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Joy Bacon, Chair

New Brunswick

Joy Bacon has more than 35 years of experience in the health and social services field, focusing on community involvement and helping others. Throughout her career she has co-chaired the Federal/Provincial planning group for Deputy Ministers of Social Services, acted as the interim Executive Director for the Canadian Mental Health Association and the New Brunswick Association for Community Living, and served as a Task Force member for the review of Mental Health Services in New Brunswick.

Joy is the Past-President of Inclusion Canada, having completed four years as President, and also serves on the Board of Directors of the Canadian Mental Health Association provincially. She just completed her two year term as President of the Canadian Mental Health Association nationally. Joy has been a member of the IRIS Board of Directors for the past five years.

Robin Acton, Vice-Chair


Robin Acton is the current President of Inclusion Canada. She has been extensively involved in the movement for inclusion playing multiple leadership roles in her local community and at the provincial, national and international level. Robin brings to the IRIS Board extensive knowledge of the issues facing individuals with intellectual disabilities and their families rooted in her own family’s experience and her advocacy efforts with hundreds of other families and individuals with intellectual disabilities over her 25 year history. She has consulted in the area of organizational and leadership development in the private, public and not-for-profit sectors. Currently, Robin, her husband and children operate their family enterprise located in Lloydminster, Saskatchewan.

Barb MacIntyre, Treasurer


Barb and her husband live in Edmonton, Alberta. Together, they are the proud parents of two young men, one of whom has an intellectual disability. Their youngest son was fully included throughout school, university and is employed full time. All this was possible because of the strength and support of Inclusion Alberta and the network of families connected to the organization.

For the last 25 years Barb has worked as a Financial Controller with experience in hotel management, commercial development and oilfield services. Prior to that she spent several years as a Senior Accountant in a public accounting firm.

Barb is the current President of Inclusion Alberta and has held this position since April 2017. She served as President 2010-2012 and has been on the Executive since 2008. She also served as President of Inclusion Edmonton Region. She discovered Inclusion Alberta through the family leadership series. Finding others with shared values for inclusion and who were passionate about creating positive social change for individuals with intellectual disabilities made all the difference to her and her family.

Barb is proud to be part of this movement and values the national organization, other federation members and families.  She is committed to being a strong voice for inclusion and for families.  She is looking forward to fulfilling the responsibilities of Treasurer for Inclusion Canada, Inclusion Canada Foundation and IRIS and to providing Board support to ensure people with intellectual disabilities and their families are able to participate fully in all aspects of society.

Bendina Miller, Director

British Columbia

A retired Superintendent of Schools for the Rocky Mountain School District of Southeastern British Columbia, Bendina Miller’s passion lies in ensuring that inclusive practices and programs are available for all students. She believes it is vital that strong family and community-based organizations exist to advocate for appropriate supports, lobby for strong legislation and work to unify individuals, families, as well as provincial and territorial organizations. Bendina is committed to ensuring that the rights and needs of all individuals with intellectual disabilities are addressed in a respectful and empowering manner. Since joining the Community Living movement in 1968, Bendina has been involved at the local, provincial, national and international levels. She served on Inclusion Canada’s Board of Directors for over 10 years and is a Past President. Bendina was honoured to be a representative at the United Nations during Canada’s ratification ceremony for the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. She is blessed to have two daughters and three grandsons.

Dianne Cormier Northrup, Director

New Brunswick

Retired from a 30+ year career as a Life Coach/Counselor and Educator, Dianne lives with her husband outside of Bathurst New Brunswick close to where her two adult children reside.

Passionate about inclusion and human rights, Dianne is dedicated to helping make her community, province and country a place where everyone belongs and everyone matters. She is an active volunteer locally, provincially and nationally where she contributes from the knowledge gained from her own family’s experience with the issues facing individuals with disabilities.

In her community Dianne played a leading role in establishing a safe accessible affordable transportation service.  As chair of the NBACL Stakeholders’ Relations committee she worked with Local Community Living associations throughout NB to develop a shared vision of inclusion and work together to advance inclusion. She is present chair of the Inclusion Canada Revitalization Implementation Working Group, a trained facilitator for the Values Vision Action Workshops and a member of Inclusion Canada’s National Training Team.

She is most proud of her involvement with Ocean Ridge Support Services who have provided in-home support services 24/7 over the past 30 years to her two adult children so that they can live an ordinary life in their own home surrounded by a network of family, friends and neighbors and supported to be involved in and contribute to the life of their neighborhood and community.

Carmel French, Director

Nova Scotia

For several decades, Carmel French worked as an resource teacher, university professor, and researcher in the areas of early intervention and inclusive education. She has volunteered with various community and professional organizations advocating for the rights of persons with disabilities. Carmel has held various positions with Inclusion Nova Scotia, including conference organizer, Board member, President, and government liaison. She has also represented Inclusion Nova Scotia on the Inclusion Canada Board and IRIS Boards.

Fiona Whittington-Walsh, Director

Dr. Fiona Whittington-Walsh is a faculty member in the department of Sociology at Kwantlen Polytechnic University. In addition to teaching disability issues in all her courses, her areas of research include disability and the media, women and beauty, popular culture and film, social inequality, and community/academic research partnerships. Her current research projects include (1) creating fully inclusive post-secondary courses and experiences for all students including students with developmental and/or intellectual disabilities; (2) transforming post-secondary services for students with disabilities, from Medical Model to Rights Based Model.

Fiona has a long history working in the community both in BC and in Ontario. Starting out working in a segregated school and group home for children and young adults with intellectual disabilities, she eventually became involved in the inclusion movement of ‘mainstreaming’ children into their neighborhood schools in North Vancouver. Inclusion forms the foundation of her professional and personal philosophy. All aspects of her work involve collaboration with community.