**New - Due to the issues surrounding COVID19, we have decided to extend the solicitation closing date until May 21, 2020.
This Challenge Notice is issued under the Innovative Solutions Canada Program (ISC) Call for Proposals 003 (EN578-20ISC3). For general ISC information, Bidders can visit the
Please refer to the
which contain the process for submitting a proposal.
Steps to apply:
read this challenge
Call for Proposals
propose your solution here
Alternate Format Business Technology Challenge
Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC)
MAXIMUM CONTRACT VALUE:
Multiple contracts could result from this Challenge.
The maximum funding available for any Phase 1 contract resulting from this Challenge is $150,000.00 CAD excluding applicable taxes, shipping, travel and living expenses, as required, for up to 6 months (excluding submission of the final report).
Estimated number of Phase 1 contracts: 2
The maximum funding available for any Phase 2 contract resulting from this Challenge is $1,000,000.00 CAD excluding applicable taxes, shipping, travel and living expenses, as required, for up to 24 months (excluding submission of the final report). Only eligible businesses that have successfully completed Phase 1 will be considered for Phase 2.
Estimated number of Phase 2 contracts: 1
This disclosure is made in good faith and does not commit Canada to contract for the total approximate funding. Final decisions on the number of Phase 1 and Phase 2 awards will be made by Canada on the basis of factors such as evaluation results, departmental priorities and availability of funds.
For Phase 1 it is anticipated that two meetings will require the successful bidder(s) to travel to the location identified below:
Final Review Meeting
Problem Summary Statement
Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) is seeking a solution that will result in innovation and efficiency in the production of, and access to, a wide variety of physical and digital alternate format materials for Canadians with print disabilities.
The majority of published materials remain inaccessible to people with print disabilities in Canada; only a small number are produced in alternate formats and the population is aging, so this need will increase. It is costly and time-consuming to produce physical formats like Braille and human-narrated audiobooks. While some publishers are producing digital publications, they are not always accessible. Producing accessible digital and physical materials currently requires technical expertise. The time, knowledge, and effort to do so is too high to meet the ongoing need for new publications, let alone for current or historic (legacy) materials. Devices that facilitate access to digital alternate formats remain costly, limited (e.g., only provide a few lines of Braille at a time) and complicated for populations without strong technical literacy (e.g., some seniors). To meet this diverse population’s needs, alternate formats also increasingly need to be produced in many languages.
ESDC is looking for a solution that increases access to alternate format materials for Canadians with print disabilities, through:
- More efficient and cost-effective production of new and/or legacy physical and digital materials; and/or,
- Software/technology that facilitates easy, fast, digitally accessible files at their publishing source; and/or,
- Innovative and affordable devices/software that anyone with a print disability can access.
Essential (Mandatory) Outcomes
Proposed solutions must:
Collaborate and/or partner with people with print disabilities/lived experience*
This population includes people who may have learning, reading, perceptual, physical or visual disability that impacts their ability to read conventional published materials.
Ensure that the product(s) is accessible to people with a wide range of disabilities;
Ensure that any materials that are produced using the resulting product conform to existing accessible publishing standards; and,
Ensure that any personal assistive technologies and/or software that are developed are affordable** and intuitive.***
** Affordable in this instance would take into account the functionality of the device, and the current market prices of similar devices (to the extent that comparable devices exist).
*** Intuitive in this instance is defined as a solution that does not require the user to have a high degree of technical or reading literacy.
Proposed solutions should:
Collaborate and/or partner with organization(s)/companies in the Canadian publishing industry;
Ensure that the accessible physical or digital materials that are produced are made available to consumers at a lower price to all other published materials; and,
Ensure that any accessible physical or digital materials that are produced are made available in a timelier fashion than what is currently offered (i.e., at the same time as all other materials; if not, within 1 weeks’ time).
Background and Context
Canadians with print disabilities include people who may have learning, reading, perceptual, physical or visual disability. In recent years, the Government of Canada, through ESDC, has provided funding to not-for-profit organizations that produce and distribute alternate format materials to Canadians with print disabilities via public libraries. However, these organizations do not reach all Canadians with print disabilities, and have indicated a desire to move away from funding production using charitable dollars. The Canadian publishing industry may be better suited to meet demand, but only if it is equipped with the technologies and knowledge to produce 'born accessible' materials.
All enquiries must be submitted in writing to
no later than ten calendar days before the Challenge Notice closing date. Enquiries received after that time may not be answered.