ACAT Meeting - February 24, 2022

Meeting Info

Date:Thursday, February 24, 2022
Start Time:1 p.m. to 3 p.m.
Location:Virtual Meeting
Meeting No:378
  • Agenda
  • Meeting Minutes
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  1. Call to Order / Attendance
  2. Land Acknowledgement
  3. Declaration of Conflict of Interest
  4. Approval of Agenda
  5. Review and Approval of December 16, 2021 and January 27, 2022 Minutes
  6. Remarks from acting ACAT Chair
    • Report on TTC Board Meeting and Accessibility Matters
  7. Remarks from TTC Executive
  8. Outstanding Items – ACAT Terms of Reference Approval
  9. Deputation: Nil
  10. Review of Correspondence: Nil
  11. COVID-19 update: Nil
  12. TTC Website Roadmap from Communications
  13. Wheel-Trans Transformation update from Dwayne Geddes
  14. Subcommittee Reports, Highlights and Updates
    • Communications
    • Design Review
    • Service Planning
    • Wheel-Trans Operations
  15. New Business
  16. Next Meeting – March 31, 2022
  17. Adjournment

Minutes of Meeting:

ACAT General Meeting - #377

Meeting Date:

Thursday, February 24, 2022
1:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.


Virtual meeting via WebEx


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

Pool Members:

Lorraine le Camp
Robert Hampson


Jonathan Marriott, ACAT Chair

TTC Representatives:

Dwayne Geddes, Head of Wheel-Trans
Al Pritchard, Head of the Vehicle and Bus Maintenance Department, TTC
Jim Ross, Chief Operating Officer, TTC
Kirsten Watson, Deputy Chief Executive Officer, TTC
Angela Cutulenco, Director of Quality Assurance and IT Services Department, TTC
John Boucher, Manager of the Lakeshore Garage
Heather Brown, Manager of Customer Communications, TTC
Matt Hagg, Acting Manager of Customer Experience and Fare Policy, TTC
Dean Milton, Manager of Strategic Initiatives, Wheel-Trans
Cameron Penman, Manager of Customer Service, Wheel-Trans
Mohammed Shaikh, Manager of Wheel-Trans
Riyaz Sufi, Manager of Testing and Quality Assurance, TTC
Natalie Francis, Divisional Assistant Manager, Wheel-Trans
Lodon Hassan, Assistant Manager of Customer Service, Wheel-Trans
Stephan Boston, Chief Instructor of the Training Department, TTC
Maria Khan, Senior Digital Communication Specialist, TTC
Victoria Kolakowski, Travel Specialist, Wheel-Trans, TTC
Paolo Nicolas, Administrative Assistant, Wheel-Trans, TTC
Hanh Nguyen, Administrative Coordinator, TTC
Dorna Zaboli, Human Rights Consultant, TTC

Invited Guests:

Jeannie Kippax

Items discussed

  1. Call to Order / Attendance
  2. Land Acknowledgement
  3. Declaration of Conflict of Interest
  4. Approval of Agenda
  5. Review and Approval of December 16, 2021 and January 27, 2022 Minutes
  6. Remarks from acting ACAT Chair
    Report on TTC Board Meeting and Accessibility Matters
  7. Introduction of Paolo Nicolas, Administrative Assistant, Wheel-Trans, TTC
  8. Remarks from TTC Executive
  9. Outstanding Items – ACAT Terms of Reference Approval
  10. Deputation: Nil
  11. Review of Correspondence: Nil
  12. COVID-19 update: Nil
  13. TTC Website Roadmap from Communications
  14. Wheel-Trans Transformation update from Dwayne Geddes
  15. Subcommittee Reports, Highlights and Updates
    Design Review
    Service Planning
    Wheel-Trans Operations
  16. New Business
  17. Next Meeting – March 31, 2022
  18. Adjournment

1. Call to Order / Attendance

Debbie Gillespie, ACAT Vice-Chair, Acting Chair, called the meeting to order at 1:09 p.m. and attendance was taken.

The Acting Chair noted that the Chair will return to ACAT in March 2022.

