Communication Access


People who have speech, language and/or cognitive disabilities have a right to:

  • be treated with respect and have their opinions taken seriously
  • be given the supports they request and/or need to effectively communicate in order to understand what is being said and/ or to have their messages understood by another person
  • use their preferred communication methods
  • have service providers follow their instructions on how to effectively communicate with them
  • be given the extra time they need to communicate
  • express their own thoughts and /or validate agreement in a safe way, if they rely on a trusted person to convey opinions about matters that affect them
  • request, authorize and have access to someone they trust to assist with communication, if needed
  • connect over the telephone for services or use another way that works better for them, such as email, text, message relay services or a communication assistant
  • have opportunities and supports to communicate effectively at meetings, conferences, e-learning and public events
  • get written information in ways they can read and understand
  • access websites that comply with the latest web accessibility guidelines
  • get accessible forms and surveys.
  • be given assistance they may need to sign documents and take notes
  • have access to a qualified Communication Intermediary or Speech-Language Pathologist when required for effective communication in critical communication where there may be a need for impartial communication support, such as healthcare services, capacity and consent adjudications, police, legal and justice situations.

People who have communication disabilities should expect:

  • service providers who know about communication access rights, who can communicate with them and negotiate their accessibility needs
  • critical communication services to have robust safeguards to ensure they have the supports they need for effective and authentic communication where the capacity assessor is not experienced or qualified to provide communication support; a person has a complex communication disability or no obvious way of communicating; a person’s capacity to provide informed consent is questionable; if there is evidence of a conflict of interest, undue persuasion or coercion from support person(s) and in critical communication contexts such as medical assistance in dying and justice settings.