Minutes of the Board of Director’s special meeting – June 15, 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
  • Rabia Khedr, Director
  • Brad McCannell, Director
  • Dr. Joe McLaughlin, Director
  • Laurie Ringaert


  • Penny Hartin

Accessibility Standards Canada staff members

  • Philip Rizcallah, Chief Executive Officer (CEO)
  • Michelle Demery, Chief Operating Officer
  • Heather Throop, Senior Advisor
  • Collinda Joseph, Senior Policy Advisor
  • Maggie Saunders, Manager, Governance & Reporting
  • Jacques Falardeau, Manager, Standards Development
  • Tina Dowe, Analyst, Business Analysis


Monday, June 12, 2020

1. Roll call and welcoming remarks

The Chairperson welcomed everyone to the meeting and did a roll call. He noted that Tina Dowe would provide IT support for the meeting in lieu of Gavin Scharfe. The Chairperson thanked everyone for being amenable to the change in date from June 4th to June 12th given there were no urgencies for the June 4th meeting. He explained the purpose of the meeting is to discuss a response to the Minister’s request to develop guidelines on accessibility in emergencies and public health crises.

2. Board meeting agenda

11.1 Motion presented and seconded to approve the agenda. Carried by all.

3. Review of Accessibility Standards Canada approach to address Minister Qualtrough’s request

Document: 3A – Briefing note: Ministerial tasking

Document: 3B – Ministerial letter

The Chairperson explained that he made two minor changes to the draft response letter since it was circulated to the Board. Directors agreed with the changes.

4. Chairperson/CEO response to Minister

Document:  4A – Proposed response (letter)

The CEO spoke to the approach to develop guidelines and answered a number of questions and comments about the process and how Directors would be engaged. The CEO stated that the Board would need to validate the guidelines or recommendations that go to the Minister; however, they will discuss the exact timing and process more fully at a future board meeting.

The CEO stressed the point that guidelines are not the same as standards. While guidelines have no enforcement mechanism, the idea is that there will be voluntary adoption by federally regulated entities. Guidelines can be converted to standards later, following addition consultation. If the guidelines become the basis of a standard, the Board can then recommend the standard to the Minister to be put into a regulation.

The CEO explained that staff could carry out a lot of the work for the development of guidelines and then stakeholders could validate it. This would fast track the process, which is critical as these guidelines will allow people to go back to work earlier and more safely. The organization will also take into account national and international best practices in developing the guidelines, which will be drafted in plain language. 

The CEO specified he would draw on the Board’s valuable insight on which stakeholder groups to reach out to for information and input on the guidelines. Directors emphasized the need to develop them using an anti-oppressive approach and tapping into the vast knowledge that reflects the diversity in the country, including the input of Indigenous peoples. This will make the guidelines stronger.

The CEO also clarified that the organization is not putting the priority areas for standards development on hold to work on the guidelines. Calls for technical committees are still going out. The work on standards will be staggered; however, that was always the intended approach. Accessibility Standards Canada will work on the guidelines and standards concurrently. 

11.2   Motion presented and seconded to send the letter to the Minister. Carried by all.

5. Concluding remarks

The Chairperson thanked everyone for their participation in the meeting. He reminded Directors that July 7, 2020 is a regular meeting with the usual standing items. On July 9, 2020, there will be a special meeting focused on standards development processes. Directors were informed they would receive the agendas and materials in the coming days.

11-3  Motion to adjourn the meeting at 3:25 p.m.