|May 31, 2005 Joint Peel-Caledon Accessibility
Advisory Committee (AAC)
|1.||Call to Order|
|2.||Approval of Minutes|
|3.||Approval of Agenda|
|7.||Reports from the Accessibility Planning Coordinators|
|8.||Report of the Accessibility Advisory Committee Chair|
THE JOINT PEEL- CALEDON
ACCESSIBILITY ADVISORY COMMITTEE (AAC)
The Joint Peel-Caledon Accessibility Advisory
Committee met on May 31, 2005 at 1:55 p.m. in the Council Chamber on the 5th
floor of the Region of Peel Headquarters Building, Brampton.
|Members Present:||H. Bajwa; G. Barnes; W. Goursky¨; S. Hames; M. Horn; N. Husain; T. LeRoux; P. Saito¨*; M. Tymkow|
|Members Absent:||E. Kolb, due to other municipal business; R. Paterak, due to other municipal business|
|R. Evans; Y. Gaudet; N. Van Sickle; (H. Bajwa and S. Hames - Members of both Brampton AAC and Joint Peel-Caledon AAC)|
|C. Lowe; N. Remtulla; (P. Saito - Member of both Mississauga AAC and Joint Peel-Caledon AAC)|
D. Szwarc, Commissioner of Social Services; C. Grant, Town Prosecutor and Solicitor, Town of Caledon; C. Gravlev, Regional Clerk and Director of Clerk's; D. Simpson, Accessibility Coordinator, City of Mississauga; W. Goss, Accessibility Coordinator, City of Brampton; M. Sikand, Accessibility Planning Specialist; C. Zelman, Project and Financial Support Co-ordinator, Corporate Services; N. McLeod, Manager, Strategic Social Policy, Social Services; L. Jones, Transportation Accessibility Specialist, Social Services; J. Payne, Legislative Co-ordinator, Corporate Services
* See text for arrivals
¨ See text for departures
Glenn Barnes, Chair - presided
1. CALL TO ORDER
Glenn Barnes, Chair of the Joint-Peel Caledon Accessibility Advisory Committee welcomed members of the City of Brampton and the City of Mississauga Accessibility Advisory Committees and thanked them for accepting the invitation to attend the first joint meeting of the municipal Accessibility Advisory Committees in Peel. He noted that the purpose of the meeting was to discuss issues related to transportation for persons with disabilities. He acknowledged the various representatives from the public transit authorities, special transit providers and area municipal taxi regulators and thanked them for attending and participating in the meeting.
Glenn Barnes called upon the members of the various municipal
Accessibility Advisory Committees and the Accessibility Coordinators from each
municipality to introduce themselves. In addition, he introduced Lisa Jones,
the newly appointed Transportation Accessibility Specialist with the Region
of Peel, Social Services department.
¨Councillor Saito departed at 2:00 p.m. due to other municipal business
2. APPROVAL OF MINUTES
That the minutes of the April 12, 2005 Joint Peel-Caledon Accessibility Advisory Committee meeting be approved.
3. APPROVAL OF AGENDA
That the agenda for the May 31, 2005 Joint Peel-Caledon, City of Brampton and City of Mississauga Accessibility Advisory Committees meeting be approved.
4. COMMUNICATION ITEMS
Glenn Barnes noted that an opportunity would be provided at the next meeting of the Joint Peel-Caledon Accessibility Advisory Committee to address comments from the members related to the communication items listed for receipt.
