Meeting Summary – Annual General Meeting – June 19 and 20, 2017
Susan Torosian, Executive Director, Policy and Public Affairs, provided an update on accessibility. First, she summarized the suggestions for political parties and candidates that AGDI had raised in 2016:
- Initiate discussions with people with disabilities, including greater candidate outreach to people with disabilities
- Plan and hold sensitivity training on issues affecting people with disabilities
- Ensure accessibility of websites, including accessible videos of party platforms that provide subtitles, descriptive audio, ASL, LSQ, etc.
- Ensure offices and events (such as all-candidates meetings) are physically accessible
- Write all messages in plain language
- Hire people with disabilities and support candidates with disabilities
Ms. Torosian reiterated that EC is committed to engaging people with disabilities in the decisions that affect their voting experience and that it will continue to improve service offerings to make them more inclusive. EC is therefore planning a range of accessibility enhancements that have been identified by electors and by AGDI, such as:
- ballot redesign to improve readability
- Braille/Tactile Voting Template improvements
- larger, easy-grip pencils for ballot marking
- signature guides for electors who are blind
- continued focus on physical accessibility of polling places
- continued research and in-house testing of Optical Character Recognition technology (smartphone text-to-speech applications)
EC will be developing and distributing information and guidance on services and products for electors with disabilities to candidates and political parties prior to the next general election. ACPP members will be consulted in the coming months on the clarity of the information, and on opportunities and implementation barriers that parties and candidates may face.