Information and Communication

Section C

Status indicator of somewhat complete Information and CommunicationThe MYAP included the following objectives under the Information and Communication theme:

  1. Identifying the most commonly required communication formats and develop a strategy to meet those needs.
  2. Developing a sustainable strategy to ensure consistency across all publicly facing websites including open and online learning platforms.

C1. Alternate communication formats

Status indicator for completedStatus: complete

Progress: completeTwo people talking in sign language

This year has continued the trend of requiring timely, accessible information to our campus community in the ever-changing pandemic landscape. Over the past year, the University established an internal process to source third party provider services to deliver alternate communication formats, as needed. As we began to increase our physical presence on campus, we started to review our in-person communication practices and identify areas of improvement.

The pandemic has highlighted our need to be flexible and agile in the way we interact with our community. It has also highlighted the many ways we need to communicate, and we recognize that there is no single, central way to disseminate information to engage with our community. As such, our focus has been on raising awareness and educating departments on the tools available for them to use to communicate accessibly. Sessions such as “Adaptive Technology for the Workplace”, and “Everyday Accessibility Tools for Everyone” bring attention to the built-in accessibility features in our software and the range of virtual platforms that can be leveraged.

C2. Website accessibility

Status indicator for somewhat completeStatus: somewhat complete

Progress: behind schedule

As of January 1, 2021, all Waterloo-owned and -controlled public web content must meet Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 Level AA standard, under the AODA. As Waterloo continues with its migration to a new web content management system, the vast number of websites housed under Waterloo’s systems became increasingly evident. Additionally, we are learning that there are immeasurable pieces of web and social media content in our digital landscape. Since the pandemic, the internet has been leveraged heavily to deliver information to our community in a timely manner. Website accessibility is not just about technology, it is about communication. However, the volume and ephemeral duration of web and social media content make it difficult to continually track conformance with WCAG standard. It is important that Waterloo develops a sustainable Accessible Communication Strategy, focusing on the development of policy, strategies, training, and remediation support. To that end, Waterloo has undergone a shift in perspective, treating accessible web and social media content as communication management, beyond technological requirements. The goal is to approach the inventory, remediation, and ongoing accountability and reporting mechanisms strategically, by working with campus partners to build accessible design and maintenance into their unit-level workflows, moving the campus forward from a multi-pronged policy, education, and resource support-oriented approach, and emphasizing inclusive excellence through decentralized coordination. Specific initiatives and project planning will occur in early 2022 and will be captured within our next Multi-Year Accessibility Plan.