It is with great sadness that CILT announces the passing of Mary Louise Dickson, former CILT Board member, noted legal educator, mentor and life-long advocate for people with disabilities.
Mary Louise was a passionate advocate for the rights of people with disabilities in both her personal and professional life. As a lawyer, she advanced the rights of disabled people to live independently, particularly through her work as a national leader in the areas of trusts and estate management. She was appointed Queen’s Counsel in 1983 and was a founding partner with the Toronto law firm Dickson Appell LLP. She was also a trusted mentor and educator in the legal profession and was elected as a bencher with the Law Society of Upper Canada. Mary Louise received the Distinguished Service Award of the Canadian Bar Association of Ontario and in 2009, she received the province’s highest honor and was appointed to the Order of Ontario. She was also awarded Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2012.
Mary Louise’s commitment to supporting disabled people was critically important to her as a person with a disability herself. She was particularly dedicated to the Centre for Independent Living in Toronto, serving on the CILT Board of Directors twice, from 1999 to 2012. She established and personally supported the Dickson Play Fund, a fund administered by CILT to offer opportunities for people with disabilities to use to have access to fun – including going to movies and the theatre – things that were often out of reach for people with disabilities. More than 1000 consumers were provided with Access to Entertainment cards through the Dickson Play Fund.
Mary Louise’s dedication to community work started as early as 1977 and included being a Director at Lyndhurst Hospital, the Canadian Paraplegic Association and the Ontario March of Dimes, to name but a few. She was also a former member of the Canadian Human Rights Commission.
CILT acknowledges the meaningful impact Mary Louise has had on the lives of people with disabilities across Canada. As a person with a disability herself, she was also a dedicated advocate, an expert in legal issues related to disability and a committed and passionate volunteer. We are grateful for everything Mary Louise has done to support people with disabilities. We join her family and friends in mourning the loss of a remarkable woman.
If you would like to share a memory of Mary Louise or offer your condolences, you may do so here: https://www.humphreymiles.com/obituaries/Mary-Louise-Dickson?obId=30501427
By Wendy Porch, Executive Director CILT