Annual General Meeting & Conference Wednesday, June 3, 2015 


Holiday Inn, Truro, NS

10am       Annual General Meeting

10:30       Conference welcome

Conference participants all welcomed.  Conference sponsor, Girandin Blue Bird Bus, Greg Sherman, was introduced and gave a short message.

Coordinator Dodie thanked him.

10:40 – Board member Gord Tate introduced the program and presented the Position Paper “A foundation for transit in Nova Scotia – An examination of community engagement and strategy development”.

  • Transit has become an individual responsibility which has led to inequalities across nova scotia
  • Three main themes:
    • How do we engage
    • How do we promote equity
    • How do we engage the provincial government
  • Intention was to find action around transit issues which captured energy in the province and built the capacity for people to tackle this issue in their community.
  • Action planning and action teams (CBRM Transit, introduction of school buses into public/community transportation, Pictou Wellness Centre access)
    • Rick McCready gave an update for CBRM Transit:
      • A task force was created in CBRM to develop partnerships with main players in the region to assist CBRM with financial issues to advance transit in the region.
      • Council did not make those planned cuts that were in the last budget and council froze the transit budget at what was spent last year – more than $30,000 was proposed but did not take place. Currently in a holding pattern to see what will happen.
    • School Bus Usage
      • Board member and Town of Antigonish Councillor Jack MacPerson has met with school boards in the Antigonish region. They are interested but it has to be tackled by the province.  UNSM is interested in meeting with Provincial departments to see how this issue can be tackled.
      • School House Consulting released a report on school bus use for community transit creative alternatives for all Atlantic provinces to see where opportunities are.
    • We have all the pieces of the puzzle in this province. Great need to work on putting it all together.
    • Future areas of action:
      • Leadership and focus from government
      • Need for sustained funding for community transit
      • Model for ROI and cost, opportunity cost for transit
      • Create a home for community transit – incubator for community solutions.
    • How are we going to create the solutions and maximize the potential that we already have?

10:55 Short break

11:05 Provincial Government Panel Presentation and Questions with Gord Tate as the  moderator.  All welcomed and thanked for participating

  1. TIR (Transportation & Infrastructure Renewal) – Bernie Swan
  2. MA (Municipal Affairs) – Greg Sewell
  3. H&W (Health and Wellness) – Dr. Robert Strang (am) & Amy Schwartz (pm)
  4. DCS (Dept of Community Services) – Catherine Meaney
  5. Energy – Nancy Rondeau
  6. Environment – John Cooper
  7. Seniors – Jacqueline Campbell

Bernie TIR:

  • If you look at direct responsibility for transportation of people, it is not there but there have been quite a few years of committee involvement with government departments and personal passion.
  • Lots of roadblocks of declared responsibility of transit when shifted by the province to municipalities
  • Shifting responsibility now to community and municipality

Greg Sewell – MA

  • $4.7 million funding to community and municipality transit providers
  • Four main programs to support transit

Dr. Robert Strang – H&W

  • How we move around has huge health implications
  • Huge issues of getting access to medical services
  • Our current car-centric transportation has huge impacts on human health – obesity and air quality. Getting people to move more has a positive impact on health
  • Socialization, education and community services access affects health – need for transportation

Catherine Meaney – DCS

  • Spends a lot of her time with clients – child, youth, disability supports, employment, etc.
  • Spends a lot of funds on transportation for clients – $12 million yearly for employment and health transportation
  • Benefits for clients – what more can we do to make transportation available?
  • We want to work more closely with other departments to make transportation available and efficient

Nancy Rondeaux – Energy

  • There is a focus on active transportation under the Sustainable Transportation Strategy
  • Reducing the need for transportation and increasing efficiency

John Cooper – Environment

  • Global climate change and extreme weather events are forcing mitigation and adaptation
  • 27% of green house gases (GHG) in Nova Scotia are from transportation. We are on target for our current goals but need to look harder at longer term goals and how we are going to reach them.  Our department is a supporter of “how to…”

Jacqueline Campbell – Seniors

  • Focus on supporting the development of age-friendly communities
  • 85,000 in the province between 65-75 and 137,000 between 55-65. It is very important to plan for future change in demographics and to anticipate the changes in age
  • Guiding principle of reducing ageism: Recognize the impact that elderly can have in communities
  • Transportation enables engagement for seniors
  • Showcase some of the promising initiatives in sharing and collaborating around issues and connecting seniors to all demographics
  • Funding projects to support transit and community planning

Question 1: What do you see as the provincial government’s role in supporting transportation of people in Nova Scotia? Bigger role, working together, sharing the work

Catherine – DCS

  • Employment and income division. The number of clients using transportation in many ways to get to hospitals, employment, etc.  What is the best way to manage a better approach to work with other departments to find solutions for a better way forward for transportation?
  • Must be fiscally responsible, but also we want to make sure money is spent in the right way and ensure a better way to do it. 29-30,000 cases each month
  • Transportation is a hot topic for this department. We are moving through change and want to get involved to see what will work best.

