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What is ‘Duty to notify’ or an active offer? 

Breaking down accessibility requirements, including alternate or accessible formats 

April 9, 2024 — 

UM has been undertaking a project to provide barrier-free information and communication to fulfill requirements of the Accessibility for Manitobans Act (AMA) Accessible Information and Communication Standard coming into effect May 1. Our efforts will contribute towards a more accessible and equitable environment for all.  

To comply with accessibility legislation, all organizations have a duty to notify the public and their employees that upon request, information will be provided through an alternate format or another communication support.  

This ‘Duty to notify’ is essentially an active offer — a proactive statement that ensures your information and services are available and accessible to everyone. At UM, “everyone” includes students, prospective students, fellow employees, prospective employees, retirees, clients, customers, volunteers, visitors, parents, the public. 

Read on to learn more about duty to notify, active offers and alternate/accessible formats. 

Duty to notify or active offer according to the AMAIC 

Requirements around ‘Duty to notify,’ or active offer, are covered in sections 5 and 6 and sections 10, 11, 12 and 13 of the AMA Accessible Information and Communication (AMAIC) Standard. 

The legislation requires that: 

  • Organizations must include an active offer on print and digital information stating that that upon request, information will be provided through an alternate format or another communication support. 
  • The organization should consult with the requester to identify a support or format that removes the barrier. 
  • The alternative support or format must be provided in a timely manner and at no additional cost to the requestor.  

Visit Duty to notify, active offers and accessible formats, a new page on the Accessibility hub (on UM Intranet) that defines the duty to notify and provides examples of active offer statements. It also includes a list of alternative accessible formats. 


How to write an active offer

Include this statement or something similar as an active offer on your printed and digital materials: “Available in alternate formats upon request.” 

Here is another example of standard notification language or active offers you can use:  

  • “This message is available in alternate formats upon request to [Name or position and contact number or email address].” 

Position the offer in an obvious place, such as near the start of a document, the header or footer of an email or at the bottom of a poster. The document creator or someone in your department should be responsible to provide an alternate format if a request if made. 

Website: A general active offer statement with a feedback form will be posted on the UM website overall, so an additional statement on individual web pages is not needed. Options are being explored for adding active offer language in the contact block on individual pages. 


What are accessible formats?

Someone may request large print, an electronic version (alternate/accessible formats), or having the document read out loud (a communication support). If no specific format has been requested, consult with the requester to identify a support or format that removes the barrier. 

Other places to include the active offer are with videos and presentations. Be prepared to provide a print copy of the presentation or another means of engaging in your services or events. Automatically including captioning and a transcript of presentations is good practice whenever possible. 

A list of alternative accessible formats and communication supports can be found on the Accessibility hub on UM Intranet. Visit Duty to notify, active offers and accessible formats.  

Accessible design and communication information can be found in the UM Brand Guidelines on UM Intranet. 


Everyone is responsible for updating old documents and creating accessible materials 

Each employee must ensure they update older documents and create new documents compliant with the Information and Communication Standard (AMAIC). At the very least, all print and digital communication must include an offer to provide the same information in alternate formats as per Duty to notify, active offers and accessible formats. 

UM has invested in resources to help faculty and staff make print and digital material accessible, including training and supports available on the accessibility hub and in the section below. 


Tools for creating accessible documents and course materials  

Training on creating accessible documents in Microsoft and Adobe is available weekly through April. We recommend all faculty and staff who create PDF documents take at least one of these training sessions.   

Employees may register for training through the LOD registration system.  The courses are listed as:  

  • M365: Microsoft Accessibility Checker  
  • Adobe Checking for Accessibility   

A course content accessibility checker called Panorama is available for instructors and staff in UM Learn. Panorama checks course materials for accessibility and suggests ways to make your material more accessible. It also offers alternative formats for course materials. Visit The Centre’s Panorama information page for more information.   


Visit the Accessibility hub on UM Intranet  for resources and information

The Accessibility hub on UM Intranet is a self-serve site resource with definitions and documentation, links to the Act, the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1, instructions and techniques for creating accessible content, Siteimprove training and information, and much more.  

Visit the Accessibility hub for more information about the Information and Communication Standard (AMAIC) and links to documentation and tools to support this effort.   

If you have questions, please reach out to the AMAIC team using this AMAIC question form.   


Previous UM Today articles 

Mar. 18: Mandatory training for employees will make UM more accessible for all 

Mar. 12: Accessibility in UM’s digital spaces: Why designing for digital accessibility matters to us all 

Mar. 5: A shared responsibility: Employees to help ensure accessibility of UM information (web remediation and Siteimprove training) 

Nov. 27: Project launched to meet Manitoba’s Accessible Information and Communication Standard 

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