The Canadian Race Relations Foundation Accessible Canada Act Progress Report 2023
Table of Contents
- 2.1 Statement of Commitment
- 2.2 Description of the Canadian Race Relations Foundation
- 2.3 Process for Feedback and Contact Information
- 2.4 Alternative Formats
- 2.5 Context
- Areas Described Under Section 5 of the ACA
- 3.1 Organization-wide Initiatives
- 3.2 The Design and Delivery of Programs and Services
- 3.3 Employment
- 3.4 Information and Communication Technologies (ICT)
- 3.5 Communication, other than ICT
- 3.6 The Built Environment
- 3.7 The Procurement of Goods, Services and Facilities
- 3.8 Transportation
The Canadian Race Relations Foundation (CRRF) is a Crown corporation and a non-profit organization. As a Crown corporation, we are owned by the government, but we are not part of the government (there is a Glossary to explain some of the words we use in this document). Our goal is to end racism in Canada. We do this through education, providing grants, and hosting events, to collectively learn more about and work towards addressing racism across the country.
We published our first accessibility plan in August 2023 and this progress report is to share how we have improved accessibility this year. We had 4 goals we wanted to complete in 2023 and we completed all of them. These goals were to:
- Train all employees on disability and accessibility.
- Make our website more accessible.
- Make our public newsletter more accessible.
- Make a checklist for planning accessible events.
We engaged employees and managers across our organization to complete these goals. For example, our communications team was involved in making our website and newsletter more accessible. We also hired an accessibility consulting firm to support us. This firm employs people with lived experience of disability and racialized people with disabilities.
In November 2023, the CRRF hired a new Chief Administrative Officer (CAO). Our new CAO will support the CRRF as we continue to make progress on our accessibility goals now and into the future.
2.1 Statement of Commitment
The Canadian Race Relations Foundation (CRRF) knows how important it is that all people are free from discrimination in all forms and can participate fully in society. We know that ableism is historic and systemic. To fight discrimination, we need to educate the public, listen to the communities who face discrimination, and take action. This plan represents the CRRF’s commitment to listening to people with disabilities and working with them to remove barriers in the programs and services we provide. We also understand that different types of discrimination can impact people in intersecting, or combined, ways. For example, someone can be impacted by ableism, racism, and homophobia in a different way than someone else may be impacted by ableism and sexism. Directly related to our work, we know that racialized people with disabilities have intersectional lived experience. We want to make sure to listen to their voices. In preparing our accessibility plan, we looked for barriers in our organization and in the programs and services we offer to remove them. We will continue to work with people with disabilities to identify, remove, and prevent barriers.
The CRRF will always follow the Accessible Canada Act (“the Act”), the Canadian Human Rights Act (“CHRA”), and the Canada Labour Code (“CLC”). If we find that any part of our plan does not follow the Act or the CHRA, we will change it.
2.2 Description of the Canadian Race Relations Foundation
The CRRF is a federal Crown corporation. As a Crown corporation, we are owned by the government, but we are not part of the government. We are also a non-profit organization. Our goal is to work towards a Canada that is free of systemic racism and hate. We aim to do this by sharing knowledge and supporting community. We put on events, do research, develop policies and training, connect with governments and other organizations, and occasionally provide grant funding.
We understand that Canada has a racist history and that many forms of racism, including systemic racism, are still present today. We want to make space for important conversations, education, and policy change to end racism in Canada.
The CRRF was created in 1996 by the Canadian government as part of the Japanese Canadian Redress Agreement. This agreement was where the government apologized for how Japanese Canadians were treated during and after World War II. This agreement inspired the CRRF’s work to end racism for all in Canada.
The CRRF has around 30 employees all over Canada, many of whom were hired to work remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic. There are two offices: one in Toronto and one in Montreal.
2.3 Process for Feedback and Contact Information
The CRRF understands that listening to people with disabilities is important in becoming a more accessible organization. We welcome feedback from our employees, partner organizations, and members of the public about accessibility at the CRRF and about this plan. Feedback can be shared anonymously, without giving a name or contact information. We are committed to reviewing the feedback we receive in good faith and taking steps to address barriers that are identified through this feedback.
