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Notice: Timmins Office

Ontario Interpreting Services (OIS) & CART - Questions and Answers

Here are a few answers to some of the common questions that have been raised to date. 

  1. How many appointment requests does OIS receive daily?
  2. When I call OIS Scheduling Centre, I speak to an Assignment Coordinator. What do they do?
  3. I would like to arrange interpreting service at a service provider (e.g. hospitals, banks, schools, police. etc.) How do I do this?
  4. How does OIS guarantee confidentiality?
  5. Why do different Deaf or hearing Assignment Coordniators answer Skype calls?
  6. Why is it important for OIS to get billing information?
  7. What is OIS' cancellation policy and why is it important?
  8. How much advance notice do I need to give OIS to process my requests for interpreters?
  9. Whom do I contact if I want to make complaints about any service provided by the Canadian Hearing Society?
  10. What is the difference between OIS Staff and Freelance interpreters?
  11. What is the intepreters' role?
  12. What is NOT the interpreters' role?
  13. Can I use the interpreter longer than the amount of time scheduled?
  14. Why do I have to have two interpreters for my assignment?
  15. Why are preparation materials important to interpreters?

​1. How many appointment requests does OIS receive daily?

OIS is centralized in Ottawa. OIS receives a large volume of calls every day. That’s why it’s so important we receive accurate requests for service at least 3 days in advance.

  • Average one phone call every 7 minutes
  • One Skype call every 10 minutes
  • Receive roughly 200 emails per day,
  • One TTY call every hour
  • 100 to 120 appointment requests each day
  • 2,100 appointment requests per month since May 2013 

2. When I call the OIS Scheduling Centre, I speak to an Assignment Coordinator. What do they do?

  • Respond to appointment requests in a timely matter using email, TTY, phone calls, Skype or fax.
  • Assignment Coordinators look for available interpreters to fill your request – whether your preferred interpreter, staff or freelance interpreters. (If a staff interpreter isn’t available, the request is considered as “confirmation pending” and put on a “pending” list).
  • Confirm the assignment with interpreter(s), Deaf consumers and service providers including all relevant details (e.g. date location, appointment reference number, etc.)
  • Ensure accuracy of all assignment details

3.  I would like to arrange interpreting service at a service provider (e.g. hospitals, banks, schools, police. etc.) How do I do this?

  • We encourage consumers to contact service providers directly to arrange interpreting service.
  • Service providers are accountable for ensuring that your right to accessible communication is met, according to the Human Rights Code and Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA).

4. How does OIS guarantee confidentiality? 

  • CHS is committed to client confidentiality. We are committed to protecting the privacy and security of the personal information of our consumers, volunteers, staff and donors.
  • Assignment Coordinators are required by management and our corporate Privacy Officer to maintain the strictest confidence when booking and confirming assignments.
  • Only information pertinent to each individual request is shared with assigned interpreters.
  • Each interpreter working for OIS must sign a confidentiality agreement.

5. Why do different Deaf or hearing Assignment Coordinators answer Skype calls?

  • Assignment Coordinators work rotating shifts and shifts change week by week.
  • Regardless of who answers the Skype call, all Assignment Coordinators have access to the regional schedule and can see if your request has been confirmed or is pending confirmation.

6. Why is it important for OIS to get billing information?

  • Any revenue generated by OIS is reinvested in CHS and supports our ability to operate and to cover free services such as cost-absorbed assignments for funeral services, job interviews.
  • We required billing approval from service providers (for example, hospitals, banks, police, the government, schools, etc.) before any assignment can be confirmed. 

7. What is OIS' cancellation policy and why is it important?

  • We require two full business days, not just 48 hours
  • Sufficient cancellation notice helps the service provider avoid unnecessary charges
  • It also gives us time to redeploy interpreters so that they can fill other requests which are still pending

8.  How much advance notice do I need to give OIS to process my requests for interpreters?

  • Minimum of three business days is strongly recommended. Interpreters are a scarce resource in Ontario, and, more often than not, the demand exceeds the supply.
  • The further in advance you can plan appointments, training, or meetings where you will be using an interpreter, the better your chances are of getting coverage.
  • If you have a last-minute need, we will do everything possible to find you an available interpreter. Thus the need for a strict cancellation policy.

9. Whom do I contact if I want to make complaints about any service provided by the Canadian Hearing Society?

  • If you have a complaint, please contact OIS program manager, Customer Service at complaints@chs.ca or Skype: complaints.chs
  • We will forward your complaint to the appropriate manager for processing.
  • The manager will contact you about your complaint and work with you on resolving any issues you may have.

10. What is the difference between OIS staff and Freelance interpreters?

  • Staff interpreter:
    • Staff interpreters are unionized employees of CHS who attend internal regional staff meetings and OIS professional development training/workshops.
    • Works either full-time Monday to Friday at 9 am to 5 pm or from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm or permanent part-time a few days a week.
    • Most requests are covered by staff interpreters as their schedules are filled by Assignment Coordinators first.
    • Staff interpreters may cover as many as three or four assignments per day, depend on the assignments.
  • Freelance Interpreters:
    • Work days, evenings and weekends and are sole proprietors of their own interpreting businesses
    • Compete for contracts and manage their own schedules 

11. What is the interpreters role?

  • Facilitates communication between two people who use different languages
  • Enables the accurate transmission of information, preventing potentially costly or dangerous errors or misunderstandings.
  • Members of AVLIC/OASLI follow a Code of Ethics and Guidelines for Professional Conduct 
  • Stays within the role of interpreter and establishes professional boundaries

12. What is NOT the interpreters' role?

  • Booking appointments for you. However; you can request the interpreter to be with you after your appointment to see the receptionist. The receptionist can call OIS Scheduling Centre to book another appointment while the interpreter is there.
  • Discussing your appointments, getting involved in any other role during an appointment, talking for you, etc.
  • Sharing personal opinions, suggestions or advice 

13. Can I use the interpreter longer than the amount of time scheduled?

  • If the interpreter is available, he or she may stay longer. You will need to contact the OIS Scheduling Centre to confirm whether the interpreter can stay and for how long. In most cases, the interpreter will not be available to stay longer than the requested time due to other interpreting appointments throughout the day.

14. Why do I have to have two interpreters for my assignment?

  • Interpreting is a very taxing activity, both mentally and physically. When you are using sign language interpreters, you deserve to have information conveyed accurately. An interpreter who is mentally or physically fatigued will not be able to do this.
  • Thus, for longer assignments, interpreters will take turns so that they have time to recover, both mind and body. As such, when an assignment is more than 1-2 hours, two interpreters will be scheduled; they will take turns every 15 - 20 minutes, to ensure that the message is interpreted accurately for the full length of your appointment.

15. Why are preparation materials important to the interpreters?

  • The interpreter needs to become familiar with the information that will be discussed in order to prepare how best to interpret the information into each language.
  • Materials requested can include agendas, speeches, topics and names, technical vocabulary, handouts, PowerPoint slides and background information.
  • Materials are requested mainly for conferences, group or staff meetings and training sessions.   

Contact us for detailed information on an e-brochure called, "Working Effectively with an Interpreter".

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