2000 Conference Proceedings

Go to previous article 
Go to next article 
Return to 2000 Table of Contents


The Adaptive Computer Technology Training Program for IT Technicians: Another Canadian Government Success Story

Dave Goods, Director
IT Operations Branch
Systems and Informatics Directorate
Environment Canada
10 Wellington Street
Hull, Quebec, Canada K1A 0H3
(819)953-1162
dave.goods@ec.gc.ca 
Andre Demers, ACT Program Manager
IT Operations Branch
Systems and Informatics Directorate
Environment Canada
10 Wellington Street
Hull, Quebec, Canada K1A 0H3
(819) 953-2492
andre.demers@ec.gc.ca

Introduction

Environment Canada, a Canadian Federal government department, is highly computerized. The majority of our employees require the use of a computer to do their jobs. The Adaptive Computer Technology (ACT) Program was established in 1991 to provide adaptive computer technology services to new and existing employees who have disabilities - to allow all employees access the same information, in the same office environment, as effectively and efficiently as anyone else. It is a comprehensive program that covers all types of disabilities.

Although all federal government departments in Canada have extensive Information Technology (IT) support services, these services do not directly address the requirements of disabled employees who use adaptive computer technology.

Services provided through Environment Canada’s ACT Program

advice and guidance on adaptive technology products to meet the needs of employees with disabilities assessment of individual adaptive computer technology needs in order to identify the appropriate match between the employee and the hardware or software adaptation(s) installation and integration of adaptive technology hardware and software into a client's environment training of employees with disabilities on the use of adaptive hardware and software installed on their computer systems on-going technical and educational support for adaptive hardware, software and computer systems evaluation of adaptive hardware, software and computer systems for suitability of use by persons with disabilities and for compatibility with the departmental technology infrastructure awareness sessions, demonstrations, and consultations for managers and staff

Adaptive Computer Technology Training Program for IT Technicians

Since 1996 Environment Canada’s ACT program has evolved to provide services to other federal government departments. In 1999 Canada’s Treasury Board Secretariat’s Employment Equity Positive Measures Program approved funding of the Adaptive Computer Technology Training Program for IT Technicians. With the support of Treasury Board Secretariat funding, Environment Canada created a multi-dimensional program for all IT professionals in the public service in September 1999.
This training provides technicians and their respective departments an opportunity to enhance the employability of persons with disabilities. This program has initial funding to train 90 technicians from across Canada.
This custom designed on-line computer course is administered by Dr. Norman Coombs of the Rochester Institute of Technology. Phase One is an interactive introduction to adaptive computer technology and takes approximately four weeks to complete. Technicians will be electronically introduced to several disability issues and the basics of adaptive technology.

The second phase of the course is a hands-on component to familiarize participants with the technology and the technical issues surrounding the implementation and support of adaptive computer technology in an elaborate multi-platform laboratory. This two week (10 day) component involves lectures, demonstrations, site visits, case studies, and hands-on exposure to the various adaptive technology tools. During the two weeks, participants are asked to produce a document outlining how adaptive technology could be used in their departments.

Final thoughts

It is hoped that this training program will create a critical mass of knowledgeable IT support staff to address the needs of adaptive computer technology users throughout the Canadian Federal Public Service


Go to previous article 
Go to next article 
Return to 2000 Table of Contents 
Return to Table of Proceedings


Reprinted with author(s) permission. Author(s) retain copyright.