April 27, 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-2010-4

 

The Region of Peel Accessibility Advisory Committee met on April 27, 2010 at 1:00 p.m. in the Council Chamber, Region of Peel Administrative Headquarters, Suite A, 10 Peel Centre Drive, Brampton.

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

Region of Peel: N. Trim, Chief Financial Officer and Commissioner of Corporate Services; 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 1:00 p.m. and welcomed everyone present.

 

2. APPROVAL OF MINUTES

RECOMMENDATION AAC-8-2010:

That the minutes of the March 30, 2010 Region of Peel Accessibility Advisory Committee (AAC-2010-3) meeting, be approved.


3. APPROVAL OF AGENDA

RECOMMENDATION AAC-9-2010:

That the agenda for the April 27, 2010 Region of Peel Accessibility Advisory Committee meeting, be amended to include a communication item from ACT (Affordability and Choice Today) Program regarding the Grants Application Deadline, to be dealt with under Communication Items - Item 4c;

And further, that the agenda for the April 27, 2010 Region of Peel Accessibility Advisory Committee meeting, be amended to include a communication item from the Coalition for Ontario AAC's regarding an Invitation to the Community Connect 2010 Fair, to be dealt with under Communication Items - Item 4d;

And further, that the agenda for the April 27, 2010 Region of Peel Accessibility Advisory Committee meeting, be amended to include a communication item from the Mississauga Accessibility Advisory Committee regarding an Invitation to a National Access Awareness Event titled "Promoting Inclusion for All", to be dealt with under Communication Items - Item 4e;

And further, that the agenda for the April 27, 2010 Region of Peel Accessibility Advisory Committee meeting be approved, as amended.

See also Communication Items - Items 4c to 4e inclusive

 

4. COMMUNICATION ITEMS

a. Toronto Star, Article dated April 7, 2010, titled "Coyle: Disabled Ontarians Still find Barriers to Voting"

Received

William Goursky noted that Bill 231 is before the Provincial government for review. The Bill aims to eliminate barriers to voting for persons with disabilities.

b. Toronto Star, Article dated April 12, 2010, titled “Disabled Voter Snubbed”

Received


Additional Items - Items 4c to 4e:

c. ACT (Affordability and Choice Today) Program, E-mail regarding the Grants Application Deadline – May 21, 2010

Received

See also Approval of Agenda

Glenn Barnes, Committee member arrived at 1:03 p.m.

d. Coalition for Ontario AAC's, Invitation to the Community Connects 2010 Fair - Sunday, May 2, 2010

Received

See also Approval of Agenda

e. Mississauga Accessibility Advisory Committee, Invitation to a National Access Awareness Event titled "Promoting Inclusion for All" - Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Received

See also Approval of Agenda

Naz Husain, Committee Vice-Chair suggested that the National Access Awareness Event hosted by Mississauga would be an ideal opportunity to share information regarding the Community Bus service, a regional accessible bus service that provides transportation to places of common interest. Meenu Sikand, Accessibility Planning Specialist offered to forward the suggestion to the Accessible Transportation Office.

 

5. PRESENTATIONS

a. Leah Martuscelli, Accessibility Officer, Chair, Trillium Accessibility Steering Committee, Requesting Participation from the Region of Peel Accessibility Advisory Committee on the Trillium Accessibility Community Advisory Panel

Received

Leah Martuscelli, Accessibility Officer, Chair, Trillium Accessibility Steering Committee invited Committee members to attend the Accessibility Community Panel hosted by Trillium Health Centre on May 3, 2010 from 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Leah Martuscelli noted the purpose of the event will be to engage the public and gather feedback from diverse community members on their experience with Trillium in order to assist with accessibility planning.

William Goursky inquired if participation from Committee members would be ongoing. Leah Martuscelli responded that such meetings will be held two times a year with the next one scheduled for the fall of 2010. She also noted that a survey will be conducted to inquire if anyone would like to receive ongoing communication.

Glenn Barnes, Committee member requested clarification on the phrase contained within the invitation, "to test our barrier removal initiatives". Leah Martuscelli clarified that steps have been taken to improve accessibility and remove barriers and would like feedback to see if the steps taken thus far are working and requested suggestions for further improvements.

