ACAT Meeting - January 27, 2022

Meeting Info

Date:Thursday, January 27, 2022
Start Time:1 p.m. to 3 p.m.
Location:Virtual Meeting
Meeting No:377
  • Agenda
  • Meeting Minutes

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  1. Call to Order / Attendance
  2. Land Acknowledgement
  3. Declaration of Conflict of Interest
  4. Housekeeping Items and Procedures (Accommodations)
  5. Approval of Agenda
  6. Remarks from ACAT Chair
    1. TTC Board Meeting and Accessibility Matters
  7. 2022 ACAT Executive Elections results
  8. Announcement of 2022 Subcommittee Membership
  9. Review and Approval of October 28, 2021 and November 25, 2021 Minutes
  10. Outstanding Items
  11. Review of Deputation: Chris Stigas
  12. Review of Correspondence: Nil
  13. 2022 ACAT Meeting Dates
  14. Metrolinx accessibility updates
  15. COVID-19 updates: Nil
  16. Wheel-Trans Transformation and Severe Weather updates
  17. New Business
  18. Next Meeting – February 24, 2022
  19. Adjournment

Meeting Date:

Thursday, January 27, 2022
1 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.


Virtual meeting via Webex


Jonathan Marriott, ACAT Chair
Anita Dressler, ACAT Vice-Chair
Debbie Gillespie, ACAT Vice-Chair
Gwyneth Dalzell
Carmen Galvan
Sean Hollingsworth
Angela Marley
Wangari Muriuki 
Bobbi Moore
Craig Nicol
Lauri Sue Robertson
Janice Shachter
Mahendan Sivabalasundaram
Erica Tanny
Howard Wax

Pool Member:

Lauren Foote

TTC Representatives:

Rick Leary, Chief Executive Officer
Stephan Boston, Chief Instructor, Occupational Training Centre
Jim Ross, Chief Operating Officer
Dwayne Geddes, Head of Wheel-Trans
Hannah Biesterfeld, Manager of Human Rights
John Boucher, Manager of the Lakeshore Garage
Heather Brown, Manager of Customer Communications
Matt Hagg, Acting Manager – Customer Experience / Fare Policy
David Lo Presti, Manager of Contracted Taxi Services, Wheel-Trans
Dean Milton, Manager of Strategic Initiatives, Wheel-Trans
Cameron Penman, Manager of Customer Service, Wheel-Trans
Diana Francis, Assistant Manager, Wheel-Trans
Lodon Hassan, Assistant Manager of Customer Service, Wheel-Trans
Seth Irvine, LRT Operations Coordinator
Victoria Kolakowski, Travel Specialist, Wheel-Trans

Invited Guests:

Mazin Aribi, Former ACAT member
Sam Savona, Former ACAT member
Jeffrey Short, Senior Advisor of Universal Design, Metrolinx
Chris Stigas, Former ACAT member

Items discussed

  1. Call to Order / Attendance
  2. Land Acknowledgement
  3. Declaration of Conflict of Interest
  4. Housekeeping Items and Procedures (Accommodations)
  5. Approval of Agenda
  6. Remarks from ACAT Chair
    a. TTC Board Meeting and Accessibility Matters: Nil
  7. Remarks from Chief Executive Officer
  8. 2022 ACAT Executive Elections results
  9. Announcement of 2022 Subcommittee Membership
  10. Review and Approval of October 28, 2021 and November 25, 2021 Minutes
  11. Outstanding Items
  12. Review of Deputation: Chris Stigas
  13. Metrolinx accessibility updates
  14. Review of Correspondence
  15. 2022 ACAT Meeting Dates
  16. COVID-19 updates: Nil
  17. Wheel-Trans Transformation and Severe Weather updates
  18. New Business
  19. Next Meeting – February 24, 2022
  20. Adjournment

1. Call to Order / Attendance

ACAT Chair Jonathan Marriott called the meeting to order at 1:07 p.m. and attendance was taken.

