Minutes of the Board of Directors’ Regular Meeting – September 19 to 21, 2022


Members of the Board of Directors (the Board):

  • Me Paul-Claude Bérubé, Chairperson
  • Mary Reid, Vice-Chairperson
  • William Adair, Director
  • Kory Earle, Director  
  • Maureen Haan, Director
  • Penny Hartin, Director
  • Brad McCannell, Director 
  • Dr. Joe McLaughlin, Director
  • Laurie Ringaert, Director (September 19 and 21)

Accessibility Standards Canada Public Officers:

  • Philip Rizcallah, Chief Executive Officer (CEO)
  • Philipe Sarrazin, Chief Financial Officer and Director General (CFO), Corporate Services (September 19 and 20) (virtually)
  • Dino Zuppa, Chief Operating Officer (COO), Standards and Research (September 19 and 20)
  • Maggie Saunders, Director, Stakeholder Relations and Intergovernmental Affairs (September 19 - 20) (virtually)
  • Louis-Philippe Daigle, Manager, Finances and Deputy Chief Financial Officer (DCFO) (September 20) (virtually)
  • Martine Bareil, Manager, Communications (September 19 and 21)
  • Guillaume Dufresne, Manager, Stakeholder Relations and Corporate Secretariat (virtually) 
  • Christopher Collmorgen, Senior Policy Analyst, Stakeholder Relations and Corporate Secretariat 
  • Heather Scott, Policy Analyst, Stakeholder Relations and Corporate Secretariat (September 19) (virtually)
  • Jasmine Desloges, Coordinator Stakeholder Relations and Corporate Secretariat
  • Anthony Jolicoeur, IT/IM Officer

Guest: Stephanie Cadieux, Chief Accessibility Officer, Employment and Social Development Canada (September 19) 


Monday, September 19, 2022

1.      Welcoming remarks and roll call

The meeting opened with a roll call and words of welcome from the Chairperson.

31-1    Motion presented and seconded to open the meeting at 9:00 a.m. EDT. Carried by all.

2.      Land acknowledgement

P.-C. Bérubé presented a land acknowledgement as a small act of reconciliation with Indigenous peoples of Montreal, from where he was participating.

3.      Moment of Silence–Honouring Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II

The Chairperson and the CEO each pronounced a final farewell to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, respectively in French and in English. A moment of silence was observed in honour of her reign, her contributions, and her passing.

4.      Board meeting agenda

Document 3A: Proposed agenda

31-2    Motion presented and seconded to approve the agenda of the Board of Directors’ regular meeting held from September 19 to 21 2022, with one modification. Item 32 (Enterprise Risk Management Policy Review) will be postponed to the December 2022 Board meeting. Carried by all.

5.      Proposed consent agenda

31-3    Motion presented and seconded to approve items 5 to 16 from the Consent agenda with the exception of item 4 (Board minutes of May 30 to June 1, 2022):

  • Board Motions and Action List; 
  • Letter to the Chief Accessibility Officer; 
  • Chairperson’s Report; 
  • Internal Affairs Committee Report; 
  • External Affairs Committee Report; 
  • Review of By-Law and Governance Policy; 
  • 2021 to 2022 Department Results Report; 
  • Annual Board Meeting Calendar for 2023; 
  • Board of Directors’ Annual Critical Dates Calendar 2023; 
  • December 2022 Board Meeting New Date; 
  • Language and Terminology Guide Update; and
  • Communications Quarterly Report. 

Action: It was noted for item 13 (Annual Critical Dates Calendar 2023) that the Annual Report should be the responsibility of the External Affairs Committee and not the Internal Affairs Committee.

31-4 Motion presented and seconded to modify a section of the land acknowledgement in the Board minutes of May 30 to June 1, 2022 (Item 4). It was proposed to replace the sentence “in honour of Indigenous peoples” with the sentence “as a small act of reconciliation with Indigenous peoples” for these minutes and all future ones. Carried by all.

