CRTC Campaign

Rights of People with Disabilities Being Ignored by Cell Phone Service Providers

We need your help to protect your rights as a disabled person.

There are not enough accessible cell phones for people with disabilities. The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) asked cell phone service providers to make sure that they have at least one cell phone available to meet the needs of all people with disabilities by October 21, 2009.

The Neil Squire Society ran a survey in November and December of 2009. We found that cell phone service providers do not supply phones that meet the needs of all people with disabilities. Cell phone service providers are not doing what they were told to do by the CRTC.

Cell phones are about more than just making a call. Cell phones are about being able to connect in many different ways. These ways include text-messaging, email, using the internet, and even mobile banking. They are about finding information and using services when and where you want to. Most people take these things for granted, but people with certain disabilities cannot use standard cell phones.

We Need the CRTC to Hear Your Voice

If you use a cell phone, or are thinking about getting one, we need you to complete these simple steps:

  1. Talk to your local cell phone service provider. Please call if possible, that way you can get an answer to your questions right away. We have provided a checklist of things to ask them.
  2. Send us an email telling us which service provider you talked to and what their answers were. Let us know if they could provide an accessible phone, and whether or not it could work for you. Remember to include your contact information.
  3. If needed, we will send a complaint to the CRTC on your behalf.

As a person with a disability, you need to let the CRTC know how important your rights are to you. Please make your voice heard on this important issue.

CRTC Checklist

When contacting the cell phone service provider make sure you can answer the following questions about how you use your cell phone before you call the cell phone service provider:

  • Do you use a cell phone right now?
  • Are you planning to start using a cell phone?
  • Do you want to be able to use the internet on your cell phone?
  • Do you want to be able to send text (text messaging)?
  • Do you want to be able to watch videos on your cell phone?

Also, tell them about your disability:

  • Do you have problems holding your cell phone?
  • Do you have any problems pushing buttons on a cell phone?
  • Do you have any problems using the touchscreen, trackball or thumbwheel on a cell phone?
  • Do you have any problems seeing small words or pictures on a screen?
  • Do you need to be able to use voice commands? What do you need the voice commands to control on the cell phone?

After you have contacted your cell phone service provider, send an email to

Make sure to tell us:

  • Your name, address, phone number, and email address
  • What cell phone company you contacted
  • What options they had, and if you think they will work for you
  • If they did not have any phones you can use, we will file a complaint for you. Or you can e-mail us and we will provide you with instructions on how to make your own complaint through the CRTC website.

To learn more please send an email with your contact information, marked CRTC Complaint”, to