Plain language guidelines will be an annex to the Communications Policy. The guidelines will be an updated version of a National Literacy Secretariat booklet published in 1991, called Plain Language, Clear and Simple.
The government of Canada has a deadline of 2005 for all departments to have plain language information about their programs and services on the internet.
Communication Canada produced a Successful Communication Toolkit in 2003, which includes a section on plain language written communications. It also contains a listing of successful communications projects lead by the federal government, other Canadian institutions, and by other countries. The federal government initiatives include:
The federal government will provide nine one-day workshops promoting plain language to employees this fiscal year through the Canada School of Public Service. Each workshop would accommodate a maximum of 40 participants. Two workshops are in French and seven in English.
Literacy organizations and plain language trainers participated in the communicators conference two years ago, which reached 800 of the 2,000 federal communicators across Canada. About half of the communicators come to the government with training and/or experience in public relations, journalism or communications.
The head of each department and institution is responsible for following the communications policy, including the plain language provision. The policy states that the Treasury Board Secretariat and Privy Council Office will monitor compliance through communications plans and audit reports within departments.
Monitoring and enforcement tools are now being developed. Some of the monitoring tools which might be used are a questionnaire, media coverage, and internal audits of materials.
It is a long process for federal employees to master all 31 elements of the communications policy. There is no plain language peer review or mentoring program. However, a number of people review all public documents. Depending on the review process, the document can get more complicated as time goes by, rather than clearer.
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