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October 26, 2012

Correspondence

June 24, 2012

Dear Ms. MacRae,

I am researching an article for my blog on the efforts of the Disabled Persons Commission in relation to its vision and focus as articulated by the commission in testimony before the legislature in 2010:

"our vision is to be a leader in areas of education and awareness, accessibility, research and policy analysis, and the employability of Nova Scotians with disabilities"...."the biggest area that we focus on is creating information"

I am having trouble locating the documents and reports listed under the 'Duties' section of the act:
(a) advise the Co-ordinating Committee on matters pertaining to disabled persons in the community, including the provision of technical aids and the Building Code as it pertains to disabled persons;
(b) identify and study issues of concern to disabled persons and recommend action where appropriate;
(c) promote opportunities for self-help for disabled persons in the context of the family and the community;
(d) review programs and policies affecting disabled persons;
(e) respond to requests from the Co-ordinating Committee for advice on specific issues;
(f) prepare an annual guide book on programs serving disabled persons, including both programs administered by the Province and by other organizations;
(g) submit to the Government through the Co-ordinating Committee an annual report outlining the Commissions activities and achievements; and
(h) advise the Co-ordinating Committee on which community in the Province has done the most in any year to improve awareness of the accessibility for disabled persons. 1989, c. 4, s. 7.

Report on certain matters

8 Where the Commission reviews, considers or inquires into any matter at the request of or with the approval of the Co-ordinating Committee, the Commission shall make a report to the Co-ordinating Committee with respect to that matter at the conclusion of its deliberations. 1989, c. 4, s. 8.

Can you please provide me with copies of the reports, studies, guide books and reviews mentioned above? I am particularly interested in the annual reports and documents relating to the building code.
By way of illustration of the difficulty of locating the documents, here is some information on the timeliness of your website:
  • Home Page last updated August 2007
  • Last Annual Report posted April 2004
  • Resource Directory from 2003
  • Words and Expressions document does not exist
  • The link to the International Day of Persons with Disabilities is for 2008
Finally, please forward
  • the list of the 12 current appointed commissioners along with their emails.
  • your staff list and emails
  • an updated budget (you said $400,000 in your 2010 testimony)
Thank you in advance, 

Warren Reed
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June 26, 2012

Hello Mr. Reed:
Thank you for your email.  We will be getting back to you with the information you have requested. Just to say as a start, you are right our website is out of date, and in fact we have been working on modernizing it and making it much more accessible to persons with disabilities. That testing is underway as we speak. We hope to have this work completed by the end of the summer at the very latest.
I will be back in touch with a longer email with some documents, if not by the end of this week, early next week, as we currently have some deadlines we have to meet by  Friday.
Sincerely,
Anne
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July 12:

Mr. Warren Reed
406-1540 Summer StreetHalifax, NS B3H 4R9

Dear Mr. Reed:
Thank you for your e-mail of June 23, 2012 regarding your request for information about the Disabled Persons Commission.
The Disabled Persons Commission does have a vision statement resulting from a consulting process. The vision is ambitious and while we have made strides in some areas, there are others that are developmental.
Over the past five years, while we have focused on key issues as described in our vision, we have also on three additional: to increase the commission’s staff, to create a Disability Strategy for the province and to redesign our website to be fully accessible.
We have experienced a modest staff increase to a total of four positions. The commission is taking a leadership role in partnership with the disability community to create a Disability Framework. We’re close to completing an ambitious redesign of our website to become fully accessible.A new and fully accessible website is currently in the testing stage with the expectation that it will be rolled out by early Fall. Much of the information that you have requested will be available at this time.
For instance, we fully expect to include links to a series of our annual reports which are in production now. These reports contain detailed information regarding our daily activities and projects. They also report on meetings with the Coordinating Committee of Ministers. Meetings are held to update the Ministers about issues being raised with the commission. It is also a useful mechanism for Ministers to report on disability-specific programs within their own departments.On a regular basis, the commission publishes statistical manuals on persons with disabilities in Nova Scotia. The intent is to link these to the new website as well. If you prefer, you can also obtain them through the Community Counts website maintained by the Department of Finance.  They are as follows:
Persons With Disabilities in Nova Scotia: A Statistical Report 2010
Employment Statistics for Persons With Disabilities in Nova Scotia: A Statistical Report 2009
Income Statistics for Persons with Disabilities in Nova Scotia – Part A: A Statistical Report 2009-10
As requested, I am also sending you a list of our current Commissioners (see attached). Please note that our main telephone lines are conduits to staff and members. All of the commission’s staff respond to information requests from these lines daily: (902) 424-8280 (toll free (800)565-8280), TTY: 424-2667 (toll free (877)996-9954)
In closing, I wish to emphasize the Disabled Persons Commission’s commitment to serve all those living with disabilities across the province.
As you can appreciate, many of the issues we deal with on a daily basis are complex and progress can be incremental. I’m proud of our work and look forward to an expanding role for the commission as we embark on developing the Disability Framework.Sincerely,


