Processing and following up on your consultation

Processing and following up on your consultation

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The Accessible Canada Act (ACA) and the Accessible Canada Regulations (regulations) require that your accessibility plans and progress reports include a “Consultations” heading. Under that heading, you must describe how you consulted persons with disabilities in preparing that plan or report.

As you work on this, we recommend that you:

This guidance provides tips, recommendations and best practices on how to:

Evaluating and processing information

Organizing notes and submissions, and analyzing contents

Once your consultations have taken place, you will have a lot of information to process. Most of this information will come from participants, but you may also have notes from organizers or facilitators.

There are many ways to process this information. We recommend that you start by categorizing and organizing it in a folder, spreadsheet, or other document. You could sort your information by:

Choose the best method based on the submissions you received, and on your organization’s needs. Make sure to gather any notes from organizers or facilitators, since they can provide useful insights.

Remember to respect participants’ privacy, in your records and in anything you publish. This might include:

Participants may share personal stories about their lives and experiences. Such stories can offer valuable perspectives on accessibility and disability informed by lived experience. You may need to take a different approach to how you include them in your accessibility plans and progress reports.

We recommend that you compile and categorize these stories in a data entry program like Excel. Create consistent labels for each story that reflect their content, such as:

Collecting and organizing this data can help you write your descriptions of how you consulted persons with disabilities.

For example:

This data may also help you identify trends or gaps.

For example, you may learn:

Remember to thank participants for their time and contributions. We also recommend that you keep these lines of communication open even after the consultation is over. This will allow you to:

Creating public summaries of consultations

You must include descriptions of how you consulted persons with disabilities in your accessibility plans and progress reports. You may also choose to prepare summaries and reports for internal use, or to share with the public. These reports are sometimes called “what we heard reports” or “what we learned reports.”

These summaries describe how the consultation process and outcomes, and provide an overview of the comments received. Public summaries can help demonstrate your organization’s accountability to persons with disabilities. They can also help you identify the concrete actions that you will describe in your accessibility plans and progress reports.

If you share a summary with the public, we recommend that it:

This can help show that you listened to participants’ input. It can help ensure that the summary is meaningful for persons with disabilities.

If you choose to publish a public summary, we recommend that it be:

Evaluating the consultation process

We also recommend that you evaluate your consultation process. This can help you identify things that worked well or that you could improve, and document any lessons you learned.

Your evaluation criteria may depend on your consultation approach. You may try to find out some or all of the following:

We recommend that you ask participants for their opinions about the process and their experiences. Their input can help you plan future consultations. Your feedback process description could include instructions for how participants can submit this input. Additional guidance on feedback processes will be available in 2022.

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