All conference sessions will be hosted virtually via Zoom Events conference platform. Details will be emailed to all registrants closer to the conference date.

Session recordings for the two-day conference will be available to all registrants for 30 days post conference. Workshops and pre-conference sessions will not be recorded.

Detailed session information is outlined below.

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Day One Opening Plenary Session | Wednesday, May 29 | 8:45–9:45 am

Accessibility, Inclusion, Anti-Ableism and Human-Technology Interaction

Dr. Mahadeo Sukhai.


Dr. Mahadeo A. Sukhai | Vice-President Research & International Affairs and Chief Accessibility Officer, CNIB

Assistive technology has undergone a substantial evolution over the past four decades. Specialized technologies intended for use by persons with disabilities now utilize artificial intelligence. Disruptive mainstream technologies now contain built-in accessibility features, or facilitate the creation of apps beneficial to persons with disabilities. This sea change in the type and quality of assistive technologies is counterbalanced by ableism in policies and practices about the use of assistive technologies in the workplace and classroom; by ableism in attitudes toward assistive technologies in the population at large; and, by the disability community’s own perceptions of, and attitudes toward, assistive technology. This presentation will weave these threads together to provide a new perspective on the future of human-technology interaction for persons with disabilities.


Dr. Mahadeo Sukhai (he/him) is the world’s first congenitally blind geneticist. Mahadeo is vice-president Research & International Affairs and chief accessibility officer for the CNIB (Canadian National Institute for the Blind), having previously served as a researcher at the University Health Network in Toronto.

Dr. Sukhai also holds adjunct faculty appointments at Queens University (Kingston, ON), OCAD University (Toronto) and Ontario Tech University (Oshawa, ON). Dr. Sukhai is the chair of the Employment Technical Committee for Accessibility Standards Canada, as well as the external co-chair of the CIHR Expert Advisory Committee on Accessibility and Systemic Ableism. In his role at CNIB, Mahadeo leads a significant research program focused on social determinants of health and inclusion for people living with sight loss in Canada. As chief accessibility officer, Mahadeo also leads organizational culture change initiatives on accessibility and inclusion for CNIB.


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Day One Concurrent Sessions | Wednesday, May 29 | 10–10:45 am

AI as A11y: Generative AI Features That Can Improve Accessibility

Join this session to learn how generative AI can support instructors and learners in making the teaching and learning experience more accessible.

Stream: Accessible Teaching and Learning (ATL)
Session Level: Intermediate
Speakers: Gian Michele Pileri and Rocio Conde

Speaker Biographies

Gian Michele Pileri works at George Brown College as educational & emerging technology specialist. During his professional career he has accumulated more than 20 years of audio-visual production and teaching expertise across several industries, including entertainment, fashion, education, and customer services. Most recently, Gian has held digital technology teaching and production roles at the University of Guelph-Humber, McMaster University, and Humber College. In his position Gian plays a pivotal role in supporting faculty in their exploration, experimentation, and use of educational technologies to support teaching and learning. Specifically, he works directly with faculty to identify and demonstrate how specific technologies can influence and supplement pedagogical approaches for teaching and learning in the digital age. Gian is passionate about supporting faculty with new insights and usage scenarios and provides personable and informed technology advice. His recent focus on the intersection between technology and education includes UDL, accessibility in EdTech, XR, and artificial intelligence.

  • https://www.linkedin.com/in/gpileri (LinkedIn)

Rocio Conde (she/her) is as an educational technology specialist at George Brown College (GBC). She was born in Caracas, Venezuela and moved to Canada in December 2019. She has a master's degree in instructional technology and media from Teachers College, Columbia University. She has worked as a high school English teacher in Venezuela, as a science teacher in Melbourne, Australia, and as a professional development facilitator with New York City Public Schools. Before GBC, she worked as a teaching and learning specialist at Humber College. Rocio is passionate about accessibility, inclusive education, educational technology, UDL and working with faculty.

  • https://www.linkedin.com/in/rociocondefuentes/ (LinkedIn)

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Technical Excellence through Social Understanding

Explore the multifaceted environment of accessibility as we shed light on a crucial aspect that will extend beyond coding and design: social understanding. Discover how embracing social awareness of disabilities and engaging with disabled communities will enhance your professional skillset. Unlock new perspectives and hone an empathetic approach that will empower you to become a champion of accessibility in your field.

Stream: Web Accessibility (WA)
Session Level: Introductory
Speaker: Meg Harding

Speaker Biography 

Meg began in the tech world in 2017 and took an interest in accessibility right away. As a person who navigates the web with disabilities, she has a passion for creating inclusive online spaces. She believes that everyone should be able to enjoy a website regardless of how that site is accessed, navigated through, or perceived. When she’s not behind her computer, Meg is likely enjoying some time playing with her daughter, watching movies, reading comic books, or playing Dungeons & Dragons.

  • @mothdust@mstdn.social (Mastodon)
  • @RamblingMoth (Twitter/X)

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Assessment of a Collaborative Accessible Service: Methods, Analysis and Outcomes

This presentation looks at the planning and executing of an assessment project for a collaborative accessibility service.

The Accessible Content E-Portal (ACE) is a service from Scholars Portal that supports users with print disabilities at participating universities and colleges in Ontario by providing access to library books in accessible formats.

Stream: Document and Media Accessibility (DMA)
Session Level: Introductory
Speakers: Ravit H. David and Sabina Pagotto

Speaker Biographies 

Ravit H. David, MLIS, PhD (She/her) is the distinctive collections librarian, Scholars Portal (OCUL), University of Toronto


Sabrina Pagotto is the assessment & member engagement librarian, Scholars Portal (OCUL) University of Toronto

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Day One Concurrent Sessions | Wednesday, May 29 | 11–11:45 am

Retire the PDF

In this presentation you will learn how to use MS Word to create accessible EPUB's that have major advantages over similar PDF files.

Stream: Document and Media Accessibility (DMA)
Session Level: Introductory
Speaker: Darrin Evans

Speaker Biography 

Darrin Evans is the director of The Virtual Learning Community (VLC) Professional Development (PD) Center and an Accessibility Technologist at Wake Technical Community College. He has a master’s degree in instructional technology and design and is a former middle school teacher and technology facilitator. He has presented across the state and country for The NC Community College System office on accessibility, instructional technology, and teaching online. Darrin works with faculty and staff across the curriculum and at all 58 community colleges on creating and delivering effective, accessible content. 

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Access to Experiential Learning: Anticipating Difference and Troubling Disclosure and Accommodation

You are invited to reimagine experiential learning as holding transformational possibilities for students, instructors, placement supervisors, and community organizations when accessibility and the anticipation of differences are at the core of course design, learning outcomes, recruitment, placement development, and assessment. Centering accessibility-led processes and outcomes within an intersectional disability justice framework, we will explore possibilities in creating, nurturing, and sustaining deeper inclusion and belonging for students in experiential learning.

Stream: Accessible Teaching and Learning (ATL)
Speakers: Sabina Chatterjee and Heather Willis

Speaker Biographies

Sabina Chatterjee is an activist, community educator, and advocate for social justice, equity, and belonging. Sabina has an extensive background in social service provision and organizational management, having created and directed support services for street-involved youth in Ontario, as well as anti-violence programs for multi-racial and Indigenous youth in BC. As a consultant she has developed trauma- and disability justice- informed programs, curricula, and evaluation frameworks that intentionally challenge anti-Indigenous and anti-Black racism. Sabina is a PhD Candidate (ABD) at York University and is the Project Manager, Equity, Training and Partnerships in the Experiential Learning Hub at Toronto Metropolitan University.


Heather Willis, Toronto Metropolitan University; B.A. Disability Studies, Post-graduate diploma, Disability Studies


  • https://www.facebook.com/torontomet (Facebook)
  • https://www.instagram.com/torontomet/ (instagram)
  • https://twitter.com/torontomet (Twitter)

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Making Accessibility Mainstream: Developing and Piloting an Accessible Lens Toolkit

The proposed Postsecondary Education Standard emphasizes using an accessible lens in everything we do. But what would this look like, and how can we do it? At Wilfrid Laurier University Library we have started thinking about what an accessible lens might be, and how we can begin using one.

This session discusses a pilot project to develop an Accessible Lens Toolkit intended to help people consider and build in accessibility at the beginning stages of tasks and projects. The toolkit was piloted and used by participants in a variety of job areas. It will discuss how the toolkit was developed, what it looks like, experiences by pilot project participants, and next steps for encouraging wider use of the final toolkit.

Stream: Accessibility Policy and Legislation (APL)
Session Level: Intermediate
Speakers: Joanne Oud, Amanda Oliver and Dawn Westwater

Speaker Biographies

Joanne Oud (she/her) is coordinator, accessibility services and instructional technology librarian at Wilfrid Laurier University Library.


Amanda Oliver (she/her) is head librarian, archives and special collections at Wilfrid Laurier University Library.


Dawn Westwater is the accessibility associate at Wilfrid Laurier University library. She holds a Masters of Canadian-American Studies (SUNY Buffalo) and a Masters of History (Brock). Her work centres on locating and/or creating alternative format materials, the digitization and remediation of materials, and general support of the user services team.

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Day One Concurrent Sessions | Wednesday, May 29 | 1–1:45 pm

Getting it Off the Ground – My Experience in Helping to Start an Accessibility Champions Team

This session will discuss the experiences of one Accessibility Champions team in establishing accessibility awareness and standards in their HR Learning Centre of Excellence in a large corporation.

We will look at the three phases that my team experienced:

  1. Building Awareness
  2. Providing Training
  3. Maintaining, Consolidating and Adapting

Stream: Accessible Teaching and Learning (ATL)
Session Level: Introductory
Speaker: Jonathan Merifield

Speaker Biography

Jonathan has worked in instructional design for RBC for six years and is currently leading the Learning Accessibility Champions Team.

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Universal Course Design: Access for All

No learner should be left behind.

In this presentation, you will learn about the challenges and successes of applying universal assessments for resumes, cover letters and interviews in our mandatory co-op education courses for over 2,000 degree and diploma students per year. We will also discuss the importance of inclusive language in course content and the offering of experiential learning opportunities in an entirely virtual environment.

Stream: Inclusive Design (ID)
Session Level: Intermediate
Speakers: Heather Powell, Suzanne Hagarty and Angeli Mehrota

Speaker Biographies 

Heather Powell is an energetic educator/career development professional with over 20 years of career development and post-secondary education experience. Her passion is to continue to work towards universal design and assessments in all courses.


Suzanne Hagarty (She/Her) BA, MA (candidate) is an instructor of the Introduction to Co-op Education courses for undergraduate and associate diploma students at the University of Guelph. With 10+ years of experience in training, recruiting and retention, and employer development in the healthcare and post-secondary sectors, Suzanne loves to work with students as they launch into their careers, and support them through challenges in job search preparation.

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The $10 Audit, or Why is Digital Accessibility So Expensive and How Do We Fix It?

Fundamentally, the biggest barrier to digital accessibility is the cost of compliance (auditing and testing) because these activities involve manual inspection and testing, and people are expensive. We consider what can be done in terms of development and testing by developers themselves before auditing and large-scale user testing begin, and what good audits and testing may look like if they are cost-effective. Finally, we offer some free open-source test tools, launched at the presentation, that work site-wide designed to help developers and encourage more such tools.

Stream: Web Accessibility (WA)
Session Level: Introductory
Speaker: Bob Dodd

Speaker Biography 

As is often the case, Bob Dodd started his journey into digital accessibility with family connections. In his case, Bob helped to support a cousin with multiple sclerosis (MS) and created tools and applications to support him as his medical condition advanced.

