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Complying with Captions in Canada

Whether programs are broadcast via traditional or online platforms, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) takes closed captioning very seriously. In its published guidelines, this regulatory government agency explains the importance of closed captioning this way: "Television plays an important role in shaping Canadian society. It is a primary source of news, entertainment, and sports programming, and plays a critical role in making Canadians aware of the … ideas and perspectives that make up the rich fabric of our society. As a result, it is important to ensure that all Canadians can benefit from what TV has to offer.”

In 2007, the CRTC directed the broadcasting industry to form two closed captioning working groups, one for the English-speaking market and one for the French-speaking market. While English is widely spoken across Canada, French is dominant in Quebec. Based on the working groups’ findings, the CRTC updated its closed captioning rules, which include the following:

  • 100% of programs must be captioned during the broadcast day (from 6am to midnight)
  • 100% of advertising, sponsorship messages, and promotional content—as well as emergency alerts—must be captioned
  • If available, captions must be provided for all programming aired overnight (from midnight to 6am)
  • Captions must not block other on-screen information
  • There must be minimal delay between the spoken dialogue and captions

Pre-recorded programming must target a captioning accuracy of 100%, while live French language programming must be 85% accurate. Live English language programming must reach an accuracy score of 98 based upon a complex scoring model known as the Canadian NER Guidelines. The NER system deducts points for such errors as:

  • Misspelled names and places
  • A loss or change of intended meaning, and
  • Having words or phrases interrupt or confuse the flow of captions, making it harder for viewers to understand them

Canadian broadcasters that want to avoid consumer complaints, further scrutiny, or other repercussions can count on enCaption from ENCO to automate their closed captioning workflow, on-premises or in the cloud. enCaption delivers fully compliant closed captions in near real-time with exceptional accuracy, spelling, on-screen placement, and other quality criteria. Visit ENCO to learn more about this automated closed captioning solution.

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