Advisory Group for Disability Issues – Terms of Reference
The Advisory Group on Disability Issues ("Advisory Group") is mandated to:
- Provide subject matter expertise on accessibility to Elections Canada
- Consult with Elections Canada during the agency's design or implementation of projects and service improvements related to elections
- Validate Elections Canada's accessibility initiatives
In fulfilling its mandate, the Advisory Group may serve as a forum to:
- Provide advice and feedback on initiatives, including various projects and tools that can enhance voting accessibility
- Provide input into the design of new voting processes and/or services
- Recommend further testing with segments of the population linked to committee member organizations
- promote information and experience exchanges between members of the Advisory Group.
The Advisory Group is not:
- An advocacy group lobbying Parliament or the government on behalf of people with disabilities
- A forum for making binding decisions
- A forum to present petitions on particular matters
Elections Canada is committed to providing a safe and welcoming environment that is free of disruptions for all meeting participants.
Frequency of Meetings
Two meetings are anticipated every year.
Additional meetings may be scheduled, as required, as well as consultation activities as required. The consultations frequency and the quantity may vary from one year to another according to organizational needs.
Membership and Chair
Advisory Group members are invited as experts and participating in a personal capacity. They are selected based on their cross-disability and policy focus.
Elections Canada will chair and serve as a secretariat for the Advisory Group. It will organize the meetings, including preparing agenda items and material, and invite all participants to be equal contributors.
Elections Canada will provide logistical, reporting and general support for the Advisory Group meetings, as well as between meetings for ad hoc engagement or targeted consultation.
Location, Travel and Expenses
The meetings will take place either in person in the National Capital Region, either remotely by videoconference. Face-to-face meetings are preferable; however, Elections Canada will aim to moderate virtual meetings in a way that is consistent with face-to-face meetings, while using the services of a professional facilitator. Furthermore, some work through an online consultation platform, or by other virtual methods as appropriate, may be necessary between meetings. This will be determined and communicated at each meeting in the discussion of next steps.
Travel required to participate in face-to-face meetings will be covered in full by, and coordinated with the assistance of, Elections Canada. Travel expenses will be reimbursed as per the Treasury Board of Canada Directive on Travel, Hospitality, Conference and Event Expenditures for non-public servant travel.
Confidentiality and Impartiality
In accepting to be part of the Advisory Group, members agree that they will not disclose any information or documents, since most will be in the planning phase.
Members serve as subject matter experts and provide advice that is non-partisan and impartial. Meetings will be held on a not-for-attribution basis to encourage candid discussion.
In preparation for each meeting, reading material will be circulated in the format of each participant's choice.
Meetings will be fully accessible and accommodation needs such as Braille document production and sign language interpretation will be provided by Elections Canada.
As members are invited to participate based on their knowledge and expertise across multiple disabilities, no alternates or other representatives may replace Advisory Group members at meetings. This will also help to ensure the continuity of discussion.