Accessibility Policy Makers

In 2010, Canada ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). Recognition that people with disabilities enjoy legal capacity on an equal basis is at the core of Article 12 of the CRPD.  Article 12 clarifies that this requires that people have access to the supports they may need to make decisions.

CDAC recognizes that each jurisdiction must act in accordance with governing laws, rules and policies, and that people with disabilities have a right to equality in Canadian law.  This means having the communication accommodations and supports they require to access healthcare, legal, justice, financial, housing, independent living and community services.

For Accessibility Policy Makers, this means:

  • Recognizing that Communication accommodations and supports are as significant as better known accommodations, such as those which provide access to the built environment.
  • Engaging the communication disability community in the development of communication accessibility legislation at provincial, territorial and federal government levels for effective two-way communication and decision-making in face-to-face interactions, communicating over the telephone, at meetings, when reading and understanding written information, using websites and social media, completing and signing forms.
  • Developing and promoting communication accessibility standards, guidelines and training for non-critical community services (e.g. restaurants and stores) to ensure people get the communication supports they need to interact in these situations.
  • Developing and promoting communication accessibility standards, guidelines and training for essential, sector specific services, such as healthcare, legal, justice, financial, supportive housing, and independent living services where effective communication and decision-making is critical.
  • Providing an accessible complaint process for reporting and responding to violations of accessibility rights and discrimination.
  • Monitoring and enforcing the provision of communication accommodations and supports in essential services.

Essential Resources:

  • Understand the contextual factors and the accessibility barriers that individuals may experience when communicating in different contexts.
  • Promote the webinar and resource on Making Services Accessible for People who have Speech, Language Communication Disabilities to community and government service providers.
  • Work with essential services and the communication disability community, to develop communication access policies and practices in order to:
    •  identify and document an individual’s accessibility needs to communicate and/ or make decisions
    • Authorize the support person that want to assist with communication and/or decisions.
    • Provide access to communication tools an individual uses or needs.
    • Ensure best communication practices are used to support the individual if required in one or more areas of understanding, problem solving, decision-making and/or expressive communication.
    • Hear and acknowledge and document an individual’s opinions and decisions.
    • Engage an impartial, qualified Speech-Language Pathologist if:
      • the individual has a complex communication disability or no obvious way of communicating
      • there is evidence of a conflict of interest, undue persuasion or coercion from support person(s)
      • in critical situations such as medical assistance in dying and justice services.

Webinars and Resources

For Non-Essential services:

Making services accessible for people who have communication disabilities.

For Essential Services:

  1. Communication and Capacity: Context and Guiding Principles (Barbara Collier)
  2. Communication Disabilities: Barriers and Impact on Choice and Control (Barbara Collier)
  3. Legal Context for Exercising Capacity and Provision of Communication Supports (Lana Kerzner)
  4. Communication Supports: Formal, Symbolic Communicators (Barbara Collier)
  5. Communication Supports: Informal, Non-Symbolic Communicators (Jo Watson)