Getting Your Bills and Other Information in Alternative Formats
People with visual disabilities
For people with visual disabilities, such as those who are blind or partially sighted, bills and other documents in standard print might not be accessible. The CRTC has rules about providing billing statements and other documents in alternative formats.
Alternative formats include Braille, large print, online formats such as HTML, and any other format that a service provider (phone, cable or satellite company) and a customer with a visual impairment agree on.
Telephone services: alternative formats
A phone customer with a visual disability can ask to receive alternative formats for:
- phone bills
- billing inserts that inform customers of changes to service rates and provide information that’s required by the CRTC, and so on
- information on the rates, terms and conditions of services; this includes potential customers before they decide whether or not to sign up for a service
- the Statement of Consumer Rights
- information on the limitations of enhanced 911 for customers with Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) telephone service
These requirements apply to all phone services, including cellular and VoIP services.
Cable or satellite services: alternative formats
A customer with a visual disability can ask to receive alternative formats for:
- cable or satellite service bills
- customer information on rates and services
- channel and programming information
The Television Service Provider (TVSP) Code also ensures that a customer with a disability can request a copy of the service agreement and the accompanying Critical Information Summary of their agreement in an alternative format, at no charge, at any time during the commitment period.
You can contact your service provider to find out about products and services that are designed to meet the needs of persons with visual disabilities.
How did Broadcasting and Telecom Regulatory Policy CRTC 2009-430 change the CRTC’s regulation of information in alternative formats?
Broadcasting and Telecom Regulatory Policy 2009-430 resulted in a follow-up public process to determine if certain information should be provided in alternative formats for people with visual disabilities. This led to Telecom Regulatory Policy CRTC 2010-132, in which the Commission decided that the information below must be provided in alternative formats for people with visual disabilities, upon request:
- information on the National Do Not Call List
- information on bill management tools
- notification of the removal of the last payphone in a community
- incumbent local exchange carriers’ (ILEC) communications plans on local forbearance
- information on dialing plan changes
- quality of service information
In Broadcasting and Telecom Regulatory Policy 2009-430 the CRTC also encouraged telecommunications service providers and certain cable and satellite providers to consult with groups representing people with disabilities to develop information in other alternative formats (such as sign language and plain language). Service providers submitted reports on these efforts in July 2010.
CRTC mandating paper billing for some Canadian consumers
Accessibility of telecommunications and broadcasting services (Broadcasting and Telecom Regulatory Policy CRTC 2009-430)
Extending the availability of alternative formats to consumers who are blind (Telecom Decision CRTC 2002-13)
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