William Goursky thanked Leah Martuscelli for her invitation and encouraged Committee members to attend the session.

b. Jeff Payne, Manager, Regulatory Compliance, Corporate Services, Region of Peel, Providing the Accessibility Program Workplan

Received

Jeff Payne, Manager, Regulatory Compliance provided an overview of the Accessibility Planning Program work plan and its initiatives to support the work of the AAC. He provided a brief history of the program which was established in 2004 to ensure that regional services, programs and facilities are inclusive and accessible for persons with disabilities. Jeff Payne reviewed some of the program deliverables which are: support to the AAC, assistance in corporate projects and events, and ensuring legislative compliance.

Jeff Payne indicated the focus of the program for 2010 includes:

  • The creation of an "Accessibility Tip Sheet" to address common asked questions;
  • Update to the Customer Service Training booklet; and
  • Seeking out opportunities to promote the Accessibility Planning Program.

Councillor Sandra Hames inquired if the Region had any policies in place to address accessibility for persons with disabilities submitting job applications at the Region. She noted that the City of Brampton uses the services of Workopolis for recruiting applicants, a tool which is not very accessible, especially for the blind.

Jeff Payne responded that the Accessible Customer Service Policy includes the requirement for Human Resources to ensure equitability for all. The Region of Peel also uses the services of Workopolis, but has additional provisions that will allow applicants to drop off resumes should they be unable to use the online service. He noted that Human Resources staff has been trained to address the accessibility requirements of applicants during the hiring process.

Naz Husain commented that this was an issue that came up during the Employment Accessibility Standards Development Committee meetings. She advised of various tools and software available for persons with disabilities to assist them in filling out job applications and emphasized the right of an individual to request accommodation.

Meenu Sikand indicated that the Region is exploring various tools and technologies to ensure that the Regional website becomes more accessible for users with various disabilities. She also noted that the Human Resources Department is working on identifying barriers within their employment system. The Accessibility Planning Program staff has been contacted by Regional staff looking for information and best practices to improve existing employment policies and procedures. Meenu Sikand commented that there are various options and initiatives available for promoting accessibility but stressed the importance of having policies in place to address the principles of dignity and responsiveness to customers' needs.

Glenn Barnes suggested making the "Accessibility Tip Sheet" available to the public as well as internal staff. He recommended applying for the EnAbling Change Partnership Program Grant by partnering with other organizations such as the Coalition for Persons with Disabilities which could assist in distributing the tip sheets to the community. Glenn Barnes indicated such initiatives are a good opportunity to team up with other service providers for the delivery of effective and efficient programs.

William Goursky concurred with Glenn Barnes and suggested this idea be further explored. He recommended this topic be placed on the May 25, 2010 Accessibility Advisory Committee meeting agenda. William Goursky also inquired if a summer student was being considered to assist with the Program.

Jeff Payne responded that options are being considered to acquire an intern to assist with certain activities.

c. Meenu Sikand, Accessibility Planning Specialist and Anum Khan, Intern, Emergency Management Program, Region of Peel, Providing Information on the Disaster Management Information Poster Series

Received

Anum Khan, Intern, Emergency Management Program, informed of her involvement with the Region of Peel Emergency Management Program. She indicated she is an intern from the University of Toronto who has been working on a project called "Emergency Preparedness for Persons with Disabilities in Peel". Anum Khan provided an overview of the Emergency Management Program which implements and maintains the Region's Emergency Plan and ensures emergency response and preparedness is in place within the Region of Peel. She indicated that the 2010 campaign includes a poster series that illustrates how to assist persons with varying disabilities during a crisis situation.

Meenu Sikand pointed out that a booklet was also developed for households to place in their emergency planning kits. She noted that the main objective for developing the posters was to educate health providers as well as the public.

Maureen Tymkow, Committee member requested that the booklets be made available to members of the AAC as well. Meenu Sikand undertook to send a copy of the booklet to all Committee members.

