CEO orientation handbook

FromCanadian Accessibility Standards Development Organization

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1. Orientation Handbook

1.1 Objective

This Handbook has been developed to provide you with the information you will need in your first few weeks in the role, such as an overview of the mandate of the Canadian Accessibility Standards Development Organization (CASDO), roles and responsibilities within the organization, and current status.

1.2 Updates

A similar Orientation Handbook, with tailored contents, will be provided to the CASDO Board of Directors, subject to your approval. These handbooks will be reviewed by CASDO staff annually to ensure the information is current.

1.3 Handbook Structure

The Handbook has been created as an e-binder with a corresponding Table of Contents; however, CASDO staff are happy to provide you with a hard copy if you prefer.

2. Introduction to CASDO

2.1 Overview and Mandate


An Act to ensure a barrier-free Canada, hereafter referred to by its short title, the Accessible Canada Act, came into force on July 11, 2019. At that time, the Canadian Accessibility Standards Development Organization (CASDO) was officially established as a new Departmental Corporation (listed in Schedule II and IV of the Financial Administration Act) within the Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) portfolio.

CASDO is headquartered at 111 Sussex Drive, Ottawa, Ontario in the John G. Diefenbaker Building until such time as its permanent, completely accessible location, 320 Boulevard Saint-Joseph, Gatineau, is ready, anticipated for fall 2020.


CASDO’s mandate is to contribute to the realization of a Canada without barriers, on or before January 1, 2040, through, among other things:

  • the development and revision of accessibility standards;
  • the recommendation of accessibility standards to the Minister;
  • the provision of information, products and services in relation to the accessibility standards that it has developed or revised;
  • the promotion, support and conduct of research into the identification and removal of barriers and the prevention of new barriers; and
  • the dissemination of information, including information about best practices, in relation to the identification and removal of barriers and the prevention of new barriers.

2.2 Chair’s Mandate Letter

Dear Paul-Claude Bérubé:

Congratulations on your appointment as the first Chair of the Board of Directors of the Canadian Accessibility Standards Development Organization (CASDO), effective August 26, 2019. Your work at the national level to promote an inclusive and accessible society through the active and meaningful involvement of persons with disabilities, along with your legal training and knowledge of legislation and regulation development, will be strong assets to the organization.

We are looking to a brighter future for persons with disabilities. Our government is working hard to strengthen the rights of all persons with disabilities and to promote a culture of inclusion that values everyone’s contributions to society. In support of this, the Government recently passed the Accessible Canada Act. Its purpose is to benefit all persons, especially persons with disabilities, working towards a Canada without barriers.

The Accessible Canada Act will support a long overdue culture shift. It sends a clear message to Canadians that persons with disabilities will no longer be treated as an afterthought: that systems will be designed inclusively from the start. It is our systems, our policies, our practices and our laws that need to be fixed, not our people. Making real and lasting progress will require changing attitudes and perceptions about accessibility, inclusion and persons with disabilities. Helping to achieve this broad culture change will form part of the core of your work moving forward.

Mandated with contributing to a barrier-free Canada, CASDO is responsible for developing and reviewing accessibility standards, promoting research on barrier identification, prevention and removal, and sharing information related to accessibility.

CASDO will play a critical role in achieving the objectives of this historic piece of legislation. As the Chair of CASDO’s Board of Directors, you, together with the Chief Executive Officer, will ensure that the organization is set up quickly, that the work of the organization reflects the priorities and diverse experiences of persons with disabilities, and that there is transparent accountability to Canadians.

In fulfilling its mandate, CASDO will need to draw on the experience and expertise of persons with disabilities and their representative organizations, Indigenous people, organizations and governments, provincial and territorial governments, municipal governments, technical experts, and industry, while ensuring that standards development and review processes are open and inclusive.

The importance of the standards that CASDO will develop cannot be understated. They will inform regulations, serve as a resource to governments and businesses outside of federal jurisdiction, and could be applied internationally as accessibility best practices.

Within the Canadian context, harmonization of standards between the Government of Canada and the provinces and territories will be critical to ensure that persons with disabilities can expect consistent experiences across the country.

As CASDO begins its work, you may wish to focus on the following:

  • In consultation with persons with disabilities, establish priorities for the development of accessibility standards. You may want to note that, during the consultation that informed the development of the Accessible Canada Act, the disability community identified employment and emergency services management, under the areas of communication and service delivery, as key priorities.
  • In consultation with persons with disabilities, identify priorities for research, supported by grants and contributions programming, to inform the next generation of accessibility standards.
  • Consider the landscape of existing standards and how these can be incorporated and improved as basis for early standards development.
  • Prioritize barrier-free and inclusive practices for employees, as a means to supporting larger culture change. CASDO should be looked to as a model of an inclusive and accessible workplace.

CASDO is the first institution of its kind in Canada, and one of only a few in the world, that ensures persons with disabilities have leadership in identifying the accessibility standards that are required. It is an embodiment of the disability community’s philosophy of “Nothing without us.”

