ACAT Meeting - October 27, 2022

Meeting Info

Date:Thursday, October 27, 2022
Start Time:1:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Location:Virtual Meeting
Meeting No:386
  • 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 September 29, 2022 Minutes
  6. Remarks from ACAT Chair
  7. Remarks from TTC Executive
  8. Outstanding Items – Review of ACAT meeting times, Noise alerts  
  9. Deputation: Nil 
  10. Review of Correspondence:
    a. Accessibility Concern – Operator announcements on subways 
  11. Wheel-Trans Transformation & COVID-19 update from Cameron Penman
  12. Subcommittee Reports, Highlights and Updates
    - Communications
    - Design Review
    - Service Planning
    - Wheel-Trans Operations 
  13. New Business: Nil
  14. Next Meeting – November 24, 2022
  15. Adjournment

Minutes of Meeting:

ACAT General Meeting

Meeting Date:     

Wednesday, October 27, 2022
1:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.


Virtual meeting via WebEx


Jonathan Marriott, ACAT Chair
Bobbi Moore, ACAT Co-Vice Chair
Debbie Gillespie, ACAT Co-Vice-Chair                                          
Angela Marley, CS Chair 
Carmen Galvan, SPS Chair
Craig Nicol, DRS Chair
Lauri Sue Robertson, WTOS Chair
Anita Dressler
Wangari Muriuki
Howard Wax
Sean Hollingsworth
Lauren Foote 
Robert Hampson


Erica Tanny
Gwyneth Dalzell
Lorraine Le Camp, Pool Member 

TTC Representatives:

Josie La Vita, Chief Financial Officer
Cameron Penman, Head of Wheel-Trans
Heather Brown, Director of Customer Experience
David LoPresti, Manager, Contracted Taxi Services, Wheel-Trans
Dean Milton, Manager of Strategic Initiatives, Wheel-Trans
Lodon Hassan, Acting Manager of Customer Service, Wheel-Trans
Haroon Nuri, Manager of Elevating Devices
Matt Hagg, Manager of Customer Policy, Strategy & Foresight
Mohammed Shaikh, Divisional Manager of Operations, Wheel-Trans
Natalie Francis, Manager, Planning and Policy, Wheel Trans
Ross Visconti, Project Manager, Wheel Trans
John Boucher, Lakeshore Garage Manager, Bus Maintenance and Shops
Stephan Boston, Chief Instructor, Training Department
Cyril Cromwell, Engagement Consultant, Racial Equity Office, Diversity Department 
Udita Sharma, Human Rights Consultant, Human Rights and Investigations Department
Natashia Singh, Customer Experience Analyst, Strategy & Foresight
Adrienne Isaac, Administrative Assistant, Wheel-Trans
Augusta Ferguson, Co-op Student, Customer Experience

Invited Guests:

Jeffrey Short, Senior Advisor, Universal Design, Metrolinx 

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 September 29, 2022 Minutes
  6. Remarks from TTC Executive
  7. Deputation: Nil
  8. Review of Correspondence:
    a)  Accessibility Concern – Operator announcements on subways
  9. Outstanding Items:
    a) Review of ACAT meeting times
    b) Noise alerts
  10. Wheel-Trans Transformation and COVID-19 update from Cameron Penman
  11. Subcommittee Reports, Highlights and Updates
    a) Communications
    b) Design Review
    c) Service Planning
    d) Wheel-Trans Operations 
  12. Remarks from ACAT Chair
  13. New Business:
    a) ACAT members’ advisory participation in site visits
    b) Onsite Criteria for ACAT members attending TTC events
  14. Next Meeting – November 24, 2022
  15. Adjournment


1. Call to Order/Attendance

Jonathan Marriott, ACAT Chair, called the meeting to order at 1:06 p.m. and attendance was taken. 

2. Land Acknowledgement

The Land Acknowledgement was read by Jonathan. 

3. Declaration of Conflict of Interest


4. Approval of Agenda

Two items were added to the agenda under New Business

a) ACAT members’ advisory participation in site visits
b) Onsite criteria for ACAT members attending TTC events

Bobbi Moore brought a motion to approve the Agenda, Howard Wax seconded. Carried. 

5. Review and Approval of September 29, 2022 Minutes

Anita Dressler brought a motion to approve the September 29, 2022 minutes. Debbie Gillespie seconded. Carried. 

6. Remarks from TTC Executive – Josie La Vita, CFO

Josie La Vita, Chief Financial Officer, advised that TTC leadership has been working on September Readiness over the last few months, ensuring service was ready for students returning to school and people returning to routines and activities. TTC staff have also been working on the budget for 2023 and ensuring that funding and resources are in place for all priorities, including accessibility as a top priority. TTC is preparing for a new Board and waiting for City Council to have their inaugural meeting, at which point TTC Board members will be determined. The next expected Board Meeting and budget meeting for the new term is December 2022.  

