Quick facts

Birthdate

December 28, 1984

Birthplace

Vancouver, BC

Residence

Vancouver, BC

Sport

Boccia

Experience

Guadalajara 2011

London 2012

Josh Vander Vies was one of Canada’s top international boccia players for more than a decade. He made his Paralympic Games debut at Athens 2004, won a bronze medal in individuals at the 2011 Parapan American Games in Guadalajara, and is a 2012 Paralympic bronze medallist in pairs.

At London 2012, Vander Vies and teammate Marco Dispaltro became the first Canadian BC4 players to win a Paralympic medal with their bronze in pairs.

He discovered boccia as a kid, competing at a disability focused multi-sport Games in swimming, shotput, and discus, where he saw the precision sport played by others. He took up the sport and fell in love with the combination of strategy and physical execution of shots, a hallmark of boccia, which is one of two Paralympic sports without an Olympic counterpart along with goalball.

That led him to 12 international boccia medals, including two victories, and six national individual titles. His best world ranking was third in the world in doubles in 2013 and seventh in individual in 2010.

Off the playing court, the Sarnia, Ont. native who is now a long-time resident of Vancouver, has been heavily involved in athlete leadership both during and after his competitive career. He was elected by his fellow boccia players to the International Boccia Committee as an athlete representative. He also was chair of the Canadian Paralympic Athletes’ Council from 2008 to 2012 and was a member of the Canadian Paralympic Committee Board of Directors.

An electric wheelchair user born without the majority of his arms and legs, Vander Vies represented Canadian Olympic, Paralympic, and national team athletes as a director, and eventually president, of AthletesCAN – Canada’s association of national team athletes – from 2010 to 2017. At the 2018 Commonwealth Games, he acted as Team Canada’s Ombudsman.

He continued his support of Canadian athletes through 2021 as the assistant chef de mission for the Canadian Paralympic Team at the postponed Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games. In 2023, he was named co-chef de mission with Karolina Wisniewska for the 2023 Parapan American Games in Santiago and the 2024 Paralympic Games in Paris.

Vander Vies currently works as a lawyer in Vancouver as a sole practitioner at Versus Law Corporation where he practices not-for-profit and charity law. He has appeared in British Columbia Provincial Court, British Columbia Supreme Court, the Federal Court of Appeal, and the Commonwealth Games Federation Court.

He is a regular public speaker, sharing his story and messages in celebration of Paralympic sport and athletes and promoting inclusion, accessibility, and disability rights.

Vander Vies holds an honours double major in Political Science and French from the University of Western Ontario and a law degree from the University of British Columbia. He is a member of the Canadian Bar Association and Canadian Corporate Counsel Association.

He is married to Dalia and is father to daughter Olivia and stepson Karolis.

NOTABLE INTERNATIONAL RESULTS

2012 Paralympic Games BC4 pairs – bronze

2011 Parapan American Games BC4 singles – bronze

2010 World Championships BC4 pairs – 5th

2006 World Championships BC4 pairs – 6th

2004 Paralympic Games BC4 pairs – 6th  

Paralympic Medals

1