Accessible Communication. It's the Law!
From City of St.Catharines Guide to Accessible information & Communication training. December 5, 2011
Regardless of their disabilities, all Ontarians have the same rights to communicate as individuals without a disability; rights that are protected by the Ontario Human Rights Code.
Organizations must be prepared to provide alternative formats of traditional communication tools. This includes written documents, reports, brochures, and forms and also extends to multi-media tools, such as videos and website.
Must provide accessible formats
In a Timely Manner
At NO extra cost!
The Information and Communications Standard section under the Integrated Accessibility Regulation provides guidance for providing accessible communication.
Not just the law but good customer service, too
StatsCan estimates that by 2026 one of every five people living in Canada will be a senior. As people age, they have greater incidences of hearing loss, low vision, cognitive impairments and lessened mobility and dexterity.
Approximately 836,000 Canadians identified themselves as having a seeing disability in a 2007 StatsCan study, while approximately 10 per cent of Canada’s population suffers from some form of hearing lost.
Add to this the 10 per cent of Canadians who have a learning disability and it is easy to see that in the future increasing numbers of residents and customers will require some kind of alternative format to access information from the City.
By providing accessible communications, we will increase the number of people who can access information, reaching a greater number of our residents.
And that is good customer service.
Use Plain Language
Plain Language is text that the reader can read and understand the first time.
It sounds easy enough, but text is often cluttered with acronyms, jargon and complex sentence structure.
Text that is clear and easy to read benefits customers with learning disabilities and low literacy skills. It improves comprehension for all users and allows for easy adaptation to other formats.
When writing plain language, remember to:
•Keep your intended audience in mind
•Use an active voice
•Use everyday words
•Use simple sentence structure and grammar
Align Left (justified text causes problems)
Watch Font size (no less than 12 point font)
Use styles / style sheets for formatting
Use Tables for data not formatting
Provide alternative text for charts and pictures