Toronto, ON (Jan 10, 2012) - The Canadian Hearing Society (CHS) announced today its support of BC-Alberta Video Relay Service (VRS) Committees' and other provincial VRS action groups' efforts and rallies across Canada on January 13, 2012 asking CRTC not to overlook VRS services and to establish national VRS in Canada. Rallies are planned at the regional CRTC offices in Dartmouth, Montreal, Toronto, Winnipeg, Regina, Calgary and Vancouver to highlight the valued importance of VRS in Canada.
CHS representatives Jim Hardman, Director, CHS Information Technology and Gary Malkowski, Special Advisor to President, Public Affairs, along with the Ontario Association of the Deaf, Canadian Association of the Deaf, Centre Québécois de la déficience auditive and Bell Canada are working together to produce recommendations from the VRS Feasibility Study Report commissioned by Mission Consulting Company. Upon the completion of the VRS Feasibility Study Report, Bell Canada is preparing to submit it and its recommendations that will assist CRTC to consider and implement national VRS services in Canada.
"All Canadians, including Deaf people and people with a hearing loss, are entitled to enjoy high quality communication technology, such as VRS. We urge CRTC to make VRS a mandated service, ensuring funds for National VRS services, VRS research and development, and ensuring qualified sign language interpreters in both American Sign Language (ASL) and la langue des signes québécoise (LSQ)." says Chris Kenopic, CHS President and CEO. "CHS continues to support communication technology innovation. The importance of establishing a National VRS is something we don't want CRTC to overlook."
"The Government of Canada has ratified the United Nations Convention on Rights of Persons with Disabilities including Article 9 on Accessibility and the rights of persons with disabilities to live independently and participate fully in all aspects of life: States Parties shall take appropriate measures to ensure persons with disabilities access, on an equal basis with others, to the physical environment, to transportation, to information and communications, including information and communications technologies and systems, and to other facilities and services open or provided to the public, both in urban and in rural areas," says Gary Malkowski, CHS Special Advisor to President, Public Affairs.
"In other words, the Government of Canada in signing the UN Convention would clearly support CRTC's decision to make VRS a mandated national service that includes both American Sign Language (ASL)-English and la langue des signes québécoise (LSQ)-French VRS and community interpreting services."
Gordana Mosher, Public Relations Coordinator
The Canadian Hearing Society
Founded in 1940, The Canadian Hearing Society (CHS) is the leading provider of services, products, and information that remove barriers to communication, advance hearing health, and promote equity for people who are culturally Deaf, oral deaf, deafened, and hard of hearing. CHS is a not-for-profit organization governed by a board of directors, the majority of whom are deaf, deafened, or hard of hearing.
Unique in North America, CHS offers a complete roster of essential services through a network of 28 offices. Services include Hearing Healthcare – hearing testing, hearing aid sales and counselling support; Accessibility Services – consulting, communication devices, interpreting, CART; Counselling - employment consulting, outreach and counselling to older adults, general and mental health counselling, addiction and court diversion services; and Education - sign language instruction, literacy, and information and public awareness.
Language is a powerful tool – it both shapes and is shaped by ideas, perceptions and attitudes. And it's these very attitudes that can pose the most difficult barriers for people who are culturally Deaf, oral deaf, deafened, and hard of hearing.
The following terms describe people, their language of communication and self-identification. As an organization which serves these communities and educates the hearing public, we avoid using terms such as "hearing impaired" or "normal or abnormal hearing" or colloquialisms such as "falling on deaf ears."
This term refers to individuals who identify with and participate in the language, culture, and community of Deaf people, based on signed language. Deaf culture, indicated by a capital "D," does not perceive hearing loss and deafness as a disability, but as the basis of a distinct cultural group. Culturally Deaf people may also use speechreading, gesturing, spoken language, and written English to communicate with people who do not sign.
This term is generally used to describe individuals with a severe to profound hearing loss, with little or no residual hearing. Some deaf people use a signed language such as American Sign Language (ASL) or la langue des signes québécoise (LSQ) to communicate. Others use speech to communicate, using their residual hearing and hearing aids, communication devices or cochlear implants, and speechreading.
This term describes individuals who grow up hearing or hard of hearing and, either suddenly or gradually, experience a profound hearing loss. Deafened adults usually use speech with visual cues such as captioning or computerized note-taking, speechreading or a signed language.
Hard of Hearing:
This term is generally used to describe individuals whose hearing loss ranges from mild to severe, and occasionally profound. Hard of hearing people use speech and residual hearing to communicate, supplemented by communication strategies that may include speechreading, hearing aids, signed language and communication devices. The term "person with hearing loss" is also used by this constituency.