of Together Against Poverty Society in Victoria.
Much of Ryan’s extensive knowledge in areas of poverty, social justice and policy reform comes from personal experience. Ryan left home at the age of 14 and high school after grade 10, supporting himself by working a number of odd jobs. Ryan went back to school in his early 20s when he realized that there were no other options if he wished to create meaningful opportunities for himself.
Ryan has received numerous awards including financial assistance as a Harvard Presidential Scholar for students pursuing careers in public service and academic research. He has been recently been named both a Trudeau Scholar by the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation and a Vanier Scholar by the Canadian government.
Peter Weissman is a tax specialist with more than 28 years of experience, and the inaugural co-chair of the Disability Advisory Committee to the Minister of National Revenue on Tax Measures for People with Disabilities. Peter, himself, has a physical disability and has considerable experience assisting special needs families with trusts, estate and succession planning. Peter has written a number of articles and presented many seminars regarding estate planning in special needs situations. His tax planning practice also includes tax dispute resolution, cross-border structures and mergers and acquisitions.
Peter currently serves as a Governor of the Canada Tax Foundation and is the National Chair of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP Canada) Education Committee. He was the 2016 recipient of the Michael Cadesky Volunteer of the Year Award from STEP Canada. Peter will be acting as the co-chair (along with lembi Buchanan) of the newly formed Disability Tax Fairness Alliance
Peter holds a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from York University and is a Chartered Accountant in private practice in Toronto.