|December 2, 2008 Region of Peel Accessibility
Advisory Committee (AAC)
|1.||Call to Order|
|2.||Approval of Minutes|
|3.||Approval of Agenda|
REGION OF PEEL
ACCESSIBILITY ADVISORY COMMITTEE (AAC)
The Region of Peel Accessibility Advisory
Committee met on December 2, 2008 at 1:00 p.m. in the Council Chamber, Regional Administrative Headquarters, 10 Peel Centre Drive, Brampton.
|Members Present:||G. Barnes; H. Bajwa; W. Goursky; J. Hardman; N. Husain; J. Spry|
|Members Absent:||S. Hames; E. Kolb, due to vacation; S. McFadden, due to other municipal business; R. Paterak, due to vacation; M. Tymkow|
R. Whitehead, Regional Councillor; D. Szwarc, Chief Administrative Officer; R. Kent Gillespie, Commissioner of Corporate Services and Regional Solicitor; K. Ward, Commissioner of Human Services; J. Smith, Commissioner of Health Services; J. Menard, Executive Director, Human Services Transition and Integration; J. Payne, Deputy Clerk and Acting Director of Clerk’s; M. Sikand, Accessibility Planning Specialist; J. Daly, Acting Manager, Regulatory Compliance; M. Gardiner, Committee Clerk
*See text for arrivals
¨See text for departures
William Goursky, Chair, presided.
1. CALL TO ORDER
William Goursky, Chair of the Region of Peel Accessibility Advisory Committee called the meeting to order at 1:00 p.m. and welcomed everyone present.
2. APPROVAL OF MINUTES
That the minutes of the October 21 , 2008 Region of Peel Accessibility Advisory Committee meeting be approved.
3. APPROVAL OF AGENDA
That the agenda for the December 2, 2008 Region of Peel Accessibility Advisory Committee meeting be amended to include a communication item from the Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO), dated November 27, 2008, regarding the Public Review Period for the Information and Communications Standard, to be dealt with under Communication Items - Item 4d;
And further, that the agenda for the December 2, 2008 Region of Peel Accessibility Advisory Committee meeting be approved, as amended.
4. COMMUNICATION ITEMS
a. Toronto Star, Article dated November 20, 2008, titled “Airlines Lose Seat Appeal”
b. Region of Peel, Press Release dated November 21, 2008, titled “Peel Proclaims International Day of Persons with Disabilities”
c. Member Communication – Alert: Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO), dated November 24, 2008, Advising that the Government has Released the Proposed Accessible Information and Communications Standard for Public Review and Comment
See also Item 4d
Additional Item – 4d:
d. Member Communication – Alert: Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO), dated November 27, 2008, Advising that the AMO is Requesting an Extension on the Public Review Period for the Proposed Accessible Information and Communications Standard Received
See also Item 4c
Presentations– Item 5c was dealt with
c. William Goursky, Chair, Region of Peel Accessibility Advisory Committee, Providing Opening Remarks at the 2008 International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD) Event Received
William Goursky, Chair, Region of Peel Accessibility Advisory Committee, thanked members of the Mississauga, Caledon and Burlington Accessibility Advisory Committees, the Peel Advisory Working Group on Older Adults’ Housing, staff from various agencies in Peel and Regional staff for attending the special event.
William Goursky advised that this year’s theme, as declared by the United Nations, is “Dignity and Justice for All of Us”. He noted that the AAC Committee is committed to this theme by providing Peel residents relevant information about community services, as well as, undertaking initiatives to improve services for persons with disabilities in the area of permanent and temporary housing. He recognized the significant contributions and valuable input of the members of the Region of Peel Accessibility Advisory Committee, and acknowledged the efforts and commitment of the Accessibility Advisory Steering Committee. William Goursky commended Meenu Sikand, Accessibility Planning Specialist, for organizing the 2008 IDPD event.
a. Emil Kolb, Chair and Chief Executive Officer, Region of Peel, (Video Greetings) Recognizing the Importance of Marking the 2008 International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD)
Regional Chair Kolb addressed the meeting via a pre-recorded video as he was unable to attend the meeting in person.
