28 March 2011, Winnipeg, MB
Very shortly Canadians will be asked to choose who should represent them in the House of Commons. To make this choice, all
Canadian voters need to be informed about candidates’ views and the Parties’ Platforms.
For Canadians with disabilities who need alternate media (Braille, large print, accessible electronic files), accessible web sites that are screen reader
friendly, and sign language interpretation, making an informed choice will be difficult if election candidates do not run accessible campaigns.
In past election campaigns, federal candidates have not paid enough attention to access and as a result Canadians with disabilities have encountered barriers when seeking to participate in public activities associated with various campaigns.
Accessibility is guaranteed to people with disabilities by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the Canadian Human Rights Act.
“In addition to being the right thing to do, providing access also serves candidates’ interests. Accessible campaigning means that candidates’ messages
will reach the largest possible audience—Canadians with varying abilities.
Reports from pollsters suggest that this will be a very close federal race, so candidates cannot afford to turn their backs on any member of the voting public. People with disabilities are citizens and voters,” states Laurie Beachell,
CCD National Coordinator.
The Council of Canadians with Disabilities (CCD) is a national human rights organization of people with disabilities working for an accessible and inclusive Canada.
Some examples of components of an accessible election campaign:
- Television advertisements with captioning and descriptive video
- Accessible web sites
- Plain language campaign materials
- Offices with level access and other features of universal design
- ASL/LSQ interpretation at public meetings
- Inclusion of people with disabilities, particularly youth with disabilities, as campaign volunteers
- Town hall meetings in accessible locations, where there is designated handicapped parking
- Campaign offices that are barrier-free
For More Information Contact:
Laurie Beachell, CCD National Coordinator