Naz Husain requested specifications of the booklets to ensure they are user friendly. Meenu Sikand clarified that CNIB guidelines have been followed, the text is of large font on high contrast colour. Naz Husain suggested that bold, thick text be used because it is more effective than large font. Meenu Sikand offered to provide a sample of the booklet and welcomed further suggestions.

William Goursky inquired if the booklets were published in braille. Jeff Payne responded that not many people have the capability of reading braille, however, should there be a request for information in braille the Region is prepared to respond in a reasonable time to such a request.

William Goursky suggested that the booklet be forwarded to the CNIB to be used as a resource and for further distribution in braille. Jeff Payne indicated he would be pleased to contact the CNIB in this regard.

 

Item Related to Reports – Item 6a was dealt with.

6. REPORTS

a. Region of Peel Accessibility Planning Specialist Activity Report and Update (Oral)

Update by Meenu Sikand, Accessibility Planning Specialist, Region of Peel

Received

Meenu Sikand provided an overview of the various activities that the Accessibility Program has been working on as well as upcoming events that the program will be participating in.

Meenu Sikand noted she will be preparing a display booth for the Connections 2010 Resource Fair scheduled for May 4, 2010 and requested assistance from Committee members during the event to meet and greet members of the public. Interested members can send an e-mail to Meenu Sikand indicating their availability.

Meenu Sikand advised that accessible customer service training will be provided to Region of Peel summer students on May 3, 2010 and to United Way of Peel staff on May 19, 2010.

Planning is underway for the Region of Peel Access Awareness Event scheduled for May 31, 2010. Meenu Sikand indicated that she is trying to book David Shannon, a lawyer and founding Chair of the Provincial Accessibility Advisory Committee as well as the author of "Six Degree of Dignity", as the guest speaker for the event. Further details will be provided as they become available.

Accessibility Planning Program staff and the AAC are also scheduled to participate in the annual Family Fun Day at the Peel Children's Water Festival on Saturday, May 29, 2010 by organizing a display booth and training activity. This event is expected to attract over 3500 visitors, making it a great opportunity to disseminate information regarding accessibility. AAC members interested in attending can contact Meenu Sikand directly.

Meenu Sikand noted she will also be participating in the Mississauga event for National Access Awareness on June 1, 2010. She also informed the Committee of an accessibility expo taking place in Oshawa, Ontario which has been organized in collaboration with the public and private sector as well as educational institutions. Meenu Sikand offered to provide more information to anyone interested in attending the Oshawa event scheduled for June 17, 2010.

Meenu Sikand informed Committee members that work is underway in preparation of the Annual Accessibility Plan. Since this is an election year, the Plan will need to be approved by Regional Council prior to the end of the current term.

Jeff Payne pointed out that efforts are being made to work in collaboration with TransHelp and Human Services staff during the various events. Jeff Payne also noted he has been working in collaboration with the National Quality Institute (NQI) by sharing work experiences and best practices for implementation of the customer service standards within the private sector. NQI is an independent, not-for-profit organization that recognizes businesses for their internal efforts towards continuous improvement.

Due to the number of upcoming events, Committee members requested a summary of all the events.

STAFF DIRECTION AAC-2010-4-01:

That a summary of upcoming events mentioned at the April 27, 2010 AAC meeting, as well as additional information relating to David Shannon, lawyer and founding Chair of the Provincial Accessibility Advisory Committee and the author of "Six Degree of Dignity", be provided to all Committee members.

Naz Husain requested that Meenu Sikand provide the monthly updates via a written report. Jeff Payne explained that a written report had to be prepared well in advance of the meeting date, causing the information to become outdated by the time the meeting took place. To ensure the information is current and up to date, Jeff Payne offered to provide Meenu Sikand's informal speaking notes a few days prior to the meeting date.

d. Archana Vyas, Planner, Planning Policy and Research, Corporate Services, Region of Peel, Presenting the Region of Peel Aging Study

Received

Archana Vyas, Planner, Planning Policy and Research provided the results of a study being conducted by the Region of Peel on the aging population. She indicated the purpose of the study is to identify socio-economic and demographic changes in Peel and the implications that they will have on Regional services. Some of the findings include:

  • 22% of the global population will be 60+ by the year 2050;
  • Canada is expected to age more rapidly due to the baby boom (1946-1964);
  • By 2026, 1 in 5 Canadian will be 65+;
  • In Peel, older age group populations are growing at a faster rate than the total population;
  • By 2031, 33% of the population will be 55+.

