Accessibility Standards Canada: 2020 to 2021 Departmental Results Report

Accessibility Standards Canada aims to meet the highest standard of accessibility. Our goal is to give every Canadian, regardless of technology or ability, equal access to our reports. 

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International Standard Serial Number (ISSN): 2563-5794

From the Minister

On July 11, 2020, during the course of a global pandemic, we marked the one-year anniversary of the Accessible Canada Act (the Act). In the past year, we have seen the far-reaching impact COVID-19 has had on Canadians with disabilities. It has drawn attention to barriers that people with disabilities have experienced for a long time and continue to experience. The anniversary was an important reminder of the “Nothing without us” principle. This lies at the core of the Act.

It brings me great pride to see the progress Accessibility Standards Canada has made in 2020 to 2021, to support putting the Act into practice. I am thankful for the opportunities we have had to work together. With another year behind us, we are moving ahead with our goal to make a barrier-free Canada.

Our government has taken a disability-inclusive approach in responding to the pandemic. The COVID-19 Disability Advisory Group was formed to listen to individuals and organizations of people with disabilities, speak about their concerns and give recommendations.

During the pandemic, information about accessibility needed to spread quickly and reach all over Canada. I asked Accessibility Standards Canada to develop accessibility resources. The organization took action and produced guidelines for public use, in the following areas:

American Sign Language (ASL) version of this section

Minister Qualtrough - Ministre Qualtrough
  • employment, including accessible practices for returning to the workplace;
  • best practices for accessibility when working from home; and
  • accessible communication during COVID-19 and other emergencies for:
    • people with disabilities; and
    • federal organizations.

There is more good news. Accessibility Standards Canada and the National Research Council of Canada are working together to develop a model accessibility standard for the built environment. It will improve the accessibility of buildings for Canadians. The built environment is one of the priority areas in the Act. An important part of this work will be to involve the disability community in the process.

Barriers experienced by people with disabilities still exist. Without a doubt, this past year has shown us that we have a lot more work to do to become more disability inclusive. My hope is that from reading this report you will see that, together, we are working hard to create a barrier-free Canada.

From the Chairperson

Having an established governance structure in place has enabled us to be effective in our work. Our mandate, vision, mission and values continue to guide us. We remain committed to hearing from the disability community about what our priorities should be.

Strong working relationships amongst the Board members and with the Chief Executive Officer have contributed to our successes over the last year. The employees of Accessibility Standards Canada are a tremendous team of people who demonstrate their dedication, knowledge and commitment on a daily basis. We are all driven to make progress on our mandate quickly.

The past year has been like no other. Perhaps that is why the members of our Board of Directors feel particularly proud of what Accessibility Standards Canada has achieved.

In spite of the challenges COVID-19 brought, our organization was able to make impressive progress on its mandate. This included working fast to develop much needed accessibility guidelines for COVID-19 and other emergencies.

In 2019, the Board decided on the first set of standards to be developed.

American Sign Language (ASL) version of this section

Chairperson of the Board of Directors - Président de conseil d’administration Paul-Claude Bérubé

Technical committees made up of experts have been established over the past year and they began their work on these standards. This includes standards in the following areas:

  • outdoor spaces;
  • plain language;
  • emergency egress (exit); and
  • employment.

We are accountable to Canadians. It is important to us to hear from people throughout the country. The pandemic meant that we had to delay our first annual public meeting. Still, we wanted to hear from Canadians. In the fall of 2020, we held an online consultation to hear the public’s views on:

  • in-person and online engagement;
  • priority areas for the next set of standards; and
  • research areas for our grants and contributions program.

The responses we received helped us decide on the priority areas for future standards. Our second set of standards will focus on the following areas:

  • emergency measures (particularly in the time of a pandemic);
  • wayfinding including signage (finding out where you are and how to get to your desired destination);
  • procurement (buying equipment, other products and services); and
  • acoustics (sound quality).

Responses to the online consultation also helped us decide which research areas we should focus on for future funding. The Board identified six areas for funding in 2021 to 2022:

  • design and delivery of programs and services;
  • built environment with a focus on Heritage buildings;
  • accessibility in Indigenous communities;
  • information and communication technology;
  • communication (other than plain language); and
  • procurement.

It became clear to us that to reach our goal of a barrier-free Canada by January 1, 2040, we needed a plan to get there. The Board began to create a long-term plan for what it means to contribute to this goal.

The pandemic delayed the opportunity for us to meet with Canadians in person. It has not delayed us from making progress on our mandate. We are motivated by seeing real change for people with disabilities. From this report, Canadians will see that during the past year, our young organization found its stride and continued to make progress on its mandate.

