Communications Security Establishment Accessibility Plan 2022–2025



It is with pleasure that we introduce the Communications Security Establishment (CSE) Accessibility Plan 2022–2025. As Canada's national cryptologic agency, providing the Government of Canada with information technology security and foreign signals intelligence, a diverse and inclusive workforce is essential to the challenging work we do.

Simply put, diversity helps us be stronger and more agile. We know that when our employees can access the tools they need to do their jobs in spaces that support them, we can better recruit and retain a diverse and inclusive workforce, ensure that employees are meaningfully included in the organization and enable participation. We are committed to an environment in which all employees are empowered to contribute their best and bring their whole selves to our important mission.

This plan supports our goal of building a skilled and diverse workforce reflective of Canadian society. It showcases the work that has already started at CSE towards identifying and removing barriers for persons with disabilities and acknowledges that we have much more work to do. This work begins with shifting our organizational culture at all levels of the organization to bring accessibility to the forefront of every decision, policy, process, and action.

At CSE, we intend to refine this plan over the next three years, working closely with our neurodiversity and disability communities to design spaces, tools, systems, and processes that leave no employee behind. We understand that we will gain greater awareness and clarity regarding the needs of our CSE community as we work through our plan. There will also be a need to bring together stakeholders from across the organization to work together to solve problems that transcend business lines and cannot be solved in silos, especially in recognition of intersectionality.

We are excited to use this plan to implement the principles of our One CSE framework; making our organization more inclusive, equitable and diverse, because we have made these factors a priority and within reach at CSE through accessibility.

Caroline Xavier (She/Her)
Chief, CSE

Dan Rogers (He/Him)
Associate Chief, CSE

Emma Sobel (She/Her)
Senior Advisor (Diversity)

CSE’s commitment to accessibility

CSE recognizes that individuals with disabilities make significant contributions to the achievement of our mission. To create a more inclusive environment, CSE is committed to identifying and removing barriers to accessibility. We strive to ensure that employees and visitors to our facilities feel safe, welcomed, and respected in our workplaces. We know that by working together to create a more accessible environment, we will enable the organization to be more productive, effective, and representative of the people CSE is dedicated to serving. It is important that CSE moves beyond words and intentions to action. This requires us to examine our processes, practices, policies, and operations to ensure that they do not perpetuate any barriers to inclusion. This is our commitment to accessibility.

CSE’s accessibility priorities

  1. Employment: building a diverse work environment free from harassment and creating accessible conditions for day-to-day work life and career progression
  2. The built environment: designing physical spaces that are barrier-free for individuals with disabilities
  3. Information and communication technologies (ICT): delivering accessible web content to external and internal audiences and assistive technologies where required
  4. Communications: providing communication in accessible formats and making information readily available to the public in an inclusive and barrier-free manner
  5. Procurement: incorporating accessibility requirements and considerations into CSE’s procurement of goods, services, and facilities
  6. Programs and services: delivering people-centric programs, policies, and initiatives
  7. Training: advancing training that is accessible for all employees to allow for personal and professional growth
  8. Transportation: maintaining a safe barrier-free workplace

Request an alternate format

You can request the alternate versions of the accessibility plan or the feedback process by contacting the Senior Advisor to the Chief (Diversity) at:

Formats available:

  • print
  • large print (larger and clearer font)
  • braille (a system of raised dots that people who are blind or who have low vision can read with their fingers)
  • audio (a recording of someone reading the text out loud)
  • electronic formats that are compatible with adaptive technology

How to provide feedback

We invite you to provide feedback on the Communications Security Establishment’s Accessibility Plan 2022-2025, your experience of our accessibility, or any other matter related to accessibility. Your feedback will help CSE identify and break down barriers.

Accessibility feedback form

You can also contact the Senior Advisor to the Chief (Diversity) at:

Accessibility feedback process

We will acknowledge all accessibility feedback we receive, except feedback that is sent anonymously. All non-anonymous feedback will be acknowledged in the same format as it was received.


CSE is committed to maintaining a workforce of qualified employees and meeting its obligations under the Employment Equity Act. In 2022, CSE created One CSE: A framework for equity, diversity and inclusion to facilitate the elimination of barriers to employment. “One CSE” aims to ensure that no person is denied employment opportunities or benefits for reasons unrelated to proficiency.

