News Releases

Broadcasting Accessibility Fund Approves $667,000 in Second Round Project Grants

Ottawa, November 29, 2016 – The Broadcasting Accessibility Fund (the Fund) today announced that it will award $667,000 in grants to six new and innovative projects designed to advance accessibility to broadcasting content for Canadians with disabilities.

These six new projects represent the completion of the Fund’s second round of grants. A total of $1.4M over two rounds of funding has been committed to addressing significant gaps in broadcasting accessibility.

“Today marks another important milestone in the Fund’s work,” said Board of Directors Chair Allister Byrne. “These six outstanding initiatives fully meet our mandate and objectives, and continue to represent the types of projects we’ll be looking for in future calls for funding applications. All are characterized by partnerships, transparency and broad dissemination of results, which are key elements of the Fund’s grant program.”

“We once again received a number of strong applications,” said the Fund’s CEO/Funding Officer Richard Cavanagh. “These six new projects will build on the foundation of success created by the seven first round projects. The talent, skill and experience in broadcasting accessibility shine through in each and every one.”

“In addition,” said, Mr. Byrne, “these projects provide stepping stones for further work in key areas of broadcasting accessibility. Future projects will continue to build on the 13 projects we have now funded.”

The projects approved by the Board of Directors are:

  • Accessible Emergency Broadcasting, Canadian Hearing Society - $135,000. CHS will research and develop practical recommendations on making emergency broadcasting accessible for Deaf and hard of hearing consumers, and develop an accessible emergency broadcasting toolkit.
  • Accessible Design for Broadcast Media – An Open Source On-line Course, Humber College, $130,900. The course, offered to all students in the School of Media Studies and Information Technology and in an open source, free on-line version, will instruct students on incorporating accessibility features such as described image and video, alt-text and screen-readers, transcription and captions into broadcast media content.
  • Continuing the National Conversation – Making CBC Radio Accessible, CBC - $61,953. Building on its success in transcribing its flagship morning program The Current, CBC will use innovative speech-to-text conversion technology to post daily transcripts of As it Happens to CBC.ca, and in addition will launch a new online media player, allowing audiences to listen while they read along.
  • Understanding Consumer Response to Live Closed Captioning in Canada – Captioning Consumers Advocacy Alliance – $141,250. CCAA will design and undertake research measuring subjective preferences for live closed captioning among different types of users. The project includes consultations with Canadian and international accessibility experts, as well as with broadcasters and captionists.
  • Filmodio Access Project, CRIM - $101,442. Development of enhanced Described Video, “Filmodio” functions in a manner similar to an audio book for broadcast content, using synthesized voice to combine audiovisual content with DV, and building from existing production technologies previously developed by CRIM.
  • Accessible Digital Media Player, Radio-Canada - $96,200. Development and optimization of multiplatform media players that will incorporate a range of accessibility features, thereby providing audiences with an accessible environment for Radio-Canada programming content.

 “The Fund congratulates all second round grant recipients and is anxious to work with these visionary leaders in broadcasting accessibility,” said Mr. Cavanagh. “We look forward to announcing our next Call for Letters of Intent, the first step in our application process, in February 2016.”

 

The Broadcasting Accessibility Fund is an independent and impartial funding body that supports innovative projects to increase the accessibility of broadcasting content in Canada.  The fund was created as part of the tangible benefits package associated with Bell Canada’s acquisition of CTV.  The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) approved its creation together with initial funding of $5.7M. 

Contact: Richard Cavanagh, CEO/Funding Officer, Broadcasting Accessibility Fund, (613) 729-1891, richard@baf-far.ca

 

Broadcasting Accessibility Fund Approves $723,500 in Project Grants

Ottawa, January 26, 2016 – The Broadcasting Accessibility Fund (the Fund) today announced that it will award $723,500 in grants to seven innovative projects designed to advance accessibility to broadcasting content for Canadians with disabilities. The projects represent the first ever selected by the Board of Directors for grant awards.

 “Today marks an important milestone in the Fund’s work,” said Board of Directors Chair Allister Byrne. “These seven outstanding initiatives fully meet our mandate, by addressing significant gaps in broadcasting accessibility. They further represent the types of projects we’ll be looking for in subsequent rounds of funding, as they are characterized by partnerships, transparency and a broad sharing of results.”

“We received a number of exceptionally strong applications,” said the Fund’s CEO/Funding Officer Richard Cavanagh. “Since the inception of the Fund, there has been a strong belief that we would tap into some of the best talent, skills and experience in the field of broadcasting accessibility. The projects approved by our Board clearly demonstrate that this is the case.”

“In addition,” said, Mr. Byrne, “these projects provide stepping stones for further work in key areas of broadcasting accessibility. Future projects will be able to build on the first seven we are helping to fund. This is just the beginning.”

The projects approved by the Board of Directors are:

  • Accessible Media Production Course, Mohawk College – $80,000. Student journalists will receive mandatory, intensive training in producing content that is accessible across all media platforms.
  • Making CBC Radio Accessible, CBC - $62,000. New speech-to-text conversion technology will be used to post daily transcripts of CBC’s award-winning radio program, The Current to CBC.ca. The Current reaches some 2.3 million Canadians each week. In addition, one American Sign Language (ASL) interpreted radio documentary will be filmed and posted to CBC.ca each month. 
  • Tecla Remote, Komodo Open Lab - $77,500. A Tecla switch device will enable users with limited mobility to control a range of media devices using the same controls used to operate wheelchairs.
  • Designing Screen Reading Capabilities for the 10-foot User Interface, Rogers Communications - $140,000. Extensive research on the development of simplified and inclusive mechanisms to assist blind and low vision users to discover and consume video content.
  • Radio with a Voice, Vues et Voix - $116,000. Development of a fully accessible web platform for Vues et Voix radio content focusing on disability- and accessibility- related stories and issues in the French language.
  • Broadcasting Accessibility Education for Hard of Hearing Canadians, Canadian Hard of Hearing Association - $125,000. An extensive project to assist hard of hearing Canadians with the accessible features of media devices, designed to build a base of knowledge including the producing of a web-based guide to device accessibility.
  • Enhanced real-time and post-production captioning for VoiceWriter captioning software, Mediac Systems LLC - $123,000. Focused on updating existing software and developing new in-roads to voice recognition technologies, to improve both real time (live) and post production captioning processes.

“The Fund congratulates the first of its grant recipients and is anxious to work with these visionary leaders in broadcasting accessibility,” said Mr. Cavanagh. “We look forward to announcing our next Call for Letters of Intent, the first step in our application process, early in 2016.”

 

 

 

05/12/2014

Ottawa, May 12, 2014 – The Broadcasting Accessibility Fund (BAF) today announced the appointment of Richard Cavanagh as its first CEO/Funding Officer.

“BAF is fortunate to have Richard come to us in this role, with his unique blend of experience in both the broadcasting industry and the accessibility sector,” said BAF Board of Directors Chair Allister Byrne. “Under his leadership, the BAF will be able to fully realize its potential to advance accessibility to broadcasting content for Canadians with disabilities.”

Richard is a seasoned professional with more than 20 years... Read more