From the Chief Executive Officer

In 2020 to 2021, Accessibility Standards Canada was not spared from the disruptions caused by COVID-19. It had real effects on our organization. Staff began working from home and work on our new office space slowed, as all construction came to a stop. Fortunately, that was not the end of the story. In fact, this past year has been one of the nonstop successes. We have taken big steps to move our mandate forward. Accessibility Standards Canada is helping to shape a barrier-free country and I am happy to tell you about our progress over the past year.

In the past year, we hired several new staff members. Soon we will have our full measure of staff. We want our workforce to represent the people of Canada and that includes people with disabilities.

Many of Accessibility Standards Canada’s employees identify as having a disability. Work continued on our new office space and we look forward to taking possession of it in 2021. It will be a model for accessibility.

Accessibility Standards Canada’s main responsibility is to create standards for accessibility. We need technical committees with members who have the experience and knowledge to make this happen. I am happy to say that we had four technical committees in operation in 2020 to 2021.

American Sign Language (ASL) version of this section

Chief Executive Officer of Accessibility Standards Canada, Philip Rizcallah - Président-directeur général de Normes d'accessibilité Canada, Philip Rizcallah

These committees are working hard to create our first set of four standards identified by the Board. Our goal is to have these standards completed early in the 2022 to 2023 year.

We are working towards accreditation with the Standards Council of Canada. This means that all Canadians can trust our standards.

Through our Advancing Accessibility Standards Research grants and contributions program, we funded six research projects, some of which were completed in 2020 to 2021. By the end of the year, we had put funding agreements in place with another 18 organizations. We also launched a second competitive call for proposals for the next round of our program. We will fund projects in the other six areas identified by the Board for funding in 2021 to 2022 through this next round.

We want to hear from Canadians so that we focus our work in the right areas. One of the ways we made this happen was to carry out an online public consultation. I would like to thank everyone who gave input. These engagements are important to us because they will help broaden the impact of accessibility standards. Also, they make sure that we are looking to the future.

Accessibility Standards Canada wants to have a national impact. We know that engaging with our stakeholders is key to making this happen. I am pleased to say that we have partnered with standard development organizations and national code organizations to work on standards together. Together, we will work in these areas:

  • the built environment;
  • electronic payment terminals; and
  • accessible housing.

One of the priorities of the organization is to promote a consistent experience of accessibility across Canada. In late 2020 to 2021, we began forming working relationships with officials in provincial and territorial governments. That important work will continue in 2021 to 2022.

Sharing information about accessibility is part of our mandate. Over the last year, we created four sets of accessibility guidelines in the context of COVID-19 to help organizations and people with disabilities. Our hope is that they will serve as best practices for other types of emergencies as well. We aim to model accessibility standards for all our communications.

This has been a milestone year for Accessibility Standards Canada. I am proud of what our organization has achieved so far. Our dedicated team is working hard to make Canada accessible for all.

Results at a Glance

The Accessible Canada Act (the Act) created Accessibility Standards Canada. The mandate of the organization is to help achieve a Canada without barriers by January 1, 2040. It does this by:

  • developing and revising accessibility standards;
  • providing information, products and services about new and revised standards;
  • supporting and conducting research on barriers to accessibility; and
  • sharing best practices for removing and preventing accessibility barriers.

This results report is for the April 2020 to March 2021 fiscal year. It reports against our first Departmental Plan, which covers the same period.

American Sign Language (ASL) version of this section

Over the past year, we have moved ahead with our mandate, despite the challenges of the pandemic. Below are some highlights listed under four result categories.

  1. Create model accessibility standards
    • We created four technical committees. They have begun developing the first standards. They cover four areas: outdoor spaces, plain language, emergency egress (exit), and employment.
    • After a public consultation, the Board of Directors approved the next priority areas:
      • emergency measures (particularly during a pandemic)
      • wayfinding and signage (finding out where you are and how to get to your destination)
      • procurement (buying equipment, other products and services)
      • acoustics (sound quality).
    • We established a partnership with CSA Group. This was done to co-brand three standards:
      • accessible design for the built environment
      • accessible housing (in partnership with Canada Mortgage Housing Corporation)
      • accessible design of interactive devices and electronic payment terminals
    • We identified another area for standard development: a model standard for the built environment – accessibility. We will work with the National Research Council on this.
    • We began pursuing accreditation through the Standards Council of Canada.
  2. Support research to inform standards and to help remove accessibility barriers
    • From April 2019 to March 2020, we funded six research projects. Some of them have since been completed. These results will be published online.
    • From April 2020 to March 2021, we put in place 18 funding agreements.
    • A second call for research proposals was launched in February 2021. This call was informed by a public consultation. Six priority areas were identified:
      • the design and delivery of programs and services
      • the built environment, with a focus on heritage buildings
      • accessibility in Indigenous communities
      • information and communication technology
      • communication (other than plain language)
      • procurement.
  3. Share information with the public
    • We expanded our online presence. We now have many followers on social media.
    • We took important steps to ensure our communications are accessible.
    • In early 2021, we published four accessibility guidelines for COVID-19 and other emergencies.
  4. Collaborate with others to improve accessibility
    • Our database of stakeholders grew by 60%. It now includes more than 4,000 contacts. We communicate with them regularly.
    • We recruited experts to sit on the four technical committees. These include people with lived experience.
    • We consulted with the public online. This was done to find out which areas for standards and research Canadians believe are the most important. We also asked them about the best ways to engage with them in person and online.
Total Actual Spending (Dollars)
2020 to 2021 $14,604,139

