PLAIN Canada promotes plain language in Canada in both official languages. It is a volunteer, unincorporated, member organization working to build a community of plain language professionals and advocates.
PLAIN Canada provides resources and networking opportunities for supporters of plain language in Canada.
We are launching this newsletter to:
Each edition will feature:
This newsletter is available in both French and English.
In this issue
In this first issue, we will introduce our patron, Cheryl Stephens.
Some of our ideas for future articles include the following topics:
In the coming months, we will solicit your ideas for articles and ask for contributions to our newsletter. Watch our website and our groups on LinkedIn and Facebook for calls for submissions or invitations to collaborate on future editions.
We look forward to hearing your ideas and building our community!
Jocelyn Pletz and Chantale Audet
We are proud to introduce Cheryl Stephens as the patron of PLAIN Canada. Cheryl is a leader, author, editor, educator, consultant, and trainer who specializes in plain language communication.
Although Cheryl initially trained as a lawyer, for over thirty years she has worked tirelessly to promote and build the legal writing and plain language writing movement throughout Canada and the world. Cheryl co-founded the Plain Language Association International (PLAIN) in 1993 and was later named the organization’s first life member.
At the PLAIN conference in Oslo, Norway, in 2019, a group of Canadians decided to organize a plain language group that focused on the unique needs of Canadian plain language practitioners. For example, we not only have two official languages, we are also one of the most culturally diverse nations in the world. Many Canadians do not speak English or French as a native language. Following the Oslo conference, Cheryl got to work and started organizing PLAIN Canada.
Cheryl is a prolific writer and her latest book, Plain Language in Plain English, is a comprehensive guide to clear communication. See all of Cheryl’s books at Plain Language Wizardry.
FREE Online Training
The Plain Train, an online plain language training program created by Cheryl Stephens, is based on Plain Language, Clear and Simple, the training resource for plain language developed by the Government of Canada. The pamphlet is out of print, but Iva Cheung has made a digital copy available in both languages. Read about the background to that project here. In Cheryl’s course, you will find helpful tips and techniques for improving your communication skills by using plain language.
Networking & Training
PLAIN Canada has been hosting monthly virtual meetings, which have included webinars, presentations, and Q&As. They have become very popular, and many have provided excellent training.
In recognition of the time and efforts required to prepare these presentations, we would like to be able to offer an honorarium for presenters. However, to do that, we may need to start charging an attendance fee.
In the coming weeks, watch for more information about our webinar schedule for the year and our plans for charging a modest fee for attendance. We are also exploring the option of inviting people to pay an annual membership fee in exchange for free access to all our webinars and training opportunities.
Unconference planned for 2021/2022
Unlike traditional conferences, an “unconference” is a participant-driven meeting that is less structured and encourages collaboration and discussion. Instead of formal presentations, everyone participates and contributes their experiences and expertise.
Watch for more information on LinkedIn and Facebook. To make sure you don’t miss any important announcements, [click here to join our mailing list].
Awards & Recognition
During the 2021 PLAIN conference, several members of our PLAIN Canada community received recognition for their work in plain language.
Plain Language Academies received the Cheryl Stephens Plain Language Innovation Award. This international award was presented to Kate Harrison Whiteside, founder and director of Plain Language Academies. Congratulations to the Plain Language Academies team for their groundbreaking contributions to the field of plain language.
Chantale Audet and Amélie Bourret of Autrement dit received their second ClearMark Award. The ClearMark Awards recognize plain language communications created by North American organizations. They are presented to successful recipients during the awards ceremony at the PLAIN conference.
Chantale and Amélie received their first ClearMark Award last year in the Before and After (Digital) category. This year, they were recognized in the French Language category for their work with Autisme Quebec on the Série de fiches d’éducation financière pour jeunes adultes autistes.
Canadian Digital Service and Health Canada received the ClearMark Award in the Apps category in recognition of their work on COVID Alert, Canada’s exposure notification app.
Featured Online Resources
Plain Canada Clair
Year-end reflection of Patron Cheryl Stephens
As a founder and now the Patron of PLAIN Canada CLAIR, I want to report on our year of activity. It was only a year ago that we organized a home for Canada’s plain language supporters but we have accomplished a lot in a very difficult year.
1. the LinkedIn group PLAIN Canada with 250 members: https://www.linkedin.com/groups/12301364/
2. websites in both English and French: PlainCanada.org and https://www.PlainCanada.org/accueil.html
3. a Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/PLAINCanadaCLAIR
4. monthly membership meetings with guest speakers
5. a webinar on the scientific support for using plain language
Volunteers at work
We also have an active planning board and several functioning committees for: advocacy, training, communication. Our first newsletter is under production.
Members of our training committee are contributing to the new training project of the International Plain Language Federation. Members of our group are participating in the work of Access Canada.
We have set these priorities
These goals were set after consulting our membership.
Promote and inform:
Happy Canada Day!
It seems a good day to share what is happening with PLAIN Canada.
We now have several committees at work building the structure and program for this group:
We have a short-term advocacy campaign in development while work proceeds a on long-term plan. All committees are contributing to the campaign from their perspective.
Each committee is also setting a path to fulfill its own mandate. Michelle Boulton has graciously taken of the task of liaising with all committees and helping them keep moving along. Kate Harrison Whiteside is collecting resources on training and consulting service for our website PLAINCanada.org.
We plan to sell advertising on the training page to consultants, so watch for that notice. We have plans for a newsletter and an expert on the history of Canadian developments in plain language who will contribute to the newsletter.
Our fundraising seminar was a success: Keep it simple: the science behind plain language,
and why you should use it
We have settled on holding our monthly general meetings on Zoom at noon (Pacific) on the 13th day of each month. Committee meetings are monthly. If you would like to contribute from your expertise or interest, please let me know.
I hope to see you at the July 13 meeting.