ACAT Meeting


Meeting Info

Date:Thursday, June 25, 2015
Location:1900 Yonge Street, 7th Floor Boardroom
Meeting No:292
  • Agenda
  • Meeting Minutes

Agenda is not available for this meeting.
Please check the meeting minutes for meeting details.

Present

  • Mazin Aribi, Chair
  • Angela Rebeiro, Co-Vice Chair
  • Nicole Cormier, Co-Vice Chair
  • Judy Berger
  • Karma Burkhar
  • Raymond Dell'Aera
  • Joan Jordan
  • Marian McDonell
  • Bobbi Moore
  • Craig Nicol
  • Tim Rose
  • Sam Savona
  • Valdo Tammark
  • Howard Wax

Regrets

  • Margaret Hageman

TTC Representatives

  • Matt Hagg
  • Dean Milton
  • Gail Mahon
  • Sal Maltese
  • Joanne DiBiase

Copies

  • Andy Byford
  • Richard Leary
  • Chris Upfold
  • Kirsten Watson
  • Susan Reed Tanaka
  • Vince Rodo
  • Brad Ross
  • Gary Shortt
  • Mitch Stambler
  • TTC Board Members

1. Call to Order / Attendance

The meeting was called to order at 1:00 p.m. and attendance was taken.

2. Declaration of Conflict of Interest

Nil.

3. Approval of Agenda

The Committee reviewed and accepted the Agenda.

4. Review and Approval of May 28, 2015 Minutes

On motion by Sam Savona and seconded by Joan Jordan, the minutes were approved with the following amendments:

  • Page 4, Item 7, the second bullet point should read: “Customers with mobility devices using conventional system, but there are only two mobility device positions on the bus: To deal with this issue, there will be extra Wheel-Trans vehicles on standby at certain stations…”
  • Page 4, Item 7, the last line should read: “Tim Rose asked if customers can still take Wheel-Trans to the opening ceremonies. TTC Staff replied that rides could be arranged through the Call-One Centre at 844-727-2663 844-PARA.”
  • Page 5, Item 8, top paragraph should read: “The new elevator is a flow through as opposed to the current one which has one door. A new accessible subway entrance will be separate from the Sheppard Centre entrance.”
  • Page 6, Item 9, third paragraph should be changed to read, “Nicole Cormier pointed out that, under the AODA, there is a requirement for training around communications.”

5. Business Arising Out of May 28, 2015 Minutes:

The Committee reviewed the Outstanding Items List:

  • Item: PRESTO Accessibility Features – Still Ongoing.
  • Item: Accessibility at Bus Bays – No change.
  • Item: Accessibility at Transit Stops – Revision made to April 30, 2015 Update
  • Item: Gap Between Subway Trains and Platforms - Craig Nicol reported that DRS still wishes to re-examine the horizontal gap. The vertical gap solution has been implemented in both north and south directions at Eglinton Station.

There was some discussion among the Committee members as to whether or not there should be a communications strategy regarding the gap solution such as an announcement inside the train or an advertisement on the platform and whether or not the Communications Subcommittee should be involved. The Committee agreed that while an onboard announcement is impractical, it is worth looking into having an advertisement on the platform.

  • Item: Legends on Maps over TR Train Doors – Ongoing.
  • Item: Tracking of Reduced Fare Issues response - There was an update at the ACAT Executive Quarterly Meeting addressing this. Please refer to Item #11.
  • Item: Accessibility Flash Cards – Ongoing. The Committee attempted to reduce confusion between Accessibility Flash Cards (the blue and white cards with the universal symbol of access) and the new proposed Travel Assistance Cards (intended for customers with invisible disabilities). The Travel Assistance Cards are a part of ongoing, larger accessibility initiative.

6. Deputation

Nil.

7. Subcommittee Reports and Updates

Design Review Subcommittee (DRS) - Craig Nicol, Chair
DRS did not hold a regular meeting but made a site visit to Hillcrest Yard on June 10, 2015 to review a protective guard for the ramp request button on the low-floor streetcars. The guard would be installed at the buttons in the mobility device seating area and is intended to prevent accidental activation by ambulatory customers. DRS recommended alterations to the guard, reducing the amount of the vertical bar i.e. remove the centre portion to ensure access to the button from either side.

