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Independent Living Services of Simcoe County Logo Independent Living Services of Simcoe County & Area

Simcoe Muskoka Accessibility Round Table (SMART)

SMART (formerly Simcoe County Accessibility Network, SCAN)

Independent Living Services of Simcoe County & Area has been in existence locally for 30+ years, for the purpose of providing supports and services to people with physical disabilities to assist them in leading dignified, productive and independent lives in the community. With this focus, there was a lot of interest within our organization in the establishment of effective disability friendly legislation to make our communities more welcoming and inclusive of individuals with disabilities.

In 2001, the Board of Directors, lead by a local lawyer, Lisa Belcourt, reviewed the proposed legislation in this area and invited David Lepofsky, a disability advocate, to speak at our Annual General Meeting. With David's urging, the ILS Board of Directors made improving accessibility in Simcoe County a priority for our Association.

Prior to the Ontarians with Disabilities Act being proclaimed in Dec. 2001, many of our senior volunteers and staff members were approaching municipalities to inquire about volunteering to sit on their newly created Accessibility Advisory Committees. In 2003, we had 5 Board members and 2 senior staff members volunteering on a variety of Accessibility Advisory Committees across the County. We would schedule networking sessions for these individuals prior to Board meetings to share ideas and experiences. We found this to be a very informative process, and decided to encourage even broader local networking opportunities.

At our Annual General Meeting in Sept. 2004 in Barrie, we invited members of all of the Accessibility Advisory Committees in Simcoe County to a networking session hosted by John Mogensen, our the Board Chair. We had a member of the Accessibility Advisory Council of Ontario address the group, and then shared information on how committees were doing across the region. There was a lot of interest in formalizing this process, and encouraging networking among the membership.

In 2005, we had a staff member from the Accessibility Directorate address the group. In 2006, our Association surveyed Accessibility Advisory Committee members for workshop ideas at our AGM, and based on this feedback incorporated a workshop regarding the Facility Accessibility Design Standards created by the City of London, and workshop on Completing Site Reviews. We have continued to offer workshops on the Accessibility theme ever since.

The goals of both the Ontarians with Disabilities Act and the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act are very complimentary to the goals of the Independent Living Services of Simcoe County & Area . As such, our Association is prepared to continue to assist with creating networking opportunities for Accessibility Advisory Committees and other who are interested in improving accessibility in our communities. Our Association does not receive funding to support these functions, so has made the voluntary contribution of staff and volunteer resources to make these networking opportunities available.

We have also created a staff position to continue to expand our expertise in the areas of accessibility. We are developing a menu of services that we can offer the community on a "fee for service" basis, above and beyond the support we can offer Accessibility Advisory Committee members.

The Terms of Reference Revised March 2014 of the Simcoe Muskoka Accessibility Round Table were formally approved in 2007. Meetings continue under the Chairmanship of the ILS Board Members, Mr. Albert Stein, Bruce Gennings, & currently Wayne Yuristy.

 
 

 

44 Cedar Pointe Drive, Unit 1102 Barrie, Ontario  L4N 5R7
Tel:  705-737-3263   TTY: 705-737-3242   Fax:  705-737-1874
1-800-465-1133

 

 

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