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As a government, we serve all. That means that regardless of someone’s ability or disability, we need to make it possible for them to access our services using the channel they need to do it. That requires us to think about accessibility as soon as we start thinking about creating a service.

In this issue, we share resources and tips that we’ve been using to build accessibility into our work and services from the start.

"Welcome to the CDS Accessibility Handbook"

Services for all

At CDS, we’re aiming to meet (or exceed) level “AA” of the  Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 standards. We’ve put together guidelines we use to get there, and published them online in an Accessibility Handbook. 

The handbook includes:

  • Our commitment to, and principles around, building accessible services;
  • Information on where public servants can find accessibility services;
  • Tools we use to test the accessibility of our products; and,
  • Information about what to look for and think about at each phase of product development.
 

Goal: make it better than it was yesterday

Accessibility has a reputation for being difficult to implement and sometimes even unobtainable. But building inclusive services that work better for everyone isn’t about perfection. In her blog, CDS’ resident accessibility champion talks about how small steps and hard work from the very beginning can make all the difference in someone’s experience with a service.
 
A screenshot of a dog image in a Word document, with a menu bar on the right side giving an option to put alt text: “Photo of a very cute white dog with brown spots”.

Quick tips:
How to make your Word documents more accessible

Did you know there’s a feature that lets you add alternative text (text description of visuals) to images in your Word documents? This allows people who are blind or visually impaired to understand the context of all the content. 

It’s a small change that makes a big difference! 

Here’s how you can do it:

  1. Right-click the image in your Word document

  2. Click “Format Picture”

  3. From the side menu, click the third icon 

  4. Under “Alt Text”, add a full text description in the “Description” field, and a shorter one in the “Title” field

    Note: this may look slightly different depending on what version you are using. 

In the community:

Spotlight on ACCESSibility Series
Starts January 16, Online

GovTech Summit
February 12, Ottawa

Public Sector Innovation Show
February 25, Ottawa

IPAC National Leadership Conference
March 9-10, Toronto

Code for Canada

March 10-11, Toronto

CDS Head of Design Research Interview
Dollars to Donuts podcast

Work with us!

We're looking for Senior Developers. If you think this could be you, apply to join the team.

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Canadian Digital Service · Government of Canada · 219 Laurier Ave W · Ottawa, ON K1P 5J6 · Canada