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CDAC: Advancing Social Justice, Accessibility, and Inclusion

Communication Disabilities Access Canada (CDAC) was established in 2001, as a Canadian, disability, non-profit organisation that is committed to advancing social justice, accessibility and inclusion for people who have speech, language and communication disabilities and who are not Deaf.

CDAC supports the International Communication Project’s (ICP) goals and is pleased to participate in and share its resources with the ICP community.

CDAC’s team includes people who have communication disabilities, their allies, speech-language pathologists, augmentative and alternative communication clinicians, human rights lawyers, and accessibility consultants.

What does CDAC do?

CDAC is project funded. Depending on its projects, CDAC provides input on national, provincial and local accessibility policy and legislation, conducts research, develops and shares resources, provides trainings and maintains a communication assistance database.

CDAC’s online resources are offered at no cost and used by people who have communication disabilities, family members, disability services, businesses and organisations, government agencies, healthcare professionals, police, legal and justice services, policy makers, legislators, speech-language pathologists and augmentative communication clinicians. For more information, visit the CDAC website.

How does CDAC advance communication accessibility legislation?

CDAC played a significant leadership role in having Canada’s draft legislation amended to include “communication” as a priority area in the Accessible Canada Act. This is the first time that Canadian accessibility legislation has recognised communication access for people with speech, language and communication within face-to-face, group and telephone interactions, e-communications, reading and writing. As such, it paves the way for the future development of inclusive communication access regulations.

On a provincial level, CDAC is engaged in the development of accessibility regulations for people with communication disabilities when using customer and healthcare services. On an international level, CDAC contributes to Canada’s civil society reports to the UN’s Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. View CDAC reports and briefs.

CDAC has developed a communication access symbol that is used extensively by businesses and organisations throughout Canada and in many other countries.

How does CDAC increase communication access in businesses and organisations?

CDAC has developed a communication access symbol that is used extensively by businesses and organisations throughout Canada and in many other countries. The symbol is available for any organisation to use and indicates that they welcome people who have communication disabilities and will make a sincere effort to accommodate their communication needs. Hundreds of businesses and organisations use our guidelines for communication access and have taken our online trainings that are given by instructors who have speech, language and communication disabilities. View CDAC communication and access resources.

How does CDAC support people who require communication assistance in their communities?

In addition to having ways to communicate, many people who have communication disabilities rely on people who can support them communicating in certain situations. CDAC provides a range of free online courses, given by instructors with communication disabilities on ways to teach people how to provide assistance as well as a course for people with communication disabilities on how to work with an assistant. View CDAC online training.

How does CDAC advance access to justice?

CDAC provides training and resources for speech-language pathologists to work as communication intermediaries to assist people communicating in police, legal and justice situations. We also provide a database of communication intermediaries where justice professionals can find an intermediary to support a victim, witness or accused person who has a speech, language and communication disability. CDAC provides access to justice.

How does CDAC provide information to people who have speech, language and communication disabilities?

CDAC has extensive information, videos, resources on its website about communication accessibility rights, negotiating communication supports, and communicating in challenging situations. All resources have been developed by and for people with disabilities that affect communication. Learn more about the resources CDAC provides for people who have disabilities that affect communication.


Barbara Collier Reg. CASLPO, F. ISAC
Executive Director, Communication Disabilities Access Canada