Department of National Defence Accessibility Plan


As outlined in Strong, Secure, Engaged, people are the DND/CAF’s greatest and most important assets. The top priority of this Accessibility Plan is to ensure all members of the Defence Team are able to reach their potential and meet Defence and Government of Canada goals and objectives.

Since 1994, the department has maintained Defence Advisory Groups (DAGs) that have focused on ensuring that the voices of the team were being heard. This process has started the conversation; the plan is really the next step.

As part of this initiative, a broad range of Defence Team members across the DND/CAF have been consulted, including Persons with Disabilities, allowing a comprehensive and intersectional understanding of barriers, which are encountered. In working systematically to remove these barriers, DND/CAF will strive to empower team members and make National Defence a true employer of choice.

As with all efforts, the DND/CAF Accessibility Plan will be an evergreen document. This first version of the plan sets the path and outlines a significant amount of work that must be done. The Plan will be reviewed and re-assessed for effectiveness, as benchmarks are achieved, challenges addressed or consolidated, and new actions identified.

Many Defence Team members courageously came forward to tell their stories – their personal accounts make up the fabric of this inaugural plan. Consultation remains an ongoing process; it is a  door open to a deeper understanding of barriers in a continuous learning environment.


Bill Matthews
Deputy Minister

General Wayne Eyre
Chief of the Defence Staff


The Accessible Canada Act (ACA) came into effect on July 11, 2019, for the purpose of identifying and removing barriers affecting Persons with Disabilities and functional limitations, be they visible or invisible, and to increase inclusion and participation. In accordance with the ACA and the Government of Canada’s priorities for diversity and inclusion, DND/CAF is committed to making the necessary changes to support a barrier-free public service and creating an accessible workplace for all. This Accessibility Plan will outline key priorities towards the goal of a fully-accessible Defence Team.

This plan has been created by, and in consultation with, Persons with Disabilities by leveraging the DAGs, conducting individual consultations, and engaging subject matter experts. Drawn from the ACA, this plan focuses on eight priorities to address barriers:

  1. Culture
  2. Employment
  3. Built environment
  4. Design and delivery of programs and services
  5. Information and communication technologies
  6. Communications
  7. Transportation
  8. Procurement of goods, services and facilities

This Plan encompasses feedback and action items for all of the Defence Team, which includes the civilian side and the CAF.


The Accessible Canada Act defines “barrier” and “disability” in law:


means anything—including anything physical, architectural, technological or attitudinal, anything that is based on information or communications, or anything that is the result of a policy or a practice—that hinders the full and equal participation in society of persons with a physical, mental, intellectual, learning, communication or sensory impairment, or functional limitation.


means a physical, mental, intellectual, learning, communication or sensory impairment—or a functional limitation—whether permanent, temporary or episodic in nature that, in interaction with a barrier, hinders a person’s full and equal participation in society.


The Treasury Board Secretariat (TBS) defines “accommodation” as:

Any change in the working environment that allows a person with functional limitations in their abilities to do their job. Changes can include:

Accommodations (adjustments) can be temporary, periodic or long-term, depending on the employee’s situation or changes in the workplace.


Harmonised European Standard EN 301 549 defines “accessibility” as the “extent to which products, systems, services, environments and facilities can be used by people from a population with the widest range of user needs, characteristics and capabilities, to achieve identified goals in identified contexts of use.”

General Plan Requirements

Per the ACA, the Plan must be updated every three (3) years. Consultations with Persons with Disabilities must be done in this revision process. DND/CAF is looking at how to ensure the continued success of the plan. This plan was created through best efforts from across the organization and included the DAG membership, but that approach is not sustainable. As such, one key recommendation is to implement an oversight organization, either through a secretariat or governance committee, to ensure the long-term commitment to making meaningful change in addressing the barriers identified and preventing others from arising. The requirements for the ACA going forward will be reported up to the Diversity and Inclusion Sub-Committee of Defence Team People Management Committee (DT-PMC).

Departments must also:

If you wish to provide feedback on this plan, request an alternate document format, or request the description of the feedback process in an alternate format, please contact ++DND_Accessibility - Accessibilité_MDN@CPCC@Ottawa-Hull.

TBS developed “Nothing without us: A Public Service of Canada Accessibility Strategy,” which will also serve as a key principle for all future developments regarding accessibility. Additionally, TBS implemented a GC Workplace Accessibility Passport to help address the obstacles federal public service employees and applicants with disabilities face in obtaining the tools, supports and measures to perform at their best and succeed in the workplace. Adoption and implementation of the Accessibility Passport is being reviewed by the Defence Team.