a) Hazel McCallion, Mayor, City of Mississauga, Letter dated November 19, 2004 to the Honourable Harinder Takhar, Minister of Transportation, Encouraging the Filing of Amendments to Regulation 629 of the Highway Traffic Act to Allow the Sale of Rear-Load Minivans for Commercial Use in Ontario
b) Wendy Goss, Accessibility Coordinator, City of Brampton, Memo dated April 12, 2005 Enclosing the City of Brampton Accessibility Handbook
c) Region of Peel Communication, Dated May 3, 2005, titled "Accessibility Advisory Committee Tours the Region's Newest Affordable Seniors' Apartments"
d) Brampton Guardian Article, Dated May 6, 2005, Regarding a New Brampton Business that Offers Discounts on Pre-owned Accessibility Equipment
e) Brampton Guardian Article, Dated May 11, 2005, Regarding Accessibility Improvements to the Brampton Transit System
f) David Szwarc, Commissioner of Social Services, Region of Peel, Memo dated May 16, 2005, Introducing Lisa Jones as the Transportation Accessibility Specialist for the Region of Peel
g) Region of Peel Press Release, Dated May 17, 2005, titled "The Province Passes New Legislation Aimed at Creating Full Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities"
a. Taxi Regulation
i. Cliff Sherman, Manager, Parking, Enforcement and By-law Services; Council Liaison and Acting Supervisor of Property Standards, City of Brampton
Cliff Sherman, Manager, Parking, Enforcement and By-law Services, Council Liaison and Acting Supervisor of Property Standards, City of Brampton presented information regarding accessible taxis and the regulation of the taxi industry in the City of Brampton. He reported that accessible taxicabs have been licensed and have operated in the City of Brampton since 1989. The City of Brampton Taxi Licensing By-law allows for up to 10 plates to be issued annually, currently there are four licensed accessible taxicabs in the City of Brampton. He also addressed the specific requirements that apply to accessible taxicabs which include: annual mechanical review; conduct and character of the driver; licensing and complaint oversight; and specific training to provide safe transportation for persons with disabilities.
ii. James Bisson, Manager, Vehicle Licensing, Corporate Services Department, Enforcement Division, City of Mississauga
James Bisson, Manager, Vehicle Licensing, Corporate Services Department, Enforcement Division, City of Mississauga provided the Committee with an overview of accessible taxi licensing requirements in the City of Mississauga. The goal of the City of Mississauga is to provide the same level of service (24 hours per day / 7 days per week) for both accessible and conventional taxicabs. Currently there are 12 eligible accessible plates (two plates for each of the six brokers) and all of the issued accessible licenses are non-transferable. Further, the City of Mississauga By-law allows for the issuing of additional plates to the broker awarded the TransHelp contract to ensure the broker has sufficient accessible cabs to meet service demand. This approach ensures all brokers can participate in the bidding process, maintaining market competition. The City of Mississauga Taxi By-law contains further regulations including: limiting the use of an accessible cab to seven years of service; requirement of both heat and air conditioning in all accessible cabs; compliance with accessibility sensitivity training for all drivers of both accessible and conventional taxis and refresher sensitivity training every five years. There are currently 17 accessible taxicab licences in the City of Mississauga including licenses issued to the Aerofleet and Aeroport brokerages. He noted that the Aerofleet and Aeroport brokerages are available for regular taxi use and are not limited to airport related trips. Of the 17 available licenses five are currently not in use awaiting changes to provincial regulation authorizing rear load accessible vehicles.
City of Brampton Councillor Hames asked whether the brokers under contract to TransHelp were permitted to provide service to meet other ride requests or whether they were strictly providing service to TransHelp. James Bisson responded that the brokers can serve other contracts as well as on demand calls for service. Councillor Hames further inquired if there were still accessible cabs available to meet demand, taking into account the cabs committed to serving the TransHelp contract. James Bisson indicated that having two licences with each of the six brokers allows additional cabs to be available within the system.
