Friday, September 14, 2012

Manitoba Releases Proposed Accessibility Legislation to Remove Accessibility Barriers

Manitoba’s new Accessibility Advisory Council has delivered its initial recommendations for legislation and standards that would help identify, remove and prevent barriers faced by people with disabilities, Family Services and Labour Minister Jennifer Howard, minister responsible for persons with disabilities.

“This in an important milestone in our work to ensuring better accessibility for all Manitobans,” said Howard.  “I’m very pleased to receive the report and encourage everyone to participate in the creation of provincewide accessibility legislation by reviewing it as well and providing feedback.”

In creating the recommendations, the advisory council met regularly starting in November 2011 and held consultations with people with disabilities and organizations that may be affected by the recommendations.  This included employers and businesses as well as representatives from Manitoba municipalities.

The council, made up of representatives from the disability community and other stakeholders, has submitted recommendations calling for:
  • a process to develop clear, specific and achievable goals;
  • accessibility standards for both the private and public sectors;
  • a central role in the development of legislation for people with disabilities and other stakeholders affected by the legislation, such as businesses and municipalities;
  • no affect in any way on guarantees contained in human rights codes; and
  • regular reviews of progress made.
 more inclusive province for all Manitobans,” said Jim Derksen, chair of the Accessibility Advisory Council.
“We would like to acknowledge this important opportunity to shape the future of accessibility in Manitoba and add that the council has worked collectively, with the community, to provide recommendations we believe will deliver legislation creating greater accessibility and a

The minister is inviting the public to provide comments on the report until Oct. 21.

The report can be viewed or downloaded at the Disabilities Issues Office website, and comments can be forwarded to  For other formats, contact the Disabilities Issues Office at 204-945-7613.

Source: GAATES

SOVO Launches Standards Compliance Program Intended for Canadian Broadcasters Performing Live Closed Captioning

SOVO Technologies Inc, a supplier of turnkey services and great technology innovator in the field of closed captioning for the hearing impaired, on September 4 announces the launch of a compliance program aimed at enabling Canadian broadcasters to meet their new obligations related to French closed captioning.
Sovotech logo
This initiative follows a decision by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) on February 21st to impose mandatory standards for French-language closed captioning as a condition of licence to broadcasters, notably regarding the captioning of live programs. These new obligations have taken effect on September 1st 2012.

“We are proud to support the efforts made by the CRTC and the broadcasters to improve the quality of closed captioning for the hearing impaired,” said Serge Forest, President and CEO of SOVO. “We are convinced that these measures will significantly enhance the quality of live captions produced on numerous networks, and this for the benefit of the entire hard-of-hearing and deaf community.”

Existing SOVO customers will have access to new services to support them in meeting the new conditions of licence. SOVO will also offer consultation services for broadcasters not using their live captioning services, but who need assistance in determining their level of compliance to the new standards.
The challenges brought to the broadcasters by the new standards can be found mainly at three levels: operational, administrative and technology.

“From an operational standpoint, the new standards will require broadcasters (or their suppliers) to actively manage the captioners’ performance, in order to ensure they meet all technical requirements at all times, notably regarding accuracy, maximal delays, and outflow of live captions,” said Julie Brousseau, Vice-President of Production at SOVO. “One must ensure that all captioners have the training, tools and support required to meet the new standards. Also, new complementary services such as rapid corrections of captions originally produced live for the purpose of re-broadcast will have to be added to certain broadcasters’ operations.”

From an administrative standpoint, broadcasters will have to produce monthly reports on live captioning accuracy, as well as progress reports on efforts to improve captioning quality every two years. Broadcasters will also have to respond to complaints and commentaries from the community and/or regulatory bodies regarding their support of the mandatory quality standards. SOVO will offer services to fully support their customers in treating all of the administrative requirements.

“From a technology point of view, the different options for live closed captioning in French do not all perform equally,” declared Dominic Lavoie, Vice-President of Technology at SOVO. “Certain technologies, among the most widely used, will be challenged in meeting certain performance requirements, notably regarding the speed of captioning and the maximal transmission delays for live programs with a high rate of speech, such as debates or other programs. Certain systems, as opposed to what is required by the mandatory standards, are not capable of keeping up with the flow of conversations in certain programs. SOVO can cost effectively enable broadcasters in such situations to fully meet their requirements.”

SOVO’s compliance program, available now, consolidates the company’s position as the reference for French live closed captioning in Canada.

For more information, please

Source: GAATES

TextHelp's New Web App Offers Excellent Accessibility within Google Docs

Google Docs
Texthelp Inc., leading provider of award-winning literacy software solutions, on September 6 announced the release of Read&Write for Google Docs. Google Docs allows teachers and students to create and collaborate on documents in real time in the Cloud while Read&Write for Google Docs provides the support tools needed to make these documents accessible to all.
Read&Write for Google Docs integrates many of Read&Write GOLD’s most popular support features into Google documents in the Chrome browser on PCs or Macs. Users simply open a Google document and use the tools on the Read&Write for Google Docs toolbar to:
  • Have the document read aloud with dual color highlighting
  • Access Dictionary, Picture Dictionary, Translator, Fact Finder, and Study Skills tools
  • Collect highlights made using the Google Docs highlighters
  • Automatically create a vocabulary list of highlighted words with text definitions and images for each word
Jack Dolan, President of Texthelp Inc., states, “More and more schools and districts are utilizing Google Docs for its collaborative nature and availability in the Cloud and are looking for tools to support all of their students in this environment. Read&Write for Google Docs was designed to ensure anytime accessibility within these documents. Now educators and students can create and edit documents online while collaborating in real-time with other users, with familiar Read&Write support tools at their fingertips.”
Read&Write for Google Docs joins an expanding suite of innovative Web Apps from Texthelp:
Apps for use within browsers on iPads, PCs, and Macs:
Read&Write Web - Read aloud web content with dual color highlighting. Includes Dictionary, Picture Dictionary, Translator, and Study Skills highlighters.
eBook Reader - Search for, save, and read aloud Bookshare® eBooks with Dictionary, Picture Dictionary, Translator, and Study Skills highlighters.
Apps for use on smaller mobile devices, such as iPhones:
Dictionary - Get text definitions and images for typed or pasted words. Definitions can also be read aloud with dual highlighting.
Speech - Read aloud typed or pasted text with dual highlighting.
Spelling - Look up a word to get spelling suggestions, including text definitions and images.
Pricing and Availability
Read&Write for Google Docs is available now free of charge for Read&Write GOLD site license or single user customers who have a current Software Maintenance (SMS) agreement.  For more information, call 888-248-0652, email, or visit

Source: GAATES