I know that I can count on you to fulfill the important responsibilities entrusted to you. In turn, please know that you have my support in your role as Chair of the Board of Directors. I look forward to a productive and collaborative working relationship.


The Honourable Carla Qualtrough, P.C., M.P.
Minister of Public Services and Procurement and Accessibility

2.3 CASDO – Organization Chart (provisional)

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2.4 Functions of three divisions within the Canadian Accessibility Standards Development Organization (provisional)

Board of Directors

  • Consists of 10 Board members, including the Chair and Vice-chair

Office of the Chief Executive Officer (CEO)

  • Consists of the CEO as well as a Senior Advisor(s)

Standards Development Division

Description: The Standards Development Division will provide policy support to the standard development and revision process, and support to the other CASDO divisions, as needed (e.g., contributing input to the Governance, Reporting and Accreditation Unit for corporate reporting, providing information on processes to Engagement and Partnerships and Communications Units.

Note: The Division will support a minimum of two concurrent active standards development technical committees at all times. It is envisioned that each active committee will meet 4 times a year for 4 days for a total of 8 committee meetings a year for two processes. Each process will take approximately 18-24 months, depending in part on the complexity of the issue.

The Division will also support “inactive” technical committees and external source standard development, as needed (i.e., once a standard is finalized, there may be updates needed or the public may have technical questions that would need to be directed to a technical committee member).

Issues Management and Research
  • Conduct gap analysis, scoping and environmental scans to inform new processes
  • Contribute to pre-engagement activities led by the Engagement and Partnerships and Communications Units to support the final scoping of new standards processes
  • Identify stakeholders representing a balanced range of interests and positions for inclusion on new technical committees
  • Operationalize external research for use by technical committees
  • Conduct issue management on standards
  • Develop technical committee materials (e.g., terms of reference, membership letters, agendas, technical content, etc.)
  • Manage processes and set agendas with chairs of technical committees
  • Facilitate meetings
  • Ensure committees follow accredited steps or processes (document how processes are followed)
  • Support the drafting of new or revised standards
  • Present results of public comment/engagement to technical committees
  • Identify accessibility requirements for committee meetings
  • Ensure members with disabilities are able to contribute on an equal basis with others through the provision of additional subject matter expertise, research and policy support (technical papers, plain language guides, content briefing) and through the provision of any other supports required by participants (e.g. attendants, special advisors, etc.)
  • Ensure people with disabilities and non-profit stakeholders are compensated for their time

Outreach and Knowledge Division

Description: The Outreach and Knowledge Division will interface with the public: communications, the grants and contributions program, national and international partnerships and collaboration, public engagement activities (including on draft and final standards), assistance on standards and best practices, planning fully accessible events, and all communications.

Engagement and Partnerships
  • Design and implement public engagement activities for CASDO priority setting, standards processes (pre-engagement, public comment period), and Gs and Cs program design. Activities could include annual event, roundtables and on-line engagements.
  • International partnerships and coordination
  • Provincial and territorial collaboration
  • Work with content experts to disseminate technical assistance and best practices related to implementing standards and Gs and Cs research
  • Develop training and guidance materials, tools, and presentations for those outside the organization
Grants and Contributions
  • Planning and program design
  • Calls for proposals
  • Negotiate and implement multi-year research agreements
  • Management and disbursements of Gs and Cs funds (with internal services)
  • Site visits, monitoring, reporting and data retention
  • Correspondence
  • Strategic Communications
  • Publishing draft and final standards

Accreditation and Corporate Division

Description: The Accreditation and Corporate Division will be responsible for all internal services, corporate and governance functions for CASDO: supporting the CEO and Board, seeking and maintaining accreditation, and reporting. It will work laterally with the other divisions.

Governance, Reporting and Accreditation
  • Provide secretariat support for CEO, board and advisory committees, and Ministerial recommendations
  • Support strategic priority setting
  • Develop policies, procedures, bylaws, and corresponding employee and board member training
  • Liaise and coordinate inter-governmentally (CAO, Minister, ESDC, AC, GoC)
  • Annual and other corporate reporting
  • Work with the Standards Council of Canada to attain and maintain accreditation.
    • Set policies and procedures / training for employees and committee members
Internal Services
  • Human resources
  • IM/IT
  • Security
  • Procurement
  • Finance
  • Travel and Hospitality
  • ATIP
External Services
  • Through Memoranda of Understanding and Service Level Agreements

3. CASDO governance as per the Accessible Canada Act

3.1 The Minister

Under the Accessible Canada Act, the Governor in Council may designate a member of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada as the Minister for the purposes of the Act, including for CASDO. The Governor in Council has designated the Minister of Employment and Social Development.

As per the Accessible Canada Act, the Minister may issue general directions to CASDO respecting the carrying out of its mandate.

3.2 The Board of Directors

CASDO is overseen by a Board of Directors of up to 11 directors, including a Chair and Vice-Chair, appointed by the Governor in Council. Each director is appointed to hold office on a part-time basis for a term of up to four years and may be reappointed.

