Accessibility progress report 2023
Year 1 Annual Report

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ISSN MR1-34E-PDF


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Table of Contents

Executive Summary

CIHR published its Accessibility Plan 2023-2026 in December 2022, in support of the Government of Canada's goal to achieve a barrier-free Canada by 2040. The launch of the CIHR Accessibility Plan was the first step toward a more accessible CIHR and will evolve over time.

The Year 1 Annual Report outlines the Agency's commitments and actions, and highlights the progress made on priority areas of the Accessibility Plan from April 1, 2023, to September 30, 2023.

The CIHR priority areas are as follows:

Through meaningful consultations with diverse interest groups and concrete goals and actions, CIHR has made incremental improvements on accessibility. Ongoing action and engagement, most importantly with persons with disabilities and experienced allies, will allow for continued progress on the Accessibility Plan over the coming years.

General

Feedback on the CIHR Accessibility Plan

The CIHR Accessibility Plan contact is Lindsay Carlson, Deputy Director, Strategic Programs and HR Analytics, in the Human Resources Branch. CIHR employees and the public may provide feedback as follows:

The CIHR would like to receive feedback in the way that it is implementing its accessibility plan.

Employees may provide feedback about barriers they are experiencing within the CIHR.

Persons (clients, suppliers, members of the public) other than employees, that deal with the CIHR, may also provide feedback about barriers at the CIHR.

CIHR employees and persons (clients, suppliers, members of the public) may provide feedback as follows:

Feedback will be collected, processed, and addressed by a member of the Strategic Programs and HR Analytics team.

Feedback will be compiled, tracked, and monitored by the Strategic Programs and HR Analytics team. A member of the team will ensure follow-up with appropriate internal interest groups.

Feedback will remain confidential.

Acknowledgement of receipt will be sent following reception of the feedback, unless feedback received was anonymous.

The feedback received will be acknowledged in the way it was received unless it was received anonymously.

This contact information enables CIHR employees and the public to:

What we have learned

Over the past year, CIHR has made significant efforts to identify accessibility barriers across the Agency and in the programs that we deliver. The Year 1 Annual Report provides an overview of the accomplishments, developments, and advancements on goals identified in the CIHR Accessibility Plan. As such, this report allows us to evaluate and identify areas where milestones were met, as well as those areas requiring further attention.

Important insights were learned following the implementation of the Accessibility Plan.

CIHR is committed to learn from best practices and its ongoing consultations and will continue to make improvements over the coming years through deliberate and meaningful actions.

Consultations

The Accessibility Plan and the Year 1 Annual Report were the result of consultations with the following committees and networks. The consultations were conducted throughout the year to gather general feedback, develop key performance indicators, and track the status of priority items. Additionally, members of the public and employees have the opportunity to provide feedback at any point through the various channels noted earlier in the General Information section of this report.

Employee Network for Persons with Disabilities

CIHR Anti-Racism, Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Accessibility (CAREDIA) Committee (formerly known as CIHR EDIA Committee)

CIHR Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Committee

External Advisory Committee on Accessibility and Systemic Ableism (EAC – ASA)

CIHR Accessibility Plan Working Group – Business owners of priority areas for action

CIHR Internal Governance Committee

Feedback received

Note: Feedback received by CIHR throughout the year is reflected below, grouped by theme for ease of reference.

Corporate Culture

Feedback received

There is a need for training on accessibility best practices and awareness for CIHR employees.

Channel used to convey feedback

CIHR's confidential internal suggestion box

Status

Training and awareness opportunities have and will continue to be identified and shared with CIHR employees. Additionally, all CIHR employees are required to take mandatory training in 2023-2024 that includes material on the Accessibility Plan, CIHR's Strategic Plan, and government-wide corporate priorities. Mandatory training is tracked (and senior management is notified) to ensure completion.

Awareness activities will continue to be provided on an ongoing basis.

Employment

No feedback received for this pillar.

Built Environment

Feedback received

CIHR was asked to indicate the service that provided the building accessibility certification training taken by the Property and Facilities team as they work to design the new CIHR offices.

Channel used to convey feedback

Email

Status

The service provider was shared with the requestor: About the RHFAC Training Course.

No further action required.

Information and Communication Technologies (ICT)

No feedback received for this pillar.

Communication, other than Information and Communication Technologies

Feedback received

Questions were raised about the added value of including sign language interpretation in CIHR communications.

Channel used to convey feedback

Internal email

Status

CIHR clarified that sign language interpretation was indeed included in the email, as it had been requested by multiple interest groups. Additionally, the Accessibility webpage was formatted to be fully accessible to all screen readers.

No further action required.

