The Clarity Kit: Effective Communication for Municipalities

By Ruth Baldwin and Sally McBeth, published by the Canadian Union of Public Employees and Canadian Association of Municipal Administrators

Created to assist municipal workplaces to improve communication in the workplace by encouraging the use of clear language, the tools in this three-part kit are designed to be used cooperatively by both management and union advocates and have been modeled on the process used to set up joint labour/ management workplace literacy programs in many Canadian municipalities.

In part 1, the authors outline the steps to developing a workplace clear language initiative, discuss how to promote the initiative and get people’s support, and introduce the clarity audit.

In part 2, the authors explain what is meant by “clear language,” why it is of growing importance for the municipal workplace, and the problems caused by unclear language in the workplace. They also answer questions about the clear language approach and provide case studies, before and after examples, tips for clear writing and additional sources of information about clear language.

“The Clarity Audit” is the third part of the kit. A clarity audit is a tool for gathering information about how an organization communicates, from the perspective of both management and unionized employees. Analyzing the results helps the organization plan how to move forward with a clear language initiative.