2. Land Acknowledgement

The land acknowledgement was read by the Acting ACAT Chair as follows:

“We acknowledge the land we are meeting on is the traditional territory of many nations including the Mississaugas of the Credit, the Anishnabeg, the Chippewa,the Haudenosaunee and the Wendat peoples and is now home to many diverse First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples. We also acknowledge that Toronto is covered by Treaty 13 with the Mississaugas of the Credit.”

3. Declaration of Conflict of Interest

No conflicts of interest were declared.

4. Approval of Agenda

On a motion by Howard Wax and seconded by Bobbi Moore, the agenda was approved with no amendments. 

Later, the Acting ACAT Chair allowed for an amendment called “Introduction of Paolo Nicolas, Administrative Assistant, Wheel-Trans, TTC” as the new Item 7.

5. Review and Approval of December 16, 2021 and January 27, 2022 Minutes

On a motion by Lauri Sue Robertson and seconded by Janice Shachter, the minutes from December 16, 2021 were approved with no amendments. 

On a motion by Howard Wax and seconded by Angela Marley, the minutes from January 27, 2022 were approved with no amendments. 

6. Remarks from acting ACAT Chair

Debbie Gillespie, Vice-Chair, Acting Chair will be chairing ACAT general meetings on behalf of Jonathan Marriott, Chair, until the Chair’s return in March 2022. The Acting Chair took this as an opportunity to outline the perspective from which she will chair meetings. The Acting Chair encouraged new members to participate and ask questions when needed. She also advised new members to look at issues as objectively as they could with the goal of benefitting as many people as possible, including seniors and people with disabilities.

  • Report on TTC Board Meeting and Accessibility Matters

The Acting Chair shared some highlights from the February TTC Board Meeting. The items presented pertained to the updates and status of phase 3 of the Easier Access Project, the TTC’s 2022 Annual Service Plan, and the advancement of the 5-Year Fare Policy. The TTC Board meetings are available on the TTC YouTube channel.

7. Introduction of Paolo Nicolas, Administrative Assistant, Wheel-Trans, TTC

Paolo Nicolas will be replacing Hanh Nguyen as administrative assistant at Wheel-Trans. Paolo joined Wheel-Trans from the Subway Infrastructure Department. He started with the TTC in 2018 in the Training and Development Department and has also worked in the Engineering Department. 

8. Remarks from TTC Executive

Kirsten Watson, Deputy Chief Executive Officer, TTC, thanked the committee for the invite. Kirsten explained that the TTC’s executive team has agreed to have at least one or two of its members attend every ACAT general meeting. This is to make sure that they are hearing the issues presented in person. Kirsten then assured the committee that the executive team was here to support them and help with anything that requires an executive push.

Questions and Comments from the Committee

One member noticed that there was no COVID-19 update. They were asking when the TTC was planning on going back to in-office work. Kirsten replied that after some conversations among the executive team, they are tentatively looking at a hybrid model where employees would have two to three days a week in the office starting in April. The member voiced that ACAT members would also like to return to face-to-face meetings.

Another member mentioned it is sometimes difficult to keep up with staff names and positions. They suggested that the TTC provide members with an organization chart explaining who everyone is. Kirsten responded that such a document could be provided. 

The Acting Chair brought attention to the fact that there are outstanding issues with Metrolinx. Sometimes, discussions on these items have felt like a stalemate. The Acting Chair wondered if there were any ideas on how this can be addressed or overcome. Kirsten recognized those challenges and believed that the best way to approach the situation was to make a list of those items and rank them in order of priority. Then, TTC staff can think about how they can escalate these issues with Metrolinx.

9. Outstanding Items – ACAT Terms of Reference Approval

The topic of honorariums was missing on this list. It was proposed that the committee address this item next meeting on March 31st.
The item that was addressed in this meeting was the ACAT terms of reference. The terms of reference were reviewed by TTC staff. The Acting Chair recommended approving them as they stand, perhaps with some minor wording changes. 

Angela Marley proposed the following edit on page 3: 

Change: “ACAT’s executive” at the top of the page, to: “the ACAT executive”.