DRS assessed and commented on a revision to the pre-boarding announcement volume which would be intended to reduce the impact on residents living adjacent to TTC stops. DRS recommended an ambient noise adjustment system be incorporated and in the interim having two volume levels: loud between 7 am and 7 pm and reduced for all other hours. Further, it was recommended that the streetcar pre-boarding announcements match that of the bus fleet with announcements repeating when dwell time exceeds 20 seconds.

Finally, there was a revision to include the handhold which DRS had recommended at club seating to assist persons seated next to the window to arise from their seat. This is still in the design phase.

The next meeting will take place on July 8, 2015.

Communications Subcommittee (CS) - Marian McDonell, Chair 
The Subcommittee met on June 19, 2015 and the following items were discussed and updated:

  • The ACAT Brochure

CS members reviewed and recommended a number of changes to the ACAT Brochure that was distributed at the People in Motion Show. Long sentences and extraneous information were the primary concern.

The members were asked to send any additional feedback to Customer Communications staff, by Friday, June 26, 2015 and a new draft will be produced based on that feedback.

  • Safety Campaign Update

Cheryn Thoun, Head of Customer Communications, and Alicia Fowlie, Communications Specialist, described the pedestrian safety campaign that is being worked on. The campaign, which is focused both internally to TTC staff and externally to the public, addresses danger spots and dangerous behaviors that lead to unsafe interactions. Campaign posters were circulated and more posters will be created. Customer Communications asked for feedback concerning key issues that CS needs addressed in the future component of the external campaign. Members discussed issues concerning the ramp being deployed and courtesy between customers. The Subcommittee’s suggestions will be incorporated into the safety campaign. The department’s progress will be presented to CS by August, 2015.

  • New Streetcar Accessibility Features Video

Mazin Aribi suggested that the streetcar video should coincide with the launch of the new streetcar on Bathurst. At the same time, a video could be produced concerning the accessibility of buses. Alicia Fowlie and her team resolved to develop a document with essential shots, moments, and visuals from which the narration will be based and which should be ready in time for the August Communications Subcommittee meeting. Marian McDonell, CS Chair, requested that members email their suggestions to her to be compiled for the next CS meeting.

At this point, CS discussed the differences between streetcar and bus issues as well as the overlap. It was agreed that, as the new streetcars are rolled out and issues are identified by Committee members, they should forward them to the ACAT Executive and Matt Hagg.

  • Flash Card Update

Mostafa Omran, Customer Development Manager, and his department are developing a “Travel Assistance Card,” a flash card for individuals with invisible disabilities. The “Travel Assistance Card” is not the same as the blue flashcard that was handed out at the People in Motion show. The consensus among TTC staff was that the Travel Assistance Card expands on the pre-existing blue flash card rather than replacing it.

  • TR Maps and Accessibility

In previous Communications Subcommittee meetings and ACAT General meetings, there have been concerns regarding the readability of the new TR maps, especially with respect to accessibility information. Cheryn Thoun reported that Ian Dickson, Manager - Design and Wayfinding, and his team are looking at the issues and will report to the Communications Subcommittee after the Pan Am Games.

  • New Business - Style Guide

Cheryn Thoun reported that she and Deborah Brown have produced style guides to help staff write more clearly and consistently, especially for external audiences. They are exploring various resources to ensure that the correct terminology around disability and accommodation is being used appropriately. Currently, the guide is being circulated internally and then it will be brought to ACAT. The document is to be presented as a booklet and will also be available online.

Questions and Comments from the Committee
The Committee discussed whether there might be communications work to do at Union Station due to concerns about inadequate signage regarding accessible routes. It was suggested that on audit of Union Station’s accessibility features be added to the agenda in the future.

Wheel-Trans Operations Subcommittee (WTOS)
No meetings were held since the last ACAT meeting. The next meeting is scheduled for July 9, 2015.

Service Planning Subcommittee (SPS) - Valdo Tammark, Chair
SPS met on June 3, 2015 to review the Highway Traffic Act (HTA) as it pertains to the new low floor streetcars with Jim Sinikas, Strategy and Service Planning Department.