6.      CEO’s update

Document 17A: CEO’s report
Document 17B: 3-year strategic plan

The CEO summarized the latest activities of the organization. All activities are linked to the 3-year strategic plan to highlight the organization’s progress. The CEO highlighted the following items:

The Pan-Canadian Forum: Accessibility Standards Canada will co-host the first Pan-Canadian Forum on Accessibility Standards with British Columbia’s Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction. The Forum will be held in the National Capital Region on October 18 and 19, 2022. Senior Officials from all provinces and territories will join to discuss our respective mandates, identify overlapping priorities, and look to achieve a coherent and consistent approach to accessibility in Canada.

Accessibility Standards Canada offices: Many government departments have been interested to view the design and functions of an accessible office. The office will serve as a model for other departments to design for accessibility in their own office designs.

Standards Development: The CEO has met with many organizations to tell them about the standards, share information and discuss how they can get involved. Work continues on all standards, with the first public review period planned to begin in November 2022.

Grants and Contributions: Since the organization updated the submission process, more applications were received from across the country from different groups.

Action: Accessibility will be included with Equity Diversity Inclusion training.

7.      Harmonization work: Provinces and territories

Document 19A: Briefing note

The Director of Intergovernmental Affairs, M. Saunders, presented a summary of the ongoing work of the organization with provinces and territories. Accessibility Standards Canada seeks to harmonize standards and collaborate on research wherever possible. To date, four Memorandums of Understanding (MoU) have been signed with provinces. MoUs are tailored for each jurisdiction. M. Saunders discussed the Forum in more detail as well. Board members will be informed on the outcome of the Forum at the December Board meeting.

Board requested that Accessibility Standards Canada’s values are reflected in MoUs with provinces and territories.

8.      Standards development update

Document 20A: Briefing note

The COO, D. Zuppa, gave an update on the success of the second assessment of Accessibility Standards Canada by the Standards Council of Canada.

The technical committee on plain language initially planned to publish a best practice guide as opposed to a plain language national standard of Canada. They have now agreed to develop a national standard of Canada for plain language.

In order to aid the process of standard development, the organization aims to prepare a “seed document” for each standard. These documents include scans of existing standards and regulations, best practices and other research both nationally and internationally. The Board commented on the importance to include grey literature (written or electronic information or research that is not published commercially and is not easily found) in these seed documents. It was agreed that Board members may submit grey literature for staff to consider using in seed documents.

The Board commented on the importance of understanding what resources may be required for implementing standards. (For example, a new standard in plain language will require plain language resources, including transcribers.) This is not to limit the standard but to let relevant organizations and departments know so they can support increased resources.

The Board commented on importance of understanding how a standard can impact another standard.

Action: Consideration of intersectionality with other standards in the standards development process.

9.      Grants and contributions: Program roles

Document 21A: Briefing note

This item was postponed to a future time during the Board meeting.

10.     Presentation by the Chief Accessibility Officer

Document 22A: Presentation

Ms. Stephanie Cadieux, the recently appointed Chief Accessibility Officer for Canada, made a presentation to the Board of Directors on her new role, her vision and her mandate. A period of questions and answers followed the presentation. The Chairperson thanked Ms. Cadieux for sharing her knowledge and experience with the Board.

11.     Concluding remarks

The CEO informed Board members that the meeting with COPHAN would start at 7:15 p.m. that day and Board members could join in person or virtually.  The Board meeting was adjourned at 1:00 p.m. to accommodate video and audio setup for the evening meeting with COPHAN.

12.    Adjournment

31-5      Motion presented to adjourn the meeting at 1:00 p.m. for the day. Carried by all.

Tuesday, September 20, 2022

13.    Welcoming remarks and roll call

The meeting opened with a roll call and words of welcome from the Chairperson.

31-6    Motion presented and seconded to open the meeting at 9:00 a.m. EDT. Director L. Ringaert could not attend the meeting on this day. Carried by all.

14.    Land acknowledgement

K. Earle presented a land acknowledgement as a small act of reconciliation with Indigenous peoples of Montreal, from where he was participating.

31-7  Motion presented and seconded to postpone the item 21 (Grants and Contributions: Program Roles) to the December 2022 Board meeting. Carried by all.

