disAbilities Handbook

coverWelcome to the disAbilities Handbook!

We are working on a screen-reader accessible version (with even more content) but in the meantime, here is the PDF version (or click on the cover image) as well as an extended audio version of the handbook's main content below.    


This project was sparked by an idea from Stephane Bertrand at CKUT-FM in Montreal.

At the 2009 National Campus and Community Radio Conference in Montreal, he helped host a panel on accessibility and community radio that featured people from his show, The Avalanche, and other people with disabilities from across the country. The session was packed and almost everyone had questions and stories from their own stations.

Later that week, Stephane said he had been thinking: about how to help more stations become accessible, how to encourage stations to start shows done by people with physical and intellectual disabilities, and how to get more people with disabilities involved in community radio.

He suggested creating a handbook (with an accompanying CD — we are radio people after all) that would help support this important work. Later that year Cameron Wells, host of Handi-link at CJAM-FM in Windsor, came on board — helping host another panel discussion, this time at an Ontario regional conference in Kingston.

So we scraped together some money, held a planning and production weekend in Ottawa, found Steffanie Pinch, our editor, funded by the Canada Summer Jobs program, formed an editorial committee (thanks to Paul Daniel, Rebecca Robb, and David Robbins-Singh) and now, three years after Stephane first thought it up, you’re looking at the result!

This work is intended to help c/c stations create open and safe spaces, adapt station set-up, training and policies to be more accessible to everyone, and get a glimpse of the work people with disabilities are already doing in the sector. But this is only a starting point — talk to people with disabilities working and volunteering at your station and to advocacy groups on your campus and in your community to get more detailed feedback on what you can do better.

Finally, keep us posted. We’re already talking about the disAbilities Handbook version 2.0! 

Audio content

Click on the links below to hear or download the audio version of the disAbilities Handbook. It contains extra content and interviews. (Please note that the audio profiles are the interviews and are different than those contained in the print version. Also, there is no audio version of the Thrift Store Music profile that is featured in the print version.)

1. BONUS Introduction to the accompanying audio

2. Accommodation Basics
•  Ramps and elevators 
•  Spacing 
•  Transportation 
•  Entrance 
•  Shelving Units 
•  Emergency Procedures 
•  Special Events

3. Profile: David Robbins-Singh “DJ Squeaky Wheelz” (Co-host of Handi-Link at CJAM-FM in Windsor, ON)

4. BONUS Excerpt from Handi-link -- Paralympic Games sponsorship and media coverage compared to the Olympic Games

5. Tech and Tools
•  Software 
•  Assistive Devices 
•  Website 
•  Modified Phones 
•  Microphones 
•  Advocacy 
•  Maintaining Accessibility

6. BONUS Profile: Jordan Mitchell (Production Coordinator at CJSF-FM in Burnaby, BC)

7. Profile: Rebecca Robb (Host of Access Live at CFUV-FM in Victoria, BC)

8. Respectful Disability Language (with introduction by Cam Wells and commentary by Rebecca Robb)
•  Historical Context 
•  Words to Avoid 
•  Disability Pride 
•  Colloquialism 
•  Jargon 
•  Pity Watch 
•  Context and Warnings 
•  Etiquette

9. Profile: The Avalanche (CKUT-FM in Montreal, QC)
•  BONUS Profile: Stephane Bertrand
•  BONUS Profile: David Sula
•  BONUS Profile: Kevin Ley

10. Inclusive Training (with commentary by Rebecca Robb)
•  Safe Space 
•  Calling someone out on ableist language or behaviour 
•  Basics of Anti-Oppression 
•  Training Prepare for training 
•  Checking Privilege 
•  Who Can Help

11. Profile: Kevin Shaw (Technical Production Co-ordinator at CHRY-FM in Toronto, ON)

12. BONUS How to encourage more people with disabilities to get involved at your station

13. BONUS Profile: André St-Jaques (CHUO-FM in Ottawa, ON)

14. BONUS Legal Protections
•  Federal charters and acts 
•  Provincial implications (broken down by province) 
•  Complaints and what stations can do 
•  United Nations Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities 
•  CRTC Regulations and the Equitable Portrayal Code

15. BONUS Profile: Stephanie Kepman (Former Station Manager at CHUO-FM in Ottawa, ON)

16. Invisible Disability Audit

17. BONUS Profile: Paul McIsaac (Former board member at CJMP-FM in Powell River, BC)

18. Physical Accessibility Audit
•  Station Set-up 
•  Studio Set-up 
•  Computers 
•  Emergency Procedures 
•  Special Events 
•  Documents

19. BONUS Accessibility audit conducted by André St-Jacques at CHUO-FM

20. BONUS Profile: Adam Noble (Volunteer programmer formerly at CHSR-FM in Fredericton, NB, and now at CKDU-FM in Halifax, NS)

21. BONUS Sign-off