The Accessibility Plan must be relevant to both public servants and military members of the Defence Team. With the ownership decision aligning the requirements of the plan to Chief Professional Conduct and Culture (CPCC), the organization will have the decision-making authority to address the first recommendation of the plan to stand up a formal secretariat or governance structure to ensure ongoing oversight of the ACA requirements. Per the ACA, the Defence Team will maintain a three-year planning and reporting cycle. An updated Accessibility Plan will be published every three years, with annual progress reports being published in the intervening years. Persons with Disabilities must be consulted in the preparations of updated plans and progress reports.

Background at DND

The ACA represents Canada’s most significant disability rights legislation and builds on the goals of the Employment Equity Act through which DND/CAF DAGs have been working to facilitate inclusion of Persons with Disabilities, as well as other equity-deserving groups.

Progress to Date

The Defence Team has not been idle when it comes to accessibility. Important initiatives have already been initiated by Assistant Deputy Minister (Human Resources-Civilian) (ADM(HR-Civ)), Chief of Military Personnel (CMP), and CPCC to target recruitment to achieve a more representative workforce, ensure accessible technology and expand communication options, and bring attention and solutions to unconscious bias.

The DND/CAF Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan’s object is to build and support a workplace that is reflective of Canada’s diverse workforce and work to eliminate barriers/disadvantages traditionally experienced by women, Indigenous peoples, Persons with Disabilities, the 2SLGBTQI+ community, and members of visible minorities. The Plan’s aim is a culture shift to an inclusive and diverse environment. The strategy focuses on eliminating gaps in legislative requirements, expanding representation of equity-deserving groups in the executive cadre, enhancing Employment Equity promotion rates, embracing and enabling inclusive practices, and embedding individual accountability.

Assistant Deputy Minister (Infrastructure and Environment) (ADM(IE)) has made progress in reducing barriers. Since 2006 (conservatively) more than $4 billion dollars has been invested in new capital infrastructure, which all complies with the DND/CAF Construction Engineering Technical Orders (CETO) Universal Design and Barrier-Free Access Guidelines and Standards For DND/CAF Facilities. Every year, ADM(IE) continues to prioritize (with available funding) infrastructure that is fully accessible. The Canadian Forces Housing Agency (CFHA) 0987 has added new universal design barrier-free housing to their portfolio and renovated residential housing units (RHU’s) on an “as-required basis” to suit CAF members and their families.

Universality of Service

The mission of the DND/CAF is to defend Canada, its interests and its values, while contributing to international peace and security. Addressing accessibility in the DND/CAF context presents certain challenges due to the nature of the Defence Team, as it blends the public service with a military environment, which is governed under the Defence Act and administered by a unique set of rules. 

The CAF Defence Administrative Order and Directive (DAOD) 5023-0, Universality of Service, stipulates that CAF members are at all times liable to perform any lawful duty. The open-ended nature of military service is one of the features that distinguish it from the civilian notion of employment governed by a contract, which obliges employees to perform only those duties specified in their job description or contract. Per the ACA, “Nothing in this Act is to be construed as affecting the principle of universality of service under which members of the Canadian Forces must at all times and under any circumstances perform any functions that they may be required to perform.”


Using the “nothing without us” principle as the basis on which to conduct the planning for this initiative ensured that employees with a wide range of visible and invisible disabilities were consulted on all stages of design and implementation of the DND/CAF Accessibility Plan. Consultations took place via virtual meetings and telephone. Individuals were invited to share their stories, comment on barriers they had experienced or witnessed, and discuss possible steps and solutions to remove barriers. Multiple engagement events were held to facilitate conversations about how to recognize and remove barriers, and increase accessibility, including meetings with:

Alongside these discussions, feedback was also sought from key internal and external stakeholders, such as ADM(HR-Civ) and CMP, and the Accessibility, Accommodation and Adaptive Computer Technology (AAACT) group at Shared Services Canada (SSC).

Updates to this plan will continue to be created in consultation with Persons with Disabilities and other stakeholders.

Vignettes of the Real Challenges of Accessibility; Context for Action!

Two stories gathered through the consultation process, from the perspective of the employee, are included to illustrate the need for this plan at a personal level. Although identities have been removed, these are real stories from Defence Team members. Claire’s story highlights some common barriers faced by Persons with Disabilities, including both the success experienced thanks to accommodations and areas that continue to cause harm. Taylor’s story illustrates two key principles that were commonly reported throughout the consultation process. The first is how accessible spaces are not always accessible to the people they are intended to serve, and the second is how barriers to accessibility often intersect and further affect Persons with Disabilities.

