February 24, 2009 Region of Peel Accessibility Advisory Committee (AAC)
Page Content:
1. Call to Order
2. Approval of Minutes
3. Approval of Agenda
4. Communication Items
5. Presentations
6. Reports
7. Other Business
8. Next Meeting
9. Adjournment

 

REGION OF PEEL

ACCESSIBILITY ADVISORY COMMITTEE (AAC)


MINUTES


AAC-2009-2

 

The Region of Peel Accessibility Advisory Committee met on February 24, 2009 at 1:05 p.m. in the 5th floor Boardroom, Region of Peel Administrative Headquarters, Suite A, 10 Peel Centre Drive, Brampton.

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

N. Trim, Acting Commissioner of Corporate Services and Chief Financial Officer; J. Payne, Deputy Clerk and Acting Director of Clerk's; C. Reid, Director of Transition; M. Hood, Director of Communication Services; J. Daly, Acting Manager, Regulatory Compliance; M. Sikand, Accessibility Planning Specialist; V. Montesdeoca, Committee Clerk

_____________________________________
*See text for arrivals
¨See text for departures


William Goursky, Chair, presided.


1. CALL TO ORDER

A quorum of voting members was not present, and in accordance with section III-4(g) of the Region of Peel Procedural By-law 57-2006, the Region of Peel Accessibility Advisory Committee (AAC) received information.

William Goursky, Committee Chair noted that upon arrival of two additional members, quorum would be achieved and at that time the Committee would formally approve the agenda and minutes of the previous meeting.


Communication Items - 4a was dealt with.

4. COMMUNICATION ITEMS

a. Member Communication - Alert: Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO), dated February 3, 2009, Expressing Concerns and Providing Recommendations to the Minister of Community and Social Services on the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) Proposed Information and Communications Standard

Received

Emil Kolb, Regional Chair arrived at 1:07 p.m.
Maureen Tymkow, Citizen Member arrived at 1:08 p.m.

A quorum of voting members was achieved.

2. APPROVAL OF MINUTES

RECOMMENDATION AAC-5-2009:

That the minutes of the January 27, 2009 Region of Peel Accessibility Advisory Committee meeting be amended to reflect Marilyn Hood, Director of Communication Services as present at the meeting;

And further, that the minutes of the January 27, 2009 Region of Peel Accessibility Advisory Committee meeting be approved, as amended.


3. APPROVAL OF AGENDA

RECOMMENDATION AAC-6-2009:

That the agenda for the February 24, 2009 Region of Peel Accessibility Advisory Committee meeting be amended to include a communication item from the Association of Municipalities of Ontario regarding the Draft Employment Standard under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA), to be dealt with under Communication Items - Item 4d;

And further, that the agenda for the February 24, 2009 Region of Peel Accessibility Advisory Committee meeting be amended to include a communication item from Accessibility News titled "But Heads' Must Not be Allowed to Delay Implementation of the AODA Standards", to be dealt with under Communication Items - Item 4e;

And further, that the agenda for the February 24, 2009 Region of Peel Accessibility Advisory Committee meeting be amended to bring forward Presentations - Item 5d, to be dealt with as the first item of business;

And further, that the agenda for the February 24, 2009 Region of Peel Accessibility Advisory Committee meeting be approved, as amended.

See also Communication Items - Items 4d and 4e, and Presentations - Item 5d


Item Related to Presentations – Item 5d) was dealt with.

5. PRESENTATIONS

d. John Daly, Acting Manager, Regulatory Compliance and Kumme Rao, Project Manager, Corporate Services, Region of Peel, Providing an Update on the Customer Service Standard Project

Received

See also Approval of Agenda

John Daly, Acting Manager, Regulatory Compliance, provided an overview of the Accessibility Standards noting that the intent of the presentation was to bring members of the AAC up to date as it relates to the Accessible Customer Service Standard Project.

Kumme Rao, Project Manager, Corporate Services, provided background specific to the Customer Service Standard, indicating that the regulation came into force in January 2008 with a two year implementation period for organizations within the public sector. The Region of Peel must comply with the Regulation by January 1, 2010. Kumme Rao went on to explain the project deliverables and the timelines to achieve the deliverables, as follows:

John Daly provided highlights of the Corporate Policy for Accessible Customer Service. Although there is a documented policy in a corporate format, accessible customer service must go beyond what is written on paper, it should become part of our everyday practice in customer service. John Daly indicated that the policy was carefully written to adhere to the regulation and comply with the four key principles of dignity, independence, equity and integration. In addition to the four key principals of the Policy, the Region of Peel has incorporated two additional principles being sensitivity and responsiveness.

