March 30, 2010 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-2010-3

 

The Region of Peel Accessibility Advisory Committee met on March 30, 2010 at 1:03 p.m. in the Council Chamber, Region of Peel Administrative Headquarters, Suite A, 10 Peel Centre Drive, Brampton.

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

Region of Peel: C. Reid, Regional Clerk and Director of Clerk's; D. Bingham, Treasurer and Director of Corporate Finance; J. Payne, 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

William Goursky, Chair of the Region of Peel Accessibility Advisory Committee (AAC) called the meeting to order at 1:03 p.m. and welcomed everyone present.

 

2. APPROVAL OF MINUTES

RECOMMENDATION AAC-6-2010:

That the minutes of the February 23, 2010 Region of Peel Accessibility Advisory Committee (AAC-2010-2) meeting, be approved.


3. APPROVAL OF AGENDA

RECOMMENDATION AAC-7-2010:

That the agenda for the March 30, 2010 Region of Peel Accessibility Advisory Committee meeting, be amended to include a communication item from the Caledon Enterprise titled "As Parents of Disabled Children Become Unable to Care for Them… What Comes Next?", to be dealt with under Communication Items - Item 4b;

And further, that the agenda for the March 30, 2010 Region of Peel Accessibility Advisory Committee meeting, be amended to include a communication item from the Ministry of Community and Social Services regarding the 2010-2011 EnAbling Change Partnership Program, to be dealt with under Communication Items - Item 4c;

And further, that the agenda for the March 30, 2010 Region of Peel Accessibility Advisory Committee meeting, be amended to include an item from the Manager of Program Design and Development, Human Services Department requesting AAC Input on Housing Initiatives and Upcoming Projects, to be dealt with under Other Business - Item 7a;

And further, that the agenda for the March 30, 2010 Region of Peel Accessibility Advisory Committee meeting be approved, as amended.

See also Communication Items - Items 4b and 4c and Other Business - Item 7a


Glenn Barnes, Committee member arrived at 1:06 p.m.

 

4. COMMUNICATION ITEMS

a. Rabia Khedr, Chairperson, Mississauga Accessibility Advisory Committee, Letter dated March 1, 2010, Expressing Concerns Regarding the International Day of Persons with Disabilities Event

Received

William Goursky undertook to send a response to the City of Mississauga AAC regarding the possibility of holding a joint International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD) event.

Councillor Sandra Hames clarified that representatives from the City of Brampton AAC were present at the IDPD event held on December 2, 2009 and inquired if representatives from the City of Mississauga AAC had attended the event.

William Goursky responded that the City of Mississauga AAC was present at the event.

Glenn Barnes commented that a joint IDPD event would be a large undertaking where budget, resources and other implications would need to be carefully considered.

Additional Items - Item 4b and 4c:

b. Caledon Enterprise, Article dated March 23, 2010, titled "As Parents of Disabled Children Become Unable to Care for Them…What Comes Next?"

Received

See also Approval of Agenda

Councillor Richard Paterak commented that the lack of available space in group homes has been an ongoing issue for aging parents who can no longer care for their disabled children. The following direction resulted:

STAFF DIRECTION AAC-2010-3-01:

That a letter be sent to the Russell family indicating support from the Region of Peel Accessibility Advisory Committee.

c. Ministry of Community and Social Services, Letter regarding the 2010-2011 EnAbling Change Partnership Program

Received

See also Approval of Agenda

The Committee expressed confusion that the communication was not clear as to what type of organization would qualify for funding under the EnAbling Change Partnership Program.

Jeff Payne, Manager, Regulatory Compliance clarified that the program is not geared towards the public sector. He undertook to confirm who can qualify for the program by providing the related website link.

Jan Spry, Committee member commented that she was aware of a partnership between public transit and private transit providers who may benefit from increased training and inquired how to pass along the information.

William Goursky assured that the Accessible Transportation Office at the Region of Peel would be notified.

 

5. PRESENTATIONS

a. Richa Bhatnagar and Fernanda Soukas, Citizen Service Specialists, Service Canada Peel/Halton Region, Providing Information Regarding Disability Benefits under the Canada Pension Plan (CPP)

Received

Richa Bhatnagar, Citizen Service Specialists, Service Canada Peel/Halton Region demonstrated how to access the Service Canada website and the various programs and services offered to citizens. She provided an overview of the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) with specific focus on Disability Benefits. Richa Bhatnagar explained that the Canada Pension Plan is a contributory plan based on contributions made from a person's earnings. She noted that the plan is funded from contributions made by employees, employers and revenues earned from CPP investments. Richa Bhatnagar described the Disability Benefits, one of the services offered through the Canada Pension Plan and reviewed the eligibility requirements to qualify for disability benefits as follows:

Richa Bhatnagar described the table used to calculate disability benefits with the monthly maximum payment for 2010 being $1,126.76. She also pointed out that a person receiving disability benefits cannot be in receipt of retirement benefits. Disability benefits automatically terminate once an individual starts receiving retirement benefits.