Procurement of Goods, Services, and Facilities

Feedback received

It was recommended that CIHR update its travel policy to allow for expenses to be covered related to patient-partner caregiver support when out of town travel is required to attend CIHR events.

Channel used to convey feedback

Email to an Institute's partnership lead working with patient-partners.

Status

Discussions in progress between the Equity Strategy Branch and the Finance and Administration Branch.

Design and Delivery of Programs and Services

Feedback received

Comments were received regarding the mandatory use of the font Times New Roman to submit Project Grant competition documentation. Requestors mentioned that the Serif font is raising accessibility challenges.

Channel used to convey feedback

CIHR's Contact Centre, social media platforms, and the Accessibility Plan's anonymous feedback form.

Status

For known requestors, alternatives have been identified to their satisfaction. The information was shared with the concerned branches for consideration.

Competitions will use accessible fonts in the future.

CIHR Progress in Priority Areas

Note: The progress identified in this section reflects only those actions scheduled for year 1 of the Accessibility Plan, from April 1, 2023 to September 30, 2023 (end of CIHR's second quarter for 2023-2024). Progress for the second half of the first year will be measured and reported upon in the year 2 annual report, due to the legislated reporting timeline.

Organizational Culture

Goal 1: CIHR has an organizational culture in which persons with disabilities feel safe to openly disclose their disability without fear of it impacting their interactions with CIHR.

Action 1.1: Appoint joint leadership for accessibility.
Key Performance Indicator

The President appoints joint leadership for accessibility to the Executive Vice-President (EVP) and the Vice-President, Learning Health System (VP-LHS).

Timeline
Status
Action 1.2: Explore best practices and lessons learned related to introducing the role of Chief Accessibility Officer.
Key Performance Indicator

A summary of findings is developed and submitted to the CIHR President for consideration.

Timeline
Status
Additional information
Action 1.3: Release a public message from the CIHR President on the launch of the plan, including external research excellence progress.
Key Performance Indicators

A public message from CIHR President is published and shared on CIHR's various social media platforms.

Timeline
Status
Action 1.4: Establish a repository of information related to accessibility supports for staff and for applicants/researchers.
Key Performance Indicators

Usage of the repository is monitored (access to the repository and links clicked).

Timeline
Status
Additional information
Action 1.5: Apply consistent public health measures to in-person activities.
Key Performance Indicators

Municipal and provincial public health guidelines are followed by CIHR where in-person activities occur.

Timeline
Status
Additional information

Goal 2: All employees are educated on what it means and how to contribute to an accessible organization.

Action 2.1: Launch an accessibility awareness campaign.
Key Performance Indicators

Participation rates to Canada School of Public Service (CSPS) and the Canadian Centre for Diversity and Inclusion (CCDI) learning opportunities on accessibility, using CSPS and CCDI reports.

Accessibility-related articles and information, using page consultation rates on CIHR Intranet (click numbers and time spent on pages).

Timeline
Status
Additional information
Action 2.3: Deliver disability/accessibility/ableism awareness training for managers/team leads/supervisors.
Key Performance Indicators

Provide more focused learning for those who manage employees, as well as for subject matter experts who support the management of other resources.

Key Messages and Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) for Managers were created and posted on the CIHR Intranet. Disability/accessibility/ableism awareness training for managers/team leads/supervisors is currently underway.

Timeline
Status
Additional information
Action 2.4: Promote Ombuds and wellness services.
Key Performance Indicators

Number of promotional activities for the ombuds and wellness services at CIHR, through information bulletins and other communication strategies (such as town halls).

Usage of Ombuds and wellness services.

Timeline
Status
Additional information

Goal 3: An integrated governance structure supports the CIHR Accessibility Plan.

Action 3.1: Create an ongoing accessibility forum for employees.
Key Performance Indicators

Number of accessibility forums offered annually for employees to participate in accessibility-related consultations meant to improve accessibility at CIHR.

Timeline
Status
Additional information
Action 3.2: Maintain Accessibility Plan Working Group.
Key Performance Indicators

The Accessibility Plan Working Group remains active to support the implementation and monitoring of the Accessibility Plan.

Timeline
Status
Additional information
Action 3.3: Develop and implement an accessibility performance measurement framework (PMF).
Key Performance Indicators

A performance measurement framework is developed and socialized to CIHR employees and communicated to the community.

Timeline
Status
Additional information

Employment

Goal 5: CIHR addresses the purpose of self-identification and obtains a current picture of the diversity of accessibility needs in its workforce.

Action 5.1: Launch a self-identification campaign.
Key Performance Indicator

CIHR launches a self-identification campaign and promotes it using various communication channels (i.e., weekly .Comm bulletin, Intranet). The participation rate to the self-identification campaign is monitored.

