Welcome to Day One of the Accessibility Conference!

Please note that this page is intended for registered participants only. Session moderators will be reviewing the account information of everyone who enters each session to ensure the integrity of the event.* 

Concurrent sessions are organized by time slot below and require a Zoom account to participate. If you have not already done so, there is still time to create a free Zoom account.*

Visit our Sessions page for more detailed information about each session—including presenter biographies and learning outcomes.

Zoom sessions will open as scheduled. It's a good idea to join five minutes prior to the start time to ensure you are ready for the beginning of the session.

After each concurrent session, you will have an opportunity to join us for a virtual coffee break and network with other conference delegates. Additionally, you may meet our sponsors and visit the exhibitor booths.

Please note that you must create a Zoom account with the same email address that you used for registration so that your account information can be verified by our session moderators.

Concurrent Sessions - 9-9:45 a.m.

Thinking Outside the Box: Innovative Pathways to Employment for Job Seekers with Disabilities

Stream: Accessibility, Inclusion, and the Future of Learning and Work

Elizabeth Mohler | Ryerson

This interactive presentation will showcase a new fit-based online tool, ALiGN, which helps applicants highlight their attitudinal and behavioural fit to employers based on a profile established through objective benchmarking. The platform then matches candidates to positions based on their fit for the role. The results of the assessment may lead to employment or training supports to eventually allow a path to meaningful employment.

I will demonstrate the key features of the ALiGN tool by walking you through the types of questions presented in the Lumina Assessment.

Join: Thinking Outside the Box. 

Improving the Accessibility of Remote Higher Education: Lessons from the Pandemic and Recommendations

Stream: Accessibility, Inclusion, and the Future of Learning and Work

Jackie Pichette and Sarah Brumwell | HEQCO

The COVID-19 pandemic forced a rapid shift to remote learning in March 2020. To understand what this shift has meant for students with accessibility needs, Higher Education Quality Control of Ontario (HEQCO) surveyed more than 600 students (200 of whom have a self-reported disability), as well as disability support staff at colleges and universities in Ontario. Also interviewed, were more than 30 student representatives, community advocates, and post-secondary instructors and staff to learn what supports students, especially those with disabilities, need to succeed in a remote learning environment.

This session will present challenges and opportunities for accessible remote learning identified by our interviewees and survey respondents. It will also offer some practical, evidence-based recommendations for post-secondary faculty and staff to consider.

Join: Improving the Accessibility of Remote Higher Education. 

Global Portraits of Inclusion: An Ethnographic Account of Accessibility in Education

Stream: Accessible Teaching and Learning

Krista Greear | Blackboard Ally

How are diverse educational communities tackling barriers to inclusion and introducing Universal Design for Learning (UDL) principles into teaching and learning? During the 2019 Blackboard Ally Tour, we visited over 40 institutions around the world to learn more about the accessibility challenges they face as well as the strategies they are using to drive a culture shift toward inclusion.

In this ethnographic portrait of inclusive learning from around the world, we triangulate findings from dozens of interviews with academic leadership, instructional technologists, instructors, and students with accessibility data from Blackboard Ally to generate insights about inclusive learning.

Join: Global Portraits of Inclusion. 


Concurrent Sessions - 10-10:45 a.m.

Introducing ARRM: A Framework to Fight Accessibility Apathy

Stream: Accessibility Theory, Policy and Compliance

Jennifer Chadwick | Siteimprove

The Accessibility Roles and Responsibility Mapping (ARRM) is a framework developed by the W3C’s Education and Outreach Working Group (EOWG) to help teams break down the WCAG accessibility requirements by roles. 

The work in building the ARRM will be introduced as it has been created to make it easy for digital team members to understand what role they play in ensuring websites are accessible.

Whether you're a graphic or UX designer, developer, content writer or contributor, accessibility tester or project manager, you will learn precisely which WCAG success criteria you are responsible for and receive specific instructions and guidance for fixing accessibility issues.

The purpose of the ARRM is for teams to implement a framework to meet the guidelines for WCAG conformance.

Join: Introducing ARRM.

End-User Testing and the Use of Personas in Accessible Media Research

Stream: Web Accessibility

Jennifer Curry Jahnke | Mohawk College

The Accessible Media Production program's graduate students, in collaboration with industry partners and funded by the Ontario Centre for Excellence (OCE) grants, are completing applied research projects that explore ways for industry to meet accessibility legislation requirements.

Throughout the evidence-based, applied research process, the students are to connect and collaborate with industry experts and members of the disability community, following the philosophy of "nothing about us, without us."

Setting up end-user testing and developing personas is vital to the success of their project.

This talk will look at a few of the capstone projects, the process for setting up the end-user testing, and outcomes of the research. You will gain insight into the importance of end-user testing for accessibility as well as how to set it up.