Claire’s Story

Claire has been working as a public servant for her entire professional career. Nine years ago, she was diagnosed with a chronic disability that is episodic in nature and has both visible and invisible manifestations.

Claire has encountered a number of barriers as she adapts to life with a chronic episodic condition. Many are rooted in the fact that our team is not trained on how to deal with invisible barriers and assumes that unless a disability can be seen, the person is capable of doing their job in the traditional way. Claire is often asked to “prove” her disability and to answer invasive questions about her condition beyond what is legally required. Examples include being required to resubmit documentation for an accessible parking spot annually, despite the fact that her condition is permanent and degenerative, and being denied a flexible schedule that would allow for medical treatments (without having to cut work hours) on the basis of tradition.

Claire has not limited herself in seeking new opportunities. Claire’s skill and work ethic lead led her to being offered an acting position with the flexibility afforded by teleworking and she has had clear and recognized success in the role. Support and empowerment make a true difference: on the days that Claire is having disability-related difficulties, her supervisor asks what she can do. Employees living with disabilities need to be treated like adults capable of stating their own needs and limitations, in order to work with them without undue hardship. It is best to ask questions around how everyone can work together and support each other, rather than be made to feel as the exception to the rule.

As her acting position ends, Claire is once again faced with the burden of self-advocacy in the performance of her duties, where she is underrated and stigmatized. Though the future is uncertain, Claire wants to maintain her dignity, autonomy, and contribution to the organization through her remaining good years. Claire is concerned that the Defence Team is losing valuable employees because of its inflexible culture.

Taylor’s Story

Taylor has been with the Defence Team for the majority of his career, first as a CAF member and now as a public servant. As a result of injuries sustained during active duty, Taylor now lives with chronic pain and limitations in mobility. Aspects of his disability are both visible and invisible.

Taylor works in a location that is a great and modern space for most employees. A recent redesign prioritized Universal Design principles, equipping the space with a variety of accessible facilities and features such as washrooms, showers, change stations, tunnels to shorten the trip across campus and protect users from inclement weather, and some accessible parking spaces within the secure compound. Despite these accessible design features, many Persons with Disabilities encounter daily struggles. The external automatic doors often fail in the winter or are blocked by a buildup of sidewalk salt. There is no elevator access to the tunnels, forcing Taylor to make a 45-minute walk around instead of across the campus, or enlist assistance from a security staff who then needs to call for someone to lead him through storage and garage areas.

These physical barriers often intersect other types of barriers, such as stigma around disabilities within the culture of the Defence Team. These specifically accessible rooms are often used by other employees out of convenience, which means these spaces are not available to those who need them most. More harmful examples include some individuals removing the pins on accessible doors, so that they close faster to facilitate changing clothes, but this has left Persons with Disabilities trapped inside the rooms because an able-bodied person chose to disable the door. This is both dangerous and a clear example of disrespect towards Persons with Disabilities.

Taylor first accessed accommodations related to his disabilities when he was a senior officer. He recalls that neither he, nor his immediate supervisors knew how or where to begin the process and he notices this trend continuing today. Fostering a culture of respect and moving towards a “default to yes” mindset are essential steps for the continued success of the Defence Team’s greatest asset: its people.

Barriers to Accessibility

Through the engagement exercise, many experiences were shared, each with its own unique description and set of accessibility barriers. From these, eight high-level issues became apparent as consistent, and occasionally overlapping, barriers to accessibility across Defence. These horizontal barriers are areas of priority for action that will have the greatest impact on Persons with Disabilities and the Defence Team’s goals with respect to diversity and inclusion.

1. Culture

Perhaps the most frequently mentioned barrier reported by Defence Team members was stigma surrounding the disclosure of disabilities. The culture around accessibility must change in order for the Defence Team to become inclusive. A deeply entrenched sense of ableism was reported, that many stakeholders indicated made them feel as though they would be ridiculed or considered a burden if they disclosed a need for accommodation(s). Many employees are not aware of the mechanisms in place to support them, and others have had negative experiences that left them feeling further isolated.

The Office of Disability Management (ODM) was created by ADM(HR-Civ) to support medical accommodation for employees and managers dealing with disability-related matters due to illness, impairment and injury. The goal of this office is to complete the national expansion to full operational capability by July 2023, including the full integration of the Return to Work Program to effectively support all DND public servants and their managers. Information regarding this office is readily available on the HR Go App and the Intranet. For the CAF, CMP is parallel organization to ADM(HR-Civ) and the contact point for disability-related matters.

