In Canada there are a number of laws and initiatives focused on the implementation of accessibility tools, such as closed captions, in the areas of education and media.
These laws follow the purpose of the Canadian Human Rights Act which states that "all individuals should have an opportunity equal with other individuals to make for themselves the lives that they are able and wish to have and to have their needs accommodated", preventing in this way any discrimination due to disabilities.
The Broadcasting and Telecom Regulatory Policy CRTC 2009-430 directs major English and French language televisions networks to caption 100% of all programming during the broadcast day as well as all local news, including live segments. Individual stations and specialty networks also have requirements as specified in their license.
Under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 (AODA) is the Integrated Accessibility Standards, with phase-in requirements for accessibility in key areas such as information, communication and education, for the province of Ontario.
Part II, Section 12 of said Standards mention that both private and public sector organizations shall provide upon request "Accessible formats and communication supports" for persons with disabilities, and shall do so in accordance with the schedule set out in subsection 5.
Section 14 Requires that public sector and large organizations shall make new internet websites and web content conform with the WCAG 2, Level A, by January 1, 2014 and by January 1, 2021, all internet websites and web content must conform with WCAG 2 Level AA.
The province of Manitoba has enacted the Accessibility for Manitobans Act (AMA) as law on December 2013, allowing for the Manitoba government to address and develop mandatory accessibility standards. AMA focuses on 5 key areas to ensure accessibility is applied to both private and public sector organizations including Accessible Customer Service and Accessible Information and Communications.
Legislation in Progress
Canadians with Disabilities Act
The overall goal of the legislation is to increase the inclusion and participation of Canadians in society and promote equality of opportunity by improving accessibility and removing barriers in areas of federal jurisdiction.
British Columbia - Accessibility 2024
The government of British Columbia is another province proactively working to increase accessibility for persons with disabilities. In June 2014, the Premier released the roadmap to Accessibility 2024 with a 10-year action plan, which has assisted in B.C. making huge strides to reduce barriers for citizens of British Columbia.
The government of Nova Scotia is currently making advancement towards a more accessible and inclusive province with up and coming accessibility legislation in the process. Currently Nova Scotia’s proposed Accessibility Legislation is going through the steps it takes for a bill to become a law.
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