Nancy Milne, Executive Director, Mississauga Chapter, Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada (attending in the public gallery), addressed concerns related to the availability of taxis for private rides (on demand requests for service) noting that in his presentation James Bisson indicated that it is the goal of the City of Mississauga to provide the same level of service to persons with disabilities and the general public. She indicated that in her experience a person requesting an accessible cab independent of TransHelp frequently is advised that there are no accessible cabs available (to meet the on demand request). James Bisson replied that recent changes to the City of Mississauga Taxi Licensing By-law were designed to increase the availability of accessible cabs to better serve on demand requests for service. He encouraged any member of the public that is having a problem with on demand requests for accessible taxi service to contact him directly and he will undertake to review the situation with the broker. Glenn Barnes remarked that it was his hope that recent changes to the Mississauga Taxi Licensing By-law and forums like the first joint meeting of the area municipal Accessibility Advisory Committees would assist in discussing the issues affecting Peel citizens with disabilities and finding effective solutions pro-actively.
iii. Colleen Grant, Town Prosecutor and Solicitor, Town of Caledon
Colleen Grant, Town Prosecutor and Solicitor, Town of Caledon, gave a brief overview of the taxi licensing regulations that currently exist in the Town of Caledon. She noted that there were a maximum of 15 licenses available in 2004 divided between three taxi owners. Colleen Grant detailed the requirements under the Town of Caledon Taxi Licensing By-law that apply to all operators, owners and brokers. Currently no applications to operate an accessible taxi cab in the Town of Caledon have been received. If such an application were received, provision for the availability of an accessible taxi licence could be made provided all taxi licensing requirements were met. She also noted that the Town of Caledon is currently undertaking a review of the Taxi Licensing By-law and as part of that process input from the Joint Peel-Caledon Accessibility Advisory Committee will be sought.
Glenn Barnes addressed the three taxi licensing presenters from the area municipalities inquiring whether there were metered taxicab rate differences between each of the jurisdictions. James Bisson confirmed that the current metered taxicab rates in each of the area municipalities are slightly different. Glenn Barnes asked Colleen Grant if the Town of Caledon could issue a taxi license for an accessible cab immediately and whether it would be a special accessible licence. Colleen Grant assured the Committee that if such an application was made, the Town would process the application expeditiously. She noted that the Town of Caledon does not have a special accessible taxi licence provision under the current Taxi Licensing By-law, and the issuing of a taxi licence for an accessible taxicab would be dealt with through an exemption to the current by-law.
Glenn Barnes thanked the taxi licensing presenters from the City of Brampton, City of Mississauga and the Town of Caledon for taking the time to participate in the meeting.
b. Transit Provision
i. Henrik Zbogar, Project Leader - AcceleRide, and Jane Chandra, Senior Operations Supervisor, Brampton Transit
Henrik Zbogar, Project Leader - AcceleRide, Brampton Transit provided a presentation highlighting the history of accessible service including the following key points:
Henrik Zbogar detailed the objectives of the AcceleRide Bus Rapid Transit Initiative as follows: to provide Brampton's component to an integrated and seamless Greater Toronto Area transportation network; address traffic gridlock; provide an efficient and reliable service; provide an environmentally sound alternative to the automobile; leverage available economic resources in a responsible manner; and provide comfortable, attractive and accessible transit amenities designed to promote public transportation. He noted that input from the City of Brampton Accessibility Advisory Committee would be sought regarding future vehicle selection, station designs and passenger information systems. Henrik Zbogar further noted that Brampton Transit is participating in the Greater Toronto Area Farecard system, which allows a rider to use a single card to access all public transit providers in the Greater Toronto Area. The Farecard process complies with the consultative requirements of the Ontarians with Disabilities Act and the design standards are modelled on barrier free design principles and guidelines.
Maureen Tymkow, Caledon Community Member, Joint Peel-Caledon Accessibility Advisory Committee, asked if Brampton Transit drivers received any type of accessibility sensitivity training. Jane Chandra, Senior Operations Supervisor, Brampton Transit, explained that all new drivers received accessibility sensitivity training as part of their initial three week training program and that every two years they participate in a refresher course. The training process utilized by Brampton Transit has been reviewed by Wendy Goss, Accessibility Coordinator, City of Brampton.
