Celebrate National AccessAbility Week with CBC

 (CBC - image credit)
(CBC - image credit)

Join us at CBC as we celebrate National AccessAbility Week 2024 by shining a spotlight on content and initiatives dedicated to accessibility and disability across our platforms. Throughout the week, we're dedicating airtime to special programming that brings to light the stories and experiences of individuals with disabilities, amplifying their voices and fostering greater awareness about accessibility issues.

CBC Television

During National AccessAbility Week, start your mornings with engaging Kids' shows like Dino Ranch, featuring sign language interpretation, and Silly Paws, starring Stuffy The Dog alongside Deaf actor Gaitrie Persaud.


On Sunday afternoons, don't miss thought-provoking episodes of You Can't Ask That, airing May 26th and June 2nd. Plus, delve into compelling documentaries during late-night viewing, including Love, Hope & Autism, Just As I Am: The Shira Choir, and Champions


Explore the Living with a disability collection on Gem offering an extensive selection of over 30 films, series, and documentaries centred on disability and accessibility. Launching May 24th is a six part documentary series following the first openly transgender Paralympian in Ness Murby: Transcending. Watch series like the workplace comedy One More Time from AMI, creator and actor Sean Towgood's  poignant exploration of navigating life with cerebral palsy in You're My Hero, and Latecomers which candidly portrays the challenges of dating and relationships within the disability community.

Uncover documentaries, including the fascinating story of theoretical physicist and author Stephen Hawking in Hawking: Can You Hear Me?, amputee Hugh Herr's journey to create better prostheses is followed in Augmented, and gain insight into the struggles of first responders dealing with PTSD in After the Sirens.

CBC Gem's website and apps offer a number of accessibility features including text resizing and customizing the appearance of closed captions within the video player.  

CBC Docs

CBC Docs highlights the ground-breaking CBC original docu-series PUSH that takes audiences into the inner world of the "Wheelie Peeps," an unlikely group of friends and wheelchair users, bonded by their shared experience of navigating life on wheels.


Embark on a global quest with Is There Anybody Out There, a Passionate Eye documentary following Ella Glendining's search for someone with a body that looks like hers.

Commissioned through AccessCBC, a CBC initiative for creators with disabilities, short doc Love Leymo is a visual letter from a young autistic Black man to his late mother. Applications are now closed for AccessCBC 2.0 with streams in Kids and Scripted.

In a letter to his late mother, a young autistic Black man updates her on his struggles, achievements and dreams
In a letter to his late mother, a young autistic Black man updates her on his struggles, achievements and dreams

In a letter to his late mother, a young autistic Black man updates her on his struggles, achievements and dreams (Guevara Films)

CBC News

Throughout Canada, CBC News brings a diverse array of stories from disability perspectives or related to disability and accessibility topics, spanning both local and national coverage as well as our newsmagazine programs. Here are some standout examples from the past year.

A Marketplace investigation shows how people with disabilities face safety issues and frustration when travelling, an issue supported by the cast of Push who provide their own thoughts on travelling with a disability, while Power & Politics discussed how the raise in the national disability benefit isn't enough and followed up with an in-depth discussion of why the National Disability Benefit is simply a supplement.

The National reported the challenges some wheelchair users faced when trying to access healthcare procedures like mammograms. CBC Morning Live covered the fine imposed on Air Canada for failing to properly assist a passenger with a disability and the apology from Air Canada's CEO for the company's failure to serve passengers with disabilities.

In the Eastern provinces highlights include a story about the challenges blind passengers face getting around using public transit in St. John's Newfoundland;  P.E.I.'s Green Gables House being made more accessible thanks to P.E.I. carpentry students. Our Nova Scotia bureau reported that a Halifax student was disappointed by a delay in work to improve school's accessibility by adding a stairlift to basement classrooms. While CBC New Brunswick covered the increase in the province's disability rate which showed that now more than 1/3 of New Brunswickers have a disability according to StatsCan.

In Central Canada stories from Quebec included how the Adaptive Sports Foundation is assisting blind Quebecers learning cross-country skiing in Bromont, a study from Université du Québec found that  Montreal is short on safety for those with reduced mobility, and In 73 days of operation, there have been only 30 days when all nine elevators were working resulting in  Montreal's new fully-accessible' light-rail network has seen nearly 30 elevator breakdowns.

