IDRC - Celebrating 25 Years

1993 - 2018

Continuing Our Work During COVID-19

Read the letter regarding COVID-19 by IDRC Director, Jutta Treviranus.

Supports for complying with the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA)

How do I make my web site accessible? How do I make my office documents accessible? How do I make information available in alternative formats? Businesses and organizations read our AODA Help.

RT @CoLabCoOp: What better way to spend your Thursday than with @Benetech @idrc_ocadu and us? Exploring how to shift power in tech through…
FluidProject RT @colinbdclark: Join us at the PPIG 2020 workshop hosted by @idrc_ocadu in Toronto to explore the margins of programming. Who has agency…

AChecker Logo

AChecker is an open source Web accessibility evaluation tool. It can be used to review the accessibility of Web pages based on a variety international accessibility guidelines. 

Check Your Web Site's Accessibility | Download AChecker

Direct links to Completed Project Websites:

Project Descriptions:

  • Accessibility and VRML (Virtual Reality Modelling Language)
    How can 3D web interfaces be used by persons with disabilities?
  • A-Prompt
    A-Prompt (Accessibility Prompt) is a software tool that provides HTML authors with prompts, recommendations and solutions to make their Web pages more accessible.
  • AGC (Access Guide Canada)
    An online searchable directory of accessible resources and venues throughout Canada. This community-based site invites visitors to contribute accessible resources to the directory. The ATRC is responsible for the creation of the database architecture and website. The project is sponsored by the Canadian Abilities Foundation.
  • Adding Feeling, Audio and Equal Access to Distance Education
    Adding haptic and multilingual capabilities to VRML.
  • The Audio Look and Feel
    Communicating text, graphics, format or layout on the screen to users who are blind, vision impaired or learning disabled through text-to-speech and non-speech audio.
  • Barrier-Free Broadband Learning Environments
    The Barrier-free project supports educators in creating and repurposing learning content that is accessible to all learners. It provides learners with on-line curriculum that adapts to their individual learning and access needs. The Barrier-free toolset takes a story captured in linear video and links a wealth of information, enhancements and perspectives using a synchronized text track derived from the caption and audio description of the video.
  • Canadian Museum of Human Rights Accessible Kiosk
    IDRC and the Canadian Museum for Human Rights are collaborating on making inclusive, and interactive solutions for the museum.
  • CollectionSpace
    CollectionSpace is an open-source collections management application that meets the needs of museums, historical societies, and other collection-holding organizations. CollectionSpace is designed to be configurable to each organization’s needs, serving as a gateway to digital and physical assets across an institution. The software is freely distributed via open-source licensing, and an active developer community ensures that CollectionSpace is continually improving.
  • CNICE (Canadian Network for Inclusive Cultural Exchange)
    The Canadian Network for Inclusive Cultural Exchange is a multi-partner network that has worked together to ensure that Canadian cultural content on-line, and the tools available to participate in creating this content, are accessible to everyone in Canada, including people with disabilities.
  • HTML Authoring Tool Support: "The Best Place to Improve the Web"
    Authoring Tool Support: Offering support for the accessibility of various Authoring Tools.
  • Decapod
    Decapod is a project focused on building a low-cost digitization solution that will allow for rare materials, materials held in collections without large budgets, and other scholarly content to be digitized into a high-quality PDF format. This project is working to incorporate the hardware and software necessary to accomplish this goal.
  • Cascading StyleSheets and Accessiblity
    Enabling web designers to separate "format and style" from "structure and content" resulting in cleaner, more accessible coding.
  • Evaluation of Web Authoring Tools
  • CulturAll Network
    The CulturAll Network was a national multi-sector network that developed innovative approaches, tools and strategies to ensure that everyone in Canada can participate in the Canadian cultural exchange.The CulturAll Network demonstrated that inclusive design can be a naturally integrated component of Canadian cultural production and acts as a catalystfor innovation and creativity. Through pioneering exemplars, the network reaffirmed that advances that benefit people with disabilities, benefit all Canadian.
  • CulturAll 2.0
    Through strategic applied research the CulturAll 2.0 Network will work to make certain that inclusive design becomes a naturally integrated component of Web 2.0 technologies and acts as a catalyst for innovation and creativity.
  • Dojo Accessibility
