Who we are

Plain Language Association International (PLAIN) brings together plain language supporters and practitioners from around the world.

We’re a nonprofit organization run entirely on a volunteer basis.

Our growing network includes members from over 30 countries working in clear communication in at least 15 languages.

Our mission

PLAIN is the international association for plain language professionals that promotes clear communication in any language.

Our objectives

  1. Increase public awareness of plain language as a means of making communications from government, business, industry, the professions (including the medical, legal, information management, education and communications professions), and community organizations accessible internally and to a broad, public audience.
  2. Help people understand and use plain language principles.
  3. Promote the use of plain language within Canada* and internationally.
  4. Promote research and development in plain language.
  5. Promote the interests of plain language specialists.
  6. Develop standards and practices for the plain language field.
  7. Provide services for members, including marketing, networking, conferences, and communications.
  8. Sponsor an international email forum through which members and others can exchange ideas about plain language.
  9. Collaborate with organizations that have complementary objectives.
  10. Fulfill other purposes that complement these objectives.

* PLAIN is a nonprofit organization incorporated in Canada.

Our bylaws

PLAIN was incorporated in Canada as a nonprofit organization in July 2008.

In 2014, PLAIN passed a revised bylaw and articles of continuance to comply with Canada’s new law governing nonprofit organizations.

Our founders

Cheryl Stephens

Cheryl Stephens

Cheryl Stephens was a Canadian lawyer trying to demystify the legal incantations when she discovered the international plain language movement. She is co-founder of PLAIN and International Plain Language Day. She became a plain language consultant and sought to build a community for mutual support. She was always an early-adopter of new technologies. Cheryl now teaches plain language and supports all efforts to advance the field.

Kate Harrison Whiteside

Kate Harrison Whiteside

Kate is a Canadian who has advocated for plain language for more than 20 years. She continues to do so with consulting and training services, in person with her own company Key Advice, and virtually at the Plain Language Academy. Kate is a co-founder of PLAIN’s original organization and International Plain Language Day October 13. Her motivation and commitment to spreading the word about clear communication reaches out globally through social media, event organizing and public speaking.

Annual reports

2022 Annual Report to Members

2021 Annual Report to Members

2020 Annual Report to Members

2019 Annual Report to Members

2018 Annual Report to Members

2017 Annual Report to Members

2016 Annual Report to Members

2015 Annual Report to Members

2014 Annual Report to Members

2013 Annual Report to Members