IRIS Staff

Michael Bach, Managing Director

For the past twenty-five years Michael Bach has undertaken research and development on law, policies and programs in Canada and internationally on ways to advance the full inclusion and human rights of persons with disabilities. His research covers a range of policy areas including education, employment, and funding and delivery of community-based services. His particular area of expertise is in legal capacity of people with intellectual disabilities, and he recently completed a study for the Law Commission of Ontario with Lana Kerzner titled A New Legal Paradigm for Protecting Autonomy and the Right to Legal Capacity. He holds a PhD in Sociology and Equity Studies from the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education of the University of Toronto. His dissertation focused on developing a more inclusive theory of personhood on which to challenge the usual equation between intellectual disability and legal incapacity.

Doris Rajan, Director of Social Development

Over the last 15 years Doris has worked 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. Her work involves designing community-based social development and applied research projects with international, national, provincial/territorial, and regional organizations . She has written many community-designed training resources and advised national and international NGO’s on the topic of how to design and conduct effective community-based development strategies- currently doing such work in Zambia. As an educator Doris has taught community development courses at a variety of post secondary institutions including Ryerson University, George Brown College and Centennial College.

Doris has a Masters Degree in Social Work with a specialization in Social Policy and Research. She is currently doing a PhD at the University of Toronto’s Ontario Institute for Studies for Education- Adult Education & Community Development. Her research involves the development of a curriculum framework for a critical feminist/anti-oppression pedagogy of solidarity that would bring together women labeled with “mental” disabilities, indigenous and migrant women, to challenge structural violence.

Lastly, Doris splits her time as a professional actress, playwright, screenwriter, producer, and filmmaker. She has since enjoyed many productions of her one-woman play Doris Does Damage, later made for TV. In 2007 Doris was selected as one of ReelWorld Film Festival’s Emerging 20 filmmakers’ for her sitcom Maharani on the Beach. In film she worked on director Pierre Tetrault’s This Beggar’s Description, The R Word and her comedy film Healing Rani which was screened at the New York International Independent Film Festival in 2007. Most recently in 2015, Doris wrote the play A Tender Path which explores the experiences of historical trauma, violence and torture related to the experiences of indigenous, refugees, people with intellectual disabilities and the Trans community. The play was shown at the Truth, Reconciliation and Engagement Symposium in April 2015, dramaturgy by Guillermo Verdecchia and directed by the award winning Soheil Parsa.

Fatima Gardaad, Research and Project CoordinatorFatima Gardaad Bio Pic - Web

Fatima Gardaad has a Master’s degree in Environmental Studies from York University with a specialization in international development, focusing on community development and sustainable livelihoods for marginalized populations in sub-Saharan Africa. Prior to joining IRIS in her current role as research and project coordinator, Fatima worked as a project coordinator with the Canadian Foundation for the Americas (FOCAL), an independent, non-governmental think tank working to enhance co-operation and dialogue and create new linkages between Canada and Latin America and the Caribbean through policy analysis and discussion, and most recently worked for DAWN-RAFH Canada as the national project coordinator for the InFocus initiative.