Political Candidates

Dear Ontario Canada Political Candidate,

We encourage you to consider the large and growing demographic of people who want to hear your campaign message, and need your support to do so!

How to grow your support base by sharing your message and being heard by everyone

  • Use quality (human generated) captioning / subtitles on all your video media
  • Provide live captioning/transcription at all public events – starting now!
  • Install a hearing loop sound system to bring your message to people wearing hearing aids and cochlear implants
  • Comply with the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA), Communications and Information Standard – provide hearing access in Real-Time!

Did you know…?

  • Over 10% of Canadians have hearing loss
  • 90% of hard of hearing people rely on captioning / transcription to understand the spoken word
  • Only 10% of people who have hearing loss know or use any form of Sign Language

For everyone who has some form of hearing loss, they need quality, real-time, speech-to-text transcription. Many more people need quality speech-to-text transcription due to audio-processing challenges, or needing the reinforcement of text along with audio, due to having not fully developed language skills or different language skills. By transcribing your message, you demonstrate a commitment to reaching everyone, with your campaign messaging.

Don't miss out on an amazing opportunity to:

  • Reach those constituents who value your message, and the medium you use
  • Build respect for your efforts to provide universal communication
  • Develop loyal followings and trusting relationships

What's the cost of making live events Hearing Friendly?

Creating hearing access for live events is not as costly as you may think. A two hour presentation using our Projected Text Transcription services starts at below $200, compared to over $500 for that same two hours, using Court Report Transription (CART) services.

Amplify your commitment – and your message – by Making Life Hearing Friendly!

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When you support people who have access needs (estimated at 18.7%, see above), you not only grow loyalty and respect from this constituent group, you also amplify your commitment to accessibility throughout the whole community; including the friends and family of persons who have access needs (estimated at 34.5%), and also the general public. In combination, over 53% of people are directly impacted by how a person who has a disability is treated. (Source)

According to the Disability Annual Report cited above, friends and family of persons who have disabilities “are passionate, driven by a mix of perceived injustice and an inefficient use of the resources that PWD represent….[and this] has profound ramifications for companies seeking to establish brand loyalty among People With Disabilities as consumers”.

We at POW Hearing Solutions believe that for too long, persons who have audio access needs have not been getting political candidates messages in the same way, at the same time, as everyone else – which is not only a 'perceived' injustice, but an actual one.

How to make your campaign's message Hearing Friendly

  • Read:  Count Us In, a Guide for Political Candidates to reach diverse audiences
  • Believe in the need, and plan for success
  • Discover the business case for Accessibility
  • Know who in your Municipal, Provincial, or Federal office is responsible for event funding
  • Ask how events are made accessible, the budget for access, and the procedure to implement access at events
  • Assign event accessibility responsibilities to a designated administrative/event assistant
  • Communicate with constituent organizations who represent and support persons who have mobility, sensory, and intellectual disabilities
  • Create and maintain a detailed preferred vendors list of caption transcriber(s) and ASL practitioners
  • Understand that accessibility is a process, which will grow your support base and followers
  • Support inclusion as a Brand, and Loyalty enhancement tool

Best Practices in Audio Accessibility for your events include:

  • Including the following statement in all of you event announcements: “Our campaign is committed to accessibility for persons with disabilities. Please contact us if you have any particular accessibility requirements” (include contact telephone number, TTY/TTD or cell/text number, and email address)
  • Advertise your event – and your desire to make it accessible – well in advance, to arrange for accessibility
  • Assign a designated staffer to deal with constituent questions, securing an ASL/English (sign language) interpreter/ captioning transcriber(s) / and video captioning
  • Train the event access person/contact, on next steps to finding a service vendor, and access implementation
  • Create and maintain a detailed preferred vendors list of caption transcriber(s) and ASL practitioners
  • Enter into Vendor of Record agreements for companies providing Transcription, Interpretation and American Sign Language (ASL)
  • Familiarize the access implementation person with vendor / service provider payment policies & timelines
  • Have event presenters provide materials in advance, conversion-ready for creating accessible formats
  • Book rooms and locations which allow for use of large screens for displaying captioning, and a small table for a transcriber to sit at with a laptop computer
  • Find videos already captioned, to use at live events

What's your longer-term plan, after becoming elected?

Access is an expectation your constituents will have when visiting your office for support. Build access into your office plans, because everyone requires your services. Simple ways in which you can begin include:

  • Conduct an access audit of policies, practices, service delivery, physical spaces, and audio and visual communications, to determine Current Accessibility Status
  • Review efforts made to date to remove existing barriers, and to prevent future barriers
  • Ask people with disabilities what their needs are – hold accessible focus groups with persons who have disabilities
  • Research best practice Accessibility policy examples
  • Research awareness training options to address attitudinal barriers and gaps in staff understanding
  • Review  which technologies and strategies are available to assist with constituent access needs
  • Speak with POW Hearing Solutions about creating Hearing Friendly campaign offices
  • Decide what your overall access objectives will be – make your constituency office ready for access constituents
  • Determine all customer touch-points, and create accessible processes for interaction
  • Define specific processes and timelines for identifying, removing, and preventing barriers
  • Hold a second Round of accessible focus groups with persons who have disabilities
  • Create surveys to solicit feedback from constituents – it's cost-effective and invaluable!

Communicate, communicate, communicate!

  • Communicate your new policies and procedures, using multiple, accessible formats and delivery channels
  • Display your Customer Service Policies on your website and at at your front reception/counter
  • Offer Accessible Customer Service Feedback information – in multiple accessible formats, at the source
  • Include TTY/TTD contact information,or cell/text numbers, for customers who have hearing loss to contact you and/or share their input

We encourage all candidates to build access into their budgets from day one, not as an afterthought. Access to information is vital, for all citizens. It’s also the right thing to do.

To see how captioning users describe the experience and value of captioning inclusion during political campaigns, Read More.

CREDIT: Collaborative for Communication Access via Captioning