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Accessibility Advisory Committee

The York Region Accessibility Advisory Committee (YRAAC) advises Regional Council and York Regional Police on how to make it easier for people with disabilities to use York Region's programs and services.

Committee members come from different backgrounds and most members must be people with disabilities.


York Region Appoints new 2015-2018 York Region Accessibility Advisory Committee

On February 26, 2015 York Regional Council appointed the new 2015-2018 York Region Accessibility Advisory Committee.

York Region Chairman and CEO Wayne Emmerson (Ex-officio)
Regional Councillor Vito Spatafora (Chair)
Mayor Justin Altmann
Leslie Bolt
Astley Dennis
Steve Foglia (Vice-Chair)
Lauire Fortnum
Kirsten Hill
Lilian Hulme-Smith
Brian Lynch
Frank Maggisano
Sandy Palombo
Judy Phromratsamy
Joann Simmons
Angelo Tocco

York Region Accessibility Advisory Committee - Member Biographies

Leslie Bolt uses her personal experience to make a difference in the lives of others who live with disabilities. As a spokesperson, mentor and volunteer, she actively promotes awareness of the challenges of living with a brain injury and helps other survivors. For the last ten years, Leslie has served on the Community Advisory Group of the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute and been involved in many issues and events of the Brain Injury Society of Toronto. Leslie also volunteers at the Ontario Track Three Association, helping youth with disabilities ski and snowboard.  Leslie was a member of the 2010-2014 York Region Accessibility Advisory Committee.


Astley Dennis brings significant community and committee experience, serving on numerous boards and committees such as the Caledon Accessibility Advisory Committee, United Way of Greater Toronto, North York General Hospital – Finance Committee member and Tropicana Community Services. Astley has a strong desire to make a difference for people with disabilities, and with this passion and his personal experience is working towards bringing greater awareness about many of the barriers faced by people with various types of disabilities.


Steve Foglia brings his personal and professional experience to the work of the York Region Accessibility Advisory Committee. Steve understands the struggles individuals with disabilities face every day in accessing the community around them. He has particular knowledge and experience in removing barriers in the physical environment, with seventeen years in the construction industry and the ability to interpret architectural drawings. Steve was a member of the 2010-2014 York Region Accessibility Advisory Committee.


Laurie Fortnum is currently an Outreach Worker with the Canadian Mental Health Association – York Region and South Simcoe. She has several years of professional and volunteer experience working within mental health related programs and services, providing support for those with mental health and/or substance use issues and individuals experiencing homelessness. Laurie’s experience includes peer support and family peer support in mental health and addictions.


Kirsten Hill brings extensive knowledge regarding the challenges faced by people living with vision loss. She has provided support to the CNIB as an Ambassador and as a peer support facilitator.  She provided literacy support for grade one students for 22 years and now provides voice over training for the iPhone and the Mac computer for adults with vision loss.  Kirsten has committee and board experience in the public school system , and serving as a member of the 2003-2010 York Region Accessibility Advisory Committee, a current member of Metrolinx/GO AAC, and Whitchurch-Stouffville AAC.


Lilian Hulme-Smith brings over 30 years of experience with the Ontario Public Service, including the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing and the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care. Lilian offers extensive expertise in the areas of social, affordable and supportive housing, program development and delivery, risk management, training and education, and in the drafting and interpretation of legislation. She has also been involved in the provision and administration of supportive housing for people with a wide range of disabilities. Lilian is the Chair of Town of Richmond Hill Accessibility Advisory Committee. Lilian was a member of the 2010-2014 York Region Accessibility Advisory Committee.


Jocelyn Hunt uses her professional background as a trained Environmental Gerontologist and certified Aging in Place Specialist to bring awareness to issues that affect older adults. She is the Home Adaptation and Maintenance Program Manager at Community and Home Assistance to Seniors (CHATS), which is a not-for-profit organization that provides home care and support for seniors. Through employment and volunteer opportunities, Jocelyn has participated in various initiatives related to inclusive design, dementia-friendly environments and age-friendly communities.


Brian Edward Lynch brings personal and volunteer experience to the York Region Accessibility Advisory Committee, as well as a strong desire to make a difference to people with disabilities. Brian knows from experience the challenges faced by sudden disability. He serves on the Board of Directors for Participation House-Markham, which provides housing and life skills for individuals with a wide range of disabilities. He is also a director on the Brain Injury Association of York Region. Brian is a recipient of a Service and Contribution as a Volunteer Award from the Government of Canada. Brian was a member of the 2010-2014 York Region Accessibility Advisory Committee and 2011-2015 Markham Accessibility Advisory Committee.


Frank Maggisano brings his knowledge of the issues facing municipalities in implementing the Province’s new accessibility legislation. He served on the City of Vaughan Accessibility Advisory Committee and was a member of the Accessibility Standards Advisory Council which advised the Minister of Community and Social Services, directly and in association with the Accessibility Directorate of Ontario, on the development of accessibility standards and supporting education campaigns. Frank is also legal counsel in the real estate industry and is licensed to practice law in both Ontario and New York State. Frank was a member of the 2010-2014 York Region Accessibility Advisory Committee.


Sandy Palombo brings her professional knowledge and passion for children and the importance of programs and services for families with children living with mental illness and developmental disabilities. She is the founder and Clinical Director of the Treatment and Learning Centre for Children, an organization that provides support to children with neurodevelopmental disabilities. She sat as the co-chair for the Ontario Association of Developmental Disabilities, and has expertise working with children living with mental illness, autism and other development disabilities.


Judy Phromratsamy brings her awareness about the importance of building an inclusive environment that supports people with both visible and invisible disabilities. She is a Peer Mentor and Art Buddies Disability Consultant. Judy recently completed her Masters of Critical Disabilities Studies at York University and is a member of the March of Dimes/York-Durham Aphasia Centre.


Joann Simmons brings extensive senior-level experience and knowledge about accessibility issues, policy development, implementation and governmental processes. As the former Commissioner of the Community and Health Services Department, Joann has significant board and committee experience. She oversaw the establishment of the York Region Accessibility Advisory Committee in 2003, and led the development of seven (7) accessibility plans under the Ontarians with Disabilities Act (ODA).


Angelo Tocco is currently an Assistive Technology teacher who works with a variety of students with different learning needs. Profoundly Deaf himself, he is an articulate and informed advocate for the deaf, deafened and hard of hearing community. Angelo has also been a member of the City of Vaughan Accessibility Advisory Committee since 2010.

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accessibility,accessibility committee,accessibility advisory committee,disability,barriers The Regional Municipality of York en-US Accessibility Advisory Committee Accessibility Advisory Committee The York Region Accessibility Advisory Committee (YRAAC) advises York Regional Council and Police on how to make it easier to use our programs and services.

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