In 2001, Bob returned to university to study for a master's degree in multimedia with a thesis in mobile accessibility for people with MS; this turned into a (still unfinished) PhD that applied his work for Nokia Research in adaptive user interfaces to support a more inclusive user interface. In 2013, Bob brought his skills in accessible UI design to CNIB’s digital library. In 2019 he moved to be manager, digital accessibility at CNIB providing accessibility consulting and audit services to external clients.

Bob has published peer-reviewed research, notably the CISNA Model of Accessible Adaptive Hypermedia, which is available through the ACM Digital Library.

  • @a11y_bob (Threads)
  • @accessBob@mastodon.social (Mastodon)

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Day One Concurrent Sessions | Wednesday, May 29 | 2–2:45 pm

Accessibility Services at Ontario Colleges and Universities: Trends, Challenges and Recommendations

Despite the range of accessibility supports institutions provide, many students with disabilities still lag their peers in accessing and graduating from Ontario post-secondary programs. We present novel data that reveal the challenges in the PSE accessibility landscape and how institutions are actively working to address these hurdles. We conclude with recommendations for how the Ontario government can update and improve its funding strategy to support students with disabilities more effectively.

Stream: Accessible Teaching and Learning (ATL)
Session Level: Introductory
Speakers: Sophie Lanthier and Ryan Tishcoff

Speaker Biographies 

Sophie Lanthier is a senior researcher at the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario (HEQCO) who has managed and overseen numerous research and educational projects throughout her career. Sophie joined HEQCO's team after completing her PhD in psychology at the University of British Columbia, where she also served as an instructor. At HEQCO, she blends her research expertise and teaching experience by leading research projects on key issues and trends in Ontario's higher education system.


Ryan Tishcoff is a researcher at the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario (HEQCO) whose projects focus on promoting accessibility at Ontario’s post-secondary institutions and supporting access to higher education among under-represented groups. He joined HEQCO after two years as a research and policy analyst with the Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance (OUSA), where he worked closely with sector stakeholders on issues such as affordability and mental health supports. Ryan holds a JD from the University of Ottawa and an honours BA in philosophy from the University of Toronto.


  • https://www.facebook.com/HEQCO/ (Facebook)
  • http://www.twitter.com/heqco - @HEQCO (Twitter)
  • https://www.linkedin.com/company/higher-education-quality-council-of-ontario (LinkedIn)

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Getting Ready for AODA Postsecondary Education Standards: Ingredients for a Proactive Institutional Response

Discover our university's proactive approach to the AODA Postsecondary Education Standards through a successful Accessibility in Teaching and Learning Roadmap. Sponsored by senior leadership and aligned with strategic plans, our project involves significant internal investment, expert personnel recruitment, AI and data visualization technologies, and collaboration with a provincial community of practice. The 6-part approach includes journey mapping, infrastructure scans, fellowship programs, disabled student councils, student-staff partnerships, and an open-access online journal. Gain practical strategies and tools to navigate AODA PSE recommendations and engage meaningfully with students with disabilities.

Stream: Accessible Teaching and Learning (ATL); Accessibility Policy and Legislation (APL); Inclusive Design (ID)
Session Level: Intermediate
Speakers: Kate Brown and Paige Maylott

Speaker Biographies 

Kate Brown is the AODA/accessibility consultant under the Office of the Vice-Provost, Teaching and Learning at McMaster University. She is currently leading a two-year project with colleagues and partners exploring McMaster’s academic and administrative readiness for the adoption of the forthcoming AODA Postsecondary Standard. Since 2017, Kate has combined professional and scholarly approaches to translating AODA legislation into university culture, underpinning this work with an intentional focus on disability inclusion and co-design approaches with communities of students, staff, and faculty with disabilities. Some examples include the co-development of McMaster’s inaugural Employee Accessibility Network for employees with disabilities, the co-development of a User Testing for Digital Accessibility group in community with students and alumni with disabilities, the co-development of McMaster’s inaugural Accessible Education Fellowship Program, and the recent co-development of an Accessibility Council for students and alumni with disabilities.


Paige Maylott (she/her) is an accessibility projects support coordinator working under the Office of the Vice-Provost, Teaching and Learning. Currently seconded from her previous position in Library Accessibility Services at McMaster University, Paige has worked in accessibility for the past decade. After hours, she moonlights as an emerging author, with her first book, "My Body is Distant," having released through ECW Press this past September.

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Building Accessibility and Inclusion Competencies as a Culture Building Tool for Inclusive Workplaces

This session explores the establishment of a competency framework for accessibility and inclusion in the workplace. The objective is to foster a culture change towards fully accessible and inclusive workplaces for individuals with disabilities. During the session, the preliminary results of an international scan and literature review will be presented, highlighting practices, policies, and approaches that define accessibility and inclusion competencies. By collaboratively identifying key barriers and best practices, you will work towards understanding effective strategies for preventing and removing these barriers. The session provides an opportunity to develop tools and strategies that promote the development of accessibility and inclusion competencies as a catalyst for culture change in the workplace. Your insights and contributions are crucial in shaping the future of accessibility and inclusion competencies. The expected outcomes of the session include sharing and discussing the preliminary results, identifying key barriers and best practices, and engaging in iterative sessions to prototype potential solutions.

