Minutes of the Board of Directors’ meeting – February 10 to 12, 2020


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
  • Rabia Khedr, Director
  • Brad McCannell, Director
  • Dr. Joe McLaughlin, Director
  • Laurie Ringaert, Director

Accessibility Standards Canada staff members

  • Philip Rizcallah, Chief Executive Officer (CEO)
  • Kevin Whitehouse, Director General
  • Michelle Demery, Chief Operating Officer
  • Christina Richard, Manager, Communications
  • Micah Walter, Policy Analyst, Governance and Reporting
  • Tina Dowe, Analyst, Administration
  • Lorraine Trudel, Coordinator, Governance and Reporting
  • Collinda Joseph, Senior Policy Analyst, Standards Development (by teleconference)
  • Maggie Saunders, Acting Manager, Governance and Reporting (by teleconference)
  • Heather Throop, Consultant (by teleconference)


Monday, February 10, 2020

1. Welcoming remarks

06-1 Motion presented and seconded to open the meeting at 9:00 a.m. This motion also dedicates the meeting to the memory of Deborah Kennard. Ms. Kennard passed away on December 16, 2019 in Montreal. She was a devoted activist and spokesperson who promoted the rights of persons with disabilities across Canada. She left a great legacy.

Carried by all.

The Chairperson welcomed all Board members to the 3rd regular meeting of the Board of Directors in Vancouver, British Columbia.

2. Board meeting agenda

06-2 Motion presented and seconded to make changes in the order of the agenda and that item 46E (letter from Barbara Collier from Communication Disabilities Access Canada) be added. The agenda was approved as modified.

Carried by all.

3. Minutes of the Board

Document 3A: Minutes of November 25 to 27, 2019

In the minutes, it was proposed under number 5 "Nomination of members for Standing Committees and Recruitment Policy" that the word Chairperson refers to the Chair of the Board and that committee chairs refers to the chairs of standing committees.

It was proposed under number 9, motion 03-10, that any approved motion should specify the proposed modifications. The Chairperson also suggested, for future reference, there be 2 lists: one for action items arising from the meetings and another list for all motions.

06-3 Motion presented and seconded to approve the minutes. Carried. It was agreed that the minutes be shared with all Board members once approved by the Chairperson.

Carried by all.

Document 3B: Minutes of January 17, 2019

Board agreed that minutes should reflect in a succinct description the recommended changes, referred to in motion 04-2. Board discussed making the following edits to paragraph 3 of minutes of January 17.

Replace: "Discussion followed regarding targets and timeframes that were previously approved by the Board as part of the Departmental Results Framework." The revised sentence would read: "Discussion followed regarding targets and timeframes for achieving accessibility standards. Comments, questions in achieving 1 to 3 standards in the timeframe proposed demonstrated meaningful progress to removing and preventing barriers".

06-4 Motion presented and seconded to approve the minutes of January 17, 2020 with modifications presented by Mr. Adair.

Carried by all.

Note: Changes to these minutes were made on the morning of February 11; however, they are included in this section for ease of reference.

Document 3C: Action items list

The list was discussed.

4. Correspondence

The correspondence presented came from groups that work with people with disabilities expressing interest in sharing their expertise and developing partnerships with Accessibility Standards Canada. Letters were received from the following organizations:

  • RAPLIQ (Regroupement des activistes pour l'inclusion au Québec), letter sent November 22, 2019: they wish to develop a partnership with Accessibility Standards Canada to participate in research and improve accessibility standards in Canada
  • RAAQ (Regroupement des aveugles et amblyopes du Québec), letter sent in mid-November 2019: letter states they want to support the mandate of Accessibility Standards Canada
  • DeafBlind Ontario Services, letter sent in September 2019: requesting opportunities for consultation to develop strategies to improve the life for people being deaf and blind
  • Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat, letter sent September 2019: offering support and encouragement for the work undertaken by Accessibility Standards Canada

The Board of Directors will reconsider offers when more is known about the standards development criteria.

