Meenu Sikand has joined IWRP as our Accessibility Specialist and Disability Adviser

We are extremely honoured to be able to work with Meenu, who is an internationally renowned advocate and activist on disability rights in Canada and globally. A recent recipient of the Humanitarian of the Year Award and the Queen’s Jubilee Medal, Meenu’s remarkable achievements have been documented in this biography (see Meenu’s passionate commitment will assist IWRP in ensuring that all of our work takes accessibility into account as a priority in all that we do.

With a graduate degree in Critical Disabilities Studies from the York University, Meenu Sikand, Region of Peel Accessibility Planning Specialist and instructor at the Queen’s University’s CBR program has worked in various management positions in corporate and government sector for past twenty years. In 2013, As Co-Vice chair of the Peel UW Employee Campaign, Meenu helped the Region of Peel in raising 333, 000 for the Peel United Way.  In 2014, Region of Peel Executive Management Team appointed Meenu as the Co-Chair to lead the Region of Peel United Way Campaign team.

Shortly after arriving in Canada in 1986, she sustained a spinal injury that dramatically changed her life. This accident made Meenu fiercely determined to defy stereo types associated with having a disability and began a life of self-advocacy and advocating for changes that would make Canadian systems and communities inclusive and accessible for all including those with a disability. Her association with CILT, the local Toronto Centre for Independent Living, was love at first sight: Meenu found her lifelong passion that has shaped the Canadian and international IL movement by bringing diversity and IL perspectives together.

Since 2001, she has been actively involved in the development and strategic implementation of the Ontario’s first accessibility legislation Accessibility for the Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) for the province of Ontario and the Region of Peel. In 2010, she received the “Together We Are Better Award” for creating and delivering Accessible Customer Service training.

Since 1990 Meenu has been involved in the Canadian IL movement in various leadership capacities. She served as president of the Centre for Independent Living in Toronto as well as on the national board of ILC and chair of its International Committee. Meenu took part in the UN Conference on Women in Beijing and  ‘Loud, Proud and Passionate’, a Mobility International USA project which brought women with disabilities from around the world to the table to discuss issues of leadership. Meenu was awarded a fellowship to participate in IDEAS 2000 which documented key issues and strategies for leadership training and micro-credit programs, such as entrepreneurship for women with disabilities.

To address the unmet service needs of South-Asians with disabilities in Canada, in 1995, she founded the Canadian South-Asians Supporting Independent Living.

Meenu is an internationally sought Disability Rights advocate who is promoting strategies to strengthen Human Rights of PWD in Canada and around the world. Her passion is to create accessible, inclusive and welcoming communities that embrace everyone. In December 2012, she travelled to Bangladesh to deliver the Peer Support Training that she developed for the Queens University AHEAD project.

Meenu has helped to raise over $50K for SCI research and making local community accessible as the Vaughan ambassador for the Rick Hansen Wheels in Motion event.

Her volunteerism and humanitarian work has been recognized by government, community organization and private sector at national and international levels. As recipient of the 2014 City of Vaughan Volunteer Award, 2012 Queen’s Diamond Jubilee medal, the Indo-Canada Chambers of Commerce 2011 “Humanitarian” award, “New Pioneers Award” from the Skills for Change, Region of Peel “Together We Are Better Award” for creating and delivering Accessible Customer Service training for public and private sector she continue to devote her time to make Canada a better place for everyone. As a motivational speaker she is an active member of the, Rick Hansen School Ambassador Project, Dominion Institute Speaker’s group and Vaughan Libraries Human Book projects.  Currently, Meenu is living with her husband Jai, mother Amrit and son Manav in Woodbridge, Canada.   Living with IL principles at the core of her being, Meenu believes that there is nothing she would change about her life if given the chance.