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LETTER: Enhanced closed captioning coming to remote Council meetings

City clerk's office writes that it is working at improving the closed captioning of city meeting livestreams
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GuelphToday received the following letter from the city clerk and the Legislative Services team at the City of Guelph, regarding closed captioning services:

We have been reading with interest some recent letters to the editor regarding closed captioning of Guelph City Council’s remote and virtual meetings.

We know the current automated and digital closed captions are not perfect and that the system, at times, offers incorrect interpretations of what is being said in the meeting. We also know that this is not ideal for those in our community that depend on these services to access and follow Council’s deliberations and decisions.

We have learned a lot since Council meetings went digital in March 2020 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Our efforts have always been focused on supporting Council’s remote and virtual meeting processes to ensure that they remain open, transparent and accessible.

Our role in the City Clerk’s Office is to support Council’s deliberations and decision making in a way that upholds and enhances open access and transparency in these processes.

To that end, we began investigating ways to enhance the closed captioning services that tie into Council’s remote and virtual meetings. We have met with the Canadian Hearing Services and the City’s own Accessibility Advisory Committee to understand what enhancements can be made and we have committed resources to support some changes.

We look forward to piloting these enhancements over the course of the next couple of months in hopes of delivering a more permanent and accurate closed captioning system. Doing so will ensure that Council’s deliberations and decision making remains accessible to the community.

When the new closed captioning system goes live, we’ll share it with the broader community through the City’s social media channels and we invite your review of them through further letters to the editor or get in touch with us directly by emailing clerks@guelph.ca or calling us at 519-822-1260 extension 5603.

Thank you,

The city clerk and the Legislative Services team at the City of Guelph