Accessible procurement

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Goal

Contribute to the government’s social and economic objectives by ensuring the goods and services purchased are accessible by design, where possible, so that Canadians with disabilities can use them without adaptation.

Description

Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC) is developing guidelines to ensure that procurement opportunities in the future will have accessibility criteria incorporated, and looks forward to working with suppliers to contribute to a barrier-free Canada.

Status

In progress. PSPC is working on various initiatives to apply accessibility requirements in procurement, which means ensuring that the goods and services the government buys are accessible and usable by everyone, including persons with disabilities.

Achievements to Date

Activities Underway

The APRC is undertaking a number of initiatives to further support the Government of Canada in achieving accessible procurement including:

Video gallery: Incorporating accessibility into the procurement process

PSPC continues to consider international best practices in accessible procurement and is collaborating with persons with disabilities, our government partners and stakeholders.

Learn more about how we are incorporating accessibility in the goods and services we purchase by watching these videos developed by the APRC.

The Accessible Canada Act and Government Procurement

The Accessible Canada Act was passed in June 2019. It is meant to remove barriers to accessibility in all areas of federal jurisdiction. What does accessible procurement mean? Watch to learn more.

Transcript for: The Accessible Canada Act and Government Procurement

Start of video.

[Music plays.]

[Image: green and grey lines run across the screen.]

(Text on screen: Public Services and Procurement Canada.)

(Image: the lines become blue. They enlarge and envelop the screen. Against the blue background, an animated manila folder and documents gather in a pile. The top document reads “Accessible Canada Act”.)

[Text on screen: The Accessible Canada Act was passed in June 2019.]

The Accessible Canada Act was passed in June 2019. It is meant to remove and prevent barriers to accessibility in all areas of federal jurisdiction.

[Image: The background changes to green. A white line draws an arc across the screen. The number seven appears in the middle. Icons that represent each area, as well as that area’s name, appear onscreen and are arranged along the arc.]

The Act specifically identifies seven areas for addressing accessibility: Employment, Communications, Procurement of goods, services and facilities, Information and communications technology, The built environment, Program and service design and delivery, and Transportation.

(Image: The icons and the oval disappear. In large white text the word “Accessibility” appears. An animated white ball rolls along a track. The ball comes to a halt as a chasm appears in the track.)

Accessibility is about an interaction between a person and their environment. And a person with an impairment experiences disability when they are faced with a barrier.

[Image: From the chasm arises a wall, further blocking the ball’s path. On the wall, in white text, appears the impairments as the narrator lists them.]

A barrier is anything that hinders the full and equal participation in society of persons with a physical, mental, intellectual, learning, communication or sensory impairment or a functional limitation.

[Image: The wall and the ball fade away. A series of grey dots appear on screen, arranged in the shape of a stylized map of Canada. Animated high-rise buildings arise at various locations across the map.]

The Accessible Canada Act means that PSPC must, as the largest public buyer of goods and services in the country, assure Accessible Procurement. What does Accessible Procurement mean?

[Image: An animated office chair appears on the left side of the screen. White text appears to the right. With each section the narrator announces, the relevant text fades and the circle moves to the other side of the screen.]

It means we should always consider accessibility requirements for all procurements.

[Image: The icon changes to a checklist, and then to a desktop computer.]

Include accessibility criteria as part of the specifications, unless not applicable. Ensure documentation is on file confirming accessibility has been considered.

(Image: Bright yellow fills the screen. A newspaper graphic with a headline reading “Breaking News” is on the left of screen.)

In October 2019, the new accessibility requirements of the Treasury Board Contracting Policy came into effect.

(Image: An animation of a mouse cursor navigating a website on a screen. The web page changes to a checklist with the heading “Accessibility Consideration” with the options: Applicable, Not Applicable, Not Available and Other Justification. The cursor moves across the options and selects “Applicable”.)

It requires client departments to include accessibility when they buy on behalf of the Government of Canada. It says that client departments have to include accessibility criteria when specifying requirements for good and services and ensure that deliverables incorporate accessibility features.

