The National Broadcast Reading Service (NBRS) is proud to announce today that The Honourable David C. Onley, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, has agreed to become the first Honorary Patron of our unique media charity.
In agreeing to serve as Honorary Patron, the Lieutenant Governor said: “I’m delighted to be able to lend my support to such an effective and worthy organization.”
Gerald Weseen, NBRS Board Chair, responded: “Our entire organization is very excited to have His Honour, who is renowned for breaking through barriers both professionally and in his personal life, as Honorary Patron of our organization. This acknowledgement of our efforts to make media more accessible is extraordinarily gratifying and we value his decision.
"VoicePrint is committed to continuing its pioneering work in making media more accessible to millions of vision- and print-restricted Canadians. It's significant that His Honour's patronage is being announced during White Cane Week, when we celebrate success in surmounting challenges by our fellow Canadians who are blind and vision-impaired.”
As a celebrated broadcaster prior to his September 2007 appointment as Ontario’s Lieutenant Governor, His Honour has championed positive public responses to disability issues on many fronts for many years. Having lived with polio and post-polio syndrome since the age of three, he overcame many social barriers to become a role model. In his 22-year career with Citytv, he was Canada’s first senior newscaster with a visible disability. A popular news anchor, host/producer, science and technology specialist, and weatherman, he showed that ability outshines disability.
NBRS is a remarkable registered charity. It enriches the lives of many Canadian living with a disability by producing and distributing accessible audio versions of published news, information and entertainment. In addition to working in partnership with others, NBRS does this through VoicePrint, AudioVision Canada and soon in concert with The Accessible Channel (TAC), an English-language specialty digital TV service whose full broadcast schedule will be distributed in an open description format. TAC is expected to premiere this fall. More information about NBRS can be found at www.nbrscanada.comwww.nbrscanada.com.
Because of VoicePrint, audio versions of newspapers and magazines stories can be "heard" by people who can't independently access print due to, for example, blindness or physical impairment, low literacy skills or just getting older. VoicePrint can be accessed on the Secondary Audio Program of CBC Newsworld; on Star Choice (ch 825), ExpressVu (ch 49 & 967), Look TV (ch 400); Rogers Digital (ch 196), Eastlink Digital (ch 394), Aliant Digital (ch 998); and at www.voiceprintcanada.com.
Because of AudioVision, people who have low or no vision now can “see the on-screen action” of movies and TV programs through the description process. Many have said description does for blind and low-vision viewers what closed-captioning does for people with hearing impairments: it makes entertainment more accessible. Established in 1995, AudioVision is a pioneer in providing professional quality description services. Its website: www.audiovisioncanada.com.
The Accessible Channel – when launched later this year -- will allow vision- and hearing-restricted Canadians to tune into a new digital TV service that will feature “described” and “closed-captioned” versions of popular, current TV shows and favorite movies.