For over 25 years, Michael Bach has undertaken research and development in Canada and internationally on ways to advance the full inclusion and human rights of persons with disabilities. His research and publications cover disability theory, policy and practice in a range of areas including education, employment, and funding and delivery of community-based services. Michael’s particular area of expertise is in legal capacity of people with intellectual disabilities. Michael holds a Ph. D. in Sociology and Equity Studies from the University of Toronto’s Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, where his dissertation focused on developing a more inclusive theory of personhood on which to challenge the usual equation between intellectual disability and legal incapacity. Michael is currently an Open Society Foundations Fellow, continuing his international comparative research on the right to legal capacity for people with significant intellectual and cognitive disabilities.
Director of Social Development
Doris Rajan has worked for 15 years as a senior consultant in the non-profit sector, with a focus on violence against women, access to justice, the experience of racialization, refugee, immigrant and indigenous issues and disability justice. In her work, Doris has designed numerous international, national, and regional community-based social development and applied research projects, and has authored a number of community-designed training resources. Doris has a Master’s Degree in Social Work with a specialization in Social Policy and Research. She holds a PhD in Adult Education and Community Development at the University of Toronto’s Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, where her research involved the development of a curriculum framework for a critical feminist/anti-oppression pedagogy of solidarity that would unify women labeled with “mental” disabilities, indigenous and migrant women to challenge structural violence. Doris is also a professional actress, playwright, screenwriter, producer and filmmaker. In 2015, Doris wrote the play A Tender Path, which explores historical trauma, violence and torture related to the experiences of indigenous peoples, refugees, individuals with intellectual disabilities and the Trans community. A Tender Path was shown at the Truth, Reconciliation and Engagement Symposium in April 2015.
Chelsea Davenport is a recent graduate from the Masters of Social Work Critical Analysis program at McMaster University. Her dissertation focused on the experiences of Black youth accessing housing while transitioning out of the child welfare system, using African Community-Based and Arts-Based Methodologies. Her professional background includes over four years of research experience, advocacy, frontline support, youth informed programming, and event planning. Within all facets of her life, she adopts a community-centric, anti-oppressive, anti-racist, and intersectional approach. Chelsea is passionate about ensuring that legislation, policy, and services are responsive to the needs of marginalized communities.
Senior Research and Development Officer
Katie supports various local and national initiatives as well as general operations at IRIS. She has ten years of progressive experience developing and managing responsive projects and engaging communities – particularly young people – on equity issues. Her previous work focused on human rights in the housing system and supporting community-led solutions to systemic housing injustice and inequality. She has a Masters in urban planning from the University of Toronto, where she focused on inclusive housing, homelessness, and the right to the city. In addition to her work at IRIS, Katie is a freelance grant writer, offering sliding scale grant writing supports and services with a focus on arts-based and justice-oriented initiatives.
Senior Policy Analyst & Researcher
Before joining IRIS, Samuel worked as a policy analyst for the Quebec Intellectual Disability Society for almost 4 years. During that time, he worked on several major policy pieces, including the creation of a basic income program in Quebec and the reform of the province’s guardianship system. In this work, as well as through years of student and social involvement, Samuel is dedicated to furthering social justice in society. Through his role at IRIS, Samuel aims to accelerate the development of better social policies for people with intellectual disability and their families across Canada. Samuel is a political science graduate and is finishing a bioethics graduate short program.