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Enhancing Equitable Access to Assistive Technologies in Canada: Insights from Citizens and Stakeholders

  • Cristina A. Mattison (a1) (a2), Michael G. Wilson (a1) (a2) (a3), Rosalie H. Wang (a4) and Kerry Waddell (a1)


The need for assistive technologies in Canada is increasing, but access is inconsistent and fragmented which can result in unmet needs. We aimed to identify citizens’ values and preferences for how to enhance equitable access to assistive technologies and to engage policymakers, stakeholders, and researchers in deliberations to spark action. In spring 2017, we convened three citizen panels and a stakeholder dialogue. Key panel findings were included in an evidence brief that informed dialogue participants. Thirty-seven citizens participated in panels and emphasized the need for access to reliable information, equitable access to assistive technologies regardless of ability to pay, and the need for collaboration. Twenty-two dialogue participants focused on the need for a guiding framework that supports fundamental change across the country. The proposed policy framework can enhance access to assistive technologies through enabling simplified policies and programs, along with fostering robust data collection and evaluation to support countrywide innovation and accountability.

Les besoins en technologies d’assistance augmentent au Canada, mais l’accès à ces technologies est inégal et fragmentaire, ce qui ferait en sorte que des besoins demeureraient non comblés. Cette étude visait à identifier les valeurs et préférences des citoyens concernant les moyens à utiliser pour favoriser un accès équitable aux technologies d’assistance. Elle visait également à impliquer les décideurs politiques, les parties prenantes et les chercheurs dans des discussions afin d’élaborer des actions dans ce domaine. Au printemps 2017, nous avons organisé trois panels de citoyens et un dialogue avec les parties prenantes. Les principales conclusions des panels ont été incluses dans une synthèse qui a été partagée avec les participants du dialogue. Trente-sept citoyens ont participé aux panels et ont souligné l’importance de l’accès à de l’information fiable, d’un accès équitable aux technologies d’assistance (et ce, quelle que soit la capacité de payer), et de la collaboration. Les vingt-deux participants au dialogue ont fait valoir la nécessité d’un cadre d’orientation pour appuyer l’évolution des pratiques dans l’ensemble au pays. Le cadre d’orientation proposé combinerait des politiques et programmes simplifiés incluant la collecte et l’évaluation de données robustes pour appuyer l’innovation et l’imputabilité à travers le pays.


Corresponding author

La correspondance et les demandes de tirés-à-part doivent être adressées à : / Correspondence and requests for offprints should be sent to: Cristina A. Mattison, Ph.D. McMaster Health Forum McMaster University 1280 Main Street West, MML-417 Hamilton, ON L8S 4L6 (


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We would like to thank those involved with each of the projects presented in this article. These individuals are formally acknowledged in each of the documents that are available on the McMaster Health Forum website ( Funding for the citizen brief and the citizen panel, as well as the evidence brief and the stakeholder dialogue they were prepared to inform were funded by AGE-WELL NCE Inc. and McMaster University’s Labarge Optimal Aging Initiative.



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Enhancing Equitable Access to Assistive Technologies in Canada: Insights from Citizens and Stakeholders

  • Cristina A. Mattison (a1) (a2), Michael G. Wilson (a1) (a2) (a3), Rosalie H. Wang (a4) and Kerry Waddell (a1)


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