The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has directed wireless service providers to address various concerns, and barriers Canadians with disabilities face through “regular consultations.”
Barriers include accessible plans, how they offer data, and how providers verify Canadians’ eligibility to access these plans. Providers are also responsible for filing reports, starting June 1st, detailing the outcomes of the consultations.
“The purpose is to assess whether accessible plans are offered and promoted in a way that fully meets their needs and if not, what changes are required to ensure barrier-free access to these plans,” the Commission’s analysis states.
The order is part of proceedings launched in 2020 to examine barriers Canadians with disabilities face. As of November 2021, 14,453 Canadians subscribed to either accessibility plans or received an accessibility-related discount, a past order shows.
“While certain large WSPs have seen a significant increase in subscribers to accessible plans in recent years, the Commission considers the reported total number of 14,453 subscribers to these plans to be significantly lower than could have been expected,” the CRTC says.
Providers are mandated to include views from various parties representing many disabilities. The Commission also wants providers to examine providing financial aid to community reps for the consultations.