Jan Spry inquired if financial assistance was available to persons on disability benefits who were considering taking a post secondary program. Fernanda Soukas, Citizen Service Specialists, Service Canada Peel/Halton Region responded that through the vocational rehabilitation program assistance is possible however, it is restricted to persons completing a program.

Jan Spry also inquired if any further assistance is provided once a recipient of disability benefits turns 65 and the source of income decreases dramatically. Fernanda Soukas replied that the disability benefit converts into a retirement benefit creating a drop in income of approximately $250 per month. She further noted that at age 65, an individual can also apply for the Old Age Security benefit, as well as, the Guaranteed Income Supplement, benefits which are based on income and marital status.

Maureen Tymkow, Committee member inquired if the years spent raising children, for a person with no income, were considered when determining the contributory requirement. Fernanda Soukas explained that under the provision known as "The Child Rearing Drop Out" the child rearing years are removed from the calculation when considering eligibility for benefits, except in the case where the children being cared for are over the age of 7.

Meenu Sikand, Accessibility Planning Specialist inquired if a person's retirement benefit would be impacted if a minimum level of earnings was reported ($4,700 for 2010) while collecting disability benefits. Richa Bhatnagar stated that the years collecting disability benefits are not taken into account when calculating retirement benefits.

Councillor Sue McFadden inquired how a disability benefit recipient can earn a maximum of $4,700 per year if an eligibility requirement is that the applicant must be "unable to do any work" and requested clarification regarding this point. Fernanda Soukas noted that CPP defines a disability as severe if a person is "incapable regularly of pursuing any substantially gainful occupation." She noted that for the mental health and well being of individuals receiving disability benefits, a minimum level of allowable earnings was introduced.

Maureen Tymkow expressed concern regarding the difficulty in qualifying for disability benefits and the lack of support for individuals during the appeal process. Fernanda Soukas commented that approximately 60 per cent of applications were approved on a first attempt and advised that assistance on completing the forms was available through Service Canada.

Glenn Barnes inquired if applications could be completed in person or online. Fernanda Soukas responded that the forms are available on-line however, applications must be made in writing and mailed in.

Councillor Sue McFadden inquired into the status of Bill 428 which proposes to reduce the residency requirement for entitlement of Old Age Security from ten years to three years. Fernanda Soukas advised that the Bill has received first reading only.

b. Federico Cartín-Arteaga, Planner, Planning Policy and Research, Corporate Services, Region of Peel, Providing Information Relating to the Peel Data Centre

Received

Federico Cartín-Arteaga, Planner, Planning Policy and Research provided an overview of the Peel Data Centre and the data available on persons with disabilities in Peel. He described the definition of what Statistics Canada refers to as "persons with disabilities" and demonstrated some of the questions considered in the Census geared towards persons with disabilities. Federico Cartín-Arteaga noted that one of the drawbacks on how the Census collects data on persons with disabilities is that it is does not segregate the type of disability. The two main tools that Statistics Canada utilizes to acquire data pertaining to persons with disabilities are: Census and the Persons with Activity Limitations Survey (PALS). Federico Cartín-Arteaga pointed out that there are over 171,000 persons with disabilities in Peel and demonstrated the breakdown as follows:

City
Persons with Disabilities
% of Local Population
Mississauga
100,080
 
15
Brampton
63,565
 
14.7
Caledon
7,385
 
12.9

Federico Cartín-Arteaga compared the aging population in Peel and how it relates to persons with disabilities noting that over half of the persons with disabilities in Peel are over the age of 55. He indicated that as the aging population increases, the number of persons with disabilities will also increase. It is estimated that by 2031 one-third of the population in Peel will be 55 and over and according to the trend, over half of this population will be persons with disabilities. As a result, there will be additional pressures on the services and programs provided by the Region of Peel.

Federico Cartín-Arteaga reviewed the role of the Peel Data Centre (PDC), commenting that it is more than just a website. He stated that the PDC is a repository of data about Peel that is available through the Region of Peel Website. Federico Cartín-Arteaga indicated his intention to update the website to include a specific category related to persons with disabilities and encouraged everyone to navigate the website at www.peeldatacentre.ca.

Maureen Tymkow inquired how the information from the Persons with Activity Limitations Survey (PALS) is gathered and how it differs from the information collected through Census Canada. Federico Cartín-Arteaga clarified that PALS is conducted by Statistics Canada and funded through Human Resources and Skills Development Canada (HRSDC). The Survey is conducted through a follow up visit to households that had indentified, in the Census questionnaire, that a person with a disability resided within that household.