Appointments to the Board of Directors are to be made having regard to the following considerations:

  • that at all times, in so far as possible, the majority of the directors are persons with disabilities
  • the importance of having directors that are representative of the diversity of Canadian society and
  • the importance of having directors that are representative of the diversity of disabilities faced by Canadians

The role of the Board of Directors is to be responsible for:

  1. setting the strategic direction for CASDO
  2. supervising and managing CASDO’s activities and affairs; and
  3. advising the Chief Executive Officer on matters relating to CASDO’s mandate

3.3 The Chair and Vice-Chair

The Chair presides over meetings of the Board of Directors and performs any other duties that are assigned by the Board. In the event that the Chair is absent or incapacitated, the Vice-Chair acts as the Chair.

In the event that both the Chair and Vice-Chair are absent or incapacitated, or there is a vacancy in both offices, the Minister may authorize another director to act as Chair, but no director may act for a term of more than 90 days without the Governor in Council’s approval.

3.4 The Chief Executive Officer

3.4.1 Appointment and Term

The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) is appointed by the Governor in Council to hold office on a full-time basis for a term of up to five years and is eligible for reappointment.

In the event that the CEO is absent or incapacitated, or there is a vacancy in the office, the Minister may authorize any person to act as CEO, but no person may act for a term of more than 90 days without the Governor in Council’s approval.

3.4.2 Role

The CEO is responsible for CASDO’s day-to-day operations. The CEO has the rank and the powers of a deputy head of a department.

3.5 Advisory Committees to the Board

The Board of Directors may appoint advisory or other committees, in accordance with its by-laws.

The Board may make by-laws respecting the carrying out of its activities and the conduct of its affairs. A copy of every by-law must be sent to the Minister.

3.6 Standard Development Technical Committees

The CEO may establish committees to develop and revise accessibility standards, hereafter referred to as technical committees. As soon as possible after establishing a technical committee, the CEO must make the committee’s terms of reference and the names of its members available to the public.

CASDO must make every accessibility standard that it recommends to the Minister available to the public.

3.7 Overview of the Accessible Canada Act

Slide 1: Title Slide, The Accessible Canada Act

Slide 2: The Accessible Canada Act

  • The Accessible Canada Act signals a transformational shift in the Government’s approach to disability and accessibility:
    • Bring cohesion and leadership to federal efforts to improve accessibility
    • Lead to more consistent experiences of accessibility across Canada
  • Shift the burden off individual Canadians with disabilities in order to address systemic accessibility issues
  • Provide entities under federal jurisdiction with clearly defined accessibility standards to achieve and maintain, as well as new requirements to plan and report on results
  • Ensure involvement of Canadians with disabilities is at the core of the new approach
  • Report annually on results for Canadians

Slide 3: Application

  • Senate, House of Commons, Library of Parliament, Parliamentary Protective Service, Senate Ethics Officer, Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner, and Parliamentary Budget Officer
  • Tailoring of compliance and enforcement provisions to respect parliamentary privilege
Government of Canada
  • Government departments, crown corporations and agencies
Federally regulated private sector
  • Banking, federal transportation system, telecommunications and broadcasting, etc.
Canadian Forces and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police
  • Flexibility for bona fide occupational requirements

Slide 4: The Approach

Working with Canadians with disabilities, the Act creates a framework for developingreporting on and enforcing accessibility requirements in priority areas, and monitoring implementation.

  • Develop Accessibility Standards – Guided by disability community and experts and made mandatory through regulations
  • Reporting – Integrating new requirements into organizational planning and public reporting
  • Enforcement – Proactive tools and complaint mechanisms
  • Monitoring – Monitoring systemic issues and measuring results

Slide 5: Developing Accessibility Standards

Identifying, removing, and preventing accessibility barriers in seven priority areas:

  1. Employment
  2. Built Environment
  3. Information and Communication Technologies
  4. Communication
  5. Transportation
  6. Design and Delivery of Programs and Services
  7. Procurement

Slide 6: Developing Accessibility Standards

Canadian Accessibility Standards Development Organization (CASDO)
  • Oversees accessibility standards development process
  • Board of Directors comprised of a majority of persons with disabilities
  • Provides technical assistance to organizations and supports research in priority areas
  • Establishes technical committees comprised of persons with disabilities, experts and industry representatives
  • Accessibility standards published and submitted to the Minister of Accessibility to consider adopting in regulations

The Canadian Transportation Agency and Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission will continue to develop standards and regulations for passenger mobility in the federal transportation network and telecommunications or broadcasting services, respectively.

Step 1 – CASDO develops standard

Step 2 – CASDO refers standard to Minister of Accessibility

Step 3 – Minister may recommend Governor in Council adoption of standard

Slide 7: Reporting on Accessibility

New requirements to integrate accessibility into organizational planning and reporting.