As there is no overall authority for accessibility in the department, some barriers take years to address. Some individual work units left to resolve accessibility issues often lack the funding to effectively remove barriers or do not have an understanding of how to do so. This impacts the overall productivity and job satisfaction of employees, as it may impact potential career advancement opportunities. With no path for resolution or organization with authority to access for advice or resources, issues may remain unresolved.

Per the ACA, a foundational principle of this work is to shift the mindset around accessibility. Success in this area is more than completing the necessary repairs to procurement and approvals systems; it is essential that attitudes change in order to provide barrier-free access and full participation to all persons, regardless of disability status.

2. Employment

Barriers to employment include issues around hiring requirements and processes, and access to training to perform well in the workplace. Civilian and military members of the Defence Team are employed under unique mechanisms. Once hired, the nature of employment at DND/CAF is dynamic and Defence Team members often participate in a range of training courses and deployments. In the case of the CAF, there may be a lack of clarity around operational fitness and universality of service leading to real or perceived withholding or mishandling of information. Leaders need to be aware of their unconscious biases and be open to assessing how, when and where work can be accomplished in new ways. DND/CAF will strive to ensure that employees requiring accommodations are supported as they navigate the multiple phases and locations of work they are likely to encounter.

Though financial initiatives are in place to support employees requiring accommodation tools, specialized services, or equipment, further clarity for managers and employees alike regarding the availability of resources, streaming of funds and systems for processing requests is required to ensure consistent and equitable decisions.

3. Built Environment

Much of the real property belonging to DND is not fully accessible. Many buildings and CAF bases are older, which means that retrofits and upgrades are very costly and sometimes require a complete rebuild. Short-term solutions are typically found for instances of a temporary disability, but long-term solutions need to be explored to reduce barriers and move towards a fully-accessible space. For example, some accessible requirements like ramps, handrails, door operators, etc., are in disrepair and may present health and safety issues; infrastructure is dated and difficult to navigate.

4. Design and delivery of programs and services

Programs and services are delivered by every L1 and Command across the Defence organization. Each of these senior leaders should ensure their organization advances adaptations to permit Persons with Disabilities to be fully included in their respective teams. Better feedback mechanisms are also required to understand the barriers being faced and create lasting solutions.

Learning is an important career component for Defence Team members and thereby a key program and service with significant horizontal impact. Difficulty accessing courses due to design and accessibility issues was identified as a long-standing concern, from the experience of employees with disabilities, which is currently vastly different from those without. GBA+ analysis must also be used to ensure equity.

5. Information and communication technologies

Each year, as systems become more complex and equipment more sophisticated, the consideration of accessibility across multiple channels becomes increasingly important. The availability of accessible Information Communication Technology (ICT) such as data, tools, and systems is critical to enabling all employees to participate to their full potential. Per standard EN 301 549, ICT is defined as “technology, equipment or interconnected system or subsystem of equipment for which the principal function is the creation, conversion, duplication, automatic acquisition, storage, analysis, evaluation, manipulation, management, movement, control, display, switching, interchange, transmission, reception or broadcast of data or information.”

The Defence Team must modernize its workplace and mindset to be an accessibility-confident and digitally-accessible organization. The journey towards becoming an accessibility confident digital organization will require long-term investment and a sustained and collaborative effort. Accessible practices must be incorporated to the management of information technology, as well as standards and practices. Adaptive software and other solutions generally function well, but individuals often wait months for access. The Defence Team will strive to become an accessibility-confident digital organization through the proactive identification and removal of barriers, collaboration with existing leaders in accessible technology (such as Shared Service Canada), and the integration of accessibility in ICT services and support.

6. Communications

Accessible communications are fundamental to a barrier-free environment. Making communication materials available through multiple platforms enables personnel to access them through whatever medium best serves their needs. Meeting accessible communication standards is the responsibility not only of the organization, but of all employees. Feedback from the consultation process showed that alternate formats are not often made available, or not provided within a reasonable timeframe. Similarly, translation and transcription technologies are not used as promised, or are not functioning at the level required to be of service. Lastly, while the Translation Bureau currently provides sign language interpretation in ASL and FSL when requested, not all departments are aware the service is available.

7. Transportation

With an international footprint, and multiple buildings in every region and city or base/wing command, Defence Team members have historically been required to travel to meetings. While the current and future environment prioritizes virtual meetings, the need for transportation between work locations and buildings, and to get to work, will continue. As such, facilitating accessible transportation for employees remains a requirement.