Maureen Tymkow inquired if the passenger information systems such as electronic display boards would include audio information and not just visual. Henrik Zbogar noted the technology to incorporate audio features does exist and will be considered as part of future passenger information systems.
Naz Husain asked if drivers could announce key stops to address the needs of the visually impaired. Jane Chandra explained that at this time Brampton Transit drivers do not announce stops but that providing such announcements could be considered.
Marlowe Horn raised concerns related to the design of bus shelters, including narrow entrances and benches, which interfere with the turning radius of wheelchairs. Given that additional low floor buses and the resulting fully accessible routes will result in increased ridership by individuals in wheelchairs, she inquired if bus shelter design was being reviewed. Henrik Zbogar replied that consideration is being given to all aspects of accessibility, including the stop, the shelter and the buses. Jane Chandra added that the most recent bus purchase contracts by Brampton Transit are for vehicles with much wider doors and aisles.
Glenn Barnes suggested that the area municipal Advisory Committees, in the absence of provincial standards, should consider establishing standards that are uniform across the three municipalities in Peel for bus door sizes, manoeuvrability within the bus and acceptable turning radiuses at bus stops and shelters. Glenn Barnes referred to the earlier suggestion requesting bus drivers to announce key stops for the visually impaired as an example of a creative solution that has resulted from joint discussions that can be utilized by all transportation providers.
Meenu Sikand, Accessibility Planning Specialist, Region of Peel, suggested the transit providers work with neighbouring transit providers to ensure accessible routes are fully integrated and that persons with disabilities are not left stranded. Henrik Zbogar noted that there are ongoing discussions between transit providers and that the integrated Bus Rapid Transit models are working to be fully accessible.
ii. Ettore Iannacito, Manager, Service Development, Transportation and Works Department, and Evie Przybyla, Transit Planning Technologist, Mississauga Transit
Ettore Iannacito, Manager, Service Development, Transportation and Works Department, Mississauga Transit provided introductory remarks and expressed the commitment of Mississauga Transit to provide fully accessible service. He informed the Committee that fully accessible routes were developed by utilizing TransHelp data to survey potential customers and assess their interest in making use of accessible conventional transit. There are currently eight fully accessible routes in the City of Mississauga carrying between (a winter low of) 30 and (a summer high of) 100 passengers per month who require accessible features on the eight accessible routes.
Evie Przybyla, Transit Planning Technologist, Mississauga Transit, detailed the accessible features of the service provided by Mississauga Transit, including the following:
*Councillor Saito arrived at 3:15 p.m.
Glenn Barnes expressed his appreciation to both Mississauga Transit and Brampton Transit for recent improvements in providing more fully accessible conventional public transit. He noted that there are differences between the two services that should be reviewed in an effort to standardize the levels of accessible service. He cited various discrepancies between the services including Brampton Transit not having a personal attendant policy and the Mississauga fare policy differentiation between CNIB card holders and other disabled persons who pay the fare. Glenn Barnes noted the following concerns:
Glenn Barnes emphasized the importance of providing reliable, accessible service, given that a single bad experience not only erodes trust but has the potential to put a person with a disability in a life-threatening situation.
Glenn Barnes noted that in the presentation, Mississauga Transit identified eight fully accessible routes with 60 per cent of the fleet being accessible; he then asked how many routes Mississauga Transit operates. Ettore Iannacito responded that there are approximately 60 routes operated by Mississauga Transit. Glenn Barnes suggested that given the number of accessible buses in the fleet, more fully accessible routes should be available. He noted that great progress has been made but that still more needs to be done to improve services for persons with disabilities. Reports have been brought before the Joint Peel-Caledon Accessibility Advisory Committee which indicate that by the year 2010 up to 800,000 trips per year in Peel for persons with disabilities will be required as a result of changing demographics. Currently we only have the capacity for about 500,000 trips per year.
