January 27, 2009 Region of Peel Accessibility Advisory Committee (AAC)
Page Content:
1. Call to Order
2. Election of Chair and Vice-Chair
3. Approval of Minutes
4. Approval of Agenda
5. Communication Items
6. Presentations
7. Reports
8. Other Business
9. Next Meeting
10. Adjournment

 

REGION OF PEEL

ACCESSIBILITY ADVISORY COMMITTEE (AAC)


MINUTES


AAC-2009-1

 

The Region of Peel Accessibility Advisory Committee met on January 27, 2009 at 1:02 p.m. in the Council Chamber, Region of Peel Administrative Headquarters, Suite A, 10 Peel Centre Drive, Brampton.

Members Present: H. Bajwa; W. Goursky; J. Hardman; N. Husain; E. Kolb; R. Paterak; J. Spry; M. Tymkow
 
Members Absent: G. Barnes, due to illness; S. Hames, due to other municipal business; S. McFadden, due to illness
 
Also Present:

N. Trim, Acting Commissioner of Corporate Services and Chief Financial Officer; R. Kent Gillespie, Commissioner of Employee and Business Services; J. Payne, Deputy Clerk and Acting Director of Clerk's; J. Daly, Acting Manager, Regulatory Compliance; M. Sikand, Accessibility Planning Specialist; V. Montesdeoca, Committee Clerk

_____________________________________
*See text for arrivals
¨See text for departures


1. CALL TO ORDER

Veronica Montesdeoca, Committee Clerk, presided.

 

2. ELECTION OF CHAIR AND VICE-CHAIR

RECOMMENDATION AAC-1-2009:

That William Goursky be appointed as Chair of the Region of Peel Accessibility Advisory Committee (AAC) for the term ending November 30, 2010, or until a successor is appointed.

RECOMMENDATION AAC-2-2009:

That Naz Husain be appointed as Vice-Chair of the Region of Peel Accessibility Advisory Committee (AAC) for the term ending November 30, 2010, or until a successor is appointed.


William Goursky, Chair, presided.

 

3. APPROVAL OF MINUTES

RECOMMENDATION AAC-3-2009:

That the minutes of the December 2, 2008 Region of Peel Accessibility Advisory Committee meeting be approved.


4. APPROVAL OF AGENDA

RECOMMENDATION AAC-4-2009:

That the agenda for the January 27, 2009 Region of Peel Accessibility Advisory Committee meeting be approved.

 

5. COMMUNICATION ITEMS

a. Member Communication - Alert: Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO), dated December 10, 2008, Advising that the Public Review Period for the Draft Information and Communications Standard has been Extended to February 6, 2009

Received

See also Items 6b and 6c

b. Dufferin-Peel Catholic District School Board, Access Update, Volume 6, Issue 1, November 2008

Received


6. PRESENTATIONS

a. R. Kent Gillespie, Commissioner of Employee and Business Services, Providing an Update on the Recent Changes to the Corporate Structure in the Region of Peel and Introducing the New Acting Commissioner of Corporate Services

Received

Jeff Payne, Deputy Clerk and Acting Director of Clerk’s introduced Norma Trim, Acting Commissioner of Corporate Services and Chief Financial Officer. He explained the current realignment of services that resulted in the merging of the Office of the Chief Financial Officer with the Corporate Services Department.

R. Kent Gillespie, Commissioner of Employee and Business Services, provided some background information that led to the realignment of the three internal service departments, Corporate Services, Employee and Business Services and Finance on December 2008. He explained that the changes form part of the Common Purpose initiative which focus on:

  • Enhanced employee engagement;
  • Client satisfaction; and
  • Trust and confidence in Peel.

As a result, Peel Heritage, the Customer Contact Centre and Communication Services have been realigned from the Corporate Services Department to the Employee and Business Services Department to streamline the operation of the organization. To support governance of the organization, the Corporate Services Department has merged with the Office of the CFO and now consists of the Clerks division, Finance, Internal Audit and Legal and Risk Management.

R. Kent Gillespie stated that he has been transferred to the position of Commissioner of Employee and Business Services and noted that Patrick O'Connor will assume the role of Regional Solicitor.

