Report: Exploring the Experiences of Canadians Accessing Alternate Format Print Materials
From Statistics Canada:
In Canada, the 6.2 million persons with disabilities often experience challenges related to accessibility in their daily lives. While persons with disabilities face unique experiences and challenges when it comes to accessibility, persons without disabilities could also face accessibility barriers. By identifying the specific barriers each group faces, there can be improvements in the design and delivery of programs and services.
The adoption of the Accessible Canada Act has encouraged the exploration of barriers encountered by Canadians in order to create accessible communities, workplaces and services. Canada has signed onto the Marrakesh Treaty, which aims to increase the availability of and access to print material in accessible formats, in support of persons who experience difficulties with print material due to visual, physical, or perceptual limitations. In Budget 2022, the Government of Canada proposed funding over five years to increase the production of and access to published works in alternate formats, as well as conduct research in this area. To provide a snapshot of Canadians with difficulties with print material and their needs for alternate formats, the Survey on Accessible Print Materials (SAPM) was established. Using data from the SAPM, Statistics Canada is releasing an article titled “Print material accessibility in Canada, 2023” to provide information on Canadians who require printed works in alternate formats due to one or more difficulties when reading print materials.
Over one-third of persons with difficulties with print material use alternate formats
Overall, around half (51.5%) of Canadians with difficulties with print materials said they use or would use alternate format material if it was available to them. Women (46.2%) were less likely to report that they either use alternate format materials or would use alternate format materials if they were available to them when compared with men (55.6%), while there were no differences shown by age group.
In terms of actual usage of alternate formats, 35.8% of those with difficulties with print materials used reading material in at least one alternate format. When examined by type of formats used, the most commonly reported kinds were large print versions (63.1%), accessible file formats (36.0%) and audio formats (28.2%).
Cost is the most commonly reported barrier to accessing alternate formats
In the past two years, among those who said they have difficulties with print materials and require alternate formats, 20.1% indicated they could not access an alternate format they needed. Unmet needs for alternate formats were higher among younger Canadians (aged 15 to 34 years; 27.3%) when compared with their older counterparts (aged 65 years and older; 15.0%).
Around 7 in 10 (69.5%) persons who require alternate formats experienced at least one barrier when accessing the formats they need. Cost (29.7%), unavailability of the alternate format of choice (28.3%) and difficulty finding information (22.9%) were the top types of barriers encountered when accessing alternate format materials.
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Direct to Full Text Article: Print material accessibility in Canada, 2023
About Gary Price
Gary Price (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. He earned his MLIS degree from Wayne State University in Detroit. Price has won several awards including the SLA Innovations in Technology Award and Alumnus of the Year from the Wayne St. University Library and Information Science Program. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com.