8. Procurement of goods, services and facilities

While hundreds of procurement requests are made on a daily basis, it is not clear that accessibility considerations are included in the development of Request for Proposals (RFPs) or other purchasing instruments. There is a lack of clarity in the procurement process for accessible solutions, and the timelines for procurement are not consistently conducive to the resolution of issues. Accessibility considerations should be incorporated into planning processes for procurement. Accessible procurement is in high-demand, as such a list of goods and services should be kept to streamline future processes.

Roles and Responsibilities

Understanding the functional authorities of the Offices of Primary Interest (OPI) in carrying out this plan will increase clarity and reduce risks of overlap and duplication. The organizations listed serve as the functional authorities for their respective areas, but their work applies to the entire Defence Team.


CPCC was established to develop a detailed plan to align Defence culture and professional conduct with the core values and ethical principles—including employment equity and diversity—the Defence Team aspires to uphold as a national institution. CPCC is the single Functional Authority (FA) for professional conduct and culture – unifying, integrating, and coordinating all associated programs, policies, and activities across DND/CAF, and using GBA+ for purposeful design of accessibility considerations. CPCC is responsible for oversight of the Accessibility Plan moving forwards, including:


ADM(HR-Civ) is the FA for civilian human resources management and is responsible for:

Together, CPCC and ADM(HR-Civ) are responsible for:


CMP provides functional direction/guidance to the CAF on all military personnel management matters, monitors compliance with CAF personnel management policies, and is accountable for the effective management of the CAF personnel system. CMP’s primary strategic objective is to have the right CAF member with the right qualifications positioned in the right place at the right time. CMP oversees numerous sub-elements, including:

  • CAF personnel readiness;
  • military personnel management;
    • career management, recruiting;
    • professional development and training;
    • honours and awards;
    • compensation and benefits.
  • military personnel research and analysis;
  • military health services;
  • military chaplaincy;
  • military family support services; and
  • history, heritage and music.


As the Senior Designated Official for Real Property, ADM(IE) is the Real Property custodian and FA for all DND/CAF Real Property in Canada as well as for:

ADM(IE) is the real property custodian and FA for all DND/CAF real property in Canada as well as for environmental protection and sustainability; Indigenous affairs; fire and respiratory safety and protection; and ionizing radiation regulation and safety, and is responsible for real property related planning, acquisition, maintenance, and disposal, as well as compliance with various legislative and policy requirements, including those related to the environment.


Vice Chief of the Defence Staff (VCDS), in conjunction with CMP, is the FA for occupational health and safety. The DM and CDS have also assigned functional authority to L1 advisors and other senior officials to develop and issue DAODs in other functional areas of safety management relating to operational safety. Through CFSUs, the VCDS provides administrative support to bases and wings, as well as the National Capital Region.


Assistant Deputy Minister (Data, Innovation, Analytics) (ADM(DIA)) is the FA for data and analytics and the Departmental Official for Services.


Assistant Deputy Minister (Materiel) (ADM(Mat)) is the Senior Designated Official for the Management of Materiel and the Management of Procurement and is accountable to the DM and CDS, as the FA for the Department’s materiel acquisition. ADM(Mat) ensures materiel and services delivered are safe, available, fit for service and compliant.

ADM(Mat) is responsible for:


ADM(IM)/CIO is the FA for the management of IM/IT, and ensures the delivery of timely and secured information, IT and cyber security services to DND/CAF, this includes providing DND employees and CAF members with barrier-free computer interfaces in the workplace. ADM(IM)/CIO is responsible for:

Corporate Secretary

DND’s Corporate Secretary is the FA for the management of the accountability, responsibility and authority framework; governance committee framework and processes; DAOD, Canadian Forces Administrative Orders (CFAO) and Civilian Personnel Administrative Orders (CPAO) collections, and ministerial correspondence, portfolio governance and coordination, and MND and DM decision documents.

Overall Defence Team

Stigma and barriers can only be resolved with participation from all of us. It is the responsibility of each and every individual of our Defence Team to understand the principles of the ACA and create an inclusive environment for everyone.

Plan of Action (2023 – 2026)

This first iteration of the Accessibility Plan marks the beginning of a department-wide commitment to improving the spaces in which we work, live, and learn. The objective of this initial plan is to commit to addressing the areas with the largest impacts to these barriers and set the path for continuous improvement in the years to come. The unique size and operational nature of DND/CAF should not prevent us from meeting our commitments outlined in the ACA and that should be prioritized for our team. In essence, this plan should provide a roadmap of change to be experienced by the community.

