Accessibility Standards Canada
Letter on Implementation of the Call to Action on Anti-Racism, Equity and Inclusion

Summer 2021 update

Dear Ms. Charette,

This letter aims at informing how Accessibility Standards Canada will put into effect the Call to Action on Anti-Racism, Equity, and Inclusion.

Diversity and inclusion are at the core of Accessibility Standards Canada’s mandate. They form the driving principle behind everything we do. We commit to fighting racism and hearing all voices to make Canada accessible.

Accessibility Standards Canada is only two years old. The Accessible Canada Act created us in July 2019. Our mandate is to develop and revise accessibility standards and fund research to inform their development. I lead the organisation as Chief Executive Officer. The organisation is overseen by a Board of Directors. The majority of our Board members are people with disabilities.

We are proud to be the first federal organisation led by a majority of people with disabilities. We strive to reflect this diversity in our workforce as we build a strong and talented team.


We value the knowledge that comes with lived experience. That is why our leaders champion hiring people from underrepresented groups. This includes members of the disability community. This has set the tone for hiring managers, the human resources team, and employees as we build this new organisation.

We use recruiting practices aimed at attracting people with disabilities. For example:

We support employees with disabilities by doing the following:

We make diversity a focus when we engage with the public to inform our priorities. We engage with the disability community. This includes people with disabilities from different communities and ethnic backgrounds.

We strive to attract diverse members with diverse backgrounds for our technical committees. This is to ensure the standards they develop reflect all of Canadian society.

Over the past year, we engaged with Indigenous organizations. We work to ensure they know about the opportunities we offer. These include serving on a technical committee and receiving research funding. It also includes seeking their input to inform our priorities.

Measurement and Results

How We Measure Success


We are proud of what we have achieved in less than two years:

Going forward, we will ensure that staffing plans continue to support strong representation of designated groups.  This includes Indigenous peoples, people with disabilities, members of visible minorities, and other underrepresented groups. We will continue to assess gaps in representation.

At present, we have four technical committees made up of experts working to develop standards. These standards relate to outdoor spaces, plain language, employment, and emergency egress (exit). Among these experts:

We have engaged with Indigenous organizations. As a result, research proposals from Indigenous groups made up 21% of the total funds received this year. This compares with 2% last year.

Some of these research projects are examining accessibility in Indigenous communities. This will ensure the standards we develop include their perspectives.

Challenges and Barriers

The Call to Action

Success is more likely when staff are involved from the start. In February 2021, we invited all staff to suggest activities, training, and awareness opportunities to support the Call to Action.

As we have fewer than 50 employees, we are able to hold meetings with all staff every two weeks. This enables everyone to discuss workplace culture, diversity, and inclusion regularly and openly. It also allows everyone to complete training together. This includes training on reconciliation and accessibility.

Also, we encourage staff to complete surveys, such as the Public Service Employee Survey. This helps managers learn where more action is required. 


We need to sustain momentum and foster the inclusive environment we strive for. To do this, we are applying a diversity lens to our human resources management plans. This includes the following measures:





Measuring Results

We will gather data that measure progress:

We are committed to anti-racism, equity, and inclusion in everything we do. This includes our approach to public service renewal. We will identify a champion to promote diversity and inclusion at Accessibility Standards Canada and beyond.

Year 3 is on the horizon. Together, we will continue to:

This is the only way to build a truly accessible Canada.

Yours sincerely,

Philip Rizcallah
Chief Executive Officer

Page details

Date modified: