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Human Rights Commission settles claim with respect to the exhibition of closed captioned movies

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July 24, 2007

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For immediate publication 

Toronto, Ontario - The Ontario Human Rights Commission today announced a settlement in the complaints between Nancy Barker, Gary Malkowski and Scott Simser, and movie exhibitors Alliance Atlantis Cinemas partnership, AMC Entertainment International Inc., Cineplex Entertainment LP and Rainbow Centre Cinemas Inc.

The settlement includes the installation of new closed captioning systems in multiple Ontario theatres. These installations will occur on a phased-in basis following a comprehensive selection and testing period of new commercially available closed captioning systems by the exhibitors. Most of the exhibitors have also agreed to add a closed captioning system to all new theatres opened in the province of Ontario. The agreement also includes the appointment of a monitor to oversee settlement obligations.

“We are pleased to have reached an agreement that increases the number of theatres with closed captioning systems so that more members of the deaf, deafened and profoundly hard of hearing communities can experience movies,” said Mr. Simser, an Ottawa lawyer, Mr. Malkowski, a former Member of Provincial Parliament and Ms. Barker, a Masters student.

“This is a win-win settlement for all,” said Allison Taylor, speaking on behalf of the exhibitors. “Assuming the technological developments continue as we predict they will, the deaf, deafened and hard of hearing communities will be getting a new closed captioning system that will offer a better movie going experience.”

“Under the Ontario Human Rights Code, everyone has the right to equal treatment with regard to services. I am pleased that this settlement will enable the deaf, deafened and profoundly hard of hearing communities to fully enjoy theatre-going experiences in the same way as everyone else,” said Chief Commissioner Barbara Hall.

For more information, please refer to the Backgrounder on the Commission’s Web site. 

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