On a motion by Angela Marley and seconded by Lauri Sue Robertson, the ACAT Terms of Reference were approved with this edit. 

The ACAT Terms of Reference and these updates were therefore approved to be sent to the TTC Board for approval.

10. Deputation:


11. Review of Correspondence:


12. COVID-19 update:


13. TTC Website Roadmap from Communications

An update to the TTC website was provided to the committee by Maria Khan, Senior Digital Communication Specialist, TTC and Angela Cutulenco, Director of Quality Assurance and IT Services Department, TTC. The first part of the presentation covered the roadmap of how TTC will be resolving existing accessibility defects on the new while the second part addressed quality assurance and centering accessibility.


The new TTC website was launched in fall of 2021. It was necessary to create a new one because the old website was not up to accessibility standards at the time and it was becoming less reliable. The new website is more accessible and was created with feedback from ACAT and other accessibility concerns in mind. By resolving the current accessibility defects, the new will be WCAG 2.0 AA compliant.

Customer Feedback Since Launch (October 22, 2021)

There were 126 comments, both complimentary and critical, from October to mid-February. Most of the complaints pertained to customers adapting to the new website. Over the months, the number of complaints have decreased and there have been no specific complaints about accessibility.
2022 Accessibility Roadmap

Post-launch, there were 70 outstanding accessibility defects with 18 prioritized by customer impact and cleared in the first quarter of 2022. The defects that were resolved were specific to the route and schedule pages of the website. The second quarter will address a number of other defects such as the calendar, footers, search news, etc. In quarter 3, these defects should be reduced to 25 and in quarter 4, the remaining 16 defects related to Google Translate will be resolved. 

Questions and Comments from the Committee

One member asked if Maria Khan would be the person who would handle digital communications with ACAT going forward. Khan confirmed she would be the point of contact. The member mentioned the Communication Subcommittee has been trying to give feedback on the website and has had limited success with getting answers. They challenged the notion that there have not been many complaints on the website’s accessibility because of this. The member also asked if any of these 18 defects were shared with the subcommittee. Khan explained that the complaints on the previous slide were from customers and not ACAT. They were also unsure if those 18 defects were shared with ACAT, but assured that they could be.

The Acting Chair asked for clarification on all of the outstanding items being dealt with in Q4 2021. Khan explained that they will be doing a release every quarter that resolves outstanding accessibility defects.

Another member asked for clarification on what some of the defects listed on the slide were, as some jargon was used to describe them. Khan replied by explaining some of the tools used to navigate the webpage.

Direction Sought – For Review and Input

There was an issue on stop pages that Maria Khan wanted to address with the committee to get their feedback. Stop pages have timetables to tell customers the time for every stop. This table does not currently have a header and in its current state, Voice Over on IOS would read out the table exactly as it is. Khan would like to add a header to make the table more accessible, but every time they do that, Voice Over reads the header every time it starts on a new row. This becomes repetitive. Khan then asked the committee for their suggestions.

One member, who uses Job Access with Speech (JAWS), did not find the headers to be necessary as long as users could navigate to cells if they so choose.

The Acting Chair said they would try testing it themselves as well, but that this would also be a good conversation for the Communications Subcommittee.

IT - Quality Assurance Update

Angela Cutulenco, Director of Quality Assurance and IT Services Department (ITS), began by acknowledging that accessibility needed to be a priority at the beginning of each project rather than near the end. To help support this, Quality Assurance has come up with the following goals for this year:

  • Grow professional internal quality assurance resources in accessibility testing
  • Establish Accessibility Centre of Excellence within its input governance
  • Develop accessibility testing guidelines
  • Establish accessibility tool governance
  • Conduct accessibility audits once a year

IT – Establishing an Accessibility Centre of Excellence

The ITS Accessibility Center of Excellence is an entity that will be operating across all IT service department teams to provide leadership and direction in accessibility matters, establishing and promoting best practices in accessibility, working with ACAT to obtain their input and address recommendations, conduct research and development to provide appropriate recommendations in accessibility matters, and finally, to support education in accessibility.  