Questions and Comments from the Committee: 

A member asked whether there has been a turn over in senior staff. Josie advised that Jim Ross, TTC Chief Operating Officer, has retired and Kirsten Watson, Deputy Chief Executive Officer, has resigned.

7. Deputation:


8. Review of Correspondence 

a) Accessibility Concern – Operator announcements on subways

Jonathan Marriott, ACAT Chair, read an email received noting concerns about the speed and style of announcements made by Operators. The email suggested that announcements are difficult to understand at times and this affects customers who rely on clear audio cues. 

A member suggested better training on how to use the microphone system on vehicles is necessary. Another member suggested speaking slower and not using technical language during announcements would help and asked TTC staff to have a message sent to divisions and contracted taxis to remind drivers of all types of service that they are serving a customer service function. The member also reminded ACAT members to discuss announcement concerns when speaking to Operators during training sessions. 

A member suggested repeating an announcement could be helpful as well as incorporating training where drivers practice making announcements. Another member asked how often announcements are reviewed and whether Operators are provided training on using microphones. Cameron Penman, Head of Wheel-Trans, will consult with the appropriate TTC staff regarding announcement protocols and sending out a reminder. The member asked for an update before the end of the year. This item was referred to the Service Planning Subcommittee and members requested involving staff from Transit Control and Operations Training Centre.  

9. Outstanding Items

a) ACAT meeting times

An update will be provided at the next meeting as some members still need to respond about their preference.  

b) Noise alerts

Heather Brown, Director of Communications, reported the details of a preliminary discussion with the ACAT member regarding how to better communicate to customers about the noise at stations that have ongoing construction. Screens used for messages to customers do not have space to add another bar for messaging. This item will be discussed at a future Communications Subcommittee meeting to determine how construction notices can be strengthened. 

10. Wheel-Trans Transformation and COVID-19 Update

Cameron Penman, Head of Wheel-Trans, shared that the solution assessment report has been received. A detailed update about phases five to eight will be shared at the next Wheel-Trans Operations (WTOS) meeting and further information about the upcoming phases will be provided at the next ACAT General Meeting. Phase five will start in 2023. 

There are now 41 ProMaster 7 metre buses in service and another 100 are expected to be introduced in the next year. Share ride on sedan taxis will be the next item to be rolled out but no service changes are being made currently. Cameron informed members that he is the new Head of Wheel-Trans. 

Questions and Comments from the Committee

A member asked for clarification about the difference between Family of Services transfer stops and non-vehicle transfer stops. Cameron explained a non-vehicle transfer stop is a walking stop, where the customer has the ability to get to a designated stop without using transit. Dean Milton, Manager of Strategic Initiatives, explained there are currently 4,500 non-vehicle transfer stops. Transfer stops are stops with direct transfer onto another vehicle. Non-vehicle transfer stops are stops where a customer is asked to travel on their own at a certain distance to the next stop or to their point of destination. Some stops are not suitable for vehicle-to-vehicle transfers but are suitable stops to be used for a customer to be directed to get off the Wheel-Trans vehicle or conventional vehicle and make their own way to the destination as it is a short distance away. These stops are used when it is not possible for a vehicle to safely stop at the destination or transfer point. Examples of these stops include being 150 metres from a subway entrance or medical office, which is the final destination. Dean further explained the terminology used, “vehicle transfer” and “non-vehicle transfer”, is for TTC staff use only. The communication provided to customers includes clear and concise steps and directions to follow and a route map of expectations and transfers. 

Members suggested this terminology is confusing and complicated and questioned whether it should be further discussed. TTC staff and members agreed that this terminology did not need to be further discussed as it is only used by TTC staff and not shared with the public.    

A member asked about the Wheel-Trans mobile app and noted there is no field to enter trip instructions. Cameron responded that the mobile app pilot is being expanded and an update will be provided by Ross Visconti, Project Manager, at a future WTOS meeting. 

11. Subcommittee Reports and Highlights

Communications Subcommittee (CS)

Angela Marley, CS Chair, provided an update about the meeting held on October 6, 2022. An IT analyst presented an update about the accessibility features on the TTC website, Screen readers can now correctly voice information. 23 other items are being addressed, the main one being Google Translate as it is no longer being supported by Google. TTC is developing its own accessible page for Google Translate to operate as required for TTC customers’ needs. 

