About Us

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, Businesses and Government Ministries needing accessible audio versions of their print material, subject to a cost per project; please Contact Us for a quote.

Our History

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 to post-graduate studies, but also for work and personal use. Since 1975 we have served numerous print-challenged individuals many of whom continue to use our services year after year.

In 1976 PAL incorporated and became a registered charity.

Charitable Registration Number: 11907 6057-RR0001

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. Our registered charity information return can be viewed on the Canada Revenue Agency web site.

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.

Funding Sources

Most of our funding comes from the generosity of our private donors.

Since the mid-1990s we have received a grant from the City of Toronto.

Other funding for our services comes from fee-for-service work for a variety of agencies, businesses and government ministries.

Historically, these have included:

  • Accessibility Directorate of Ontario
  • Alberta Solicitor General
  • Amnesty International
  • Canada Council for the Arts
  • Canadian Transportation Agency
  • Cengage/Nelson Education Ltd.
  • City of Toronto, Homes for the Aged
  • CNIB
  • College of Massage Therapists of Ontario
  • Ontario Human Rights Commission
  • Ontario Ministry of the Attorney General
  • Ontario Ministry of Education
  • Ontario Ministry of Government Services – ServiceOntario
  • Ontario Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities
  • Ontario Trillium Foundation
  • Sun Life Financial
  • Transport Canada
  • University of Toronto, Dept. of Civil Engineering

Donors

We are grateful for the financial support received throughout the years from generous donors.

Some of these donors include:

  • The Atkinson Charitable Foundation
  • AtlasCare Care-to-Share Program
  • CIBC Charitable Foundation
  • Gannett Foundation, Rochester, New York
  • The George Lunan Foundation
  • The Georgina Foundation
  • Sir Joseph Flavelle Foundation
  • The Laidlaw Foundation
  • The RBC Foundation
  • Rotary Club of Toronto Charitable Foundation
  • The Tippet Foundation