 

Total Actual Full-Time Equivalents (Employees)
2020 to 2021 39

For more information on Accessibility Standards Canada’s plans, priorities and results achieved, see the “Results: what we achieved” section of this report.

Results: What we achieved

Core responsibility: Accessibility Standards

Description:

  • Develop and revise accessibility standards by establishing and providing support and research to technical committees.
  • Technical committees will reflect diversity and be made up of:
    • persons with disabilities;
    • Indigenous people;
    • representatives from industries that would be required to follow the standards if made mandatory by regulation; and
    • other experts.
  • Promote, support and conduct research to gather information for the development of standards.
  • Inform organizations and the public and provide products and services about accessibility standards, as well as best practices used to identify, remove and prevent accessibility barriers.

Results:

1. Standards in priority areas contribute to the removal of accessibility barriers

A key part of our mandate is to create model accessibility standards. We also work to improve current ones. The Board decides which types of standards will be the priority. This choice is based on input from staff, stakeholders, and the public.

Standards tell organizations how to identify, remove, and prevent barriers to accessibility. When a standard is ready, it is recommended to the Minister. The Minister may then turn it into regulations. When that happens, all federally regulated organizations must follow them.

Creating a new standard can take two years or more and is an ongoing process. We created a long-term plan for this work.

Between April 2020 and March 2021, we recruited members for four technical committees. We also prepared terms of reference to help them operate effectively and efficiently.

These committees began working on standards. Each is focused on one of four areas: employment, plain language, emergency egress (exit), and outdoor spaces. Their work is also supported by staff. These standards should be ready to be recommended to the Minister early in the April 2022 to March 2023 fiscal year.

Work to get ready for the next set of standards also began in the April 2020 to March 2021 fiscal year. First, we reviewed existing standards and engaged with the public. From that, we identified the following standards for development:

  • emergency measures (particularly during a pandemic)
  • wayfinding and signage (finding out where you are and how to get to your destination)
  • procurement (buying equipment, other products and services)
  • acoustics (sound quality)

We also identified a fifth area: a model standard for the built environment – accessibility. This will be pursued through a partnership with the National Research Council.

We also partnered with CSA Group to co-brand the following standards:

  • accessible design for the built environment
  • accessible housing (in partnership with Canada Mortgage Housing Corporation)
  • accessible design of interactive devices and electronic payment terminals

During the last year, we began pursuing accreditation with the Standards Council of Canada. This will allow us to become a recognized standards development organization. Work on this will continue throughout 2021.

2. Research informs the next generation of standards

One key to achieving our mandate is supporting research. In January 2020, we launched the Advancing Accessibility Standards Research grants and contributions program to fund research projects. The program has two goals:

  • support research on barriers to accessibility
  • inform future accessibility standards

In January 2020, we issued two calls for proposals. One was a targeted call and the other a competitive call. Both calls had six priority areas:

  • employment
  • emergency measures
  • the built environment, including parks and outdoor recreation facilities
  • information and communication technologies
  • Indigenous accessibility
  • accessible communications

To be successful, proposals had to meet several conditions:

  • focus on a priority area for research
  • involve people with disabilities and other experts and organizations to help carry out the research
  • find and share research, information, best practices, and tools about accessibility barriers and standards.

The targeted call resulted in six projects being selected for funding. Some of these projects were completed by March 2021. These results will be published online before the end of March 2022.

Under the competitive call, we received 75 proposals. Of these, 18 projects were chosen for funding. This means that a total of 24 funding agreements have been put in place since the program began. These projects will inform future standards and help remove accessibility barriers. The details of all funded projects can be found online.

In February 2021, we issued our second competitive call for proposals. A public consultation informed the priority areas for this call. They are:

  • the design and delivery of programs and services
  • the built environment, with a focus on heritage buildings
  • accessibility in Indigenous communities
  • information and communication technology
  • communication (other than plain language)
  • procurement

The deadline to submit a proposal was March 25, 2021. Results will be posted online once the projects have been selected and funding agreements are in place.

3. Organizations and the public access online information

We are continuing to inform Canadians about our mandate and programs. We have also expanded our online presence. This includes our website, which has grown in both content and reach. In the last year, the site grew from 22 to 100 pages. From January to March 2021, it recorded 9,300 visits.

