The Broadcasting Accessibility Fund (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 content accessibility.
Grant recipients are required to provide financial 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.
Below, the Final Reports and other relevant links to project results can be found for all completed English language projects (French language project reports and results can be found the Résultats webpage).
Mohawk College of Applied Arts and Technology
Accessible Media Production Course - Journalism ($80,000)
October 2016 – November 2017
Mohawk College has developed an Accessible Media Production Course as a required course for all Journalism program students. Made available online for free to colleges and universities across Canada.
Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC)
A National Conversation – Making CBC Radio Accessible ($61,630)
December 18 2015 – March 21 2016
Transcripts of CBC’s national flagship program The Current produced and posted daily on cbc.ca; monthly documentaries produced in ASL and posted to cbc.ca.
Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC)
Continuing the National Conversation: Making CBC Radio Accessible ($61,953)
September 1 2016 – November 15 2017
Transcripts of CBC’s national flagship program As It Happens produced and posted daily on cbc.ca; monthly documentaries produced in ASL and posted to cbc.ca.
Canadian Hard of Hearing Association
Broadcasting Accessibility Education for Hard of Hearing Canadians ($125,000)
April 1, 2016 – December 15, 2017
Project to assist hard of hearing Canadians with accessible technologies, building knowledge to improve accessibility of broadcast content.
Komodo OpenLab Inc.
Tecla Remote Switch Access Device ($77,500)
December 1, 2015 – August 13, 2016
“The Tecla remote”, a switch access device enabling users with limited mobility to control a range of media devices, using the same controls they use to operate wheelchairs via a fully accessible mobile application.
Rogers Communications Inc.
Designing Screen Reading Capabilities for the 10-foot User Interface ($140,000)
January 1, 2016 – March 1, 2017
This project made possible the design of screen reading capabilities for people who live with low or no vision within a “10-foot user experience”, by developing a prototype set-top box that allows easier access to menu navigation.
Mediac Systems Inc.
Enhanced real-time & post-production captioning for VoiceWriter software ($123,170)
December 1, 2015 – November 30, 2016
This project aimed to create an enhanced captioning software with CEA708 digital captioning functionality, animated caption options and added speaker-dependent shadow captioning functionality for real-time and post production captioning.
Canadian Hearing Society (CHS)
Barrier-Free Emergency Communication Access and Alerting System ($135,000)
October 15, 2016 to March 31, 2018
This project involved intensive research to develop practical recommendations to make emergency broadcasting accessible to Canadians who are Deaf, Deafblind or live with hearing loss. The recommendations are used to inform members of the national public alerting system and associated broadcasting agencies and update best practices. This will result in expanded services offered through multiple platforms and improved accessibility to emergency broadcasting systems for people living with hearing loss, identify as Deaf or are Deafblind.
The Canadian Association of the Deaf / The Captioning consumers Advocacy Alliance
Understanding User Responses to Live Closed Captioning in Canada ($125,000)
November 2015 to June 2018
This research project has established a validated baseline for how consumers evaluate captioning, and the results help inform broadcasters, captioning providers and consumer organizations to advocate for and implement improvements to this essential service.
Accessible Design in Broadcast Media ($130,900)
October 1 2016 to November 15 2017
Humber College has implemented a new six-module course to raise awareness of the systemic, attitudinal, physical and technological barriers that interrupt accessibility in current broadcast media practices. This course is now available to all School of Media Studies and Information Technology students as well as the public through free, online modules.
Accessible Media Inc. (AMI)
Integrated Described Video Instructional Series ($82,500)
September 15, 2017 to February 16, 2018
AMI’s bilingual web video series outlines the concept and benefits of Integrated Described Video (IDV). Inclusive media can be seamlessly consumed by mixed viewing audiences by integrating the description of visual elements into the script (instead of having additional voice-over narration, as is done with traditional DV).
Market Feasibility and Analysis to determine interest in a Continuing Education Course Series for Inclusive Media for Broadcast Production among adult learners ($11,995)
October 25 2017 to March 31 2018
Two studies were conducted, via online forums and face to face interviews, to determine the need and interest in a continuing education course for Inclusive Media in Broadcast Production, designed for adult learners
PAVO Digital Inc.
Enhanced real-time and post-production captioning for VoiceWriter captioning software ($81,440)
October 5 2017 to August 7 2018
PAVO Digital Inc. has developed software called PAVO using a CEA-708 digitally compatible system for captioning. Several modules were developed: PAVO-Cap (for post-production captioning), PAVO-Quick (for real-time transcription or CART), and PAVO-Cat (for stenographic court reporting).
SmartTones Powered Radio App for Increased Accessibility & Enhanced Audience Engagement ($64,655)
October 18 2017 to July 31 2018
SmartTones uses 100% silent audio tones to deliver context-driven experiences from broadcast media to mobile devices, as well as second screen content for consumers with no or low vision.
The mobile app will trigger contextual content related to the broadcast that is accessible so that all listeners will be able to participate, share and act in response to what they see or hear, regardless of ability. For example, deaf audiences being able to receive visual emergency alerts, and accessible second screen content for blind and vision-impaired audiences.
Neil Squire Society
Mapping Physical Access Solutions to Broadcast Television ($169,208)
November 1 2017 to March 1 2019
The Neil Squire Society conducted research into accessibility barriers and solutions for people with limited or no use of their hands, and information about using existing and emerging assistive technologies to access broadcasting content through set-top boxes and broadcaster smartphone-based applications.