Stream: Inclusive Design (ID); Accessibility Policy and Legislation (APL); Accessible Teaching and Learning (ATL)
Session Level: Intermediate
Speaker: Ana Sofía Barrows

Speaker Biography

Ana Sofía Barrows (she/her) is a strategy and research consultant with a focus on building inclusive practices in academic, regulatory, and corporate settings. She is a Canadian Certified Inclusion Professional (CCIP) with a diverse educational background in medical physics, social justice education, and leadership and inclusion. Ana Sofia is passionate about advancing inclusion, diversity, equity, and accessibility (IDEA) in STEM and has led numerous initiatives in this area. She is an accomplished speaker and writer, having presented at conferences and published articles in FACETS Journal, Canadian Science Policy Centre, and Latinos Magazine. Ana Sofia has also shared her insights on inclusion through various media channels, including CBC's On the Money and CBC radio. Additionally, she teaches courses on IDEA in different educational programs and is currently pursuing a part-time graduate degree in social justice education at OISE, University of Toronto, with a research focus on decolonizing methodologies.

  • @AnaSofiaBarrows (Twitter)
  • @ask.ASB (instagram) 

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Day One Concurrent Sessions | Wednesday, May 29 | 3–3:45 pm

Using the PDF Techniques for WCAG 2.x with Accessible PDFs

There is a shift to using WCAG 2.x standards for accessible PDFS. This is clear in the European standard (EN 301 549), which is being considered as a Canadian standard. This session provides an overview of the PDF Techniques for WCAG and how they can be applied to PDFs.

Stream: Accessible Policy and Legislation (APL); Document and Media Accessibility (DMA); Inclusive Design (ID)
Session Level: Introductory
Speaker: Karen McCall

Speaker Biography 

Karen McCall (M.Ed.) (Karlen Communications) provides strategic planning, consulting and education on accessible content design/creation and inclusive education. She has over 22 years of experience in accessible digital content/inclusion. Karen is a Canadian delegate to the ISO PDF committees (PDF/PDF/UA – Universal Access) and is an active member in the Technical Standard Committee for Plain Language for the Accessible Canada Act. She is the author of several publications on accessible digital content dating back to 2005 and has contributed chapters to books on digital inclusion. She is a member of the Accessibility Consulting.ca collective of accessibility professionals. 

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Crafting Accessible Digital Content for Neurodivergent Audiences

The choices we make when creating digital content impact the inclusion of neurodivergent people. Sensory, cognitive, and communication differences are important considerations content creators must consider.

In this neurodiversity-affirming talk, we’ll explore access barriers experienced by neurodivergent people and the advantages of adopting neuroinclusive design principles. Content creators, educators, and anyone involved in digital content development would benefit from this session.

Stream: Document and Media Accessibility (DMA); Inclusive Design (ID)
Session Level: Introductory
Speaker: Leanna Manning

Speaker Biography 

Leanna Manning is the owner and founder an accessible communications consultancy. Our vision is co-creating inclusive and equitable communities through accessible communication. We partner with businesses who see accessibility and inclusion as a business imperative but need support in implementing these values in their communications. Our diverse skills include editing for accessibility, plain language, document design, and inclusive content marketing strategy.

Leanna is multiply disabled. She is neurodivergent, autistic with ADHD, and chronically ill, all of which can be non-apparent to most people. She understands what it’s like to be different in a world that doesn’t always celebrate differences. She’s passionate and motivated to ensure equal and full access for everyone.

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Courageous Conversations: The Intersections of Race and Disability

The intersections of race and disability can be a difficult topic to address. It is often unclear what colonization, enslavement and racialization mean and how they relate to disability. This session will equip you with a foundational understanding of key concepts and will showcase the research and capacity building initiatives undertaken under Race and Disability Canada’s Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Accessibility (IDEA) Project.

Stream: Accessibility Policy and Legislation (APL)
Session Level: Introductory
Speaker: Raihanna Hirji-Khalfan

Speaker Biography 

Raihanna Hirji-Khalfan has over 15 years of experience advancing disability rights, anti-racism, equity, and anti-oppressive practice in non-profit and public sectors. Raihanna works as the project leader for Race and Disability Canada. Raihanna served as the accessibility officer at McMaster University, where she managed the University’s accessibility program and compliance obligations with the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA). She is a seasoned facilitator with expertise in designing and delivering training and education programs. She also has expertise in creating and managing programs for marginalized communities. Raihanna has a master’s degree in business and IT, a master’s degree in critical disability studies, and an LLM in canadian common law.

  • racedisability.ca (website)
  • @racedisabilityca (instagram)
  • @RaceandDisability (Facebook)
  • Race and Disability Canada LinkedIn

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Day Two Concurrent Sessions | Thursday, May 30 | 9–9:45 am

Understanding the Needs of Visually Impaired and Neurodivergent Students in STEM Education 

Students who are blind or visually impaired and students who are neurodivergent face unique barriers to learning STEM concepts in post-secondary studies. Textbooks with visual graphics pose difficulties, and screen-readers struggle with the accurate pronunciation of anatomical and mathematical terms. Neurodivergent students encounter similar obstacles while navigating courses designed for typical neurotypes. Our session aims to share strategies for accommodating diverse learning styles through a discussion of lived experiences, fostering conversations about accessibility in STEM education.

Stream: Accessible Teaching and Learning (ATL)
Session Level: Introductory
Speakers: Emelia (Mia) Maceasik and Christopher (Chris) Schiafone

Speaker Biographies

Mia Maceasik is a student and community engagement specialist at the Humber Arboretum and Centre for Urban Ecology in Toronto, Ontario. They hold a bachelor of applied science in psychology, along with several years of experience in the healthcare sector as a personal support worker. Mia is the head of the Humber Arboretum Bachelor of Science in Nursing Community Clinical Placement, where they have developed comprehensive workshops on topics such as disability and accessibility in greenspace, self-care for caregivers, and nature throughout the lifespan. Mia is neuroqueer, mad, and neurodivergent, with lived experience as learning disabled and ADHD.


Chris is a graduate from the psychology program at the University of Guelph-Humber. In addition to his degree, he holds a diploma in General Arts and Science and Certificate in Research Skills and Analysis from Humber College. In 2015, he graduated from Seneca College with a Diploma in Social Service Work. Chris’s research focuses on “Improving Accessibility of Scientific Content” for persons with vision loss, especially pertaining to psychology and neuroscience. Chris has had the opportunity to present his work at national and international conferences, such as the Canadian Psychological Association National Convention and Conference of the Cognitive Science Society.