Join: End-User Testing and the Use of Personas.

Confronting Barriers in Graduate-Level Library Research by Co-Developing Accessibility Guidelines

Stream: Accessible Teaching and Learning

Ashley Shaw | CNIB Foundation
Mark Weiler | Wilfrid Laurier University

The purpose of this presentation is to explain how educational guidelines are being developed to detect and remove barriers in library-related research for graduate-level psychology. We describe a unique collaboration between a blind graduate psychology student and a sighted psychology librarian. The purpose of the collaboration is to develop guidelines to help psychology librarians proactively remove barriers that delay student success.

You will hear a first-hand account of the challenges encountered while conducting library-based research and how they were converted into the guidelines. We will reflect on the process and outcome to this point.

Join: Confronting Barriers in Graduate-Level Library Research.


Concurrent Sessions - 11-11:45 a.m.

From Average to Inclusive: Why You Should Design for the ‘Edge Case’

Stream: Accessibility Theory, Policy and Compliance

Lee Dale | Say Yeah!

This talk illustrates the importance of extending our collective ambitions beyond "accessibility" and, instead, setting our sights on truly inclusive products and services.

We’ll contrast inclusive design with the typical approach of designing for the "average” by exploring why the average myth and avoiding edge cases makes for worse products and services.

Learn more inclusive process and business cases that get senior leadership on board with more thoughtful product and service design.

Join: From Average to Inclusive.

WordPress, Gutenberg, and Building an Accessible Site

Stream: Web Accessibility

Sandy Feldman | Accessible Web Sites

In 2019, WordPress (WP) replaced its editor with a new one called Gutenberg. Early reports are that the Gutenberg backend is not nearly as accessible as the old WP editor. WP has announced they will be updating Gutenberg to make it more accessible, but that's a work in progress. For now, people with disabilities will probably want to stick with the old editor, which is still available via the "classic mode" plugin.

Integral to the Gutenberg editor are "blocks," versatile tools for building engaging content. I will talk about picking an accessibility-ready WordPress theme, and how to use Gutenberg to create accessible content. You will discover which features work out of the box, and which need plugins, custom CSS, or hand coding.

Join: Wordpress, Gutenberg, and Building an Accessible Site.

Deciphering Essential Requirements in the Post-Secondary Setting

Stream: Accessible Teaching and Learning

Christine Zaza and Trevor Holmes | University of Waterloo

The term ‘essential requirements’ is used in Human Rights legislation to guide decisions about accommodations for persons with disabilities. In the post-secondary setting, essential requirements inform decisions about accommodations, course design and assessment at the course and program level. When our group set out to write a teaching resource explaining essential requirements, we encountered more questions than answers (e.g., what is the connection between essential and learning outcomes?).

In this "unconference" session, we will discuss several questions that challenge our understanding and application of essential requirements in post-secondary settings, and attempt to reach a common understanding of this term. 

Join: Deciphering Essential Requirements in the Post-Secondary Setting.


Concurrent Sessions - 1-1:45 p.m.

AODA Compliance Strategies in a Large Organization

Stream: Accessibility Theory, Policy and Compliance

Logan Trafford and Lucille Berlinguette-Saumure | City of Ottawa

The City of Ottawa is a large organization that faces many challenges, some unique, to comply with Section 14 of the IASR. The bilingual policy alone presents WCAG conformance challenges that other organizations may not face. And with over 200 contributors, how does it ensure that updated content remains accessible?

Yet while there are unique challenges, many will sound quite familiar; for example, individual departments run separate websites or applications. How are those being handled? And, of course, what about PDFs?

This presentation will take a close look into some of the strategies the City of Ottawa has implemented, working toward AODA compliance deadlines. From publishing procedures to corporate policy, WCAG working groups to ongoing monitoring, education and training to external vendors, we will look at what has or hasn’t worked, and identify the remaining challenges we need to overcome.

An open discussion will provide an opportunity to share similar experiences.

Join: AODA Compliance Strategies in a Large Organization.

How to Build a Modern and Accessible Infographic for the Web

Stream: Web Accessibility

Andre LeFort | AODA Online & tbk

In 2018 and 2019, AODA Online and tbk produced a series of infographics that depicted technology research projects that they conducted internally: The State of Web Accessibility in Ontario (2018 & 2019), The State of Content Management Systems in Ontario (2019) and The State of E-Commerce in Ontario (2019).

These projects are noteworthy from the vantage point of web accessibility because all the infographics were built to comply with WCAG 2.0 Level AA, a feat that is very uncommon in the industry when websites publish infographics.

This presentation will demonstrate the approach we took to deliver accessible infographic assets. By demonstrating our approach, we will identify processes, tools, and considerations we leveraged to complete the successful projects.