E. Anne MacRae,Executive Director
Disabled Persons Commission Member’s List

Community Representatives
Mr. Ralph Ferguson – Pictou
Mr. William (Bill) Crawford – Yarmouth
Mr. Brian Tapper (Chair) – Dartmouth
Ms. Jane Warren – Wolfville
Ms. Marcie Shwery-Stanley – Sydney
Mr. John Cox – Dartmouth
Mr. Jeff Overmars – Dartmouth
Mr. Brian Cooper - Halifax
Government Representatives
Department of Community Services
Ms. Lorna MacPherson, Acting Director Services for Persons With Disabilities
Department of Health and Wellness
Ms. Patricia Murray, Acting Executive Director Mental Health, Children’s Services and Addiction Treatment Branch
Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations
Ms. Georgina Dimock, Planning and Development Officer
Department of Labour and Advanced Education
Ms. Kimberly Kennedy, Regulatory Impact Specialist
Department of Education
Mr. Don Glover, DirectorStudent Services Division

Disabled Persons CommissionOperating Budget 2012-13

Salaries and benefits $273,800.00
Operational $132,200.00
Total $406,000.00
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September 19 extension

September 19, 2012

Mr. Warren Reed & Mr. Parker Donham
1540 Summer Street, Apt. 406
Halifax, NS B3H 4R9

Dear Mr. Warren Reed & Mr. Parker Donham:

RE: Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Application

We processed your application for access under the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act on August 16, 2012. Your request reads:
  • Any and all minutes of all meetings of the Coordinating Committee of Ministers from Jan 1, 2002, to the date of return of this request.
  • Copies of any and all presentations or submissions made by the council or its executive director to the Coordinating Committee of Ministers from Jan 1,
  • 2002, to the date of return of this request..
  • Copies of the latest draft version of the Disability Strategy.
  • Copies of the latest draft version of the Disability Framework.

We have extended the response time of 30 days, as provided for under Section 9(1) of the Act, for an additional thirty days to October 16, 2012. We advise of this extension for the following reasons;
(b) /there is no (a)/ a large number of records is requested or must be searched and meeting the time limitwould unreasonably interfere with the operations of the public body
(c) more time is needed to consult with a third party or other public body before the head of the public body can decide whether or not to give the applicant access to a requested record.
If you do not agree that there is justification for an extension of time, you can complain to the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Review Officer by calling or writing as follows:

Ms. Dulcie McCallum,Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Review Officer
PO Box, 181, Halifax, NS B3J 2M4
Toll-free: 1-866-243-1564Fax: (902) 424-8303TTD/TTY: 1-800-844-0511

Please feel free to contact me if you have questions or concerns.
Sincerely,

E. Anne MacRae
Executive Director
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October 18 extension

Date October 18, 2012

Mr. Warren Reed and Mr. Parker Donham
1540 Summer St. Apt. 406
Halifax, NS

Dear Mr. Reed and Mr. Donham:

Re:  Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy ApplicationThis letter is in regards to your request:

  • Any and all minutes of all meetings of the Coordinating Committee of Ministersfrom Jan 1, 2002, to the date of return of this request. 
  • Copies of any and all presentations or submissions made by the council or itsexecutive director to the Coordinating Committee of Ministers from Jan 1, 2002, to the date of return of this request.. 
  • Copies of the latest draft version of the Disability Strategy. 
  • Copies of the latest draft version of the Disability Framework.

I wish to advise you that we are seeking an extension beyond the initial 30 day extension that we claimed in my letter to you on September 19, 2012.  To do so we have requested the additionalextension from the Review Officer who may be contacting you to seek any representations you may wish to make on our request.  The reason for this additional extension is that a large number of records has been requested and more time is needed to consult with third parties.  We are thus seeking this extension under Section 9(1) (c).  An extension has been granted until November 18, 2012.

You have the right to ask the Review Officer to review this decision.  To do so, use Form 7, a copy of which is attached.  Send the completed form to:

Review Officer, P.O. Box 181, Halifax,N.S. B3J 2M4.

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