Dr. Robert – H&W

  • No one department owns this issue, which makes it challenging
  • Work better across the government horizontally to work well together to work on the whole
  • Huge amount spent from Health on ambulance transfers that could be done better
  • Need to work with all the community groups because the solutions are working in communities. We want to support and lead communities to come up with their own solutions

Bernie – TIR

  • Inclusive Transportation Committee
  • What can we do? Look at legislative changes and provide advice to the groups across the province
  • This isn’t new but we need to find the right people to collaborate
  • There is money to save as a province

Jacqueline – Seniors

  • Look at non-traditional partners: Who are the providers of transportation and care to make sure we maximize potential across the province.  Who are the partners from government missing here today?

Nancy – Energy

  • If Health Authorities could coordinate the appointments so that one geographic area could all come to the city

Robert – H&W

  • Government has a lot of work to do in policies and process of how we make decisions to see how we can get people to work and to other services
  • 90% coverage of community transit in Nova Scotia. Development is slow but we need to focus on the successes and build on them.  The successes we have had are fragile

QUESTION:  Why now, and why not 20 years ago?

Question 2: What does your department do well, that it could bring to addressing the transportation issue?

Greg – MA

  • We are a very good conduit to get organizations into government (municipalities and transit providers)
  • Trying to make connections
  • Flexible – change the focus of the program to adapt to new demands and needs of organizations. Want to change programs to fit service providers
  • Funding available to support

Catherine – DCS

  • Good at spending money – maybe not in the most positive way
  • Fund taxis, ambulances, individuals and education
  • Very good at tracking where money goes and how it is used
  • Since we know where our money is going we are able to find partnerships to see how much is spent
  • How can we focus on these things for a period of time and see how things can be done differently?

John – Environment

  • Climate change is really good at “sticking our noses in everybody’s business”
  • Play a good role to get others to see how things will be impacted from climate change and how we can mitigate and adapt
  • We know that the electricity sector is the biggest contributor and are on our way to meeting the goals. Transit is the next biggest contributor that needs to be addressed

Jacqueline – Seniors

  • Community development is the focus we do very well
  • Age-friendly Communities Program works with people to find solutions that work
  • Showcase promising initiatives – have started doing this and need to do more
  • Connect what we learn in the senior demographic and connect it with what we already know in other demographic areas
  • Lack of social planning

Question 3: What models could work to support this action?

Catherine – DCS:

  • Tracking what we do. If other departments and organizations can provide information on where the money is going we could better plan and approach how money is spent
  • We could tap into the community to see where people are going and what areas are benefiting. Is it equitable in sectors and geographic areas?
  • If money could be spent in a better way, the department would be open to that
  • What clients are shared between departments – Community Services, Health and Education?
  • Get departments to come up with a baseline of what is spent for departments

Jacqueline – Seniors

  • When there are community programs happening, the events are linked up with the community transit service in the area
  • Grant policy that has an impact that increases use and awareness of community transit
  • Orientation and training on how to use a community transit service. Many groups need that introduction to the services to be able to access it
  • What examples exist in other jurisdictions around 211 services? Need open data

Robert – H&W

  • We need a structure to be able to work consistently across departments
  • Discussion in government. There is Ministerial support and staff support.  The missing piece is the Deputy and Senior Executives
  • How much are we supporting families to access services and what are we currently doing and how to decrease costs? We need to think about how we can do things better
  • We don’t often focus on what we are saving by implementing community transit. We think about the costs of providing it.

Community Land Trust models to preserve land spaces – How can this be put on a transportation issue to create a transportation network that works for people?

Question 4: What could CTNS and/or member organizations provide to support this action?

Robert – H&W

  • Strong unified voice from communities
  • Help share the stories of how funds have been saved for government departments by implementing community transit
  • Work better across government departments. How do we better plan and coordinate responses?
  • Provide short-term funding which would allow time to explore sustainable funding for the future

Greg – MA:

  • Quantify the savings instead of the costs. Someone needs to come up with those numbers
  • We don’t hear from Municipalities that community transit is a main priority for municipalities
  • Some of the challenge is that they don’t have a program that this type of ask fits under and there were no solid outcomes

Bernie – TIR:

  • What value is CTNS to NS?
  • What value has CTNS for the operators?
  • Are operators not contributing to CTNS? There has to be a value to them but how can the province see value if the operators don’t see the value

QUESTION:  Why are there different inspection regulations for fixed transit routes compared to community transit providers?