    The ATRC is making Web 2.0 and the next-generation of web applications accessible. We are working with IBM, SitePen, W3C, the Dojo Foundation, and the open source community to build accessibility into the Dojo toolkit, one of the leading libraries used to build rich, dynamic Web 2.0 applications. This work will enable developers building the next-generation of innovative web applications to build sites that are useable by everyone. Our work has been made possible by grants from the Mozilla Foundation and IBM.
  • Fluid Academic
    Fluid Academic is a project funded by the Mellon foundation to focus on improving user experience in higher-ed open source software applications. The Fluid community grew out of this work as did the Fluid products. Early releases of Fluid Infusion, the Fluid Design Handbook, Fluid OSDPL, and VU Lab were deliverables for this project. These products represent the core of Fluid activities.
  • Fluid Engage
    Fluid Engage is building flexible software with museums and cultural institutions to enhance their visitors' experience. Engage makes it easy for visitors to connect with content, interact with objects, and extend the museum visit.
  • GOK (GNOME Onscreen Keyboard)
    Gnome Onscreen Keyboard (GOK) is open source software that creates advanced alternative input solutions for unix and unix-based environments.
  • Going the Distance: Supporting Educators of Students with Special Needs Through Online Learning (OLT)
    Explored the effectiveness of new, online technologies for provision of just-in-time, customized learning programs to meet their urgent need for information on accommodation of exceptional learners.
  • HoTMetaL 4.0: Accessible HyperText Markup Language (HTML) Authoring System
    Integrated accessibility prompting features to help web designers create accessible pages.
  • ISO/IEC adoption of IMS ACCLIP specification
    The ATRC participates in activities of international standards and specifications organizations aimed at the development and maintenance of accessibility specifications and standards for e-learning. We are currently participating in the International Standards Organization's Joint Technical Council One/Sub-committee 36 (JTC1/SC36) Working Group in order to determine the feasibility of adoption of the IMS accessibility specification, ACCLIP, (Learner Information Package Accessibility for LIP) as an international ISO/IEC standard. Consultation with member countries will be the key factor in achieving the goals of this project.
    The Government of Canada provides funding for this initiative.
  • Inclusive Learning Connection - Development Phase
    A network of Canadian organizations concerned with the learning technology needs of learners who are deaf, deafened, or hard of hearing.
  • The Accessible Information Kiosk Project
    The Robarts Library Information Kiosk is a universally accessible electronic kiosk designed to help users find resources within the Robarts Library
  • Input Optimization Tool for Complex Software (CITO)
    Developing an "adaptive predictive function palette" for accessing submenus in sophisticated software such as Maya by Alias/ Wavefront .
  • ISAAC - Visit the website for the International Society for Augmentative and Alternative Communication.
  • Leveraging Inclusion and Diversity as Canada’s Advantage Report A research report that investigates insights, evidence, interpretations and effective practices that test and explore the hypothesis, Canada can both address the need for an inclusive digital economy and leverage inclusive design as an economic driver, becoming a world leader in inclusively designed digital technologies, services and content. Partners for this project include The Martin Prosperity Institute, The Adaptech Research Network and the Inclusive Design Research Centre.
  • LDRC (Learning Disabilities Resource Community)
  • Network for Inclusive Distance Education
    Developed Access standards for online education.
  • OpenCaps
    CapScribe is an ever evolving desktop captioning and video description software. CapScribe Desktop supports captioning for Quicktime movies, movies uploads to YouTube, as well as the creation of video description audio tracks. CapScribe Desktop runs on Intel Macs and is available for download and exploration. CapScribe Web is currently in development. The goal behind this project is to give users ready, free access to captioning software that runs as part of a web page
    PEBBLES is a project that allows students who must stay at home or in a hospital to attend a school through a videoconferencing robot.
  • Project Outside In
    Project Outside In will establish a responsive, experiential skills training program tailored to the constraints and needs of youth with episodic and invisible disabilities (including learning disabilities, mental health challenges, and ADHD). Youth who face multiple and complex barriers to employment will gain diverse, incremental skills and expertise in addressing accessibility and inclusive design demands, in part generated by the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) in Ontario. Youth will be supported in creating viable service enterprises or pursuing other career-path options that accommodate the personal challenges they face, while addressing the growing demand for inclusively designed products and services.