[Image: A white circle hovers behind a computer at a desk. A single row of shelves is mounted above the circle. The computer and desk both fade away as a new computer and a standing desk appear, and three new sets of shelves appear to the right. White text appears above the circle: “Inclusive by Design and Accessible by Default”.]

It means developing inclusive and accessible environments from the start rather than seeking accommodations after the fact. We have to be inclusive by design and accessible by default.

[Image: On the computer screen, the circle watches the previous animation of the white ball on the track approaching the rising wall.]

We must work to prevent barriers, provide accessible programs and services to Canadians and create inclusive workplaces for public servants.

[Image: The animation changes to text of the Treasury Board Secretariat (TBS) contracting policy as the narrator reads it out. A contract icon sits next to the text.]

The TBS contracting policy also states that if a department determines that is not appropriate to include accessibility criteria as part of commodity specifications, or if it is unable to obtain goods or services that comply, the client or technical authority must ensure that clear justification is on file.

[Image: The screen fades away. A white circle appears against a blue-grey background.]

Why are these changes important?

(Image: An animated manila folder and stack of documents fall into a pile. The header of the top document reads, “Canadian Survey on Disability”. It changes to a three-dimensional pie chart, one segment of it blue.)

Because persons with a disability are your coworkers and your clients. According to the Canadian Survey on Disability conducted by Statistics Canada, an estimated one in five Canadians, approximately 6.2 million people, aged 15 years and over reported having at least one disability.

[Image: Two pie charts appear, the top one displaying 24% and the bottom one 20%.]

24% of women and 20% of men reported having at least one disability.

(Text on screen: People who have reported having at least one disability.)

[Image: a white icons of people appears, coloured green from the bottom up, with the coloured section representing the relevant percentage of those with at least one disability for each age group.]

13% of youth aged 15 to 24, 20% of adults aged 25 to 64 years and 38% of seniors aged 65 years and over reported having at least one disability.

(Text on screen: Temporary Disabilities.)

[Image: Small, white spheres appear, each with a set of arms. These represent people with temporary disabilities. One ball has a set of crutches while another sits in a wheelchair.]

Even those of us who do not report having a disability can expect to experience a temporary or mild disability at some point in our lives.

[Image: Three other balls have small, pulsing auras, emanating from their hands, ears and brain. As the narrator highlights such temporary disabilities, the various sphere people are brought to the forefront of the screen.]

We could find ourselves on crutches, develop arthritis or experience an episodic disability. In thinking about accessibility we are potentially thinking about every Canadian at some point in their life.

(Text on screen: The four most commonly reported disability types.)

[Image: the text of each disability type appears, next to a small icon that represents each disability.]

The four most commonly reported disability types are: Pain related, Flexibility, Mobility, Mental health related.

(Text on screen: Other disability types.)

[Image: Text outlining each disability type appears alongside a small icon representing the relevant disability.]

Other disability types include: Seeing, Hearing, Dexterity, Learning, Memory and Developmental.

[Image: The text and icons disappear. The background changes to a dark blue. A white circle with hands holds up yellow signs with each of the narrator’s points listed.]

Going forward it is always important to remember: To be clear about end users’ accessibility requirements. That including accessibility from the beginning can cost less than adapting, modifying or replacing a product or service later on. That we should never assume accessibility does not apply.

(Image: The circle fades away. An animated desktop monitor appears on screen. Bright bars of colour appear on the screen. This is followed by sample fonts of varying sizes and weights. Then, a lightning bolt icon sits inside a prohibition sign. Finally, an office scene with a blue bar across the bottom, which encases the text: “Closed Captioning”.)

As example, in producing this video a range of creative attributes were taken into consideration: Colours with good contrast were utilized. Font sizes and styles were reviewed. Fast flashing content was avoided. Closed captioning was implemented and a text-based transcription of the video was made available. 