Questions and Comments from the Committee

One member commended the staff for this new initiative and asked whether they plan on adding new staff or hiring consultants. Cutulenco responded that they already have staff in the QA vendors position, but they are thinking of increasing their own staff and resources as well as hiring new people.
Another member made the suggestion that the TTC may want to consider focus groups (maybe from the Communications Subcommittee) in evaluating the status of their website. Angela Marley, CS Chair, echoed this sentiment, saying that it would make sense for there to be ongoing communication with this subcommittee. The Acting Chair then suggested that people from Maria Khan and Angela Cutulenco’s team join subcommittee meetings.

14. Wheel-Trans Transformation update

Dwayne Geddes, Head of Wheel-Trans, TTC gave the committee an update on policy and COVID-19.
Through ACAT’s advocacy, all customers with the Good Day/Bad Day condition will now be given Unconditional status. He reiterated Sean Hollingsworth’s statement, it is this kind of work that makes being part of ACAT meaningful.

Regarding COVID-19, restrictions are being lifted around the province which means that the TTC is looking into bringing back ride-sharing on Wheel-Trans. Dwayne Geddes is unsure of the timeline for that, but Wheel-Trans is preparing for it. Masking will continue as usual and customers will still be screened. The Acting Chair asked if communications about this will pass through the Communications Subcommittee and Dwayne confirmed that it would. 

Questions and Comments from the Committee

One member asked if the presentation presented to the Toronto Accessibility Advising Committee (TAAC) could be submitted to ACAT as well. Dwayne confirmed this can be arranged. As a synopsis, Dwayne told ACAT that this presentation was regarding the possibility of using Skype for Appeals.

Another member asked for an update on the letters from Elizabeth Sahoye-Shury. Dwayne advised that the matter is still being investigated. The member also asked for an update on Chris Stigas’ matter going to the Ombudsman. Dwayne explained that they are in contact with a member of that office and they are working on resolving the matter.

15. Subcommittee reports, highlights and updates 

Communications Subcommittee (CS) – Angela Marley, CS Chair

The Communication Subcommittee met on February 3, 2022. Jerry Albanese, Operations Coordinator of Transit Control, TTC gave a presentation on the Customer Service Disruption Notification (CSDN), a system used by Transit Control to communicate with customers. Specifically, they showed the subcommittee how communications regarding the status of the elevators work in response to a request by CS for an explanation on long elevator outages. When an alert is activated by TTC staff, the message is sent to customers automatically via service alerts, Twitter updates, Passenger Information Displays (PIDs) at the stations, and email. Staff may also communicate with customers by updating the messages on the CSDN Lift Line. Note that Lift Line messages are updated whenever there is news on the elevators’ status.

The subcommittee asked whether this presentation could be made available to TTC customers and Albanese responded that they would look into this. TTC staff could also be informed to check non-TTC elevators around the stations and forward their status to Transit Control.

Kal Bedder, Designer, Design and Wayfinding, provided an update on the simplified stop pole messaging for Closures and Diversions. In 2021, the Communications Subcommittee members voiced concerns that stop pole card messaging was too difficult to understand and requested more concise language with less jargon accompanied by simplified maps. Bedder presented the new proposed stop pole cards alongside the current cards, pointing out the differences between the two. The updated versions include information like transfer points and focus more on directing customers on how to continue their journey. Staff will return to the subcommittee with more finalized designs in May 2022.

The subcommittee also reviewed the new Post-Travel Training Feedback forms presented by Victoria Kolakowski, Travel Trainer, Wheel-Trans. These forms are to be completed after travel training.

The next Communications Subcommittee meeting will be held on March 3, 2022.


  • Elevator outages communication processes.
  • Updated stop pole card messaging for closures and diversions.

Design Review Subcommittee (DRS) – Craig Nicol, DRS Chair

The Design Review Subcommittee met on February 16, 2022.

