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 eight cycles of grant awards, supporting 41 projects with a total of $4.4M 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 - Project Summary.pdf

Accessible version: Presentation - Meeting the Challenge - Project Summary.doc


What's Happening

CRTC Decision on Initial Base Contributions from Online Streaming Services

On June 4, 2024 the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission issued its Decision to impose requirements on online streaming services to make initial base contributions to the Canadian broadcasting system.

The Board of Directors and Staff at the Fund were all disappointed to be the only consumer-focused accessibility group included among the organizations identified for allocated contributions, and more so, that the Fund has been grouped with two other equity-serving production funds in a way that all three organizations must lobby and compete for funding dollars.

While these production funds champion laudable goals and are valued, leaving the amount (and whether a contribution is offered at all) up to the discretion of online streaming companies is an indication that the CRTC has not only failed to leverage the accessibility provisions of the Online Streaming Act to support the removal of barriers to content, the Decision succeeds in creating brand new ones.

This Decision creates a massive and untenable level of uncertainty for the Fund. It creates an unpredictable level of contributions that will make it impossible for the Fund to create a Strategic Plan or to re-establish its core grant program.

Additionally, the Decision excludes the Fund from contributions from the audio streaming services. This oversight fails to recognize how Canadians with disabilities use, and rely upon, accessible audio media for information and entertainment, and fails to uphold the “without barriers” accessibility provisions highlighted throughout the Online Streaming Act as well as the Policy Direction issued by Canadian Heritage.

The CRTC has requested comments on the decision by June 15, 2024. The Board of Directors and Staff at the Broadcasting Accessibility Fund intend to draft an intervention in response to the Decision issued, arguing for greater certainty in funding amounts with which the Fund can meet its mandate, and will be seeking letters of support from other organizations in the accessibility and broadcasting sectors.

Broadcasting Regulatory Policy CRTC 2024-121:


Broadcasting Accessibility Fund Presentation at CRTC Hearing

In celebration of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, the Broadcasting Accessibility Fund (the Fund) is pleased to share an update on our ongoing participation in Phase One of the Public Hearing to implement the Online Streaming Act held by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC).

Representing the Fund in person on November 30, 2023, were Marcia Yale (Chair of the Board of Directors), Nottingham (a crucial member of the team, Marcia’s Guide Dog), Richard Cavanagh (CEO and Funding Officer) and Alena Wickware-Guay (Director: Projects, Research and External Relations).

Marcia, Richard and Alena delivered key messaging regarding the pivotal impact the Online Streaming Act can have in advancing accessibility to broadcasting content to Canadians, as well as the urgent need for an initial base contribution directed to the Fund.

The Board of Directors and Staff are all pleased by the overwhelming support the Fund has received, both in written interventions and during in-person presentations, for the work the Fund has completed to date as well as the universal reinforcement of the “without barriers” language upheld in both the Online Streaming Act and the Canadian Heritage Policy Direction.

We at the Fund are eager to continue our involvement in future hearings regarding the Online Streaming Act, and more updates on our participation will be released over the next coming months.

CPAC clip of the Fund’s presentation:

Transcripts for the Hearing:


Staffing Announcement

The Board of Directors and CEO of the Broadcasting Accessibility Fund are very pleased to announce that Alena Wickware-Guay has accepted the role of Director – Projects, Research and External Relations! Alena has been with the Fund on a full-time basis for the past four years as a Project Manager, making pivotal contributions to the Fund’s work and on-going initiatives. We look forward to Alena’s strong project management and strategic planning skills underscored by her dedicated professionalism. Congratulations Alena!


The Fund announces three new projects in the eighth round of grant funding!

On December 3, 2022 the Broadcasting Accessibility Fund (the Fund) announced that it will award $398,016 to three new, innovative projects designed to advance accessibility to broadcasting content.  To learn about these new projects, read the full Press Release here:

To date, the Fund has provided approximately $4.4M over eight rounds of funding committed to addressing ongoing gaps in broadcasting content accessibility. You can read about the projects we’ve funded and the results they’ve achieved: Presentation - Meeting the Challenge - Appendix of Projects.pdf

The Fund congratulates this round’s grant recipients and is excited to work with these groundbreaking leaders in broadcasting accessibility in the coming months! 


Learn more about the Broadcasting Accessibility Fund’s completed projects!

The Broadcasting Accessibility Fund (the Fund) has supported 41 projects over eight rounds of funding with a total commitment of $4.4M, each project making significant headway on advancing accessibility to broadcasting content in Canada.

Grant recipients are required to maintain regular reporting, to share the results of their work, and provide non-proprietary access to software and other products resulting from initiatives supported by the Fund.

The results of these completed projects, including Final Reports and relevant links to online content, are now available on our Results page:

All reports are posted in the language of origin, French language reports and links can be found on the Résultats page: 


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!