Skip to main content

onBoard Canada Accessibility Project

onBoard Canada logo

Project Team Members: Sinthu Vimaladasan, Claire Ellis

In 2018, DiverseCity onBoard rebranded as onBoard Canada, a progression that builds on the program’s successes to date, is more inclusive of all excluded communities in governance boards, and better reflects the program’s national scope. As the program expands across the country to new communities, it is imperative that accessibility standards are met and exceeded at every stage of service provision to ensure the full inclusion of persons with disabilities in governance spaces.

This proposal includes a two-pronged approach; the development of a toolkit for governance boards on accessibility, and accessible event resource provision. This project will provide an educational tool to support boards in developing awareness about accessibility while providing strategies to ensure accessibility requirements are met. In addition, a promotional video regarding the Accessible Boards Toolkit will be produced that discusses the importance of inclusive leadership and accessibility, featuring a number of subject matter experts, community stakeholders, and board members/directors with disabilities. The project will also enhance the participation of persons with disabilities in program-related activities at onBoard Canada. Together, these measures seek to promote the greater participation of persons with disabilities in civic and community life through governance board service.

How does your project remove barriers for people with disabilities and/or aging populations?

This project seeks to increase awareness and educate organizations and public agencies through resources that will assist in making board governance practices more accessible and inclusive. This project also seeks to ensure accessibility standards are met and exceeded at every stage of service provision to guarantee the full inclusion of persons with disabilities in governance spaces.

Where did the idea for your project come from?

The idea came from wanting our program/services to be fully accessible, but also to ensure that boards receiving directors with disabilities are able to be fully inclusive.

What are the goals and objectives of your project?

The objective of this project is to support leadership within organizations by providing a strategic perspective on integrating best practices in accessibility within their board, with the goal of creating more accessible and inclusive organizations. The project will function in three separate capacities:

1. The Accessible Boards Toolkit

We will create an accessible toolkit to ensure the inclusion of persons with disabilities on boards of governance. This toolkit will provide a questionnaire for organizations to assess the state of accessibility of their board, and tools and strategies on recruitment, onboarding, creating an inclusive environment, minimizing bias, and using appropriate terminology, as well as resources.

2. Accessibility Resource Centre on the onBoard Canada website

We will develop a resource centre containing accessibility resources for organizations and boards.

3. Accessible Events

We will ensure onBoard Canada’s 2019 events meet accessibility standards to promote the full inclusion of persons with disabilities in program-related events.

Who is the target audience for your project?

OnBoard Canada supports not-for-profit boards, public agencies, commissions, tribunals, and committees.

What did you and your team gain from being involved in the Accessibility Project?

The onBoard Canada team is gaining comprehensive and practical tools that we will be able to share with both community stakeholders and the boards of various not-for-profit organizations and public agencies in order to foster the inclusion of persons with disabilities on boards of governance.

What are your future plans for your project?

OnBoard Canada’s future plans for this project include ensuring that the organizations and boards we work with are accessible and inclusive of all candidates; supporting the continuous production of community resources on accessibility and board governance; and expanding our network to increase the participation of various equity-seeking groups, especially persons with disabilities on boards.