While in Ontario Ottawa's Ryan Duchoeny is usually cast in the background but hopes to land a lead role. Hollywood representation isn't enough Canada needs roles for deaf actors too, says the actor. In a dynamic illustrated first-person account: My disability makes my body feel unpredictable the writer explains how art helps them lean into the chaos. Bright lights, loud music and a lot of stimulation can overwhelm neurodiverse people so why do so many become DJs?  Fire alarms on the fourth floor  introduces Riyad Hussain who says his family, including two children with mobility issues, didn't feel safe at their Donald Street home, and how blind golfer Kevin Frost stays the course and credits "secret family of guides" with helping propel him to World Championships.

In Western Canada, some disabled residents of a Winnipeg facility were stranded as health-care aides began a strike when more than a hundred staff walked off their job at Ten Ten Sinclair. Many of Deaf artist Torrie Ironstar's works centre around portraits of Indigenous people, but the painter says there are still many supports needed for Deaf people in Saskatchewan. Also from Saskatchewan is the first-person story from journalist Dylan Earis who wants to be the representation he didn't see on TV growing up with a disability.

An opinion piece from Alberta titled There's no getting around discusses Alberta's lack of accessibility law as a ballot box issue with increased pressure to remove barriers and treat people with disability with dignity. A Saint Mary's University professor says Deaf students bring diversity of thought and language, but that academia isn't making space for them so, what's lost if deaf students aren't welcomed in universities? In Edmonton, the presence of ASL interpreters at swimming lessons has made all the difference for one family. In B.C. a point of view story explores how one woman came to understand her mother's neurodivergence that shaped her approach to work and parenting. British Columbians say they feel stigmatized and ignored when seeking ADHD diagnosis even though ADHD affects 4-6% of adults in Canada.

Reporters in the North spoke with a N'dilo N.W.T's woman calling for more accessible-transit options after scrambling to help her disabled daughter,  and reported how the Yellowknife Public Library now offers sensory support kits for borrowing as part of an effort to better include people with autism, ADHD and other disabilities.

CBC News' website and mobile app offer accessibility features including alternative text for images, text resizing and dark and light modes (on CBC News app only). CBC Lite is a low bandwidth version of CBC.ca for anyone in remote regions who wants a simple layout, free of images and videos.

CBC Television

Read how Murdoch Mysteries director Gary Harvey & assistant Meagan McAteer discuss disability representation and accommodation in entertainment. And join the Wheelie Peeps cast of Push as they push back against able bodied drivers taking accessible parking spots.

CBC Music

In March 2024 CBC in collaboration with the Disability Screen Office, Insight Productions, and CARAS, with support from the Canadian Media Fund, presented a live stream of the Juno Awards with ASL interpretation for the first time.


CBC Radio/CBC Podcasts

CBC's radio programs covered stories about a variety of disability topics last year with The Current including why making video games accessible is good for business, and a shortage in ASL interpreters for STEM may be affecting Deaf academics. As it Happens aired a story about a device that allows blind people to hear an eclipse and another about a man with cerebral palsy who finds running marathons has expanded his world. Saturday morning's Day 6 ran stories that included why Bob's Burgers is an ally of the neurodiverse community, how video games are a tool for treating ADHD and relaxed performances make event experiences welcoming and inclusive for people who find events over-stimulating.


Regional radio shows also reflect disability in their storytelling with reports from Information Morning Fredericton about a legally blind astrophotographer, and BC Today's Michelle Eliot discussed funding for the National Disability Benefit, while Edmonton AM explored what accessible fitness looks like with Outlier trainer Erika Sikat who spoke about inclusivity and accessibility in training.  CBC is actively expanding the number of podcasts available with transcripts with titles like The Current, As It Happens, Front Burner, The Secret Life of Canada, Someone Knows Something, Stuff the British Stole, This is Not a Drake Podcast, and many more.

Stuff the British Stole Episode Transcript image
Stuff the British Stole Episode Transcript image

Stuff the British Stole Episode Transcript image (Ben Shannon)

Sickboy is a podcast that breaks down stigma associated with illness and disease, and new in 2023 is Let's Not be Kidding by comedian Gavin Crawford who recounts his mother's Alzheimer's journey.  Additional podcasts explore a variety of topics by making room for discussions about a wide range of accessibility and disability themes such as The Dose's discussion of ADHD diagnoses in adults, Other People's Problems' surviving an eating disorder and Covid-19. Autistic people are sometimes met with skepticism when they tell someone they're autistic, especially when they don't match others' assumptions of what autism is and Inappropriate Questions asks: is it okay to ask an autistic person "are you sure?" People who are blind or have low vision sometimes get approached with offers of help—whether they need it or not. Is it useful to offer help, or is it overstepping?Is it helpful to ask a blind person "do you need help?"