William Goursky, Chair, Region of Peel Accessibility Advisory Committee (AAC), welcomed Norma Trim to the Accessibility Advisory Committee meeting and thanked R. Kent Gillespie for his contributions to the Committee, wishing him success in his new role.

b. John Daly, Acting Manager, Regulatory Compliance and Meenu Sikand, Accessibility Planning Specialist, Region of Peel, Providing an Overview of the Proposed Accessible Information and Communications Standard

Received

See also Items 5a and 6c

Meenu Sikand, Accessibility Planning Specialist, Region of Peel provided an overview of the proposed Accessible Information and Communications Standard which was released on November 17, 2008 for public review, with the review period closing on February 6, 2009. She stated that the Information and Communication Standards will require municipalities and organizations to provide information in multiple formats to persons with disabilities and communicate those utilizing accessible methods. Meenu Sikand explained that "Information" is defined as the content prepared for communication, for example, print or electronic data which is received or provided by the Region of Peel to its clients. She welcomed feedback from the Committee prior to reporting to Council.

John Daly, Acting Manager, Regulatory Compliance and Meenu Sikand, Accessibility Planning Specialist, Region of Peel, noted the main concern in implementing the standard is determining the associated costs. According to KPMG, this could mean between 1 to 3 per cent based upon a review undertaken involving a single small municipality in Ontario. John Daly stated that the Region of Peel would need to determine its readiness and capacity to implement the standard before being able to establish costs.

William Goursky inquired if the anticipated 1 to 3 per cent of the operating cost of an annual budget would be for implementation of the program or would this amount need to be budgeted for on a yearly basis. John Daly responded that he will make further enquiries and confirm a response.

Naz Husain, Vice-Chair, Region of Peel Accessibility Advisory Committee (AAC), commented that the Region is a large municipality and possibly more prepared to implement the standard in comparison to a smaller municipality, therefore, a large budget may not be required.

John Daly responded that it would depend on the tools being utilized to implement the standard and the level of accessibility compliance these tools would offer. He also noted that one approach would be to request the Province to assume all costs associated with making forms and data transmission systems in provincially mandated programs. Another would be to ask that software developers also become compliant.

Maureen Tymkow, AAC member inquired if this standard was the same as the Customer Service standard. John Daly clarified that the Information and Communication standard is a different standard. He noted that there were 5 standards in total and informed that the Customer Service Standard is in its implementation stage whereas the Information and Communication standard is currently in the public review stage.

Jim Hardman, AAC member commented that technology is rapidly changing and suggested the use of the Adaptive Technology Resource Centre that specializes in developing software for persons with disabilities. He indicated that the lack of sign language interpreters, close-captionists and note takers have been an issue for a long time and suggested that more staff with hearing impairment be hired to serve the need of the deaf and those that require sign language instead of trying to hire more sign language interpreters.

John Daly advised that the staff recommendations will be presented to Council in February and thanked the Committee for their input and comments.

Members of the Committee supported the proposed recommendations staff will be submitting to the Province subject to Council approval.

c. Marilyn Hood, Director, Communication Services, Providing an Update on the Development of an Accessibility Communication Strategy for the Region of Peel

Received

See also Items 5a and 6b

Marilyn Hood, Director, Communication Services, provided an update on the development of an accessible communication strategy. She commented that the Information and Communication Standard will be the biggest influence upon the development of the communication strategy. Marilyn Hood indicated that staff is reviewing all the different types of communications and tools used in the Region of Peel. She noted that the process of implementing a web content management tool into the web system will begin shortly, which will take about nine months to two years to be fully implemented. Marilyn Hood anticipates that for the third quarter of the year, the Region will be in a position to provide a draft communication strategy to the Committee, however, it will largely depend on the implementation of the Provincial Standard.

William Goursky reiterated the concern expressed at the August 2008 AAC meeting commenting that local newspapers were not paying enough attention to information related to accessibility. He stated that a strategy needs to be developed on how to provide more information related to accessibility to the community. He noted that the public needs to be aware of the issues regarding accessibility and requested suggestions on how this could be achieved. Marilyn Hood recommended that a working group be formed to assist in developing a communication strategy. Naz Husain and Jan Spry volunteered to be on the working group.

d. Drew Goursky, Manager, Housing Initiatives, Human Services and Richard Ngun, Project Manager, Development and Construction, Employee and Business Services, Presenting the Universal Design Standards

Received

Drew Goursky, Manager, Housing Initiatives, Human Services, provided an update from a housing perspective with respect to the implementation of Universal Accessibility Standard for the Region of Peel. He noted that these standards will be incorporated in new social housing projects at the Region. Drew Goursky advised that the principle of having a universal design standard is the integration and incorporation of design concepts that can be used by everyone regardless of age, size and ability. Universal Design allows for the creation of an environment that is barrier free and allows people to positively adapt to their living environment. The need to incorporate universal accessibility standards was observed through three different perspectives as follows:

  • A public policy perspective - Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act will require the implementation of accessible standards;
  • A client perspective - growing aging and disabled population require more accessible features;
  • Cost perspective - easier and cheaper to incorporate at construction than to retrofit. Aging population can stay in their homes longer.