[Image: An email address appears onscreen: tpsgc.pacraaccessible-apaccessibleprc.pwgsc@tpsgc-pwgsc.gc.ca.]

Please contact the Accessible Procurement Resource Centre through their general mailbox for any questions on accessible procurement.

(Text on screen: Check us out, Facebook: /PSPC.SPAC, Instagram: @pspc_spac, Twitter: @pspc_spac, YouTube: /PWGSCanada.)

[Image: Public Services and Procurement Canada signature with Canadian flag.]

[Music stops.]

(Canada Wordmark.)

End of video.

What does it mean to consider accessibility in government procurement

What does accessible procurement mean and how do we give meaningful consideration to accessibility when specifying requirements in the goods and services we procure? Public Services and Procurement Canada has developed guidance on how to meet new obligations regarding the consideration of accessibility in procurement. Watch to learn more.

Transcript for: What does it mean to consider accessibility in government procurement?

Start of video.

[Music plays.]

What does it mean to consider accessibility in government procurement?

[An animated video starts with a white sphere on a blue background]

(Text on screen: What does it mean to consider accessibility in government procurement?)

(Image: The background changes to pink and shows a series of spheres on a surface, one of which is in a chasm in the surface. The word 'Accessibility' appears below this sphere to raise it up to the level of the other spheres.

Accessibility is about enabling everyone to fully participate in society without barriers.

[Image: A white sphere appears below the text “Roles and Responsibilities”.]

In this video, we'll talk about the roles and responsibilities of those who make purchases on behalf of the Government of Canada.

[Image: A sphere sits at a desk in a pink office.]

This could be someone who is making the purchase themselves, or someone who engages a contracting officer to make the purchase for them.

(Text appears above the scene: Accessible procurement applies to all procurements from routine purchases. Acquisition card to buy office supplies. Contract for multi-year projects.

Accessible procurement applies to all procurements from routine purchases, such as using an acquisition card to buy office supplies, to using a contract for multi-year projects.

(Image: A sphere reads a document which is titled: “Treasury Board Contracting Policy”.

As of October 2019, the accessibility requirements of the Treasury Board Contracting Policy came into effect.

(Image: A sphere sits in an office, which has a “Consider Accessibility” poster on the wall. A series of icons pop up near the poster, depicting a clipboard with a survey, a naval ship, a laptop, a microscope, and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) dress uniform.

Departments now have to consider accessibility whenever they buy on behalf of the Government of Canada.

(Image: Icons representing each of Goods, Services and Facilities appear onscreen, connected to the phrase “Accessibility Criteria”.)

This means that you have to include accessibility criteria when specifying requirements for goods, services and facilities, and ensure that deliverables incorporate accessibility features where appropriate.

(Text on screen: Justification must be on file.)

[Image: A large green check mark appears below the text.]

A clear justification must be on file when accessibility criteria are not included in the procurement.

(The text “Consider Accessibility” appears on a background of question marks. On a yellow background, the text “End Users” is surrounded by a series of spheres depicting different users, including a sphere in a wheelchair, a sphere with a cardiogram icon on it and a sphere with a walking stick.)

What does it mean to consider accessibility? Accessibility focuses on end users, and how they will interact with the goods, services and facilities you are procuring.

[Image: The spheres move to the left side of the screen.]

(Text appears: Not a one-size fits all approach. Give meaningful consideration to accessibility. Identify the barriers faced by your end-users.)

This is not a one-size fits all approach. There's no one answer that will fit everything we buy. You have to give meaningful consideration to accessibility by identifying the barriers faced by your end users.

(Image: A group of spheres meet in a conference room, and a pair of spheres meet in an office. Above these scenes appears the text “Don't assume that accessibility does not apply”. A spotlight illuminates and focuses in on one of the spheres in the conference room.)

Often, this means consulting your clients, your co-workers, or both. Don't assume that accessibility does not apply. People may be uncomfortable disclosing their impairments because of the stigma associated with disability or because of the intimate nature of their conditions.