Archana Vyas explained that the aging population will have a tremendous impact on the workforce, pointing out that after 2011, those leaving the workforce will outnumber those entering the workforce. Other areas that will be impacted by the growing aging population that will have implications on the delivery and planning of Regional services are:

  • Housing Needs - accessibility requirements; need for assisted facilities;
  • Transportation Needs - increased demand for accessible transportation;
  • Health Services - location of health facilities; strain on long-term care centres; programs and services for the elderly;
  • Accessibility Needs - walkability in neighbourhoods; location of services;
  • Other - challenges in the workforce due to aging of employees.

Maureen Tymkow requested more information regarding challenges faced by aging employees. Archana Vyas noted that organizations will need to be prepared to deal with older employees. Some possible considerations include: examining employee benefits to support aging employees; possible increase to workplace injuries; changes to retirement policies, such as a phase in approach, etc.

Naz Husain commented that the statistics were very informative and inquired if they were available on the Peel Data Centre website. Archana Vyas responded that plans are underway to have the information profiled in the website. Naz Husain emphasized the need to have this information made readily available since the message needs to be conveyed that these changes are rapidly approaching.

William Goursky noted that these statistics painted a grim picture for a lot of the elderly, especially since the majority of seniors are of low income. He commented that benefits such as pensions and health plans will need to be re-evaluated.

Councillor Hames indicated that aging in the home should be given more careful consideration since it will be a more cost-effective solution that will put less strain on the health system. She commented that aging in the home is less costly than building more homes for the elderly. Councillor Hames suggested incorporating younger seniors into the programs to assist with the elderly and noted that solutions will need to be creative.

Jan Spry, Committee member commented on the lack of funding for many programs today and expressed concern on how the issues will be addressed in the future. She advised that the service needs have to be address now in order to prepare for the future.

William Goursky inquired if there was a group that is looking at the issue of aging and trying to address these matters. Jeff Payne responded that he is not aware of a group that is comprehensively addressing the issue of aging, however, he indicated that the Peel Advisory Working Group on Older Adults' Housing, a committee of Council, has extensive data related to housing needs of the aging.

Glenn Barnes concurred with Councillor Hames that creative solutions need to be explored. He commented that the solution is not about aging in the home, but aging in the community. Glenn Barnes emphasized that community leaders need to be cognisant of the need to have the supportive living services in place when planning supportive housing projects. He suggested that the Provincial government be pressured into making the dwellings more affordable.

William Goursky put forward the following request:

STAFF DIRECTION AAC-2010-4-02:

That the Chair of the Region of Peel Accessibility Advisory Committee be provided with a list of the supportive housing projects that the Region is involved with.

Maureen Tymkow commented that the statistics are alarming and inquired if the Peel Aging Study will be presented to Council. The following recommendation was put forward:

RECOMMENDATION AAC-10-2010:

That the findings of the Peel Aging Study presented by the Planning Policy and Research Division of the Region of Peel at the April 27, 2010 Region of Peel Accessibility Advisory Committee meeting, be presented to Council.

William Goursky requested a meeting to further discuss questions raised in the study. Meenu Sikand will work with Archana Vyas to set up the requested meeting.

STAFF DIRECTION AAC-2010-4-03:

That a meeting be planned to further discuss the Peel Aging Study.

Archana Vyas thanked Committee members for the comments and suggestions and requested feedback to the question contained on page 2 of the Aging Population Study summary sheet.


6. REPORTS

a. Region of Peel Accessibility Planning Specialist Activity Report and Update (Oral)

Update by Meenu Sikand, Accessibility Planning Specialist, Region of Peel

This item was dealt with earlier in the meeting

b. Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) Standards and Legislative Updates (Oral) - Nil

 

7. OTHER BUSINESS - Nil

 

8. NEXT MEETING

The next meeting of the Region of Peel Accessibility Advisory Committee is scheduled for Tuesday, May 25, 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 3:00 p.m.