Additionally, CSE strictly adheres to its Duty to Accommodate, our obligation to adjust rules, policies, and practices to enable all employees to participate fully in the workplace. When an employee makes an accommodation request, we undertake the necessary steps, within our means, to complete the request. CSE recognizes that employees may be unaware of the various accessibility options available to them. CSE plans to mitigate this gap by developing a corporate directive on the Duty to Accommodate. This directive will make sure that accessibility options are readily available for employees, such as information on budgets for the purchase of specialized office equipment, ergonomic documentation and solutions, telework accommodations, and software. To ensure the directive is all-inclusive, CSE will consult and collaborate with various affinity groups across CSE, including the neurodiversity community, to incorporate their input and comments. Once published, it will be shared with all CSE employees.

In addition, CSE has established a working group meant to bring together stakeholders from various parts of the organization to discuss what we can make readily available to employees beyond an accommodation request. This is in an effort to move toward more proactive support of our employees.

Preventing harassment

CSE is dedicated to fostering a healthy, safe, respectful, and inclusive workplace that is free from harassment and violence, including domestic violence. This means developing and implementing preventative measures to ensure employees do not experience harassment or violence based on a prohibited ground of discrimination. CSE’s Harassment and Violence Prevention Program (HVPP) helps in preventing and resolving occurrences of harassment and violence in the workplace. The program provides resources for employees and guidance for the resolution of harassment and violence occurrences in the workplace. It also helps employees feel safe at work by proactively assessing the risks of potential harassment and violence that may arise due to the nature of the workplace, type of work, and the conditions of the work.

In accordance with the Privacy Act, all communications with the HVPP Office are handled in a confidential, sensitive, and discreet manner.

The HVPP Office offers employees:

  • prevention strategies to help CSE be a workplace free of harassment and violence
  • support and guidance in the resolution process of an occurrence related to harassment and violence in the workplace
  • active listening for employees who experience or witness harassment or violence in the workplace, including sexual harassment and domestic violence
  • mandatory Harassment and Violence Prevention training
  • access to CSE’s Policy for the Prevention of Workplace Harassment and Violence and Procedures for the Resolution of Workplace Harassment and Violence
  • resources and tools such as FAQs, community resources, mental health resources for managers and employees

Due to the importance of preventing all forms of harassment and violence in the workplace, CSE encourages employees to report any occurrences to minimize the potential for risk and harm to employees.

All HVPP materials are currently under review to ensure inclusive language and remove any barriers to accessing this information.

Employee and organizational wellness programs

To support our employees, CSE offers various employee and organizational wellness programs:

  • The Counselling and Advisory Program promotes resilience, healthy relationships, and wellness among CSE employees, teams, and across the organization through a variety of professional and confidential services.
  • Career services provide confidential one-on-one career transition, planning, and navigation support for CSE employees to enable intentional career decision-making that is focused on supporting the employee to find a best-fit position that meets their skills and aspirations. Employees can access career services directly or through a management referral.
  • The Disability Management Program (DMP) focuses on extended absences from work because of illness, injury, or disability, and on preventing risks that may lead to these absences.

    The DMP provides coordinated case management and transition support to CSE employees and their immediate supervisors through each phase of the process:

    • identifying employees in need of assistance
    • assisting the employee and supervisor throughout the long-term disability application process
    • maintaining contact with the employee while they are on leave
    • assisting with accommodation(s) and return to work plans when the employee is ready to return to the workplace

    The DMP includes the coordination of occupational therapy services for employees to assist in:

    • developing work/life balance
    • removing functional barriers that impede engagement in everyday activities
    • improving workplace participation
    • reducing absenteeism
    • assisting with accommodation needs
  • The Employment Equity and Diversity Program focuses on awareness and communication initiatives for managers and employees. Some key elements of the program include:
    • diversity awareness articles for CSE’s internal communications channels
    • transformational leadership training with a focus on openness to diverse perspectives and ways of thinking
    • a self-identification program that enables CSE to assess how representative its workforce is and examine disaggregated data from multiple perspectives including by tenure, classification and intersectionality in order to make workforce planning decisions, targeted interventions and to involve employees on a voluntary basis in human resources programming
    • an advisory committee on diversity and employment equity that meets regularly to develop recommendations, exchange information, and organize awareness events for the four federally-designated equity groups


At CSE we recognize that disability does not define ability. We strive to build a diverse workplace through an inclusive and barrier-free recruitment process. CSE participates in several outreach events geared towards the recruitment of people with disabilities. In collaboration with post-secondary institutions, CSE has participated in the “Kick Start Your Career – Navigating Employment Pathways for Students with Disabilities” Career Fair with La Cité college in Ottawa and other recruitment events with the University of Ottawa. In May 2022, CSE participated in the Canadian Congress on Disability Inclusion virtual event during National AccessAbility Week. The virtual platform was safe for those with epilepsy and was ADHD-friendly, as well as accessible for persons who are blind.