2. Land Acknowledgement

The land acknowledgement was read by the ACAT Chair. 

3. Declaration of Conflict of Interest

The Chair read the definition of a conflict of interest according to the TTC’s corporate policy. No conflicts of interest were declared.

4. Housekeeping Items and Procedures (Accommodations)

The Chair reminded new ACAT members that meetings will have live captions and the minutes will be published on the TTC website. Members were reminded to refrain from discussing private topics that are not relevant to public interest and to speak slowly to facilitate the understanding of all participants.

If members are unable to attend a subcommittee meeting, they are asked to please let TTC staff know as far in advance as possible.

Silence infers agreement, so members do not always need to raise their hands to agree. Members are required to voice or indicate their opposition.

Members must be mindful that others may need accommodations. Members may also feel safe to voice when they feel that certain terminology does not represent them.

The Chair mentioned that he would be taking a leave of absence until March. Debbie Gillespie, ACAT Co-Vice Chair, will be filling in for him in the interim.

5. Approval of Agenda

Howard Wax moved the agenda, seconded by Lauri Sue Robertson, as amended, as follows:

  • Item 7 – Remarks from TTC Chief Executive Officer
  • Item 13 – Metrolinx accessibility updates
  • Item 14 – Review of Correspondence
  • Item 15 – 2022 ACAT Meeting Dates

6. Remarks from ACAT Chair

The Chair thanked the members of ACAT for trusting them with this position and they are looking forward to carrying out this important work. They also congratulated Mahendan Sivabalasundaram on his new position at work, which will require him to leave his position at ACAT in February.

a. TTC Board Meeting and Accessibility Matters


7. Remarks from TTC Chief Executive Officer

The TTC Chief Executive Officer, Rick Leary, acknowledged the week of January 27, 2022 marked two years since the virus (COVID-19) first appeared in Toronto. People at the TTC have been reflecting on the ways that the company does business and the challenges that it has dealt with particularly representing two of the TTC’s core values on safety of customers, safety of employees and the safety of the public while providing service during the pandemic. In addition, it gave the TTC the opportunity to reflect on the efforts on accessibility such as the push for Easier Access stations and the TTC’s quick response to an incident on December 21, 2021 on TTC elevators that were vandalized. The TTC is committed to its goal of being barrier-free by 2025 and as part of this commitment, intends to publish a report on the progress of the Easier Access project.

Rick Leary congratulated the new ACAT Executives as well as all of the members of ACAT for their hard work in helping move the organization along even in the midst of the global pandemic. 

Jonathan Marriot, ACAT Chair, thanked him for his words.

8. 2022 ACAT Executive Elections results

Jonathan Marriott as ACAT Chair and Anita Dressler and Debbie Gillespie as the two ACAT Vice-Chairs. 

9. Announcement of 2022 Subcommittee Membership

Due to resignations, ACAT Pool members, Bobbi Moore will replace Elizabeth Sahoye-Shury to complete the remaining three-year term and Lauren Foote will replace Mahendan Sivabalasundaram to complete the remaining one-year term.

The members of the subcommittees for 2022 will be as follows:

  • Wheel-Trans Operations Subcommittee: Anita Dressler, Sean Hollingsworth, Bobbi Moore, Lauri Sue Robertson, Howard Wax, , Robert Hampson.
  • Communications Subcommittee: Carmen Galvan, Angela Marley, Jonathan Marriott, Janice Shachter, Erica Tanny, Howard Wax, Bobbi Moore.
  • Design Review Subcommittee: Gwyneth Dalzell, Sean Hollingsworth, Angela Marley, Jonathan Marriott, Wangari Muriuki, Craig Nicol, Lauren Foote.
  • Service Planning Subcommittee: Gwyneth Dalzell, Anita Dressler, Craig Nicol, Lauren Foote, Carmen Galvan, Wangari Muriuki, Lauri Sue Robertson, Erica Tanny.

10. Review and Approval of October 28, 2021 and November 25, 2021 Minutes

Angela Marley moved to approve the October 28, 2021 minutes, seconded by Howard Wax.

