Responsible Personal Accessibility in Toronto Housing (R-PATH) Committee
A leader in advocating for tenants with physical disabilities and creating accessibility solutions that work.
The Responsible Personal Accessibility in Toronto Housing (R-PATH) Committee is a resident-led group established in May 2013. The committee's goal is to improve quality of life for people with physical disabilities and to support Toronto Community Housing (TCHC) in being a leader in accessible housing.
The R-PATH Committee works with the TCHC management team and staff to identify and remove accessibility barriers, improving the lives of residents with physical disabilities by providing the lived experience expertise and AODA compliance support. All members of R-PATH are tenants of TCHC.
In the following video interview, R-PATH Chair Cathy Birch speaks about R-PATH's mission and the committee’s work.
Current members of R-PATH
Members of the committee are:
Cathy Birch (Founder and Chairperson). Cathy is a tenant leader who has more than a decade of experience in the Tenant Engagement Program, is a trainer for Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (2005)(AODA) on compliance. Cathy is the 2022 recipient of the David C. Onley Award for Leadership in Accessibility from the Province of Ontario.
Lene Andersen. Lene is an author of several books on arthritis and a photographer. She has over 2 decades of experience in the Tenant Engagement Program, has AODA training, and is a founding member of R-PATH.
Jane Donohue is a long-time tenant of TCHC and founding member of R-PATH.
Joe Knapper. Joe has been a Tenant Representative in the Tenant Engagement Program, has AODA training, and founding member of R-PATH.
Amanda O'Shaughnessy. Amanda has been a Tenant Representative in the Tenant Engagement Program, is a long-time member of R-PATH, has AODA training, and is the current secretary of the Committee.
What does R-PATH do?
R-PATH connects with all TCHC departments and advocates for accessibility in many ways such as:
- Connect with and assist tenants with accessibility needs in all communities of TCHC.
- Policy Reviews: We ensure accessibility and Human Rights barriers are removed in all TCHC Policies and supports are built in for people with disabilities.
- Yearly Capital budget recommendations for common spaces, unit modifications and demand projects.
- Communications: We work closely with the TCHC Communication Department to make sure alternative formats are available, advocated for the Board approved minimum of 14-point fonts for all documentation, advise on website content, contribute to Annual Reports, monitor all corporate communications to tenants to make sure all tenants can understand the materials and information. We also contribute to publications and social media materials.
- Tenant Engagement Program: We work with the Tenant Engagement Team to make sure the Engagement Program is inclusive for processes, locations, AODA Volunteer training requirements, accessible documentation is available is in plain language, and accessible event planning. We assess large Engagement Forums for accessibility needs.
- Facilities Management: We work closely with Facilities management on:
- Accessibility Program budget requirements based on project needs and unit modification capital needs. This includes going on site with staff to write project scopes for common spaces. We review design drawings, participate in community engagement, and monitor all common space projects. We also review unit modification drawings.
- We co-authored Toronto Community Housing Corporation Accessibility Build Standards (TCHCABS).
- In the following video, members from R-PATH show what Accessibility build standards can look like in TCHC spaces.
- Development: R-PATH works with Development as part of the co-authors of TCHCABS. We review drawings and finishes with Development for new builds.We also work with Development to further the build ratio for mobility accessible units.
- Programs and Partnerships: R-PATH submits recommendations for Agency Agreements to ensure tenant needs are being met, information from Agencies are accurate, complaint and appeal processes are in place, and help TCHC have the tools to evaluate quality of services being delivered to tenants. R-PATH provides information to tenants to ensure they know their rights pertaining to Agency services.
- Operations: We work with the regional staff to correct issues or remove barriers tenants bring to R-PATH that effect them specific to their building or unit.
Accessibility is for You
R-PATH has authored “Accessibility is for You” a booklet on the process involved in getting your unit modified. Get a copy of “Accessibility is for You” at your local Hub or you can print or read it below.
Accessibility is For You: This guide will advise tenants about what they need to do so they can submit an accessibility modification request.
Top seven questions about unit modifications (video)
R-PATH provides community information sessions on how to get your unit modified. Through the experience in these sessions, R-PATH identified the 7 most common questions asked. We worked with Communications to develop an animated video answering those questions. You can watch the video here:
Meetings and Activities
- R-PATH meets 10 months a year, with August and December off. R-PATH was officially founded in May of 2013 and our first meeting was held on July 11, 2013.
- R-PATH provides A.O.D.A. legislated training required for Tenant Volunteers.
- R-PATH has participated at The People in Motion Show.
- R-PATH regularly deputes at TCHC Board and Board Committees based on agenda items.
- R-PATH also works with the City of Toronto and Toronto Seniors Housing Corporation on accessibility needs.
Are you interested in Joining R-PATH?
If you are interested in joining R-PATH and you want to help us make positive changes please see the application information (PDF) and email it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
“R-PATH is about the fix. We don’t dwell on changing the past but we learn from it, then build on today and for the future. We are here to help people with disabilities have a voice and to ensure medical needs are met in housing. We bring our lived experience expertise as well as our training to help TCHC make good and practical decisions to remove barriers. This results in people living at home longer with better functioning in day-to-day living, safer quality of life, and inclusive communities.”
- R-PATH Founder and Chair Cathy Birch