ACAT Meeting


Meeting Info

Date:Thursday, July 30, 2015
Location:1900 Yonge Street, 7th Floor Boardroom
Meeting No:293
  • 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
  • Tim Rose, Co-Vice Chair
  • Judy Berger
  • Karma Burkhar
  • Joan Jordan
  • Marian McDonell
  • Bobbi Moore
  • Craig Nicol
  • Tim Rose
  • Sam Savona
  • Valdo Tammark
  • Howard Wax
  • Margaret Hageman

Regrets

  • Raymond Dell'Aera

TTC Representatives

  • Matt Hagg
  • Dean Milton
  • Eve Wiggins, Head of Wheel-Trans 
  • Valerie Albanese, Head, Diversity & Human Rights
  • Karen Kuzmowich, Diversity Lead, HRC
  • Vivian Wei, Diversity Research Assistant
  • Mireille Macia, Director, Employment Services
  • Marika Fraser, Diversity and Outreach Specialist, HR

Guests

  • Sasha Pejcic, Project Manager,
  • Parsons Brinckerhoff

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 1:05 p.m. and attendance was taken.

2. Declaration of Conflict of Interest

Nil.

3. Approval of Agenda

On motion by Tim Rose and seconded by Howard Wax, the agenda was approved.

4. Approval of June 25, 2015 Minutes

On motion by Sam Savona and seconded by Tim Rose, the June 25, 2015 minutes were approved with the following amendments:

  • Page 4, 2nd paragraph, “Item: Tracking of Reduced…” should be expanded to include the words, “please refer to item 11.”
  • Page 4, 3rd paragraph, 2nd line, should read “(the blue and while cards with the international symbol of access)”
  • Page 11, Item 13 Report on Relief Line Stakeholder Advisory Group Meeting, should be removed altogether. While there was a report provided on paper, it was not addressed aloud at the meeting. It should also be removed from “Items Discussed”
  • Page 11, Item 15 Other / New Business, “Nil” should be changed to, “Deferred to next meeting.”

5. Business Arising Out of Minutes/Outstanding Items 5

    Deferred to the next meeting.

6. Deputation: Liana DiMarco

    Liana DiMarco described an issue that she has experienced with respect to service dogs on Wheel-Trans taxis.

    In the past six months, Liana DiMarco experienced three incidents in which she has felt that her service dog’s safety was not respected. It is her belief that Wheel-Trans needs to be more proactive in disciplining and demanding compliance from drivers around service animals.

    In one instance, Liana DiMarco described her boarding a partially full vehicle in which her dog was forced to squeeze by a very narrow and confining space. When the service dog got on a seat to navigate the space more easily, she was sternly told to “get the dog off the seat.” The dog was made to sit in a small space between a wheelchair and the back of the vehicle which she felt showed a lack of regard for the animal’s safety.

    Questions and Comments from the Committee:

    A member of the Committee wished to know whether Liana DiMarco would prefer the dog to be on the seat.

    Liana DiMarco replied that she would be fine if it were the seat or sufficient space on the floor provided that it is safe.

    A member of the Committee wished to know on what kind of vehicles these incidents took place.

    Liana DiMarco replied it was on contracted taxi cabs and minivans, not TTC Wheel-Trans buses.

    The Committee thanked Liana DiMarco for her deputation and the issue was referred to the Wheel-Trans Operations Subcommittee.

7. Presentation – TTC’s Diversity Plan

Valerie Albanese, Head of TTC’s Diversity and Human Rights Department, advised that the Human Rights Department’s mandate was recently expanded to diversity and inclusion. A two-year strategic plan was created to systematically advance diversity and inclusion (D&I) initiatives for employees and customers, which Karen Kuzmowich will describe. The plan also includes HR practices, which Marika Fraser will speak about.

A member of the Committee asked, given the deputation given by Liana DiMarco, whether the policy touches on the issue of service animals.

Valerie Albanese replied that it does. With respect to the issue regarding service animals, this is a concern for the department; TTC’s policies permit the full accommodation of service animals on the system.

