OTTAWA-GATINEAU, May 25, 2012 — Today, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) announced that it will continue the search for a sustainable solution to the telecommunications needs of Canadians with hearing and speech disabilities.
Text relay services available nationwide meet the needs of the vast majority of people with such disabilities. However, people with disabilities who use a sign language as their first or primary language have submitted that video relay, a sign-language service, would better meet their needs. The CRTC has decided that further study is required to better understand the different projections regarding use and cost of the service.
In 2009, the CRTC decided that it needed more information to accurately assess whether to hold a future proceeding on video relay service, including the number of people requiring the service and its projected use and cost.
The CRTC recently received final reports from both Telus and Bell Canada on their respective video relay service initiatives. Telus conducted an 18-month trial, which provided valuable information on the projected use of the service and associated costs. Bell Canada conducted a study on the feasibility of implementing the service in Canada, which addressed technical and economic issues. Both studies were undertaken in consultation with organizations representing Canadians with hearing disabilities.
Bell and Telus’s reports are available on the CRTC’s website in the language in which they were submitted.
The CRTC is seeking to clarify the discrepancies between the two reports regarding the projected use and cost of video relay service. In addition, the CRTC is reviewing other international initiatives and technological advancements to further improve the accessibility of communications services for people with hearing and speech disabilities.
The CRTC is an independent public authority that regulates and supervises broadcasting and telecommunications in Canada.
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