Metrolinx provided an overview of the design requirements for the Eglinton Crosstown West Extension (ECWE) and focused on accessibility and customer facing infrastructure. This extension of the ECLRT is from Mount Dennis to Renforth with seven stations running mostly underground but with two elevated stations. General designs were shown with preliminary concepts for two sample stations. The sub-committee had concerns with the lack of bus platforms and other infrastructure to connect well with stations and for weather protection. Jim Hopkins, Transit Safety Professional, gave the subcommittee a presentation on the inter-car barrier of the ECLRT. The purpose of the presentation was to give an overview of the safety issues and precautions associated with the coupler gaps between train cars. The coupler gaps are around 3.5 meters long. A previous safety workshop yielded a shortlist of recommendations for a barrier, the most practical of which was deemed to be flexible bollards on the platform. These have been used successfully to mitigate safety issues on multiple transit properties and are readily available for use on the ECLRT. 
The bollards are a series of approximately 18 yellow tubes mounted atop a 4-meter long strip which are flexible enough to be pushed out of the way in the exceptional event that the train stops incorrectly and the door of a train may open where they are located. Ottawa’s LRT has been using flexible bollards since 2019 with the only incidents involving people trying to lean on them. This has been remedied by prohibitory decals.

The subcommittee was concerned about the effectiveness of this barrier depending on the accuracy of the train. Underground, this is not an issue as there is automatic control, but above ground, operators must be able to estimate the right position.

There were also concerns with the proposed 26-inch height of the posts that the bollards are mounted onto. Subcommittee members believed it would be better if they were shorter. The response to this was that there would need to be a balance between making them tall enough to discourage people leaning on them. 

There was discussion about how customers with vision impairment may be able to navigate the posts when shorelining the train. The subcommittee asked to be able to inspect the design themselves.

The next Design Review Subcommittee meeting will be held on March 2, 2022.


  • Eglinton West Crosstown presentation.
  • Inter-car barrier system for the ECLRT line 5.

Questions and Comments from the Committee

The Acting Chair commended the executive leadership team for their ability to make difficult qualitative decisions when things are not available to demo. They used the example of Metrolinx wanting to create a template for accessibility but only wanting to show the committee a few stations for upcoming provincial subway projects. The same template cannot apply to every station as each station is unique, so it is imperative that ACAT view as many stations as possible rather than a select few. 

Service Planning Subcommittee (SPS), Carmen Galvan, SPS Chair

The Service Planning Subcommittee met on February 2, 2022. In a discussion lead by Jonathan Reid, Manager – Transit Operations, members wanted to learn how the TTC makes sure that buses are on schedule as well as what is done when they are behind. The TTC pulls buses from other routes and updates the website to reflect delays. Customers are encouraged to call the customer service line when there seems to be a breakdown in service.

The subcommittee was also concerned with the way that some operators have seemed annoyed at having to lower ramps for people who ask. This is something they are supposed to do upon request. The FOS service team has initiated a review of TTC policies wherein they have asked that ramps be deployed automatically for people using walkers, in particular.
During emergency subway turnbacks, the TTC deploys a minimum of five supervisors to ensure safety on TTC platforms. There are also approximately 10 mobile supervisors assigned to certain sections and they are typically the first staff on scene. 

The TTC has introduced 16 heated Access Hubs. Other bus shelters around the City of Toronto may also become heated as part of the City’s street furniture contract.

Regarding the 5-year Fare Policy and the 10-year Outlook, three policy options based on consultations will be presented to the TTC board for endorsement:

  • The removal of the cross-boundary double fare. This may go beyond the scope of the 5-year plan, however, this is also the most supported option.
  • Fare capping, wherein customers can travel for free after tapping their PRESTO card a certain number of times within a certain amount of time. 
  • Aligning fare types. This was favourable and would expand the lower income discount. Staff concluded that the low income price should be made the same as those for senior and youth fare.

On Support Person Assistance Cards people will be able to upload their own photos for their ID, however the TTC’s own Photo Centre will still be available. Applications and renewals will be able to be done online and renewals will be required every five years instead of every three years. Every 10 years, photos will need to be updated. Customers with permanent disabilities will not need to fill out a new medical assessment if their doctor has confirmed that their condition is permanent. They will be contacted, however, to confirm that they still require the service. These changes have not yet been implemented.