  • @cschiafone (Twitter)
  • linkedin.com/in/christopher-schiafone (LinkedIn)
  • www.chrisschiafone.ca (website)

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Strategies on How to Embed Inclusive Innovation and Design

TD's Digital Accessibility and Enterprise Innovation team will share tactics to ensure that inclusive innovation and digital accessibility are centered throughout the ideation, design, development, and deployment process, not just as checklist items.

Stream: Inclusive Design (ID)
Session Level: Introductory
Speakers: Samantha Estoesta and Brian Moore

Speaker Biographies 

Hi. My name is Samantha Estoesta and I help people create equitable experiences.

I (she/her) am an accomplished product manager with proven expertise in handling all phases of innovation product lifecycles. I use inclusive innovation and design practices in a collaborative manner with customers, senior leaders, and research, design and development teams to create innovative products and services that elicit a sense of belonging through a focus on positive business and social impacts. When I’m not busy helping to create a more equitable world, you can find me walking the trails around downtown Kitchener with my family.

Brian Moore knows first-hand about the importance of accessibility.

Brian, who is a senior digital accessibility specialist at TD, is blind. Every day, he works towards making sure all TD websites and mobile apps can be accessed by all customers, including those living with disabilities.

"Those who are blind or have low vision often have the hardest time independently navigating digital platforms and mobile apps," says Moore. So, when the digital accessibility team was looking to onboard a new hire, Moore stood out as an applicant with the potential to help make the bank's services more inclusive.

  • https://stories.td.com/ca/en/article/inclusive-innovation-accessibility (website)

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Accessible Wayfinding Systems will Start a New Era of Accessibility

Accessible wayfinding systems will become ubiquitous in public spaces by 2030. This session walks through the opportunities, challenges, and other aspects of the new future of accessibility for people with orientation challenges, including the blind and visually impaired. Responsibilities, costs, and operational efforts required towards this future will also be discussed and case-studies from around the world will be shared.

Stream: Assistive Technology (AT)
Speaker: Idan Meir

Speaker Biography 

Idan Meir is the co-founder and CEO of RightHear, an innovative startup that turns public spaces into accessible environments for people with spatial orientation challenges, including people who are blind or visually impaired.

Idan holds a bachelor's degree in psychology and business from the Open University of Israel.

  • https://www.linkedin.com/in/idanmeir/ (LinkedIn)

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Day Two Concurrent Sessions | Thursday, May 30 | 10–10:45 am

Policy Perspectives: Applying a Critical Lens from Post-Secondary Accessibility Guidelines in Ontario to Develop Institutional Action Plans

This session will engage with the final recommendations in the AODA Postsecondary Education Guidelines, using them as a springboard for conversations about best inclusion practices in universities.

Stream: Accessibility Policy and Legislation (APL)
Session Level: Intermediate
Speaker(s): Hujma Chowdhury, Megan McMeekin and Katya Pereyaslavska

Speaker Biographies 

Hujma Chowdhury is an accessibility and resource sharing librarian at the University of Toronto. She received her MLIS from the University of Toronto in June 2021 with an undergrad degree in sociology and equity studies. She is chair of the Awards and Grants Committee, co-chair of the Social Committee for the Faculty of Information Alumni Association, and co-chair of the Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Anti-Racism Committee (IDEAR) at the University of Toronto. She is passionate about cultivating an accessible and inclusive community of practice through her advocacy work.

  • https://www.linkedin.com/in/hujma-c-0a3b6497/ (LinkedIn)

Megan McMeekin is the inclusion librarian at the University of Ottawa library where she engages with campus and community partners to ensure that the Library is as inclusive and accessible as possible for all users. Prior to beginning this role in 2019, she worked for nearly eight years at the Ottawa Public Library in various roles involving creating and providing accessible and inclusive public library services.

  • https://ca.linkedin.com/in/megan-mcmeekin-3b619848 (LinkedIn)

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Shared Intentionality in Hy-flex Education for Instructors and Students with Disabilites

This session focuses on accessible and inclusive hyflex education from the perspective of instructors and students with disabilities, demonstrating the importance of shared intentionality on engagement, interaction and inclusion.

Stream: Accessible Teaching and Learning (ATL)
Session Level: Intermediate
Speakers: Tamara Crasto, David Barter and Mahadeo Sukai

Speaker Biographies 

Tamara Crasto is an inclusive designer with experience in product design, accessible user experience and inclusive education. She uses inclusive and human-centered design principles, qualitative research, critical thinking and creativity to drive (re)design of accessible digital and hybrid services.

David Barter is an interaction designer who places an imperative on designing information-communication technologies (ICTs) such as video conferencing, extended reality and web interfaces collaboratively with diverse users, to build on their lived experiences and support their agency through cross-sensory information representation strategies

Dr. Mahadeo Sukhai (he/him) is the world’s first congenitally blind geneticist. Mahadeo is vice-president Research & International Affairs and chief accessibility officer for the CNIB (Canadian National Institute for the Blind), having previously served as a researcher at the University Health Network in Toronto.

Dr. Sukhai also holds adjunct faculty appointments at Queens University (Kingston, ON), OCAD University (Toronto) and Ontario Tech University (Oshawa, ON). Dr. Sukhai is the chair of the Employment Technical Committee for Accessibility Standards Canada, as well as the external co-chair of the CIHR Expert Advisory Committee on Accessibility and Systemic Ableism. In his role at CNIB, Mahadeo leads a significant research program focused on social determinants of health and inclusion for people living with sight loss in Canada. As chief accessibility officer, Mahadeo also leads organizational culture change initiatives on accessibility and inclusion for CNIB.

