What is governance?

Governance may be defined as the exercise of authority, direction and control of an organization in order to ensure that its purpose is achieved.

DeafBlind Ontario Services is governed by a volunteer board of directors, consisting of up to 10 members from various professional backgrounds across the province. Our board of directors is responsible for the long-term health of our organization ensuring our mission, vision, values and clients are always at the forefront of everything we do.

The board’s primary responsibility is providing strategic leadership by setting direction, making policy and strategy decisions, overseeing and monitoring organizational performance, anticipating, mitigating and managing risks to the organization, ensuring prudent and proper management of the organization’s resources and has overall accountability.

The board of directors also fosters the development of a culture that embodies our values of respect, leadership, trust and teamwork. Key factors contributing to a healthy organization include:

  • A clear sense of mission, vision and values are shared broadly within the organization.
  • Strategic (for board) and operational plans (for employees) that give direction and set achievable expectations.
  • Policies written are reasonable, comprehensive and up-to-date.
  • Responsive leaders at all levels, including the board of directors, management and program/service areas.
  • Accountability and transparency in all areas, including finances, board and management planning and decision-making, and program/service delivery.
  • Focus on creating relationships based on trust and respect, understanding of differences and positive resolution of problems or conflict.
  • Development of a culture that values feedback, creativity, flexibility, communication, information gathering, recognition and respect.
  • Embodies our mission, vision and values statements.
  • Focus on the financial health of the organization. In addition, there is a shared ownership by board and employees for creating a diverse revenue base, including public funding, private donors and entrepreneurial activities.
  • A board that is well informed about the strengths and vulnerabilities of the organization, the needs it addresses, and the gaps in service that still exist.


Board of Directors 2018-2019

  • Lise Gagnon - Chair
  • Jim Dadson - Vice Chair & Secretary
  • Chanta Baier
  • Tiffany Barker
  • Danielle Brouillet
  • Daniel Gabay
  • John Halman
  • Marnie McDermott
  • Emma LeBlanc
  • Linda Littell


Board Committees

A committee’s function is to bring experience, expertise and judgment. Its job is to assist the Board by considering matters referred to it in greater depth than would be possible by the whole Board. The Committee isolates key issues requiring Board consideration; propose alternative actions; present the implications and make recommendation to the Board for a decision the committee cannot speak or act on behalf of the board.

In addition, each committee is responsible for developing and executing an annual board-approved workplan.

Governance - Chair: Jim Dadson

Responsible for the development and implementation of the Governance process on behalf of the Board. 

Government Relations - Chair: Brian Watkinson

Responsible to develop communication strategies which educate members of municipal, provincial and federal government on issues of concern to individuals who are deafblind and their families. To develop effective strategies to advocate on behalf of individuals who are deafblind and their families. 

Finance - Chair: John Halman

Responsible for monitoring, advising and recommending course of action to the Board on the financial affairs of the organization. 

Client Services - Chair: Tiffany Barker

Responsible for the review, monitoring and, evaluation of the service model and provide recommendations for the effective delivery of services.


Testimonials from DeafBlind Ontario Services’ Committee Members

“It’s a high performance organization and has a well-defined mission that conveys the reason for the organization’s existence and inspires others like myself to join the cause.”


“Fully constructive dialogue which leads to conclusions, during the meeting, and then timely and complete follow-up with actions. I’ve  done a huge amount of volunteer work in my careers, and have to say that this is probably the most effective group I have worked with…”


Recruitment for Board and Board Committee members is the responsibility of the Governance Committee. Interested applicants can download a volunteer application form and email chair@deafblindontario.com for consideration.