Dr. Kathleen Kevany, member of the Living Earth Council, Engage NS

Prosperity, sustainability

  • What are the indicators of success (GPI)? How do we celebrate success and retell the story and how can we get at policy issues?
  • Agricultural policy is also environmental, social and health policy but in a bad way. How can we link up policy mechanisms?

12:30 – 1:15 Lunch Break


1:30 – 2:30 Open Space Discussions – Topics developed before lunch break, each had a self-selected facilitator/leader and participants self-selected which group they went to, knowing they were free to change when they chose to.


  1. Indicators of Success and Linking policy mechanisms across departments for transit
  2. The first indicator is cost of services – what are the costs associated with transit/transportation services?

**Need to build the case that generating this data will highlight ways/means to save dollars.

  • Present successes in cost savings eg. costs of ambulance trips vs. costs of community transit provider; compelling stories with numbers/costings – giving a truer picture of cost.
  • Provide comparative data of different types of transit and the savings associated
  • Need to create baseline across departments (macro-economics)/costs inventory
  • Highlights duplication/efficiencies and where the impacts are
  • More difficult for some departments than others. Need to start with the big three: Education, Health, and Community Services but Municipal Affairs needs to be included
  • There needs to be a core group within each department that is assigned this responsibility eg. middle management who manages the budget and knows the expenses.
  1. Transportation issues are embedded in all aspects of community development/planning. Use all those indicators
  2. Carbon Tax – way to link policy mechanisms
  • Reduce income tax (eventually)
  • Reduce GHG emissions
  1. Collaboration of transportation services is the best way to find solutions.


  1. Maximizing the collaboration and how to maximize the benefit of CTNS in NS
  2. Immediate crisis now in terms of funding needs long term sustainability with partnerships: municipalities (UNSM), many government departments, non-profit organizations, corporate.
  • Blended funding/sources of revenue/Foundations (McConnell)
  • Need to immediately focus on the most interested political partners – how to strategically approach them
  • Platform for CTNS within UNSM ie. creating a committee, a “home” within UNSM
  • $50,000/year for 3 years to keep moving forward on the plan that has already been happening from government and to create a co-led strategic plan
  • Operation Action Now – develop the business case to map the networks & different types of models, data sources, evaluate stories and impacts, services and savings – map it and document it together
  • Recognize that there are possible sector development funds available ie. LAE
  1. Culture
  • Co-led model of govt and CTNS to develop solutions with communities. Can happen from working political networks
    • identify 2 staff people
    • fund from project development based on agreed upon outcomes for the next 3 years and concrete plan
  • Govt needs community as much as community needs govt
  • Family Community Support Services for a blended funding model – there are a number of organizations that are relevant to CTNS to work together under one umbrella to connect the siloed areas that need to work together
  • Having to find a way to fit into government programs that already exist
  • Look outside govt to be leading and driving to govt supporting


  1. Better Communication between government and community organizations:
  • Non-profit organizations can offer services at low/no cost to help ease the burden of provincial services – offer solutions to long term problems: transporting people to education, health care, services.  The challenge is convincing the government that they can do that
  • Provincial govt to leverage to make changes (DCS/Education). Need to know who to contact to create better change in the community
  • Govt departments are happy to hear what organizations are doing and should feel comfortable sharing. Presentations at the department level.  Municipal Affairs WILL Assist – what do we need, who do we need to talk to.  Connect by August 2015
  • Better marketing & promotion – overcome stigma / 2 leaflets? Can provincial govt offer assistance?
  • Need one common voice (association of similar smaller organizations). Lots is happening.  Now we need to pull everyone together (partnerships between agencies and organizations) to keep moving forward, increase efficiencies and reduce duplication
  • Population needs to be educated on what is available. Speak to caseworkers/district managers


  1. Small Scale Transit Options, Community and Partnerships
  • John’s, Nfld Trolley Line. They took a usual bus and made it look like a trolley service that goes between the city and Signal Hill.  Partnership between businesses and local communities to advance transit using existing infrastructure.
  • Historic sites, tourism, Parks Canada, hotels, local businesses – partnerships co-fund & co-promote
  • Bring back nostalgia to transportation
    • Tatamagouche (road trolley train)
    • Cape Breton (coal tours, Highlands folk music, shore line trail)
    • Halifax Transit (airport route)
    • Strait Area Transit (NSCC, Wagmatook)
  • Marry goods and people transportation together
  • School boards/education


