Accessible Election Campaigns

January 18, 2011

Member of Parliament
House of Commons
Ottawa, ON
K1A 0A6

Re: Accessible Election Campaigns

Dear Sir/Madam:

While a Federal Election has not been called, Canada nevertheless is moving toward an election in the next two years, and, prior to the Election, the Council of Canadians with Disabilities (CCD) is endeavoring to ensure that both potential candidates and Canada's national political parties are aware of the importance of accessible election campaigns to Canadian voters with disabilities. CCD is a national human rights organization of people with disabilities, dedicated to the creation of an accessible and inclusive Canada.

Candidates and political parties have a responsibility to conduct accessible campaigns that are completely responsive to the needs of persons with disabilities. In 2010 Canada ratified the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which upholds the civil rights of people with disabilities. Article 29 addresses participation in political and public life. The article states, "States Parties shall guarantee to persons with disabilities political rights and the opportunity to enjoy them on an equal basis with others and shall undertake: (a) To ensure that persons with disabilities can effectively and fully participate in political and public life on an equal basis with others…"

Some examples of accessibility features that are demanded in an accessible campaign include, but are not limited to:

  • Print materials available in alternate media (Braille, tape, computer disk) 
  • ASL interpretation at public meetings 
  • Campaign information in plain language 
  • Offices equipped with TTYs 
  • Accessible web sites 
  • Offices and meetings located in barrier free premises, where there is adequate designated parking for people with disabilities 
  • Advertising of the availability of disability-related supports at campaign events 
  • Captioning and video description included in televised advertising for candidates 
  • If candidates provide transportation to the polls, accessible transportation should also be made available to voters.

Within the disability community, there are experts on universal design who would be willing to consult with candidates on how to run an accessible campaign. CCD could enable contact between these experts and candidates on request.

During a federal election, the various political parties and candidates present to the electorate their plans for Canada. Canadians with disabilities must have equal access to election campaign information and events in order to be informed voters. Through CCD, people with disabilities have worked hard to have our rights protected and we have worked equally hard to have the opportunity to fulfill our responsibilities as citizens in a democratic society. We need election candidates to assist us in our efforts and ensure they run accessible and inclusive campaigns.

Representatives of CCD would be willing to meet with you to discuss accessible campaigning.


Tony Dolan


President of Conservative Party
President of NDP
President of Liberal Party
President of the Bloc Quebecois