Sudbury City Council expected to consider closed captioning options in 2018

via CBC, Canada

An accessibility advocate is calling for the City of Greater Sudbury to introduce closed captioning on council and committee broadcasts just as budget deliberations get set to begin next week. 

Travis Morgan Sudbury accessibility advocate, Travis Morgan, is pushing to bring closed captioning or subtitles to broadcasts of city meetings. (Olivia Stefanovich/CBC)

Travis Morgan
Sudbury accessibility advocate, Travis Morgan, is pushing to bring closed captioning or subtitles to broadcasts of city meetings. (Olivia Stefanovich/CBC)

Currently, the city does not offer text on video with its TV coverage or webcasts. That makes it difficult for people with hearing loss, such as Travis Morgan, to understand what is going on.

"I want to be able to follow the council sessions," Morgan said.

"I don't want to have to read about it in the news or in the Twitter feed. I want to be able to think for myself because everyone has their own perceptions, their own bias and I want to form my own conclusions without having to depend on other people."

Morgan was born deaf and uses a hearing aid. He is able to get an interpreter for some city meetings, but he said scheduling can be a challenge. 

The Canadian Hearing Society estimates one in four Canadians report having hearing loss.

Morgan wants the city to use closed captioning or subtitles on its broadcasts so more people in Sudbury can become engaged in municipal affairs. 

"By subtitling the council session, they [city] will be able to reach that quarter that they're missing," Morgan said. 

Sudbury City Council

Sudbury City Council

Closed captioning is a system that displays the text of spoken word across the bottom of a broadcast, including descriptions of sound and other audio information. 

The city had an opportunity to buy the service in 2015, but decided to put the purchase on hold until 2018 when technology is expected to become cheaper.

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