(Image: A sphere comes to an office marked “Network for Persons with Disabilities”, and meets with another sphere.)

If none of your current co-workers or employees have accessibility requirements, you could consult with the network for persons with disabilities within your department.

[Image: In a room, a sphere with crutches stands at a microphone on a stage. In the audience are other spheres, some with visible conditions.]

If your end user is the general public, you could again consult with the network for persons with disabilities, or consult with disability advocacy groups.

[Image: a computer screen.]

(Text on screen: the words “The Challenge” appear. A series of bullet points follow: “Disability is diverse; All users' requirements are taken into consideration; Focus on ensuring adaptability and flexibility in goods and services procured to support an accessible workplace and accessible programs and services”.)

It can be very challenging to find a commodity that truly fulfils the needs of everyone, because disability is diverse. But when all users' requirements are taken into consideration, we can meet the needs of the broadest spectrum of users. Our focus should be on ensuring adaptability and flexibility in goods and services procured to support an accessible workplace and accessible programs and services. It is also easier to make individual workplace accommodations when required if an adaptable framework is in place.

(Image: A sphere reads a document which is titled: “Accessibility Standards”.)

Some standards for accessibility already exist. You could leverage those standards, or portions of them, in your requirements as a starting point.

(Image: From behind this document appears another, titled: “The Principles of Universal Design”. Bullet points on the document: “Equitable Use, Flexibility in Use, Simple and Intuitive Use, Perceptible Information, Tolerance for Error, Low Physical Effort, Size and Space for Approach and Use”.)

You might also find it helpful to refer to the principles of universal design. These principles can help identify accessibility criteria for your goods, services and facilities. Universally designed products are all around us. You've probably used them without even realising it.

(Image: “Common Sense” appears on a green background. This is replaced by the word “Leverage”, with a series of three icons: a sphere in front of a microphone, a document titled “Accessibility Standards” and a logo representing the universal design principles.)

In general, a common sense approach should be applied. Leverage end user consultations, existing accessibility standards and universal design principles to ensure that the goods and services being procured are inclusive by design and accessible by default.

[Image: A chart shows two line graphs over time: a falling red costs line and a rising blue flexibility line. The graphs intersect, and costs” continues to fall and flexibility” continues to rise.]

This reduces costs in the long run as flexibility is built into the design at the outset.

[Image: A sphere in an office has a question mark in a thought bubble beside it.]

You may have given meaningful consideration to accessibility, but still find that you're unable to include accessibility criteria in your specifications. This is when you would have to complete the justification form.

[Image: A form appears with a series of three check boxes.]

(Text on screen: Justification to Accessibility Consideration. I have considered accessibility specifications. Accessibility criteria are not included as they are: Not Applicable (accessibility does not apply to this commodity, for example fuel, lubricants, bandwidth), Not Available (accessible goods or services are not available on the market), Other.)

Accessibility might not be applicable for the goods or services you're buying, like fuel. This is because the accessibility features would be in the equipment, like the vehicles, and not in the fuel itself. In other cases, accessible goods or services might not be available on the market. There could also be other reasons why accessibility is not included, and a written rationale outlining the reason would need to be kept in the procurement file.

(Image: A series of spheres appear under the text: “Promoting Accessibility”. Some are plain white spheres, some are pink or green or other colours, and others have visible conditions.)

Through accessible procurement, the Government of Canada is removing and preventing barriers to equitable participation for more than 6 million people with disabilities in Canada, who are our colleagues in the public service or Canadians accessing government programs and services.

[Image: Against a black background, white text appears: tpsgc.pacraaccessible-apaccessibleprc.pwgsc@tpsgc-pwgsc.gc.ca.]

Please contact the Accessible Procurement Resource Centre through their general mailbox for any questions on accessible procurement.

[Image: A series of three social media icons appear onscreen with username information for each. Facebook: /PSPC.SPAC. Twitter: @pspc_spac. LinkedIn: /company/pwgsc.]

