Ontario Agencies Supporting Individuals with Special Needs
Ontario Agencies Supporting Individuals with Special Needs

Terms of Reference

April 2009
Revision date December 10, 2012

The OASIS Sensory Partners is a partnership of OASIS members who are service providers and other relevant stakeholders, with a shared purpose of developing common ground on which to ensure a comprehensive, community based service system for hard of hearing, deaf, deafblind, nonverbal children and/or adults. The Partners have a direct reporting relationship to the OASIS Board of Directors and each other for coordinated communication.

The OASIS Sensory Partners believes that:

  • All Individuals must have transparent and equitable opportunity for access to services and supports in environments that support their individuality, rights, unique communication requirements, and need to freely associate in communities where they will be understood.
  • All individuals who are deafblind have a right to intervenor services.
  • All Deaf individuals have the right to interpreting services for barrier free access to all services.
  • Government has a responsibility to fund the delivery of intervenor/ interpreter services, based on individual need.
  • The amount of intervenor service provided should be based on the individual needs of consumers.

The OASIS Sensory Partners while maintaining the principles of OASIS (see * below) strives to achieve:

  • Increased public awareness of the uniqueness of Deafblindness as a specific disability.
  • Increased public awareness of the language distinctions, and related implications, between the Deaf, hard of hearing and non-verbal communities and the hearing mainstream.
  • Increased development of training programs for intervenors, communicators and interpreters.
  • Increased recruitment and hiring of intervenors and individuals fluent in American Sign Language or other methods/modes of manual communication.
  • An Inclusive Structure – a strong network of participating organizations with standards for membership
  • Effective Partnerships – relationships with government, community partners and key supporters of the Partners.

Accountability

1. The Partners are accountable to service users and their families, to colleagues, service providers, community partners, funders and to the broader community, while advocating in the best interests of people who are Deaf and deafblind or would benefit from the use of manual language to communicate.

2. The Partners are accountable for:

  • The establishment of strategic directions within a annual workplan (with approval of the OASIS Board of Directors)
  • Ongoing Partnering with relevant stakeholders
  • Communication and advocacy within the Deaf and Deafblind sector
  • Effective functioning of the committee of the OASIS board

Membership

1. Agency members of the Partners must be OASIS members in good standing. Agency representatives will include a senior staff member with decision making authority.

2. The Partners may, from time to time, invite representatives of the Deaf, deafblind communities and other groups/organizations to attend, but such attendees will not have a vote on any matter decided by the group.

3. Agency Members – refer to committee listing.

Leadership

1. The Partners will be led by a Chair.

2. The Chair will be selected from the overall membership, with staggered two year terms unless the current Chair and the Partners agree to extend the term for an additional 2 years, to a maximum of 4 years.

3. A current member of the Sensory Partners is expected to assume the position of Chair upon completion of the Chair’s term.

Operations

1. The Partners will meet a minimum of four times per year or as required.

2. The Partners will keep an ongoing work plan and will monitor programs at each meetings or as needed.

3. The structure and process for discussion will follow the guidelines as set out in Robert’s Rules of Order.

4. In addition if all partners are in agreement consent thereto in advance, generally or in respect of a particular meeting, and all partners have equal access, a partner may participant in a meeting by means of such conference telephone or other communications facilities as permit all persons participating in the meeting to communicate with one another, and a partner participating in such a meeting by such means is deemed to be present at the meeting. The Chair shall ensure each particular meeting is handled in a secure fashion. Quorum shall be established by the Chair at the beginning of each particular meeting by verbal roll call, where appropriate, or by such other reasonable measures as determined by the Chair to accurately confirm attendance by the partners at the meeting. Each vote cast by a partners participating by telephone or other electronic means shall be recorded in the minutes.5.

5. Any Partners member who is aware of a direct or perceived conflict of interest pertaining to any decision is expected to declare such a conflict at the outset. The membership will determine whether the conflict will affect their ability to participate in the discussion and/or vote.

6. Decisions will be made by consensus wherever possible.

7. The Partners will receive information and recommendations through standing committees and/or work group structure.

8. Partners will contribute equally to the operating fund on an as needed basis. An assigned member will keep a financial record of deposits and expenditures to and from the fund. Expenditures will be purchases related solely to the business of the OASIS Sensory Partners. An updated accounting of the fund balance will be distributed to the Partners at each meeting.

Documentation

1. Minutes of all meetings will be distributed to all Partners members and the Liaison member of OASIS Board of Directors.

2. A master file of Partners business will be maintained by the Chair.

3. An Annual Report will be completed by the Chair on the work of the Partners and forwarded to the Board of Directors of member agencies and to the OASIS board for presentation at the AGM.

Review of Terms

1. The terms of reference will be reviewed every 3 years or as necessary by Partners members to ensure they are current and valid. Any changes are subject to approval by the OASIS Board of Directors.