Karen Kuzmowich, TTC Diversity Lead described the Diversity & Inclusion Strategic Plan for 2015-2016. Year one (Y1) of the plan will be the start of building knowledge and understanding of diversity and inclusion concepts and issues, and set goals and responsibilities for employees. The second year of the plan will work to embed diversity and inclusion deeper into policies and practices.

The plan in Y1 2015 includes developing a diversity and inclusion policy, reviewing existing HR Polices to ensure they are consistent with D&I goals, developing a D&I training program for all employees, updating and re-launching TTC’s behavioral interview training to ensure that recruitment is bias free, building D&I awareness internally with TTC employees and externally with customers, developing a D&I Lens to assist employees in removing barriers and unintended impacts on diverse groups, continuing to collect self-identification demographic data from employees to measure and assess TTC’s diversity strategies, augmenting recruitment strategies, developing a mentoring and succession planning program, and lastly, diversity and inclusion will also be embedded in the procurement strategies to increase supplier diversity.

The plan in Y2 2016 will include deepening awareness, launching and providing training on the D&I Lens, developing other practical resource tools for employees, updating the data collection and augmenting the way data is collected. For instance, there is a plan to update and broaden the categories of self-identification. For example, the TTC does not collect data on people who self-identify as LGBTQ; in the future, it will. The plan will introduce an “inclusion index” and examine if members of equity-seeking groups feel included. The plan will also assist in bringing together employee resource groups, embed D&I into TTC’s awards and recognition program, build D&I commitments and accountability into performance appraisals, add D&I questions into exit surveys, and convene an internal accessibility committee to identify barriers and make enhancements to TTC’s internal build environment.

Questions and Comments from the Committee:

A member of the Committee asked how many people with disabilities are in TTC’s Diversity and Human Rights Department and the TTC as a whole.

Karen Kuzmowich replied that people with disabilities are underrepresented currently at the TTC at 1.7% of our employees who responded self-identifying as having a disability (however, there are concerns regarding the accuracy of that figure due to poor data collection issues in the past. TTC’s method of data collection has been to survey employees once, but that does not capture changes over time, particularly with dimensions like diversity which are not stagnant. An employee may not self-identify as having a disability when hired, but if that changes, our data collection would not capture it. So change to the data collection practices is being looked at).

Karen Kuzmowich explained that, the actual number of people in her department who self-identify as having a disability is unknown; their collecting of data has to be voluntary and anonymous. Because in her own department, which is very small consisting of only 8 people, information cannot be given for privacy reasons. When the department size is small, disclosing that type of statistical information increases the risk that the employer could link or match who self-identifies in what categories, therefore removing confidentiality and anonymity.

A member of the Committee commended Karen Kuzmowich for her group’s work but stated that the “Internal Accessibility Committee” by virtue of its name requires real world experience, meaning that it should encourage self-identification and rely on the real world experience of people with disabilities. It is very important to have disability members on the committee and be involved in the decision making process regarding D&I. People with disabilities do not need others telling them what they need.

Karen Kuzmowich replied that the TTC plans to invite people who self-identify as having disabilities to participate by joining the committee and provide their input on required changes.

A number of Committee members expressed that self-identified people with disabilities need to be on that committee.

Tim Rose called a point of order so that the Committee could hear the second part of the presentation.

Presentation – HR Diversity Update

Marika Fraser, TTC Human Resources, presented a Diversity Recruitment Update. She explained that her mandate is Diversity and Outreach Specialist and she goes out into the community to promote the TTC.

As previously stated, out of 13,000 employees, less than 2% self-identify as people with disabilities. Recent efforts have included new partnerships. Human Resources is once again attending job fairs and events like the May Fest for the hearing impaired and the Ontario Job Opportunity Information Network (JOIN) to acquire feedback and encourage people to apply for jobs.

Another program that they are working with is Career Edge which has a component that addresses people with disabilities as well.

