March 27, 2003

York Region announces appointments to its 2003 Accessibility Advisory Committee


NEWMARKET York Regional Council is pleased to announce the appointment of members to its 2003 Accessibility Advisory Committee (AAC). The York Region AAC will advise York Region on its implementation of the Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2001 (ODA). The purpose of the ODA is to improve opportunities for persons with disabilities through the identification, removal and prevention of physical and other barriers.

"An important part of our 25-year strategic plan, Vision 2026, is to promote access to Regional programs and services for York Region citizens," said Regional Chair and CEO Bill Fisch. "The York Region AAC will play an integral role in assisting the Region to realize our goals in this area."

York Region received close to 60 applications from individuals interested in serving on the York Region AAC.

"This tremendous response clearly shows the long-term commitment of people in York Region towards helping us identify and remove barriers to regional programs and services," said Newmarket Regional Councillor Diane Humeniuk, Chair of the out-going Interim AAC.

The AAC's primary role is to advise Council on the preparation, implementation and effectiveness of the Region's annual Accessibility Plan. Annual Plans will focus on the identification, removal and prevention of barriers to people with disabilities within Regional services. The Region's first Accessibility Plan will be completed and available to the public on September 30, 2003. The AAC will report to Regional Council through the Community Services and Housing Committee.

"The work of the Interim AAC has laid a strong foundation for Regional Council and the York Region AAC to build on," said Newmarket Mayor Tom Taylor, Chair of the Region's Community Services and Housing Committee. "I look forward to continuing the process."

The 2003 York Region AAC membership is comprised of a majority of people with disabilities, from across the Region, and includes a citizen-at-large, as well as people from organizations that represent or provide services to York Region residents with disabilities. Members include:

Attached are brief biographies on each of these members.

Regional Councillors Joyce Frustaglio (Vaughan), Diane Humeniuk (Newmarket) and Danny Wheeler (Georgina) have also been appointed to the York Region AAC. Regional Chair and CEO Bill Fisch is an ex-officio member.

Members were appointed for the balance of the Regional Council term (ending on November 30, 2003) or until their successors are appointed. The inaugural meeting of the York Region AAC is tentatively scheduled for April 10, 2003. At this meeting members will elect a Chair and Vice-Chair and receive the draft York Region Accessibility Plan for review and begin the process of providing advice to Council.

For more information on The Regional Municipality of York, the services we offer and links to our nine area municipalities, please visit our Web site at www.region.york.on.ca

Attachments: -Biographies of York Region AAC citizen members


Backgrounder

Contact: Wendy Lewis, Corporate Communications Services, York Region
- (905) 830-4444 or (416) 297-9696, ext. 1238
- Email: wendy.lewis@region.york.on.ca

Biographies

2003 York Region Accessibility Advisory Committee

citizen members

Sharon Abrahams
Sharon Abrahams is Counsel for the Ontario Human Rights Commission. Ms. Abrahams was also former legal counsel at Jane-Finch Community Legal Services and for the Advocacy Resource Centre for the Handicapped (ARCH). In her capacity as Counsel, Ms Abrahams has dealt with many cases involving disability issues. This experience and her broad background in equity issues have given Ms. Abrahams a robust knowledge of the many issues that impact on the lives of people with disabilities. Ms. Abrahams lives with her family in Richmond Hill.

Barbara Caiger
Barbara Caiger is a parish nurse with Holy Trinity Church in Vaughan and has been a member of the pastoral staff for 14 years. Ms. Caiger's solid understanding of issues that impact on the lives of people living with chronic illnesses has been augmented by her own experience with Multiple Sclerosis. She was previously the Chair of CHATS (Community Home Assistance to Seniors), an agency that provides community services to seniors. Ms. Caiger who lives in Markham has also served on the Long-Range Planning Committee of the Community Care Access Centre of York Region (CCAC).

Kirsten Hill
Kirsten Hill is a facilitator for a peer support group with the Canadian National Institute for the Blind (CNIB), which helps people adapt to vision loss by introducing them to the services and aids available at the CNIB and in the community. As a facilitator, Kirsten is able to draw on her own experience with vision loss to help others. She also facilitates a reading program for children in grade one and has also served on a number of parent committees at both the elementary and secondary school levels. Ms. Hill and her family live in East Gwillimbury.

Robert Hunn
Robert Hunn is the Co-ordinator of the Persons with Disabilities Program and the Aboriginal Program for Central and Southern Ontario with the federal Public Service Commission of Canada. These programs seek to match qualified individuals with employment opportunities available within the federal government. Mr. Hunn, who is physically disabled, has also worked as a Transit Planner for the TTC's WheelTrans Division as well as with the Canadian Paraplegic Association. Mr. Hunn's commitment to overcome barriers to people with disabilities is evident in the range of skills and expertise that he brings to the York Region Accessibility Advisory Committee. As a resident of Markham, Mr. Hunn is also Chair of the Town of Markham's Advisory Committee on Accessibility.

Wilf Morley
Wilf Morley has a strong knowledge of transit issues and the impact that these issues have on people with disabilities. Mr. Morley is President of Whitchurch-Stouffville Mobility Transit and also initiated the first accessible school bus for students in the former York Region Board of Education. Mr. Morley received the 2001 Citizen of the Year award for Whitchurch-Stouffville where he lives. Mr. Morley also brings strong knowledge of municipal government to the work of the York Region Accessibility Advisory Committee.

Mary Ann Proulx
Mary Ann Proulx is Coordinator of Project RED with the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA). Ms. Proulx has experience with mental health issues both personally and professionally and brings a wealth of expertise and knowledge to the York Region Accessibility Advisory Committee. Ms. Proulx, who lives in Newmarket, is also active with the York Region Alliance to End Homelessness and the York Region branch of Habitat for Humanity.

Trish Robichaud
Trish Robichaud is currently Chair of the Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Society of Canada's York North Chapter and has been a member of the Board of Directors since 1994. Ms. Robichaud has almost ten years of experience coaching people with MS through the process of improving their quality of life. As a person with MS, Ms. Robichaud brings a personal commitment to the work she does. Ms. Robichaud, who lives in Georgina, has also been a member on the Board of Directors for Georgina Mobility Transit since 1997 and works as a life skills coach helping others to reach their full potential.

Anwar Yussuf
Mr. Yussuf is a resident of Vaughan and brings a unique youth perspective to the work of the York Region Accessibility Advisory Committee. Mr. Yussuf, who survived a stroke at the age of 18, will also be able to provide the perspective of someone who has been disabled at a young age. Mr. Yussuf recently completed a job placement as a research assistant for an Accreditation Assistant Access Centre, which helps foreign-trained professionals.

Contact: Wendy Lewis, Corporate Communications Services, York Region

- (905) 830-4444 or (416) 297-9696, ext. 1238

- Email: wendy.lewis@region.york.on.ca

March 27, 2003

York Region and the Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2001

 

The Regional Municipality of York is committed to providing cost-effective, quality services that respond to the needs of our rapidly growing communities.  York Region is comprised of the following nine area municipalities:  Aurora, East Gwillimbury, Georgina, King, Markham, Newmarket, Richmond Hill, Vaughan and Whitchurch-Stouffville.  For more information, visit our Web site at:  www.region.york.on.ca

Contact: Patrick Casey, Senior Media Relations Specialist, York Region

 
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