In December 2022 CSE participated in a diversity and inclusion virtual career fair for students and alumni from colleges and universities across all majors and degrees. Candidates had the opportunity to engage with CSE recruiters either via chat (written), video conferencing or in private virtual rooms. CSE had a member of our Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) team participating alongside our recruiters. Moving forward, CSE aspires to attend additional disability-specific recruitment events, including the Access Ability Virtual Career Opportunities Fair. CSE’s participation in these events aims to improve workplace access and employment opportunities for Canadians with disabilities.

To further support our recruitment efforts, CSE has consulted with neurodiversity candidate placement organizations Specialisterne and WithYouWithMe, about employing their services both for candidate placements, and on-the-job support. In parallel, CSE has engaged with internal managers from the CSE neurodiversity affinity group and has identified a manager who will sponsor and mentor neurodiverse employees.

Barrier-free selection process

CSE is committed to a barrier-free work environment for both internal and external candidates and offers various accommodation services to support candidates during the selection process.

When a candidate self-identifies as requiring accommodation, our human resources advisors work with hiring managers to determine the accommodations required and to ensure their needs are met throughout the entire selection process. CSE strives to offer a selection process that will accommodate any reasonable measure required to enable candidates to be assessed in a fair and equitable manner. This includes making all assessment-related information available in accessible formats for applicants. All information about accommodation requests received during the selection process is confidential.

Future improvements

  1. CSE will dedicate one recruiter to each of the four designated EE groups.
  2. CSE will further pursue opportunities with neurodiverse candidate placement organizations.
  3. CSE will adopt the Government of Canada (GC) Workplace Accessibility Passport, a tool for public service employees and applicants to document the support measures and tools they need to succeed in the workplace. The passport is owned by the employee. It records an agreement between an employee and their manager about barriers in the workplace and the solutions that will be implemented to address these barriers.
  4. CSE will create a tool for hiring managers that centralizes all the accommodation supports available and the process for accessing them.

The built environment

In keeping with CSE’s commitment to accessibility, CSE is designing physical spaces that are barrier-free for individuals with disabilities. For example, both CSE facilities, the Edward Drake Building (EDB) and the Vanier campus, were designed and constructed with accessibility in mind.

The main entrances and security reception areas at both campuses include accessible counters, card access systems, personal electronic device lockers at barrier-free heights, automatic main entrance doors with proximity sensors, and barrier-free washrooms. All workstations at the Vanier campus are equipped with height-adjustable desks, and over the next three years, workstations at the EDB will be upgraded to height-adjustable desks. This provides more flexibility for individuals in the working environment. At the EDB, where there is an inclined link between the Visitors’ Centre and the main building, CSE has installed railings on both sides and purchased six motorized scooters to aid those with mobility challenges.

Other facility initiatives in place to create an accessible and barrier-free environment at CSE include, but are not limited to the following:

  • braille signs for washrooms and boardrooms to accommodate visual disabilities at both CSE facilities
  • accessible parking at both CSE facilities
  • automatic door operators on all common doors at the Vanier campus by March 2023
  • continued collaboration with various groups to review additional opportunities to increase accessibility

To ensure all employees can evacuate safely in an emergency, we have implemented the following:

  • areas of refuge on each floor of both CSE facilities where individuals with mobility challenges can wait for assistance during an emergency
  • an emergency evacuation chair in every stairwell to help people with health conditions and physical disabilities
  • availability of two volunteer employees (trained by CSE’s Emergency Management team) per individual with mobility challenges to assist in the evacuation
  • outside pathways that are wide enough for a wheelchair, are free of obstructions, have firm and slip resistant surfaces, and consist of a continuous plane without steps or abrupt changes in level
  • mobility scooters

CSE is developing a ‘Future of the Workplace’ concept to adapt our infrastructure to hybrid work. Hybrid work has introduced new challenges to the work environment for those with hearing sensitivities. For example, increased noise levels when using online collaboration tools. To mitigate this challenge, CSE created an etiquette guide for employees which highlights best practices for managing meetings in a hybrid workplace, including, identifying specific locations within CSE facilities that provide privacy and space for online meetings.