Lauri Sue Robertson moved to approve the November 25, 2021 minutes, seconded by Howard Wax. 

11. Outstanding Items

  • Item: ACAT Terms of Reference – Ongoing.
    Due to new members joining ACAT, it was suggested all members review and bring any questions, objections or comments to the February ACAT general meeting, in which the Terms of Reference will be discussed for approval. Members were sent two copies of the ACAT Terms of Reference; one is a marked copy with the changes and one is the cleaned copy with the revisions included. 
  • Member Janice Shachter suggested adding to the Outstanding Items list the motion for honorariums. Dwayne Geddes, Head of Wheel-Trans, agreed and advised that Wheel-Trans and TTC staff will be reviewing the motion to ensure that it is in line with their Human Rights department, Legal department, and others to advise on appropriate steps. Once these are established, staff will report back to ACAT.

12. Review of Deputation: Chris Stigas

Chris Stigas, former ACAT Co-Vice Chair, began by welcoming the new ACAT members. During their tenure, the TTC had granted Chris Stigas a transit pass in order to provide recommendations regarding accessibility. As a token of appreciation this pass would be extended for a time equal to the number of years served on the committee, which equated to three years. This rule was changed in 2020 in response to a new qualifier about how the monetary value of the pass is recorded on the TTC’s books. People now have three options: they can now declare the pass as a tax benefit, they can itemize each business trip, or they can decline the pass altogether. Members who began their tenure in 2018 were grandfathered in, but those who began in 2019 were not. Stigas finds this to be an unequal double standard and is concerned that this may set a precedent in terms of the TTC making promises to members only to break them later (in the middle of a term in this case). 

The Chair then opened the floor to questions for the deputant.

Questions and Comments from the Committee

A member asked about what the effect of this decision was on the deputant. Stigas explained that they felt their work at ACAT had been diminished. They will also need to reconsider their finances as a result. They estimate that they have worked for an hour to an hour and a half every day trying to resolve the issue.

Another member thanked Stigas for the deputation and asked whether or not ACAT was consulted at all in this decision. According to Stigas, it did come up briefly, but not for feedback. It was mixed into an explanation on a change in accounting.

There was some discussion on whether the general meeting was the correct place to discuss this. Some members felt it was more of a housekeeping issue while others believed if affected the TTC’s trustworthiness and thus was an accessibility issue. Both sides agreed that it was an issue which should be resolved in some way.

Dwayne Geddes, Head of Wheel-Trans, explained that this matter dated back to 2019. Originally, it was brought up as a matter of reviewing honorarium for members. In 2020, there were many discussions surrounding honoraria and the changes that needed to be made, including a lot of consultation with the TTC’s legal team, payroll and other departments. Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) guidelines indicated that there was a T4A which needed to be implemented and by September of 2020, ACAT held an in-camera meeting with the Head of Payroll. In November, the TTC sent out an email describing the new policy going forward with the T4A as per CRA regulations. Dwayne Geddes emphasized the value of the TTC’s relationship with ACAT and that the TTC understands the importance of being fair and honest. Currently, members have the opportunity to resign if they find they can no longer serve due to the fact that they will not get a TTC pass upon retirement. This information is available in the updated ACAT Members’ Manual. This new process is standard for members serving in 2021. For Stigas’ specific situation, Dwayne Geddes believes this is best addressed in an in-camera session.

In a motion moved by Lauri Sue Robertson and seconded by Howard Wax, this discussion was moved to resume in-camera at a later date. There were no objections to this from the members.

13. Metrolinx accessibility updates

Jeff Short, Senior Advisor of Universal Design, Metrolinx, attended to provide an update on various Metrolinx projects. Metrolinx consulted with ACAT on the Eglinton Crosstown, the Finch West LRT, and two of the new Metrolinx Subway Projects. Currently, they are in the process of planning for similar consultations on the Eglinton Crosstown West extension, which should be taking place in mid-February, as well as the Yonge North Subway extension in May.