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6 Things Screen Readers Catch that Your Document Accessibility Checker Can’t

This session focuses on the importance of testing your documents with assistive technology such as NVDA or JAWS to ensure a good user experience. Several commonly overlooked document flaws resulting from exclusive reliance of an accessibility checker will be revealed and discussed.

Stream: Assistive Technology (AT); Document and Media Accessibility (DMA)
Session Level: Intermediate
Speaker: Dax Castro

Speaker Biography 

Dax Castro is an award-winning, Adobe-Certified PDF accessibility trainer and certified accessible document specialist (ADS) with more than two decades of experience in the marketing and communications industry. In between providing accessibility training to companies worldwide, he and Chad Chelius host Chax CHAT Podcast, a weekly accessibility podcast and PDF Accessibility Facebook group. Dax’s training style focuses on fundamentals in a clear and simple way that is both engaging and informational. Whether you’re a seasoned professional or new to accessibility, you can always count on learning something new from Dax.

  • PDF Accessibility (Facebook Group)
  • Chax Chat (Accessibility Podcast – streams on all major platforms)

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Day Two Concurrent Sessions | Thursday, May 30 | 11–11:45 am

Accessible Content: A Case Study of Impacts and Costs

The impact and instructional resource requirements for accessibility improvements are not well documented in the literature. A four-year study from an engineering math course is in progress to assess, quantitatively and qualitatively, the impact and instructional cost of pursuing various accessible practices.

This presentation highlights high impact changes to lectures and course materials which required relatively few resources, as well as impactful practices which may require additional supports.

Stream: Accessible Teaching and Learning (ATL);
Session Level: Introductory
Speaker: Jennifer Ellingham

Speaker Biography

Jennifer Ellingham (MASc, MBA, EIT) is a sessional instructor, NSERC scholar, and PhD candidate in mechanical engineering at the University of Waterloo. She is leading a team studying the costs and impacts of inclusivity, diversity, equity, and accessibility (IDEA) practices, funded by a University of Waterloo Learning Innovation and Teaching Enhancement (LITE) Grant. She is pursuing teaching-stream professorship roles for after she completes her PhD. 

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Intro to Audio Description

This session covers the basics of how to add audio description to online video, legal requirements for audio description, video player compatibility, examples and demos, how to create audio description, and the many benefits of audio description.

Stream: Document and Media Accessibility (DMA)
Session Level: Introductory
Speaker: Jena Wallace

Speaker Biography 

Jena Wallace is an accessibility advocate with over a decade of experience in the media accessibility industry.

Jena's lived experience with single-sided deafness inspired her to pursue a career in accessibility. With eight years of hands-on experience as an offline closed captioner, Jena is deeply knowledgeable about captioning and subtitling workflows, processes, and best practices. She managed the entirety of Captionmax’s North American prerecorded captioning division before transitioning to content marketing at 3Play Media, where she focuses on storytelling around the people and technologies transforming accessibility and disability advocacy.

Jena holds a B.A. in english from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities. She is committed to sharing knowledge and continuous learning about the nuances, technicalities, innovations, and ethics surrounding accessibility solutions.

  • https://www.linkedin.com/in/jenaohmanwallace/ (LinkedIn)

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Design Systems: The Key to Sustained Web Accessibility?

In the WebAIM Million report for 2023, 96.3% of tested home pages had detected WCAG 2 failures; that's only a 1.5% improvement from 2019. At the current rate, it would take 257 years for the top million websites to be made even mildly accessible.

This session investigates a potential tool to boost web accessibility efforts: design systems.

Let’s explore my findings on the connections between:

  • Organizations with design systems
  • Organizations with accessible websites
  • Organizations with both

Stream: Web Accessibility (WA)
Session Level: Intermediate
Speaker: David Cox

Speaker Biography 

David Cox is a web accessibility expert and design system accelerator. He has worked as a core member of the GOV.UK Design System team in the UK and the Ontario Design System team in Canada. His mission is to make the web more accessible for Canadians with disabilities (and everyone).

On weekdays, David drinks lots of tea while consulting on design systems and web accessibility. On weekends, he hangs out with his partner, plays board games, eats tasty food, and works on open source passion projects.

  • https://dav-idc.com (website)
  • https://www.linkedin.com/in/dav-idcox/ (LinkedIn)

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Day Two Concurrent Sessions | Thursday, May 30 | 1–1:45 pm

Exploring the Impact of Neurodivergence on Participation in Canadian Post-Secondary Education

The Conference Board of Canada is conducting a large-scale mixed methods study on the experiences of neurodivergent students and post-secondary institutions in the provision of inclusive education.

This session explores data from the first large-scale national quantitative survey on neurodivergent post-secondary student experiences in Canada. The session elucidates barriers and enablers to participating in post-secondary education and the provision of accommodations for learning and inclusion.

Stream: Accessible Teaching and Learning (ATL)
Session Level: Introductory
Speaker: Jennifer Fane

Speaker Biography

Jennifer is the lead research associate for the Education and Skills Knowledge Area at the Conference Board of Canada. Prior to joining the Conference Board, she held a senior leadership role at a nonprofit organization serving neurodiverse individuals—overseeing research, educational programming, and advocacy at an individual and systems level. Jennifer brings with her over 18 years of experience as an educator and educational researcher in post-secondary institutions in Canada and Australia, and in the K-12 and early childhood sectors in British Columbia. Her research has focused on the nexus between social policy and education and health sectors, and the impacts of service integrations and service delivery models for individuals, families, and systems.

  • https://www.linkedin.com/in/jennifer-fane-phd-4a49194 (LinkedIn)

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Crafting Inclusive E-Learning: Practical Tips for Accessible Design in Rise & Storyline

Discover practical insights for integrating accessibility into Rise and Storyline e-learning courses.