The HTA states that no vehicle, bicycle, horse and carriage, or horseback rides are allowed to pass the front or rear door of a streetcar when open. The HTA is already out of date because articulated streetcars have three doors and the new streetcars have four. After some discussion, it was felt that if the HTA were to be changed so that the words “front” and “rear door” were changed to “any door”, it would solve the problem. TTC staff said they would get the wheels in motion to advise the MTO of the change needed to the HTA.

There was a discussion of when the new streetcars start boarding and de-boarding on the road and how an Operator would know that a passenger standing at a rear door was indeed waiting for a streetcar. SPS also has an outstanding item covering four questions on policy and procedures around the new streetcars. A fifth question regarding picking up passengers who are not standing by the stop pole will be added.

Finally, Matt Hagg brought an item of new business to the Subcommittee - the temporary relocation of bus stops during construction. It was decided that Supervisors will add the location of the temporary stop on “Not in Service” marker on original stop pole, as well as the location of the nearest accessible stop (if the temporary stop is inaccessible).

8. Report on TTC Board Meeting and Accessibility Matters

The TTC Board Meeting took place on Monday, June 22, 2015, at Toronto City Hall. The meeting was attended by ACAT members Mazin Aribi, Angela Rebeiro, Nicole Cormier, Sam Savona, and Valdo Tammark. Topics included Metrolinx’s GTHA trip planner, Triplinx, PRESTO, TTC Board Member attendance at ACAT meetings, Renovations at Union, Wheel-Trans and growing service demands, the Highway Traffic Act (HTA) amendment, a pilot project to assess traffic violations by motorists at stopped streetcars, and streetcar safety more broadly.

There was a concern among the Committee regarding Chris Upfold’s PRESTO presentation. The idea of a “tap on, tap off” system, such as those found on GO Transit, can be a challenge for people with disabilities as finding a place to tap off can be difficult.

9. Report on Customer Liaison Panel (CLP) – Tim Rose

The Customer Liaison Panel met on June 17, 2015. The majority of the meeting was taken up by a presentation and product testing by TTC Staff of the new e-ticketing system planned for the Pan Am Games. The system will allow for group and day passes to be downloaded to devices and then showed to Collectors at boarding and de-boarding. There was a thorough presentation with iPhone and Android examples and a demonstration of a web online marketplace for electronic passes. Tim Rose asked if the new system was WCAG-compliant and they replied that they did not know. There was a concern that accessibility was an afterthought because the system will be rolled out on July 8, 2015 and there will be no opportunity to change it before then.

Other meeting highlights included concerns around the lack of alternative route information at the street to concourse level elevator at Dufferin Station during an elevator outage. Service Planning was asked to look into that.

There are six new members of Customer Liaison Panel.

Questions and Comments from the Committee:
Craig Nicol inquired whether the new e-ticketing system was just for the Pan Am Games or for the TTC beyond the Games. Tim Rose replied that it was being launched for the Games but that it would go beyond.

Craig Nicol suggested that accessibility around the e-ticketing system should be a priority for ACAT.

There were concerns about new systems being introduced to ACAT without sufficient time for them to give feedback prior to release dates. Matt Hagg clarified that the new e ticketing system is going to the Design Review Subcommittee and that changes should be possible in future iterations of the software.

Concerns were raised about the extent to which ACAT members can comment on code and assistive technology-reliant solutions. Perhaps, ACAT will need to recruit members who use assistive technologies (i.e. keyboard only, onscreen typing, JAWS).

Marian McDonell said that WCAG 2.0 level A is an AODA requirement. Tim Rose added that the parent site is WCAG 2.0 compliant, but the online marketplace may not be.

It was again suggested that ACAT recruit users of assistive technology. It was also pointed out by ACAT members that the TTC already uses the services of a web accessibility consultant.

10. Culture of Accessibility Summary

Nicole Cormier reported on an in-camera “Culture of Accessibility” meeting that took place on April 30, 2015 to allow ACAT membership to discuss wider, systemic issues.

A culture of accessibility was defined as an environment that, among other things, encourages and promotes accessibility.

