Creating accessibility standards
Accessibility Standards Canada creates and reviews standards that apply to:
- the federal government; and
- federally regulated entities.
These standards will identify, eliminate and prevent barriers to accessibility.
Our accessibility standards are voluntary. They may be submitted to the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion to be adopted into regulations. If the Minister chooses to adopt them into regulation, they become mandatory. They then apply to federally regulated organizations and federal government departments and agencies.
During the Accessible Canada Act consultations, the government learned which areas are most important to Canadians for improving accessibility.
Under the Act, Accessibility Standards Canada needs to work with:
- persons with disabilities and other experts;
- industry representatives; and
- other stakeholders impacted by the standards.
The following 7 priorities, as identified in the Accessible Canada Act, guide our work:
- the built environment
- information and communication technologies
- communication (other than information and communication technologies)
- the procurement of goods, services and facilities
- the design and delivery of programs and services
Centre of expertise
Our Centre of Expertise centralizes and facilitate access to our:
- standards, including those being co-developed and under development, and
- research that has received funding through our grants and contributions program.
All standards and research found in our Centre of Expertise support and are organized according to the Accessible Canada Act’s seven priority areas.
Standards under development
We are currently developing eleven (11) standards. The following technical committees have started their work:
- Technical committee on employment
- Technical committee on outdoor spaces
- Technical committee on emergency egress (exit)
- Technical committee for a model standard for the built environment - accessibility for federally regulated entities as defined in the Accessible Canada Act
- Technical committee for acoustics
- Technical committee on wayfinding and signage
- Technical committee on plain language
- Technical committee on emergency measures
- Technical committee for the Design and Delivery of Accessible Programs and Services
- Technical committee on accessibility requirements for Information and Communication Technology Products and Services
- Technical committee for accessible travel journey
Upcoming standards (notices of intent)
Notices of intent inform Canadians and standards organizations of what we are working on. This helps reduce the risk of creating redundant standards, and makes our work more transparent.
Role of technical committees
- identify where persons with disabilities may face barriers related to its area of focus;
- develop a national standard, or a suite of standards, to work towards eliminating these barriers; and
- uphold the Code of Conduct for Technical Committee members.
Compensation for individual members
We are adopting Canadian and international practices to develop accessibility standards. We will recruit experts from various backgrounds. These are volunteer roles as most members will represent organizations. If an individual with a disability is not paid by an organization, we will compensate them for their role as an expert on a technical committee.
If members need to travel, Accessibility Standards Canada covers expenditures, as per the Government of Canada travel directive.
Help create accessibility standards
Want to make an impact on the lives of more than 6 million Canadians living with disabilities? Apply to our technical committees to improve accessibility and help create innovative standards.
To find out about the next available opportunity, follow us on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, and register for our newsletter.
Consult our work program to see the list of all the in-progress and completed standards at Accessibility Standards Canada.
This document includes:
- the standards Accessibility Standards Canada is currently preparing;
- the standards that Accessibility Standards Canada has published in the preceding period;
- the classification relevant to the subject matter of the standard using the International Classification for Standards “ICS” code(s);
- the development-stage code and start date, based on the ISO International harmonized stage codes;
- the public review comment period start and end dates; and
- references to any international standards as a basis.
Frequently Asked Questions
Will there be opportunities to provide feedback?
Once developed, draft standards will be available on our website for a period of 60 days. During this time, the public may provide their feedback. The technical committee will then consider that feedback moving forward.
When will the standards be publicly available?
Once completed, the standards will be available on our website. This means that everyone will be able to use them for free.
What is Accessibility Standards Canada’s mandate?
Our mandate is to help make Canada a place without barriers to accessibility. Please read our about us page for more information.