[Image: A Canadian flag next to text: “Public Services and Procurement Canada, Services publics et Approvisionnement Canada”. Logo: Government of Canada, featuring the word Canada and a billowing Canadian flag over the final A.]

[Music stops.]

End of video.

Ideation Day

The purpose of the video is to give everyone a sneak peek into the APRC Ideation Day which was held on March 10th, 2020 at the Museum of Nature in Ottawa. The day brought together procurement officers, policy analysts, advocates, and persons with disabilities to discuss the barriers and challenges the Government of Canada faces when including accessibility in the procurement process. The main goal of the event was to develop several different problem statements to present to ISC.

The Ideation Day was a resounding success and the APRC has been able to use the information gathered to develop several problem statements.

Transcript for: Ideation Day

Start of video

[Music plays]

(Text on screen: Public Services and Procurement Canada)

(Text on screen: This footage was recorded prior to the Government of Canada’s physical distancing guidelines. Canadians are encouraged to continue to follow COVID-19 safety guidelines.)

[Image of workshop audience listening to host speaker.]

[Shot of Michael Conway speaking in front of a window]

(Text on screen:Associate Director, Accessible Procurement Resource Centre, Public Services and Procurement Canada.)

My name is Mike Conway. I'm the Associate Director responsible for Strategic Policy Sector, and more specifically the Accessible Procurement Resource Centre, with the department of Public Services and Procurement Canada.

[Image of workshop audience watching a video presentation.]

[Shot of Michael Conway speaking.]

[Shot of workshop audience listening to a guest speaker.]

We brought together today a group of individuals from across government to explore notions around accessibility and procurement.

[Shot of an audience member using a braille captioning device.]

[Shot of an audience member nodding their head.]

[Shot of Michael Conway speaking.]

[Shot of an audience member writing notes.]

[Shot of audience members having a discussion.]

Our objective today is to get a better understanding from various perspectives on where barriers exist within procurement, whether it be from the supplier’s perspective, the perspective of buyers or end-users, with the hope ultimately of articulating a challenge statement to put forward to suppliers or innovators in Canada, to come up with innovative solutions which would help improve government services for persons with disabilities.

[Shot of an audience member reading a text handout on accessibility statistics.]

[Graphic animation appears, illustrating the number of Canadians living with a disability.]

(Text: 22% of Canadians.)

[Shot of Michael Conway speaking.]

[Shot of workshop organizer attaching a blank piece of poster paper to the wall with the title ‘Challenge / Barriers’ written at the top.]

[Shot of an audience member writing words on a post-it-note.]

[Shot of an audience member sticking a post-it-note to the poster that is attached to the wall.]

[Shot of an audience member reading poster covered with post-it notes.]

We know that upwards of 6 million Canadians have identified as having a disability of some form or another, whether that be visible, invisible, temporary or permanent, and it is incumbent upon us to remove as many barriers as possible so that they can then become fully participated and included in Canadian society.

[Shot of audience members discussing the poster’s content.]

[Shot of Michael Conway speaking.]

[Shot of Michael Conway speaking in front of audience members.]

I'm very passionate about this subject. I personally have been working with the department of Public Services and Procurement Canada for upwards of 19 years, trying to improve outcomes related to the public procurement.

[Shot of Michael Conway speaking.]

[Shot of laptop with live captions of the guest speaker’s presentation.]

[Shot of guest speaker holding up a mobile phone into the air.]

[Shot of Michael Conway speaking.]

I recognized very fully that the Government of Canada disposes of a powerful lever in trying to shift market supply in terms of the goods and services that we buy, and demanding that new innovative solutions which improve outcomes for Canadians across the board, whether that be in the areas of environmental benefits, social inclusion or reducing barriers for persons with disabilities.

(Text on screen: Check us out: facebook.com/PSPC.SPAC, instagram.com/pspc_spac,

(Public Services and Procurement Canada signature)

[Music stops]

(Canada Wordmark)

End of video

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