To model good accessibility practices, our web pages meet the Government of Canada’s web standards. This makes our content easier for people with disabilities to use. Also, almost all website pages include videos in American Sign Language (ASL) and Langue des signes québécoise (LSQ).

We have also grown our online presence on social media. We are now active on three social media platforms. As of March 31, 2021, we had 941 followers on Facebook, 1,138 on Twitter, and 489 on LinkedIn.

We make every effort to ensure our social media posts are accessible. For that reason, our content always uses alt text, image descriptions, closed captions, large fonts, and plain language. Videos are available in both ASL and LSQ. All documents are accessible and available in alternate formats. We have also created a visual identity and brand for the organization to create a unique look and feel. We made sure the look and colour schemes for graphics are accessible. Our website and social media platforms use these colour schemes.

In early 2021, we published four accessibility guidelines for COVID-19 and other emergencies. These will help support both organizations and people with disabilities.

4. The organization’s work in standards increases opportunities for collaboration in advancing a Canada without barriers

Over the past year, we made progress toward achieving many of the goals of our stakeholder engagement strategy:

  • We grew our database of stakeholders by 60% to 4,000 people and organizations. This shows an increase in awareness and interest in our various activities.
  • We recruited experts and stakeholders from the disability community and industry to sit on four technical committees.
  • We communicated regularly with stakeholders both online and through our newsletter. Topics included our role and progress, and how stakeholders can engage with us.
  • We held a public consultation. This included people from the disability community. We did this to set priorities for standards, research, and future outreach. It will also help us ensure that future activities are as accessible as possible.

We will continue to update the engagement strategy to reflect feedback from stakeholders and new priorities.

We are sharing the lessons learned from our engagement activities with other government bodies. This includes lessons on how they can be more accessible in their own activities.

Over the past year, we actively engaged with Indigenous organizations to ensure they and their members are aware of opportunities to work with us. This includes joining a technical committee, receiving research funding, and providing input to inform our priorities.

As a result of these efforts, 21% of the research proposals we have received so far this year were from Indigenous organizations, compared with 2% in the April 2020 to March 2021 fiscal year. Funding projects that study accessibility in these communities will ensure their perspectives are reflected in the standards we develop.

Our first annual public meeting was scheduled for May 2020 in Toronto. Close to 360 participants had registered. Due to COVID-19, it was postponed until the next fiscal year.

It is vital for our work to reflect the views of people with disabilities as well as other experts and stakeholders. We will continue to support this through our engagement activities.

Gender-Based Analysis Plus

Gender-Based Analysis Plus is a process designed to support diversity and gender equality. In line with this, we encouraged people from marginalized communities to apply to join one of our four technical committees. We also made sure that all technical committees include people with disabilities.

At present, committees are made up of the following:

  • 51% of members are persons with disabilities
  • 60% are women, 39% are men, and 1% self-identify as other
  • 17% are members of visible minorities

We are committed to producing inclusive outcomes for Canadians through our research funding program. Of the 24 projects funded to date:

  • 8% are from Francophone organizations
  • 4% are from First Nations–oriented organizations
  • 25% are from outside Ontario

The Board currently has four standing committees. In our Departmental Plan, we stated we would explore adding external members to these committees. The goal was to reflect diversity and gender equality. However, the Board has not recruited any external members due to changing priorities.

We will continue to consider GBA Plus in all aspects of our work.

Experimentation

Grants and contributions Program (the Program)

For the February 2021 call, applicants could submit proposals online. A total of 21% of proposals were submitted online. That call closed on March 25, 2021.

Stakeholder Engagement

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Board and its standing committees have met virtually. Our first public consultation was held online in the fall of 2020. Our first in-person annual public meeting, which was to be held in May 2020 in Toronto, was postponed until 2021. We are now looking at hosting hybrid in-person/online events in future.

We are experimenting with the following:

  • using website pages, phone calls, and alternate formats to communicate with stakeholders
  • finding the best ways to use teleconferencing
  • adding ASL and LSQ interpretation to videos.

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development

We are supporting United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 12, “Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns.” We are doing this in several ways:

We are encouraging suppliers to reduce their impact on the environment:

  • When green procurement tools were available, we awarded 100% of our purchases using these tools.
  • We bought paper and envelopes made of recycled material.
  • We bought recycled products when available.

We are encouraging staff and contractors to reduce their impact:

  • Contractors did their work electronically.
  • We met virtually when meeting in person was not necessary.