At a high level, some key short-term takeaways that the plan emphasizes are as follows:

Removing barriers for full participation of all members of the Defence Team includes creating environments that are barrier free – procuring goods, services, and facilities, which are accessible and do not create barriers themselves. It also includes supporting Defence Team members by listening to and acting on the advice of Persons with Disabilities to re-think what accessibility means, being aware of unconscious biases, and preventing discrimination before it happens. It means facilitating recruitment, retention, and career advancement for Persons with Disabilities. Fundamentally, it means a culture of inclusion, diversity, equity, and empowerment.

The below table outlines a detailed set of goals against each of eight areas of priority.

Pillar 1 - Culture: Build an accessibility-confident public service
Action # Desired Results Actions Lead L1 OCI Timeline Comments
1.1 Increased awareness of and support for Persons with Disabilities and the value they bring to the organization—shaping the perspective of public service employees towards an accessibility-confident workforce Develop and implement communications strategy to build an accessibility-confident Defence Team CPCC/
- FY 2023/24 -
1.2 DAGPWD has the opportunity to provide accessibility lens on initiatives impacting personnel Support employee networks, such as the Defence Advisory Groups for Persons with Disabilities (DAGPWD) CPCC All L1s Ongoing -
Pillar 2 - Employment: Improve recruitment, retention and promotion of Persons with Disabilities
Action # Desired Results Actions Lead L1 OCI Timeline Comments
2.1 Persons with Disabilities have barrier-free access to public service staffing processes Remove any systemic barriers from DND public service recruitment and promotion policies and practices ADM(HR-Civ) - FY 2024/25 -
2.2 DND public service workforce represents Canadian labour market availabilities Increase public service representation of Persons with Disabilities to meet or exceed workforce availability by 2025/26 All L1s ADM(HR-Civ) FY 2025/26 -
2.3 Public service employees' pre-onboarding and onboarding experience considers and integrates accessibility needs Improve civilian onboarding (including pre-onboarding) guidance to ensure employees feel safe to disclose accessibility needs, and needs are met as early as possible ADM(HR-Civ) - FY 2023/24 -
2.4 DND’s executives and managers support employees with disabilities by meeting accessibility and accommodation needs Improve supports to managers and executives in meeting employee needs ADM(HR-Civ) - FY 2023/24 -
2023-26 Accessibility Plan - Pillar #3
Built environment: Increase the accessibility of the built environment within the Defence Team
Action # Desired Results Actions Lead L1 OCI Timeline Comments
3.1 Assess and improve the accessibility of the built environment within DND/CAF Conduct accessibility audits and triage the results ADM(IE) - 5-year cycle Input from DAGPWD
3.1.1 - Perform pilot project/study with Rick Hansen Foundation to conduct accessibility audit ADM(IE) - 2024-25 Incorporate DND requirements
3.1.2 - Prioritize funding within budget for Built Environment accessibility deficiencies ADM(IE) All L1 (support for prioritization) Annual -
3.1.3 - Create and implement a national office reservation system, which identifies accessible spaces and equipment ADM(IM) ADM(IE) - DG program requirements
3.1.4 - Designate a person responsible for accessibility at each base/wing L1 Comd (with Base responsibilities) ADM(IE) support 2023 -
3.1.5 - Create an open and transparent system for tracking accessibility requests and solutions ADM(IE) All L1 support for identification / prioritization - Ensure fairness for all parties involved in these processes
3.1.6 - Assess Real Property requirements in view of flexible work arrangements L1s/ Commands ADM(IE) - DG program requirements
3.2 Continue to improve and develop documents related to accessibility in the built environment Continue to ensure any new contracts involving the built environment have considered requirements for accessibility ADM(IE) - - -
3.2.1 - Revise Barrier Free – Minor Variance process and form ADM(IE) - - -
3.2.2 - Transition current policy instruments related to accessibility to the new format (CETO, policy, directive, standard, guidelines) ADM(IE) - Perpetual updates Input from DAGPWD
3.2.3 - Develop inclusive design guidelines, including accessibility in the built environment ADM(IE) - 2023 Input from DAGPWD
3.2.4 - Create signage for buildings that clearly designates inclusive spaces ADM(IE) - - Each new building or major renovation
Pillar 4 - Services: Equip public servants to design and deliver accessible programs and services
Action # Desired Results Actions Lead L1 OCI Timeline Comments
4.1 Persons with Disabilities are given the opportunity to meet or succeed the objectives of their job, barrier-free Remove accessibility barriers from public service accommodation and performance management program ADM(HR-Civ) - FY 2024/25 -
4.1.2 - Develop implementation plan to pilot/introduce and implement the Government of Canada Workplace Accessibility Passport, as deemed appropriate ADM(HR-Civ) VCDS, ADM(IE), ADM(IM), CPCC FY 2023/24 -
4.2 Client-facing HR service channels are fully accessible for Persons with Disabilities Ensure accessibility of HR service channels and program materials ADM(HR-Civ) - FY 2023/24 -
4.3 Persons with Disabilities are given the opportunity to provide feedback regularly Monitor and integrate feedback from employees with disabilities into programs and services All L1s - Ongoing -
4.4 DND provides access to a suite of learning products on accessibility to create a barrier-free workplace Create a suite of learning products on accessibility ADM(HR-Civ) - FY 2025/26 -
4.5 Persons with Disabilities are given the opportunity to participate in DND's hybrid workforce Ensure accessibility considerations and feedback are included in all hybrid workforce policy and guidance ADM(HR-Civ) ADM(IM), ADM(IE), VCDS FY 2025/26 -
