Audio description on TV in Canada

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Since 2001, The Canadian Radio Television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has made it compulsory for an audio description commitment to be made before it renews broadcasting licenses.

Canadians also have access to United States audio described programs, however some networks do not yet have the capability to send a Second Audio Program signal outside metropolitan areas.

The Accessible Channel

On 3 December 2008, the National Broadcast Reading Service (NBRS), a Canadian charitable organisation which makes media accessible for the blind vision impaired, launched The Accessible Channel. This digital service is the first fully audio described TV channel in the world.

The Accessible Channel shows a range of programs with the audio description broadcast in ‘open’ format, which means that anyone switching on the channel will hear it. In addition to this, 90% of the channel’s programs are captioned for the Deaf and hearing impaired.


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