On the principle of sensitivity William Goursky inquired if service dogs were allowed in the cafeteria and cited a human rights case that went before the courts as an individual with a service dog was refused entry to a restaurant. John Daly pointed out that the policy addresses the use of service dogs and indicated that they would be allowed into the Region of Peel cafeteria, however, kitchen or food preparation areas would be an exception.

John Daly indicated that the training tool to be used by the Region of Peel will mirror that provided by the Ministry of Community and Social Services and invited members to navigate through the tool by visiting the Ministry website at: http://www.mcss.gov.on.ca/mcss/serve-ability/content.htm. He commented that the delivery of the training will need to be planned in conjunction with the Region of Peel Learning and Development department.

Councillor Paterak inquired if Customer Service staff will be trained to provide Accessible Customer Service. Jeff Payne, Deputy Clerk and Acting Director of Clerk’s, indicated that all staff will benefit from receiving the training and obtaining the necessary skills set.

Glenn Barnes, Citizen Member arrived at 1:33 p.m.
Emil Kolb, Regional Chair departed at 1:35 p.m.

John Daly noted that the next step was to obtain approval of the policy from the Chief Administrative Officer and requested endorsement from the Committee to move forward.

The following recommendation was considered and supported by the Committee:

RECOMMENDATION AAC-7-2009:

That the Customer Service Standard Project, policy and training, as generally outlined at the meeting of the Accessibility Advisory Committee (AAC) held on February 24, 2009, be endorsed;

And further, that staff make amendments to the Corporate Policy as deemed appropriate.

 

4. COMMUNICATION ITEMS

a. Member Communication - Alert: Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO), dated February 3, 2009, Expressing Concerns and Providing Recommendations to the Minister of Community and Social Services on the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) Proposed Information and Communications Standard

This item was dealt with earlier in the meeting

b. Jenny Clement, Community Legal Worker, ARCH Disability Law Centre, Letter dated February 6, 2009, Requesting Participation in a Needs Assessment Project to Understand the Legal Needs of People with Disabilities

Received

William Goursky advised members interested in participating in the Needs Assessment Project to communicate with ARCH Disability Law Centre through the contact information contained in the letter.

c. Keith Ward, Commissioner of Human Services and General Manager of Peel Living, Letter dated February 10, 2009, Addressed to Rick Drennan, Managing Editor, Mississauga Business Times regarding an Article titled “Building Code? We can do Better”

Received


Additional Items – Items 4d and 4e

d. Member Communication – Alert: Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO), dated February 19, 2009, Advising that the Draft Employment Standard under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) has been Released for Public Review and Comment

Received

See also Approval of Agenda and Reports – Item 6a

e. Accessibility News, Article titled “But Heads’ Must Not be Allowed to Delay Implementation of the AODA Standards”

Received

See also Approval of Agenda


5. PRESENTATIONS

a. Sandra LeFaucheur, Project Specialist, Children’s Services and Huma Khan, Coordinator, Learning in Our Neighbourhood (LION), Region of Peel, Providing Information on the Learning in Our Neighbourhoods (LIONs) Project

Received

Huma Khan, Coordinator, Learning in Our Neighbourhood (LION), provided a brief overview of the LION initiative. She indicated that the LION program, coordinated by “Success By 6 Peel”, provides a solution to fill the gap in underserviced and high growth neighbourhoods where early learning programs are still scarce. Huma Khan noted that one quarter of the children in Peel are not school-ready as they enter grade one. The LION Program is delivered utilizing mobile recreational vehicles (RV) to accommodate early learning needs in multiple locations. She indicated that two vehicles are currently in service with a third one under way.

Sandra LeFaucheur, Project Specialist, Children’s Services, stated that one of the main concerns with the use of a mobile vehicle was accessibility for persons with disabilities. She highlighted some of the features inside the vehicle and retrofits undertaken to make them more accessible. Sandra LeFaucheur indentified various options considered to make the vehicles more accessible. The use of a coach lift was chosen as it can be used by individuals with a wider range of disabilities and was the most cost effective.