Regional Chair Kolb emphasized the excellent collaboration of the Region and the three area municipalities in ensuring that persons with disabilities achieve a better quality of life in the Region of Peel. He acknowledged Martinway Contracting firm for taking various steps to improve accessibility in regional projects they are involved with. He stated that the goal of the AAC Committee is to educate staff and the community on best practices to enhance the lives of persons with disabilities.
b. David Szwarc, Chief Administrative Officer (CAO), Region of Peel, Extending Greetings on behalf of the Region of Peel and its Employees to Participants attending the 2008 International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD) Event
David Szwarc, Chief Administrative Officer (CAO), acknowledged all participants for attending the special event and for demonstrating their dedication to accessibility in the Region of Peel. He highlighted that the Region is initiating corporate-wide projects to ensure that the organization is operating in compliance with the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) and that all of the goals defined in the legislation to be barrier-free by 2025 are met. He advised that effective January 1, 2008, the Customer Service Standards became a law. He stated that the Region is committed to ensuring that customers with disabilities have equal access to services and are treated with dignity and respect. David Szwarc emphasized that the Region promotes awareness of the needs of persons with disabilities by celebrating the International Day of Persons with Disabilities.
William Goursky noted that the Region of Peel AAC received an award in 2007 from Human Endeavour and Peel Community Health Services for their excellent work in improving accessibility in Peel.
c. William Goursky, Chair, Region of Peel Accessibility Advisory Committee, Providing Opening Remarks at the 2008 International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD) Event
This item was dealt with earlier in the meeting
d. William Goursky, Chair, Region of Peel Accessibility Advisory Committee and R. Kent Gillespie, Commissioner of Corporate Services and Regional Solicitor, Region of Peel, Presenting the 2008 Region of Peel Accessibility Awards
R. Kent Gillespie, Commissioner of Corporate Services and Regional Solicitor, Keith Ward, Commissioner of Human Services, and William Goursky, Chair, Region of Peel Accessibility Advisory Committee, presented the 2008 Region of Peel Accessibility Awards as follows:
Certificates of Recognition – Region of Peel Staff:
- Accessible Transportation Coordination Office – In recognition of staff efforts for providing creative options and building partnerships with other transportation providers in the community by organizing transportation services for those individuals who do not qualify for TransHelp. The recipients of this award were Lisa Jones, Melissa Stone and Accessible Transportation Coordination Office Team.
- Learning In Our Neighbourhood (LION) Team – In recognition of team efforts for focusing on extending early learning opportunities to children and parents. The LION vehicles – three motor homes outfitted as early education centres – are accessible with a chair lift, sturdy stairs with handrails and appropriately positioned washroom fittings. Sandra Lefaucher, Project Specialist and Elena DiBattista, Director of Success By 6 Peel accepted the award on behalf of Lorna Reid.
- Chris Bullock, Manager, Development and Construction, Employee and Business Services and Richard Ngun, Project Manager, Development and Construction, Employee and Business Services – In recognition of staff efforts to promote and improve accessible social housing.
Keith Ward, Commissioner of Human Services, noted that Chris Bullock and Richard Ngun initiated the process of working with the AAC with respect to design and siteplan review. He stated that the AAC Committee and John D’Angelo from Martinway, have shown a remarkable commitment in the development of standards which will assist in increasing the number of accessible and affordable residential units in Peel.
William Goursky thanked the award recipients for their continuous support towards creating a barrier-free community in Peel.
e. Shelley White, Chief Executive Officer, United Way of Peel Region, Providing Keynote Address
Shelley White, Chief Executive Officer, United Way of Peel Region provided an overview regarding the needs of persons with disabilities living in Peel and the various Region-wide initiatives aimed at addressing those needs. She noted that this year’s theme is a rallying call to integrate persons with disabilities into all aspects of life.
She stated that Peel is a true leader in providing accessible services to persons with disabilities. The Region has provided persons with disabilities in Peel more opportunities to participate fully in the community through improving transportation, employment, recreation and health care. Shelley White further added that the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) is designed to ensure businesses and organizations within Ontario provide goods and services according to important areas of accessibility standards such as customer service, transportation, information and communication, environment and employment.
Shelley White emphasized that Honourable David Onley, the first Lieutenant Governor General of Canada is a role model and champion for persons with disabilities. She stated that it is the Lieutenant Governor General’s dream that persons with disabilities achieve their full potential in the community. Shelley White also thanked AAC Committee members and Accessibility Planning Specialist for inviting her to share perspectives on behalf of the United Way of Peel.
f. Keith Ward, Commissioner of Human Services, Acknowledging the 2008 International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD) and Introducing Members of the Expert Panel
Keith Ward, Commissioner of Human Services, introduced the members of the expert panel who are composed of staff representing various divisions of the Region. He further explained how accessibility plays a significant role in the projects and initiatives taking place in the Region. He advised that the Accessibility Advisory Committee, Corporate Services and Human Services staff remain committed to delivering citizen-focused services and to provide human services that meet current and changing needs.