Accessibility Plans
  • Prepare and publish plan for improving accessibility and meeting accessibility requirements
  • Develop and update every three years in consultation with persons with disabilities
Feedback Processes
  • Establish process for receiving feedback on accessibility
  • Report publicly on nature of feedback and how it was taken into consideration
Progress Reports
  • Regular progress reports on implementation and feedback

Slide 8: Enforcement – Jurisdiction

Accessibility Commissioner – within the Canadian Human Rights Commission
  • Employment
  • Non-passenger built environment
  • Information and communication technologies (outside transport, telecom and broadcasting)
  • Service delivery (outside transport, telecom and broadcasting)
  • Procurement (outside transport, telecom and broadcasting)
  • Transportation (outside federal transportation network)
  • Communication, as it relates to these areas
Canadian Transportation Passenger Network
  • Passenger built environment
  • Information and communication technologies
  • Service delivery
  • Procurement
  • Transportation
  • Communication, as it relates to these areas
Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission
  • Information and communication technologies
  • Service delivery
  • Procurement
  • Communication, as it relates to these areas

Slide 9: Enforcement – Proactive Compliance

  • new Accessibility Commissioner within the Canadian Human Rights Commission would have an array of compliance and enforcement tools
  • The Act would authorize the Accessibility Commissioner to undertake a number of proactive compliance activities, including inspections, compliance orders, notices of violation with warning, and notices of violation with penalties of up to $250,000
  • Within the federal transportation network, the CTA would have enhanced authorities for compliance and enforcement
  • Within telecommunications and broadcasting services, the CRTC would use existing authorities for compliance and enforcement

Slide 10: Enforcement – Complaints

Accessibility Commissioner
  • New entity created to receive and resolve accessibility complaints related to most federally-regulated organizations
Other Complaint Bodies
  • The Canadian Transportation Agency, Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission and the Federal Public Sector Labour Relations and Employment Board would continue to deal with accessibility complaints within their jurisdiction
No Wrong Door
  • Complainants can file their complaint with any of these four bodies, who will then collaborate to efficiently refer the complaint to the correct authority.

Slide 11: Enforcement – Complaints Continued

  • Complainants could receive compensation of up to $20,000 for pain and suffering resulting from a contravention of accessibility regulations and up to $20,000 if the contravention is determined to be the result of a wilful or reckless practice
    • Compensation will be adjusted annually to reflect changes in the Consumer Price Index.
  • Complainants could also receive compensation for lost wages, as well as for the additional costs of obtaining alternative goods, services, facilities or accommodations, and any expenses incurred as a result of the contravention
  • Note: Complaints under the Accessible Canada Act are distinct from discrimination complaints under the Canadian Human Rights Act (CHRA)
    • i.e. regulated entities compliant with requirements under the Accessible Canada Act could still be subject to discrimination complaints under the CHRA

Slide 12: Monitoring Implementation

  • New, independent Chief Accessibility Officer (CAO) to advise the Minister of Accessibility on accessibility issues
  • CAO will report on systemic and emerging accessibility issues and report annually on overall progress and outcomes for Canadians
  • Accessibility Commissioner, CTA and CRTC will report annually on compliance and enforcement activities
  • Five-year Parliamentary Review by 2026, and regular independent reviews thereafter

Slide 13: Culture Change

  • The Act requires that persons with disabilities be involved in the development and implementation of policies and activities that impact them, putting the principle of “nothing about us, without us” into action:
    • Development of accessibility plans and progress reports
    • Canadian Accessibility Standards Development Organization
  • Legislating National Accessability Week – a week to raise awareness, promote inclusion and accessibility
    • Week starting on the last Sunday in May

Slide 14: Summary

  • The most significant advancement for disability rights in Canada in over 30 years
  • Enabling legislation designed to build a system that is resilient, adaptable, and responsive to the needs of the disability community and to new barriers that come with our changing economy, culture, and technology
  • Putting “nothing about us, without us” into action – legally requiring the participation of persons with disabilities in the development and implementation of accessibility policies that impact their lives
  • On day one, a new approach to accessibility will ensure that persons with disabilities are no longer required to fight barriers to accessibility on an individual basis
  • Will create a system that recognizes accessibility as everyone’s responsibility. Persons with disabilities will be able to rely upon a new proactive, systemic approach to target barriers, as well as the structures that perpetuate these barriers

Slide 15: Annexes Title Slide

Slide 16: Annex A: Disability in Canada Today

Canadians with disabilities continue to face barriers to inclusion

  • 22 percent of Canadians aged 15+ have at least one disabilityFootnote1 – this percentage is expected to increase with population aging
  • 59 percent of Canadians with disabilities (aged 25-64) are employedFootnote1 – 80 percent of Canadians without disabilities are employedFootnote1
  • 28 percent of Canadians with more severe disabilities (aged 25-64) live in poverty – 14 percent of Canadians with milder disabilities (aged 25-64) live in poverty
  • Close to 60 percent of discrimination complaints are related to disability (2013-2017)Footnote1 – Disability is the most common ground for discrimination complaints to the Canadian Human Rights Commission