Timeline
Status
Additional information

Goal 6: CIHR addresses gaps in policy/process/tools related to staffing for persons with disabilities.

Action 6.1: Establish and communicate how to request accommodation during the hiring process.
Key Performance Indicator

A process to request accommodation during the hiring process is defined and approved by the Director General, Human Resources. Job posters are modified to include all relevant information, allowing every candidate to be aware of the process.

Timeline
Status
Additional information
Action 6.2: Adopt the Public Service Resourcing System (PSRS) and barrier-free assessment tools available through PSRS.
Key Performance Indicator

The Public Service Resourcing System and the barrier-free assessment tools are implemented.

The current recruitment system, Njoyn, is decommissioned.

Barrier-free assessment tools are made available to hiring staff.

Timeline
Status
Additional information

Goal 7: CIHR increases recruitment and promotion of persons with disabilities in its workforce.

Action 7.1: Prioritize appointment of qualified employment equity candidates for positions at all levels in the organization.
Key Performance Indicator

Increase in number of applications from persons with disabilities based on self-declaration in the recruitment process. Increase in opportunities offered to CIHR employees living with disabilities.

Timeline
Status
Additional information
Action 7.4: Reflect employment equity recruitment/promotion expectations in performance agreements of CIHR executives.
Key Performance Indicator

Development and inclusion of a commitment in performance management plan for CIHR executives.

Timeline
Status
Additional information
Action 7.5: Support manager/team lead/supervisor awareness and ability to recruit persons with disabilities.
Key Performance Indicator

Development and availability of tools and training to support hiring managers/team leads and supervisors in recruiting and hiring persons with disabilities.

Timeline
Status
Additional information

Goal 9: A supportive program for employees and managers is in place for disability management and accommodation needs.

Action 9.1: Update the Duty to Accommodate Policy and related business processes.
Key Performance Indicator

Review the CIHR Duty to Accommodate Policy and develop related guides and processes.

Develop a communications plan and Intranet site to promote the policy, guides, and processes.

Timeline
Status
Additional information
Action 9.3: Formalize the disability management program.
Key Performance Indicator

Consultations with various internal and external interest groups.

Develop a communication strategy to promote the program.

Timeline
Status

Built Environment

Goal 10: Current office space includes accessible workstations for persons with mobility disabilities.

Action 10.1: Create multiple accessible workstations and closed offices.
Key Performance Indicator

Sufficient accessible workstations and closed offices are created for employees with mobility disabilities.

Timeline
Status
Additional information
Action 10.2: Create workspace with access to natural light and quiet space with dimmable lighting.
Key Performance Indicator

Sufficient workspaces with natural light or with dimmable lighting are created for employees.

Timeline
Status
Additional information
Action 10.3: Communicate with employees when new accessibility measures are implemented and remind employees how to submit built environment accessibility questions.
Key Performance Indicator

Employees are informed of changes to work environment as appropriate, given CIHR's forthcoming move.

Timeline
Status
Additional information

Goal 11: Current office space includes accessible workstations for persons with mobility disabilities.

Action 11.1: Design future office space based on the CSA-B651-18.
Key Performance Indicator

The new space plan will meet the built environment accessibility standards established in the Canadian Standards Association's (CSA) Accessible Design for the Built Environment that were in place at time of design.

Timeline
Status
Additional information

Goal 12: Employee engagement is part of managing the change to the new office location.

Action 12.1: Engage internal committees and the Employee Accessibility Forum as part of the accessibility work underway at CIHR's future office space.
Key Performance Indicator

Internal committees/forum are briefed on accessibility measures.

Timeline
Status
Additional information

Information and Communication Technology (ICT)

Goal 13: Access to CIHR information (information management) is increased.

Action 13.1: Complete project to digitize CIHR paper records.
Key Performance Indicator

CIHR's paper records are digitalized in accessible format in the Electronic Document and Records Management system.

Timeline
Status

Goal 14: Existing technology is adapted, where possible, and updated to improve accessibility. New digital systems and technology purchased best meet accessibility requirements.

Action 14.1: Seek out emerging advancements in accessible technology.
Key Performance Indicator

New tools to test accessibility are identified and procured to support CIHR's accessibility efforts.

Timeline
Status
Additional information
Action 14.2: Continue to review existing CIHR systems for accessibility compliance.
Key Performance Indicator

CIHR systems are reviewed for accessibility and a plan is developed to address gaps in existing systems.

Timeline
Status
Additional information

Goal 15: Websites and Web-related tools and templates meet technical/functional accessibility requirements for use by employees and external users.

