Microsoft Canada wins Jim Flaherty Award for Leadership, Inclusion and Accessibility


In recognition of Microsoft Canada’s inclusion strategy and commitment to empowering every person and organization to achieve more, the Abilities Centre has honoured the company with the 2019 Jim Flaherty Award for Leadership, Inclusion and Accessibility.

This award recognizes an individual or an organization that has made a major contribution to the promotion, development, and advancement of accessibility and inclusion.

There are no limits to what people can achieve when technology reflects the diversity of everyone who uses it. Accessibility, accountability, and inclusion are built into Microsoft’s culture and are reflected in the products and services it designs for people of all abilities. Microsoft partners with organizations around the world to create policies and programmes that promote digital inclusion and provide all people with better access to education, employment and public services.

Last year, the company announced an investment of $25 million USD as part of its AI for Accessibility initiative, a five-year program aimed at harnessing the power of AI to amplify human capabilities for more than 1 billion people around the world with disabilities.

“At Microsoft, we believe in the transformative power of diversity and inclusion. Accessibility is essential to delivering on our mission to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more,” said Kevin Peesker, President of Microsoft Canada. “It’s more than the products we create. It’s about our culture and our systemic approach to inclusion in everything we do. From our inclusive hiring practices to our collaborative approach to the modern workplace, we are committed to embracing inclusion as the foundation of our company DNA.”


Technology has the unique ability to break down barriers. Microsoft’s suite of Office 365 applications offer several built-in capabilities that make it easier for everyone to create content that can be accessed without barriers by people with disabilities.

• Accessibility Insights for Windows helps developers find and fix accessibility issues in Windows apps.

• Work with assistive technologies – Office 365 applications work seamlessly with screen readers and keyboards on most devices. Step-by-step guidance is available per application to help you get started.

• Type what you want to do – Tell Me lets you quickly access commands in several Office 365 applications without navigating the command ribbon. You can use Tell Me to assist with formatting, discover the difficult-to-find capabilities and even get scoped help in Office 365 using everyday language.

• Ensuring content is accessible – MailTip in Outlook informs coworkers when content is accessible. They can run an Accessibility Checker before sending an email and fix any issues that might make the content not accessible for people with disabilities.

• Go paperless with Office Lens – Office Lens helps you transform text on a printed page into digital content that can be read aloud. To empower you to get an image of exactly what you’re trying to capture, Office Lens on iOS can tell you to move back, to the right, or in other directions to get the full page in the frame.

• Present with real-time subtitles – Display autogenerated subtitles on a presentation in more than 60 languages with the Presentation Translator add-in for PowerPoint. Additionally, let each audience member follow along with captions displayed in their chosen language on any device with Microsoft Translator.

• Add captions for videos – Create multimedia presentations that are engaging and accessible with Office 365 applications such as PowerPoint and Sway that enable you to add captions for embedded videos.

• Stay focused while reading – Sustain attention with Learning Tools settings such as Immersive Reader that let you have words read aloud with simultaneous highlighting. You can also reduce focus to a few lines, adjust page colors, and increase spacing between lines, letters, and words.

• Type with your voice – Convert your speech to text with Dictate in applications such as Word, PowerPoint and Outlook.


For a comprehensive list of our accessibility features available on Windows 10 and Office365 check out our Microsoft Accessibility Feature Sway

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