Dolphin Disability Mentorship Day was on October 26. 2022 and the program was presented to the Subcommittee by Brittany Manu, Anti-Racism Policy Consultant. The program creates opportunities to mentor TTC employees who have disabilities and the program aims to provide opportunities for career development.  

The 506 Carlton streetcar service will be temporarily suspended between Ossington Avenue and Parliament Street, due to construction in the area. There are no scheduled shuttle buses. A system is in place to accommodate customers with disabilities as needed. Subway service will continue but people will need to walk east or west of the station to board a bus or streetcar. Messaging has gone out on social platforms and this diversion model is also being used as a test to gain feedback ahead of anticipated construction in 2023. 

Angela discussed Heather and former TTC staff, Maria Khan, were developing website content about customers submitting feedback on elevator and escalator outages. The noise alerts issue continues to be explored and is an outstanding item on the Communications Subcommittee agenda. 

The next CS meeting is November 3, 2022.   

CS Highlights for the next board meeting:

  • Accessibility features on TTC website
  • 506 Carlton Diversion 

Questions and Comments from the Committee

A member suggested putting noise notification in Wheel-Trans customer alerts. Another member suggested notifications cannot properly capture the times noise made so notices might not have the desired impact
Cyril Cromwell, Engagement Consultant, Racial Equity Office, discussed the Dolphin Mentorship event held October 26, 2022. The event took place at the Racial Equity Office at Union Station and was a success. The volunteer participants included TTC employees from Human Rights, Project Planning, Employment Development, Wayfinding, frontline Operators, fleet safety staff, metal technicians and engineers. All volunteers provided invaluable feedback on career navigation within the TTC and advice to participants through a series of panel discussions and individualized breakout sessions. An introductory discussion was held one week prior to the event, which included time for one-to-one discussions. 

Design Review Subcommittee (DRS) 

Craig Nicol, DRS Chair, provided a summary of the DRS meeting held October 12, 2022. Becky Katz, City of Toronto Manager of Cycling and Pedestrian Projects, presented about a bicycle lane floating bus stop design and accessibility site visits conducted to review pedestrian accessibility features. A floating bus stop is a bus platform in a roadway that is separated from the sidewalk by a bicycle lane. Subcommittee members stressed concerns about the safety of a route that has a mix of mid-block and signalized intersection stops and crossing to the island with incoming bicycle and vehicle traffic. Onboarding and off boarding questions were evaluated, the need for a platform to be wide enough for ramp deployment, where to get off and at which point on the road it is safe to cross to actual sidewalk or to cross the street itself. An additional concern was navigation with mobility devices due to variety of construction and terrain. The floating bus stop design remains in development and City of Toronto will consult with the Subcommittee before finalization.  

The Lawrence Station Easier Access Centre Subway Platform Tactile Wayfinding Design was also discussed. A drawing illustration was presented and showed Lawrence Station will be fitted with an elevator, two escalators and stairs at the south end of the platform. The design and layout of wayfinding tiles will need to be changed. The Subcommittee expressed concern with tiles that could inadvertently direct customers towards the platform edge at a ninety-degree angle. The layout was modified based on Subcommittee feedback in order to provide a better path and the final proposed version will be reviewed again in the future. 

The next DRS meeting is November 2, 2022.   

DRS Highlights for the next board meeting:

  • Floating bus stop design discussion 
  • Lawrence Station wayfinding tile layout 

Wheel-Trans Operations Subcommittee (WTOS)

The September and October meeting details will be reported at the next ACAT General Meeting. 

A member asked when the Wheel-Trans mobile app will be updated to include the ability to enter trip notes. Ross Visconti, Project Manager, explained that the app pilot program is now being expanded from 15 to 20 users who were participating in the original pilot program. Expanding the pilot was delayed due to requirements for a questionnaire similar to the COVID-19 questionnaire on the self-booking website. The current pilot now includes 50 users and the goal is to secure 100 users to evaluate the pilot further and address any fixes the app may require. A new iPhone fix addressing an issue with the “Where is my Ride” feature was received on October 20, 2022 and will be tested shortly. The pilot will continue until the end of 2022 improvements will be considered after the roll out in 2023. An improvement for the trip notes will be included. Currently any trip notes that are entered in the self-booking system or by a Reservationist is being provided to the drivers. Ross encouraged members to email Wheel-Trans Customer Service if they would like to sign up for the pilot. The app is expected to be available to the public some time in spring of 2023.  

