Our Team

Working With You
Allison Schmidt

Allison Schmidt

Director

Allison Schmidt has devoted over 20 years to the persistent and compassionate protection of the access of people with disabilities to income protection under the Canada Pension Plan Disability program.

Allison originates from Melbourne, Australia. She arrived in Canada in 1988. She began her career in the insurance industry working in the claims processing area. During this time period, she took many insurance industry courses becoming proficient in the adjudication of medical, dental, life, and disability insurance claims.

In 1995, Allison left the insurance industry to begin her academic study at the University of Regina where she achieved a BA Honours in Psychology. She continued her studies working on the completion of her MA degree in Gerontology.

While studying at the University of Regina, she was employed by a local law firm who appealed the denial of disability claims. She founded the Disability Claims Advocacy Clinic Inc. in March 1998 upon noticing the increased number of denials of Canada Pension Plan disability benefits.

This observation became the start of her career in CPP Disability advocacy. She researched the Canada Pension Plan disability program, by undertaking Freedom of Information requests. This story was highlighted nationally in the CBC radio story “Enemy of the State”. Over the years her work has been featured on national media discussing issues related to Canada Pension Plan disability benefits and the unacceptable denial rates.

Allison Schmidt has also made presentations to many support groups, conferences, and regional associations of chronically disabled individuals across Canada. In 2002, she was asked to attend in Ottawa to participate in a round-table discussion with the Sub-Committee on Status of Persons with Disabilities. She is currently a member of the CPP Disability Roundtable who convened to undertake a comprehensive review of the CPP disability program. She has also made a presentation to the Sub-Committee at their Canada Pension Plan Parliamentary Hearings.

Allison Schmidt has helped hundreds of individuals with her thorough understanding of the Canada Pension Plan administration and the Social Security Tribunal. Her expertise in the field of Canada Pension Plan disability appeals, along with her extensive knowledge and experience, has effectively assisted her clients with quality representation before various levels of appeals.

Daniel Griffith

Daniel Griffith

Legal Counsel

Dan H. Griffith is a practicing lawyer in good standing with the Law Society of British Columbia. He holds a Juris Doctor from the University of British Columbia Faculty of Law, a Master of Arts in Political Science from the University of British Columbia Faculty of Graduate Studies, and a Bachelor of Arts (Hons.) from the University of Oregon.

Dan is a skilled advocate who has experience in before both the courts and with administrative tribunals. Dan believes that every person who is entitled to a disability pension should receive one. He understands that the process for applying for CPP disability benefits is difficult and that dealing with the Social Security Tribunal is even more challenging.

Donna Landega

Donna Landega

Office Manager

With 14 years experience in the Insurance Industry, Donna has taken on the roll as the Office Manager at DCAC. Her keen eye and analytical thinking helps keep the office ticking and ensures the best possible outcomes for our clients.

Donna extends her expansive experience to sitting on Community Boards, school councils and even a local dog rescue organization.

Selina Coward

Selina Coward

Senior Disability Case Manager

A wealth of knowledge from Selina’s writing, office skills and health-employment backgrounds give her the skills to assess, analyze, and prepare written materials for DCAC. Her experience as a Tribunal Member specializing in CPP disability provides her with the insight necessary to assess not only the disabilities of our clients, but to prove that a disability exists in order to obtain the pension they need to live.

Kathryn Merk

Kathryn Merk

Disability Case Manager

Kathryn recently completed her Kinesiology and Health Studies Degree at the University of Regina. Her focus was on Human Kinetics and Sport and Recreation Management. Upon completion of her degree, she plans on continuing her education with a Bachelor of Nursing and Science Degree, and Masters in Nursing.

While working on her studies, Kathryn has been working for DCAC as a case-manager, working on all aspects of the CPP disability process including both applications and appeals. Kathryn was born and raised in Regina however spends a lot of her time travelling and living abroad.

Jennifer Birns

Jennifer Birns

Disability Case Manager

Jennie has a long history of working with and providing advocacy services to persons living with disabilities in Saskatchewan. As a certified CCA with extensive knowledge in the areas of Acquired Brain Injury and Mental Health, she has worked in various areas of Long-Term Care, Mental Health and Rehabilitation. In the past, Jennie and her family have operated a non-profit organization that provided programming as well as medical and personal care services to young adults with disabilities.

Jennie brings with her a passion and dedication for the rights of people with disabilities and proudly volunteers her time to provide private advocacy work for families who are facing barriers for continued care.

Erin Welder

Erin Welder

Medical Advisor / Case Manager

Erin is a Registered Nurse who has recently “retired” after a thirty-year nursing career. She provides case-management service to our clients and continues to share her nursing expertise with our staff. She is very skilled at translating doctor’s clinical notes! Erin loves to travel and is enjoying her “retirement” years providing service to those individuals who need assistance applying for CPP disability benefits.

Natalia Schaefer

Natalia Schaefer

Administration

Natalia was raised on a farm located outside of McLean, Saskatchewan. Her parents ran their family business out of their home which resulted in Natalia becoming an Administrative Assistant at a very young age. In 2014, Natalia became a certified First Responder where she gained emergency medical response training and medical knowledge. She volunteers as a First Responder for her community. She began working for DCAC in July 2016 and has worked her way to become the Administrative Assistant for our office.