Slide 17: Annex B: Accessible Canada Consultation

  • Between July 2016 and February 2017, approximately 6,000 Canadians participated in the national consultation to inform the development of the legislation. Budget 2016 also provided funding to disability and Indigenous organizations to engage their members
  • “What We Learned” report was published in May 2017. Key highlights:
    • Aim high – establish standards that reflect international best practices
    • Support organizations to comply; penalize those who do not
    • Use existing regulatory bodies, with new monitoring and oversight
    • GoC must lead by example in meeting and exceeding accessibility standards
    • Coordinate efforts across government, and harmonize federal and Provincial/Expected Results for CASDO

Slide 18: Annex C: The Accessible Canada Act: Governance

Minister of Accessibility
Employment and Social Development Canada – Existing Entity
  • Policy
  • Regulations
  • Grants and Contributions
  • Expected Results for CASDO
  • Provincial/Territorial Relations
  • Awareness
Chief Accessibility Officer – New Entity
  • Systemic Monitoring and Reporting
Canadian Accessibility Standards Development Organization – New Entity
  • Standards Development
  • Technical Assistance Research
Minister of Accessibility and Minister of Justice
Accessibility Commissioner – New Entity
  • Reports directly to the Minister of Accessibility and to the Canadian Human Rights Commission under the Minister of Justice
  • Compliance and enforcement
  • Accessibility complaints
Minister of Justice
Canadian Human Rights Commission – Existing Entity
Canadian Human Rights Tribunal – Existing Entity
  • Accessibility complaint appeals
Minister of Transport
Canadian Transportation Agency – Existing Entity
  • Standards
  • Regulations
  • Compliance
  • Complaints
Minister of Heritage and the Minister of Innovation, Science, and Economic Development
Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission – Existing Entity
  • Standards
  • Regulations
  • Compliance
  • Complaints
President of the Queen`s Privy Council of Canada
Federal Public Sector Labour Relations and Employment Board – Existing Entity
  • Complaints

4. Implementation status


[Three paragraphs and a table redacted]

  • CASDO Board of Directors were appointed concurrently with CEO.
  • Federal election writ period may limit some of CASDO activities.

Current Status

  • Majority of transition team of nine staff, in key functional areas, is in place.
  • Interim accommodation at 111 Sussex is being fit up. Occupancy occurred August 12, 2019.
    • Renovations to occur following occupancy.
    • Galleries de Hull has been selected as the permanent location and design work should begin shortly.
  • [Three sentences redacted]
  • Initial communication activities have occurred including launch of rudimentary Web-site.
  • Initial CASDO accessibility practices are drafted.

Looking Ahead

  • The following milestones have been anticipated:
    • [One sentence redacted]
    • First technical committees established: 2020
    • First annual report on activities is tabled: 2020
    • CASDO becomes accredited by the Standards Council of Canada (SCC): 2021
    • Draft standard(s) posted for public comment: 2021
    • First standards are completed and recommended to the Minister responsible for Accessibility: 2022

Key Decision Points

[Entire content redacted]

4.2 Key implementation milestones for CASDO

Transition team in place: Spring 2019
Chief Executive Officer is appointed: Summer 2019
First board members are appointed: Summer 2019
Corporation is formally established following Royal Assent and coming into force of the Act: Summer 2019
First technical committees established: 2020
First annual report on activities is tabled: 2020
CASDO becomes accredited by the SCC: 2021
Draft standard(s) posted for public comment: 2021
First standards are completed and recommended to the Minister responsible for Accessibility: 2022

4.3 Expected Results for CASDO

Immediate (2019 to 2022)

  • Disability stakeholders are directly involved in priority-setting.
  • Priority areas of accessibility standards research are supported.
  • Knowledge and expertise in the areas of new standards is increased.
  • First standards available for Minister responsible for Accessibility’s consideration for adoption into regulation.

Intermediate (2022 to 2024)

  • Best practices, research, new knowledge and expertise related to accessibility standards is generated, promoted and disseminated.
  • Pioneering research informs the next generation of accessibility standards.
  • Standards are available for accessibility improvement in the federal jurisdiction.
  • Collaboration with provincial, territorial, international and private sector partners to share expertise achieves consistency and harmonization of accessibility standards.

Ultimate (2024 to 2029)

  • Barriers to accessibility are reduced in all priority areas as a result of implementation of the Accessible Canada Act and regulations.
  • Enhanced social and economic inclusion of Canadians with disabilities.
  • Canada is recognized as a global leader in the development of accessibility standards.

4.4 Overview of Public Reporting Obligations

Reporting is one of the principal means through which departments and agencies fulfill their commitment to the public service value of transparency. Through reporting, a department’s management successes and failures are opened to the scrutiny of Treasury Board, Parliament and the public. Reporting is also the means through which departments demonstrate compliance with policy and statute, allowing for appropriate monitoring and oversight.