Questions and Comments from the Committee:

A member of the Committee asked about positions, such as a Bus Operator, in which the physical part of the job can be a barrier to a person with a disability. What are their ideas about how to make accommodations?

Marika Fraser replied that this is done at the application stage using medical assessments. If Human Resources finds that there is a barrier, as long as accommodations can be made, they are made, provided that they do not cause undue hardship to TTC.

Karen Kuzmowich added that the TTC has a sophisticated accommodation policy and process. TTC’s Occupational Health Department takes the lead and the Human Rights Department provides consultation to determine essential requirements and possible accommodations.

A number of Committee members expressed interest in assisting with the disability portion of the D&I Lens. Karen Kuzmowich replied that she would take them up on that.

A member of the Committee pointed out that “diversity and inclusion” does not necessarily presuppose disability, it could refer to race, religion, etc. “Disability” needs to be in there explicitly, for example on the website and in the job statements.

Karen Kuzmowich replied that they define diversity and inclusion broadly and intend to include all dimensions of diversity, including disability.

A member of the Committee stated that the public presentation of the TTC does not include people with disabilities. For example, if you go to the TTC web page to look at job listings, there is nothing referring to disabilities.

Karen Kuzmowich and Marika Fraser confirmed that, in their job statements, they make explicit reference to it and welcome people with disabilities to apply.

Mazin Aribi expressed that ACAT would like updates on this and asked that this issue be referred to the Service Planning Subcommittee to follow up.

The Committee thanked the guests for their presentation.

8. Election of ACAT Representative to the Transit Fare Equity Committee

Chair Mazin Aribi explained that ACAT was invited by the City of Toronto to have a member sit on the Transit Fare Equity Committee that reports back to the TTC Board in October with its recommendations regarding fare equity. Mazin Aribi sent out the invite; five ACAT members responded, and two will ultimately be allowed to participate in Transit Fare Equity Committee meetings.

To date, there have actually already been two meetings and Mazin and other ACAT members have attended. However, there is a slate to nominate and elect two representatives for the next three meetings.

The Committee felt – including ACAT members who were on the slate to be elected as representatives – that those two who have already attended should continue to represent ACAT at the Transit Fare Equity meetings. ACAT agreed that the two ACAT members who have attended, Margaret Hageman and Sam Savona, continue to represent ACAT.

Margaret Hageman then reported on the Transit Fare Equity Project, a City initiative that aims to develop a report on options to make transit more affordable. The July 7, 2015 meeting looked at an environmental scan. Much research went into agenda. The second meeting looked at affordability at local level and the transit needs of low income people. Timelines are aggressive with recommendations due at the end of the year at which point the steering committee will prepare a report that goes to Council in 2016. Moving forward, the focus will be on identification and eligibility of low income people, and doing an environmental scan on subsidies.

A member of the Committee wished to know if seniors were discussed at the Transit Fare Equity Meeting.

Margaret Hageman replied that seniors were not discussed as a specific group, but that the issues addressed due to low income overlap with senior’s issues. The ACAT representatives will ensure that seniors are not forgotten moving forward.

9. Subcommittee Reports and Updates

Design Review Subcommittee (DRS) – Craig Nicol, Chair
Craig Nicol reported that DRS had a meeting on July 6, 2015 that looked at the TTC Connect smart phone app and the Eglinton Station gap modification.

The TTCconnect app allows the purchase and display of TTC Day and Group passes. DRS was given a live demonstration of the app that is available on the TTC website at: ttc.ca/Fares_and_passes/Fare_information/TTC_connect/.

The app was rushed to be ready in time for the Pan Am Games and continues to be modified to address issues that may show up.

DRS was concerned about the labeling of buttons for screen reader use and the back button not always being shown. Another concern is the limited Wi-Fi in the subway to access fares stored on the cloud.

Craig Nicol stated that, apart from these concerns, DRS found the app to be comprehensive and accessible in general.

