Skip to Content

CRTC Must Support Accessibility Initiative - Access 2020 Coalition

Jan 30, 2011

Bell Canada Enterprises has ignored Canadians with disabilities. Its response to interventions concerning its proposed acquisition of one of Canada's largest English-language broadcasters failed to address the issue of accessibility - or even mention the word.

Access 2020, a coalition of the country's largest organizations of Canadians with disabilities, filed a 73-page intervention with the CRTC about the BCE broadcasting purchase, asking it to support the empirical studies, technological innovation, programming archives and education needed to enable Canada's communications system to become fully accessible to all by the year 2020.

BCE's response to interveners did not refer to the Coalition and wrote that "all Canadians with access to television can view the programming" (para. 111). In fact, noted Beverley Milligan, Executive Director of Media Access Canada, "Over 800,000 blind Canadians cannot 'view the programming' and another 1.2 million cannot hear it. The current industry-driven approach to inclusion simply is not working. Canadians need the CRTC to step in to represent their interests -- and to ensure that our Coalition's plan for 100% accessibility by the year 2020 is implemented."

Accessibility standards do not exist for internet TV or telephones, frequent errors make captions useless, and only 3% of TV programs must be described, said Milligan. "TV broadcast should be accessible to all Canadian audiences, which means 100% reliable captioning and descriptive video," said Chris Kenopic, President of the Canadian Hearing Society.

Return to News List