Telecom Commission Letter Addressed to John Rafferty (Canadian National Institute for the Blind)
Ottawa, 7 June 2017
Our reference: 1011-NOC2017-0033
President and CEO
Canadian National Institute for the Blind
1929 Bayview Ave
Toronto, Ontario M4G 3E8
Subject: Telecom Notice of Consultation CRTC 2017-33, Review of the regulatory framework for text-based message relay services
Dear Mr. Rafferty:
On 2 February 2017, the Commission issued Notice of Consultation (NoC) 2017-33 to review the regulatory framework for text-based message relay services (MRS review), which are text-to-voice services that enable people with a hearing or speech disability to make and receive telephone calls.
In order to ensure the Commission has a complete record in the MRS review, Commission staff is issuing letters to accessibility groups that expressed views regarding MRS in past proceedings, such as the Basic Telecommunications Services (BTS)Footnote1 and next-generation 9-1-1 (NG911)Footnote2 proceedings, in order to ask those groups whether they still hold their views.
Commission staff notes that the Canadian National Institute for the Blind (CNIB) is not a party to the MRS review, as CNIB did not file an intervention by the Commission’s deadline of 3 April 2017 set out in NoC 2017-33. Nevertheless, given that CNIB has expressed views regarding MRS in past proceedings, Commission staff is issuing the present request for information (RFI) letter to confirm whether CNIB continues to believe that:
- “with an unemployment rate that exceeds 60%, people with disabilities are one of the lowest-income groups in the country, yet the cost of equipment and services that people with disabilities must bear is often much higher than for the general population. For example, a residential telephone for an individual without a disability can be purchased for under $50 including advanced communications features. An individual who cannot speak or is deaf must spend $200 or more for a TTY, without advanced features”Footnote3 ;
- seniors having relied on TTY technology all of their lives “may not be ready adopters of mobile devices”Footnote4 ; and
- while the cost of new technology continues to decrease and accessibility becomes increasingly more available, “there will always be a segment of Canadian society who lack the means to adopt new communication technology”Footnote4.
Commission staff is requesting that you reply to this letter by 13 June 2017 by confirming, as noted above, whether CNIB continues to hold the views it had expressed in the BTS and NG911 proceedings. Your reply to this letter will permit parties to comment on CNIB’s views by 23 June 2017, which is the deadline set out in NoC 2017-33-1 for parties to comment on responses to RFIs filed by other partiesFootnote5
We value CNIB’s contributions to the Commission’s public consultations and look forward to receiving CNIB’s comments during the present MRS review.
If you have any questions with regards to this letter, please contact Bradley Gaudet at email@example.com.
originally signed by
Director, Social and Consumer Policy
Consumer Affairs and Strategic Policy
c.c.: Lui Greco, National Manager of Advocacy, CNIB, firstname.lastname@example.org
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