William Goursky inquired on the use of heavy electrical wheelchairs and scooters within the coach. Sandra LeFaucheur responded that due to the limited space within the RV and the use of the coach lift, scooters and heavy wheelchairs could not be accommodated within the coach. She suggested one solution could be to have a transit wheelchair on board. William Goursky identified security issues that could arise from leaving wheelchairs, scooters and strollers unsupervised outside the motor coach.

Councillor Paterak inquired if the RVs were standard production units or through special order and suggested the removal of the shower stall to allow for more room within the bathroom. Sandra LeFaucheur responded that the vehicles purchased were standard production units because to special order these vehicles is too expensive. She also confirmed that the showers have been removed as part of the vehicle modification.

Maureen Tymkow questioned the cost effectiveness of retrofitting the vehicles versus buying them custom made and inquired if a trailer would not have been a more practical option. Sandra LeFaucheur indicated there is a substantial increase in price when custom ordering the vehicles and stated that an RV vehicle was safer to drive and more practical for the purpose it served versus a trailer based solution.

Maureen Tymkow also inquired if this was a temporary solution to address the needs of the underserviced communities or if this formed part of a more long term plan. Sandra LeFaucheur commented that she hopes that in the future these centres will be transferred into buildings, but that will be dependent on the availability of space and funding.

William Goursky suggested that it would be beneficial to the community if such programs were delivered within the schools. He noted the number of communities under development and the need for these programs should be taken into account from the onset when planning a new neighbourhood.

Jim Hardman inquired if there were other options available for disabled children that are not able to access the RV vehicle. Sandra LaFaucheur indicated that TransHelp can be used to transport children to other more accessible centres should that be necessary.

Councillor Paterak inquired into the purchase price of the third vehicle. Sandra LeFaucher indicated that the third RV was purchased for approximately $150,000 which includes the price for retrofitting the vehicle to make it accessible.

Glenn Barnes noted that Regional programs need to work closer together and improve communication. He noted that TransHelp currently converts and retrofits vehicles and can possibly provide assistance to the LION initiative. Glenn Barnes inquired on the price difference between the various options considered to retrofit the vehicle and pointed out that the additional cost to equip the vehicles with a proper platform lift would involve minimal additional funding over the selected solution considering that 100 per cent of the population would be able to access this service with a platform lift. He noted that his intention was not to be critical, but to ensure that all individuals had the same opportunities in accessing services and offered his assistance in advocating this message.

Councillor Paterak commented that accessibility needs to be addressed when implementing new programs and should start in-house. Jeff Payne noted that the Region of Peel is conscious of the accessibility requirements and cited the inclusion of accessibility within the Purchasing Policy.

Jim Hardman pointed out that ongoing costs need to be considered when implementing accessible programs and inquired if there were funds designated for additional accessible services such as sign language interpreters. Huma Khan commented that the program was funded through the Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration Canada and like other programs, there were budgetary constraints. An option being considered to assist with additional service requirements was the use of volunteers. Jim Hardman reiterated that agencies and organizations need to be held accountable when budgeting for accessibility. He noted that accessibility considerations need to be brought to the forefront during the planning stage.

b. Tara Geraghty, Settlement Worker, Dixie Bloor Neighbourhood Centre, Providing Information on Programs and Services Offered at the Dixie Bloor Neighbourhood Centre

Received

Tara Geraghty, Settlement Worker, Dixie Bloor Neighbourhood Centre, provided an overview of the Dixie Bloor Neighbourhood Centre indicating it is a community based non-profit agency that assists newcomers and individuals, who are not yet Canadian Citizens, settle into the community. She noted that the agency is a “one stop shop” that provides a number of services such as language classes, translations, employment services, assisting clients to obtain health and Social Insurance cards, etc. Tara Geraghty indicated that due to the need in the community, her position has evolved to a full time position and noted she is the only settlement worker in the agency that specializes in serving clients with disabilities. Tara Geraghty requested the assistance of the Committee on how to better reach and support newcomers with disabilities.

William Goursky inquired what municipal boundaries the agency covers. Tara Geraghty indicated that the agency covers the area of Dixie/Bloor - Dixie/Burnhamthorpe area.