Results achieved

Departmental results Performance indicators Target* Date to achieve target* 2018 to 2019 Actual results** 2019 to 2020 Actual results** 2020 to 2021 Actual results
New and revised accessibility standards in priority areas contribute to the elimination of barriers for persons with disabilities. Number of new or revised accessibility standards in priority areas that Accessibility Standards Canada developed, collaborated in or funded. 1 to 3 suites (groups) March 2025 Not applicable Not applicable 0***
Pioneering research informs the next generation of accessibility standards. Percentage of funding invested by Accessibility Standards Canada in research and development (R&D) projects that influence accessibility standards or priority setting for standards development. 75% to 85% March 2026 Not applicable Not applicable 100%
Information about accessibility standards, products, services and best practices to identify, remove and prevent accessibility barriers are accessed online by organizations and the public Number of unique views online of Accessibility Standards Canada services and products (for example, technical papers, reports, presentations, peer-reviewed articles, guidelines) generated from funded research projects and/or from other Accessibility Standards Canada work. 7,000 to 12,000 March 2023 Not applicable Not applicable 9,300
Accessibility Standards Canada’s work in accessibility standards increases opportunities for collaboration in advancing a Canada without barriers. Number of Accessibility Standards Canada-led standards processes or other activities in which persons with disabilities, representatives from disability organizations, provincial and territorial governments, national associations, international bodies, industry and/or other standard development organizations collaborated or participated. 10 to 15 March 2025 Not applicable Not applicable 3

* Note: Accessibility Standards Canada based its targets on its first Departmental Results Framework. It developed that framework before the organization received funding from Parliament. The organization will review these targets and dates in 2021 to 2022. At that time, there will be more employees and thus capacity.

** Note: The actual results are not available for previous years because Accessibility Standards Canada was only created in 2019 and because its first active year for reporting on these results is 2020 to 2021.

*** Note: For the full narrative of actual progress against these results please see the results sections above.

Budgetary financial resources (Dollars)

2020 to 2021 Main Estimates 2020 to 2021 Planned spending 2020 to 2021 Total authorities available for use 2020 to 2021 Actual spending (authorities used) 2020 to 2021 Difference (Actual spending minus Planned spending)
10,988,792 10,988,792 9,848,524 8,441,056 (2,547,736)

Human resources (Full-time equivalents (employees))

2020 to 2021 Planned full-time equivalents (employees) 2020 to 2021 Actual full-time equivalents (employees) 2020 to 2021 Difference (Actual full-time equivalents minus Planned full-time equivalents(employees))
31 25 (6)

Financial, human resources and performance information for Accessibility Standards Canada’s Program Inventory is available in GC InfoBase.

Internal Services

Description

Internal Services are those groups of related activities and resources that the federal government considers to be services in support of programs and/or required to meet corporate obligations of an organization. Internal Services refers to the activities and resources of the 10 distinct service categories that support Program delivery in the organization, regardless of the Internal Services delivery model in a department. The 10 service categories are:

  • Acquisition Management Services
  • Communication Services
  • Financial Management Services
  • Human Resources Management Services
  • Information Management Services
  • Information Technology Services
  • Legal Services
  • Material Management Services
  • Management and Oversight Services
  • Real Property Management Services

We are committed to making our internal services more accessible. From April 2020 to March 2021, we worked hard to achieve better accessibility for our internal services. The “Results” section below has more details.

Results

We continue to work with Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) to create and improve a user-friendly environment. This includes ensuring accessibility for employees and stakeholders.

Information Management Services (IM)

We created a naming convention for all documents which is suitable for screen readers, and incorporates plain language practices. Also, we developed a plan to make naming folders and navigating the structure easier.

Information Technology Services (IT)

We worked with the Accessibility Center of Expertise (ACE) within ESDC, and Accessibility, Accommodation and Adaptive Computer Technology (AAACT) within Shared Services Canada (SSC), to create an environment that is both accessible and inclusive. Initiatives included the following:

  • We introduced Microsoft Teams which allows for: video and text chat, closed captioning, computer-generated translation to French and English and ASL/LSQ interpretation when needed.
  • We purchased Zoom licenses to use for meetings with stakeholders. This decision was based on Zoom’s accessibility features.
  • We provided employees with devices like the Wacom 2.0 tablets. This device allows the user to edit files without using a keyboard and mouse.
  • We established a service level agreement with AAACT to provide the following services:
    • review documents and programs
    • support recommendations on accessible tools for employees.
Real Property Management Services

Over the past year, we have been working with our partners to build a new office space. Most of the construction was completed by the spring, 2021. This is a major achievement for our organization. Part of our mandate is to be looked to as a model of an inclusive and accessible workplace. Some accessibility features include:

  • tiered lighting system to reduce eyestrain
  • wider pathways and larger spaces for turning circles
  • integrated infrared hearing loop system
  • braille and tactile signage.

Employees will be able to work from the new office once health authorities confirm it is safe to return to the office.