Service Planning Subcommittee (SPS) 

Carmen Galven, SPS Chair, discussed the September 2022 SPS meeting and advised that there was no SPS meeting in October 2022. In the September SPS meeting customer contact cards were reviewed. This is a new form of documentation used. The Subcommittee raised concerns about the description and identification of a customer who may be disruptive, need support and who may interact with the TTC security staff. The cards may provide valuable data on biased profiling of customers by TTC security as they include detailed descriptions based on race, age and gender. The Subcommittee discussed visible and invisible disabilities and how to report on the card. The Subcommittee asked how the data collected will be used in the future, how will it be enforced, and what the purpose of the collection was. Customer rights to refuse information were also discussed. The categories of identification are consistent with the provincial standard for identity data collection. The proposed customer contact card will be discussed again at a future meeting. 

A proposed new policy about mobility devices on buses was also presented. The main focus was on operators accommodating customers. Disciplinary measures when a customer is not accommodated according to the protocol were also discussed. The current streetcar and bus protocol requires Operators to only drive away from a customer once the next vehicle arrival time is announced or a Wheel-Trans vehicle is requested. Securement of mobility devices on buses was also discussed and this topic will be revisited at a future meeting. 

The next meeting is on November 2, 2022. 

SPS Highlights for the next board meeting:

  • Proposed Customer Contact Card
  • Proposed policy about mobility devices on conventional transit 

12. Remarks from ACAT Chair

Jonathan announced he will be leaving ACAT. This is a volunteer committee and a substantial amount of his time has been given to the Committee. Jonathan also shared ACAT member, Janice Shachter, has resigned due to a scheduling conflict and expressed appreciation for her service to the Committee. Jonathan discussed meaningful accessibility and its importance to day to day functionality. He suggested accessibility is not transactional, measured by conventional metrics, compliance or administrative process. Lack of accessibility restricts a person from function and development, and prevents them from being part of the community. A person is excluded by not having access and that may provide a message that a person is not welcome. Jonathan encouraged the Committee and TTC to lead with empathy when issues arise, to take ownership and accountability to rectify situations. It is important to identify learnings on prevention for the future. Accessibility requires working together to achieve meaningful accessibility. There are bumps and learnings, and frustrations along the way, which are results of larger systemic issues. Jonathan expressed appreciation for serving on ACAT. 

A member expressed appreciation for the leadership provided on ACAT and Cameron thanked Jonathan for his service.

13. New Business:

a) ACAT members’ advisory participation in site visits
b) Onsite criteria for ACAT members attending TTC events 

Angela Marley, CS Chair, discussed the efforts TTC makes to provide accessible transit to customers and ACAT’s role in making recommendations and providing feedback. It is important for members to volunteer their time when TTC requests to participate in the advisory events. Angela suggested more communication is needed to facilitate attendance at site visits, focus groups and reviews and suggested determining what barriers might be preventing members from attending these.  

Matt Hagg, Manager of Customer Policy, discussed a new focus group session pooling wider group of customers using varied mobility devices is being arranged. The event details will be shared once the date is finalized.

Questions and Comments from the Subcommittee

A member suggested having a later start time for events that require member participation as morning or mid-day events are sometimes difficult to attend. Another member suggested it is difficult for people who work to attend as it would mean taking time off and many have limited vacation days. Having a 4 p.m. start time could help more members be available. The travel distance is also a factor. Another member suggested it is difficult to work full-time and be on ACAT. A member discussed the pandemic as a consideration or possible explanation for lower participation as members may not be comfortable with engaging in the public domain. 

Onsite Criteria for ACAT members attending TTC events 

Angela discussed her experience at a TTC event she recently attended at Mount Dennis Garage. There was a designated Wheel-Trans stop at the event where she waited but the Wheel-Trans vehicle never came. She informed the onsite Wheel-Trans staff and she chose to leave on conventional transit. Angela suggested event organizers should have criteria list or guidelines when it comes to ACAT members attending TTC hosted events, such as accessible washrooms and a designated Wheel-Trans stop location that is known by the event team.  
Question and Comments from the Committee

A member suggested barriers and accessible events should be further discussed. The item will be on the agenda for the next ACAT General Meeting. 
A member discussed accessibility during events is a requirement by law and the standard should be included, like accessible washrooms or elevators to provide equitable treatment to everyone. This topic was also assigned to the Service Planning Subcommittee.     

Other Comments

A member asked if Line 1 is operated by automatic train control for the full length. The braking system is more gradual now and this makes guide dogs target the door in a different way. When two lines move in different ways it is difficult to train guide dogs to understand expectations. Matt confirmed that Line 1 is now operating with automatic train control. 

14. Next Meeting 

The next ACAT General Meeting is on November 24, 2022.

15. Adjournment

The meeting was adjourned on a motion by Howard Wax at 3:30 p.m. 

Kinga Bilska
Recording Secretary

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