Write For Your Reader The Northwest Territories Literacy Council
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A Plain Language Handbook

Why should I write in plain language?

People need to be able to use written information to participate fully in society. Plain language helps people read, understand, and use written information.

Government, business, and nonprofit organizations use different types of documents:

Forms and applications – income support, jobs, funding, legal aid, licences, housing.
Reports – land use or economic plans, environmental assessments, discussion papers.
Legal documents – land claims, insurance, wills, custody, impact benefit agreements, contracts, adoption, sentencing, unions.
Brochures and booklets – health, social wellbeing, education, sports and fitness, employment, housing, daycare.
Instructions and manuals – workplace health and safety, hazardous waste, elections, firearm safety, prescriptions.
Internal documents – memos, briefing notes, decision papers, reports, meeting minutes, policies.
Letters and memos.

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