Budgetary financial resources (Dollars)

2020 to 2021 Main Estimates 2020 to 2021 Planned spending 2020 to 2021 Total authorities available for use 2020 to 2021 Actual spending (authorities used) 2020 to 2021 Difference (Actual spending minus Planned spending)
4,329,640 4,329,640 7,140,308 6,163,083 (1,833,443)

Human resources (Full-time equivalents (employees))

2020 to 2021 Planned full-time equivalents (employees) 2020 to 2021 Actual full-time equivalents (employees) 2020 to 2021 Difference (Actual full-time equivalents minus Planned full-time equivalents (employees))
15 14 (1)

Analysis of trends in spending and human resources

Actual expenditures

Departmental spending trend graph

The following graph presents planned (voted and statutory spending) over time.

This bar graph shows the departmental spending trend. It details actual departmental spending from the 2018 to 2021 fiscal years and planned departmental spending from the 2021 to 2024 fiscal years. There was no spending for 2018 to 2019 because Accessibility Standards Canada was only created in 2019

Our spending increased by $11,357,604 between our first year (December 2019 to March 2020, 4 months) and our second (April 2020 to March 2021, full year). This was due to increased funding as well as a complete year of expenses. It was also due to the ramping up of our work and the cost of corporate services. We also received an added $2,250,000 in grants and contributions funding. This brought the total available to $5,500,000. Of this, $5,237,602 was spent, an increase of $3,749,244 compared with the previous year.

Budgetary Performance Summary for Core Responsibilities and Internal Services (Dollars)

Core responsibility and Internal Services 2020 to 2021 Main Estimates 2020 to 2021 Planned spending 2021 to 2022 Planned spending 2022 to 2023 Planned spending 2020 to 2021 Total authorities available for use 2018 to 2019 Actual spending (authorities used) 2019 to 2020 Actual spending (authorities used) 2020 to 2021 Actual spending (authorities used)
Accessibility Standards 10,988,792 10,988,792 14,168,725 15,135,402 9,848,524 Not applicable 1,843,725 8,441,056
Subtotal 10,988,792 10,988,792 14,168,725 15,135,402 9,848,524 Not applicable 1,843,725 8,441,056
Internal Services 4,329,640 4,329,640 5,896,832 5,730,845 7,140,308 Not applicable 2,117,103 6,163,083
Total 15,318,432 15,318,432 20,065,557 20,866,247 16,988,832 Not applicable 3,960,828 6,163,083

When the Accessible Canada Act received Royal Assent on June 21, 2019, it created Accessibility Standards Canada. For this reason, no spending is reported for the April 2018 to March 2019 fiscal year. Our funding did not begin until December 2019. Thus, only a portion of the money available was used between April 2019 and March 2020.

We grew rapidly between April 2020 and March 2021. As a result, spending increased. It will increase again between April 2021 and March 2022. Spending will then stabilize. More funding will allow us to increase staff. It will also give us time to create the right organizational structure so we can:

  • meet all objectives
  • develop policies and procedures
  • bring services in-house that we currently contract out

Actual human resources

Human resources summary for core responsibilities and Internal Services

Core responsibility and Internal Services 2018 to 2019 Actual full-time equivalents (employees) 2019 to 2020 Actual full-time equivalents (employees) 2020 to 2021 Planned full-time equivalents (employees) 2020 to 2021 Actual full-time equivalents (employees) 2021 to 2022 Planned full-time equivalents (employees) 2022 to 2023 Planned full-time equivalents (employees)
Accessibility Standards Not applicable 3 31 25 38 38
Subtotal Not applicable 3 31 25 38 38
Internal Services Not applicable 4 15 14 18 18
Total Not applicable 7 46 39 56 56

The Act creating Accessibility Standards Canada received Royal Assent on June 21, 2019. For this reason, no full-time equivalents are reported for the April 2018 to March 2019 period. Also, these are prorated according to the number of working days. For example, if an employee was hired on January 1, 2020, the full-time equivalent for the April 2019 to March 2020 fiscal year would be 0.25 (three months remaining in the year). As of March 31, 2021, there were 38.8 full-time equivalents.

Expenditures by vote

For information on Accessibility Standards Canada’s organizational voted and statutory expenditures, consult the Public Accounts of Canada 2020–2021.

Government of Canada spending and activities

Information on the alignment of Accessibility Standards Canada’s spending with the Government of Canada’s spending and activities is available in GC InfoBase.

Financial statements and financial statements highlights

Financial statements

Accessibility Standards Canada’s financial statements (unaudited) for the year ended March 31, 2021, are available on the departmental website.