iii. Corrina Demelo, Supervisor, Administration and Support Services, and Shelley Ayres, Supervisor, Operations, TransHelp, Social Services Department, Region of Peel
Corrina Demelo, Supervisor, Administration and Support Services, TransHelp, informed the Committee of the TransHelp Mission Statement: "A Quality Regional Service: Working together to enhance the lives of those unable to use conventional transit". Utilization of the TransHelp Service is based upon the following eligibility requirements:
Corrina Demelo detailed operational aspects of the service including the following highlights:
Mississauga Regional Councillor Saito addressed the implications of the Ontarians with Disabilities Act and its inclusion of both persons with physical, intellectual and other disabilities. She asked if TransHelp staff have looked into expanding TransHelp eligibility requirements, and if so, when would a report detailing the implications of expanded TransHelp criteria be brought to Regional Council for consideration. Shelley Ayres, Supervisor, Operations, TransHelp, Social Services Department responded that staff is looking at adding five additional buses in 2006 based on demand using the current criteria. Norm McLeod, Manager, Strategic Social Policy, Social Services Department, noted that Lisa Jones, Transportation Accessibility Specialist, Social Services, will be working on exactly these types of issues to create partnerships with agencies to provide adequate services, organized separately from TransHelp. He added that a report will be before Council within a year on meeting these additional service requirements.
Glenn Barnes noted that currently there is a case before the Ontario Human Rights Commission challenging the parallel transit authority policies of the Cities of Toronto, London, Ottawa and Hamilton; policies based upon provincial guidelines that allow for an exemption in the provision of service only to persons with physical disabilities. If the challenge is successful, parallel transit authorities may be forced to open the service to a broader definition of disabilities. Councillor Saito stated that it was her understanding that all transit authorities would be subject to the broader definition under accessibility legislation. Glenn Barnes replied that it was his understanding that accessibility legislation only applied to conventional transit providers. Meenu Sikand, Accessibility Planning Specialist, Region of Peel, concurred with the distinction articulated by Glenn Barnes but noted that many of these changes are still being formulated at this time.
Naz Husain, Community Member, Joint Peel-Caledon Accessibility Advisory Committee, inquired about changes to the TransHelp eligibility requirements for persons with visual impairments. Lisa Jones, Transportation Accessibility Specialist, Social Services, replied that it is early in the process and that consideration of eligibility requirements related to persons with visual disabilities could be included in the review.
Yvonne Gaudet, Community Member, City of Brampton Accessibility Advisory Committee, noted that 44 per cent of TransHelp trips are being provided by seven taxicabs, while 56 percent of trips are provided by 39 buses. These numbers speak to the availability of accessible taxicabs given the level of service they are providing under contract to TransHelp.
iv. Silvan Bruno, Transportation Planner, Marketing and Planning Department, GO Transit
Silvan Bruno, Transportation Planner, Marketing and Planning Department, GO Transit, informed the Committee that he is also the Accessibility Coordinator for GO Transit. The accessibility policy of GO Transit reads that "GO Transit is committed to ensuring that its services and operations are as accessible as possible to all Ontarians" and "To meet these commitments, GO Transit will incorporate enhanced accessibility in all additions and improvements to GO Transit services and operations". He then detailed accessibility features of GO Transit including the following key points:
City of Brampton Councillor Hames sought clarification regarding the accessibility status of the Mount Pleasant GO Train Station in Brampton. Silvan Bruno replied that the opening of the station was rushed to meet the demand for service and as such the station is being utilized before all accessibility components designed into the station are fully operational. He noted that the station is scheduled to be fully accessible by the spring of 2006.
Naz Husain, Community Member, Joint Peel-Caledon Accessibility Advisory Committee asked that training for GO Bus drivers include recognition of persons with visual impairments. Silvan Bruno stated that current training does include the recognition of persons with visual impairments, and he encouraged anyone experiencing problems with the system to call and provide feedback.
