Communication (other than information and communication technologies)

Here is Accessibility Standards Canada’s current standard, along with our funded grants and contributions research related to communication (other than information and communication technologies). Check here often for new information related to this priority area.

Standards

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CAN-ASC-3.1 Plain Language

CAN-ASC-3.1 Plain Language

Areas of focus

There are common areas where people with disabilities may experience barriers to accessibility in plain language. These include, but are not limited to:

  • lack of information and awareness by communicators, including knowing about accommodation pertaining to plain language
  • language grade level

This standard is in development

Standard started on October 1, 2020

Public review expected in winter 2023

Publication expected in spring 2024

Technical committee members

Academic and research bodies

Iva Cheung, Post-doctoral fellow, University of British Columbia

Julie Ruel, Researcher, University Institute for Intellectual Disabilities and Autism Spectrum Disorder

Consumer and public interest

Carol Wilson, Health Education Consultant, Carol A Wilson BSN RN

Catherine Buckie, Independent Plain Language Consultant, iwritewell.ca

Hilda Smith, Workshop Designer & Clear Language Consultant

Karen McCall, Accessible Document Design Consultant and Trainer, Karlen Communications

Lorne Mackenzie, Senior Regulatory Affairs Manager, WestJet (inactive)

Government and authorities having jurisdiction 

Cynthia Jolly, Communications Manager, Canadian Transportation Agency

Nancy Foreman, Plain Language Specialist, Shared Services Canada

Youssef Megharfi, French Translator, Treasury Board Secretariat

Business and industry

David Berman, Chief Accessibility Officer, David Berman Communications

Eyra Abraham, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Lisnen

Laura Edlund, Freelance Writer and Editor, Laura Edlund – Writing * Editing * Research

Melissa Kargiannakis (Vice Chairperson), Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Skritswap

Non-governmental organizations

Catherine Rodgers (Chairperson), Director of Communications, People First of Canada

Stacey Kowbel, Researcher, Vecova

Rachel Mills, Senior Policy Analyst, Inclusion Canada

Grants and Contributions Research

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Communication Access within the Accessible Canada Act

Communication Access within the Accessible Canada Act

This research project is completed.

Who is leading the research?

Ontario College of Art and Design University

What is the goal of this study?

People with various communication disabilities face barriers when accessing federal services. This study will gather information on these barriers. It will also gather information on accommodation requirements. The goal will be to use this data to inform future standard development.

Why does this study matter?

Federal services need to be accessible to people with communication disabilities.

What are the key findings?

  • We do not always know when someone has a communication disability. Therefore, all communication should use plain and accessible terms.  
  • Training, service delivery, and program design need to be flexible. This will help address the needs of those who use augmentative and alternative ways to communicate. (These are methods that supplement or replace speech or writing.) 
  • Automated services and phone services need to allow for the use of augmentative and alternative communication methods. For example, a live phone operator is a more inclusive form of support because they can adjust their approach based on the needs of the caller.  

Not all individuals have the same levels of literacy or ability to write or speak. Therefore, service and program design must not assume that they do.

If you would like a full copy of the report, please email us.

Accessibility Standards for Deaf and Deafblind Canadians

Accessibility Standards for Deaf and Deafblind Canadians

This research project is still underway.

Who is leading this research?

Canadian Association of the Deaf

What is the goal of this study?

This study will focus on the barriers faced by people who are deaf or deafblind. The goal is to determine where changes can be made to existing standards. The purpose of these changes will be to improve access and remove barriers for people who are deaf and deafblind.

Why does this study matter?

The deafblind community faces unique challenges. This study will improve our understanding of these challenges. This is needed to support the development of standards that support the accessibility needs of people who are deaf or deafblind.

What are the key findings?

Key findings will be shared once the research is completed.

Exploring the Place of Interpretive Support in Information and Communications Accessibility

Exploring the Place of Interpretive Support in Information and Communications Accessibility

This research project is still underway.

Who is leading the research?

Institute for Research and Development on Inclusion and Society

What is the goal of this study?

This study will gather information on different approaches and tools that can facilitate communication for people with disabilities. This includes people with intellectual, cognitive, and communication disabilities.

Why does this study matter?

Research on such tools and approaches is needed so they can be integrated into communication standards.

What are the key findings?

Key findings will be shared once the research is completed.

An Exploratory Study of Video-Accessible Communications Practices

An Exploratory Study of Video-Accessible Communications Practices

This research project is still underway.