As a Schedule II departmental corporation to the Financial Administration Act, the Canadian Accessibility Standards Development Organization (CASDO) will be required to prepare many of the same reports as a Schedule I department (e.g., Health Canada), namely departmental Expenditure Plans which consist of two documents: The Departmental Plan and the Departmental Results Report.

In addition to the regular Treasury Board Policy Suite reporting, CASDO will also report on its activities, through an Annual Report. The following is a short list and description of the public reports CASDO can expect to prepare; however, it is not exhaustive and does not include reports that are not made public.

Access to Information Report. In accordance with the Access to Information Act (AIA) (section 72), CASDO must prepare a report on the administration of the Act within the institution during each financial year.

Annual Report. As per the Accessible Canada Act, within three months after the end of each fiscal year, CASDO must submit a report on its activities in that fiscal year to the Minister. The Minister must cause the report to be laid before each House of Parliament on any of the first 15 days on which that House is sitting after the report is received by the Minister. The activities may include the number of technical committees in operation and their subject matters, the number of standards that have been developed, the priority research areas and related grants and contributions and other financial information.

Departmental Plans (DPs) are expenditure plans for each appropriated department and agency (excluding Crown corporations). They describe departmental priorities, strategic outcomes, programs, expected results and associated resource requirements, covering a three-year period beginning with the year indicated in the title of the report. DPs are tabled in Parliament by the President of the Treasury Board on behalf of the ministers who preside over the appropriation-dependent departments and agencies identified in Schedules I, I.1 and II of the Financial Administration Act. Once tabled, on or before March 31, DPs are referred to committees, which may then report to the House of Commons pursuant to Standing Order 81(7).

Departmental Results Framework (DRF) is the structure against which financial and non-financial performance information is provided for Estimates and parliamentary reporting.

Departmental Results Report (DRRs) are individual department and agency accounts of actual performance, for the most recently completed fiscal year, against the plans, priorities and expected results set out in their respective DPs. DRRs inform parliamentarians and Canadians of the results achieved by government organizations for Canadians.

Privacy Reports. In accordance with the Privacy Act (section 72), CASDO must prepare a report on the administration of the Act within the institution during each financial year.


[Section redacted]

4.6 Overview of Memorandum of Understanding and Service Level Agreements

Sharing of internal services, also known as back office services, is common in the federal government environment particularly in the small department and agency (SDA) community. Internal services are commonly understood to be functions (functional specialities) that support the corporation such as financial systems and services, human resources systems and services, information technology and information management, Access to Information and Privacy (ATIP), administration, including security, etc.

The SDA community shares services to maximize efficiencies, gaining from the expertise of other organizations who are well advanced in their operational maturity. This sharing of services is contemplated and guided by s.29.2 of the Financial Administration Act, as well as by a series of directives and guidance from the central agencies.

These directives specify the basic requirements for a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) and the associated Service Level Agreements (SLA) including the scope of the agreement, the services to be offered, the associated service standards, duration, dispute resolution mechanism, financial arrangements, signatories, etc.

[Seven paragraphs redacted]

4.7 Overview Grants and Contributions

What are Grants and Contributions?

  • Grants are unconditional payments that the Government of Canada provides to individuals or organizations for carrying out eligible activities as set by the funding program
  • Contributions are similar to grants, except that, in order to receive funding and be reimbursed for specific costs, recipients need to meet certain performance conditions. The Government of Canada can also audit the recipients' use of funding

* The key difference between Gs and Cs and contracts is that the Government of Canada does not benefit directly from Gs and Cs

CASDO Grants and Contributions Program

[One table and two sentences redacted]

  • Allows for redistribution of contributions
  • Maximum duration:
    • Grant = 3 years
    • Contribution = 5 years
  • Support research into the identification and removal of barriers to accessibility and the prevention of new barriers to inform the next generation of accessibility standards.

To enable CASDO to work with a range of stakeholders across Canada to advance accessibility standards research in priority areas. Sub-objectives include:

  • Supporting the establishment of a national network of accessibility expertise
  • Engaging with people with disabilities, technical experts, and disability and other stakeholders, to inform the research agenda
  • Identifying and sharing research, information, best practices and tools related to accessibility barriers and standards
Priority Areas for Research
  • Research into the identification and removal of barriers to accessibility, and the prevention of new barriers
  • Priority areas for the legislation:
    • Employment
    • The built environment
    • Information and communication technologies
    • Communication (not including information and communication technologies)
    • Procurement of goods, services and facilities
    • Design and delivery of programs and services
    • Transportation
    • Indigenous accessibility
    • Other priorities designated through regulation
What kind of research will be funded
  • Research to assess current knowledge and identify gaps in priority areas to support the next generation of accessibility standards development
  • New research and innovation in priority areas to support standards development
  • Scholarships, fellowships and research symposiums to foster the next generation of accessibility standards research capacity
How will proposals be assessed