Mississauga Regional Councillor Saito remarked that she is working
with GO Transit to ensure that when the new Lisgar Station in Mississauga opens
it will be fully accessible. Silvan Bruno noted that included in the GO Transit
Accessibility Plan is a preliminary timetable for making stations fully accessible
that are currently not accessible.
Councillor Saito inquired if GO Transit is working to make all train station access points fully accessible. Silvan Bruno indicated that traditionally only one access point has been made fully accessible, but GO Transit is currently discussing options in this regard.
¨ William Goursky departed at 4:00 p.m.
v. Susan Cameron, Executive Director, Caledon Community Services
Susan Cameron, Executive Director, Caledon Community Services, explained to the Committee that Caledon Community Services operates within a 724 square kilometre area that is the Town of Caledon, an area that is bigger than the City of Mississauga and the City of Brampton combined. She noted that there is no conventional transit option currently available in the Town of Caledon. Caledon Community Services operates two transportation programs; Para-transit operated with TransHelp for persons with specific disabilities and persons with dialysis needs; and Ministry of Health services for seniors and persons with all disabilities, be they short or long-term. TransHelp service is provided according to TransHelp criteria and the Ministry of Health transportation services are provided to persons meeting the following criteria:
Caledon Community Services provides its service seven days per week and up to 15 hours per day utilizing:
Trips are not limited to the Town of Caledon, other destinations include: Brampton, Mississauga, Georgetown, Guelph, Orangeville, Alliston, Newmarket, Barrie, Woodbridge and Toronto. Group trips are scheduled four days per week and clients are encouraged to book appointments to take full advantage of these scheduled trips. Caledon Community Services partners with all of the seniors day programs, and Caledon Community Living programs. Caledon Community Services received the first Ontario Community Transportation Award in 1998. All escorts ride for free on both the TransHelp and Ministry of Health transportation services.
Susan Cameron encouraged all persons with disabilities or those reliant upon special transit providers to be more proactive in bringing about change and improvements to services. In an effort to provide "spontaneous" rides, Caledon Community services is looking at making a day or part of a day available to accept on demand calls as a potential solution. She concluded by saying that only when spontaneous trips can be provided will freedom of movement be realized.
Glenn Barnes encouraged other transportation providers to look at Caledon Community Services as an example and a successful model of what can be accomplished.
Susan Cameron clarified that the one way trip fare in Caledon is $2.50 and services are provided at fixed rates for destinations outside of Caledon (e.g. a return door-to-door trip to Toronto is $26 and Mississauga is $22).
7. REPORT FROM THE ACCESSIBILITY PLANNING COORDINATORS
a. Colleen Grant, Town Prosecutor and Solicitor, Town of Caledon
Deferred to the July 12, 2005 AAC Meeting
b. Meenu Sikand, Accessibility Planning Specialist, Region of Peel
Deferred to the July 12, 2005 AAC Meeting
8. REPORT OF THE ACCESSIBILITY ADVISORY COMMITTEE CHAIR (ORAL)
9. OTHER BUSINESS
a. Discussion regarding the hosting of the next joint meeting of the area municipal Accessibility Advisory Committees.
Group discussion occurred regarding a future joint meeting of the City of Brampton, City of Mississauga and Joint Region of Peel - Town of Caledon Accessibility Advisory Committees. Concensus was reached regarding a meeting of the various Committee Chairs, staff Accessiblity Coordinators and any Committee members interested in attending, to review the hosting of future joint meetings and potential agenda items. This meeting will be arranged by Diana Simpson, Accessibility Coordinator, City of Mississauga.
10. NEXT MEETING (JOINT REGION OF PEEL -
TOWN OF CALEDON AAC)
Tuesday, July 12, 2005 (1:45 p.m. - 3:45 p.m.)
Region of Peel Headquarters,
Council Chamber, 5th floor
10 Peel Centre Dr., Brampton, Ontario
The meeting adjourned at 4:30 p.m.