Who is leading the research?

Réseau québécois pour l’inclusion des personnes sourdes et malentendantes

What is the goal of this study?

This study will review existing information on sign language models. The goal is to develop best practices for accessible communications for the deaf and hard of hearing.

Why does this study matter?

Communication standards need to consider the requirements of individuals who are deaf and hard of hearing.

What are the key findings?

Key findings will be shared once the research is completed.

Advancing Accessible Communication for People with Intellectual Disabilities

Advancing Accessible Communication for People with Intellectual Disabilities

This research project is still underway.

Who is leading the research?

Inclusion Canada

What is the goal of this study?

People with intellectual disabilities face communication barriers. This study will gather information to support the removal and prevention of these barriers. This data will be used to inform future standard development.

Why does this study matter?

Communication standards need to consider the accessibility requirements of people with all types of disabilities. This includes intellectual disabilities.

What are the key findings?

Key findings will be shared once the research is completed.

Advancing Accessibility Standards through Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit

Advancing Accessibility Standards through Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit

This research project is still underway.

Who is leading the research?

Nunavummi Disabilities Makinnasuaqtiit Society

What is the goal of this study?

This study will gather information on how accessibility standards are used in Nunavut. It will identify barriers faced by people with disabilities from an Indigenous perspective.

Why does this study matter?

A better understanding of Indigenous perspectives on disability and accessibility is needed. This will make future standards more relevant to Indigenous communities.

What are the key findings?

Key findings will be shared once the research is completed.

Visualizing Accessibility Standards: A Demonstration with CSA B651

Visualizing Accessibility Standards: A Demonstration with CSA B651

This research project is still underway.

Who is leading the research?

Dalhousie University

What is the goal of this study?

Visual reference materials and tools can be helpful for presenting technical documentation. This study will look at how these can benefit people with visual disabilities.

Why does this study matter?

Using visual aids to present technical information can improve information sharing. It can also increase understanding for all stakeholders.

What are the key findings?

Key findings will be shared once the research is completed.

New projects

Accessible Canada, Accessible World: Co-creating a Global Standards Community

Accessible Canada, Accessible World: Co-creating a Global Standards Community

This research project is still underway.

Who is leading this research?

Ontario College of Art and Design University

What is the goal of this study?

This project will build resources for research informed by the experience of people with disabilities. These resource will be created through in-person and online events. 

Why does this study matter?

Including the lived experience and expertise of people with disabilities allows for a more inclusive approach to accessibility. Increased accessibility can be achieved when the people who face barriers are included in the research and standards development process.

What are the key findings?

Key findings will be shared once the research is completed.

Brain Injury and Accessibility of the Electoral Process in Canada

Brain Injury and Accessibility of the Electoral Process in Canada

This research project is still underway.

Who is leading this research?

Brain Injury Canada

What is the goal of this study?

People with brain injuries experience barriers to participating in election-related activities. This study will identify ways to remove and prevent these barriers.

Why does this study matter?

Every Canadian has the right to vote and be involved in the electoral process.

What are the key findings?

Key findings will be shared once the research is completed.

Ensuring access and understanding of public information for people with disabilities

Ensuring access and understanding of public information for people with disabilities

This research project is still underway.

Who is leading this research?

Université du Québec à Rimouski

What is the goal of this study?

People with disabilities face barriers to accessing and understanding online information. This study will focus on the barriers that hinder access to legal and communication services online. It will assess best practices and recommend ways to develop the next generation of model accessibility standards as they relate to communication and technology.

Why does this study matter?

Governments have a responsibility to communicate with all Canadians. They must also ensure equitable access to information.

What are the key findings?

Key findings will be shared once the research is completed.

Accessibility Futurisms: Analyzing Access through a Disability Justice Modality

Accessibility Futurisms: Analyzing Access through a Disability Justice Modality

This research project is still underway.

Who is leading this research?

The Youth Project Society of Nova Scotia

What is the goal of this study?

A disability justice framework centres the experiences of excluded groups. This study will explore the intersecting experiences of young 2SLGBTQIA+ people with disabilities. It will study the increased barriers they may face in their communities. The study will include recommendations to increase accessibility. These will focus on buildings, outdoor spaces, programs and services, communication, and transportation.

Why does this study matter?

Everyone deserves equal access and support within their community.

What are the key findings?

Key findings will be shared once the research is completed.