CSE has launched a pilot project in one of our workspaces to trial different solutions in response to employee needs to work in environments with low light and reduced noise levels.

CSE will collaborate with disability and neurodiversity communities to gather feedback on these pilot initiatives and refine them as needed.

Future improvements

  1. CSE will review the design of some workstations to reduce visual stimulation for our neurodiverse employees.
  2. CSE will explore equipping workspaces with sound absorption panels to help those with hearing sensitivities.
  3. CSE will conduct a light study to find ways to improve the working environment for those with light sensitivities.
  4. CSE will add additional automatic door operators to common doors at the EDB and Vanier campuses each year.
  5. CSE will move washroom soap dispensers to more accessible positions.
  6. CSE will adjust the height of waste collection bins at the EDB to accommodate people with mobility impairments.
  7. CSE will develop an accessibility working group to support our corporate goal of being an inclusive and barrier-free organization.

Information and communication technologies (ICT)

Information and communication technologies (ICT) have the potential to make significant improvements to the lives of people with disabilities by widening the scope of activities available to them. CSE has undertaken several steps to reduce barriers using ICT, such as the provision of video relay service (VRS) in the EDB Visitors’ Centre. VRS allows those who are deaf or hard of hearing to establish a video connection with an operator who can then place phone calls on their behalf and relay conversations in real time.

Over the past three years, all of CSE’s external websites have been updated to the most current Government of Canada Web Experience Toolkit (WET) and templates to deliver accessible web content. WET conforms to the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 2.0) and leverages both HTML5 and Accessible Rich Internet Applications (WAI-ARIA) to further enhance accessibility. There are three WCAG conformance levels (A, AA, and AAA). Conformance can only be achieved if the criteria for all levels are satisfied. To accommodate neurodiversity, CSE ensures that all digital content is developed using GC guidelines for plain language and WCAG 2.0 web writing standards to optimize the experience for neurodiverse users.

Our accessibility goal with respect to communications is that public-facing and internal-facing CSE content meets or exceeds accessibility standards outlined by Government of Canada policies, and that our employees have the necessary training and tools to build accessibility in from the start (e.g., accessibility checkers, templates, assessment reports, training). Specifically, CSE aims to have 100% WCAG 2.0 compliance for all CSE websites. Doing so will ensure that CSE content is accessible to a wider range of people with disabilities, including those with blindness or low vision, deafness or hearing loss, limited movement, photosensitivity, etc.

The level of accessibility for public-facing web applications at the beginning of 2022 was approximately 30–40% compliant. CSE is currently identifying and remediating WCAG 2.0 (Level AA) compliance issues on our public-facing web applications. Audits are being carried out on externally procured applications to validate that contractual technical standards are being met as defined. There is a strong focus on removing barriers for persons with various disabilities ensuring that potential users have an acceptable user experience and can easily access our published information.

Within CSE’s intranet (internal web page), updates have been made to improve the user experience for employees. Moving forward, internal policies must be created to support the current laws of accessibility and identify gaps in the current internal process. The Web team will ensure that it keeps abreast of accessibility improvements in the Treasury Board accessibility standards through communication with the Treasury Board accessibility team. In addition to making web applications and sites accessible, CSE strives to support employees with various needs such as neurodiverse employees and those with invisible disabilities.

Future improvements

  1. CSE will ensure that all external web applications meet WCAG 2.1 (Level AA) compliance.
  2. CSE will work to incorporate the new updated WCAG 2.2 version and incorporate the added success criteria to make web content more accessible for everyone, particularly for individuals with disabilities.
  3. CSE will ensure that all newly developed internal applications meet accessible technical standards.
  4. CSE will ensure that vendors who are required to provide accessible compliant applications are doing so through various internal audits.
  5. CSE will work with those vendors whose applications are not meeting accessible guidelines throughout the remediation process.
  6. CSE will create an accessibility “Centre of Expertise” to support the implementation of accessibility and the development of accessible applications.
  7. CSE will leverage the “Centre of Expertise” to support all IT development where teams and individuals can seek support in designing, developing, and adhering to accessible guidelines.
  8. CSE will support social inclusion for persons with disabilities who have a diverse range of hearing, movement, sight, and cognitive abilities and ensure websites are usable by as many people as possible.
  9. CSE will create internal CSE style guides to ensure all external web applications are readily identifiable to anyone who may be viewing various CSE web applications.

