The first meeting of the permanent Board of Directors of the new Broadcasting Accessibility Fund was held at Gowlings Toronto offices on July 30. Officers were elected and Audit, Governance, and Nominating committees were struck and are already at work.
The BAF, believed to be the first of its kind, will operate as an independent and impartial funding body supporting innovative projects, in English and/or French, that provide practical cost-effective inclusive solutions to advance the accessibility of all broadcasting content in Canada.
The Board of Directors, comprising representatives from accessibility communities and the broadcasting industry were nominated and elected/acclaimed by registered stakeholders. Officers and Directors are:
*Allister Byrne (Chair and Accessibility Director-Independent)
*Keith Desjardins (Secretary)
*Max Beck (Treasurer and Accessibility Director- Mobility)
*Chris Stark (Accessibility Director- Sight)
*Gary Malkowski (Accessibility Director- Hearing)
*Bill Roberts (Accessibility Director- Cognitive)
*Dr. Charles A Laszlo (Accessibility Director- Independent)
*Heather Boyce (Broadcasting Industry Director- Business)
*David Errington (Broadcasting Industry Director- Business)
*William (Bill) Abbott (Broadcasting Industry Director- Distribution Undertaking)
The Board will immediately work toward the hire of a Funding Officer/CEO and the development of funding criteria. The position will be posted in late 2023, including job description and detailed qualifications required. The successful candidate should possess conversancy in broadcasting operations/media technologies, media accessibility policies and challenges, as well as experience working with disability communities.
The Fund was proposed by BCE Inc. and approved by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission as part of the benefits package related to BCE Inc.’s purchase of CTV Inc. BCE has provided it with initial funding of $5.7M. and it may also receive benefits from future transactions.
The BAF will begin accepting applications for innovative broadcasting accessibility project funding in early 2023.