Advancing Accessibility Standards Research Program: Call for expressions of interest


Accessibility Standards Canada is inviting interested organizations to submit an expression of interest for research funding. This is the first step in applying.

Your project must align with the goals and desired outcomes of Accessibility Standards Canada’s grants and contributions program. 

If your expression of interest is selected, you will be invited to submit a detailed application. These applications will then be assessed to determine which projects will be selected for funding. You may submit more than 1 expression of interest.

To apply, you must meet all of the following program requirements.

Submission deadline

We must receive your expression of interest by no later than 3:00 p.m. (Eastern Daylight Time) on August 5, 2022. If it is received after the deadline, it will not be considered.

Do you need accommodations to complete your expression of interest? If so, email us at no later than July 8, 2022.

Maximum funding amount

Organizations can ask for up to $250,000 per year, per project. The maximum is $750,000 over 3 years.

Priority research areas

Your project must focus on 1 or more of the following priority areas:

  • Canada’s election process, including voting and running for office
  • communication, other than information and communication technologies, including accessible communications through sign language (American Sign Language, Langue des signes québécoise, Indigenous Sign Language)  
  • design and delivery of programs and services, including inclusive and accessible service delivery
  • employment, including accessible employment for youth with disabilities transitioning from school to work
  • information and communication technologies
  • procurement of goods, services, and facilities
  • the built environment
  • transportation

These are explained in the Glossary of terms.

Purpose of this program

This program funds research projects that help identify and remove barriers to accessibility. It also funds research projects aimed at preventing new barriers. The findings from the research projects are used to inform the development of next-generation model accessibility standards. These are standards that fall under federal areas of responsibility.

Program objectives

Your research project must contribute to the program’s objectives: 

  1. Work with different people and organizations across Canada to move accessibility standards research forward to help create a national network of accessibility expertise.
  2. Involve persons with disabilities, other experts, and organizations to inform the research.
  3. Identify and share research, information, best practices, and tools about accessibility barriers and standards.

Eligible organizations

This call for expressions of interest is open to all Canadian organizations that are legal entities in Canada. To be eligible, your organization must fit into 1 or more of the following categories: 

  • research or educational institution (such as a university)
  • not-for-profit organization 
  • Indigenous organization, including a band or tribal council or other self-governing entity
  • municipal (local) organization
  • provincial and territorial organization (excluding provincial or territorial governments)

Is your organization located in Québec? If your research project is accepted, you must get approval from the Government of Québec to accept our funding. See the Act Respecting the Ministère du Conseil Exécutif.

Mandatory requirements

Your research project must:

  1. Contribute to the program’s purpose.
  2. Contribute to the program’s objectives.
  3. Focus on at least 1 of the program’s priority research areas.
  4. Project timing: Your research project should start no earlier than April 2023 and must be completed by March 31, 2026. Your research report must also be published by that date.
  5. Partnerships: You must partner with 1 or more organizations to help you deliver your research. Partnerships should be across sectors and/or disciplines. They must foster the creation of a national network of accessibility expertise. They must also encourage the participation of people with disabilities in your research. 

The number of partnerships depends on the amount of funding you are requesting:

  • If you are asking for $100,000 or less per fiscal year, you must partner with at least 1 other organization.
  • If you are asking for more than $100,000 per fiscal year, you must partner with at least 2 other organizations. One of these partners must be a national disability organization. (Note: This requirement does not apply if your organization is an Indigenous or national disability organization.) 

How to apply

You can submit your expression of interest online or by email.


Click here to complete the online form. Be sure to submit your form before 3:00 p.m. (Eastern Daylight Time) on August 5, 2022. Note that the secure online form is hosted by Canadian Digital Services.

Once you have submitted the online form, you will be directed to a webpage confirming that your Expression of Interest has been submitted. You will also receive an email confirmation within 5 business days with a copy of your submitted expression of interest. It will be sent to the email you submitted in your expression of interest. 

By email:

Download and complete the expression of interest form:

Send the completed form to The sent date of your email must be no later than 3:00 p.m. (Eastern Daylight Time) on August 5, 2022

You will receive an automatic confirmation by email that your expression of interest has been submitted. Please check your spam folder if you have not received the confirmation within 24 hours of submitting your expression of interest.

Evaluation process

Accessibility Standards Canada will review and evaluate all expressions of interest. This evaluation will assess:

  • the degree to which the proposed activities support the program’s purpose, objectives, and priorities, and
  • the need for the proposed activities.

We will notify all organizations of the outcome of this evaluation by September 30, 2022

Formal application process

Following the evaluation, we will invite select organizations to submit an application for funding. The application package consists of a detailed proposal, budget template, and other information. 

Being invited to apply does not guarantee funding.

Invited organizations will have approximately 2 months to complete and submit their funding application. 


