Manitoba Policy on Access to Government (MPAG)

7. Accessibility Tools

7. a) Template for Active Offer
7. b) Glossary of Accommodations
7. c) Manitoba Suppliers of Accommodation Services
7. d) Checklist for the Development of Publications in Alternate Formats
7. e) Checklist for Planning Accessible Events
7. f) Chairperson & Presenter Guidelines
7. g) Words with Dignity



7. a) Government invites requests for accommodations through “the active offer.”  When addressing an individual with a disability, a service provider may ask if he or she requires any accommodations.  When addressing the public at large, the service provider should invite requests for disability accommodations.  For example, all printed documents should state in legible font (i.e. black, 14 Arial) on either the front or back cover, or with contact information:

Available in alternate formats, upon request.

7. b) Glossary of Accommodations

Active Offer
The “active offer” must appear on the inside front cover or back page of all printed information designated for the public.  The “active offer” states that the information is available in alternate formats upon request.

The term “active offer” is sometimes used generically to describe any steps used to promote access or participation by pro-actively offering alternate formats; advertising disability accommodations at events; and, providing respectful and courteous customer service.       

Alternate Formats
Alternate (or multiple) formats are other ways of publishing information beyond traditional printing.  Some formats can be used by everyone while others are designed to address specific user needs.  Examples of alternate formats are large print, electronic text, and Braille.

Audio Cassette (used rarely)
Audio cassettes are recorded devices that provide an alternative sound reproduction for people who have visual needs and others who are unable to read print.  Labels must be prepared in large print or Braille.

Braille Transcription
Braille is an alternative format for people who are blind or deaf-blind and is produced with Braille transcription software. This format uses a combination of tangible dots and letters that represent characters and letters which are then read by touch.             

Closed Captioning
Closed captioning refers to text hidden within the lines used to create the television picture and cannot be seen unless decoded.  Much like subtitles, the decoded text appears at the bottom of the screen.

Communication Access Real Time Translation (CART)
CART involves a stenographer who types all spoken word into a computer that then projects the text onto a large screen. This allows all meeting participants to follow oral presentations.

CD-ROMs and DVDs are used with computer synthetic voice technology (screen reading software) that enable people who are blind, have low vision or have learning disabilities to hear spoken verbatim translation of what others see on the monitor.  CDs and DVDs are used much more commonly than audio cassettes.  Disks must be labelled in large print and Braille.       

Computerized Note-takers (also known as Print Interpreters)
Computerized note-taking is a support service requested by persons who are deaf and hard-of-hearing who prefer the print mode for their communication and participation needs.  A computerized note-taker summarizes what is spoken (not verbatim), while maintaining accuracy, the spirit and intent of the speaker.  Note-takers use a notebook or laptop computer connected to an overhead screen and/or TV. 

Descriptive Video Service
Descriptive video service (DVS) provides descriptive narration of key elements, such as the action, characters, locations, costumes, and sets, without interfering with dialog or sound effects. Descriptive video service makes television programs, feature films, home videos and other visual media accessible to people with visual needs.

Disability Access Coordinator
A Disability Access Co-ordinator is an individual within a provincial department or designated administrative body who has specific responsibilities regarding the Manitoba Policy on Access to Government (MAPG).  The primary role is to co-ordinate the implementation of the policy so that people with disabilities are effectively accommodated in their interactions with government departments or administrative bodies.

Guide Dog/Service Animal
Guide dogs have traditionally been used by people who are visually impaired. Service dogs can be used by other people who have accommodation needs, like individuals with autism.  Increasingly, service animals other than dogs are also being used.

Induction Loop Systems (rarely used)
Induction loop systems are used in large group areas. A looped wire is permanently installed (often under a carpet) and connects to the microphone used by the speaker.  The person talking into the microphone creates a current in the wire, which makes an electromagnetic field in the room when the listener switches the hearing aid to the “T” (telecoil/telephone). Individual systems can also be used by laying a wire loop on the floor around the listener and the speaker.