Themes that emerged from the meeting included:

  • Accessibility must be a forethought not an afterthought
  • There is a need to move beyond minimum standards provided by legislation
  • Public education is essential to improving the experience for people with disabilities
    On motion by Nicole Cormier and seconded by Howard Wax, ACAT agreed to table the discussion of the next steps until after the ACAT Executive Quarterly Report to see whether further meetings are necessary or if these themes are being addressed in ACAT’s normal course of business.

11. Report on ACAT Executive Quarterly Meeting with CEO and Chair

Nicole Cormier reported on the ACAT Executive Quarterly Meeting that took place on June 1, 2015 with TTC CEO Andy Byford, TTC Chair Josh Colle, TTC Vice Chair Alan Heisey, and Eve Wiggins, Senior Manager - Wheel-Trans.

Fare Policy
The TTC Board motion regarding Fare Policy was discussed, including the recent motion by ACAT to request ACAT involvement in the consultation process. It was agreed that Chris Upfold was the right person to ensure that the City includes ACAT in the consultation as he is the contact with Deputy Mayor Pam McConnell. Andy Byford confirmed that Chris Upfold is aware to include ACAT, and he would reinforce it along with the recommendation that the City include ACAT in consultation.

Boarding and De-Boarding
Improvements to accommodate customers with mobility devices to board and de-board on the conventional system were discussed. All agreed that pavement markings were beneficial. Alan Heisey added that other locations such as the bicycle lanes on Sherbourne may be another potential location. The ACAT Executive requested that it starts with the bus bay platforms because there are so many stops to cover. It was also observed that stops on City property would have to include arrangements with the City. Josh Colle agreed to take this to Sena Roth who handles markings.

Street Furniture
The boarding and de-boarding discussion also expanded to problems with the placement of street furniture. It was agreed that establishing standards for clear width and maneuvering space in boarding and de-boarding areas would be beneficial. Josh Colle agreed to investigate the process to implement this recommendation.

By-Law and Education for Priority Boarding
Alan Heisey questioned whether or not there is a TTC by-law requiring that persons with disabilities are to board vehicles first. There was an agreement to consult with the appropriate Legal department on the matter.

It was also agreed that public education was necessary and that an upcoming customer courtesy campaign should include references to priority boarding and priority seating.

The ACAT Executive will follow up with the TTC Board Members and CEO to note that the subsequent review of TTC By-Law No. 1 indicates that by erecting signage about priority boarding, Section 3.13 would make it enforceable as follows:

3.13 No person, unless otherwise authorized, shall do any act in contravention of instructions,

a) on any sign erected on TTC property;
b) on any painted markings on TTC property; or
c) of a proper authority who considers them necessary to,
(i) ensure orderly movement of persons;
(ii) prevent injury to persons;
(iii) prevent damage to TTC property;
(iv) make available a seat in the designated priority seating area to a person who is disabled or has a physical limitation requiring priority seating; or
(v) permit proper action in an emergency.

TTC Board Support of ACAT
Several topics regarding TTC Board support of ACAT were addressed.

  • It was agreed that use of language that promotes respect and dignity was important. ACAT was concerned that a Deputant at the May 2015 TTC Board Meeting referred to people with disabilities as “wheelchairs”. In future, ACAT would like such derogatory terms be corrected, and proposed that increasing accessibility awareness among Board Members would enable them to identify the need to call a point of order to redress such an issue. Josh Colle agreed to look into whether Board Members have received AODA training as members of the business community, or in their roles on Council.
  • It was felt that the organization was working well to address requirements such as those pertaining to stations and elevators. Josh Colle suggested that a review should take place on all AODA requirements applicable to the organization and the Board, and a presentation to the Board should take place on an upcoming agenda.
  • It was agreed that the Board should identify a member that will specialize in or sponsor accessibility as a key priority.
  • It was agreed to add knowledge of accessibility as a recruitment criteria for at least one citizen member of the Board.
  • There was a suggestion to investigate whether the ACAT Chair should be an ex-officio member of the TTC Board, who sits at the table, and contributes to the conversation but is not a voting member.