Communication (other than ICT)

As a public service organization, providing communication in accessible formats and making information readily available to the public in an inclusive and barrier-free manner is of paramount importance. CSE’s Public Affairs and Communications Services are responsible for making accessible public-facing and internal-facing CSE content. This includes responsibility for internal communications channels, external communications channels, websites, and social media. Public-facing and internal-facing CSE content, as a general practice, meets or exceeds accessibility standards outlined by the Government of Canada’s Policy on Communications and Federal Identity, Standard on Web Accessibility, Directive on the Management of Communications and Guidelines on Making Communications Products and Activities Accessible.

Steps CSE is taking to remove barriers in the dissemination of communications include providing training on how to write accessible documents, considering neurodiversity best practices when choosing language and format, and building in accessibility features for audio and visual products. CSE produced video and audio (podcast) communication products include the following features:

  • Captions/subtitles:
    • Text versions of the speech and non-speech audio information needed to understand the content
    • Currently transitioning from providing open captions to closed captions
  • Transcripts:
    • Text versions of the speech and non-speech audio information
    • Descriptive transcript that includes text description of the visual information

Future improvements

  1. CSE will improve use of plain/accessible language for all messages.
  2. CSE will improve product layouts with clear and consistent layouts.
  3. CSE will build in accessibility features for audio and visual products.

The procurement of goods, services and facilities

CSE supports and adheres to accessibility considerations within Public Service and Procurement Canada and Shared Services Canada contracting processes. Members of CSE’s procurement team attend the Interdepartmental Agents of Change for Accessible Procurement Working Group, which CSE currently co-chairs.

As accessibility requirements and best practices evolve, CSE will incorporate these into our procurement process.

Future improvements

  1. CSE employees will be trained on accessibility considerations for procurement.
  2. CSE will develop accessibility job aids to assist in integrating accessibility criteria into our procurement requirements.
  3. CSE will develop and deliver biannual “Socio-economic Considerations in Procurement” information sessions to managers that will include information and best practices for accessible procurement, Indigenous procurement, and other socio-economic considerations.
  4. CSE will work with the Accessible Procurement Resource Centre (APRC), a Public Services and Procurement Canada entity, to identify and provide accessible procurement training to employees.
  5. CSE will share and discuss the APRC “FAQs - Considering Accessibility in Procurement” document once finalized.

The design and delivery of programs and services

To help eliminate and prevent barriers, CSE has a governance committee called the ‘People Committee’. It is concerned with CSE’s people-focused programs, policies, and initiatives, and works closely with CSE’s executive committee to promote coordinated activities that support CSE as a barrier-free, healthy, sustainable, high-functioning, people-first community.

In addition, CSE has affinity and equity groups, which are employee-led and aim to bring together colleagues with similar concerns, issues, and interests. For example, CSE has a neurodiversity affinity group supporting employees who are neurodivergent. These groups allow CSE employees to share experiences, identify issues and propose practical solutions that can be shared with the People Committee or implemented directly. These groups are at the core of CSE’s commitment to being an organization dedicated to learning from mistakes of the past. They are vehicles for effecting change and are essential partners in achieving an open, accommodating, and barrier-free organization.

CSE has recently included representation from each of our affinity groups as decision making members of the People Committee. They rotate through People Committee governance meetings two at a time to ensure any new proposal that is passed has been reviewed through the lens of those who bring lived experience from equity-deserving groups. This model also ensures an intersectional approach. Our affinity group leads work together to review policies, programs and initiatives and ensure this feedback is delivered at People Committee through their representation. The discussion and decisions can then integrate more complex perspectives such as the particular challenges and specifications of being a woman who is neurodiverse or an Indigenous employee with a disability.

Future improvements

CSE’s stakeholders who support employee affinity groups, specifically with short- or long-term disabilities, will work together to clarify and align their efforts in the application of related policy, processes, and procedures.