  • Sign Link Studio
    The Sign Link Studio project has developed a technique that, for the first time, enables sign language based web sites on the Internet. An authoring tool called SignEd creates the webpages by marking up sign language video files with sign language based hyperlinks called "signlinks". The website that makes SignEd available was built using the tool and demonstrates this new web page technique.
  • SoftQuad/ATRC Adapt Able Web Project (old link)
    Integrating an accessibility-toolkit into a commercial software product.
  • Stretch Project
    The Stretch project challenged and stretched perceptions and conventions within the arts so that they are inclusive of people with disabilities. The project site include numerous examples of cultural works that have been "stretched" to inlcude multiple sensory modalites. The site also features a gallery of works on the theme of inclusion. Stretch fosters inclusion by providing tools to new media artists for adding descriptions, captions and alternative video.
  • TILE (The Inclusive Learning Exchange)
    A revolutionary learning object repository service that responds to the individual needs of the learner. TILE provides the authoring tools, repository architecture, and preference schema needed to support this learner-centric transformation. The service is now available as a functioning prototype.
  • Vision Australia Foundation formerly known as the Association For The Blind (AFTB) Services provided by the ATRC to Vision Australia Foundation include training and consultation for Vision Australia Foundation staff in adaptive technology to best meet client's system requirements.
  • Web Based Teaching Tool (WBTT)
    An online resource for teachers of early education. This project promotes early identification of and intervention for learning disabilities. The ATRC is responsible for the creation of the database architecture and website. The project is sponsored by the Learning Disability Association of Ontario (LDAO).
  • Web Browsers and Assistive Technology
    A Press Release regarding the Universal Internet Access Project
  • Web-4-All
    Web-4-All uses smartcard technology to enable Internet interfaces to be customized. Web-4-All enables users to automatically configure multi-user workstations to meet their own personal preferences and access needs. Preferences are stored on a smart card.
  • 10 Accessible HTML Commandments

Direct links to Ongoing Project Websites:

Project Descriptions:

  • AChecker Accessibility Checker

    This is a model system that demonstrates how web pages may be checked for accessibility problems. The accessibility checks in this system are based upon the proposed Open Accessibility Checks (OAC), a universal series of tests that may be applied to HTML pages to determine their compliance with accessibility standards.

  • ATutor

    ATutor is an Open Source Web-based Learning  Management System (LMS) designed with accessibility and adaptability in mind. ATutor's availability as Open Source makes it a cost effective tool for both small and large organizations presenting their instructional materials on the Web, or delivering fully independent online courses. With ATutor, students learn in an adaptive learning environment.

  • Accessible Digital Office Document

    ADOD is developing vendor-neutral guidance related to digital office documents, including: a harmonized framework, based on W3C-WAI Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 and Authoring Tool Accessibility Guidelines (ATAG) 1.0, for determining the accessibility of office documents, office document formats and office applications; a set of practical application-specific, but vendor-neutral instructions, on how to create accessible office documents from common office application suites. ADOD is being developed in partnership with UNESCO and the Ontario Ministry of Community and Social Services.

  • ÆGIS Ontario: Integrating Accessibility into Emerging ICT

    The ÆGIS(Ontario) project, funded by the Ontario Research Fund Research Excellence program, is working in close partnership with ÆGIS(Europe) to ensure that emerging information and communication technologies (ICT) are designed inclusively, thereby supporting Ontario's commitment to equal access and preparing Ontario's ICT businesses to meet the growing global demand for products and services that provide accessibility to people of all abilities. Along with the IDRC, ÆGIS(Ontario) also includes researchers at Ryerson University, the University of Ontario Institute of Technology, York University, and the University of Toronto.