The Eglinton extension will go from the Mount Dennis area to the Renforth-Etobicoke-Mississauga border. Metrolinx is addressing action items that came out of past discussions on the Eglinton Crosstown and more progress has been made on those matters. They are currently reviewing additional comments and will report back to ACAT. 

Question and Comments from the Committee

A member emphasized the importance of allowing ACAT to review all of these stations rather than individual ones, since some stations are uniquely designed, especially on the Ontario Line. Short responded that Metrolinx is still in the process of determining the scope of these consultations. They are trying to find the right balance between ensuring ACAT is engaged in the process and being able to properly resource this conversation.

Another member mentioned that the team has not seen one of the actual Crosstown trains yet and wondered what the timeline was for ACAT to visit an LRT station. Unfortunately, there are no updates yet, but Short will be meeting with the project team during the following week to discuss.

Angela Marley and Craig Nicol have taken on the task of updating station descriptions and it is therefore important that they get information on these new stations. There were also some concerns over where the cars would be stopping on the track. Short informed station layout drawings would be forwarded to the TTC and circulated to ACAT. This will also be discussed at the project team meeting next week and emailed to ACAT.

Another member emphasized that accessibility and barrier-free design should be a priority at the beginning of a design. This way fewer changes would need to be made later. Short responded that they agreed with this and that Metrolinx is doing that by consulting with ACAT at the project requirement stage rather than the design stage. 

The Chair thanked Jeff Short for coming. Short would be happy to come back to future meetings with additional updates.

14. Review of Correspondence

In early January, there was some correspondence about an incident involving an unnamed person which was copied to TTC staff members, ACAT members, the Mayor, and a City Councillor. The full list of those who received this email remains unclear. It was brought up that the TTC should acknowledge the original communication and investigate the situation, especially as some members report hearing rumors that they may be associated with the incident. 

ACAT is requesting that a response from the TTC be provided to all ACAT members regarding the correspondence. This would entail an update on the situation as well as a resolution. 

Dwayne Geddes indicated that the TTC is aware of the communication and that it is part of an ongoing investigation. He is personally overseeing the matter and will report back to ACAT once they have a response.

15. 2022 ACAT Meeting Dates

The 2022 ACAT Meeting Dates were circulated to members before this meeting. The information supplied is based on the availability of live Captioners.

16. COVID-19 updates


17. Wheel-Trans Transformation and Severe Weather updates

Dwayne Geddes, Head of Wheel-Trans, encouraged members to test and use the new mobile app pilot and provide their feedback. Interested members can contact Ross Visconti, GIRO Project Manager of Wheel-Trans.

Dwayne Geddes provided an update on TTC’s response to the recent severe weather storm. Many conventional buses became stuck in the snow as well as 5 to 6 Wheel-Trans vehicles as a result of the sudden amount of snow. No customers were stranded. Additional staff were on the phones to ensure the priority line was well staffed. Line 3 SRT(Scarborough Rapid Transit) had to be shut down for some days and buses were available instead. There will be an operational update, the details of which will be available in February. TTC staff will also be looking into ways they can improve their response in case of another severe weather event. Further updates will be provided when available.

Questions and Comments from the Committee

A member wanted to ensure that Wheel-Trans will do everything they can to provide customers who report needing to make a vaccine appointment with service to get there. 

Lodon Hassan, Assistant Manager of Customer Service advised the TTC was assisting customers who call on the same day for their vaccine appointments. This has been communicated to the Reservations and Dispatch teams.

18. New Business

Carman Galvan reminded the members that the idea of a meet-and-greet event had come up at the last meeting and volunteered to organize this for the team. The members were all agreeable to this.

19. Next Meeting – February 24, 2022

The next ACAT general meeting will be held on February 24, 2022 from 1 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. via Webex.

20. Adjournment

On a motion by Howard Wax, the meeting was adjourned at 3:09 p.m. 

Gabriella Providence
Recording Secretary

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