5. Strategic planning committee: Vision, mission, values

Document 7A: Briefing note

The committee chair presented a summary of the work that has been done to date, which is based on the principles outlined in the Accessible Canada Act.

Document 7B: Vision, mission, values

A summary of the vision, mission, values document was presented to all Board members. Directors discussed the proposed statements.

6. Visit from Minister Carla Qualtrough

The Board welcomed Minister Qualtrough to the meeting. The Minister presented framed appointments letters, signed by the Governor General, to each Board member and to the Chief Executive Officer. Minister Qualtrough talked about the state of accessibility in Canada and stated the need to keep the momentum going and build on the legacy of the work of this organization. Every standard developed is a step forward to help remove barriers. The Minister reaffirmed that she and her team are there to support the work done by Accessibility Standards Canada.

7. Strategic planning committee: General report and proposed work plan

Document 11A: Work plan

06-5 Motion presented and seconded to approve the work plan as presented with the recommendation from the Chairperson to change number 3 and number 8 target dates to "April 2020".

Carried by all.

8. Strategic planning committee (continued)

Documents 7A: Briefing note and 7B: Vision, mission, values

For the vision statement, members agreed to update the wording to, "A Canada without barriers where everyone, including persons with disabilities, can be confident that opportunities and services are accessible on an equal basis".

For the Mission statement, after deliberation, it was decided that the mission would be stated as: "Accessibility Standards Canada is led by persons with disabilities to create a barrier-free Canada through developing innovative accessibility standards in priority areas, revising current accessibility standards, leading research and supporting all of society to obtain the highest level of accessibility in collaboration and engagement with persons with disabilities".

For the values statements, many changes to the wording were debated.

06-6 Motion presented and seconded to replace the proposed wording in the 2nd proposed value. The value will read as follows: "The diversity of society; the work we do respects human rights and is conducted with an equal intersectional and inclusive lens".

Carried by all.

06-7 Motion presented and seconded to approve the Vision, mission, and values statements as presented with modifications arising from Board discussion. The values will be reviewed by the strategic planning committee to take the Board's discussion into account and to be presented at the April 2020 Board meeting.

Carried by all.

9. Strategic planning committee: Strategic plan

Document 13A: Briefing note

The committee chair presented the document and information related to the strategic plan. The proposed plan is for a 3 year period, with the intent that it be reviewed and updated each year.

Document 13B: Strategic plan

The strategic plan is for the entire organization and includes the work of the other standing committees. The plan is created under the direction of the Board and implemented under the guidance of the Chief Executive Officer. The plan reflects the vision, mission and values of the organization.

06-8 Motion presented and seconded that the strategic plan be accepted as presented.

Carried by all.

10. Strategic planning committee: Annual meeting calendar

Document 14A: Briefing note

The Strategic Planning Committee is responsible for preparing an annual meeting calendar once each fiscal year. The calendar must include all regular meetings and 1 annual public meeting per year which should include the dates of the meetings, the city, or at least the province or territory of each meeting for the year 2020 to 2021.

Document 14B: Annual meeting calendar

06-9 Motion presented and seconded that the proposed annual meeting calendar be approved as presented.

Carried by all.

11. Financial report

Document 15A: DCFO report

A summary of Accessibility Standards Canada's budget was presented by Kevin Whitehouse, Director General. The organization is now officially appropriated and this changes the way the finances are managed. Each year, Accessibility Standards Canada will seek financing through the main estimates like other governmental organizations.

12. Governance committee: General report and proposed work plan

Document 17A: Work plan

6-10 Motion presented and seconded to approve the work plan of the Governance Committee as presented.

Carried by all.

13. Governance committee: Code of conduct and ethics

Document 18/19A: Briefing note

The Chair of the Governance Committee presented the briefing note. The recommendation is that the Board approves these policies as they are intended to be for internal procedures.

