CRTC to Establish Broadcast Accessibility Fund
The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has approved a proposal from BCE to establish a Broadcasting Accessibility Fund. This independent fund will support initiatives to improve access to the Canadian broadcasting system by persons with disabilities.
“Canadians with disabilities should be able to access broadcasting content using the latest technologies, applications and services,” said Jean-Pierre Blais, Chairman of the CRTC. “The new fund will serve as a catalyst for the development of innovative solutions and help ensure the needs of persons with disabilities are taken into consideration at the design stage.”
When BCE purchased CTVglobemedia in 2011, it committed $5.7 million to create an independent Broadcasting Accessibility Fund. The company subsequently presented a proposal to the CRTC. Different groups representing persons with disabilities were consulted and provided their comments through a consultation process.
The fund will support accessibility projects that are supplementary to the CRTC’s existing regulatory obligations for the broadcasting industry. This could include accessibility initiatives for online and mobile programming services. The CRTC is requiring that the fund provide services and publish documents (such as application forms, policies, and annual reports) in both official languages.
The Broadcasting Accessibility Fund will begin accepting applications by December 5, 2012.