Drew Goursky noted that this undertaking was a collaborative effort between Regional staff, members of the AAC Committee and Martinway Construction, an industry leader in the creation of affordable housing projects.

Richard Ngun, Project Manager, Development and Construction, Employee and Business Services, provided a technical perspective to the creation of the standards. He noted that the standards needed to satisfy functionality, operational issues and affordability without conflicting with the Region's Affordable Housing Guidelines. Although it would be ideal to try to incorporate as many accessible features into a project, the main objective in deciding on certain standards would be to ensure security and functionality within a residential setting.

Jan Spry suggested changing the wording within the presentation from "seeing eye dog" to "special service dog".

Drew Goursky commented that with the implementation of Universal Design Standards, the Region would be a leader in the development of affordable housing by not only meeting the Provincial requirements, but exceeding the standards set forth by the Province. He noted that the first area the Provincial government will be focusing on is single-detached dwellings versus multi-residential dwellings, giving the Region ample time to implement its standards and be able to provide some feedback to the Province.

John D'Angelo, President, Martinway Contracting Ltd., highlighted the difficulty in estimating costs associated with implementing some of the standards. He noted that the funding provided by the Federal and Provincial government is not enough. John D'Angelo commented that due to the small size of the units some of the standards cannot be implemented. He also noted that there needs to be a change in mind set within the trades people where accessibility will become the main focus.

Meenu Sikand pointed out the importance of sharing accessibility information and the work undertaken in this project with other departments. She noted that Accessibility Planning program partners with various project managers and creates ongoing opportunities to highlight accessibility related initiatives at the Regional level. Project managers are always encouraged to work closely with the Accessibility Planning Program whose mandate is to ensure Regional accomplishments are captured and reported. At the recent International Day of Persons with Disabilities, information on this project along with three other regional projects were shared with the public and other Regional departments. Most recently Meenu Sikand highlighted the Universal Design initiatives in an article in the "Care Guide", a booklet developed for older adults. It is important for project managers to bring accessibility contributions within their projects to the attention of the Accessibility Planning Specialist for marketing internally and externally. William Goursky agreed and further indicated that Council approval was required before any information related to this initiative could be shared with the public.

Drew Goursky advised that the next step would be to take the staff recommendations to Council for endorsement. A presentation will be made to Council at the March 26, 2009 General Committee meeting. Upon receiving Council support and with the collaboration of the AAC Committee, the Universal Standards and Guidelines will be implemented in new affordable housing projects on a project by project basis. It is anticipated that updates will be brought before the AAC Committee on an annual basis.

Maureen Tymkow complimented everyone involved in bringing these standards forward and suggested this was an ideal opportunity to educate the public and at the same time publicize the work of the Region of Peel as a "forward thinking" organization. William Goursky suggested that a press release be made on the day the presentation is brought before Council.


7. REPORTS

a. Monthly Activity Report - December 2008 (Oral)

Received

b. Monthly Activity Report - January 2009

Received

c. Debriefing of the Region of Peel 2008 International Day of Persons with Disabilities Event (Oral)
Discussion led by William Goursky, Chair, Region of Peel Accessibility Advisory Committee (AAC), and Meenu Sikand, Accessibility Planning Specialist, Region of Peel

Deferred to the February 24, 2009 AAC meeting

d. Employment Accessibility Standards Development Committee Update (Oral)
Update Provided by Naz Husain, Vice-Chair, Region of Peel Accessibility Advisory Committee (AAC)

Received

Naz Husain pointed out that the Employment Accessibility Standards is currently being reviewed by the Minister of Community and Social Services and she undertook to keep the AAC Committee updated with any new information.

e. Accessible Transportation Standard Development Committee (Oral)
Update Provided by Naz Husain, Vice-Chair, Region of Peel Accessibility Advisory Committee (AAC)

Received

Naz Husain provided an update on the status of the Accessible Transportation Standard, indicating that the final proposed standard has been posted on the Ministry of Community and Social Services website and is available for viewing through the following link: Ministry of Community and Social Services - Transportation


8. OTHER BUSINESS
- Nil

 

9. NEXT MEETING

Tuesday, February 24, 2009
1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.
5th floor Boardroom
Regional Administrative Headquarters
10 Peel Centre Drive, Suite A
Brampton, Ontario


10. ADJOURNMENT

The meeting adjourned at 2:56 p.m.