Broadcaster Magazine

Broadcasting Accessibility Fund Approves Second Round Project Grants

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  • The Broadcasting Accessibility Fund today announced that it will award $667,000 in grants to six new and innovative projects designed to advance accessibility to broadcasting content for Canadians with disabilities.

    These six new projects represent the completion of the Fund’s second round of grants. A total of $1.4M over two rounds of funding has been committed to addressing significant gaps in broadcasting accessibility.

    “Today marks another important milestone in the Fund’s work,” said Board of Directors Chair Allister Byrne. “These six outstanding initiatives fully meet our mandate and objectives, and continue to represent the types of projects we’ll be looking for in future calls for funding applications. All are characterized by partnerships, transparency and broad dissemination of results, which are key elements of the Fund’s grant program.”

    “We once again received a number of strong applications,” said the Fund’s CEO/Funding Officer Richard Cavanagh. “These six new projects will build on the foundation of success created by the seven first round projects. The talent, skill and experience in broadcasting accessibility shine through in each and every one.”

    “In addition,” said, Mr. Byrne, “these projects provide stepping stones for further work in key areas of broadcasting accessibility. Future projects will continue to build on the 13 projects we have now funded.”

    The projects approved by the Board of Directors are:

    • Accessible Emergency Broadcasting, Canadian Hearing Society – $135,000. CHS will research and develop practical recommendations on making emergency broadcasting accessible for Deaf and hard of hearing consumers, and develop an accessible emergency broadcasting toolkit.
    • Accessible Design for Broadcast Media – An Open Source On-line Course, Humber College, $130,900. The course, offered to all students in the School of Media Studies and Information Technology and in an open source, free on-line version, will instruct students on incorporating accessibility features such as described image and video, alt-text and screen-readers, transcription and captions into broadcast media content.
    • Continuing the National Conversation – Making CBC Radio Accessible, CBC – $61,953. Building on its success in transcribing its flagship morning program The Current, CBC will use innovative speech-to-text conversion technology to post daily transcripts of As it Happens to, and in addition will launch a new online media player for consumers to read along with both programs.
    • Understanding Consumer Response to Live Closed Captioning in Canada – Captioning Consumers Advocacy Alliance – $141,250. CCAA will design and undertake research measuring subjective preferences for live closed captioning among different types of users. The project includes consultations with Canadian and international accessibility experts, as well as with broadcasters and captionists.
    • Filmodio Access Project, CRIM – $101,442. Development of enhanced Described Video, “Filmodio” functions in a manner similar to an audio book for broadcast content, using synthesized voice to combine audiovisual content with DV, and building from existing production technologies previously developed by CRIM.
    • Accessible Digital Media Player, Radio-Canada – $96,200. Development and optimization of multiplatform media players that will incorporate a range of accessibility features, thereby providing audiences with an accessible environment for Radio-Canada programming content.


    “The Fund congratulates all second round grant recipients and is anxious to work with these visionary leaders in broadcasting accessibility,” said Mr. Cavanagh. “We look forward to announcing our next Call for Letters of Intent, the first step in our application process, in February 2024.”

    The Broadcasting Accessibility Fund is an independent and impartial funding body that supports innovative projects to increase the accessibility of broadcasting content in Canada.  The fund was created as part of the tangible benefits package associated with Bell Canada’s acquisition of CTV.  The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission  approved its creation together with initial funding of $5.7M.