Financial statement highlights

Condensed Statement of Operations (Unaudited) for the year ended March 31, 2021 (Dollars)

Financial information 2020 to 2021 Planned results 2020 to 2021 Actual results 2019 to 2020 Actual results Difference (2020 to 2021 Actual results minus 2020 to 2021 Planned results) Difference (2020 to 2021 Actual results minus 2019 to 2020 Actual results)
Total expenses 15,318,432 12,259,696 3,813,397 (3,058,736) 8,437,243
Total revenues 0 0 0 0 0
Net cost of operations before government funding and transfers 15,318,432 12,259,696 3,813,397 (3,058,736) 8,437,243

Condensed Statement of Financial Position (Unaudited) as of March 31, 2021 (Dollars)

Financial information 2020 to 2021 2019 to 2022 Difference (2020 to 2021 minus 2019 to 2020)
Total net liabilities 4,593,286 3,938,378 654,908
Total net financial assets 4,280,294 3,886,858 393,436
Departmental net debt 312,992 51,520 261,472
Total non-financial assets 3,091,772 272,462 2,819,310
Departmental net financial position 2,778,780 220,942 2,557,838

Corporate Information

Organizational profile

Appropriate minister: Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion

Institutional head: Mr. Philip Rizcallah, Chief Executive Officer (CEO)

Chairperson: Mr. Paul-Claude Bérubé

Ministerial portfolio: Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion

Enabling instrument: The Accessible Canada Act

Year of incorporation / commencement: 2019

Other:

Accessibility Standards Canada is supervised by a ten-member Board, including a Chairperson and Vice-Chairperson.

The organization's Board:

  • sets its strategic direction;
  • supervises and manages its activities; and
  • provides advice to its CEO, also a Governor in Council appointee.

Most of the Directors are persons with disabilities and reflect the diversity of disabilities experienced by Canadians.

The CEO holds the rank and powers of a deputy head of a department. He is responsible for:

  • the day-to-day operations of the organization;
  • managing the interface with the Minister responsible for Accessibility;
  • establishing relationships and partnerships within all levels of government;
  • leading the research and development program;
  • leading the technical codes development; and
  • directing the human, financial and material resources.

Raison d’être, mandate and role: who we are and what we do

Raison d’être, mandate and role: who we are and what we do” is available on Accessibility Standards Canada’s website.

For more information, see the Chairperson of the Board’s mandate letter, and for the department’s organizational mandate letter commitments, see the Minister’s mandate letter.

The Board has set vision, mission and values statements to guide the organization’s work. These statements build on the organization’s mandate in the Accessible Canada Act.

Operating context

Information on the operating context is available on Accessibility Standards Canada’s website.

Reporting framework

Shown below are Accessibility Standards Canada’s:

  • departmental results framework; and
  • program inventory.

These are for the 2020 to 2021 year. Internal services support the accessibility standards core responsibility and departmental results.

Departmental Results Framework

Core Responsibility: Accessibility Standards

Departmental Result: New and revised accessibility standards in priority areas contribute to the elimination of barriers for persons with disabilities.

  • Indicator: Number of new or revised accessibility standards in priority areas that Accessibility Standards Canada developed, collaborated in or funded.

Departmental Result: Pioneering research informs the next generation of standards.

  • Indicator: Percentage of funding invested by Accessibility Standards Canada in research and development (R-D) projects that influence accessibility standards or priority setting for standards development.

Departmental Result: Information about accessibility standards, products, services and best practices to identify, remove and prevent accessibility barriers are accessed online by organizations and the public.

  • Indicator: Number of unique views online of Accessibility Standards Canada services and products (for example, technical papers, reports, presentations, peer-reviewed articles, guidelines) generated from funded research projects and/or from other Accessibility Standards Canada work.

Departmental Result: Accessibility Standards Canada’s work in accessibility standards increases opportunities for collaboration in advancing a Canada without barriers.

  • Indicator: Number of Accessibility Standards Canada-led standards processes or other activities in which persons with disabilities, representatives from disability organizations, provincial and territorial governments, national associations, international bodies, industry and/or other standard development organizations collaborated or participated.

Program Inventory

Program: Standards Development

Program: Outreach and Knowledge Application

Supporting information on the program inventory

Financial, human resources and performance information for Accessibility Standards Canada’s Program Inventory is available in GC InfoBase.

Supplementary information tables

The following supplementary information tables are available on Accessibility Standards Canada’s website:

Federal tax expenditures

The tax system can be used to achieve public policy objectives through the application of special measures such as low tax rates, exemptions, deductions, deferrals and credits. The Department of Finance Canada publishes cost estimates and projections for these measures each year in the Report on Federal Tax Expenditures. This report also provides detailed background information on tax expenditures, including descriptions, objectives, historical information and references to related federal spending programs as well as evaluations and GBA plus of tax expenditures.

Organizational contact information

Mailing address

Accessibility Standards Canada

320, St-Joseph Boulevard, Suite 246

Gatineau, QC K1A 0H3

Telephone: 1-833-854-7628

Email: ASC-NAC@canada.gc.ca

Website: Accessibility Standards Canada

Appendix: Definitions

appropriation (crédit)

Any authority of Parliament to pay money out of the Consolidated Revenue Fund.

budgetary expenditures (dépenses budgétaires)

Operating and capital expenditures; transfer payments to other levels of government, organizations or individuals; and payments to Crown corporations.

core responsibility (responsabilité essentielle)

An enduring function or role performed by a department. The intentions of the department with respect to a core responsibility are reflected in one or more related departmental results that the department seeks to contribute to or influence.