Infrared Systems (rarely used)
Infrared systems are used in large area settings.  Sound is transmitted using infrared light waves.  The infrared system transmitter sends the signal to the listener’s receiver, which can be adjusted to a desired volume.  

Interveners are professional service providers who communicate auditory and visual information to persons who are deaf-blind using a variety of methods, depending on what works best for the individual.  These include visual sign language, tactile sign language, tactile finger spelling, Braille and large print notes.

Large Print  
Alternative formats can be created for people who have low vision by using word processing software with a font size that is 14-point Arial or larger upon request. Large print can easily be accomplished in-house or out-sourced to a vendor.

Open Captioning
This is text that appears on the television screen at all times, without decoding.

Oral Interpreters
Some persons with hearing-related accommodation needs may not use sign language and may rely on speech (lip) reading.  At larger meetings and conferences, it is difficult to be positioned in front of all speakers in order to speech read.  In those cases, the services of an oral interpreter, whose speech is read, may be requested.

Personal Care Attendant
Personal care attendants assist persons with disabilities with care of their physical needs.  Tasks may include assistance with dressing, management of bodily functions, and eating.

Print Handicap
Print handicap refers to people who cannot read print efficiently due to sensory, physical, neural or learning disabilities, or other factors. 

Reasonable Accommodation
An accommodation is reasonable when there is an adequate process of accommodation and the effort and measures taken are sufficient to eliminate or reduce discrimination.  Reasonable accommodation often involves changing the methods of doing something in ways that are typically simple and inexpensive. Reasonable accommodations take into account the needs of persons or groups who have protected characteristics under Manitoba’s Human Rights Code, such as a disability.  The accommodation must be provided in a manner that is respectful of the dignity of the person or group requiring it. 

Sign Language Interpreters
An interpreter’s service is necessary wherever clear communication is required between individuals who are Deaf and individuals who hear but don’t know how to sign.  It is recommended that a qualified interpreter be available at booths at events, meetings or presentations attended by people with hearing disabilities.

TTY/TDD (Tele-typewriters/Telecommunication Device for the Deaf)

This device is used with a regular telephone.  Messages are typed on a keyboard and then transmitted via telephone wires to a receptor screen or printer at the other end.

7. c) Manitoba Suppliers of Accommodation Services

Please note that some changes may occur.
American Sign Language Interpreter Services, Computerized Note-Takers/ Captionists and Interveners:

Real Time Captioning Services
Darcia Hewak
51 Horrox Bay
Winnipeg MB  R2V 4V7
Phone:  1-204-336-0498

Equality Communications Centre of Excellence (ECCOE)
200 – One Forks Market Road
Winnipeg MB  R3C 4L8
Contact Person:  Candy Badger, Coordinator 
Phone: (204) 926-3271
Emergencies: (204) - 475-6332
Need 2 to 4 weeks notice prior to event.

Dynamic Dots Braille Consultant
744 Lindsey Street
Winnipeg MB  R3N 1H7
Phone:  204-488-7048, Cell:  204-792-1800, Fax:  204-489-8900

For Braille and other alternate formats including audio format and e-text:
T-Base Communications
19 Main Street
Ottawa ON  K1S 1A9
Contact Person:  Jeff Jullion
Phone:  1-613-236-0866, ext. 2330;

For Brailed Documentation Formats:
Canadian National Institute for the Blind (CNIB)
Toronto, Ontario
Will need 3 weeks in advance to send documents. A courier must be requested to deliver documents directly to original sender.

Personal Care Attendant Bookings:
Independent Living Resource Centre, (ILRC)
Portage Place Mall
Suite 311A - 393 Portage Avenue
Winnipeg MB   R3B 3H6
Contact Person:  Heidi Helsten, Phone:  947-0194
May need 2 to 4 weeks notice for bookings.

Word for Word
Phone: (204) 995-0814

7. d) Checklist for the Development of Publications in Alternate Formats





Use plain language: easier for all readers to understand.




Produce a master document in a text template (not PDF) as the basis for all other formats. Include text description of photos or charts. 