2023-26 Accessibility Plan - Pillar #5
Information and Communication Technologies: Create a fully-accessible standard for information and communication technologies
Action # Desired Results Actions Lead L1 OCI Timeline Comments
5.1 Adopt a fully-accessible standard of information and communication technologies Increase accessibility of accessible technologies and ICT at the organizational level ADM(IM) - - By building in accessibility from the start, public servants can ensure that ICT can be used by everyone, including those living with a permanent disability and those who may have a temporary disability due to illness, accident, environmental changes or technological difficulties
5.1.1 - Enforce accessible communication standards already in place - ADM(PA) - -
5.1.2 - Incorporate accessibility check add-ons into frequently used technologies and services - DGIMTSP/
- Coordinate with all SMCs
5.1.3 - Incorporate accessibility features into Microsoft Office 365 DGIMTSP/
- - -
5.1.4 - Standardize the equipment that allows for videoconferencing SSC - - -
5.2 Support the integration of accessible technologies into high-security environments Document functional solutions to create a resource for procurement VCDS/DGDS DGIMTSP/
IM Proc
- Identify experts within teams to serve as contact points for discussions specific to accessibility / accommodation needs related to ICT
5.3 Provide DND employees and CAF members barrier-free computing services Procure and provide technical aids, equipment, and services (repairing technical aids and equipment) for Persons with Disabilities ADM(IM)/CIO - - DND will continue the journey to provide modern accessibility technology for our team and keeping pace with changes/updates in that technology
5.3.1 - Allow Persons with Disabilities to retain technical aids, equipment and support materials when moving to another position within the GC or the CAF, and when the accommodation is still required DGIMTSP/
All SMCs - Compile resources, detailed process, or contacts for individual accommodation needs when technical aids or equipment is not accessible or requires a unique solution.
5.3.2 - Ensure that IM and IT policies include/set requirements with regard to accessible information and information technologies - DDIMP (IM/IT), DIM Secur - All SMEs have role to play
5.3.3 - Ensure that accurate and comprehensive data on the accessibility of ICT is available to support analysis, decision-making, monitoring and performance reporting - - - Secure a hardware asset management tool for long-term data management
5.3.4 - Publish an accessibility statement on the level of compliance of ICT and indicate, where appropriate, inaccessible content and the accessible alternative - - - -
5.3.5 - Have a feedback mechanism for users to flag accessibility issues or ask for an accessible alternative format of the content - - - Build existing tools, such as Assyst, into incident management
2023-26 Accessibility Plan - Pillar #6
Communications: Provide access to fully-accessible communications systems
Action # Desired Results Actions Lead L1 OCI Timeline Comments
6.1 Ensure equitable access to information through accessible communications systems for all Defence Team members Leverage existing resources to provide all Defence Team members with the tools required to create accessible documents ADM(PA) - - -
6.1.1 - Promote the use of resources to create accessible documents ALL L1s DGEAS/
- Identify expert contacts within IM for cases where there are questions about accessible formats, materials; engage AAACT.
6.1.2 - Use plain language in communications and ensure all images that are shared come with an Alt Text description that is accessible by screen readers ALL L1s - - -
6.1.3 - Use Translation Bureau services to access sign language interpretation as needed ALL L1s - - -
6.1.4 - Use Accessibility Checker or other tools to verify standards are being met DGEAS/
- - -
6.1.5 - Distribute communication materials in accessible formats in advance of meetings or courses, wherever feasible DGEAS/
- - -
6.1.6 - Be confident in requesting accommodation and/or accessible formats Employees - - -
6.2 Ensure all communications meet Accessible Canada Regulations standards Align all communications with WCAG standards ADM(PA) All L1s - -
6.2.1 - Conduct random survey of widely distributed materials to test for accessibility CPCC - - -
2023-26 Accessibility Plan - Pillar #7
Transportation: Provide equitable and accessible transportation
Action # Desired Results Actions Lead L1 OCI Timeline Comments
7.1 Facilitate accessible transportation for Defence Team members Ensure adequate accessible parking is available to employees with physical/mobility disabilities as required VCDS ADM(IE) - -
7.1.1 - Review requirements for annual renewal of accessible parking permits - - - -
7.1.2 - Ensure shuttle buses for on base transportation are accessible - - - -
7.1.3 - Review designated accessible routes to ensure they are safe and reasonable - ADM(IE) - -
7.1.4 - Consider whether physical layouts of campuses, bases and wings are accessible in winter, inclement weather, and the impact of climate change, and develop plans to address these - ADM(IE) / Commands - -
2023-26 Accessibility Plan - Pillar #8
Procurement of Goods and Services: Facilitate accessible procurement for the Defence Team
Action # Desired Results Actions Lead L1 OCI Timeline Comments
8.1 Modernize procurement practices to include accessibility considerations Revise procurement policies in consultation with the disability community in order to streamline acquisition of goods and services MAT CPCC - -
8.1.1 - Compile guidance and advice to create a handbook of accessible procurement solutions MAT ODM/
DIMEUS, Corp Sec
- -
8.1.2 - Streamline the procurement of resources, software and equipment in support of accommodations for Persons with Disabilities MAT CPCC - Increase efficiency by compiling a list of commonly purchased software and equipment or list of software that is approved to operate within various DND security zones.