CSE aims to make training equally accessible for all employees to allow for personal and professional growth. To enable those with hearing impairments, CSE produces training videos with captions in both official languages. CSE has also recently included a notes tab in online courses to allow learners to use a screen reader. CSE has made significant updates to its online courses to improve accessibility, including:

  • updating text styles to control the visual appearance of paragraphs, headings, blockquotes, and hyperlink states and making it easier to navigate with a screen reader
  • allowing learners to change the visual appearance of text in a published course to make it easier to see and read
  • allowing learners to personalize their learning experience through an accessibility settings menu
  • introducing keyboard shortcuts to mute/unmute, play/pause, and to change presentation slides
  • adjusting the focus order to better manage interactive and non-interactive objects for keyboard-only and screen reader users

CSE continues to make progress towards making training accessible across the entire organization. CSE has developed a “Creating Accessible eLearning” guide that will be reviewed and updated regularly. CSE designers use the NonVisual Desktop Access (NVDA) screen reader, a globally accessible screen reader for people who are blind or have low vision, to test online courses. CSE plans to expand the use of NVDA reader technology to all e-learners, and all course designers to ensure that training courses are tested for accessibility.

Future improvements

  1. CSE will create Duty to Accommodate training for CSE management and will provide guidance on the management of the Duty to Accommodate process, and best practices for workplace accommodation.
  2. CSE will test training documents with the Microsoft Word accessibility tool to ensure that training documents meet accessibility requirements.
  3. CSE will ensure that documents are compatible with the text-to-speech feature in Microsoft Word.
  4. CSE will test all online learning courses using the NVDA screen reader.
  5. CSE will develop neurodiversity training for CSE employees. CSE’s Diversity and Inclusion team is creating an e-learning course with a specific group of supervisors and managers and plans to expand this training to a broader audience in 2023.


CSE is committed to creating and maintaining an inclusive, barrier-free work environment that follows the Policy on the Duty to Accommodate Persons with Disabilities in the Federal Public Service and the Treasury Board’s Directive on the Management of Real Property. Accessible parking is available at both the EDB and Vanier campuses.

Upon request, CSE employees with a valid provincial government-issued accessible parking permit will be given access to designated accessible parking spaces in the CSE parkade at the EDB for as long as their permit remains valid. Visitors with an accessible parking permit may also use these accessible parking spaces. In keeping with CSE’s commitment to provide a safe environment for its employees, anyone using CSE parking facilities at the EDB may request an escort to their vehicle by a security guard.

Future improvements

CSE’s EDB campus has barrier-free parking stalls for visitors in the parkade. However, before parking, visitors must check in at CSE’s Visitors' Centre to get an access pass to enter the parkade. CSE is in the planning process of modifying the visitor's accessible parking to be more user-friendly.


Throughout the second quarter of fiscal year 2022–23, CSE consulted this plan with the following internal groups:

  • EmbRACE – supports employees from Indigenous and racialized communities.
  • Pride Network – supports equality based on sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression.
  • Women in Cyber and Intelligence – supports, advocates for, and offers a community to women working in the fields of cyber and intelligence.
  • Neurodiversity group – supports the understanding of neurodiversity at CSE, making recommendations, and taking action to make CSE a more equitable, supportive, and neurodiversity-friendly environment for all. The group provides a safe space for neurodiverse people and allies to communicate their experiences, share information, and provide a support network.
  • Public Service Alliance of Canada Union Local 70654 – works with members to obtain fair treatment and respect in the workplace, employment security, fair pay and benefits, and safe working conditions.
  • People Committee – ensures that CSE keeps “an inspired workforce” at its core, as outlined in CSE 2025, our strategic vision.

These consultations took place prior to the development of CSE’s Accessibility Plan 2022–2025. This process included virtual group discussions over Microsoft Teams (which allowed for written and spoken discussions) and email correspondence. To ensure these sessions were accessible to all, agendas and accessible documents were shared with participants prior to the meetings. Furthermore, one of the sessions was also supported by a sign language interpreter. Given that participants work in various teams, and facilities, across the organization – this method allowed for the greatest participation.

Employees from various areas of the organization participated in these consultations over a period of two weeks. Each participant also received a presentation deck with discussion points and questions from the consultation to allow them to provide feedback outside of the virtual group discussions.

Questions asked during the consultation

  • What are some barriers that exist within CSE?
  • What can CSE do to better support employees with accessibility needs? For example: HR tools, training and/or additional support
  • Recently, CSE introduced initiatives to improve overall accessibility within the organization. How have these initiatives been perceived? What can be done better?
  • What can CSE do to improve its design and delivery of programs so that it’s accessible for those with disabilities?

