The Accessibility Exchange is an online platform that brings people together to build strong and effective accessibility plans. Diverse people with disabilities and Deaf people (including, Indigenous, racialized, Black, 2SLGBTQI+ and other identities) can assist federally regulated organizations in complying with the Accessible Canada Act.
The following article explains how The Accessibility Exchange works for federally regulated organizations.
The power of the Accessibility Exchange is the diversity of people we are engaging. The platform connects members of the Deaf and disability communities with federally regulated organizations which seek consultants. Organizations define criteria for their engagements and are connected to people who fit those criteria and want to help them improve and create their accessibility plans. The beauty of the platform is that it can precisely match the criteria defined by the regulated organizations, while at the same time preserving the confidential information provided by consultants with disability lived experiences.
The Accessibility Exchange provides a way for disability and Deaf consultants to be open about their disabilities, ethnicities, location, gender and accommodations without ever having to reveal that sensitive information to the person hiring them. In fact, any sensitive information is encrypted, which is a process that hides the information in complex code.
How The Accessibility Exchange matching works
Imagine an airline that wants to develop an accessibility plan. Airlines are regulated by the federal government as are all transportation companies that cross provincial or international borders. The airline’s team has read the Act in the plain language version. Members of the airline’s team have also read various documents contained in the Accessibility Resource Hub. The airline’s team is considering whether to join The Accessibility Exchange.
Deciding to join The Accessibility Exchange
After some discussion, the airline’s team realizes that joining The Accessibility Exchange will save them time, effort and therefore money in their goal to develop an accessibility plan. In addition to providing useful resources, the platform will help by introducing them to Deaf people and disabled people with lived experiences who can:
- help them identify current barriers
- help them design their plan
- supply expert information in interviews
- contribute to focus groups on specific aspects of the proposed plan
- connect them with otherwise hard-to-reach communities
- help them find accessibility consultants.
Once the airline completes its profile, the team creates their project. In this case, the team wants to create an accessibility plan. They have the option of putting out an open call for accessibility consultants to guide them in developing their plan. Once they find a consultant, they engage them and settle on a fee and the terms of the contract.
The consultant may suggest that the airline create its first engagement in this project. An engagement could be a focus group, a survey, or an interview. In this instance, let’s say that this airline’s first engagement is a focus group to help them identify existing barriers. The airline's team requests a focus group from the platform.
The Accessibility Exchange’s matching service
The platform’s matching service is capable of processing huge amounts of data by sifting through the information on the profiles of the registered disability and Deaf consultants and those who have registered to be consultation participants. The platform searches until it finds 20 candidates for the airline.
Group of participants found: Accessibility Plan underway
Once a group has been found, no names are shared with the regulated organization. All the airline sees is the group’s makeup, for example, “10% of this group is people with sensory disabilities” or “50% of this group identify as Black, Indigenous or people of colour”. The airline can then go back and request some changes. If there is a particular group, like Deaf people, the airline would like to have represented in the focus group, they could make the request and the matching service would deliver a different selection of participants.
Once the airline is satisfied with the selection for the focus group, the airline then has the option to invite those people from the list to its focus group. The Deaf people and people with disabilities chosen for the focus group will receive an invitation, and they will have the option to accept or decline.
Sign up for updates about The Accessibility Exchange
The Accessibility Exchange Platform will be launching in the late fall. You can sign up now to receive notifications and information about The Accessibility Exchange launch date.