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In your planning phase, consider the following recommendations to incorporate into your event. Please note that this list is not exhaustive and will evolve as we continue to learn. It is not required that you adopt each suggestion; however, use this checklist as a tool to help you move further toward Equity, Diversity and Inclusion at SFU.
Items with (V) are considerations for, but not limited to, virtual events.
- Consider how diverse groups can be involved in the event planning process. Explore relevant inclusivity training for the planning team (e.g., San'yas and LinkedIn Learning).
- Invite contributors to be a part of the planning and who can speak to the needs and interests of various groups.
- Reflect on the event’s goals and objectives.
- Identify the event’s target audience. Are there common characteristics to be considered/to be aware of when planning (e.g., aging population, Indigenous event)?
- Keep in mind how one individual would feel at the event – strive to create a sense of belonging.
- Determine if there is budget allocated for accessibility accommodations.
- Determine if universal washrooms are available. Universal means that it can be accessed by people of every gender and with a full range of identities, abilities and social positions. At a minimum, washrooms should be accessible with appropriate grab bars and floor space for a wheelchair or walker.
- If universal washrooms aren’t available, request a single stall washroom to be dedicated as a universal washroom for the event, and post the appropriate signage.
- If a single stall washroom isn’t available, consider posting “Inclusive Men’s Washroom” and “Inclusive Women’s Washroom” signage to be displayed during the event.
Virtual event technology
- Provide event platform navigation/instructions. Include a link or PDF to invitation/confirmation email (e.g., how to log in, install, etc.) and consider hosting a pre-event “tech training sessions” for attendees. (V)
- Consider whether the event platform is appropriate for your audience and if it is accessible for most. (V)
- The event platform should use easily accessible tools/add-ons for device compatibility (e.g., apps, text-to-speech functions). (V)
- Ensure alternative participation methods are available (e.g., dial-in by phone). (V)
- Consider all five senses (sight, hearing, taste, touch, smell) when planning an event.
- Provide an event overview/timeline to invitees in invitations and other communications.
- Ensure guests are aware of health and safety protocols in place.
- Provide speakers/presenters an opportunity to practice before the event (either in a virtual dress rehearsal or onsite at the venue before guests arrive).
- Ensure that speakers/presenters have received presenter instructions, are briefed on best practices and attend a dress rehearsal. (V)
- Provide honoraria or other forms of compensation or gifting where possible (e.g., speakers, presenters, special guests, volunteers).
- Engage in open conversation regarding compensation/honoraria prior to working with speakers/presenters/etc.
- Consider what personal information is essential to collect and why.
- Provide multiple options for people to register (e.g., Eventbrite, by e-mail, or by phone).
- Include an optional pronoun field (e.g. he/she/they/ze/name only)
- Include a field for accessibility requests (example wording: Please share with us any accessibility-related measures you require to be able to participate in this event).
- Include a field for dietary requests.
- Include event planners' contact information for those who have questions or concerns.
- If legal names are required, provide a space for preferred name (e.g., for nametag).
- If printing nametags, use preferred name and include pronouns (example wording: Please provide your pronouns as/if you would like them to appear on your nametag).
- Consider extending the registration time limit for those who use assistive devices to register (e.g., 10 minutes).
- If an attendee requires a personal care attendant, ensure that the helper is not charged for registration.
- If identification is required on-site, address this during registration. Ensure staff are aware that some IDs may not match their registration information.
- All accessibility and accommodation requests have been arranged as far in advance as possible.
- Communicate all pertinent accessibility measures that will be available.
- Those making accommodation, accessibility, or service requests are contacted and are aware if their request can or cannot be met.
- An accessible and thorough evaluation form has been prepared (see “Post event”).
- The team has reviewed and understands the Useful ASL signs for events resource for helpful communication with those who are hard of hearing.
- Think about attendees with different abilities and the potential to encounter barriers. Take part in site visits and make note of obstacles.
- Pathways in and outside the venue should be level, firm, and stable, and at least one-meter-wide for those who use mobility aids. They should be marked with accessibility information (e.g., steep slopes, stairs).
- Check if there are automatic doors. If the main entrance is not automatic, ensure there is signage to direct guests to an accessible door. Event staff can be stationed to hold doors open and greet guests at non-accessible doors.
- Choose a venue that is well-lit or has adjustable lighting. Good lighting can help with lip-reading and sign language.
