Research, Design and Innovation

Community of Practice

Research-driven innovation in accessibility provides solutions to barriers and creates opportunities for full participation through the design of spaces, technologies, products, and transportation. CAN brings together research, design and innovation across disciplines and industries in Canada.

The Role of Community of Practice Members, Meetings and Time Commitment

Anyone that is a member of CAN Collaborator Organization, or an approved CAN Collaborator Individual, can join this CoP if they have an interest in learning more about, and/or meeting with other experts in the field.  Members are involved in enacting the business of the Network, as it relates to the priorities of the working group (as noted above).

CoP meetings happen bi-monthly (approximately 6 times per year) for up to 1.5 hours at each meeting – see current meeting schedule.


Download Meeting Schedule DOCX


Download Meeting Schedule PDF

In addition to these meetings, members who volunteer to get involved in an approved project can anticipate that there will be an additional two to three hours a month (approx.) commitment that is outside of required meeting times that is dedicated to contributing towards the work the project they are supporting, depending on their agreed upon role with the project. This time is dependant on the agreed upon work plan for the operating year and may fluctuate.


Please see Terms of Reference for the Research, Design and Innovation Community of Practice for more information on the governance of this Committee.


Download Terms of Reference DOCX


Download Terms of Reference PDF

Community of Practice Leadership

The Research, Design and Innovation CoP operates under the direction of two co-Leads. They provide leadership to the CoP by:


  • Planning, facilitating and supporting the CoP meetings 
  • Collating ideas and proposing strategic priorities to be considered by the Governing Council as they relate to accessibility in education and training
  • Ensuring the successful completion of approved projects for the CoP
  • Providing updates of CoP activities to the Governing Council at designated times of the operating year
Meet the Co-Leads for the Research, Design and Innovation Community of Practice
Amber Knabl
Research, Design and Innovation Co-Lead
Amber Knabl
Amber Knabl is a CPACC certified Accessibility Strategist currently working for Fable, a CAN collaborator, based out of Toronto, Canada. With a background in UX Design and Inclusive Design for Digital Media, Amber combines these practical skills along with a deep understanding of various assistive technologies to coach colleagues and enterprise customers alike. Amber is most passionate about helping people shift their thinking when it comes to accessibility – beyond checklist and into creating delightful experiences for everyone.
Claire Davies
Research, Design and Innovation Co-Lead
Claire Davies
Claire has dedicated her research career to improving the lives of people with disabilities. Her research at the Building and Designing Assistive Technology (BDAT) Lab is diverse covering three main areas: biomaterials, motion analysis, and assistive technology with the primary research goal of increasing independence of people with disabilities. Claire is currently an assistant professor in Mechanical and Materials Engineering at Queen University with an honorary senior lecturer appointment in the Departments of Surgery and Mechanical Engineering at the University of Auckland.

Current Priorities for the Research, Design and Innovation (RDI) Community of Practice

The CoP is currently working on two key projects:

Knowledge Sharing Initiative

There is a need for more intentional sharing of information about accessibility-related research, design and innovation. The knowledge to practice accessibility research exists within (and outside of) CAN. We want to better share and learn from one another to ensure people don’t need to re-invent the wheel when it comes to inclusive and accessibility-related research. This project will set up processes for content sharing of relevant information within the Network and beyond, through regular blog posts shared in CAN Newsletter and on the new CAN website, and will provide opportunities for CAN members to share their RDI-related knowledge and information on a continuous basis focusing on inclusion of members with lived experiences as much as possible.

Accessible Research Practices Guide

The CoP has identified accessibility related gaps in the following research practices: including persons with a lived experience of disability in research design and as research participants; accessibility of research tools; accessibility of research spaces (physical and virtual); methodology of communicating and disseminating research information in an accessible way (publications, online, outreach activities, language). This guide will allow for shared learning that will promote accessible and inclusive research practices and address accessibility barriers in all aspects of research.

If you would like to get involved with one or more of these projects, we invite you to connect with us at [email protected] and we will introduce you to the Project Leads.

Now Recruiting Volunteers!

The Research, Design & Innovation Community of Practice is always open to recruiting new members who are passionate about advancing accessibility and who feel that their background and expertise could support the work of the CoP.


If you are interested, please contact [email protected] and we will coordinate a time to speak with you about becoming a member of the CoP.