15.    Debriefing of COPHAN meeting

Board members shared their feedback on the proceedings and logistics of the meeting between Accessibility Standards Canada and COPHAN. The organizations share a common interest in reducing barriers to accessibility. 

Action: Board members were invited to send any further comments to the External Affairs Committee. The Chair of the External Affairs Committee, B. Adair, will provide a summary report of this event at the December 2022 Board meeting.

16.    Financial update

Document 30A: Financial report

The DCFO, L.-P. Daigle, presented the forecast for the entire year as well as quarterly results, with comparison to last year’s expenses. The organization is now managing its own salaries, benefits, and Grants and Contributions expenditures independently from Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC). This difference allows the organization to post expenditures as they occur instead of being delayed while waiting to be invoiced. This explains the higher expenditures for the organization compared to this time last year. With these new operating practices, future presentations will have better comparability year over year.

17.      Risk management report

Document 31A: Briefing note - Risk management report

The CFO, P. Sarrazin, reported that since the last Board meeting in May-June 2022, the organization has identified eight potential risks compared to 20. Risk mitigation strategies have been implemented for these risks. He reported that the organization is in a stable position.

Action: The complete list of risks will be added to future risk management reports sent to the Board, and all risk management documents will be added to the e-binder for reference.

Action: It was agreed that all documents for the December 2022 Board meeting will be sent four weeks in advance for plain language and translation processing. The quality of French documents will be reviewed carefully as some documents do not reflect the English versions.

18.    Enterprise risk management policy review

No documents were shared at this meeting. The policy review will be presented at the December 2022 Board meeting with a revised version of the Risk registry and the Tolerance to risk level.

19.    Generative discussion

Document 34A: Briefing note

This item was postponed at another time during the Board meeting due to time constraints.

20.    Board roles and responsibilities

Document 45A: Briefing note

The Vice-Chairperson, M. Reid, gave a summary on the preparation of this document since March 2022 by the Internal Affairs Committee (IAC). The document is also linked to other work done by the IAC on the development of the Board and CEO profiles and the Travel Reimbursement and Per Diem Guidelines. The document will be shared with Board members for their feedback and a proposal will be provided at the December meeting.

21.    Board members personal-professional email address

M. Reid shared how she identifies and organizes her emails to reflect the work she does on behalf of Accessibility Standards Canada. This is done through an email address that is only for Accessibility Standards Canada.

22.    Concluding remarks

Board members and staff involved with the Annual Public Meeting were reminded to meet at 12:00 p.m. in the boardroom.

23.    Adjournment

31-8      Motion presented to adjourn the meeting at 10:58 a.m. Carried by all.

24.    Annual Public Meeting

In the afternoon, Board members attended the second Annual Public Meeting of Accessibility Standards Canada with participants from across Canada.

25.    Annual Public Meeting – Post-observations

Board members proceeded to exchange their assessment of the Annual Public Meeting (APM). They reviewed the content, the delivery of information, and the technical aspects of the event. The External Affairs Committee will prepare a summary report on the APM for the December 2022 Board meeting.

Wednesday, September 21, 2022

26.    Welcoming remarks and roll call

The meeting opened with a roll call and words of welcome from the Chairperson.

31.9  Motion presented and seconded to open the meeting at 9:00 a.m. EDT. Carried by all.

27.    Land acknowledgement

P. Hartin presented a land acknowledgement as a small act of reconciliation with Indigenous peoples of Montreal, from where she was participating.

28.    Get to know me

J. McLaughlin shared a summary of his life and work experience with fellow Board members.

Action:  M. Reid will present this item at the December 2022 Board meeting.

29.    Generative Discussion

Document 34A: Briefing note

M. Reid led the discussion on the topic of who the “us” is in “Nothing Without Us”.  Board members reflected on what it means to engage with people with disabilities within the office, activities and events. There is consensus among Directors that the principle of “Nothing Without Us” focuses on involving people with disabilities in the decision-making process. It is important for society’s advancement that people with disabilities share their knowledge and lived experience in all aspects of society.

The organization aims to involve people with disabilities in many areas of work such as in technical committees, on Board of Directors, and on staff. Certain consultation processes are already in place, but consultations need to further include both rural and urban disability communities, Indigenous persons with disabilities, seniors, and people representative of intersectional groups.

