An Idea…

In 1980, prior to the International Year of the Disabled, a few Peterborough individuals had a dream to establish an umbrella organization which would help identify and act upon the needs of disabled people. While they felt there was a need for such an organization, the social and political climate was not quite conducive to their dream.

In the spring of 1988, a few other individuals began to seriously consider the need for an advisory council. They approached Gerry Turner, Director of Community Services for the City of Peterborough, and Councillor Lois Harte-Maxwell to see if their vision, which was similar to that of the 1980 group, could become a reality.

In June of 1988, the first meeting of the steering committee for the establishment of an advisory council was held. The committee consisted of Joyce Armstrong, Lois Harte- Maxwell, Ena Hobelaid, Jan Forsyth, and Gerry Turner. At this, and subsequent meetings over the following months, they studied perceived issues and prepared a draft terms of reference.

Original Perceived Issues

  • Lack of coordination between service agencies.
  • Inconsistencies in policies and legislation.
  • A need to monitor Provincial and Municipal policies and legislation.
  • A need for collective advocacy on behalf of people with disabilities.
  • There were no formal mechanisms for short and long-term planning on disability issues.

In September 1988, after reviewing these concerns, the committee obtained the support of Mayor Sylvia Sutherland and Peterborough City Council to formally establish a Mayor’s Steering Committee to further guide the process.

In October 1988, a public meeting was held to seek the advice of consumers, families, Service providers and others as to the role of the proposed Council. Many suggestions were made during this very positive session, and people volunteered to sit on either the Advisory Council or appropriate committees when established. After further discussions at the Steering Committee level it was agreed that, while no organization can be all things to all people, there certainly was a need for the proposed Council. On the advice of the Steering Committee, the Mayor formally invited interested people to become the first members of the Council for Persons with Disabilities. In January 1989, the last meeting of the Steering Committee coincided with the first meeting of the Council for People with Disabilities and the establishment of various appropriate committees.

Establishment of the Council for Persons with Disabilities

The Council for Persons with Disabilities established in 1989, has been incorporated since September 2000. The CPD meets monthly or as may be required. Standing Committees meet monthly. The CPD has acted in an advisory capacity to the City regarding the City of Peterborough Access Guidelines and retrofit of municipal buildings since 1989.

Concerns regarding disability issues received by Peterborough City Council, were routinely forwarded to the CPD for advice. The City frequently recognizes the well-researched advice of the Council for Persons with Disabilities.

While CPD was always the major advisor to the City on accessibility issues, the City, in accordance with the Ontarians with Disabilities Act (ODA) and the subsequent AODA, formally recognized the CPD as the Accessibility Advisory Committee under the Act. The CPD was, in fact, well-organized long before the ODA. Clearly, Peterborough City Council has always been genuinely committed to making the city as barrier-free as possible for all citizens. Consequently, we worked closely with the City Access Coordinator to ensure that the City of Peterborough, Annual Access Plans were brought to fruition.

Re-Invention of CPD

In January 2012, the City of Peterborough Accessibility Advisory Committee held its’1st meeting. This AAC, has assumed the responsibilities previously held by the Council for Persons with Disabilities with respect to four Standing Committees: Alternate formats, Buildings/Site Plan Recreation, and Transportation. These changes come as a result of Provincial Legislation regarding Municipal responsibilities for the enforcement of Provincial Regulations of the ODA/AODA.

The CPD has, since 1989, continued to provide advice and information to the private sector. For example, the construction of the new YMCA and other facilities such as community malls etc.

While the role of the Council for Persons with Disabilities will change, it will continue to operate as an advocacy and educational organization.

Some Accomplishments of the Council

  • Annually organizing National Access Awareness Week Events.
  • In 1989, successfully proposed that Peterborough City Council adopt a policy on barrier-free access to municipal buildings through an annual contribution to the City of Peterborough Access fund.
  • Access in the 90’s workshop sponsored by the Buildings Committee to seek input on accessibility issues. Exterior and interior access identified as an issue.
  • 1991, workshop sponsored by the Buildings Committee to present draft City of Peterborough Access Guidelines to the public.
  • 1992, City of Peterborough Access Guidelines approved by City Council.
  • 1992, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation presented City of Peterborough and CPD Buildings Committee with National Housing Award for Access Guidelines at Annual Symposium, in Winnipeg.
  • 1992, Children’s Committee published, “Community Resources for Elementary School Children” a resource for children and parents.
  • 1992, Buildings Committee sponsored workshop on Ontario Building Code.
  • Access Awareness and Buildings Committees jointly involved in planning a major housing conference June 2 to 5, 1993 entitled its “My House Too”. It featured the CMHC “Open House” which is an approximately 950 sq. ft. fully accessible lower floor of a two-storey house. The display is still well received across Canada and is erected and staffed by CMHC.
  • 1995, Recreation Committee published “Special Needs Directory” updated in 1999.
  • Organizing community events on the need for an Ontarians with Disabilities Act (ODA) and preparing briefs in support of an Act in 1998, 2000 and 2001.
  • Time in my Shoes. Interactive awareness program in schools, and Annual Access Awareness events.
  • Publication of “Peterborough and the Kawarthas Travel Guide” 2000 summary.
  • 2002 Organized first local demonstration of wheelchair curling at the Peterborough Curling Club.
  • 2004 Publication of Peterborough Recreation Directory for Persons with Disabilities.
  • Memorial Centre, major retrofit including two elevators, access consultation and CPD audit of completed facility.
  • Wellness Centre access consultation and an audit of completed facility with further recommendations.
  • Fairhaven Parking.
  • Northcrest Arena.
  • Audible Traffic Signals.
  • Revised Matrix Form for reviewing City properties.
  • East City Bowl – wheelchair viewing area.
  • Art Gallery and Museum retrofit requirements.
  • Dutton Road Social Housing recommendations.
  • 2005 Peterborough Regional Hospital Corporations (PRHC)recommendations.
  • 2006 Kinsman Arena Retrofit. Access consultation.
  • Upgrade of Braille and large print signage at City Hall.
  • New YMCA consultation & recommendations.
  • Police Station renovations.
  • Public Library recommendations.
  • Sailing event at Little Lake which evolved into an annual sailing event.
  • Establishment of an Alternate formats Committee.
  • 2008 Employment Committee involved with Community Employment Resource Partnership (CERP) and Workforce Development Board (WDB) employer recognition event at Showplace.

CPD Founding Members, January 19, 1989

First Board of Directors Year Retired
Ena Hobelaid, 1st Chair 1989
Dan Quinlan, Separate School Board 1989
Gerry Turner, City of Peterborough 1993
Lois Harte-Maxwell, City Councillor 2012
David Wilkins, Kawartha Participation Projects 1992
Gilles Charbonneau, Public School Board 1990
Sharon Hoenen, M.S. Society 1992
Jan Forsyth, Canadian Hearing Society 1993
Jennifer Barr, CNIB 1991
Brian Crangle 1989
Joyce Armstrong, St. Joseph’s Hospital 1995