Monthly Archives: March 2018

Accessible Outreach to Persons with Disabilities

Below are some high-level, barrier-free tips for reaching out to persons with disabilities.

Trust the Experts: People with Disabilities

People with disabilities themselves know best what supports, if any, they need.

Ask if you may provide assistance. Listen to what they say. If you can provide a support, do so.

If, after every reasonable effort, you cannot provide a requested support, work with the person to find the next best solution.

Consider Cost

Many people with disabilities live at or below the poverty line. Consider reduced or no-cost tickets for paid events.

Consider ALL Disabilities

Remember that there are a wide range of disabilities – and that many Canadians have more than one.

Disabilities can be visible and non-visible, and may be permanent or temporary.

Different disabilities include, but are not limited to:

  • Mobility disabilities
  • Vision
  • Hearing
  • Intellectual / Developmental
  • Learning Disabilities
  • Mental Health
  • Environmental Sensitivities, such as allergies to perfumes and colognes

Consider ALL barriers. These include buildings, documents, websites, policies, and attitudes.

Build relationships. Take the time to meet representatives of disability organizations and find out the issues of the day.

Liaise with the Party’s Persons Living with Disabilities Committee for leads and best practices.

Use “Person First” Language

Instead of “The disabled”, say, “People with disabilities”.

Use “Person with [a particular disability]”.

Also see A Way with Words and Images.

Use Plain Language

Plain language is not overly-simplified language – it’s clearly saying what you mean.

For more information, visit and search “plain language”.

Hold Events at Barrier-Free Facilities

Consider ramps, door openers, bathrooms and parking. Consider the interior and exterior.

Place “We Share the Air” Posters at Events

Also remind people to refrain from wearing perfumes and colognes in invitations and notices.

Welcome Service Animals

Service animals provide assistance to people with disabilities. While some are dogs, there are others.

Provide a water bowl for service animals at events

Provide a Quiet Area

For large events, provide a quiet area, with a chair, bed, cups and water.

Use People with Various Disabilities in Communications Images

Include people who use wheelchairs, but include others as well – such as persons using service animals, or people communicating with sign language.

Use Accessible Videos

Accessibility benefits everyone – including people who see videos without audio on social media feeds.

To this end, open captioning is hugely beneficial.

Include a link to download a transcript, and be sure to describe relevant images within the video in the transcript as well.

This resource provides other accessible social media tips:

Use Accessible Documents

Documents (Word or PDF) should have:

  • Sans-Serif fonts like Arial
  • Proper heading structure, and linked tables of content, if documents are long
  • Alternative text for images to ensure that everyone can access information
  • Data of numerical graphics also provided in text, lists or tables
  • Colour contrast

Provide Sign Language and Other Supports Upon Request

American Sign Language (for English speakers) and Langue des signes québécoise (for French speakers) should be provided upon request. For large events, consider having interpreters on hand.