Video Relay Services

Have you heard about Video Relay Service (VRS)? VRS allows Deaf person to make a phone call through Sign language interpreters to facilitate the conservations between Deaf and hearing users.

Background:

2012:

  • January 15th: 18-month VRS trial by Telus-Sorenson ends for 311 participants of BC & Alberta.
  • February 24th:
Bell Canada submits final 858-page VRS Feasibility study report.
  • March 14th: Telus submits final 25-page VRS trial report.
  • March 14th– May 24th:
CRTC studies, reviews, and analyzes both Bell and Telus reports.
  • May 25th:
CRTC declares publicly online that they find the Bell and Telus reports are too different and they will be asking Telus and Bell Canada questions to clarify.
    • OTTAWA-GATINEAU, May 25, 2012 CRTC News Release:
CRTC to continue fact-finding exercise on video relay service: http://www.crtc.gc.ca/eng/com100/2012/r120525.htm
  • May 25th: CRTC sent separate sets of questions to Bell Canada and Telus.
  • June 18th: Bell Canada sends CRTC a letter asking for a extension of the deadline.
  • June 22th: CRTC accepts and grants Bell Canada and Telus a 30-day extension, to July 26.
  • July 24th: Canadian Association of the Deaf-Association des Sourds du Canada (CAD-ASC) partners up with BCVRS to host a nation-wide VRS Awareness Day on September 21, 2012.
  • July 26th: Both Telus (with Sorenson) and Bell answers to the questions are handed to CRTC
  • August 1st: CRTC posts Telus and Bell answers online. Now it all depends if CRTC is satisfied with the answers from Telus and Bell.
  • September 13th: CRTC announces its priorities for 2012-2015 (http://www.crtc.gc.ca/eng/com100/2012/r120906.htm) whereas Video Relay Services is mentioned, for years 2013-2014 under Policy processes:
2012-2013 2013-2014
Policy processes
Telecom accessibility issues

  • Video relay service
  • Accessibility of mobile wireless handsets
Telecom accessibility issues

  • Video relay service
  • Accessibility of mobile wireless handsets

Following after 2013, the CRTC issued a public hearing in April 2013 and in October 2013, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) held the public hearing on VRS in Canada with many organizations and individuals. CAD-ASC President, Frank Folino and Executive Director Jim Roots attended the public hearing.

In April 2014, the CRTC issued Regulatory Decision 2014-187 (“VRS Policy”) and the Notice of Consultation 2014-188 on the structure and mandate of the VRS administrator. The Interim Board of Canadian Administrator of Video Relay Services was created with the first three Directors: Frank Folino (CAD-ASC); Jonathan Daniels (Bell Canada) and Dr. Gary Birch (Neil Squiel Society) that submitted the proposal of the mandate and structure for VRS in Canada on July 25, 2014.

In December 2014, The CRTC issued Regulatory Decision 2014-659 and the funding decision on Telecom 2014-665 in December 18, 2014. Following both decisions, the Interim Board issued the election process for the new Directors in January 2015 and the election result were issued in February 2015. The new Directors, which was announced by the Interim Board, has now been in place with the first Executive Director: Sue Decker to start their work on designing and implementing the Video Relay Services across Canada in both ASL and LSQ.

For more information, please contact Canadian Administrator of Video Relay Services at info@cav-acs.ca