Maureen Tymkow asked if the agency served the area of Caledon. Tara Geraghty responded that the agency does not serve this area however, as long as initial contact has been made with her, she was willing to assist individuals in Caledon.

Committee members commended Tara Geraghty on the work she is doing in reaching out to the community, especially individuals with disabilities and offered to spread the word on the services being offered by the Dixie Bloor Neighbourhood Centre. They also suggested contacting the United Way network, Ontario March of Dimes, CNIB, Region of Peel - Ontario Works, other settlement agencies, and local hospitals for further networking.

Councillor McFadden requested that Tara Geraghty delegate before the City of Mississauga Council and suggested she contact the school boards and the association of principals and vice-principals.

Maureen Tymkow offered the assistance of Caledon Community Services and undertook to touch base with Tara Geraghty with further information.

Jim Hardman suggested contacting local Members of Provincial Parliament who should be aware of newcomers coming to the Region of Peel and the challenges they face. Tara Geraghty advised of a future meeting with Peter Fonseca, MPP for Mississauga East – Cooksville area.

Glenn Barnes indicated that the Coalition for Persons with Disabilities holds an annual resource fair and recommended Tara Geraghty get in contact with Matthew Fleet to participate in this event scheduled for May 7, 2009.

Tara Geraghty noted the information received to be very helpful and thanked the AAC Committee for being so supportive.

c. Janet Menard, Executive Director, Human Services, Providing an Update on Social Housing Conditions in the Region of Peel

Deferred to the March 24, 2009 AAC meeting

d. John Daly, Acting Manager, Regulatory Compliance; Meenu Sikand, Accessibility Planning Specialist, and Kumme Rao, Project Manager, Corporate Services, Region of Peel, Providing an Update on the Customer Service Standard Project

This item was dealt with earlier in the meeting


6. REPORTS

a. Monthly Activity Report - December 2008 (Oral)
Update Provided by Meenu Sikand, Accessibility Planning Specialist, Region of Peel

Received

See also Communications - Item 4d, Item 6b and 6c

Meenu Sikand provided an update on the activities carried out by the Region of Peel Accessibility Planning Program indicating that Provincial Accessibility Standards seem to be advancing quickly and thus are the focus of the program.

Meenu Sikand indicated that she has initiated a Transportation Program Project working group, which includes staff from the Transportation Coordination Office and TransHelp. The group is reviewing the impact and cost implications the Transportation Standard will have on the Region of Peel. Meenu Sikand indicated that the final proposed Transportation Standard is currently under review with the Minister of Community and Social Services as numerous clauses of the Standard did not receive consensus by the Review Committee.

William Goursky suggested that Glenn Barnes be involved with the working group. Glenn Barnes indicated that because of his involvement with the Provincial Committee, there may be a conflict of interest and noted he would need direction from the AAC Committee.

Meenu Sikand clarified that the working group is in its initial stage of deciphering the Standard and understanding what is required of the Region of Peel in order to move forward to prepare a corporate policy. Glenn Barnes offered his assistance with interpretation and clarification of the Standard.

Meenu Sikand noted that the Employment Standard has been released for public review and comment. The deadline for any submissions is April 15, 2009. (Subsequently amended by the Province to May 22, 2009)

Meenu Sikand indicated that she will be meeting with William Goursky regarding a strategic plan to promote the work of the Accessibility Advisory Committee which currently relies on the International Day for Persons with Disabilities event to raise awareness of accessibility matters. She noted that National Access Awareness Week provides further opportunities to create accessibility awareness and will be seeking Council approval for this initiative.

b. 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

Received

See also Item 6a

William Goursky commented that the Region of Peel 2008 International Day of Persons with Disabilities event was a great success and provided the Committee with the results of the survey. He requested any comments or concerns with the results be brought forward to the next Committee meeting.

Meenu Sikand noted that planning is under way for the 2009 International Day of Persons with Disabilities event and is taking into consideration comments provided in the survey. She stated that perhaps an event format in a larger venue would be considered to allow for more public participation versus the approach taken for the 2008 meeting.

c. Employment Accessibility Standards Development Committee Update (Oral)

This matter was discussed under Item 6a

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

This matter was discussed under Item 6a


7. OTHER BUSINESS
- Nil

 

8. NEXT MEETING

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


9. ADJOURNMENT

The meeting adjourned at 3:00 p.m.