Why use it?
There are many reasons, all of them good.
- 48 per cent of the population has difficulty reading printed materials and
can deal only with simple and clearly laid out materials.
- More people, whether they have reading problems or not, will understand
documents, how to fill out forms, and what is expected of them.
- Low literacy and other vulnerable people will be better served.
- Staff save time as they also understand the policies and other documents
better and can answer questions more quickly and easily.
- Governments are more accessible to the public and save staff time.
- It saves money.
- It “is...the single most helpful technique...for ensuring that everyone
understands court proceedings.”25
Who uses it?
- Governments and businesses in Canada, the United States, Australia, and
England—it saves money and increases efficiency.
- The Small Claims Court in British Columbia—the same staff can handle
40 per cent more work after its Acts, forms, and brochures were re-written
in plain language.26
- The Alberta Department of Agriculture—simplifying its forms saved
easily $3.5 million.27
25. Canadian Bar Association, Reading the Legal World,
26. Joseph Kimble, “Writing for Dollars, Writing to Please”, Scribes
Journal of Legal Writing (1996): p. 8.
27. Christine Mowat, “Alberta Agriculture Saves Money with Plain Language”,
Clarity 38 (1997): p. 6.