Creation of a Plain Language Communication Policy
April 20, 2022 Update:
The Executive Policy Committee directed the Winnipeg Public Service to report back in 180 days (October 2022) with respect to a plain language policy to be used by the City in all external communications and administrative reports.
The City of Winnipeg Governance Review identified multiple recommendations citing a need for materials to use a simpler writing style to enable the public to understand City communications. Clear and effective communication is essential for the City of Winnipeg to deliver many services that are essential to daily life.
On the other hand, Winnipeg continues to grow through immigration, and English is not the first language of many new residents. Documents written using plain language are more likely to meet accessibility standards and are easier to have translated. It is a fact that plain language helps improve the relationship between the government and citizens. Governments that adhere to plain language principles have reported increased access to services, compliance with regulations, and decreases in costs due to reduced phone calls and emails, enabling faster processing.
At City of Winnipeg, Corporate Communications provides recommendations to departments to reduce technical and industry jargon, but does not provide training, robust guidelines, or policies to ensure the use of plain language in materials. Therefore, on the March 23, 2022 meeting of the Assiniboia Community Committee, I moved a motion requesting the Executive Policy Committee to direct the Winnipeg Public Service to develop a plain language policy to be used by the City in all external communications and administrative reports.