Departmental Plan (plan ministériel)

A report on the plans and expected performance of an appropriated department over a 3 year period. Departmental Plans are usually tabled in Parliament each spring.

departmental priority (priorité)

A plan or project that a department has chosen to focus and report on during the planning period. Priorities represent the things that are most important or what must be done first to support the achievement of the desired departmental results.

departmental result (résultat ministériel)

A consequence or outcome that a department seeks to achieve. A departmental result is often outside departments’ immediate control, but it should be influenced by program-level outcomes.

departmental result indicator (indicateur de résultat ministériel)

A quantitative measure of progress on a departmental result.

departmental results framework (cadre ministériel des résultats)

A framework that connects the department’s core responsibilities to its departmental results and departmental result indicators.

Departmental Results Report (rapport sur les résultats ministériels)

A report on a department’s actual accomplishments against the plans, priorities and expected results set out in the corresponding Departmental Plan.

experimentation (expérimentation)

The conducting of activities that seek to first explore, then test and compare the effects and impacts of policies and interventions in order to inform evidence-based decision-making, and improve outcomes for Canadians, by learning what works, for whom and in what circumstances. Experimentation is related to, but distinct from innovation (the trying of new things), because it involves a rigorous comparison of results. For example, using a new website to communicate with Canadians can be an innovation; systematically testing the new website against existing outreach tools or an old website to see which one leads to more engagement, is experimentation.

full time equivalent (équivalent temps plein)

A measure of the extent to which an employee represents a full person year charge against a departmental budget. For a particular position, the full time equivalent figure is the ratio of the number of hours the person actually works divided by the standard number of hours set out in the person’s collective agreement.

gender-based analysis plus (GBA Plus) (analyse comparative entre les sexes plus [ACS Plus])

An analytical process used to assess how diverse groups of women, men and gender-diverse people experience policies, programs and services based on multiple factors including race ethnicity, religion, age, and mental or physical disability.

government-wide priorities (priorités pangouvernementales)

For the purpose of the 2020–21 Departmental Results Report, those high-level themes outlining the government’s agenda in the 2019 Speech from the Throne, namely: Fighting climate change; Strengthening the Middle Class; Walking the road of reconciliation; Keeping Canadians safe and healthy; and Positioning Canada for success in an uncertain world.

horizontal initiative (initiative horizontale)

An initiative where two or more federal organizations are given funding to pursue a shared outcome, often linked to a government priority.

non budgetary expenditures (dépenses non budgétaires)

Net outlays and receipts related to loans, investments and advances, which change the composition of the financial assets of the Government of Canada.

performance (rendement)

What an organization did with its resources to achieve its results, how well those results compared to what the organization intended to achieve, and how well lessons learned have been identified.

performance indicator (indicateur de rendement)

A qualitative or quantitative means of measuring an output or outcome, with the intention of gauging the performance of an organization, program, policy or initiative respecting expected results.

performance reporting (production de rapports sur le rendement)

The process of communicating evidence based performance information. Performance reporting supports decision-making, accountability and transparency.

plan (plan)

The articulation of strategic choices, which provides information on how an organization intends to achieve its priorities and associated results. Generally, a plan will explain the logic behind the strategies chosen and tend to focus on actions that lead to the expected result.

planned spending (dépenses prévues)

For Departmental Plans and Departmental Results Reports, planned spending refers to those amounts presented in Main Estimates.

A department is expected to be aware of the authorities that it has sought and received. The determination of planned spending is a departmental responsibility, and departments must be able to defend the expenditure and accrual numbers presented in their Departmental Plans and Departmental Results Reports.

program (programme)

Individual or groups of services, activities or combinations thereof that are managed together within the department and focus on a specific set of outputs, outcomes or service levels.

program inventory (répertoire des programmes)

Identifies all the department’s programs and describes how resources are organized to contribute to the department’s core responsibilities and results.

result (résultat)

A consequence attributed, in part, to an organization, policy, program or initiative. Results are not within the control of a single organization, policy, program or initiative; instead they are within the area of the organization’s influence.

statutory expenditures (dépenses législatives)

Expenditures that Parliament has approved through legislation other than appropriation acts. The legislation sets out the purpose of the expenditures and the terms and conditions under which they may be made.

target (cible)

A measurable performance or success level that an organization, program or initiative plans to achieve within a specified time period. Targets can be either quantitative or qualitative.

voted expenditures (dépenses votées)

Expenditures that Parliament approves annually through an appropriation act. The vote wording becomes the governing conditions under which these expenditures may be made.