Creating Described Video for Broadcast Media

Focus Area Five
Described Video Standards in Canada

Image: Screenshot of the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission website.


In this section, we will identify the initiatives to set standards for described video by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) and Bell Media. Since 2001, the CRTC has set standards for a minimum number of described video programs to be broadcast in Canada. Here we will become familiar with the upcoming requirements for 2019.

Developing an Understanding

Back in 2001, the CRTC started requiring a minimum level of described video programming by certain broadcasters. In 2009, it furthered its policy with the following requirements:

  • Broadcasters have to provide video description for all of their in-house productions related to information-based programs.
  • All conventional broadcasters, as well as certain French and English pay broadcasters and specialty broadcasters, must offer four hours of described video per week. They are also encouraged to make their described videos available online.
  • Broadcasters are expected to display the described video logo, and to make an audio announcement before the start of a described program. They are encouraged to repeat the logo and audio announcement after each commercial break.

— Modified from the CRTCopen new window

Deepening Your Understanding:

Beginning September 2019, some broadcasters in Canada will be required by the CRTC to offer described video for all of the video content they broadcast during prime time, every day between 7pm - 11pm (CRTC, 2015). Another tier of broadcasters will be required to offer four hours of described video content a week (CRTC, 2015).

It should be noted that certain programming, such as the news and sporting events, is seen to be not well suited for described video and does not need to be offered as described video even if they are being broadcast during prime time (CRTC, 2015).