Send your questions by email to

Glossary of terms


Accessibility means barrier-free access. This is access that gives every person an equal opportunity to participate in society—regardless of disability.

Accessibility standard

A standard guides organizations so their activities are consistent across sectors. It means that people can expect the same level of service or the same quality of products. Accessibility standards are intended to remove barriers. They ensure that people with disabilities can fully and equitably participate in society. 


A barrier is anything that makes it harder for someone with a disability or functional limitation to fully and equitably participate in society. Barriers come in many forms. They may be physical, architectural, technological, or attitudinal. They may relate to information or communication. They may also be a result of a policy or practice. 


The Accessible Canada Act defines disability as “any impairment, including a physical, mental, intellectual, cognitive, learning, communication, or sensory impairment—or a functional limitation—whether permanent, temporary, or episodic in nature, or evident or not, that, in interaction with a barrier, hinders a person’s full and equal participation in society.”

National disability organization

These are organizations that help people with disabilities participate in society. Under this program, they must have a national mandate and conduct activities in 4 or more provinces or territories. They may work in partnership with other organizations or have offices in different provinces or territories.


Partnerships are collaborative arrangements between the recipient and an individual or organization. They can include both financial and in-kind contributions. Partners cannot be a member of the applicant’s organization. Partnerships can include collaborations with any of the following:

  • other research organizations with complementary mandates
  • organizations that specialize in certain aspects of research (for example, data collection, survey facilitation, development of specialized software, financial matters) 

Research priorities

Built environment

A built environment is a physical area built by people for human activity. This includes buildings and urban spaces where people live, work, play, or visit. 

The built environment research priority refers to the need to make this environment accessible. For example, an accessible design is one that removes barriers to accessibility for individuals who: 

  • Use mobility devices. For example, designs that include elevators, ramps, and automatic doors and that ensure adequate space.
  • Have sensory or cognitive needs. For example, designs that remove barriers by: 
    • using lighting, sounds, or textures
    • limiting or removing scents or causes of sensory overload
    • providing visual, auditory, or tactile cues.
  • Require wayfinding assistance. For example:
    • visual signage and cues such as symbols, large print, and contrast
    • audible or tactile signage and cues, such as Braille and textures.

Canada’s election process, including voting and running for office

This research priority refers to ensuring the election process is accessible to people with disabilities. These processes include, for example:

  • running for office
  • managing election campaigns
  • communicating campaign-related information
  • voting

Communication, other than information and communication technologies (includes accessible communication using sign language)

Communication is a two-way process. It happens when people give and receive information in face-to-face interactions. It also includes:

  • reading and understanding written information (such as on websites and social media)
  • completing and signing forms and documents

This research priority refers to ensuring that people with disabilities have access to communication tools that enable the giving and receiving of information. It does not include the development of the tools themselves. For example, providing access to: 

  • options for different ways of communicating (such as in person, on the phone, in writing, online, or via video)
  • alternative types of documentation (such as accessible websites, print, Braille, plain language texts), and processes such as an electronic signature option
  • sign language interpretation (American Sign Language, Langue des signes québécoise, Indigenous Sign Language)

Design and delivery of programs and services, including inclusive and accessible service delivery

This relates to the need for organizations to consider accessibility when planning, creating, implementing, and delivering programs and services. An important aspect of this is involving persons with disabilities in the design and delivery process.

Inclusive and accessible service delivery means being intentionally inclusive so everyone can enjoy a seamless service delivery experience. This can be related to accessibility needs when planning, creating and implementing services. 

Employment, including accessible employment for youth with disabilities transitioning from school to work

Employment is when someone receives money in exchange for work for an employer. This research priority refers to accessibility in the context of employment. For example:

  • having accessibility features in the workplace (such as offering flexible schedules and providing access to accessible technology)
  • eliminating barriers related to attitudes in the workplace (due to, for example, discrimination, lack of knowledge, or lack of awareness training)
  • making recruitment, retention, and promotion more accessible by, for example:
    • including accessibility features in the hiring process
    • correcting situations where few or no persons with disabilities have been hired or serve in management roles
  • providing accessible employment for youth with disabilities transitioning from school to work

Information and communication technologies

This refers to any communication device that enables people to access, store, transmit, understand, or use information. These technologies include:

  • radio, television, cell phones, satellite systems
  • computer and network hardware
  • services such as video conferencing and distance learning
  • analogue technology, such as paper communication
  • any form of technology that transmits information 

This research priority refers to projects that address technology-related barriers that affect the accessibility of a technology that facilitates communication. It does not include projects aimed at developing such technologies. 

This research priority relates to the need for organizations to consider accessibility and barriers when buying goods, services, or facilities that will be used by people with disabilities.


This refers to the action of transporting someone or something from one destination to another, or the process of being transported. 

This research priority relates to the accessibility of transportation policies and programs. It also refers to providing access to, and the accessibility of, transportation modes that are federally regulated.