  • ÆGIS EU: Integrating Accessibility into Emerging ICT

    The ÆGIS(Europe) project is a major open source accessibility project funded by the European Commission. This 20-member consortium (including the IDRC) seeks to use third generation access techniques to deeply embed accessibility into mainstream ICT (desktop, rich Internet and mobile applications). This approach is developed and explored with the Open Accessibility Framework (OAF) through which aspects of the design, development and deployment of accessible mainstream ICT are addressed. The OAF provides embedded and built-in accessibility solutions, as well as toolkits for developers, for “engraving” accessibility in existing and emerging mass-market ICT-based products, thus making accessibility open, plug and play, personalised and configurable, realistic and applicable in various contexts. All developments will be iteratively tested with a significant number of end users, developers and experts in 3 phases and 4 Pilot sites Europe-wide (in Belgium, Spain, Sweden and the UK).

    The project includes strong industrial and end user participation (the participating industries are among the market leaders in the corresponding mainstream ICT markets). The project results’ uptake is promoted by strong standardisation activities, as well as the fact that much of the technology results will be either new open source applications or will be built into existing and already widely adopted open source ICT.

  • Bridging Gaps to Access & Employment in the Entertainment & Media Industries for Persons with Disabilities

    The Bridging Gaps to Access & Employment in the Entertainment & Media Industries for Persons with Disabilities project focuses on the transfer of knowledge gained in the development and implementation of a uniquely accessible online support system with social networking and an online learning system to an industry where clients with disabilities experience barriers and are underutilized.  An integrated management system and data base for artists will provide a referral service for employment; support casting directors, host online courses, and introduce social networking tools for community building.

  • Cloud4All

    Cloud4all is an European Commission FP7 grant that will develop key parts of the Global Public Inclusive Infrastructure (GPII), building the knowledge base and algorithms needed and evaluating the ability of the concept to work across platforms, technologies and applications.

  • Enabling Change

    The goal of the project was to create accessible infrastructure to both train and provide support in implementing the AODA. The infrastructure will be initially applied to support the Customer Service and Information and Communication standards but will be broadly applicable. The infrastructure itself provides an exemplary, sustainable implementation of the I&C standard. It implements ISO AccessForAll (ISO 24751) which provides accessibility by dynamically meeting the needs of each learner or user. It is freely available and includes supports to create new training.

  • Floe Project

    Floe provides the resources needed to enable inclusive access to personally relevant, engaging learning opportunities for the full diversity of learners and content producers. Through the Open Education Resources community, Floe makes tools available that transform, augment, and personalize the learning experience.

  • Fluid Project

    FLUID is an open source software community that designs user interfaces, build Web tools, teaches inclusive design, and integrates interface components into open source applications. The Fluid community consists of an international team of partners, individuals, and institutions focused on designing flexible, customizable, user-centered interfaces. Fluid produces Infusion, an open, rich, reusable set of user interface components and more.

  • Inclusive Design Institute

    The Inclusive Design Institute (IDI), Canada’s first research hub to focus on the inclusive design of emerging, mainstream information and communication technologies (ICT), will provide world leadership in addressing the critical and timely question: “how do we design and develop our ICT systems and practices such that they are inclusive of people with varying abilities, languages and cultural preferences?” The IDI will act as a generative hub of research, innovation and training to help Ontario and Canada respond to legislative commitments, market demands, and regional/provincial/national values of inclusion and diversity.

  • Fluid Infusion

    Fluid Infusion is a code package that combines JavaScript, CSS, HTML and user-centered design, rolling them all into a single package that sits on top of the popular jQuery toolkit. Infusion includes ready-to-use components as well as a framework to build your own. Put in the hands of Web developers, Infusion makes building accessible features into Web applications easy.

  • ISO/IEC adoption of IMS ACCLIP specification

    The AccessForAll Meta-data specification is intended to make it possible to identify resources that match a user's stated preferences or needs. These preferences or needs would be declared using the IMS Learner Information Package Accessibility for LIP specification. The needs and preferences addressed include the need or preference for alternative presentations of resources, alternative methods of controlling resources, alternative equivalents to the resources themselves and enhancements or supports required by the user. The specification provides a common language for identifying and describing the primary or default resource and equivalent alternatives for that resource.

