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.
In this article in our series, “How The Accessibility Exchange Works”, we describe the three different roles for people with lived experience of disability or of being Deaf who would like to register on The Accessibility Exchange.
Do you have lived experience of being disabled or of being Deaf? If so, please consider joining the Accessibility Exchange. Joining this platform will give you the chance to have an impact on making Canada more accessible. The Accessible Canada Act requires businesses, government offices and public sector organizations that are regulated by the federal government to consult with people with lived experience of disability or of deafness or both. You could share your lived experiences with them as they create their accessibility plans. There are several ways to get involved. You do not need to have prior experience to register on The Accessibility Exchange.
There are three ways to work to help develop accessibility plans on The Accessibility Exchange as a paid consultant. You could work as:
- a consultation participant
- an accessibility consultant
- a community connector
If you do not have work experience as a consultant, or if you want to share your experiences without guiding a company through the process of creating a plan, you may want to register as a consultation participant. You can always change or add roles later. In the role of consultation participant, you might be asked to join a focus group that a company assembles to get insight on its existing barriers. In that focus group, you and the other participants might be asked questions about your experience as a customer of that company, or of similar ones. You might share insights about your experience of barriers you encountered, or you might share suggestions for how the organization could do a better job of accommodating people with your disabilities.
After you work as a consultation participant a number of times, you could become more familiar with the Act and its requirements for companies. You may then consider registering on the platform in an additional role, like that of an accessibility consultant.
If you have experience working as a consultant and especially as an accessibility consultant, you may want to set up your profile as an accessibility consultant straight away. In this role, you may be asked to help the company develop a road map to create its Accessibility Plan. You may be asked to consider questions like: Should the client create a panel to assess what barriers currently exist or should they assess barriers by conducting long form interviews with five individuals who have used their service? What sections should their accessibility plan have [link to resource]? Where should the plan be published [resource link]? How many people with lived experience of disability, of Deafness, or both, does the Act require them to consult?
If you think you would feel comfortable answering those questions, or knowing where to find the information for those questions, then you might want to consider registering as an accessibility consultant.
A third role is to work as a community connector. A community connector is someone who has good connections with groups that others may find hard to reach. Maybe you have good connections with Indigenous groups in the far north or in BC. Maybe you have connections with minority French language communities in Ontario and Manitoba? If you feel you may have relatively unique community connections, you may want to enrol as a community connector.
Registering for more than one role
You will have the option to register for more than one role, if you like. Whichever role you choose, you should know that your information will be protected and encrypted so that only you and the platform’s engine or algorithm will know your sensitive and confidential information. If you would like to learn more about The Accessibility Exchange’s privacy and encryption policies and commitments, please read The Accessibility Exchange: How It Works for Federally Regulated Organizations. If you would like to learn more about how what it is like to join The Accessibility Exchange, please read: The Accessibility Exchange Part 1 - How It Was Created.