The City of Westmount is an inclusive city. It values all people and their needs equally. All persons within its community, regardless of their needs, are valued members and able to participate and contribute fully in all aspects of community life and benefit from all City services.
In December 2017, the Mayor named a Commissioner of Sustainability and Accessibility to her Council, underlying the importance of improving access to City services and civic life in Westmount by persons with disabilities.
Since 2005 and in compliance with the provincial Act to secure persons with disabilities in the exercise of their rights, the City of Westmount prepares an annual action plan to improve the social, professional and educational integration of persons with disabilities in the local community. The Action Plan summarizes the achievements of the administration’s objectives identified in the preceding year, including the recurring programmes and other services provided, and identifies new objectives for the subsequent year. While the process inspires continuous improvement, a number of factors have come into play recently to indicate a stronger need for input by the affected segment of our population:
- a recommendation by the Office des personnes handicapées du Québec that the City form a working committee;
- demographic data indicating a growing number of residents living with some form of disability in Westmount, estimated at about 4,500 (Canadian Survey on Disability, 2017);
- the Covid-19 pandemic, which drew attention to the needs of our most vulnerable citizens;
- the appropriate timing of receiving input directly from the affected population, in the context of the Imagine Westmount 2040 campaign and forthcoming urban planning by-law review.
Westmount is therefore establishing an Accessibility Advisory Committee, with the mandate to produce a report to Council for its General Committee meeting in July 2021, with recommendations to help each administrative department further enhance access and reduce barriers for persons with disabilities and encourage their full participation in civic life in Westmount and municipal services.
The term of the mandate is September 2020 to July 2021.
The committee, of up to 10 members, will include up to five members of the public, two from the City administration, and two or three from City Council. In an effort to ensure a diversity of input, the City seeks:
- up to three resident-members who are persons with disabilities or are the guardian/parent/caregiver of a person with a disability;
- up to two members representing the senior population;
- two members of the City Administration (Director General’s Office, and either a Public Works or Urban Planning departmental representative);
- the Commissioner of Sustainability and Accessibility;
- the Mayor, as de facto member, and possibly another councillor appointed by the Mayor.
The meeting schedule, dates and frequency are to be determined.
Each meeting will include guests from the administration or other city committees according to the meeting’s departmental focus. The following topics will be discussed:
- Brief introductory meeting
- Urban Planning
- Library & Community Events
- Communications and Legal Services
- Public Safety
- Sports & Recreation
- Hydro Westmount & Public Works (Roads) & Transportation
- Public Works (Buildings & Parks)
- Final report review and discussion
Meeting frequency, dates and times are to be determined.
In addition to preparatory time and attendance at the meetings, committee members may be asked to spend time on research, correspondence and reviewing external communications materials.
Members may miss no more than two consecutive meetings.
- A strong interest in equity and inclusion of people with disabilities
- A strong understanding of the needs and concerns of persons with disabilities, gained through personal or professional experience
- Knowledge of federal and Quebec laws and policies as they relate to universal accessibility a plus
- Experience in community development, communications or citizen advocacy a plus
Membership recruitment period
July 9, 2020 to August 14, 2020
The City invites residents and advocates with interest and personal experience in these issues to contribute to the committee. A broad representation is sought. If you are interested in joining this committee, please use the electronic form below.
The recruitment period for committee members ended on August 14, 2020.