This session, tailored for beginning instructional designers, covers fundamental accessible learning concepts, explores specific features enhancing accessibility, and discusses potential challenges that arise in Articulate software. Come away with actionable tips to create inclusive educational content and contribute to a more accessible digital learning landscape.

Stream: Document and Media Accessibility (DMA)
Session Level: Introductory
Speakers: Paula Trelinska and Melissa Belardo

Speaker Biographies

Paula Trelinska is a learning specialist at Definity Financial Corporation, where she creates accessible learning experiences for commercial insurance employees.

With a background in teaching and educational publishing, Paula has played a pivotal role in shaping innovative teaching materials and fostering inclusive learning environments for over a decade. She has a keen interest in accessibility & inclusion and hopes to provide "accidental" or beginner instructional designers the tools they need to implement accessibility practice into their designs.


Melissa Belardo is an accomplished learning and development professional with over a decade of experience specializing in designing training for various corporate environments. With experience teaching in Canada and internationally, her expertise lies in creating engaging and accessible learning experiences, and fostering an environment that is not only engaging but fun. She has a passion for ensuring learning is tailored to be accessible to diverse audiences and believes that education can be enriching and inclusive.

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Achieving Accessibility from the Bottom Up

Your digital product has to be accessible, but you still can’t get buy-in from the top. Don’t give up! You still have ways to include accessibility, working from the bottom up.

This session presents ways to introduce and incorporate web accessibility into workflows and products. It will empower you to consider ways to collaborate and demonstrate that accessibility can be effective, efficient, and marketable.

Stream: Web Accessibility (WA)
Session Level: Intermediate
Speakers: Lorna Notsch and Lorenzo Milani

Speaker Biographies 

Lorna lives in Washington, DC, and has worked for Sage Publishing for more than 20 years, with a focus on digital accessibility for the last 13. When not working, she loves to take advantage all of the amazing cultural opportunities DC offers. She also loves to travel, read, and mother her houseplants.


Lorenzo is a UX Specialist originally from Le Marche, Italy, but is now based in London. With a background in cultural studies and management, he has been at Sage for almost six years wearing different hats. The bulk of his work is on digital accessibility, with a focus on design, training, and testing, but his role also includes analytics and information architecture. Outside of work Lorenzo plays bass guitar and tennis.

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Day Two Concurrent Sessions | Thursday, May 30 | 2–2:45 pm

Demystifying Accessible & Equitable AI Through an Inclusive Design Lens

This session is not about ChatGPT for interactive content generation but goes further to include AI-based automated decision-making systems. AI systems, in general, are not accessible. People with disabilities cannot fully participate in their design, development, implementation and use. Further, they are not equitable. People with disabilities are impacted by statistical discrimination and several other factors.

This session explores the reasons and mitigations for lack of accessibility and equity in AI systems.

Stream: Inclusive Design (ID)
Session Level: Intermediate
Speakers: John Willis, Dr. Anne Jackson and Dr. Sambhavi Chandrashekar

Speaker Biographies 

John provides policy analysis and business strategy for accessibility in large organizations, and applies his design expertise through inclusive service innovation with people with disabilities.

John is a senior advisor, Web Accessibility Strategy with the Ontario government, including developing Digital Accessibility Standards for the Ontario Public Service. As part of Accessibility Standards Canada’s Accessible and Equitable AI Committee, he contributes to framing transparent and practical requirements for application in real-world situations to benefit people with disabilities and/or neurodivergence.

As a person with a significant disability, John considers himself at heightened risk of unwarranted surveillance and discrimination in AI-enabled systems.

  • https://www.linkedin.com/in/tojohnw/ (LinkedIn)

Anne started her career as a systems analyst graduating from Sheridan College. After working in a variety of IT positions, she became interested in accessibility and successfully obtained a master's degree in inclusive design at OCAD University.

Anne completed a PhD program at York University in the Critical Disability Studies department in zombie and disability research. She successfully defended in 2022. Zombie research is a relatively new area of research but it is a great analogy for what ails society.

Anne is a member of the Accessible and Equitable Artificial Intelligence Technical Committee and an Accessibility committee member, County of Haliburton.


Dr. Sambhavi (Sam) Chandrashekar is the global accessibility lead at D2L Corporation. She is an accessibility champion and an award-winning inclusive educator/researcher with over 15 years of strategic and operational experience in implementing technology-based accessibility projects in academia, non-profit sector and industry. Sam holds academic positions with three universities in Canada and supervises masters and doctoral research.

Sam actively influences policy and legislation as the vice-chairperson of Accessibility Standards Canada's Accessible & Equitable Artificial Intelligence Technical Committee, as the vice-chair of the Global Leadership Council of the International Association of Accessibility Professionals, and as advisory council member of the Canadian Accessibility Network.

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Making Conversations Count with Accessible Social Media

This session is for anyone who is responsible for writing or creating social media content. We’ll explore ways to build and grow online communities through inclusive, accessible content designed to capture attention and inspire action. You don’t need a big team or a big budget to make a big impact. Get ready to dig in, engage, and start thinking differently in this highly interactive and fun session.

Stream: Web Accessibility (WA); Document and Media Accessibility (DMA)
Session Level: Introductory
Speaker: Kelly Thibodeau

Speaker Biography

Kelly is a consultant, trainer and speaker who’s been making online marketing make sense for organizations, nonprofits and industry groups for over 25 years. She’s the founder and president of Squarely Accessible.

Kelly believes that content can’t be conversational until it’s inclusive. As the daughter of a mom with physical and cognitive disabilities, she’s witnessed firsthand the impact of an inaccessible world and wants to affect change to build a more inclusive society.

Squarely Accessible is a recipient of the 2022 and 2023 Manitoba Accessibility Fund Grant. Her experience in digital accessibility started in 2007 as a member of an internal Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) working group committee for a leading international financial services organization, and then as a key member of an Accessibility for Manitobans Act (AMA) working group.