Action 15.1: Conduct an accessibility review of websites and templates.
Key Performance Indicator

A workplan is developed to review CIHR's website and communication templates to ensure compliance to accessibility standards. Guidance documents are also prepared to support CIHR employees in developing accessible products.

Timeline
Status
Additional information
Action 15.2: Review and update accessibility testing and web content accessibility guidance documents.
Key Performance Indicator

Guidance documents to test software and Web content accessibility are developed and communicated to the employees concerned.

Timeline
Status

Goal 16: Users of assistive technologies and IT employees are trained to make full use of assistive software and technologies.

Action 16.1: Identify and deliver training for users of assistive technologies. Identify and deliver training for IT employees who implement/support users of assistive technologies.
Key Performance Indicator

Dedicated training opportunities are identified and delivered for employees requiring or supporting assistive technologies.

Timeline
Status
Additional information

The following training is already available:

The Digital and Security Services Branch continues to assess CIHR systems to identify any further accessibility training opportunities.

Additionally, employees requiring the use of adaptive hardware and software are provided with individualized training by subject matter experts as well as ongoing support by a Disability Management Advisor. Training is available for technical staff to support adaptive computer technology.

Communication, other than Information and Communication Technologies

Goal 17: Readability of CIHR documents is improved across internal and external communications.

Action 17.1: Develop and implement a Plain Language Strategy to raise awareness among all employees.
Key Performance Indicator

A Plain Language Strategy is developed with tools to support employees in adopting this new approach. The strategy is socialized with employees.

Reduced number of assistance request or complaints regarding the readability of CIHR documents.

Timeline
Status
General Information

Goal 18: Departmental events are planned to be inclusive and accessible by design.

Action 18.1: Promote and socialize guidance on accessibility best practices for events.
Key Performance Indicator

Guidance documents are prepared to help event organizers in creating accessible events.

Positive feedback received from attendees regarding the accessibility of CIHR events.

Timeline
Status
General Information

Goal 19: Resources and tips are available to support the creation and dissemination of accessible content.

Action 19.1: Promote the use of accessibility resources and tips.
Key Performance Indicator

Guidance documents are prepared to promote the creation of accessible content.

Timeline
Status
General Information

Design and Delivery of Programs and Services

Goal 20: CIHR will become a leader in identifying and addressing barriers to accessibility and issues of ableism in the health research funding system.

Action 20.1: Conduct surveys with people who interact with the health research funding system on barriers and potential solutions.
Key Performance Indicator

Number of surveys completed by persons with disability.

Timeline
Status
Additional information
Action 20.2: Conduct engagements with relevant organizations on common barriers, lessons learned and potential solutions.
Key Performance Indicator

Number of engagements (e.g., presentations, consultation sessions) with relevant organizations.

Timeline
Status
Additional information
Action 20.3: Conduct consultations with CIHR staff responsible for the design and delivery of programs and services.
Key Performance Indicator

Description of engagements with staff (e.g., meetings, electronic communications).

Timeline
Status
Additional information
Action 20.4: Co-develop an in-depth action plan that goes beyond barriers at CIHR.
Key Performance Indicator

The in-depth action plan is developed.

Timeline
Status
Additional information

Goal 21: CIHR will integrate principles of universal design and value diverse lived, learned, and professional experiences throughout all our programs, processes, and policies.

Action 21.7: Integrate alternate ways of demonstrating knowledge and scholarship in the application and peer review processes.
Key Performance Indicator

Development of a new Research Excellence Framework set to be released in 2024.

Timeline
Status
Additional information

Procurement of Goods, Services and Facilities

Goal 22: Subject matter experts help with identifying industry standards, market research/analysis of specialized goods and services as needed.

Action 22.1: Continue to expand collaboration with Government of Canada (GoC) subject matter experts and the GoC procurement community of practice.
Key Performance Indicator

Resources and best practices used in other GoC departments are identified and integrated into CIHR practices.

Timeline
Status
Additional information

Goal 23: Documented business processes/tools are in place for including accessibility considerations when obtaining goods and services.

Action 23.1: Update the procurement business process.
Key Performance Indicator

Guidance documents are prepared to help responsibility centre managers and procurement specialists with the inclusion of accessibility considerations in their procurement processes.

Timeline
Status
Additional information

Goal 24: Procurement measures are in place for prompt access to accessible format goods and services, e.g., sign language services and CART (Communication Access Realtime Translation) captioning.

Action 24.1: Simplify low dollar value purchases.
Key Performance Indicator

Best practices are identified and new procurement processes are developed for procurement of low dollar value purchases of accessible format goods and services.

Timeline
Status
Additional information
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