The amount to be paid will be based on a proposal and budget

Reviewers will assess and reject or recommend funding based on factors including:

  • Alignment with program objectives
  • Scope and duration of activities
  • Validation of reasonableness and fair market value of proposed expenditures
  • Importance of projected expenditures to success
  • Reasonableness of overall cost given projected outcome(s)
  • Other sources of funding

Proposals are assessed based on CASDO’s experience and analysis, and changes are negotiated where necessary

How will they be monitored

  • Progress and financial reporting
  • Payments based on milestones
  • Some site visits
  • Final report
  • May have progress reporting
  • Final report

How will the program be run

Policy Framework
  • Treasury Board Policy on Transfer Payments: Government wide policy to ensure that Gs and Cs are managed with integrity, transparency and accountability
  • CASDO Gs and Cs Terms and Conditions: Sets out program parameters including objectives, expected results and eligible recipients
  • Program guidelines (not yet developed): Provides relevant details to the public on the priorities, process and requirements to apply for funding and how we will assess proposals
  1. Call for Proposals: Seeks project proposals in support of achieving program objectives and priorities
  2. Assessments: Screen and assess proposals (CASDO staff, other Government departments, external contractors)
  3. Funding recommendations: If positively assessed, it will be recommended to CASDO CEO for approval
  4. Grant or Contribution Agreements put in place
  5. Project carried out: Recipients report back to CASDO as specified in agreement
  6. CASDO reports on overall program results
  7. Program Evaluation: CASDO’s Gs and Cs Program must occasionally be evaluated to ensure it is reaching its objectives (timing to be determined)

[One paragraph redacted]

Key activities

  • Planning and designing the Gs and Cs program
  • Organizing calls for proposals
  • Managing and disbursing Gs and Cs funds
  • Visiting sites, monitoring, reporting and collecting data
  • Evaluating and auditing programs
  • Meeting corporate requirements and reporting

[One sentence redacted]

Role of the CASDO Board of Directors in Gs and Cs

  • Provide strategic direction on program guidelines and calls for proposals
  • To be provided updates on:
    • Timelines
    • Progress with Calls for Proposals
    • Assessment processes and approvals
    • Overall project monitoring
    • Program evaluation and audit


[Two sentences redacted]

  • Priorities for standards development have yet to be set – these will inform future research

[One sentence redacted]

  • Early goals:
    • At least 4 grant projects funded in 2019-20
  • [Two sentences redacted]

[Section redacted]

Proposed Strategy (3)

Develop and Launch Call for Proposals in 2019/2020
  • Develop a call for proposals for:
    • 25 to 35, 1 - 3-year research projects (informed by research priorities project)
    • Accessibility Research Forum in 2021/2022
  • Process:
    • Development: now – October, 2019
    • Launch: Late October 2019 (deadline in late 2019/early 2020)
    • Assessment: Early 2020
    • Funding Agreements: April 1, 2020

Proposed Strategy (4)

  • Regular calls for proposals – stagger timing to ensure balance of new vs completed projects
  • Assess the mix of research projects needed for each call for proposals to ensure a balance between:
    • Knowledge assessment and gap analysis
    • Knowledge translation and dissemination
    • Increasing research capacity
    • Research to support future standards development
Next Steps
  • Approach organizations to seek proposals in response to immediate funding priorities
  • Develop and share for information with the Board the first general Call for Proposals
  • [One sentence redacted]
  • Outreach to research, standards development, academic communities and others to inform them of CASDO’s research program, build on synergies and position CASDO’s future research work
Immediate Research Priorities
  • Assess the current knowledge and identify gaps to support future standards development
  • Immediate research needs (in areas with capacity to carry it out):
    1. Built environment
    2. Information and communication technologies
    3. Indigenous accessibility
    4. Accessible communications
    5. Others?

Accessibility Research Stakeholders

Federal Research Community
  • Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC)
  • Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC)
  • National Research Council
  • Canadian Institutes for Health Research
Priority Area Communities
  • Federal
  • Provinces/Territories
  • Academics and Technical Experts
  • NGOs
  • People with Disabilities


[Section redacted]

5. Provisional CASDO communications strategy


The Accessible Canada Act is a key element of the Government’s strategy to create a barrier-free Canada.

The Act establishes the Canadian Accessibility Standards Development Organization (CASDO)Footnote2, a new arms-length, departmental corporation that will be responsible for developing accessibility standards for federally regulated organizations, including Government of Canada departments and agencies. The standards developed by CASDO will also serve as models that could be adopted by other jurisdictions.

This communications strategy addresses the launch and initial activities of CASDO.


In developing standards, CASDO will work in close collaboration with people with disabilities, technical experts, and representatives from organizations that would be subject to the standards. There will also be opportunities for provinces and territories to participate in standards development processes.

CASDO will be responsible for providing information, products and services in relation to the standards it has developed, supporting and promoting research, and disseminating information and best practices in relation to the identification, removal and prevention of barriers that hinder the full and equal participation of people with disabilities.

