Message from Barbara Collier, Executive Director, CDAC

As the Communication Access Now (CAN) project comes to an end on March 31, 2016, I want to thank everyone for your support to increase awareness of what accessibility means for people who have speech and language disabilities. Although there is still a great deal of work to be done to ensure that people with speech and language disabilities have equal access to goods and services, we have come a long way since we started the project in 2013. Over the past 3 years, we have provided information about communication access for people with speech and language disabilities (SLDs) to:

  • Government ministers, policy makers, legislators and accessibility advisors in 9 provinces
  • 1,200 businesses and organizations
  • 8K speech language pathologists to share information with clients who have SLDs
  • 550 people took the CAN e-learning modules
  • 45K visitors used the CDAC and CAN websites to learn about communication access
  • 1.6K followers on social media
  • 10K via mainstream publications and radio interviews

Although the CAN project ends this month, our organization, CDAC will continue its work to promote social justice and accessibility for people who have speech and language disabilities. However, we need your help to keep the CAN message alive. While we managed to raise awareness of the need to include access for people with speech and language disabilities, we must all now participate at provincial and local accessibility committees; raise awareness at public consultations and have a say into the development of a Canadians with Disability Act.

At this time, I want to acknowledge and thank the Government of Canada’s Disability Component of Social Development Partnerships Program for funding the project. We could not have done the work without the tremendous efforts of our regional coordinators: Lois Turner in BC; Judy Meintzer and Christine Beliveau in Alberta; Randa Tomczak in Saskatchewan; Tracy Shepherd in Manitoba; Nora Rothschild in Ontario and Debbie Maund in Atlantic Canada.  Thanks also to Glenda Watson Hyatt our social media coordinator; Steve Roberston, our web master and to Chevanne Simpson and William Bobek for their administrative support.

The CAN project may be ending, but our work to ensure that services are accessible for people with SLDs is only beginning! Stay tuned for more.