Document 18B: Code of conduct and ethics policy

A Board member would report in writing to the Chairperson regarding any behaviour of another member that is not congruent with the Code of Conduct and Ethics policy. If the Chairperson is not respecting the Code of Conduct and Ethics policy, then the written report should be sent to the Vice-Chairperson.

Under item 18B (Code of Conduct and Ethics), a revised version was sent to all Board members prior to the meeting. Consideration should also be given to linking this document to the Mission, Vision and Values of Accessibility Standards Canada.

It was recommended that under item 7.2, the 1st sentence should be kept along with the 1st sentence of the 2nd paragraph, but to eliminate the 2nd sentence of that paragraph, and to give another name to item 7.2 other than ‘Example'.

06-11 Motion presented and seconded to approve the Code of Conduct and Ethics Policy with proposed modifications.

Carried by all.

14. Governance committee: Whistleblower policy

Document 18/19A: Briefing note

The committee is responsible for developing these policies as per its terms of reference in the Governance Policy.

Document 19B: Whistleblower policy

The committee met and discussed wording under 5.1. It is recommended to take out "Staff member" and it would read "… or Chair or Vice-Chair who can help to handle them properly and informally". In the 2nd sentence of the same paragraph: to remove the word "Board" and write "Chairperson and Vice-Chairperson". Directors discussed who they should share a concern with prior to submitting a Submission of Concern as a possible fist step and agreed this should be the Chairperson or the Vice-Chairperson.

Changes are noted under 6.5 c) to add timeframe in that sentence; and in item 8.4 to mention what the disciplinary action is. On page 4, item 3.2 needs to say the "Board of Directors" to be specific instead of "Board", as this is stated in the Governance Policy. On page 7, under 7.1 b) to change wording to reflect the "annually or as needed". In the Governance Policy, it states that all policies are reviewed once a year, and the work plan reflected this obligation.

6-12 Motion presented and seconded that the Whistleblower Policy be approved with proposed amendments.

Carried by all.

15. Governance committee: Travel and reimbursement guidelines

Document 20A: Briefing note

The guidelines have been revised to extend preparation time to all Standing Committees members and to increase preparation time caps for Board meetings.

Document 20B: Travel and reimbursement guidelines

The Chairperson stated that a reasonable range of preparation time has to be allowed and if extra time is needed, it will be discussed on an individual basis with the Chairperson and the Chief Executive Officer. As for other related Board activities, a general amount needs to be given to reflect the time invested by Board members. The Committee will review section 6.5.

6-13 Motion presented and seconded to approve the Travel and Reimbursement Guidelines with recommended modifications to be presented at the April 2020 Board meeting.

Carried by all.

6-14 Motion to adjourn the meeting at 4:00 p.m.

Carried by all.

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

6-15 Motion to open the meeting at 9:00 a.m.

Carried by all.

16. Opening remarks

The Chairperson reminded members that the meeting is dedicated to Deborah Kennard.

17. Governance committee: In-camera study

Document 21A: Briefing note

At the Board meeting of November 2019, the Board members asked that the Governance Committee make a recommendation about the in-camera study.

The Governance Committee recommends that all motions be made in open at all Board meetings and not in the in-camera session. The minor revisions made to the recommendation of the in-camera study would be incorporated into the Governance Policy and should read as follows: "Any proposed motion coming from an in-camera session must be made and carried in open meeting".

06-16 Motion presented and seconded to approve the in-camera study as presented with the changes to section 3.5.7.

Carried by all.

18. External relations committee: General report and work plan

Document 24A: Report

The committee looked into the engagement of persons with disabilities, the engagement with stakeholders, and the communication strategy to realize the mandate and objectives. The committee chair will send an email to all Board members outlining all requests from External Relations committee for follow-up information and input from Board members.

Document 24B: Work plan

The work plan reflects the work done to date. There is a need to develop an engagement strategy for the years ahead and much benefit will be gained from the experience received during the Annual Public Meeting in April 2020.