CASDO will have a Board of Directors, consisting of up to 11 directors, to set its strategic direction, oversee its activities and provide advice to its Chief Executive Officer (CEO). Director positions would be part-time and appointed by the Governor in Council for terms of up to four years. To the extent possible, the majority of the directors would be people with disabilities.


  • Highlight that the Government has delivered on its commitment to establish an accessibility standards organization that will be key to creating a barrier-free Canada.
  • Demonstrate the Government of Canada’s ongoing leadership and commitment to greater accessibility, opportunities and inclusion for people with disabilities where they live and work.
  • Demonstrate the Government of Canada’s commitment to consulting with all relevant stakeholders (nothing without us).
  • Inform the public and stakeholders (including organizations and employers potentially subject to future standards), and media of the launch of CASDO, next steps for its implementation and initial activities.

Target Audiences

Primary audiences

  • People with disabilities and their family/caregivers
  • Disability stakeholders and community organizations
  • Federally regulated private sector businesses and the organizations that represent them (Chambers of Commerce, Boards of Trade, industry associations)
  • Federal government departments and agencies (all those contained in Schedules I to V to the Financial Administration Act, Crown corporations, and the Canadian Forces)

Secondary audiences

  • Indigenous communities
  • Provinces, territories and municipalities
  • Targeted media with a focus on disability and accessibility issues
  • General public


  • The Act will also create an Accessibility Commissioner responsible for compliance, enforcement and complaints, and a Chief Accessibility Officer responsible for monitoring and reporting to the Minister on systemic and emerging accessibility issues. It will be important to, where appropriate, ensure that communications are coordinated between the three organizations.
  • It is expected that the soon to be appointed CASDO CEO and board members will have significant influence on the ongoing communications approaches and tactics once they are in place. The communications approach will likely need to be updated post-launch based on the strategic direction provided by the CEO and the Board.
  • Given there will be minimal public facing activity in the summer/fall period, creating CASDO social media accounts during this period is not recommended. If necessary, Accessible Canada accounts can be used to communicate out.
  • Target audiences will need clear and transparent communication on the delivery of commitments and timelines.

Communications Approach

A proactive communications approach is recommended highlighting key milestones in the creation of the organization and its initial activities. It is important to note that there will be a gradual ramp-up of activities until CASDO is fully operational in 2020. A news release would be issued upon the appointment of the CEO and members of the Board and would mark the launch of CASDO.

A minimal web presence for CASDO has been developed. Content includes basic information on the mandate of the organization and went live on July 11, 2019. Content may be somewhat static until the launch of public consultations in late fall 2019/winter 2020.

In addition, the CEO and board members will be provided with media training to better prepare them for speaking with the press and other public audiences.

Key Messages

  • The Canadian Accessibility Standards Development Organization (CASDO) has been created on July 11, 2019 to develop accessibility standards for federally regulated organizations and to promote research on the identification and elimination of barriers to accessibility.
  • The creation of CASDO is a significant milestone in the implementation of the Accessible Canada Act and one of the most important achievements in disability rights in Canada in over 30 years.
  • [Name] will be the chair and [Name] will be the vice-chair of CASDO’s board of directors, responsible for providing strategic direction. [Name] has been appointed as the first Chief Executive Officer of CASDO to manage day-to-day operations.
  • CASDO is the first federal institution to be led by people with disabilities and will be the federal leader in establishing accessibility standards. CASDO’s mandate will make a significant contribution to Canada’s capacity to harness the remarkable skills and talents of people with disabilities in this country.
  • The executive leadership’s first order of business is to get CASDO up and running, in order to meet its legislated mandate and achieve progress on accessibility standards.
  • The Accessible Canada Act will allow Canada to move from a system where people with disabilities have to fight every day for basic access, to a new model that will proactively address barriers to accessibility and the structures that perpetuate these barriers.
  • The Accessible Canada Act is only the starting point of a new era that will see the inclusion of all Canadians, including people with disabilities. This legislation will be instrumental in advancing the important work that lies ahead to fully break down barriers for people with disabilities in Canada.


Given that communication activity over the summer months is expected to be limited, it may be challenging to identify opportunities for evaluation. However, it is expected that the overall evaluation of Bill C-81 will inform CASDO’s communications activities as it becomes established and beyond.

Communications Products

Web content

Develop skeleton web presence in collaboration with Web Services (to be live July 11)

Key Messaging

[Section redacted]

Social media posts

Choose social media platforms and create social media accounts that CASDO will use to communicate with stakeholders and the public (likely those most commonly used by the stakeholder community) and develop overarching social media strategy for the organization. Posts could be accompanied by visuals (photos, etc.) (timing tbc)

News releases

To launch the new organization (July 11) and to announce the appointment of the CEO and, if possible, board members (to follow)

Media lines and Qs and As

NA (develop in future to support scrums or interviews with media and media calls to the organization)

Video / Photos

NA (for future)

Backdrop/ podium sign / pop-ups

NA (for future)