Through the internal On-Air Talent program, CBC employees with disabilities created podcasts of their own, including Better Late from Cathy Browne, Comedy Underdogs, from Julianna Romanyk, and Playing by Ear by Amanda Shekarchi.

CBC Listen's website and mobile app offer a number of accessibility features including text resizing and dark mode on the CBC Listen app.

CBC Kids

CBC Kids is launching a new comedy from the creator of Arthur and the producers of How to Train Your Dragon. HOP is a frog with one leg shorter than the other who is joined by kids and animals with different disabilities as they take on daily obstacles in the imaginative world of Fair City.


Also launching this week is the third season of Silly Paws with Deaf actor Gaitrie Persaud and Stuffy from Gary's Magic Fort, and Season 2 of A Kind of Spark about an autistic 11 year-old who sets out to honour innocent women subjected to witch trials centuries earlier.

CBC Kids News covered topics about accessibility and disability including this first-person account about teaching music to blind children connecting the author to her heritage; the 2024 change to award payments to Paralympic medalists; and an article about protecting kids' mental health from harmful online content.

For International Day of Persons with Disabilities, CBC Kids created a YouTube playlist that includes Gary learning about swimming with leg braces, sit skis and wheelchairs, and features the authors of CBC Kids Books Friends Find a Way, and I Can, Too!

Recently CBC Kids released 13 custom sports games with an added accessibility layer in preparation for the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games. Athletics Hero (Paralympics) | Clumpy Cross Country Caper | Curling Hero | Hockey Hero | MTB Hero | Skateboard Hero | Skating Hero | Slalom Hero (Paralympics) | Sledge Hockey Multiplayer | Snowboard Hero | Soccer Hero | Surfing Hero | Tennis Hero.

A new game launched in May, Echo Hunter is a custom game built with the blind and low vision community in mind. Users control a bat and rely on echolocation to find and catch insects and can be played entirely with closed eyes.

CBC Kids News website offers a number of accessibility features including alternative text for images, text resizing and dark mode.

CBC Sports

Over the past year, CBC Sports has covered disability and accessibility in sports, providing a platform to showcase the achievements of athletes with disabilities and topics of interest to the disability community. Andrew Parsons believes Para movement is making big strides in how people with disabilities are viewed so the Paralympic president is encouraged by Chilean reception of Parapan Am athletes. And the Boston Marathon adds 2 Para divisions, boosting their purse above $1 million US as the flagship race welcomed athletes with disabilities.

CBC Sports Paralympics page showcases athletes through their qualifying competitions leading up to the 2024 Summer Games. During the Beijing Games, CBC Sports launched While You Were Sleeping, a daily recap show available with American sign language.

Later this summer, enjoy accessible Olympics and Paralympics coverage, featuring described video for the opening and closing ceremonies, all pre-midnight programming during the Paralympics, and all prime time programming for the Olympics. Additionally, ASL interpretation will be provided on a live stream for the opening and closing ceremonies of both Games, as well as for daily highlights.

CBC Sports' website and mobile app offer a number of accessibility features including alternative text for images and text resizing.

CBC Books

For International Day of Persons with Disabilities, CBC Books created a list of engaging titles from disabled authors including Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha's The Future is Disabled,  looking at the power of disability justice to create a better world for everyone, Jackie Khalilieh's romance novel Something More about a 15-year-old girl's autism diagnosis while trying to navigate being a teenager.

The 2024 Canada Reads books are available in accessible formats.

The Canada Reads 2024 debates will take place March 4-7 on CBC TV, CBC Radio and CBC Books, hosted by Ali Hassan.
The Canada Reads 2024 debates will take place March 4-7 on CBC TV, CBC Radio and CBC Books, hosted by Ali Hassan.

The Canada Reads 2024 debates will take place March 4-7 on CBC TV, CBC Radio and CBC Books, hosted by Ali Hassan. (CBC)

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