Three new innovative projects will make accessing the digital economy easier for Canadians living with disabilities
OTTAWA, ON, Dec. 8, 2021 /CNW/ – The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of communicating in accessible formats to engage with all Canadians and provide them with critical information to help maintain their health, safety and prosperity. Disability inclusion is essential to ensure that persons with disabilities have equal opportunities to participate in all aspects of life and succeed. That’s why the Government of Canada continues to push the envelope to find new and innovative ways of helping remove barriers to accessibility and inclusion. Thanks to investments made under its Accessible Technology Program, the government is empowering all Canadians to fully participate in their communities, workplaces and the Canadian economy as we recover from the impacts of the pandemic.
Today, the Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, announced that three projects are receiving funding from the Accessible Technology Program. These projects will support the development of assistive and adaptive digital devices and technologies.
The projects and funding amounts are:
- $200,000 for Technologies HumanWare Inc. to develop an electronic tactile device to display raised graphics with multiline Braille text, providing users with real-time access to any complex document presenting tables, diagrams or mathematical formulas;
- $350,959 for the Centre for Equitable Library Access to improve and pilot systems that support new digital audiobook players, software and commercial voice assistant options, increasing users’ choices for accessible reading materials; and
- $203,000 for Concordia University of Edmonton to develop an improved machine learning chatbot that can evaluate and respond to the digital information needs of users with disabilities.
“Staying connected is so important to maintain professional, social, economic and cultural networks, but many Canadians still face barriers that prevent them from fully participating. This is why we are investing in creative projects through the Accessible Technology Program: to help empower Canadians in their ability to use and enjoy digital technologies. By us partnering with innovative and caring organizations across the country, Canadians with disabilities will have access to essential high-quality assistive equipment.”
– The Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry
“We know that Canadians with disabilities have been disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, and it has highlighted the importance of communication and access to information in a format that is accessible. These investments through the Accessible Technology Program will help us build back better in an inclusive way, where every Canadian has a fair and equal chance at success.”
– The Honourable Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion
- The Accessible Technology Program is part of the Government of Canada’s Innovation and Skills Plan, a multi-year strategy to create well-paying jobs for the middle class.
- In total, 28 projects across Canada, including the three projects announced today, have received funding from the Accessible Technology Program.
- The Accessible Canada Act came into force in July 2019.
SOURCE Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada