CAPER-BC celebrates 30 years of making learning accessible to students with disabilities

Vancouver, BC - At the halfway mark of the fall term, post-secondary students in B.C. are struggling to keep up with weekly reading lists.

For students with visual, learning, or physical impairments, the challenges of completing readings can be even greater.

Operating out of Langara College since 1985, the Centre for Accessible Post-secondary Education Resources British Columbia (CAPER-BC) has spent the past 30 years making teaching and learning materials accessible for post-secondary students with print disabilities in B.C.

For students like Steven Woo, who has been losing his vision for the past 18 years due to a condition called retinitis pigmentosa, the service has been pivotal to his education.

“CAPER-BC has been essential in helping me achieve what I’ve achieved so far in post-secondary,” Woo said. “If the service wasn’t here, I probably wouldn’t have been able to come as far as I have to this point in my degree.”

Now poised to graduate with a Bachelor of Business Administration from Langara College, Woo is just one of the 1,168 students who made 3,553 requests for alternate formats to CAPER-BC during the 2014-15 school year.

Celebrating 30 Years

Originally established in 1984 as Colleges and Institutes Library Services (CILS) program, in 2013 the Ministry and the CILS Advisory Committee approved the name change to Centre for Accessible Post-secondary Education Resources BC (CAPER-BC).

Funded by the Ministry of Advanced Education, CAPER-BC produces textbooks, course packs, journal articles and online sources, into alternate format for print disabled students at 20 post-secondary institutions in the province. A print disability prevents a person from using conventional print sources due to visual or physical impairment, or impairment related to comprehension.

Covered under a section in the Canadian Copyright Act, most reproduction requests are filled for students who require reading material in PDF, e-text, or mp3. Over the years CAPER-BC has continually adapted to changes in technology.

“We used to produce audio requests on cassette tapes and mail them to students; today we use software to create digital files and send them electronically to students,” said Stephen Blaeser, librarian at CAPER-BC.  “Over 60 per cent of students we serve are learning disabled. CAPER-BC is here to help those students succeed in their education.”

According to Statistics Canada, more than half a million adults in the country live with a learning disability, making it more challenging to pursue a post-secondary education.

“We’ve been operating on more or less the same budget since 2008, yet demand for service has tripled,” said Blaeser. “Right now we have a staff of eight processing requests and producing material. We also hire student aids in our busy periods to meet high demands.”

CAPER-BC has amassed a collection of thousands of digital files of course texts, an archive of hundreds of analogue sound recordings, and houses two sound booths for human voice narration requests in the office.

Please join us to celebrate CAPER-BC’s 30th anniversary at an open-house Wednesday November 4, 2015 from 11:30 AM to 2:30 PM.

The public is encouraged to attend, share cake, and learn about CAPER-BC through assistive technology demonstrations. To learn more about CAPER-BC, visit

CAPER-BC 30-year Open House Celebration

Wednesday, November 4, 2015
11:30 a.m. - 2:30 p.m.
CAPER-BC, Langara College

Media Contact:

To learn more or set up an interview with staff or students, please contact:
Katie Harris
Librarian, CAPER-BC


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