I’m watching TV with my family. Suddenly, something happens on screen and the room erupts in laughter, but I don’t know why – the broadcasted content is not described.
As one of 1.5 million Canadians living with sight loss, I was overjoyed when I learned described video would be available for all shows during prime-time as of September 2019, as mandated by the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC).
Canadian broadcasters have known about this mandate since 2015, but three of them – Bell Media Inc., Corus Entertainment Inc. and Rogers Media Inc. – have recently petitioned the CRTC to exempt them from providing described video for non-Canadian programs received less than 72 hours prior to broadcast.
Why should Canadians with sight loss be isolated and excluded from watching TV with their friends and family? I want to laugh at the same things that other people are laughing at. I pay the same subscription rates, but I only have access to a fraction of the programming. And, if the broadcasters have their way, I’ll have access “at a later date”.
If you believe broadcasters should be doing more to make TV accessible, please let the CRTC know (before May 16) that you support described video. Visit cnib.ca/dv to get involved.
Program Lead, Advocacy and Accessible Communities
CNIB Foundation, Ontario West