November 2016

The Advisory Committee on Accessible Transit (ACAT) includes residents of Toronto who provide advice and recommendations to the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) Board and TTC staff on matters pertaining to accessible public transit in the City of Toronto. Such matters include the removal of barriers to accessibility and improving the customer experience for persons with disabilities and seniors.

1. ACAT’s Role

1.1 Volunteer members of ACAT shall:

a. Represent the needs and concerns of persons with disabilities and seniors who use public transit provided by the TTC.

b. Provide advice to the TTC Board and TTC staff for the provision of accessible public transit.

c. Advise the TTC Board and TTC staff on necessary policy issues for service(s) which pertains to the interests of persons with disabilities and seniors.

d. Support TTC staff in providing consultation, education, and advice to persons with disabilities, seniors, and the community at large.

e. Be familiar with the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA), the Ontario Human Rights Code, and related accessibility standards and/or guidelines and legislation as they pertain to public transit.

1.2 ACAT will address systemic issues only and not individual customer complaints.

2. ACAT Membership

2.1 Membership in ACAT shall be open to interested residents of the City of Toronto who use TTC services.

2.2 ACAT shall be comprised of fifteen (15) members including:

 a. At least eight (8) persons with disabilities, as defined by the definition of “disability” under the Ontario Human Rights Code.  Several kinds of disabilities may be represented by these persons including, but not limited to: physical or mobility, visual, hearing, communication, learning, mental health (psychological/psychiatric), and intellectual/developmental disabilities.

 b. A minimum of two (2) seniors.

 c. A maximum of three (3) other persons exclusive of those identified above (in Section 2.2, paragraph a) who are advocates for persons with disabilities or who have a demonstrated knowledge of and interest in accessible transit issues.
 
2.3 Members of ACAT shall be appointed for up to a three-year (3) term and one-third (1/3) of the members shall be replaced each year.

2.4 Retired ACAT members may reapply for a subsequent term following a one-year absence from ACAT.

2.5 In addition to applicants appointed as ACAT members each year, other qualified applicants will be identified as and appointed to a pool of qualified applicants (ACAT Pool) for that year. An ACAT Pool member may be called on by the ACAT Executive and TTC staff to fill a vacancy in the course of a year.  An ACAT Pool member who fills a vacancy for less than twelve (12) months may reapply to be an ACAT member without serving the one (1) year absence from ACAT membership requirement.

3. Selection and Appointment Process

3.1 The selection process for ACAT membership shall be undertaken through a solicitation to the public in local newspapers and/or other forms of communication available to the TTC.

3.2 Applicants must attend an information session, in person, to be eligible to apply for ACAT membership.

3.3 Persons with disabilities, seniors, and those who have demonstrated knowledge of and interest in accessible transit issues, and who are willing to make a commitment (of time) to attend and participate in ACAT and ACAT Subcommittee meetings, as well as other related activities, must submit a completed application form outlining their qualifications (and interest in joining ACAT) after attending an information session.

3.4 Selected applicants shall be interviewed and evaluated by a four- (4) member selection committee, including two TTC staff representatives, personnel from the City of Toronto, and ACAT’s Chair or Vice Chair. The selection committee will evaluate applicants based on their relevant work and education experience, familiarity with public transit accessibility, and experience working with or on Boards and committees.

3.5 The selection committee shall make its recommendations to the TTC Board whose members shall make the final decision and appointments to ACAT.

3.6 Individuals who are recommended for an appointment to ACAT will be invited to submit a brief biography for inclusion in information packages.

3.7 Individuals, who are appointed to ACAT, will attend an orientation on the roles and responsibilities of ACAT. They will also be provided with current information on ACAT Subcommittees and will be given the ACAT Terms of Reference, ACAT Member Guidelines, ACAT Subcommittee Guidelines, ACAT Meeting Protocols, and/or other pertinent documents.

4. Attendance and Vacancies

4.1  ACAT members are expected to attend all meetings held within a year, unless they provide “reasonable cause” for missing a meeting that is acceptable to members of ACAT’s Executive and TTC staff. Reasonable cause includes, but is not limited to, illness or injury, specialist appointments that cannot be rescheduled, employment-related travel, the death or serious illness of a family member, and breakdown of a member’s mobility device.

4.2  Members will make reasonable efforts to ensure that employment, volunteer, and other personal responsibilities do not interfere with their commitment to attend ACAT General meeting and ACAT Subcommittee meetings.

4.3  Members shall advise the ACAT Chair and TTC staff of their anticipated absence prior to a scheduled meeting.

4.4. A vacancy may be declared at such time that:

a. An ACAT member submits a letter of resignation or is otherwise unable to complete their term,

b. An ACAT member has been removed from ACAT having missed three (3) ACAT General meetings or more than 25% of Subcommittee meetings within a year without providing reasonable cause acceptable to the ACAT Executive and TTC staff, as noted above in section 4.1.

c. An ACAT member is found to be in violation of the ACAT Terms of Reference, ACAT Member Guidelines, ACAT Subcommittee Guidelines, ACAT Meeting Protocols, and/or other pertinent documents.

4.5 Removal Process

4.5.1 The member in question will meet with the ACAT Chair or their designate, and TTC staff representative(s) and be given the opportunity to resign before being removed from ACAT.

4.6 Appeal Process

4.6.1 If the member wishes to appeal their removal from ACAT, a meeting will be arranged prior to the next ACAT General meeting between the member and an appeal panel consisting of the ACAT Executive, and TTC staff representative(s). 

