Technical committee on plain language


The role of the technical committee for standards for plain language is to:

  • identify where persons with disabilities may face barriers based on lack of information provided in plain language
  • develop a national standard or standards that will try to remove or prevent these barriers

This standard or standards will apply to all private and public sector organizations in the federally regulated sector.

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.

Travel directive

If members need to travel, Accessibility Standards Canada covers expenditures, as per the Government of Canada travel directive.

Area of focus

A few areas where persons with disabilities may face barriers and require plain language include:

  • lack of information and awareness by communicators, including knowing about accommodation pertaining to plain language
  • language grade level, determined by:
    • text content and formatting, grammar, active/passive voice, providing examples to support content

Committee members

Find below the committee members, title, organization, and email address, grouped by stakeholder category.

Find below the committee members, title, organization, and email address, grouped by stakeholder category.

Chairperson and Vice Chairperson

  • Chairperson: Catherine Rodgers (full information: name number 15 below)
  • Vice Chairperson: Melissa Kargiannakis (full information: name number 14 below)

Academic and research bodies

  1. Dr. Iva Cheung, Post-doctoral fellow, University of British Columbia
  2. Dr. Julie Ruel, Researcher, Institut universitaire en déficience intellectuelle et en trouble du spectre de l’autisme

Consumer and public interest

  1. Ms. Carol Wilson, Health Education Consultant, Carol A Wilson BSN RN
  2. Ms. Catherine Buckie, Independent Plain Language Consultant,
  3. Dr. Hilda Smith, Workshop Designer & Clear Language Consultant
  4. Ms. Karen McCall, Accessible Document Design Consultant and Trainer, Karlen Communications
  5. Mr. Lorne Mackenzie, Senior Regulatory Affairs Manager, WestJet (inactive)

Government and authorities having jurisdiction

  1. Ms. Cynthia Jolly, Communications Manager, Canadian Transportation Agency
  2. Mrs. Nancy Foreman, Plain Language Specialist, Shared Services Canada
  3. Mr. Youssef Megharfi, French Translator, Treasury Board Secretariat

Industry and commerce

  1. Mr. David Berman, Chief Accessibility Officer, David Berman Communications
  2. Ms. Eyra Abraham, Founder and CEO, Lisnen
  3. Ms. Laura Edlund, Freelance Writer and Editor, Laura Edlund – Writing * Editing * Research
  4. Ms. Melissa Kargiannakis (Vice Chairperson), Founder and CEO, Skritswap

Non-governmental organizations

  1. Ms. Catherine Rodgers (Chairperson), Director of Communications, People First of Canada
  2. Ms. Stacey Kowbel, Researcher, Vecova
  3. Ms. Tara Levandier, Director of Policy and Program Operations, Inclusion Canada

Notice of intent