Creation of a Plain Language Communication Policy

UPDATE:  March 2024

The Public Service was directed to report back to the Executive Policy Committee within six months of the adoption of the Policy outlining the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) it intends to use to measure the success of the policy. The Plain Language Key Performance Indicators  administrative report presented performance metrics to measure ONLY the success of the Plain Language Policy as it applies to Administrative Reports (executive summary section only);

BUT the policy includes a number of other materials to which the plain language guidelines apply; therefore that the report was laid over for 90 days and the Public Service was directed to report back on the following:

Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and any additional performance metrics to evaluate the success of the Plain Language Policy as it applies to the other public-facing written materials noted in section 3.1, namely:

  • Advertisements
  • Correspondence
  • Presentations
  • Publications
  • Signage
  • Social media
  • Website content
  • All 311 Services

 

UPDATE: September  2023

 

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.