Three athletes elected to Canadian Paralympic Athletes’ Council

Canadian Paralympic Committee

December 09, 2020

Ina Forrest, Erica Gavel, and Mike Whitehead join leadership group

Action images of Ina Forrest, Mike Whitehead, and Erica Gavel, the three new Athletes' Council members

OTTAWA – Ina Forrest (wheelchair curling), Erica Gavel (wheelchair basketball), and Mike Whitehead (wheelchair rugby) have been elected to the Canadian Paralympic Athletes’ Council, the Canadian Paralympic Committee (CPC) announced on Wednesday. 

Forrest, Gavel, and Whitehead join incumbent members Rob Armstrong (Para ice hockey), Jennifer Brown (Para athletics), Alison Levine (boccia), and chair Tony Walby (Para judo), all of whom are halfway through their four-year terms. Gavel has been selected for a second term. Outgoing members are Kirk Schornstein (Para alpine skiing) and Ross Wilson (Para cycling). 

“We are excited to welcome Ina and Mike, as well as welcome back Erica, to the council and look forward to starting our work with them,” said Walby, chair of the Athletes’ Council. “The Paralympic Movement in Canada is filled with so many superb athletes, and all three incoming council members are experienced athletes who bring valued perspectives and ideas to the table. 

“We would also like to thank Kirk and Ross for their commitment and contribution to the council over the last four years. They have been incredible teammates and we know they will continue to be active voices for the Paralympic community in Canada.” 

A veteran member of Canada’s national wheelchair curling team, Forrest is a two-time Paralympic champion (Vancouver 2010, Sochi 2014) and reigning bronze medallist (PyeongChang 2018). 

“Thank you to my fellow athletes for putting their trust in me,” Forrest said. “I am looking forward to joining and contributing to the Athletes’ Council after many years of experiencing the success of the CPC and the Athletes’ Council in representing and supporting Canadian Paralympic athletes.”

A Rio 2016 Paralympian, Gavel helped the Canadian women’s wheelchair basketball team to a gold medal last year at the Parapan Am Games, which qualified Canada for the Paralympic Games in Tokyo.   

“I am elated to be selected to the Athletes’ Council once again and thank the people who selected me,” said Gavel. “To be a part of the council is a tremendous honour and privilege, and I am so grateful to be involved for another four years. I am really proud of the relationship between the Athletes’ Council, CPC administrative staff, and respective stakeholders. To have a strong council is pertinent when making decisions as they directly impact the athletes. I look forward to helping improve the quality of sporting experiences for Para sport athletes in Canada.”

Whitehead is one of the longest-serving Canadian wheelchair rugby players, having competed at the last four summer Paralympic Games, winning two silver medals and one bronze. 

“Having the honour and privilege to be a part of the Athletes’ Council is exciting and humbling,” said Whitehead. “Thank you to all the athletes who voted, and I can’t wait to get started working alongside my fellow council members.” 

Voting for the Athletes’ Council took place over the past month, with eligible athletes – anyone who competed in the last four Paralympic Games in 2018, 2016, 2014, and 2012 – voting to select their new representatives. Elections take place every two years, with terms lasting four years. 

The Canadian Paralympic Athletes’ Council is an elected group of current and retired Paralympians who serve as the collective voice of the athletes. For more information on the Athletes’ Council, please visit

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