- The British Columbia Securities Commission—it wanted to be
a more effective regulator. It undertook an extensive plain language
program, reduced the number and complexity of its regulations,
trained staff, and developed a very successful guide,
The BCSC Plain Language Style Guide.28
- The Federal Communications Commission in the United
States—re-writing its regulations in plain language made them
more accessible. This saved five full-time positions.29
- Veterans Affairs in the United States—it wanted to make its
materials more understandable. After revising a form letter,
staff received 83 per cent fewer calls asking for clarification.
Savings from this one revised form? $40,000 a year.30
- Australian justice system—simplifying the wording in a summons
freed up 26 employees.31
Where should it be used?
Plain language goes beyond just re-writing written communications.
We have to look at all the ways we use to communicate with clients
and change them if necessary:
- written material such as forms, brochures, pamphlets, posters
- spoken communication
- signs in the tribunal offices
- web sites
28. Joyce Maykut, Q.C., “Plain Language: A Case Study
at the British Columbia Securities Commission” (presentation to the Plain
Language Conference, Toronto, September 26–29, 2002).
29. Joseph Kimble, “Writing for Dollars,” p. 9.
30. Joseph Kimble, “Writing for Dollars,” p. 9.
31. Joseph Kimble, “Writing for Dollars,” p. 10.