ACCPC Newsletter | December 2010


Dear Colleague,

At this time of year, we take a moment to reflect and celebrate our 2010 activities with you. This year, we focused on increasing awareness of communication accessibility through our projects with the Office for Disability Issues, Justice Canada and The Ontario Trillium Foundation. We developed resources for people with communication disabilities (PWCDs), the justice sector and public and private businesses and organizations. We were delighted to have had 12 PWCDs working on various aspects of these projects and no doubt you will see many of them representing communication access issues at government and local levels in the future.

We wish you joy and peace during the Holiday Season.



Look out for our resources for businesses and organizations about what they can do to improve access to their services for people who have communication disabilities (PWCDs). This resource will be available on our website in April 2011.

Bill Scott gives the thumbs up for ACCPC’s online resource
Bill Scott participates in the online resource and gives it a "thumbs up"

With funding from the National Office for Disability issues, the free, online resource will inform community organizations how to:

  • communicate with PWCDs in-person and on the telephone;
  • ensure that PWCDs can participate at meetings and public events;
  • make print, text and e-communications accessible;
  • provide access to forms, note taking and signatures.
  • For more information:
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These days, it seems everyone is talking about accessibility rights, standards and laws. That’s because Canada ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in March 2010. This means that Canada must now implement laws to ensure that people with disabilities have full and equal access to all aspects of their communities. Ontario is one of the first provinces to establish its accessibility laws. In January 2008, customer accessibility standards became law and there are additional standards coming into law for information and communication, transportation, employment and built environments. ACCPC has been active on a number of levels to ensure that communication is considered part of accessibility.

Incredible as it may seem, there is no research that defines communication access for PWCDs and specifically those of you who use augmentative and alternative communication (AAC).

So, we are doing a national survey and we want your input. We want to know what communication access means to you. Does it mean that a person who works with the public (i.e. a doctor, nurse, waitress, post office worker, bus or taxi driver, bank teller etc.) is respectful; knows how to communicate with you; gives you extra time to communicate with them; ensures you can sign documents; gives you information in ways that you can use and understand?

Tell us what communication accessibility means for you by completing an online survey. We have two surveys: one for people who have communication disabilities and one for family members, clinicians, educators, attendants and service providers. The surveys are in English and French.

We will use your information to inform the government and accessibility legislators about accessibility for people who have communication disabilities. This will ensure that your needs are included in the accessibility laws in Canada. We will also keep you updated on what other people are telling us about their communication access needs.

Add your voice before March 31, 2011 by completing your survey by going to: (English) (French)

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In June 2010, we launched “Connecting to Communities” – a resource by and for people who use augmentative communication about their communication rights and what they can do to educate businesses and organizations in their communities. We are grateful to The Ontario Trillium Foundation for funding this project.

Connecting to Communities: DVD, book, poster, tip sheet and CD Rom
"Connecting to Communities" - Poster, book, tip sheet, DVD and CD-Rom.

Over 300 people attended the launches in Hamilton, Ottawa and Toronto. Guests of honor included The Hon. Kathleen Wynne, MPP, Helen Burstyn, Chair of the Board, The Ontario Trillium Foundation and Tracy Shepherd, President, ISAAC Canada.

The Hon. Kathleen Wynne addresses the audience at the launch of Connecting to Communities
The Hon. Kathleen Wynne addresses the audience at the Toronto launch of Connecting to Communities.

See a video of the launch at

For an order form, go to:

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AAC Leaders

Using Connecting to Communities as a foundation, we hosted a number of community discussion groups for people who use augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) about ways to increase awareness of their communication rights in their communities.

Krystine Donato attended one of the days in Hamilton. She has since used the resource as part of her presentation on accessibility at Brock University.

Dave Dawson, Krystine Donato, Paul Marshall, Jason Masters and Al Sunisloe at the Hamilton leader’s meeting.
Dave Dawson, Krystine Donato, Paul Marshall, Jason Masters and Al Sunisloe at the Hamilton discussion forum.