NER Consumer Evaluator Project ($156,000)
January 2019 to March 2020
Using the NER tool for measuring captioning accuracy, deaf and hard of hearing consumers will be trained to assess English language live captioning. Training consumers with hearing loss generates feedback that will improve NER implementation and raise awareness of NER testing among broadcasters, as well as tangibly increase accessibility in broadcasting by ultimately improving caption accuracy on live programming.
PAVO Digital Inc.
Developing Artificial Intelligence Post Processing Methods for Improving Speaker-Independent Voice Recognition ($111,375)
January 2019 to January 2020
Research into the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) to increase the accuracy of closed captioning using speech recognition technology. This type of post-processing software, called Cognitive AI for Realtime Linguistics (CARL) has the potential to optimize voice recognition as a captioning method by focusing on patterns of context in a text format, ultimately enabling the development of an AI text correction system that would ideally reduce the rate of errors in captioning to less than 1%.
Mohawk College and Inclusive Media & Design Inc.
CapScribe 2.0 ($163,029)
January 2019 to July 2020
CapScribe, originally designed to enable creators and consumers to produce video captioning and described video, will be modernized to ensure compatibility to existing operating systems and devices and provide compatibility with alternative access systems used by captioners and describers with disabilities.
Universal Intelligent Assistive Devices for Media Content Accessibility ($83,600)
January 15 2018 to August 30 2021
This project developed a generic and modular class of systems called Intelligent Assistive Devices (iAD) that facilitates access to media content access for those with extreme motion challenges.
Accessibility as Aesthetic in Broadcast Media: Three Disability-Led Films ($131,481)
October 2019 - August 2021
This initiative included several updates to Humber’s Making Accessible Media course, including new topics on representation, digital design, interactive design and real time events have been integrated.
Link to Making Accessible Media course: http://humber.ca/makingaccessiblemedia/
Continuing Education Course Series for Inclusive Media for Broadcast Production ($119,636)
January 2019 – January 2022
This project developed a continuing education course series focused on inclusive design for broadcast production, with a key focus on the instruction of re-speaking techniques for live closed captioning, and audio description techniques including scripting.
Link to Inclusive Media Course: https://continuing.torontomu.ca/public/category/courseCategoryCertificateProfile.do?method=load&certificateId=281328
Canadian Broadcasting Corporation
Advancing the current state of accessibility to broadcasting content in Canada by increasing the volume and breadth of content offered with American Sign Language ($83,505)
October 2021 - July 2022
The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation provided American Sign Language (ASL) by providing interpretation for the 2022 Beijing Olympics and Paralympics Opening and Closing ceremonies, as well as in daily signed recap shows.
Link to article regarding the CBC’s accessible coverage of the 2022 Beijing Olympics and Paralympics Games: https://www.cbc.ca/sports/olympics/winter/beijing-olympics-how-to-watch-cbc-sports-tv-digital-1.6333033
Development of a method of automatic closed captioning quality subjective assessment using an AI Technology ($79,984)
October 2019 - March 2022
This project saw the development of an artificial intelligence system to automate the assessment of live closed captioning by consumers, and to reflect the perspectives of Deaf and Hard of Hearing consumers of captioning was developed.
Inclusive Media & Design and Inclusive Design Research Centre
CapScribe 3.0 ($160.000)
October 2020 to July 2022
This project built upon previous work undertaken in CapScribe 2.0 by creating a more efficient workflow, an upgraded interface design addressing a wide range of accessibility needs, and pilot integration with Learning Management Systems.
Link to CapScribe 3.0 website: https://capscribe.ca/3.0/
Producing Accessible Podcasts ($115,750)
December 2021 - June 2022
Development of an accessible podcast production micro-credential course, that offers content creators the skills and resources needed to produce accessible podcasts and offers students who are deaf and hard of hearing the tools to produce their own podcast content and alleviates a growing gap in online content accessibility.
Link to Seneca College Accessible Podcast micro-credential courses: https://www.senecacollege.ca/programs/workshops/ACP100.html#:~:text=About%20the%20Program,standards%20and%20create%20inclusive%20content.
Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT)
NAIT Captioning and Court Reporting Diploma Online ($100,000)
October 2019 - March 2022
The NAIT Captioning and Court Reporting Program converted its existing diploma program to an online format, and now delivers a web-based curriculum training in English-language steno captioning.
Link to NAIT’s Captioning and Court Reporting course webpage: https://www.nait.ca/programs/captioning-court-reporting?term=2023-fall
Canadian Association of the Deaf (CAD)
November 2019 - May 2023
Understanding User Experiences of Play-by-Play Captioning in Fast-Paced Live Sports ($191,570)
Fast paced live sports (such as hockey) continues to be one of the most difficult genres of programming to accurately caption with minimal loss of information. The primary objective of the project is to better understand how the presence and nature of play-by-play captioning of fast-paced live sports programming contributes to or detracts from the user experience and satisfaction of live sports programs.
Link to the Live Captioning Canada website: http://www.livecaptioningcanada.ca/about.prog.html#
PAVO Digital Inc.
November 2020 - January 2024
Improving live captioning delivery quality with Artificial Intelligence ($131,216)
This project has consolidated several captioning software tools into a single product, building on two previous projects. Further development of a captioning software that promotes the role of captioners to supervisors of AI-based speech to text outputs using a real time English-language prediction engine. This project saw further integration of this software into the PAVO captioning offerings as well as performance benchmarking and system evaluation by trained and novice captioners.
Demonstration Video: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1MH3yFExnLpBjz79XEbEK0VcmAsx2IAQ5/view?usp=sharing
Link to the PAVO website: https://pavodigital.com/