What We Do
We create digital audio recordings of print material for people who are print-challenged because of blindness, low vision, learning or motor disabilities.
All reading and recording is done by volunteers. To ensure high quality recordings, potential volunteers go through an audition process. On average, PAL records about 2500 hours of material a year, or about 47,500 pages. Recruiting volunteers allows us to keep costs down and be in direct contact with our community of supporters; we enjoy our status as an established and dedicated grass-roots organization.
Our recordings are unique
We exclusively use real-live voices, not computer-generated synthetic voices.
Who We Serve
- Individuals who are print-challenged; we provide a free program, time permitting.
- Agencies and Businesses needing accessible audio versions of their print material, subject to a cost per project; please contact us for a quote.
- Students who are print-challenged and attending any Ontario Ministry of Education supported learning institution. Academic work is covered by a contract with the Ministry at no cost to the student; students should contact the accessibility personnel at their school.
PAL-Reading Services Inc. (“PAL”) was founded in 1975 with a small federal grant. Originally named “Periodical Audio Library”, PAL was the idea of Jim Hamilton, a blind student at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, now part of the University of Toronto (OISE/UT). At that time, no other agency offered an audio recording service for print-challenged students who needed academic journal articles recorded quickly enough to meet weekly study deadlines.
Ever since, PAL has provided this much-needed reading service to print-challenged people not only for elementary and post-secondary studies, but also for work and personal use. Since 1975 we have served over 1200 print-challenged individuals and many of our clients continue to use our services year after year.
In 1976 PAL incorporated and became a registered charity. David Crombie, Rabbi Gunther Plaut and Marshall McLuhan gave their support to our first board. PAL has full charity status with the Canada Revenue Agency, and our Charitable Registration Number is 11907 6057-RR0001. Our registered charity information return can be viewed on the Canada Revenue Agency web site by clicking here.
In 1983, the Ontario government began purchasing our services on behalf of college and university students. This has enabled us to contribute to the enrichment of students’ lives, by aiding with daily coursework, tests, exams and postgraduate theses.
Accessibility Directorate of Ontario
Canadian Transportation Agency
Ontario Ministry of Education
Ontario Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities
Sun Life Financial
Alberta Solicitor General
Cengage/Nelson Education Ltd.
College of Massage Therapists of Ontario
Ontario Ministry of Government Services – ServiceOntario
Ontario Trillium Foundation
City of Toronto, Homes for the Aged
Ontario Ministry of the Attorney General
Ontario Human Rights Commission
University of Toronto, Dept. of Civil Engineering
Our Mission is to provide, upon request, free audio recorded versions of print material, which give persons with vision impairments or other disabilities access to lifelong learning choices.