Staff Report #12 – Virtual/Recorded Commission Meeting Options

Staff Report #12

March 27, 2024

To All Commissioners

Re: Virtual/Recorded Commission Meeting Options


That the Commission PROVIDE DIRECTION with respect to the approach to be taken for virtual/recorded Commission meetings going forward.


At the February 28, 2024 meeting, the Commission directed administration to prepare a report setting out the viability and associated costs of initiating virtual/recorded London Transit meetings with plans for implementation for the April 24, 2024 meeting.

In 2019, administration was directed to undertake a review and report back on options associated with livestreaming Commission meetings. A prior review was undertaken with respect to a similar request and no further action was taken primarily due to the implications of potential changes to the Integrated Accessibility Standards Regulation (IASR) under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (ADOA). At the time, the standards review committee had recommended the following to government for consideration:

Recommendation 22: Live captioning and audio description

Currently, the Government of Ontario and Legislative Assembly are the only organizations which must meet the live captioning and audio description requirements in the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0. All other organizations are exempt from implementing this requirement.

The committee proposed the following:

  • By 2025, the exemptions to the WCAG 2.0 guidelines regarding live captioning and audio descriptions should be removed.
  • Between now and 2025, obligated organizations should put in place the infrastructure to support live captioning and audio description. Organizations which are currently exempt and are required to prepare a multi-year plan should include progress toward this infrastructure in their plan.
  • As it is possible that the next committee might want to accelerate this timeline, the current committee recommends that the government explore and monitor technologies and resources available for live captioning and audio descriptions to allow the next committee to make a well-informed decision. This should start six months after this recommendation is adopted.

Timeline: Exemptions removed by January 1, 2025, to be evaluated for acceleration by the next committee.

The intent of this recommendation was to have obligated organizations plan infrastructure, adopt training, and generally get ready to implement live captioning and audio descriptions by 2025, or sooner if the next committee should choose to accelerate the timeline. The committee’s intention was to establish a high standard (equal to CRTC standards for live captioning) of quality in live captions.

The committee recommendations as set out above were not adopted and the exemption for public sector and large organizations from sections 1.24 and 1.25 of the WCAG 2.0 AA requirements as set out below continue to be in place.

1.2.4 Captions (Live): Captions are provided for all live audio content in synchronized media.

1.2.5 Audio Description (pre-recorded): Audio description is provided for all pre-recorded video content in synchronized media.

Options Going Forward

The direction from the Commission included consideration of recording Commission meetings (for future reference) as well as making meetings virtual (livestreaming). Given the significant differences in equipment and resources associated with the two options, each will be discussed separately below.

Recording Commission Meetings

The approach to capturing a video recording of Commission meetings for future reference only can be undertaken with limited investment and no increase in resource requirements during meetings. Subsequent to the global pandemic and the need for the ability to meet virtually, a number of scalable options for video recording meetings have become widely available.

Administration undertook a scan of options available including those in use in other meeting settings similar to the Commission. The most cost-effective option would be a table-top option that includes 360 degree room coverage for video with integrated microphone and speakers. It is estimated that this option could be implemented for an upset maximum of $5,000. Once set up, this system would not require any monitoring by staff, rather it would be set to record the meeting and turned off when the meeting ends. In this scenario, the video recordings would be maintained for future reference only, should there be a questions with respect to something that occurred during the meeting. This option could be in place within two months should the requisite equipment be available upon order.

Should there be a desire by the Commission to have the recorded meetings posted publicly subsequent to the meeting, additional resources would be required to make the necessary changes to the Commission website and ensure that all material posted continues to meet AODA standards.

Virtual/Livestreaming of Commission Meetings

The hardware required for managing a virtual/livestream of a meeting can vary from a table top option like the one discussed earlier in this report to a retrofit of the meeting room to include multiple cameras, speakers and microphones. As set out earlier in this report, a table top option can be implemented for approximately $5,000. A retrofit of the main boardroom at the 450 Highbury Avenue location where Commission meetings are currently held would cost in the range of $20,000 to $30,000, and would require additional time for installation as third-party contractors would be required and a request for quotation would need to be issued and awarded subsequent to equipment being ordered and installed.

In addition to the hardware costs, the option of livestreaming will also require additional staff resources to manage the streaming activity while the meeting is ongoing and a subscription to a streaming service would also be required. This would require time to implement as staff scheduled would be impacted and appropriate notice would need to be provided to affected staff. Should the desire of the Commission be to include the ability for virtual participation in meetings, a virtual meeting platform would be utilized.

When considering retrofits to the main boardroom at the Highbury facility it is important to consider the plans for demolition and reconstruction of the entire facility. Any equipment purchased for a retrofit of the boardroom would in all likelihood not be utilized in the new build as the new design would incorporate equipment specific to the new room.

Budget Impacts

Either of the options set out in the report can be accommodated within the approved operating and capital budget programs for 2024.

Recommended by:

Kelly S. Paleczny, General Manager