  1. Public Private Partnerships
  • Business property taxes – go to transit.  What percentage? and more transparent?
    • “bus stops to door steps” ie. ScotiaBank Terminal
  • Water taxis, paddling as an accepted form of commuting
  • “Bluenose” integrated transportation system


  1. Barriers that exist for CTAP operators
  • Vehicle inspections – left to interpretation of inspectors or fully regulated
  • Is it being inspected out of regulation or out of safety?
  • CTAP must be inspected every 6 months on vehicles 12 people or less
  • Why is there a difference between CTAP funded services?
  • Is there an appeal process? What does a group do if they don’t pass? Different levels?
  • This affects school boards, societies, organizations, long term care facilities, residential facilities
  • Bring all people together to look at this issue – do research around regulations, standardizations. What are the impacts on communities?
  • Who can we ask to do this? RTA take lead with partnership with CTNS to bring partners together and decide how best to address the issues


  1. Government Administration of Services
  • care coordinators
  • barriers to sharing between agencies. What sharing is there among agencies?
  • partnering between agencies
  • demographics
  • Halifax/rural areas


  1. Efficiencies between departments to reduce duplication
  • One head to coordinate agencies
  • Community involvement solution
  • Efficiency, reduction of duplication. Each department has different terms of how to describe the person they are dealing with.  Is there one way of describing the person they are working with?  If there is continuity, there is a benefit to the caregiver, client and policy maker.  There is a bigger administrative issue: overlapping of government programs doing the same thing.  Should be in one budget to create cost saving.


Open Space completed and Panel Wrap-Up resumed at 2:50.

John – Environment:

  • Climate change has forced us to collect micro and macro data. Environment is a good connector to data and where information exists
  • Lots of work is happening on sustainable transportation data collection

Jacqueline – Seniors:

  • Is Environment working at all on open source data and initiates?
  • Some people at Environment are working on the open source data in government
  • Some apps and websites are able to make open data very user friendly and available to public and other departments

Nancy – Energy:

  • Indicator area is the main area that needs to be focused on to speak to government
  • Need to quantify what the savings could be and share real stories about what the value and savings will be

Greg – MA:

  • Sat with Saran to look at the issues of community organizations
  • Still gaps for these organizations and how to lead them to be successful
  • Need government to be open to help these organizations
  • Government is willing to look at finding connections to help organizations to find the right person
  • UNSM School Bus: Dept of Education has responded to resolution to look into the use of school buses only when not in use by schools

Catherine – DCS:

  • Realized that there are so many people offering many services. They aren’t experts in everything but are working to move this forward
  • Realize that there is a role for government to match organizations with the skills that they need
  • All community agencies are in the same boat and need to know where they can go and where to access expertise
  • Government needs to align in a more organized fashion. How do we move things forward in an effective way?
  • Link into available avenues to move forward priorities together
  • Good first step that these departments are here and engaged, offering to support in resources and funds and willing to help with who you connect with and how

Bernie – TIR:

  • Can’t forget that community level is needed to make things happen
  • CTNS is the overarching body that is bringing govt and communities together
  • Need the numbers and quantitative data to make decisions
  • There are all kinds of reasons why things won’t work. We need to decide how to make things work
  • Regulatory change and policy assistance can be helpful from government
  • Bernie is willing to take on the coordination role in the provincial government for CTNS

Amy – H&W:

  • What are the things that government can do and CTNS can do? Let’s work together
  • Use CTNS to get the political will and then departments can work together

Elizabeth – Seniors:

  • Support and willingness of the public servants to make this a priority and make good things happen
  • Has been working around economic policy for the province – One NS
  • Department of Business to work to create the environment for social enterprises and businesses to succeed in this province
  • Chief Regulatory Affairs created in the province. Could be approached by transit providers to see how to make the conditions right to flourish
  • Looking for NS to drive the change and lots of questions on what the role of government is. We want business and community to drive the agenda
  • What are your interests and the interests of the business community? How do they overlap?


Jacqueline – Seniors:

  • We know that there is a top down force. Let’s also look at bottom up
  • What are the priorities in communities? Age-friendly community planning model can support how players can work together and mix priorities together

What resonates with you?

  • Impressed with what is happening to have the government represented here and working together
  • Cost analysis for transportation – we need to consider that the money we give to an ambulance does not stay in NS


3:45pm Close and Thanks to all for participating.  Look for reports in the upcoming E-News


Respectfully submitted,


Dodie Goodwin


with many thanks to Taylor Cudney


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