 The appeal panel may decide to:

a. Reverse the decision to remove the member;

b. Uphold the decision to remove the member;

c. Reinstate the member with the condition that subsequent transgressions, including missing meetings without reasonable cause, will result in the permanent removal from ACAT, or

d. Formulate an alternate resolution that is reasonable in the circumstances.

4.6.2 The member will be advised of the decision, in writing, and signed by the members of the appeal panel.

4.7 Member Vacancies

4.7.1 Vacancies on ACAT shall be filled by a member of the ACAT Pool, as determined by the ACAT Executive and TTC staff, as soon as possible, and the new member shall serve for the balance of the term of the member being replaced.

4.8 Executive Vacancy

4.8.1 If ACAT Executive vacancies occur as a result of resignation, death, or removal, the following process will be followed to fill the vacancy:

a. Chair: One of the two ACAT Vice Chairs will become ACAT Chair, based on discussion between the two Vice Chairs and TTC staff. The decision as to who becomes ACAT Chair will be based on the individual’s length of service, available time, and accompanying skills, as agreed by both Vice Chairs and TTC staff. Vice Chairs may agree to co-chair should that best serve the needs of ACAT.

b. Vice-Chairs: To ensure continuity and to allow for members to gain experience on the ACAT Executive, if one or both of the positions of Vice Chair become vacant, a replacement will be elected (from the membership) by ACAT.

5. Agreement

5.1 Individuals appointed to membership in ACAT or its Pool, agree to:

a. Adhere to and respect TTC personnel and TTC policies, procedures and regulations.

b. Respect ACAT colleagues.

c. Adhere to ACAT’s Terms of Reference, ACAT Member Guidelines, ACAT Subcommittee Guidelines, ACAT Meeting Protocols, and/or other pertinent documents.

d. Adhere to the Conflict of Interest provisions in the City of Toronto Public Service By-law

e. Keep confidential any TTC information, documents, or other materials identified as confidential that are not in the public domain and are provided to facilitate the work of ACAT.

6. Executive

6.1 The ACAT Executive shall consist of a Chair and two (2) Vice Chairs. They shall be elected by the ACAT membership at its first January meeting of the calendar year. For each position, the member with the most votes on a single secret ballot is will be declared elected.

6.2 In the event there is a tie, a second vote will take place. If there is still a tie, then the Chair will be determined by drawing straws (longer straw wins).

6.3 Given the complexity of the Chair position and the fact that ACAT members are appointed for three (3)-year terms, while the Executive positions are voted for annually, the Chair shall be an individual that has served on the current ACAT Committee for a minimum of one (1) year.

6.4 The Chair shall preside at all ACAT General and Special meetings, attend TTC Board meetings, and represent ACAT at public functions. The Vice Chairs shall serve in the absence of the Chair.

6.5 The ACAT Executive will meet with the Chair of the TTC Board and the TTC’s CEO on a quarterly basis.

7. Meetings

7.1 General ACAT meetings shall be held monthly or at the call of the Chair. The exception will be in the month of January where two (2) meetings will be held to facilitate the election of the ACAT Executive.

7.2 Eight (8) ACAT Members shall constitute a quorum for every ACAT General or Special meeting.

7.3 As per City of Toronto procedural by-laws, ACAT members must attend in person to be counted as present and to participate in meetings.

7.4 Each ACAT member is entitled to one vote on each motion.

7.5 ACAT will entertain deputations from members of the public, with respect to issues pertaining to accessible transit for persons with disabilities and seniors. Each deputation shall not exceed five (5) minutes in length.

7.6 A member of the public must make their request for a deputation at least ten (10) days prior to an upcoming ACAT meeting, and must provide a brief written overview of the topic/s to be addressed.

8. TTC Staffing

8.1 The Head of Wheel-Trans and appropriate Wheel-Trans staff will provide ongoing support, liaison, and administration to ACAT and shall attend all ACAT meetings.

8.2 Clerical support shall be assigned by Wheel-Trans staff for the purpose of recording and distributing ACAT and ACAT Subcommittee minutes, meeting notices, correspondence, etc.

8.3 TTC staff shall act as a liaison and resource to ACAT and ACAT Subcommittees, as mutually agreed upon to ensure expedient responses to recommendations and areas of concern.

8.4 A staff liaison for each ACAT Subcommittee shall attend all ACAT General meetings. Other TTC staff will also be called upon to attend as issues warrant.

8.5 Support will be provided at ACAT General and Subcommittee meetings, as required and requested (including, but not limited to, personal support workers), to assist with the accommodation of the ACAT members and the members of the public.

9. Amendments

9.1 Recommendations for amending the ACAT Terms of Reference may be made by submission in writing to the Chair by any member of ACAT. Recommendations for amending the ACAT Terms of Reference may also be made by TTC Staff. Only recommendations approved by a majority vote of the Advisory Committee shall be forwarded to the TTC Board for consideration.

10. ACAT Representation on Other Committees

10.1 From time-to-time ACAT may be asked to designate a representative to serve on other transit-related committees to advise on accessibility matters.

10.2  ACAT representatives to other transit-related committees shall:

a. Be elected on an annual basis by ACAT members at the first January meeting of the calendar year, or at other meetings as required, following the procedures set out above in Section 6.

b. Prepare a report or a summary of activities undertaken at the other transit-related committees to be presented on a regular basis at ACAT General meetings.

11. Governance Procedures

11.1 ACAT and ACAT Subcommittees meetings are governed, for purposes of process and procedures by the ACAT Terms of Reference, ACAT Member Guidelines, ACAT Subcommittee Guidelines, ACAT Meeting Protocols, Guidelines, and/or other pertinent documents.