BC People First and Plain Language Translation

               By: Conrad Tyrkin and Michael McLellan.


The BC People First Society (BCPF for short) is a Non-Profit Provincial organization that is part of a larger national movement.

There are now People First groups all over the world!

We work to make sure that people with a developmental disability are respected and included in communities as full citizens. We do this by supporting each other to speak up for ourselves and others.

We do presentations in schools and groups. We organize conferences and we work with organizations such as CLBC and Inclusion BC.

Another thing we are offering now is Plain Language Translation.


BCPF is currently working on awareness and advocacy of plain language translations in places of business, government and medical documents/forms etc.


Every year the BCPF board decides what the focus of their advocacy work will be.

In May 2017, the BCPF Board did a PATH planning process facilitated by Shelley Nessman and Aaron Johannes.

Through this process, BCPF Board members decided that Plain language Translation is SO important, it is included as an area of focus for the next 3 years!


One of BC People First’s advocacy focus for 2017-2019 is on plain language translation because…




We believe plain language information is a HUMAN RIGHT.


BC People First believes that Plain language is a human right. Everybody needs equal access to information, and sometimes things are written in a way not everybody can understand, especially those people who are labelled with Developmental Disabilities.

Plain Language is easy to read, easy to understand, and easy to use.


This year, we are excited to announce that BC People First is offering translation services! We can help assist any kind of organization, agency or business make their information more accessible.

If the language you are using in your organization or place of business, etc is not in plain language WE ARE HERE TO HELP!


BCPF maintains a Plain Language Translation Committee which can be hired to translate all kinds of information into easier to understand language. This work is done by a team of Self Advocates, with the help of an advisor.

We charge a very reasonable amount, based on the length and difficultly of the translations.


We are can also deliver workshops about the importance of plain language, and tips on how to speak in plain language that can be given as training for doctors, dentists, teachers, SEA’s, parents, people that work at government offices, business owners/business managers, any support staff from any agencies and/or businesses, TransLink Operators: just to name some examples.



 Self Advocates: BC People First wants to know when did you experience barriers understanding a document and where/what was that? 


From a self advocate/person labelled with a disabilities point of view, the BC People First board would like to know about your experience about plain language. This will help us let the world know why plain language is so important. The board would like to ask:


  1. When did you experience barriers understanding a document?
  2. Where exactly did the incident happen, and to the best of your ability in detail, what exactly happened?


  1. Where do you wish there was better plain language translation?


Absolutely please feel free to connect with one of our wonderful Regional Directors to tell your story or email it to us. Please call:


Author and President Michael McLellan, Director Vancouver Island at 250-897-4716




Author and  Director of Zone 1, Lower Mainland East and West,
Conrad Tyrkin at 778-990-1695


You may also email our wonderful Provincial Coordinator, Ariel Pavic at  bcpfcoordinator@gmail.com


Our brand new official BC People First website has OFFICIALLY launched:





More about Plain Language translation at this link:  http://www.peoplefirstofcanada.ca/priorities/plain-language/


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