06-17 Motion presented and seconded to approve the work plan as presented to the Board members.

Carried by all.

19. External relations committee: Visual identity concept

Document 25A: Briefing note

The Board reviewed the original visual identity concept at the September 2019 meeting and requested a new option be developed. 2 concepts were developed by consultants, and the committee chose 1 concept. The visual identity concept follows Treasury Board of Canada guidelines.

Document 25B: Visual identity concept

An example of the concept was shown on the screen and a description was given. An example of how the annual report cover and banner would appear were shown. Chosen colors are royal blue (with touch of purple), robin's egg blue, and chartreuse (yellow), including the avatar with the Canadian government logo. Once approved by the Board, the concept will be sent to the Treasury Board to ensure compliance with the Federal Identity Program. The concept will then be used on various platforms.

06-18 Motion presented and seconded to approve the visual identity concept as presented.

Carried by all.

20. External relations committee: Annual report structure

Document 26A: Briefing note

The Chair of the External Relations committee gave an overview of the outline of the annual report, which would be tabled in Parliament before the end of June. The committee will present the annual report at the April 2020 Board meeting. The report will be produced in all formats, print and braille, French and English. Once the structure is approved by the Board, the writing will begin. May 15, 2020 is the target for a final product.

06-19 Motion presented and seconded to approve the concept of the annual report structure as presented.

Carried by all.

21. External relations committee: Service standards for response

Document 27A: Briefing note

This presentation is for information. The Committee is proposing best practices for Accessibility Standards Canada in terms of service standards to reply to public inquiries either by phone, letters, emails or website. Once the organization has its own social media account, standards will be established for social media.

22. External relations committee: Categories of stakeholders

Document 29A: Briefing note

The chair of the External Relations Committee presented the categories of stakeholders document, which outlines 11 different categories. A recommendation was made to add a 12th category to include other industries such as designers, producers, insurance companies, design, architects and others. Title for Sub-group 2 is changed from "Accessibility stakeholders" to new title "Refers to organizations of and for persons with disabilities".

06-20 Motion presented and seconded to approve the 11 categories of stakeholders and to add the 12th category for "industries", along with the change of title for Sub-Group 2.

Carried by all.

23. External relations committee: Annual public meeting updates

The Committee met to refine the program for the Annual Public meeting. Ms. Hartin will send the revisions and outlines to all Board members by email. Board members have received the newsletter and asked to share with their contacts. Board members were reminded to register for the Annual Public Meeting and submit their name for the newsletter if not already done.

24. Performance appraisal committee: General report and work plan

The chair of the Performance Appraisal Committee made a presentation to obtain approval of the proposed 2020 to 2021 work plan for performance appraisal. This is a standard process for evaluating a chief executive officer, and the committee could not add more criteria. The mission, values, and vision could be integrated under item 4 of the work plan. The appraisal of the Board and standing committees could be included in the work plan and framework.

06-21 Motion presented and seconded to approve the work plan with modifications for the next fiscal year.

Carried by all.

25. Performance appraisal committee: Evaluation framework for the Chief Executive Officer

Document 34A: Briefing note

The planning assumptions relating to the development of the performance management program for the Chief Executive Officer were approved by the Board of Directors at its November 25 to 27, 2019 meeting. Using the departmental results framework as a basis, the committee developed accountabilities and objectives.

Document 34B: Framework

The committee chair gave a brief overview of the process of implementing a performance management program for the CEO.

The revision of the evaluation framework for the Chief Executive Officer will reflect the vision, mission and values outlined in the strategic planning document as presented, and can be included in this document. The performance management program will be applied this fiscal year and work will be underway shortly for the following fiscal year.

Recommendation to add the words "begin to" to the following objectives:

  • accountability I-1
  • accountability I-2
  • accountability II-1

Throughout the document, the name "CASDO" will be changed to Accessibility Standards Canada.