Regarding the Eglinton Station gap modification, DRS appeared to be satisfied with the solution that was installed at the south end of the platform. A discussion about informing customers about the improvement and location resulted in a recommendation that signage at the elevator is the most practical method of disseminating this information. The matter of signage was referred to the Communications Subcommittee.

DRS recommended, when the Easier Access Program Phase 3 (EA3) work is planned for a station, that the gap data be collected to determine if the platform edge improvements are needed in the RFP for the work.

The next meeting is scheduled for August 5, 2015.
Communications Subcommittee (CS) – Marian McDonell, Chair

Marian McDonell reported that there were no CS meetings held in July. However, there is going to be a photoshoot for the TTC safety campaign and that she has forwarded names and emails of some ACAT members who can be involved in the production. There will also be a safety video about buses and the new streetcars.

The next meeting is scheduled for mid-August.
Wheel-Trans Operations Subcommittee (WTOS) – Sam Savona, Chair
WTOS met on July 9, 2015 and was given a Pan Am Games update from Eve Wiggins, Head of Wheel-Trans.

Eve Wiggins also presented on the Wheel-Trans Ten-Year Plan (see item 12).

Sasha Pejcic, Project Manager, and John Gobis, Lead Consultant, from the consulting firm Parsons Brinckerhoff, attended to discuss the Wheel-Trans Program Review that is taking place.

Under New Business, a member brought forward a concern regarding the Wheel-Trans online booking system. When running a search for “airport”, Billy Bishop is the default result rather than the Pearson airport, giving the impression that Wheel-Trans does not go to Pearson. TTC staff present agreed to look into this.

WTOS also discussed having a regular review of the Wheel-Trans Policy as part of its agenda, something like an “issue of the month” review.

Service Planning Subcommittee (SPS)

SPS met on July 8, 2015 and discussed the accessible alternatives for planned subway closures. Jim Ross, TTC Subway Transportation, and John Prosser, TTC Closures and Disruptions, attended. SPS was told that there would be 45 closures this year and between 50 and 60 next year. The topics discussed included how staff are briefed for closures, “Out of Service” signage not being attached to elevators, and a new real time elevator monitoring project.

SPS discussed station signage and online information including more instructions for customers as to where to go in the event of closures and disruptions. If the station, where the trains turn around is not accessible, the nearest accessible station will be included in the signage and instructions will posted online. Accessible station staff will now get booklets with the instructions and phone numbers during these closures.

Also discussed was a proposed LED sign at the elevator that can broadcast information regarding service outages.

Finally, SPS discussed the Public Forum which will be held on Wednesday, September 16, 2015 at the Allstream Centre at Exhibition Place.

10. Report on TTC Board Meeting and Accessibility Matters

Mazin Aribi reported that the May ACAT minutes were accepted at the Board Meeting held July 29, 2015.
Sam Savona asked if ACAT can request a copy of their environmental scan to get a better idea of what they mean regarding disability.
TTC Staff representatives replied that they can make a request through Commission Services Staff.

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

Tim Rose reported that the CLP meeting took place on July 8, 2015 and was chaired by Arthur Borkwood, TTC Head of Customer Development. The meeting began with a round of introductions which included the six new CLP members who bring diverse backgrounds and experience to the table. Arthur Borkwood presented on various aspects of the TTC. CLP members shared their system observations from the past month.

The next meeting is scheduled on September 9, 2015.

A Committee member asked how many new CLP members are people with disabilities.

Tim Rose replied that some are, though none declared directly. In talking to them, it was established there was. One member also use a mobility device.

12. Wheel-Trans 10-Year Plan / Wheel-Trans Program Review

Eve Wiggins, Head of Wheel-Trans, presented on the Wheel-Trans Ten-Year Plan. The presentation covered the Wheel-Trans system’s history, the recent surge in demand, the demand outlook for the next three years, and the future.

Eve Wiggins identified a growth in ambulatory trips that is outpacing non-ambulatory trips, 108% and 20% increases respectively. This statistic is seen as being the result of the aging population.

