CRTC mandates cellphone changes to assist those with disabilities

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has made additional steps forward to help the 4 million Canadians who are living disabilities.

Konrad von Finckenstein, Q.C., Chairman of the CRTC said “We understand that Canadians living with disabilities have increasing needs as communications technologies become more prevalent in our daily lives. The measures announced today are an important step in making it easier for them to use the latest communications services.”

Here is a list of the required changes

– require that telephone companies offer a new service that will allow an operator to convert text messages sent over the Internet into voice calls, and vice versa.

– require that telecommunications companies, including cable and satellite companies, improve the accessibility of their customer service

– request that wireless companies offer at least one type of cellphone to serve the needs of people who are blind and/or have moderate-to-severe mobility or cognitive disabilities by October 21, 2009.

– investigate possible improvements to 911 services for Canadians with hearing or speech disabilities by January 21st, 2010.