Monitoring and reporting

This iteration of the accessibility plan builds on past and existing initiatives and progresses the DND/CAF journey of growth and inclusivity. DND/CAF will continue to align the Accessibility Action Plan with the Public Service Accessibility Strategy and Diversity and Inclusion initiatives in order to contribute to the Canada-wide goal of a barrier-free public service by 2040.

Further analysis will be required to assess which aspects of the plan have been successful, which areas require further action, and what steps are required to continue to grow in certain areas. Surveys of the Defence Team, as well as the results of the annual Public Service Employee Survey, will be used to assess progress. Additionally, annual trends in retention and representation of Persons with Disabilities will provide a measure of impact.


The ACA promotes the full and equal participation of Canadians by removing barriers to accessibility. DND/CAF is committed to achieving its objectives. With help from Persons with Disabilities, initiatives to remove barriers and promote full participation of Defence Team members have been identified and concrete action will be taken towards the goal of a truly accessible environment.

The Accessibility Plan articulates a daunting set of tasks and not everything can be accomplished at once. By leveraging existing working groups and resources, careful consideration will be given to avoid overlap and duplication of functional authorities and prioritize actions that will have the greatest impact, in the areas of greatest need, and in the fastest amount of time, in order to make steady and meaningful progress.

As this work proceeds, and accessibility issues and resolutions are better understood, future iterations of this plan may amend or change the strategies identified to achieve an inclusive, diverse, and barrier-free environment, improve retention and morale, and truly make DND/CAF an employer of choice.

Annex: Acronyms

Accessible Canada Act
Canadian Armed Forces
Assistant Deputy Minister (Human Resources – Civilian)
Assistant Deputy Minister (Data, Innovation and Analytics)
Assistant Deputy Minister (Infrastructure and Environment)
Assistant Deputy Minister (Information Management)
Assistant Deputy Minister (Materiel)
Assistant Deputy Minister (Public Affairs)
Construction Engineering Technical Orders
Canadian Forces Housing Agency
Chief Military Personnel
Corp Sec
Corporate Secretary
Chief Professional Conduct and Culture
Defence Advisory Group
Defence Advisory Group for Persons with Disabilities
Defence Administrative Order and Directive
Defence Construction Canada
Director General Enterprise Application Services
Direction General Information Management Technology and Strategic Planning
Director General Major Project Delivery
Director General Materiel Systems and Supply Chain
DIM Secur
Director Information Management Security
Director Knowledge and Information Management
Department of National Defence
Defence Procurement Strategy
Defence Team
Functional Authority
Information and Communication Technologies
Information Technology
L1, L2, L3
Level One, Level Two, Level Three
Office of Primary Interest, Office of Collateral Interest
Office of Disability Management
Real Property Operations
Vice Chief of Defence Staff

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