  • SNOW (Special Needs Opportunity Window)

    Online courses and a wealth of information to support teachers of students with special needs.

  • Raising the Floor

    Raising the Floor is an international coalition of individuals and organizations working to ensure that the Internet is accessible to people experiencing accessibility or literacy problems, even if they have very limited or no financial resources. The goal is to ensure that individuals who need special interfaces are as free and able as everyone else to use the new and emerging Internet tools and resources to live more independently and productively, and to achieve their life's goals.

  • W3C Web Accessibility Authoring Tool Working Group
    The IDRC is an active participant in the Web Accessibility Initiative of the W3C. Jutta Treviranus, Director of the IDRC,  chairs the W3C Authoring Tool Guidelines Working Group.


Direct links to New Project Websites:

Project Descriptions:

  • Automated Personalization Computer Project (APCP)
    In collaboration with the American Job Centers, community colleges, and high schools, the APCP project will help take the auto-personalization function of the Global Public Inclusive Infrastructure (GPII) from the proof-of-concept stage through to a high-quality, broadly-used open source implementation. Led by the TRACE Center at the University of Maryland, the IDRC is contributing to the project’s overall software architecture, security and web personalization infrastructure, and individualized metrics-gathering tools.

  • BIG IDeA
    BIG IDeA (Business Innovation Guide for Inclusion Design and Accessibility) brings together businesses, customers with lived experience of disability and designers to collaboratively advance accessibility innovation in Ontario and create a culture of accessibility and inclusion. We are:
    • Collecting inclusion barriers and hosting design challenges to create inclusive alternatives
    • Mapping accessibility of Ontario in our BIG IDeA mapathon (visit:])
    • Recognizing accessible businesses through customer reviews, showcases and badges
    • Providing resources, training and help on inclusion and AODA compliance
  • Bodies in Translation
    Bodies in Translation is a research project that creates collaborative partnerships between artists, arts organizations, activists, scholars, and educators. With the Canadian disability arts community, the IDRC is co-designing the project’s Knowledge Platform as well as new technologies to support inclusive artistic creation.

  • Center on Inclusive Software for Learning (CISL)
    This project brings inclusive open education tools and knowledge from the FLOE Project to the newly-announced Center on Inclusive Software for Learning (CISL). Led by CAST, CISL will support the development of an open-source software suite, industry guidelines and supporting research to ensure K-12 students get engaging personalized learning through Open Education Resources.

  • Our Doors are Open
    Our Doors Are Open: A Multi-Faith Welcome to Persons with Disabilities will develop good practices for inclusive community engagement by places of worship of all faiths across Ontario, and support them to achieve a culture of inclusion in services and community gatherings. Our Doors are Open will provide:
    • training-materials and resources,
    • community inclusion workshops
    • train-the-trainer seminars
    • accessibility assessments and guidance on digital communications
    • accessibility mapathon kits to help you build awareness in your congregation
  • Platform Co-op/
    In collaboration with the Platform Co-op movement, the goal of the project is to realize the full aspirations of Platform for Economic Inclusion. Together with Trebor Scholtz, the Platform Co-op Consortium and the New School, the IDRC will be developing a Platform Co-op Development Kit with the support of several foundations. The first implementation will be focused on care: childcare, attendant care and eldercare. “The work that makes all other work possible."

  • Preferences for Global Access
    The goal of this project is the design and development of web software to assist users with disabilities in creating online user profiles that specify their needs and preferences for how online information and services should be presented to them. The key to ensuring successful access to information and services is a personal statement expressing needs and preferences for specific contexts and goals. These "preference sets" automatically configure information and applications to meet individual. This team is developing tools and technologies to support users in specifying their individual needs and preferences in several application settings.

  • Prosperity4All
    Prosperity4All develops the infrastructure and ecosystem that will allow for a ubiquitous auto-personalization of interfaces and materials, based on user needs and preferences, to grow (promote self-rewarding collaboration, reduce redundant development, lower costs, increase market reach and penetration internationally).
  • The Social Justice Repair Kit
    The goal of this project is to
    • help youth movements and social justice initiatives to become welcoming environments for youth with learning differences
    • benefit from the advantages of inclusive design.