06-22 Motion presented and seconded to approve the evaluation framework for the Chief Executive Officer as amended.

Carried by all.

26. Nominations committee: General report and work plan

The chair of the Nominations Committee gave a general presentation of criteria, including diversity in this report. The committee felt the need to develop a strategic plan to put this process in place and to obtain feedback from all committee chairs for the requirements of the nominees. Consideration could be given to creating an advisory committee for consultation.

27. Nominations committee: Independent committee members

A number of questions were considered such as, "Is there expertise missing on any of the committees?" Questions and answers will be further discussed at the April 2020 Board meeting.

28. BCANDS activities and strategic direction

Document 37A: BCANDS presentation

The British Columbia Aboriginal Network on Disability Society (BCANDS) made a presentation to the Board to inform directors of their services and programs for the Indigenous community. The presentation was followed by questions and answers.

The Chairperson thanked BCANDS for informing the Board of their work and concerns, and welcomed future opportunities to work in collaboration.

29. Overview of federal accessibility players and their roles

Document 36A: ESDC presentation

Mr. Gendron, a Director at Employment and Social Development Canada, made a presentation to the Board about the different federal accessibility players and answered questions from directors. He addressed issues on how the government is working on finding solutions to help people navigate through the federal mechanism to obtain the help they need. Members of the Board of Directors wishing to address any additional questions to Mr. Gendron were asked to do so in writing no later than Friday, February 21, 2020 through Ms. Michelle Demery. It was also agreed that these questions and the answers to them would be sent to all members of the Board.

30. Standards development approaches

Document 39A: Standards development approaches

The Chief Executive Officer explained that to become accredited, Accessibility Standards Canada needs to follow Standards Council of Canada rules and to incorporate the rules and requirements within its standards development approaches.

Standards development technical committees will be comprised of 12 to 18 members. Document 39A (Standards Development Approaches) identifies the categories of stakeholders that would form these committees. Issues such as balanced representation, size of committees, criteria for approval, member selection, and establishment and activities of technical committees are also outlined.

A selection committee comprised of staff will be in place to select members. The Board discussed the remuneration of committee participants. There will likely be task groups and experts to examine particular issues and provide input to the technical committees. Committees will meet up to 4 times a year, up to 3 days each time.

Board members will receive progress reports on the technical committees every 6 months and approve the terms of reference for people joining the committees. There will be a session presented at the April Board meeting to explain the process of standards development. The Chairperson informed the Board members that if they have further questions and concerns, to refer them to the Chairperson and he will share these with the Chief Executive Officer and report back to the Board meeting in April 2020.

31. Chairperson's report

Document 5A: Chairperson's report

Mr. Bérubé gave a summary of his activities since the last Board meeting and an update on planned activities. Some Board members will be representing the organization in various events in the months to come.

Directors were reminded to inform the Chairperson of such invitations and to seek approval. The Chairperson noted that board members representing Accessibility Standards Canada should provide a written report of their participation at events for the benefit of the other board members. A standard reporting template will be developed by staff for this purpose.

Document 5B: Letter to Minister Qualtrough – Bylaws

A copy of the letter to Minister Qualtrough, signed by the Chairperson, was included for all Board members in the documentation package, outlining the progress made by Accessibility Standards Canada since being appointed on August 26, 2019.

Document 5C: Letter to Minister Qualtrough – Invite

A copy of the letter requesting Minister Qualtrough's participation at the Board meeting was included in the documentation package.

32. Closing remarks

The Chairperson asked that Board members remain present to participate in a photo session.

06-23 Motion to adjourn the meeting at 4:10 p.m.

Carried by all.

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

06-24 Motion to open the meeting at 9:00 a.m.

Carried by all.

33. Opening remarks

Meeting resumed with the Chief Executive Officer's report.

