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Technology

Objective

To ensure that telecommunication services and devices are accessible to blind, deaf-blind and partially sighted Canadians.

Access to telecommunications devices and information is critical in today's world.  Digital TV, cell phones, and Internet web sites have all become part of the mainstream society, and serve as one of the primary means by which we get information about the world around us. 

Need for Action

With the advent and proliferation of these digital technologies, accessibility has suffered.  Cable TV providers now require the use of digital set-top boxes, the menus, program guide, and settings of which are entirely inaccessible to a person who is blind.  Cell phones are notorious for having minute buttons and small on-screen print, rendering them increasingly difficult to use for those who are blind or who have low vision. 

We must ensure that regulators, engineers, and the public at large become aware of these limitations.

Proposed Solutions

  • Learn from existing technologies which are accessible (e.g. text-to-speech and screen magnification is provided by the Apple iPhone out-of-the-box, without the need for any additional software).
  • Integrate accessibility features into digital telecommunications equipment.
  • Require that telecom equipment sold and utilized in Canada meet basic accessibility requirements.

How You Can Help

Support blind, deaf-blind and partially sighted Canadians in obtaining and securing access to the telecommunications devices (including digital cable boxes, cell phones, and Internet web sites) that define today's world!