Eve Wiggins explained how active Wheel-Trans registrations used to lapse after two years of non-use and how that has now been changed to one year of non-use. Trends include a growing reliance on sedans and accessible taxis, an increase in shorter average trip lengths, and an overall increase in reservations.

Priorities for the Wheel-Trans include looking at eliminating barriers in order to meet AODA requirements, maintaining the current unaccommodated rate, and to re-examine the eligibility criteria.

Wheel-Trans intends to examine what a new fleet of vehicles should look like in order to meet customer needs and provide the best value, and to look at partnering with other municipalities such as Vaughan, Richmond Hill, or Durham Region.

Questions and Comments from Committee

A member of the Committee commended the idea of a Family of Services and wondered if there would means to call the system if a bus does not arrive and to get an arrival time.

Eve Wiggins replied that the whole program around the Family of Services is still being developed and that will include mitigation strategies to anticipate anything that can go wrong.

A member of the Committee remarked that the Family of Services idea has been advocated by ACAT for a long time as “integrated service” and that 2025 is too far in the future for such a plan. Integrated services can be done through customer tracking and that the planning should be more aggressive around this issue.

Eve Wiggins replied that the Family of Services actually begins next year and that the 2025 goal is having 60% of trips to be part of the Family of Services.

The Committee thanked Eve Wiggins for her presentation.

Wheel-Trans Service Delivery Review Project

Sasha Pejcic, Project Manager from the consulting firm Parsons Brinckerhoff, discussed the Wheel-Trans Program Review that is taking place. The presentation included a background, goals, work tasks, and the next steps.

Sasha Pejcic and his colleague spent the previous day riding Wheel-Trans to get a better awareness of the system first hand.

The background of the project cited the 2012 Auditor General’s review that sustaining level and quality of service requires change and that, to this end, the Parsons Brinckerhoff consultants are looking at sustainability, best practices, and challenges.

The goals of the project include compliance with the AODA by January 1, 2017. Sasha Pejcic added that the goals also include a better return on investment and to show mindfulness for taxpayers who do not use transit.

Their plan includes the following:

  • Revisiting eligibility requirements for both equity and sustainability, including looking at the abuse of the system
  • Review of service design and delivery
  • Investigating fare evasion
  • Conducting talks with customers
  • Assessing current state of technology in the system
  • Advocating for awareness and understanding through public education

Sasha Pejcic asked the Committee to talk to their friends and others about the work that they are doing.

The Committee thanked Sasha Pejcic for his presentation.

13. Culture of Accessibility

Nicole Cormier, Co-Vice Chair, addressed the Committee on the Culture of Accessibility, specifically whether the past topics such as signage and priority boarding should continue in camera or be addressed through the normal course of ACAT’s work.
There was agreement that the issues are being addressed under the current structure. The Committee agreed to move forward.

14. Review of Guidelines – Recording Minutes at ACAT Meetings

The approved guidelines “Recording Minutes at ACAT Meetings” were distributed to ACAT members for information and for review if there are any changes that ACAT members wish to incorporate.
A member of the Committee observed that the guidelines make no mention as to if an ACAT member leaves a meeting early. It might be important to record this information to ensure there is quorum all the way through.
After discussion, it was acknowledged that ultimately it is up to the Chair to stop the meeting if there is no quorum.

15. Review of Correspondence

Nil.

16. Other / New Business

Nicole Cormier, Co-Vice Chair, informed the Committee that she will have to submit her resignation from ACAT as she has accepted the position of Accessibility Consultant at the City of Toronto. Due to a potential conflict of interest, she cannot take on this position and continue her work at ACAT.
The Committee thanked Nicole Cormier for her contributions to ACAT.

17. Next Meeting

The next meeting of ACAT will be held on Thursday, August 27, 2015, from 1:00 to 3:30 p.m. at 1900 Yonge Street, 7th Floor Boardroom.

18. Adjournment

The meeting was adjourned at 3:38 p.m.
Chris Landry
Recording Secretary
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