34. Chief Executive Officer's update

Document 6A: CEO's update

The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) summarized the work done to date and what to expect in the year to come. Focus will be on grants and contributions and Board members will be informed on who is awarded grants. All money not used in this fiscal year will return to the government treasury.

Any work that Accessibility Standards Canada does has a strong impact on provincial partners. All members are supportive of the work done regarding standards development for employment, communication, environment, etc. The goal is to have close dialogue with all provincial and territorial partners along with municipal counterparts.

The CEO mentioned that all is going well for the new location. Staff are expected to move to the new headquarters in fall 2020. In terms of staffing, the CEO stated that Accessibility Standards Canada is committed to hiring people with disabilities at all levels.

35. Technical committees: Terms of reference

Document 43A: Briefing note

At the November 2019 Board meeting, the Board approved the development of standards in the following areas: emergency egress, outdoor spaces, plain language, and employment. Technical committees are being structured to meet the requirements of the Standards Council of Canada in areas of committee membership, processes and deliverables.

The technical committees will develop task advisory groups to be involved in the development of standards, and may at times hire firms or agencies to do work that is very specific to a standard. Technical committees will report to the Board of Directors, and then the Board will make recommendations to the Minister. Committees must be in place for the life cycle of a standard. Every 2.5 years, there would be revisions or updates to standards.

43B: Terms of Reference (ToR) Emergency egress

43C: Terms of Reference (ToR) Outdoor spaces

43D: Terms of Reference (ToR) Plain language

43E: Terms of Reference (ToR) Employment

Directors were provided detailed information sheets on each standard area. Directors discussed and made suggestions for modifications to Terms of Reference documents including reference to the organization's vision, mission and values.

36. Business arising

The Board discussed the January 17, 2020 meeting minutes as previously outlined.

37. Other business

Document 46A: Glossary

Additions to the glossary can be made at any time as it is for internal use. A few terms were added such as "universal access". Staff were asked to add words used during meeting, such as "plain language" and "accessible communication" to the glossary and to improve the definition of standards. A review of glossary terms will be presented at each Board meeting.

Document 46B: Evaluation report from previous meeting

Board members were reminded to fill out the evaluation form and to return it to Mr. Whitehouse and the Chairperson. It was suggested that an electronic form be used for filling out evaluation reports for future meetings.

Document 46C: Evaluation form

The evaluation form has been revised and approved by the Chairperson and Vice-Chairperson to improve the assessment of the quality of Board meetings. The Chairperson will send a reminder to Board members if the evaluation forms are not returned on time.

Document 46D: Conflict of interest

The Chairperson sent a message to all Board members to address the issue of conflict of interest for information purposes. If a Board member is in a conflict of interest with the Accessible Canada Act, then please inform the Chairperson or the Chief Executive Officer. If the Board member is in a conflict of interest with other organizations, there is no need to inform the office. Ideally, one should not put themselves in such a situation.

Document 46E: Letter from Barbara Collier

Communication Disabilities Access Canada (CDAC) specializes in access for people with communication disabilities. They request that Accessibility Standards Canada adopt their definition of communication and offer training to the Accessibility Standards Canada Board and staff.

Other information from the board

Board members discussed the availability of board members for the summer board meeting. Members looked at possibilities in June and in July, and decided to meet the 3rd week of June.

The Chairperson recommended having a provision in the "Code of Conduct and Ethic Policy" on what is acceptable as a gift of courtesy, protocol or other forms of giving. The Governance Committee will examine this question.

38. In-camera session

06-25 Motion proposed and seconded to proceed to the in-camera session.

Carried by all.

06-26 Motion proposed and seconded to close the in-camera session at 12:00 p.m. There was no motion to record.

39. Concluding remarks

The Chairperson stated that it was a productive meeting. In early April, the Chairperson, Vice-Chairperson and Chief Executive Officer will have a discussion to ensure everything is ready for the Annual Public Meeting.

06-27 Motion presented to adjourn the meeting at 12:05 p.m.

Carried by all.