SSHRC Insight Development Grant

2023 - 2025

Professor Robert Soden received a SSHRC Insight Development Grant for the research project Addressing Barriers to Weather Risk Communication Experienced by Ontarians with Visual Disabilities. In Ontario, severe weather events are becoming increasingly frequent and intense, causing damage and disruptions in the places where they occur. People with visual impairments face significant barriers to receiving timely and instructive communications about risk and safety during severe weather events. Such information is necessary for “protective decision-making” – decisions that individuals and communities make in advance of and during disasters that impact their safety with regards to these events. Currently, authoritative weather risk communication in Ontario does not meet the needs of people with visual impairments. The two-year research project seeks to address the accessibility gaps that exist within the current disaster response measures and communication channels through design research into the needs, capacities, and constraints of people with visual disabilities in Ontario. Developing a detailed understanding of these issues, and creating innovative communication strategies and technologies to alleviate them, is a necessary step towards ensuring effective and equitable emergency management in Canada.