The purpose of these consultations was to identify existing gaps and barriers and explore ideas to improve accessibility across the organization. Most of the discussion questions were open-ended to avoid limiting the scope and allow room for participant interpretation. This enabled the Accessibility Plan Working Group to listen attentively and solicit meaningful feedback for the drafting of the plan.

Following the consultations, the working group held meetings with CSE’s business lines to discuss the feedback received. This process allowed the team, and the business lines, to assess the goal and purpose of the Accessibility Plan carefully while ensuring that the plan reflects of the feedback received.

What we heard

The following section provides an overview of the feedback received throughout the internal consultation period. The feedback received significantly influenced the development of this plan. The content of the feedback was diverse and covered various areas across the organization.

While the feedback included in this portion does not represent the feedback in its entirety, it reflects reoccurring themes and concerns that arose during internal consultations.


  • Re-evaluate the interview process, with neurodiverse groups in mind
  • Review competencies to reflect those who learn or communicate differently
  • Review efforts to recruit and retain persons with disabilities

The built environment

  • Evaluate feasibility of speech-to-text option to accommodate people with disabilities
  • Review accessibility at CSE Vanier campus (in general)

Information and communication technologies

  • Review the current access to accommodation system


  • Expand collaborative tools for virtual presentations and events to ensure inclusivity (e.g., sign language interpreter)
  • Review training opportunities and promote organization-wide accessibility training

External consultations

At the time, CSE did not have the capacity to conduct external consultation. Between now and 2025, CSE will work to further develop this plan, including thorough consultations with external stakeholders. During these external consultations, CSE aspires to consult with organizations such as the Ottawa Disability Coalition. Future publications will also address our progress on the future improvements listed throughout this document.

Looking forward

An inspired workforce is at the heart of our shared vision for our organization, and it will take every one of us to achieve our objectives. As we reflect on our values as an organization and try to abide by the principles of this plan, we recognize that we will not always live up to our intent. Nevertheless, it is our commitment to each other and to Canadians that CSE is a dynamic, innovative, creative, and inclusive organization that is here to protect and advance our shared interests.


Includes anything (physical, architectural, technological, attitudinal, or anything that is based on information or communications or that is the result of a policy or a practice) that hinders the full and equal participation in society of persons with an impairment, including a physical, mental, intellectual, cognitive, learning, communication or sensory impairment or a functional limitation.
Any impairment, including a physical, mental, intellectual, cognitive, learning, communication or sensory impairment — or a functional limitation — whether permanent, temporary or episodic in nature, or evident or not, that, in interaction with a barrier, hinders a person’s full and equal participation in society.
Employment equity (EE)
Fair representation and distribution of the four designated groups in the workplace. It is accomplished by employment practices that correct and prevent disadvantages in employment for designated groups through positive programs and reasonable accommodations to remove barriers to equitable employment and promotion opportunities.
Affinity and equity groups
These entities are grassroots, employee efforts to bring together colleagues with similar concerns, issues, and interests. They are forums where CSE employees can and do share experiences, identify issues and propose practical actions that can be shared with management or can be implemented directly. These groups are at the core of CSE’s values, including being an organization dedicated to learning from mistakes of the past. They are vehicles for effecting change and are essential partners in being an open, accommodating, transparent and engaged organization.
Neurodiversity affinity group
A CSE Affinity Group supporting persons who are neurodivergent.
Persons with disabilities
Persons who have a long-term or recurring physical, mental, sensory, psychiatric, or learning impairment and who:
  • consider themselves to be disadvantaged in employment by reason of that impairment, or
  • believe that an employer or potential employer is likely to consider them to be disadvantaged in employment by reason of that impairment.

This includes persons whose functional limitations owing to their impairment have been accommodated in their current job or workplace.
Invisible disabilities
Also known as hidden disabilities or non-visible disabilities, these are disabilities that are not immediately apparent, are typically chronic illnesses and conditions that significantly impair normal activities of daily living. Some examples of invisible disabilities include autism spectrum disorder, depression, and learning and thinking differences such as ADHD and dyslexia.
Voluntary information provided by applicants in appointment processes for statistical purposes related to appointments and in the case of processes targeted to EE groups, to determine eligibility.
Collection of EE information voluntarily by employees, for statistical purposes in analyzing and monitoring the progress of EE groups at CSE and for reporting workforce representation.

ISSN 2817-1012

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