Updates

  • Highway Traffic Act and boarding and de-boarding of new streetcars is being actioned. A resolution is expected to be long in coming due to the complexity of the issue.
  • The TTC Board is aware of the concerns about lift-equipped paratransit buses and was reminded of a motion that was made to avoid purchasing lift-equipped buses. Mr. Byford committed to continue consulting ACAT extensively on any new vehicles being considered for Wheel-Trans when it comes time to replace the fleet.
  • The ACAT Executive provided an update on the Culture of Accessibility discussion among ACAT members that identified “accessibility as a forethought”, and “public education” to be the key themes.
  • ACAT introduced the information package for Board Members and Josh Colle requested that he receive a digital copy, which has since been done.
  • It was discussed that the audio in the conference room at 1900 Yonge Street is poor. In response to this, Andy Byford committed to have the existing equipment or upgrades evaluated. T-coil systems were discussed as improving the experience for people with hearing loss who have compatible assistive technology.

The next meeting will be held on September 15, 2015.

Questions and Comments from the Committee:
ACAT members wished to discuss the TTC Board support of ACAT in more detail. They discussed the Board Members’ attendance at ACAT meetings versus having an ex-officio of ACAT to sit on the Board as well as having a future timeline for Board Member attendance at ACAT meetings.

ACAT members wished to discuss employment equity, what the current levels are, and how they can be improved. There were also questions about civilian Board Members’ knowledge of accessibility issues and policies to support their presence on the TTC Board.

12. Operator Recertification Training

Gail Mahon, Senior Instructor – Bus Transportation, Sal Maltese, Manager of Training, and Joanne DiBiase, Head of Training and Development presented “Serving Customers with Disabilities” as part of the Operator Recertification Training with specific focus on the ways in which it supports accessibility awareness among Operators. ACAT’s previous participation in the Bus Recertification sessions has resulted in a room for more material on accessibility. Bus Operators previously received a 25-day training and a recertification training every five years. This has been changed to every three years.

Problems were identified with the previous recertification processes, such as they were found to be inconsistent, there was not always someone present form ACAT, and important content was missed. The new recertification programme was presented and ACAT’s feedback was requested. Below are the highlights of the presentation:

  • People with disabilities will make up 20% of the population in 20 years
  • 47% of seniors have disabilities
  • This number will continue to increase with an aging population
  • The AODA outlines the commitment to ensure that the same opportunities exist for people with disabilities
  • The AODA benefits all Ontarians
  • Accessibility is customer service standard

ACAT and its Subcommittees are discussed in the training, which provides background material on ACAT’s composition and the work assigned to each Subcommittee.

The presentation included guidelines for communicating with customers with disabilities such as not needing to know the cause or nature of a customer’s disability, but rather how they can be helped when boarding and de-boarding TTC vehicles.

Guidelines which included treating customers as adults, speaking to the customer, not the interpreter, and listening for instructions when offering assistance were discussed. Other topics discussed included:

  • Boarding customers with physical disabilities
  • Guidelines for communicating with customers with hearing, vision or sensory loss, speech or sensory disability intellectual disabilities, mental disabilities, and learning disabilities
  • Service delays and high needs disabilities.

Questions and Comments from the Committee: 
The Committee thanked and congratulated the presenters on their work.

ACAT inquired whether the Training Department’s work deals specifically with Operators or all employees. Joanne DiBiase replied that while AODA training is covered in all TTC’s staff training, some of it is carried out by Human Resources (Employee Development Training, for example). 
There was some discussion about ACAT’s involvement in Customer Service Training. 
ACAT Members pointed out that while the five basic types of disabilities were covered in the training presentation, invisible disabilities were not addressed. Individuals with invisible disabilities should not be put in a position where they have to justify it. Joanne DiBiase replied that her team will add content to address invisible disabilities.

ACAT Members remarked that the term “high needs” may not be the ideal way of putting it. This point was acknowledged by TTC staff.

ACAT members were invited to review the slides, and forward their feedback to ACAT Chair Mazin Aribi who will compile and forward to the Training Department.

13. Review of Correspondence – Nil

Nil.

14. Other / New Business – Nil

Deferred to next meeting.

15. Next Meeting

The next meeting of ACAT will be held on Thursday, July 30, 2015, from 1:00 to 3:30 p.m. at 1900 Yonge Street, 7th Floor Boardroom.

16. Adjournment

The meeting was adjourned at 3:27 p.m.

Chris Landry
Recording Secretary
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