Communication Access within the Accessible Canada Act

The Project

Funder: Accessibility Standards Canada

Project Webpage: Communication Access within the Accessible Canada Act

Duration: October 1, 2021 to March 31, 2023

IDRC is working to address communication access for people who have speech, language, and communication disabilities and differences. With advice from an advisory panel and Communication Disabilities Access Canada (CDAC), this project will focus on communication access within Federal government contexts.

The project defines Communication Access based on CDACs definition:

  • Communication is an interactive, two-way process that includes both understanding and being understood. It involves a range of communication methods in face-to-face interactions, over the telephone and remote communications, online and via reading and writing.
  • Communication methods include speech, gestures, body language, writing, drawing, pictures, symbol and letter boards, speech-generating devices, as well as human services such as sign language interpreting, captioning in real time, informal and formal communication assistance.

Goals of Project

The project will address gaps in understanding the accessibility needs of people with communication disabilities and meeting diverse accessibility communication needs. This will be accomplished through two key tasks: 

  1. Define the disability populations and personal communication supports for Canadians requiring access to federal goods and services and produce a report illustrating the findings.
  2. Define the scope of accessibility barriers and accommodations that people with communication disabilities may require to access different federal services and produce a report illustrating the findings.

Research methodology

The research the IDRC conducts for this project is a qualitative, ethnographic approach and will build on past research conducted by CDAC. We will use both interviews and co-design with "the virtuous tornado" method, which asks, What are we missing? Who is still missing? to come up with the spectrum of needs.

tornado diagram of multiple cycles of co-design, develop, implement, evaluate, refine that produce more resilient, adaptable, innovative, inclusive, and accessible designs

  1. Guided Interviews: conversations with professionals in the field are scheduled to happen between July and August 2022. REB number 2022-45
  2. co-designs with members of the community are scheduled to happen September to December 2022