Service Planning Subcommittee – New Business

The subcommittee requested more information on the training of security personnel. Staff will be invited to do a presentation on the topic.

The Service Planning Subcommittee also inquired about whether they had a role to play in the transition of bus routes when Line 5 goes into service, particularly in regards to customer communication. Matt Hagg suggested this be brought to the Communication Subcommittee.


  • The 5-year Fare Policy and Support Person Card update.

Questions and Comments from the Committee

One member was concerned about fare price changes, especially for the lower income fare. They emphasized the acknowledgement of finances as an accessibility barrier. Matt Hagg explained that exact decisions have not yet been made, but the general idea was to harmonize prices rather than raise them.

Another member suggested that any route changes on Line 5 should be brought to ACAT so that they can consider any problems with these changes. Carmen Galvan, SPS Chair, explained that there would be a joint meeting with the Communications Subcommittee regarding this.

Wheel-Trans Subcommittee (WTOS), Lauri-Sue Robertson, WTOS Chair

The Wheel-Trans Operations Subcommittee met on February 11, 2022. There was a presentation by Marco Iorfida, Scheduling and Policy Specialist, Wheel-Trans updating the subcommittee on Wheel-Trans stops and landmarks. At both Sherbourne and Yorkdale stations, there are now Wheel-Trans stops, however there are also some deficiencies. Until these deficiencies are resolved, these stops will not be considered active.

There was also a travel training update given by Victoria Kolakowski, Travel Training Specialist, Wheel-Trans. In-person travel training is currently on hold due to the pandemic but scheduling for February, March and April has resumed.

Dean Milton, Manager of Strategic Initiatives, FOS Project Lead, Wheel-Trans gave the subcommittee an update on FOS. There have been changes to Wheel-Trans eligibility process to make the process easier for customers.

For an update on contact centre operations, Cameron Penman, Manager of Customer Service, TTC reported that callers were connected to a Reservationist within an average of 59 seconds. The dropped call rate (the rate at which callers hang up before being connected) is at 3.1%. Cameron also updated the subcommittee on the good day/bad day conditions, which have been absorbed into unconditional status. This change was made due to the input from ACAT and other stakeholders.

The possibility of offering shared rides is being reviewed by the TTC. Mask requirements will remain, however, the TTC is unable to challenge customers who claim to have a medical exemption. 
The next meeting will be held on March 11th. The subcommittee had concerns about WTOS meetings being held on different days of the week, but the WTOS Chair will be meeting with Lodon Hassan, Assistant Manager of Customer Service, Wheel-Trans and Hanh Nguyen, Administrative Coordinator, TTC to discuss.

Questions and Comments from the Subcommittee

One member asked whether or not people who were picked up for shared rides were obligated to ride with people who are unmasked. Cameron Penman explained that the TTC has been advised by Toronto Public Health that as long as there is social distancing in place, it is still safe to travel on shared rides. The TTC also has a protocol of screening customers.
The Acting Chair congratulated all of the subcommittee Chairs for being elected.

16. New Business

Carmen Galvan reminded the committee that there was a Doodle poll for the upcoming social gathering and that members who have not voted should do so as soon as possible. If they are unable to do so, they should forward their availability to her.

Another member brought to the attention of the committee that there was a link to a presentation given by Igor Samardzic, 2021 ACAT Chair, at the December 8, 2021 TTC board meeting. This presentation is included in the TTC Board minutes on In this presentation, Samardzic highlighted the activities of ACAT during 2021. They believed that this would be good for ACAT members to see. The Acting Chair agreed and said that it would give any new members a good sense of what ACAT is and the kind of work they do. Another member noted that Samardzic missed Dean Milton in their thanks to everyone and wanted to offer their own personal thanks to Milton.

17. Next Meeting – March 31, 2022

18. Adjournment

On a motion by Craig Nicol, the meeting was adjourned at 3:25 p.m.

Gabriella Providence
Recording Secretary

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