Provide Open Captions in Canadian Movie Theatres

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There are millions of Deaf and hard-of-hearing people around the world -- 466 million, in fact, according to the World Health Organization.

There are over 3 million Deaf and hard-of-hearing people here in Canada (Canadian Association of the Deaf), and many of them have difficulty accessing the same basic services as everyone else: restaurants, transportation, entertainment.

Deaf and hard-of-hearing people love watching movies; however, many are unable to watch movies in theatres because theatres lack open captions.

Open captions are captions that appear on the film screen while the action's taking place. They are called "open" because they are always in view and can't be switched off; everyone can see them.

Even though movie theatres such as Cineplex and Landmark have enormous multiplexes with multiple screens, they do not have open captions. Instead, they rely on devices called CaptiView Machines, which provide small screens at the end of an adjustable arm that the user inserts into their drink holder.

These machines are notoriously unreliable. Deaf and hard-of-hearing people know exactly how horrible these machines are. They are awkward. They cause headaches. Their batteries lose power. They sometimes don't work properly, or at all. They are sometimes programmed for the wrong theatre, resulting in captions for a romantic comedy when the machine user is actually watching an action film. 

This petition is meant to call attention to the issue of inadequate captioning in Canadian movie theatres. Here in Canada, it is the law to make businesses and buildings accessible, and that includes movie theatres. 

Open captions, with the words on the screen, will bring so much joy and relief not only to millions of Deaf and hard-of-hearing people, but to many others, including people whose second language is English and people who have difficulty following the action and find the captions provide crucial information.

Access helps everyone. Let's work to bring open captions to Canadian theatres so that Deaf and hard-of-hearing people and many others can enjoy films on an equal level with their peers.