You can share feedback about accessibility at the CRRF or this plan by contacting our Director of Finance and Administration at:
- E-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Telephone number: +1(416)-441-1900 Ext 203
- Mailing address: 6 Sakura Way Suite 225, Toronto, Ontario M3C 1Z5
2.4 Alternative Formats
You can request alternative formats of this plan, and a description of our feedback process by contacting our Director of Finance and Administration at:
- E-mail address: email@example.com
- Telephone number: +1(416)-441-1900 Ext 203
- Mailing address: 6 Sakura Way Suite 225, Toronto, ON M3C 1Z5
The CRRF will provide the following alternative formats within 15 days of the initial request:
- Large print (increased font size)
The CRRF will provide the following alternative formats within 45 days of the initial request:
- Braille (a system of raised dots that people who are blind or who have low vision can read with their fingers)
- Audio (a recording of someone reading the text out loud)
The Accessible Canada Act is a law to make Canada more accessible. Starting December 2022, federal organizations must make plans on how they will be more accessible. The CRRF was excited to publish our first Accessibility Plan in August 2023 and it details actions we want to do in 2023, 2024, and 2025. In December 2025 we will write a new plan about what we will do for the next three years. Every year when we don’t write a new plan, we will share a report on our progress. This Progress Report shares updates on all the accessibility changes that we planned to do in 2023. It also shares what we learned from any feedback received in the last year and in consultations with people with disabilities.
3. Areas Described Under Section 5 of the ACA
Our goals are organized under the seven priority areas of the ACA and a section on organization-wide initiatives:
- Organization-wide Initiatives
- The Design and Delivery of Programs and Services
- Information and Communication Technologies (ICT)
- Communication, other than Information and Communication Technologies
- The Built Environment
- The Procurement of Goods, Services and Facilities
3.1 Organization-wide Initiatives
We had one organization-wide goal that we wanted to complete in 2023. Below is an update on our progress.
Goal 1.1: By the end of 2023, we will train all staff on disability and accessibility.
Description of progress: The CRRF hired an accessibility consulting firm to develop and deliver accessibility training. This firm employs people with lived experience of disability and racialized people with disabilities. The training included an introduction to disability and race, interacting with people with disabilities, disability in the workplace, and terminology.
3.2 The Design and Delivery of Programs and Services
We had one goal that we wanted to complete in 2023 related to the design and delivery of programs and services. Below is an update on our progress.
Goal 2.1: By the end of 2023, we will develop a standard event planning process or checklist that includes accessibility considerations. This will include considerations such as checking for physical accessibility of space, scheduling breaks into the program, live captioning, decompression zones, and other ideas. The process will also account for appropriate timelines for event attendees to identify accommodations they may require.
Description of progress: The CRRF worked with an accessibility consultant to develop an accessible events checklist that is relevant to the work the CRRF does. The checklist covers both virtual and in-person events. The CRRF will use this checklist for all future events to make them more accessible.
Our goals to improve the accessibility of employment have timelines for 2024 and 2025. We recently hired a new Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) who will support our work towards achieving our goals for the next couple of years. We have no major updates on our progress on these goals.
3.4 Information and Communication Technologies (ICT)
We had two ICT goals that we wanted to complete in 2023. Below is an update on our progress.
Goal 4.1: By the end of 2023, we will remove major barriers in our website that were identified by people with disabilities.
Description of progress: The CRRF was able to address major barriers in our new website as part of our process of redesigning our website. Some of these barriers included fonts that were difficult to read, poor colour contrast, unnecessary animations, and text on pictures.
Goal 4.2: By the end of 2023, we will remove major barriers in our newsletter that were identified by people with disabilities.
Description of progress: The CRRF changed the newsletter template and design to remove barriers that were identified. Some of these barriers included poor colour contrast and a confusing layout.
3.5 Communication, other than ICT
Our goals to improve the accessibility of communication other than ICT have timelines for 2024 and 2025. We have no updates on our progress on these goals.