It’s our aim that through this discussion you will be empowered with an approach for creating rich, data-dense infographics that are accessible.

Join: How to Build a Modern and Accessible Infographic.

Exclusionary Inclusion?: The Realities of Academic Accommodation

Stream: Accessible Teaching and Learning

Lindsay Johnstone | Carleton University

This presentation reviews new research conducted at Carleton University in 2019-2020 focusing on both students who identify as having invisible physical chronic conditions as well as providers of accommodation.

Interviews reveal students’ and staff experiences of the following:

  • Academic accommodations services
  • The required self-identifying as disabled
  • Meanings of disabled identity and stigma
  • The experience of on-going questioning of the legitimacy of the invisible disability
  • Academic accommodations and whether these actually "level the playing field”
  • What it’s like from students’ perspectives to live and study at university when living with invisible physical chronic condition(s)

Questions are encouraged.

Join: Exlusionary Inclusion.


Concurrent Sessions - 2-2:45 p.m.

Disabling Effects of Inclusive Policy-Making

Stream: Accessibility Theory, Policy and Compliance

Chloée C. Godin-Jacques | Queen's University

This session examines how intersectionality in the lived experiences of disabled persons is typically not considered during decision-making and policymaking processes, notably in the CRPD and its OP-CRPD.

You will define the concept of "intersectionality" and describe its presence in the daily lives of disabled persons. We will discuss contemporary debates pertaining to inclusivity. We will then illustrate the marginalization and oppression of disabled persons within the application of influential policies, and how they are being perceived by policymakers and other stakeholders.

The ultimate goal of this session is to recognize how disability policies are influenced by history, marginalization, and scholarship.

Join: Disabling Effects of Inclusive Policy-Making.

Integrating an Accessibility Framework to Improve the WCAG Compliance Process 

Stream: Web Accessibility

Juan Olarte | My MDS Digital

This session explains the processes and artifacts required to integrate an Accessibility Framework (AF) within a project’s development life cycle. I will explain how accessibility can be introduced into activities such as project requirement gathering, user experience, UI design, usability, development and testing, while taking into consideration the business goals and objectives of the group managing the project, particularly when the business needs and technologies keep changing as a result of iterative improvements.

Join: Integrating an Accessibility Framework.

How Universal Design for Learning (UDL) Enhances Educational Accessibility for Diverse Students

Stream: Accessible Teaching and Learning

Lisa Kovac | Occupational Safety Group (OSG)

In light of new AODA legislation in the upcoming Education Standard, educators will soon be required to implement new ways of making school accessible for learners with diverse abilities.

This presentation will outline the concept of universal design for learning (UDL) and offer practical steps educators can follow to plan and teach lessons that students of all abilities can access. In particular, I will touch on how information technology can lend itself to the creation of a policy of universal design, and how this policy, in turn, can reduce siloed thinking and enhance disability awareness.

Join: How Universal Design for Learning Enhances Educational Accessibility.


Panel Presentation - 3-4:30 p.m.

Accessibility, Inclusion, and the Future of Learning and Work

Jutta Treviranus, Director and Founder of the Inclusive Design Research Centre and the Inclusive Design Institute | OCAD University
Deborah Stienstra, Director, Live Work Well Research Centre | University of Guelph
Dr. Mahadeo A. Sukhai, PhD., Director of Research and Chief Inclusion & Accessibility Officer | IDEA Team Canadian National Institute for the Blind (CNIB)

Join: Panel Presentation.

Technical Support


Crawford Technologies logo.

Crawford Technologies is a provider of software Solutions and services for document accessibility, output management, enterprise content management, and archiving. 

Crawford Technologies is an award-winning, global provider of software solutions and services that help enterprises optimize and improve the secure and accessible delivery, storage and presentment of their customer communications.

Enter the Crawford Technologies booth.

D2L logo.

Office Hours: 11:45 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. 

Join us during our office hours to learn more about D2L’s Brightspace Platform and be entered to win a prize!

D2L develops software that makes the learning experience better. Our cloud-based platform is easy to use, flexible, and smart. With Brightspace, schools and companies can personalize the learning experience to deliver real results. Brightspace is used by learners in higher education, K-12, and the corporate sector, including the Fortune 1000.

Enter the D2L booth.

CommonLook logo.

CommonLook, a leader in PDF accessibility, provides software and professional services to help organizations achieve compliance with document accessibility standards, including WCAG, PDF/UA and Section 508.

Global clients are served through offices in Arlington, VA; Ottawa, Canada; and Melbourne, Australia. Customers include government departments and agencies, institutes of higher education, financial and healthcare enterprises, and major corporations.

Enter the CommonLook booth.