Supporting innovative solutions for accessibility to broadcasting content in Canada

Broadcasting Accessibility Fund

As broadcasting content becomes widely available across many platforms – televisions, computers, phones – it is critical to ensure that persons with disabilities are provided with the practical and technical means to access this content.

The Broadcasting Accessibility Fund (the Fund) was established for this purpose.

The first of its kind in the world, the Fund is an independent and impartial funding body that will provide grants for innovative projects that will advance accessibility to broadcasting content in Canada.

The Fund anticipates that project proposals will address a range of accessibility needs, and encourages project submissions from a variety of applicants. Those that propose new technologies and applications are expected to employ inclusive design, which sees accessibility built in at the earliest possible stage of its development.

The Fund will support projects that work to advance accessibility to content across all platforms, and contribute to a model for innovation that will establish Canada as an international leader in broadcasting accessibility.

Our CEO/Funding Officer works in close collaboration with the Board of Directors, and in particular with a Grant Committee of the Board that will review all funding applications and make recommendations to the Board for final approval of projects.

The Fund was created as part of the tangible benefits package associated with BCE’s acquisition of CTVglobemedia. The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) approved its creation together with initial funding of $5.7M.

The Fund has completed four cycles of grant awards, supporting 24 projects with a total of $2.5M of funding committed to addressing ongoing gaps in broadcasting accessibility.

Grants are provided incrementally, based on the progress of a project, and are tied to binding Project Management Agreements negotiated by the Fund and the grant recipient.

Grant recipients are required to provided financial reporting, and abide by the Fund’s established criteria for the appropriate use of all monies.

As the Fund is public in nature, grant recipients are contractually required to share the results of their work, and provide non-proprietary access to software and other products resulting from initiatives supported by the Fund.

To learn more about the projects the Fund has supported, see our completed and continuing projects via the following links below (available as an interactive PDF or a screen-reader accessible document).

PDF version: Presentation - Meeting the Challenge - Appendix of Projects.pdf

Accessible version: Presentation - Meeting the Challenge - Appendix of Projects.doc

 

ASL video version of text follows.

What's Happening

Bill C-81 to receive Royal Assent June 21 2019

Bill C‑81, An Act to ensure a barrier‑free Canada (also known as the Accessible Canada Act) was introduced in the House of Commons on June 20, 2018 by the Honourable Kirsty Duncan, who was then Minister of Science and Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities.  This Bill is now within the purview of the Honourable Carla Qualtrough, the Minister of Public Services and Procurement and Accessibility.

This Bill serves to enhance the “full and equal” participation of all individuals (especially those living with disabilities) in society, through the identification, removal and prevention of barriers in areas under federal jurisdiction.

Bill C-81 was recently passed by the House of Commons with unanimous support on May 29, 2019 and is anticipated to receive Royal Assent on June 21, 2019. Learn more about the current status of the Bill, as well as the latest version Bill C-81.

 

New Board of Directors Elected at the Broadcasting Accessibility Fund AGM

The Broadcasting Accessibility Fund (the Fund) elected its Board of Directors for 2019-20, at the Annual General Meeting of Members held in Toronto on June 12 2019. This marks the first completely new Board since the Fund was formed in 2013. The Fund is mandated to provide financial support for initiatives that advance accessibility to broadcasting content for Canadians with disabilities.

At the same time as new Directors were appointed to the Board at the Fund’s recent Annual General Meeting, Accessibility Group Director (Sight) Marcia Yale was nominated and unanimously supported as the new Chair of the Board. To learn more about the newly elected Board of Directors, please see our Media Release.

 

Follow the Fund on Twitter!

You can now follow real-time updates from the Broadcasting Accessibility Fund on Twitter. Follow @Broadcast_Fund, and stay on top of the latest news!