6. PANEL DISCUSSION
A Panel of experts will highlight best practices showcasing improved access to housing and services for persons with disabilities within Peel Region, with a focus on development and delivery of services in the areas of permanent and short term housing; Regional facilities and Children’s Services.
Glenn Barnes, AAC member and past Chair of the AAC moderated the panel discussion. The members of the expert panel were as follows:
- Julie Pomerleau, Project Integration Manager, Executive Office;
- Edward Wong, Manager, Existing Facilities, Employee and Business Services;
- Chris Bullock, Manager, Development and Construction;
- Gary Faris, Human Services Program Supervisor, Ontario Works;
- Drew Goursky, Manager, Housing Initiatives; and
- Penny Davies, Special Needs Services Supervisor, Children’s Services
Glenn Barnes requested the panellists to briefly describe their divisional programs and services.
Julie Pomerleau, first panellist explained that the role of the Integration Division is to improve access to regional programs and services and ensure a smooth transition during the integration of services.
Edward Wong, next panellist emphasized that various improvements were introduced for the 10 Peel expansion building. He noted that persons with disabilities are provided with improved access to the new regional building. Access Peel counters are designed to be barrier-free to accommodate persons with disabilities. Various signs are visible in lobby areas and throughout the building to direct and guide persons with different disabilities and designated parking areas are in close proximity to elevators. He further added that as per directives received from the AAC Committee, all entrance doors to washroom facilities were eliminated to provide easy access to persons with disabilities.
Chris Bullock described how the Region is currently working to design new accessibility standards that will improve access for persons with disabilities.
Gary Faris noted that his team is responsible for delivering transitional services and programs to youth and families in need.
Drew Goursky provided a brief overview on how Human Services integration is working to create greater accessibility for all new residents in new affordable housing developments in the Region of Peel.
Penny Davies stated that Children’s Services provides support to children with special needs. Some of the programs offered are child care services, fee subsidy and early learning programs.
During the questions and answers period, members of the panel received inquiries from members of the public. Rabia Khedr inquired regarding the housing strategy provided to immigrant families that live in extended family households. Drew Goursky responded that the Region of Peel, through its strong partnerships with other community agencies, currently provide collaborative assistance to persons with disabilities.
Lori, a Peel resident in attendance expressed concern regarding not being able to park her scooter in the lobby area of a privately owned building. Keith Ward offered to attempt to assist by getting the information after the AAC meeting. For Peel Living buildings, Keith Ward advised that for safety reasons, fire regulations require that hallways and lobby areas of the buildings are clear of obstructions in the event of an emergency.
Naz Husain commended Children’s Services for providing early childhood programs to children with disabilities. She asked how customers who speak different languages are accommodated when delivering programs and services in the Region of Peel. Penny Davies responded that most of the staff in child care centres are reflective of multicultural communities of Peel who speak many different languages. Parents are also encouraged to invite a relative or friend to accompany and assist them with language interpretation.
Glenn Barnes questioned how the Region assists families with autistic children who are on the waiting list. Penny Davies advised that there is an increase in the number of support for needed for autism. Currently, the average waiting list for autism cases is from one to two years.
A Peel resident questioned if the Region provides assistance to persons with disabilities to prevent them from losing their rented home apartments in the case of financial hardships. Keith Ward advised that with respect to income instability, the provincial legislation does stipulate that the rent subsidy is not lost right away; it is protected for one year. Drew Goursky noted that the Region has available a number of outreach programs to assist persons with disabilities from losing their homes.
a. Monthly Activity Report for December 2008 (Oral)
Presentation by Meenu Sikand, Accessibility Planning Specialist, Region of Peel
Deferred to the January 27, 2009 AAC meeting
b. 2008 International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD) Event - Closing Remarks (Oral)
Presentation by William Goursky, Chair, Region of Peel Accessibility Advisory Committee
William Goursky, Chair, acknowledged participants for attending and making the special event successful. He invited participants to visit the information booths and displays outside of the Council Chamber. William Goursky reminded participants to provide their feedback regarding the special event by completing the evaluation form.
8. OTHER BUSINESS - Nil
9. NEXT MEETING
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
1:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.
Council Chamber, 5th floor
Regional Administrative Headquarters
10 Peel Centre Drive
The meeting adjourned at 3:00 p.m.