The organization needs to have good representation of people with disabilities with professional technical knowledge in order to develop the best possible accessibility standards. Further reflection needs to focus on how to better involve people with disabilities in the process of research development.

30.    Board assessment form and process

Document 46A: Briefing note
Document 46B: Board assessment and process
Document 46C: Board assessment questionnaire

L. Ringaert presented the process prepared by the Internal Affairs Committee (IAC) for the Board self-evaluation for the period of 2022. She outlined the changes that were made as previously recommended by Board members. The Board, CEO and key staff members will answer the questionnaire. The IAC will keep up-to-date on the conduct of the assessment.

Next year, the IAC will have time to consider hiring an external consultant to gather information from the self-assessment questionnaire.

31-10 Motion presented and seconded to approve the process for the 2022 Board evaluation as stated in document 46B and document 46C. Carried by all.

31.    Presentation on digital platform: 365 office

Document 48A: Briefing note

A. Jolicoeur made a presentation on the future application of a digital platform for use by Board members and Accessibility Standards Canada public officers. This platform will offer access and sharing of information, but no modifications can be made to documents. Folders with specific categories will be created for information sharing. MS Teams can be used to connect; however, Board meetings will continue to be held using Zoom as it offers more accessibility features. 

Action: A. Jolicoeur will gather intake information to open an account for each Board member. A small group of Board members will be the first to try the platform and provide feedback on how well the platform is performing.

32.    Communications strategy 2022 to 2023

Document 49A: Briefing note
Document 49B: Communications strategy 2022 to 2023

The Manager of Communications, M. Bareil, gave an overview of the Communications strategy for the period of September 2022 to September 2023. This new strategy will inform stakeholders and the Canadian population about the organization’s mandate, programs, progress and opportunities for involvement. The website and social media platforms will provide opportunities to promote activities of the organization and to build relationships with the disability community and industries.

The organization’s website was rebranded this summer. The “Centre of Expertise” will eventually be launched on the website to share information on accessibility. The “Community of Practice” continues to be a great platform to reach other government departments and inform participants on practices for accessible communications.

The Communications strategy is aligned with the Engagement plan of the External Affairs Committee.

31-11 Motion presented and seconded to approve the Communications strategy 2022 to 2023 as presented on September 21, 2022. Carried by all.

33.    Directors stakeholder engagement plan

Document 51A : Briefing note and Appendix 1 and 2

The Chair of the External Affairs Committee, B. Adair, and public officer, C. Collmorgen presented a process for Directors’ engagement with stakeholders in various communities across Canada.

The External Affairs Committee and staff from Accessibility Standards Canada will support Board members engaging with stakeholders. The Stakeholder Engagement Strategy, the Spokesperson Guideline, and the Spokesperson Form (to be completed by Board members for approval by Chairperson and the CEO) will also inform this work.

Board members agreed to have a standing item in the Consent Agenda to provide a written summary of Directors’ engagement with stakeholders.

Action: In the Appendix 1, to add the missing seven groups for target audience groups for future reference of all 13 stakeholder categories.

Action: The External Affairs Committee will set up a strategy for stakeholder engagement within an 18-month calendar.

Action:  The Internal Affairs Committee will proceed and complete the skills and background profile.

31-12 Motion presented and seconded to approve the Directors Stakeholder Engagement Plan as presented on September 21, 2022. Carried by all.

34.    In camera session

No in camera session was held.

35.    Other business

Document 55A: Evaluation form for board meeting (interim)

Board members received the interim board meeting evaluation form and it was completed by the end of the Board meeting. A revised version of this form will be reviewed by the IAC and presented at the December Board meeting. The goal is to have it available through SurveyMonkey and in paper form.

36.    Forward agenda

A reminder to include the item “Grants and contribution: Program roles” to the December 2022 Board meeting agenda.

37.    Concluding remark

The next Board of Directors meeting will be held in Toronto, in December 2022.

38.    Adjournment

31-13 Motion presented to adjourn the meeting at 2:40 p.m.