3.6 The Built Environment
Our goals to improve the accessibility of our built environment have timelines for 2024 and 2025. We have no updates on our progress on these goals.
3.7 The Procurement of Goods, Services and Facilities
Our goal to improve the accessibility of procurement has a timeline for 2025. We have no update on our progress on this goal.
We do not provide transportation and so we do not have goals in this area.
We met with a group of seven people with disabilities from across Canada. We shared this progress report with them and asked them to give us feedback on our progress and on the accessibility of this report.
Their feedback was largely positive, and they appreciated that we wrote clearly and concisely about our progress on our accessibility goals. The emphasis on continuing virtual and hybrid events was also appreciated. Some of the constructive feedback we received included:
- Consistently focus on the benefits of improving accessibility for inclusion and not only legal obligation.
- Employment is a very important topic, especially because many people with disabilities face barriers in employment that impact their quality of life. They encouraged us to prioritize this work.
- They noted the importance of moving forward on our work on the built environment, and especially our goal for 2024 related to evacuation plans.
- They were curious to learn more about how the CRRF is approaching their accessibility work.
- The email address for the feedback process is long. They noted that it might be hard to remember when someone is trying to give feedback.
We made edits to this progress report based on the feedback we received. For some of the feedback, we will address them by making progress on our future goals (such as the goals related to employment and the built environment). We shortened our email address to be more accessible.
The CRRF understands that listening to people with disabilities is important in becoming a more accessible organization. We published our public feedback process in August 2023. We have not received any feedback about accessibility at the CRRF since then.
We will continue to look out for feedback on accessibility. We will include future feedback, and how we considered it, in future progress reports and plans.
The CRRF completed all 4 goals we had planned to complete by the end of 2023. The CRRF recently hired a new Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) who will support our work to meet our goals for 2024 and 2025. Our goals for 2024 are related to:
- Hosting accessible hybrid events, meaning someone can attend virtually or in-person.
- Developing a formal accommodations policy and process for employees and candidates.
- Training staff on accessible communications.
- Looking at our evacuation plans to keep employees with disabilities safe. Currently, our employees are mostly working from home, or remotely.
The CRRF will work towards these goals in 2024. We will continue to seek and listen to feedback from people with disabilities on how to make the CRRF more accessible.
Accessibility: The design of products, devices, services, environments, technologies, policies and rules in a way that allows all people, including people with a variety of disabilities, to access them.
Barrier: As per the Act, can be anything that might hinder people with disabilities’ full and equal participation. Barriers can be architectural, technological, attitudinal, based on information or communications, or can be the result of a policy or procedure.
Built Environment: This refers to structures made by people, including sidewalks, roads, buildings, and furniture.
Chief Administrative Officer (CAO): This is a leadership position in an organization. It is their responsibility to make sure that the day-to-day activities of the organization work well. They are usually responsible for policies and employment.
Disability: As per the Act, includes any impairment, or difference in physical, mental, intellectual, cognitive, learning, or communication ability. Disabilities can be permanent, temporary, episodic, evident or not, or can change over time.
Federal Organizations: Various levels of government are responsible for different things in Canada. The federal government oversees the country as a whole. Federal corporations are companies for which the federal government is responsible. These include the Canadian Race Relations Foundation. These corporations also include things such as Air Canada, mines, and broadcasting.
Grants: Money given to an organization, usually for a specific reason. To receive a grant, an individual or an organization needs to write an application and explain what they will use the money for.
Hybrid Event: An event where an attendee can choose to join in-person or virtually through an online meeting platform.
Intersectionality: The unique experiences of discrimination and oppression that everyone has. We must consider anything that can marginalize people, including race, disability, class, gender, and sexuality.
Procurement: To buy something or a service from someone outside of our organization. It usually involves a formal process.
Racism: Discrimination, or treating someone differently, based on their race.
Remediate: To fix something or make it right. In this case remediation refers to changing things to make them more accessible.
Systemic racism: When racism, or racist ideas, are part of policies and processes that result in discrimination based on someone’s race.