Kelly’s been on LinkedIn since 2006, and has had too many browser tabs open ever since.

  • https://www.linkedin.com/in/kthibodeau/ (LinkedIn)

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Embedding Digital Accessibility and Inclusive Design Competencies into Curricula

Presenters, Karen Caldwell and Laura Perry will share proof of concept of curricula that integrate digital accessibility skills and inclusive design with discipline-specific knowledge, skills, and attitudes (KSA). As part of a Teach Access-funded research study, their project spans two semesters (AY2023-2024) of revisions to existing online graduate and faculty training courses through backward design—the ADDIE instructional design process—and design thinking. In alignment with the Teach Access mission to enable learners as builders of an inclusive world, Karen and Laura’s session shares both processes and products of their project, along with research-based frameworks, and outcomes related to learners’ KSA of accessibility and inclusive principles and connections to their discipline-specific careers.

Stream: Inclusive Design (ID); Accessible Teaching and Learning (ATL)
Session Level: Introductory
Speakers: Karen Caldwell and Laura Perry

Speaker Biographies

Karen Caldwell (she/her/hers), assistant professor in the School of Education and Professional Studies and SUNY Potsdam, is a training, development and adult learning specialist weaving cognitive science, instructional design, and digital media into her practice. Karen is exploring ways to better embed principles of accessibility and inclusion in her teaching and course content.

Karen’s applied research has led to development of her framework, Learning out Loud, based on cognitive science and adult learning principles, and her TEDx Talk, outlines some central concepts. As a non-traditional, lifelong learner, Karen models the messy, non-linear processes of learning, teaching, and researching.

  • https://www.linkedin.com/in/karen-caldwell-332a173/ (LinkedIn)
  • https://twitter.com/karenecaldwell (Twitter)

Laura J. Perry is a graduate student of instructional design and education technology at SUNY Potsdam and director of academic technology and support for the Office of Information Technology at Clarkson University. Laura’s research interests include digital accessibility and inclusion.

Laura is a champion for innovative teaching and learning with technology; she creates strategic opportunities for faculty development, builds flexible, active learning spaces, and inspires excellence in student-centered learning.

Laura’s high-performing teams at Clarkson University deliver direction and support for instructional design and educational technologies, which include learning management, lecture capture, web conferencing, classroom technology, Google/Microsoft applications, and more.

They collaborate with units across the institution to build varied learning experiences including micro-credentials, executive seminars, and graduate and undergraduate learning experiences by leaning into the Quality Matters rubric as the standard of quality for online learning.

Laura holds an M.S. in management systems from Clarkson University and a B.A. in industrial and labor relations and speech communications from SUNY Potsdam.

Laura grew up in Western New York. Her family now lives in Northern New York. They enjoy time together watching school athletic or drama events and having great Adirondack adventures.

  • https://www.linkedin.com/in/laura-j-perry/ (LinkedIn)

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Day Two Closing Capstone Session | Thursday, May 30 | 3–4:15 pm

Disability Needs to be Decolonized: Indigenous Knowledge for Anti-Ableist Discourse

Dr. Rheanna Robinson.


Although underrepresented in scholarship, Indigenous perspectives regarding disability hold significant value and are important to share.

In this talk, Dr. Rheanna Robinson draws on her personal experience and research as an Indigenous scholar living with a progressive form of multiple sclerosis to explore tensions between Indigenous and non-Indigenous views of disability. Given that Indigenous laws and cultural protocols inherently enact principles of equity and inclusion, it is important to understand how disability is a colonial and socially constructed identity. Through storytelling, and a representation of language and kinship systems, ableist systems can be disrupted and disability will be decolonized. Dr. Robinson looks forward to sharing how Indigenous knowledges have the potential to transform understandings of disability in Canada and around the world.


Dr. Rheanna Robinson would like to begin by acknowledging the territory of the Lheidli T’enneh Nation where the Prince George campus of UNBC is located and where she’s had the privilege to live, work, and learn for more than two decades. Dr. Robinson is a Métis and a member of the Manitoba Métis Federation. Raised in Smithers, BC, she has a long history in Northern British Columbia and has been involved with UNBC as a student, staff, faculty member, and volunteer since 1995. Dr. Robinson earned a bachelor of arts degree in History and First Nations Studies at UNBC in 2001, a master of arts degree in First Nations Studies at UNBC in 2007, and completed a PhD in Educational Studies at UBC in 2016.

Dr. Robinson is an Indigenous scholar who is deeply committed to the discipline of First Nations Studies. She values the role of Indigenous Knowledge within institutions of higher learning and what this knowledge offers the world. Dr. Robinson’s research interests include: Indigenous Disability Studies, Indigenous Education; Indigenous Theory, Methods, and Indigenous-led Community-based Research.


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SESSION THEMES

Accessibility Policy and Legislation (APL) – Examples of how to foster a culture of accessibility in the workplace, school, or community, innovative AODA compliance strategies, and discussing provincial, national and international developments with respect to accessibility standards.

Accessible Teaching and Learning (ATL) – Topics related to accessibility in education from a personal to global perspective, including accessibility barriers faced by post-secondary students, explorations of academic accommodation issues for students with disabilities, and strategies for supporting diverse learners.

Assistive Technology (AT) – Demonstration of assistive technologies and how they enable people with disabilities to succeed in the worlds of education and work, discussion of emerging AT trends, best practices for access technology support, etc.

Inclusive Design (ID) – Creating products and services that can be used by as wide a cross section of people as possible.

Document and Media Accessibility (DMA) – Introductory to advanced sessions and workshops on Microsoft Word and PDF document remediation techniques, creating accessible infographics, video captioning and description, etc.

Web Accessibility (WA) – Introductory to advanced web accessibility sessions and workshops, inclusive design techniques for web content creators, web accessibility compliance processes for large organizations, etc.