Best Practices and Research

We will collect Best Practices as we find them. Please feel free to contact us if you have helpful hints as well.

What Makes for a Good Plan?

A good accessibility plan should be easy to find, in an accessible format, provide context about the plan, barriers identified, actions planned, and the approaches used to come to any decisions. The following outlines the specific elements that constitute a good plan. Barriers and plans should be described in a way that is specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time bound.


To begin, the document itself should be:

  • Easy to find on your organization’s website (on home page or top-level menu)
  • Available in an accessible format (WCAG 2.2 AAA)
  • Available in multiple formats (e.g., digital and print)


A good plan will have the following elements:

  • Name of committee
  • List of all Prescribed Organizations that are on committee (including libraries, police, school districts, etc.)
  • Organizational endorsement(s)
  • Endorsements and acknowledgements
    • Committee endorsement
    • Territorial acknowledgement
    • External supports
  • Link to Terms of Reference and MOU, if applicable
  • Committee membership
    • Description of how committee members are/were recruited
    • Description of how committee members are/were chosen
    • Description of final committee members
  • Accessibility infrastructure
    • Description of the full accessibility infrastructure such as:
      • Working groups, Executive, Board, Departments and others
      • Description of how this infrastructure works (e.g., reporting, advising)
      • Description of how committee interacts with public
  • Description of purpose of committee (i.e., shared vision)
  • Definitions and terminology
  • Policy context (ABCA, UN, etc.)
  • Description of previous and ongoing accessibility activities (accessibility history)
  • Description of how plan is linked to organizational strategy
  • Descriptions of barriers and actions (as described below)


 A good plan provides a description of the methods used to identify barriers such as:

  • Staff survey
  • Public survey
  • Built environment audit
  • Policies and practices review
  • Committee feedback
  • Feedback link
  • Stakeholder workshop/discussion/interviews
  • No description of how barriers are identified
  • Barriers identified should be described in detail


  • A good plan provides a description of the methods used for identifying Actions including:
    • What aspects of accessibility Actions address (e.g., employment, housing, mobility, Who was involvedApproaches used (e.g., committee meetings, surveys, presentations, etc.Measures of successBaseline status
    • Goals
  • Description of Actions including
    • Roles and responsibilities
    • Timelines and milestones
    • Funding sources
    • Status of Actions

For All Organizations

Disability Statistics (Government of Canada)

A Way with Words and Images (Government of Canada)
This booklet seeks to promote a fair and accurate portrayal of people with disabilities. It recommends current and appropriate terminology to help you reach this goal.

Blindness Etiquette (CNIB)
Principles for interacting with people with disabilities.

Communication with and About People with Disabilities (CDC)

Empowering Engagement with People with Disabilities (Monteleone, 2018)

Inclusive Language in Media (Humber College)
Guide for language use in media and communications

Photovoice – Participatory Action Tool for engaging people with intellectual disabilities (Jurkowski, J.M.,2008)

  • Allows PWDs to provide insights into their world through photographs they take to serve as a starting point for exploring their experiences

Website Accessibility Standards (WCAG 2)

For Local Government

Accessible Community Bylaws

City of Guelph Guide for increasing diversity on accessibility committees.

Civic Engagement at the City of Victoria (BC)
Identifies principles and best practices for reaching out to inform and involve citizens in public decision-making.

Guide for Putting on an Accessible Event (US)

Local Government Community Effort Booklet (UBCM)
An excellent overview of local government in BC.

The Accessibility Toolkit (Vancouver)
A reference tool for City employees to ensure that decisions are being made with accessibility at the forefront, and evaluate current policies and approaches to accessibility.

Universal Design Guidelines for Outdoor Spaces (Maple Ridge)

Virtual Participation of People with Disabilities in Community Planning (Bricout & Moon, 2021)

  • Approaches to planning and connecting citizens with disabilities to smart cities

For Education

North Vancouver Inclusive Design for Learning

ARC Universal Design for Learning

SET BC Resources

CAST Universal Design for Learning

York University (ON) Emergency Preparedness Plan

Academic Communication Equity – BC

Accessibility of online post-secondary education

For Health Care

Engaging people with disabilities in health care (Valdez et al., 2021)

For Libraries

ALA Creating a Library Accessibility Policy (US)
Recommendations that should be considered when creating a library accessibility policy.

For Municipal Police

Research article on barriers faced by D/deaf citizens when accessing police services and potential solutions.

Emergency Preparedness

Perceptions of people with disabilities regarding emergency preparedness (Finkelstein & Finkelstein, 2020, not open access)

  • To properly address the vulnerability of people with disabilities in emergencies, professionals need a better understanding of their individual way of life in routine times and to find ways to empower them to become involved in their own emergency preparedness.
  • The needs of people with disabilities should be considered in terms of space and time, as well as by categories of disability
  • Planning for inclusion? An assessment of Ontario’s emergency preparedness guide for people with disabilities
    • Emergency planning should focus on interdependence, preparedness and action at the community level and in the context of broader social and material conditions, and the diverse nature of people with disabilities

Models of Disability

The concept of disability is complex and has been understood and explained through various paradigms or models over time. These paradigms offer different perspectives on disability and how society perceives and interacts with individuals with disabilities. It’s important to note that these paradigms are not mutually exclusive, and different societies or individuals may subscribe to different paradigms simultaneously. Here are some key paradigms that have been used to explain disability:

  1. Medical Model: The medical model views disability as a problem located within the individual. It emphasizes the physical or mental impairments that cause functional limitations. Medical interventions and treatments are seen as the primary approach to managing disability. This model often focuses on “fixing” or “curing” the individual’s impairments.
  2. Social Model: The social model of disability shifts the focus from the individual’s impairment to the social and environmental barriers that prevent full participation and inclusion. It suggests that disability is not solely a medical issue but is largely shaped by societal attitudes, policies, and physical environments that create barriers for individuals with disabilities.
  3. Social Constructionist Model: This model considers disability as a socially constructed concept. It highlights how cultural, social, and historical factors shape perceptions of disability. Disabilities are seen as labels that society assigns to certain conditions, and the experience of disability is influenced by societal norms and values.
  4. Bio-psychosocial Model: This model combines elements of the medical and social models by considering biological, psychological, and social factors that contribute to an individual’s experience of disability. It recognizes the interaction between the person’s impairments, their psychological factors, and the social context they live in.
  5. Rights-Based Model: The rights-based model, also known as the human rights model, asserts that individuals with disabilities have the same fundamental rights as everyone else. It focuses on removing societal barriers and ensuring equal opportunities and access to services, education, employment, and other aspects of life.
  6. Cultural Model: This model acknowledges that disability is not solely a medical condition but is influenced by cultural factors. It highlights the diversity of disability experiences within different cultural contexts and challenges the idea that disability is universally negative.
  7. Intersectional Model: The intersectional model recognizes that disability intersects with other aspects of an individual’s identity, such as gender, race, class, sexuality, and more. It emphasizes that discrimination and disadvantages can result from the interaction of multiple marginalized identities.
  8. Ecological Model: The ecological model considers disability within a broader ecological framework. It examines the interactions between the individual, their environment, and various systems (micro, meso, exo, macro) to understand how these factors impact the individual’s experience and opportunities.

It’s important to approach the understanding of disability with sensitivity and respect, as different paradigms can influence policies, attitudes, and interactions with individuals with disabilities. Moreover, the field of disability studies is evolving, and new paradigms or refinements to existing paradigms may emerge over time.