Many of the participants are now actively involved in an online discussion forum for people who use AAC. The forum is facilitated by Colin Phillips and Megan Henze. Participants from across Canada share personal experiences, frustrations and successes with each other. To join in the discussions, go to

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Access to Justice

Like everyone, people with communication disabilities have a right to legal and justice services. They may need to discuss issues with a lawyer, bring forward a discrimination case, be involved as a victim or witness a crime, want to make a will or write a power of attorney.

Effective communication in situations involving legal issues is critical. People who have communication disabilities have a right to get the communication supports they may require to communicate their situation, information and legal needs effectively and accurately; receive legal information in a way that is accessible and understandable and maintain full authorship of their communication.

This year, we expanded on online resources to include guidelines for legal professionals, victim witness services, legal aid clinics, shelter workers, disability advocates to include ways to gather reliable and accurate information; the role of a communication assistant; the techniques a communication assistant can use and ways of recording testimony from clients who use AAC. Go to

We are pleased to announce a Canadian roster of communication specialists who have agreed to be contacts for legal groups in their area. In March 2010, we hosted two webinars for the justice and disability sectors. These were attended by over 200 participants.

For contacts, please go to:

In the coming months, we will be launching a new website on communication access within justice services. Check our website in March 2011.

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ACCPC Executive Director receives Fellowship

In July 2010, Barbara Collier, Executive Director, ACCPC was honored as a Fellow of the International Society for Augmentative and Alternative Communication (ISAAC) for outstanding and distinguished achievement in the field of Augmentative and Alternative Communication. Barbara says: "I share this honor with my colleagues at ACCPC as a recognition of the important work we are all doing in the areas of communication access and social justice".

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We remember our dear friends

This year we were saddened to lose two dear friends and colleagues - Ann Running and Aaron Shelbourne. Ann and Aaron worked on many ACCPC projects and contributed greatly to the field of AAC. We will always be grateful to them.

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We are grateful to those of you who worked with us in 2010:

Communication access resource: Megan Henze, Tien Hoang, Anne Highet, Bill Scott, Jim Bull, Colin Phillips, Scott Ngo, Krystine Donato, Lynnette Norris, Sarah Blackstone, Andrew Taylor, Cynthia Mederios, Anne Marie Renzoni, Laurel Robinson, Steve Roberston and Barbara Collier.

Communication access surveys: Andrew Taylor, Sarah Blackstone, Lynnette Norris, Colin Phillips, Krystine Donato and Barbara Collier.

Connecting to Communities: resource and forum: Jessie Weber, Paul Marshall, Treena Guy, Jorge Almeida, Dave Dawson, Tien Hoang, Colin Phillips, Steve Roberston, Jackie Brown, Pam Sequeira, Lynnette Norris, Laure Prechonnet, Jean Brugniau, Megan Henze, Bill Bobek and Barbara Collier.

Access to Justice team: Fran Odette, Pamela Cross, Laurie Graham, Colin Phillips and Barbara Collier.

Administration support: Cathy Bouchard and Kira Kastner.

Website: Harim Kim and Paul Janzen.

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Other Good Stuff

Get order information from our website for:

  • Finding My Voice: Stories from my life. Donald W. Smith and Jane Field.
  • Bridges-over-Barriers: In Our Own Words. DVD and book. Bridges-Over-Barriers is a community of communicators who gather regularly in Guelph from all over southern Ontario.
  • Kilometers for Communication. Support this amazing, upcoming trip across Canada to raise awareness about communication access. More info at
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Ways to contribute to ACCPC

ACCPC has no operational funding beyond the projects that it undertakes. We rely on volunteers to represent issues relating to people who use augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) at government levels, to write and submit project proposals and to make our resources available to you on line.

We have now grown to the point where we need funds to pay for staff and resources in order to keep doing these activities.

ACCPC is now a registered charity.

If you value our work, please make a donation by logging onto CanadaHelps at and selecting ACCPC.

This website provides you with a secure and easy way to make a donation to us. You will be issued a charitable tax receipt.

Thank you for your support.

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ACCPC Board of Directors

  • Hazel Self, Chairperson
  • Elise Nakelsky, Secretary
  • Fiona Crichton, Treasurer
  • Sue Lantz
  • Melinda Rundle
  • Al Cook

Contact Us

Babara Collier
Executive Director
131 Barber Greene Road
Toronto, Ontario
M3C 3Y5