Meenu Sikand commented that she had been working with Federico Cartín-Arteaga to try to identify how to better utilize the services provided by the Peel Data Centre and incorporate the data related to persons with disabilities. She noted that there is a lot of very useful information and encouraged the members to navigate the website and explore options of how the data would assist in setting priorities for the Accessibility agenda forward and assist persons with disabilities in Peel.

Glenn Barnes commended Federico Cartín-Arteaga on a very informative presentation indicating that this type of information is very important to assist the Region in assessing the future needs of the residents of Peel.

Councillor Sandra Hames departed at 2:33 p.m.

c. John D'Angelo, President, Martinway Contracting Ltd. and Drew Goursky, Manager, Program Design and Development, Region of Peel, Providing Information Relating to the Legion Family Project

Received

Drew Goursky, Manager, Program Design and Development, Region of Peel, provided information regarding a partnership formed between the Royal Canadian Legion and Martinway Contracting to execute a project at 1133 Queen Street in Brampton. Also known as the Bramalea Legion, the 175-unit housing development will feature one to three bedroom units to meet the needs of seniors and families within the Region of Peel. Drew Goursky noted that the project will be the first family project in the Region since 1995 and will house the first Children's Services Hub located within a Regional social housing building.

John D'Angelo, President, Martinway Contracting Ltd. provided an overview of the design and layout goals for the project which will build on the success and accomplishments obtained in the Chapelview project located in downtown Brampton. He explained that the intent of the Legion project is to incorporate as many of the Universal Design Standards as possible. John D'Angelo pointed out the challenge of achieving universal design in the smaller units and noted an option would be the removal of walls for a more open concept layout.

Jan Spry commended John D'Angelo for his efforts in promoting accessibility within the project. She pointed out the practicality of removing walls for accessibility purposes especially in the kitchen area.

Due to time constraints William Goursky requested that John D'Angelo return to a future AAC meeting to review the floorplan layouts and to provide a final review of the site plan.

Drew Goursky noted that the Chapelview Project is nearing completion and thanked John D'Angelo and Martinway Contracting for the collaborative effort on the project and encouraged members of the Committee to visit the project.

Jeff Payne undertook to arrange a tour of the Chapelview project once the project has been deemed safe for public visits.

Councillor Sue McFadden departed at 2:52 p.m.


Additional Item - Item 7a was dealt with.

7. OTHER BUSINESS

a. AAC Input on Housing Initiatives and Upcoming Projects (Oral)
Presentation by Drew Goursky, Manager, Program Design and Development and Michelle Brown, Specialist, Housing Initiatives

Received

See also Approval of Agenda

Drew Goursky stated that planning is underway to prepare for the 2011 Human Services departmental budget and requested the assistance of the Committee in identifying program goals and priorities for the upcoming budget deliberations. He suggested scheduling a separate meeting with volunteers from the AAC and stakeholders to obtain feedback.

Michelle Brown, Specialist, Housing Initiatives pointed out the tight timeframe and noted that discussions would need to be completed prior to April 23, 2010.

Maureen Tymkow indicated she preferred to see what the budget entails prior to meeting. Drew Goursky offered to put together a list of program options and possibilities to all members for review. Meenu Sikand also undertook to share the information related to Region of Peel Human Services programs received from the participants of the roundtable discussions during the International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD) event. Due to the absenteeism of some members, Meenu Sikand offered to circulate the information sent by the Human Services Department to all Committee members and invite them to attend the meeting.

Maureen Tymkow offered to review the information and provide feedback, however, would not be available to attend the stakeholder meeting.


6. REPORTS

a. Region of Peel Accessibility Planning Specialist Activity Report (Oral)
Update by Meenu Sikand, Accessibility Planning Specialist, Region of Peel

Deferred to the April 27, 2010 AAC meeting

b. Employment Accessibility Standards Development Committee Update (Oral) - Nil

c. Accessible Transportation Standards Development Committee (Oral) - Nil


Additional Item – Item 7a

7. OTHER BUSINESS

a. AAC Input on Housing Initiatives and Upcoming Projects (Oral)

This item was dealt with earlier in the meeting

 

8. NEXT MEETING

The next meeting of the Region of Peel Accessibility Advisory Committee is scheduled for Tuesday, April 27, 2010, at 1:00 p.m., Council Chamber, 5th floor, Regional Administrative Headquarters, Suite A, 10 Peel Centre Drive, Brampton, Ontario.

Please forward regrets to Veronica Montesdeoca, Legislative Technical Coordinator, (905) 791-7800, ext. 4384 or at veronica.montesdeoca@peelregion.ca.


9. ADJOURNMENT

The meeting adjourned at 3:02 p.m.