Budget will vary according to the needs of the users.

Keep a master document for future large print or text format requests.  The resources section of this manual also has website links to suppliers.




Include the “active offer” on all publications:  “Available in alternate formats upon request.” 




7. e) Checklist for Planning Accessible Events




Event Coordination and Facility Assessment

Designate event coordinator.



Visit facility prior to event – assess accessibility and services available.



Check that wheelchair access is near main building entrance.



Check available accessible parking, Handi-Transit drop off site, and proximity to public transportation.



Check that facility entrance is equipped with automatic door.



Check that public elevators have accessible control panel buttons and audio floor indicators.



Check that washrooms are accessible and  close to meeting rooms.



Check for accessible eating facilities.




Check for Braille or large print menus for onsite restaurants.



Check that public telephones are at an accessible height.



Ask if participants’ have dietary requirements in those instances where meals will be served.


Plan in advance

Create timeline for scheduling service providers (ASL interpreters, attendants, etc.).



Promote scent-free environments by requesting presenters and participants in advance to refrain from using strongly scented toiletries.


Prepare event agenda or program

Include regular breaks for participants, service providers and guide/service dogs (approximately 20 to 30 minute health break and a 90-minute lunch break.).


Plan emergency procedures

Review procedures with event planners, including emergency exit routes in the early planning stages with the facility manager.



Plan for ways to effectively communicate directions in case of an emergency.



Review these plans with the event chair person or Master of Ceremonies are in place. 


Plan event publicity

Publicize events in alternate media formats (print, email, web page, radio, etc) using universal disability access symbols.  



Contact disability community organizations to share information with their memberships.



Advertise confirmed access features of the event (i.e. ASL available).



Indicate accommodations are available upon request and provide deadline on publicity materials.


Prepare on-site

Prepare event signage using large print and contrasting colours for directions to meeting rooms, washrooms, emergency exits, participant nameplates and name tags.



Check that sidewalks leading to facility entrances are clear of ice and snow.


Prepare meeting rooms

Check for an accessible path to the meeting room.



Provide optimal seating for persons with seeing- or hearing-related needs, including proximity to sign language interpreters, captioning, and visual presentations.



Provide seating that is easily moveable for persons using wheelchairs, service dogs and service providers.



Tape down electric cords, etc. lying on the floor so they do not present a hazard.



If interaction is anticipated between presenters and audience members, ensure a roving microphone is available, and assign someone to take it directly to participants who wish to speak.



Ensure availability of adequate lighting for participants and speakers at the podium.


Additional Considerations:

  • Make interpreters available so all persons can participate in networking opportunities such as receptions, dinners, or other activities.
  • Request advance copies of presentation materials from speakers for sign and simultaneous language interpreters, plain language translators, note-takers and captionists.

7. f) Chairperson & Presenter Guidelines
Event chairpersons and presenters set the tone for events. The following guidelines help ensure that events are accessible and inclusive:

  • Ask all participants to introduce themselves at the outset of the meeting and to identify themselves before speaking throughout the meeting for the benefit of participants with visual-related needs.
  • Inform participants of the nearest accessible washroom facilities, public phones, elevators and emergency exits.
  • Remind participants to use microphones during presentations and when asking questions from the floor.
  • Briefly describe the content of the agenda and handout materials.
  • Clearly indicate changes in topics, and times for health breaks and adjournments during the course of the event.
  • Depending on the nature of the meeting (i.e. legal), advise participants that interpreters will say everything that is signed, and sign everything that is said.  In other words, interpreters will not add words, edit or censor a conversation.
  • Remind participants that the event is scent-free.
  • Use plain language, speaking clearly and facing the audience during presentation. 
  • Use Power Point presentations materials that are concise and clear. Describe any pictorials, graphics, charts or graphs used in Power Points so persons with visual needs do not miss any relevant content to the presentation.
Use video material that is captioned and includes descriptive narration format.

7. g) Words with Dignity

Examples of appropriate words to use when referring to persons with disabilities can be found at