Council

The Council of Community Living Ontario consists of 12 self-advocates from across the province that work together with Community Living Ontario’s Board of Directors to find solutions and share information, opinions, knowledge, and experience on important issues such as poverty, safe and affordable housing, human rights, and barriers to quality health care. If you are looking to learn more about Community Living Ontario’s Council, reach out directly to Payal Khazanchi, Director of Inclusion Initiatives and/or Niko Pupella, Council President below.

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2021/2022 Council

Niko Pupella- President


Niko is the Council President and is from Uxbridge, Ontario. He is beginning his 4th year on Council. He is also a member of the Community Living Durham North self-advocate group, The A-Team. He is part of the Rights Review Board Committee at CLDN as he feels strongly about fighting for the rights of people who have a disability. Niko is also a member of the CLO Finance Committee. Niko is very savvy with computers and technology and enjoys learning as it continuously evolves. He hopes to continue working with the Council to ensure the voices of people who have a disability are heard regarding issues with ODSP, fair rent, work wages, and the many issues related to poverty.
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Nicole Flynn – Vice President


Nicole is the Vice President of Council and is from the rural area of Madoc, Ontario. She has been on Council since 2018. She is a graduate of the Loyalist College General Arts and Science diploma program (not modified). Nicole considers herself a lifelong learner and has the goal of obtaining a university degree. Her focus is on human rights, diversity, and inclusive communities. Nicole believes in freedom, power, and prosperity for everyone and to do this she realizes the significance and need for equity. Nicole feels that for everyone to be included in society, conversation has to occur. She emphasizes the importance of recruiting self-advocates to increase our voice to be heard and to be seen as a person. Nicole’s dream is to explore the world to gain knowledge and experience.

Jessica Forsyth – Secretary


Jessica is the secretary of Council and is from Walkerton, Ontario. She is in her second year on Council. She enjoys that Council hears everybody’s ideas and talks about new things. She is the Chair of her local self advocate group, The Action Committee. She has helped organize events within her community, including what she is most proud of, presenting at schools in Walkerton to help students understand the importance of inclusion and why it’s not okay to use the ‘R’ Word. Jessica, and other members of the Walkerton Action Committee, also helped raise money for a playground and community garden that is accessible for all.

Scott Schihl – Treasurer


Scott is the Treasurer of Council and is from Port Colborne, Ontario. He is in his second year on Council. Scott is the Chairperson of his self-advocate group at Community Living Port Colborne Wainfleet, People Helping People Achieve. This year, the group is celebrating its 20th year by planting a tree in a park by the Welland Canal. Scott is also on the Board for Community Living Port Colborne-Wainfleet and a member of S.T.A.R (Stop. Think. Act. Report) which teaches self-advocates about the different types of abuse and how to stop it. Scott also has a passion for singing and music as a way to help people heal.

Theresa Somerton– Council Appointed Board Member


Theresa is from Belleville, Ontario and is the Council Appointed Board Member. My role involves being the Council voice on the Community Living Ontario Board of Directors. I was a Council member for 4 years before my role as a Board Member.

Stella Curtis


Stella is from North Bay, Ontario and has been involved with Council for 10 years. She is proud to be a self advocate and enjoys that it allows her to opportunity to meet people and hear their voices about what they want and need to live their best quality of life.

Dzidra Halar


Dzidra is a strong advocate who strives to advocate for everyone’s rights. She is the Co-Chair of Christian Horizons self-advocacy council, Our Voices Matter Council and sits as the self-advocate representative on Christian Horizons Board of Directors. Dzidra is currently co-leading a research project on empowering ways for service users labeled with developmental disabilities to participate in developmental services organizations.

Jem Moeller


Jem is from Kenora, Ontario and is new to Council. Jem is an indigenous person who lives with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS). Jem has been a member of People First Kenora for a few years. Jem joined Council so she could help others overcome challenges educate people about FAS. She works at a local long term care facility in their hydration program. Jem is an athlete with Special Olympics where she bowls and swims.

Robert Smith


Robert is from Port Hope, Ontario and this is his first year on Council. He is passionate about advocating for people with disabilities and he believes you can do anything you put your mind to! What he enjoys about advocacy is being able to speak his mind and ensure the voices of people who have a disability are heard.

Mark Anderson


Mark is from London, Ontario and has been on Council since 2016. He is passionate about advocating for changes to ODSP so people who have developmental disabilities are no longer forced to live under the poverty line. He enjoys educating people about the ‘R’ word and advocating for its elimination when referring to people who have disabilities.

James Taylor


James is from London, Ontario, and a member of the self-advocate group from Community Living London, New Vision Advocates. James is in his 8th year on Council and was the President of Council for 4 years. He is passionate about helping people stand up for themselves and enjoys being part of Council and self advocacy work.

Judy Noonan


Judy is from Guelph, Ontario and this is her first year on Council. She has been a member of P4P (People4People), the self-advocate group from Community Living Guelph Wellington, for 10 years. Judy has spoken to elementary schools about disability awareness and has worked in a kindergarten classroom. She spoke for Action Read – Community Literacy Centre about having disabilities in the school system. She has also spoken in her community and is passionate about advocating against poverty. She is also a member of Respecting Rights with ARCH Disability Law Centre and is very excited for her new role on Council.

Megan Wheatstone


Meghan Wheatstone is from Kenora, Ontario. She recently graduated from Confederation College’s ECE course as part of their CICE program. Meghan has been an active member of People First Kenora for about 7 years and was elected as the treasurer 3 years ago. Meghan is also an athlete with Special Olympics Ontario. She is a very compassionate person and has done research on institutions and residential schools and the trauma they caused. Having been raised in a small northern community, Meghan knows about the many challenges that are unique to small rural towns. Meghan is looking forward to being a member of Council to help others be successful in their lives and believes her life experiences and knowledge will be an asset to this roll.