Holding an accessible meeting
Estimated read time: 2 minutes and 12 seconds
Meetings are a daily occurrence in the Public Service. Learn how to host and facilitate meetings where everyone can participate fully.
Who does this affect?
- Amaruq has dwarfism and uses a wheelchair. He has arrived for a meeting with his colleagues. The room that was booked doesn’t have enough space for his device, so they have to switch rooms.
- Cheung has red-green colour blindness. He has trouble seeing what is being written on the flip charts because his colleague is using a light-coloured marker.
- Gabriela has astigmatism, she’s attending a webinar. The facilitator is using a white mouse pointer on a white background to lead participants through an activity. She has trouble following because she can’t see the mouse pointer.
- Give participants the opportunity to identify any accommodations they may need in your invitation. This gives you time to arrange for any requests. You can use something like: To make this meeting as accessible as possible, please let me know if you require any accommodations to participate.
- If needed, book the requested support. This may mean you need to shift your meeting date based on availability
- Give as much advanced notice as possible for meetings. This allows people time to do things like: book an interpreter or schedule a ride in an accessible vehicle
- If relevant: Provide information on parking or transportation to participants in your invitation. Are there accessible parking spaces or drop-off areas close to an accessible entrance?
- Where is the meeting room? Will someone meet participants to direct them? Will they have far to walk? Provide this information in advance.
- When possible, provide multiple ways for participants to attend, such as in-person or by phone.
- Use the Accessible Gov Toolkit to make sure your meeting materials such as PowerPoint presentations, Word documents or PDFs are as accessible as possible
- If requested, send electronic meeting agendas or PowerPoint slides in advance
- Use plain language: simple words and short sentences
- Use high contrast colours
- Use at least a 12-point sans serif font such as Arial or Verdana
- Think about the space where you’re hosting your meeting. Are there any barriers that may cause difficulty for someone using a mobility device? Don’t just focus on the room, consider the passage from the front door to the meeting location. This may include: stairs, narrow or cluttered hallways, heavy doors or hard to reach key fob readers, how far away is someone going to have to go to reach the room?
- Where are the accessible washrooms located? Is there a gender-neutral option available?
- Leave spaces for those using mobility devices and or guide/service animals
- If it’s a big meeting, consider reserving seating near the front for those who may have difficulty seeing or hearing the presenter
- If a sign language interpreter is present, position in an unobstructed and clearly visible location
- Consider allergies such as those related to scents and food
Phone or Skype meetings
- Have people introduce themselves before they speak, each time they speak. This helps people know who is talking
- Make sure you position yourself close enough to the microphone to be heard clearly
- Speak slowly and don't speak over other people
- Describe images or words projected on the screen
- Encourage people to mute their phones when not speaking to avoid distracting noises
- Check for shadows or glare which can make it difficult to see
- Avoid turning the lights down completely during a PowerPoint presentation. Good lighting helps those who read lips or use sign language
- Choose a meeting room without a considerable echo, especially for phone conferences
- Speak slowly and describe images or words projected on the screen or written on white boards, chalk boards, flip charts etc.
- Use white board markers that can easily be seen. Avoid light coloured markers
- Use Closed Captioning options for presentation of videos