- Consult with venue staff about acoustics. Spaces with significant echo can create barriers for those who are hard of hearing.
- Think about room configuration and whether it can be made culturally appropriate (e.g., sitting in circle vs. theatre style).
- Outdoor events should have the appropriate protection from extreme weather conditions.
- If the chosen venue hosts multiple events concurrently, ensure you are aware of the programs/intent of those other events and that they will not make your attendees uncomfortable.
- Consider the appropriateness of your venue and whether it could make your guests uncomfortable (e.g., religious institute, government house, etc.).
Parking and transportation
- For an individual with mobility issues, consider the route from parking to the event space(s) (e.g., can they navigate on their own without needing assistance).
- The venue should have accessible parking and clear signage directing guests to and from the event. If the venue doesn’t have parking available, alternate parking options should be considered.
- Public transportation should be available and within a reasonable distance from the venue.
- Consider using a sliding scale, by-donation or free model for certain/all groups.
- Enable sponsorship options (e.g., sponsor a student to attend).
- Consider event timing and potential barriers to attend (e.g., childcare, weather, jobs).
- Consider how time zones might affect attendees. (V)
- Consider if event date is on or near any religious, spiritual and/or statutory holidays.
- Consider if event date is on or near any conflicting events.
Marketing and invitations
- Expand the invitation list to include diverse groups representing different experiences, viewpoints, backgrounds, etc., when possible.
- Ensure social media promotions are accessible.
- Avoid using (or use minimal) emojis. Ensure customizable versions (e.g., skin colour) where possible.
- Use common fonts (e.g., fonts pre-installed to Windows/Mac computers)
- Use camel case for hashtags (e.g., #EveryWordCapitalized)
- Use alt-tags on photos
- Enable closed captioning on all video (live or pre-recorded)
- If using electronic invitations, include a text-only invitation option.
- Use at least 12-point sans serif font (fancy, small or italic scripts are not accessible).
- Ensure promos and invitations are circulated with ample time for accessibility requests to be made and arranged.
- Include clear directions on how to get to the event with a map and written directions.
- Use high contrast colours (dark text on light background is preferred, and red on black looks like all black to some who are colourblind.).
- Do not embed essential information in a graphic. Screen readers often cannot decipher graphics for an individual with a visual disability. (V)
- Use multiple ways to advertise or market your event (e.g., social media, website, word-of-mouth, flyers).
- Include accessibility details for the event and contact information for questions and requests (e.g., accessible route into the building, if there will be an ASL interpreter, etc.).
- Provide contact information for invitees to make enquiries or request accommodations.
- All registrants must agree to behave appropriately through community event guidelines or code of conduct.
- Avoid using gendered prefixes (e.g., Mr., Ms.) unless an individual has explicitly confirmed their title. Use a gender-neutral title (Mx.) or no title at all.
- Ask attendees to please refrain from wearing perfumes and other scented products at the event.
- Avoid dress code guidelines that focus on gender (e.g., suits for men, cocktail dresses for women).
- Commitments and statements of inclusivity are added to the script/speaking remarks:
- A land or territory acknowledgment
- A welcome that defines the inclusive space
- A statement from the president, dean, etc. about SFU’s commitment to equity, diversity, and inclusion
- The following have been added to the agenda:
- Content to be covered
- Expected duration and scheduled breaks
- Evaluation forms - when and how they will be distributed
- There is time for discussion and/or dialogue (if appropriate).
- There are opportunities to break into small groups to encourage participation (if appropriate, NOTE: some people prefer not to participate; opting-out should be an option).
- Participants will be invited to provide feedback or submit ideas for future events.
- Tactics are in place to reduce burnout, Zoom fatigue, eye pain, etc. (V)
- Consider the diversity of emcees, facilitators, speakers/presenters, and performers.
- Ask your emcees, facilitators, speakers/presenters, and performers the following:
- To advise if any of their content might be concerning or triggering for participants
- Whether they require a screen (V)
- To use headphones to ensure their sound is clear (V)
- To describe the content of their presentations (e.g., slides, notes, etc.) when presenting
- To ensure that videos or other forms of media include accessibility features
- To use the CNIB Clear Print Accessibility Guidelines when preparing their presentation materials
- To send their materials in advance and allow you to integrate them into the presentation
- To keep to their time allocation*
*For many Indigenous people, there is protocol to not rush important conversations. Allow for some buffer time after an Indigenous speaker in your program.