Remembering CEO Lawrence Barns: A Tireless Advocate for Individuals with Learning Disabilities

It is with deep sadness that the Learning Disabilities Association of Ontario (LDAO) announces the passing of Lawrence Barns, the President and Chief Executive Officer of LDAO, on June 19, 2024, at Oakville Trafalgar Memorial Hospital after a short battle with illness. Lawrence was a beloved father to his three children Joshua, Felicity, and Jacob, who will miss him dearly. He was loved by many friends, neighbours, and colleagues who considered him family.

CEO Barns was a tireless advocate for individuals with learning disabilities and was honored to serve as the President & CEO of LDAO for the last 13 years. He was a dedicated and esteemed member of many communities, bringing strong advocacy for those with learning disabilities. He was appointed to the Minister’s Advisory Council on Special Education and used his experience to amplify the voices of those living with learning disabilities.

Under CEO Barns’ leadership, LDAO launched several significant initiatives, including LD@home and LD@school, which offer crucial resources and support for parents, teachers, and students dealing with learning disabilities. His dedication extended to hosting the Talk LD podcast, a valuable platform for sharing insights and stories within the community. He also led the successful implementation of The Educator’s Institute, a two-day bilingual online conference designed to equip Ontario educators with effective strategies to support students with learning disabilities. The Educator’s Institute has continually received positive feedback for its practical implications on classroom practice.

As a provincial organization, LDAO has numerous LD chapters across Ontario, each addressing the local needs of those with learning disabilities. Staff from these chapters have praised CEO Barns for his immense impact, describing him as a true advocate who provided clarity, guidance, and innovative solutions for registered charities dedicated to improving the lives of children, youth, and adults with learning disabilities. His influence extended beyond Ontario, as he actively engaged with the Learning Disabilities Association of Canada, supporting its mission to empower individuals with learning disabilities to achieve their educational, employment, health, and personal goals.

CEO Barns brought joy to everyone in his life and will be sincerely missed. In accordance with CEO Barns’ wishes, there will be no funeral service. We invite you to celebrate his memory in your own way and will keep the community updated with plans for a celebration of life after the summer months.

Leave a message in memory of Lawrence Barns

Your heartfelt words and cherished memories will provide comfort and solace to Lawrence’s family and friends during this difficult time. Please feel free to share your thoughts, stories, and condolences below. Submissions will be shared privately and won’t be public.