Greetings! Welcome to the new website of the Canadian Association of the Deaf!

News & Events

Greetings! Welcome to the new website of the Canadian Association of the Deaf!

January 1, 2007

Our website has been more or less dormant since August 2006. The reason? We needed to completely re-engineer its structure. The new version will make it easier for us to post updates “in-house”. With the old structure, we had to send updates to an external manager. He did a great job for us, but it was time to bring the website “closer to home”.

We would like to thank Don Doan for his years of expert management, and also thank Jay West for his terrific work on the new structure!

You will notice that there is not a lot of new information posted yet. We will be working our way through the entire contents, one page at a time, to update and add new stuff and correct some old errors. This will take time, especially because we have to do it bilingually. Incidentally, we will make a point of improving the French pages, some of which have poor-quality translations.

Please note in particular that our Position Papers are going to be overhauled at the Annual General Meeting in May 2007. The ones posted here are only five years old, but the world is changing so fast, many of them are already obsolete. We are looking for people who are expert in the topics covered by our Position Papers and who would be interested in helping us write updated versions. Please contact us if you would like to participate.

And now for an update…
While you’re waiting for the new pages to be posted, here is a summary of our activities over the past year!

The election of the federal Conservative Government meant that 2006 got off to a tough start for us. Many of our federal funding sources were suddenly frozen. We are very fortunate and very grateful that many of our affiliated organizations and individual members helped us get through the difficult times by paying their own expenses to our Annual General Meeting. Believe me, their generosity and support really did make the difference between the CAD continuing to survive, or closing its doors in the autumn. Big hand-waves to them, especially Ontario Association of the Deaf, Alberta Association of the Deaf, Manitoba Deaf Association, and Sheila Carlin — “sponsors!” — and Doug Momotiuk and Leona Birley — “contributors” !!!

We have taken several strong actions to improve the CAD’s financial stability. In January, we plan to begin working with two different fundraising companies. One will focus on telemarketing, the other will focus on donor development (e.g., a monthly automatic withdrawal program). In addition, we have already increased our direct-mail campaigns and will continue to do mail-outs more frequently.

We have been in discussions with several corporations to set up a revenue-generating business. One of them is a very attractive opportunity; in order to make it happen, we have applied for funding to hire a Business Development Manager. We will know in March or April if we will be getting the funding. If we get it, then work can begin immediately. If we don’t get it, then things might progress more slowly. Sorry, I can’t say what kind of business it is yet, but it will be a FANTASTIC benefit to Deaf Canadians! (No, it’s not VRS …. I will talk about VRS later in this message!)

We have one project now, the promotion of Registered Education Savings Plans to the Deaf community. It is still in the literature review and planning stage, and will begin its community activities in early 2007. This is a 26-month project, so we will have its financial stability for more than two years.

News flash!!! We have just been informed that funding is approved for a 10-month project focussing on Deaf seniors and youth in the Ottawa area! More details will be posted as soon as the contribution agreement has been signed!

We have applied for funding for a project to train Deaf people in self-employment; it also includes training Deaf people to be mentors. We hope to get word about funding in January.

Another funding application is for research into wireless telephone technology and how we can make sure it is accessible to deaf and hard of hearing people … this includes trying to get an industry-wide discount for Deaf people who have no use for all the audio features like voice-phone, ring-tones, music downloads, etc.

And we have submitted a proposal for a project to help organizations with their accounting practices and make sure they are following the rules for charities.

The CAD had a great public impact with our total victory in the court case against the federal policy on providing interpreters. Many thanks to Scott Simser for his adept handling of the case!

Okay, there are lots of other things to share with you, but I know you are all impatient to find out “what’s up with VRS?!?!” Yes, Sign Relay Canada – Service de Relais Canada (SRC), the corporation set up by CAD and CCSD to manage VRS, has been very active in the fight to set-up VRS in Canada. The FIRST issue is simple: who pays for it? Everyone agrees the phone companies must pay for it. The SECOND issue is very complicated: who runs it? The Deaf community of Canada and the interpreters of Canada all agree there should be a single national VRS run by Deaf Canadians. But the phone companies don’t agree. It’s their money, and they want to spend it on themselves. Bell Canada wants to set up a two-province VRS (Quebec and Ontario). Telus wants to set up a two-province VRS (Alberta and BC). Too bad if you live in Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Yukon, NWT, Nunavut, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, PEI, or Newfoundland/Labrador, eh?

So, the argument between SRC and the phone companies is being considered by the CRTC. The CRTC has the power to decide who gets to set-up VRS, and where, and how it will be funded. Unfortunately, the CRTC moves like a turtle stuck in a tar-pit with four broken legs and an obesity problem. I’m going to cut a very long story short here, and simply say that the CRTC has announced it will hear the arguments from January to June of 2007, and then it will make its decision sometime between July and December. If SRC wins, we will have the national VRS up and running within weeks of the CRTC’s decision. If Bell and Telus win, then you will probably have to wait until 2008 to see any kind of VRS in this country.

In closing, I would like to thank the staff and the members of the CAD board of directors for their dedication and work, especially Sheila Carlin for her outstanding leadership as President. Thanks to Joanne Cripps, Anita Small, Helen Pizzacalla, and Tarren McKay for their work with Evelyne Gounetenzi, Sheila, and Jim Roots as the leaders of the SRC. Special thanks to all of the interpreters who rejected an American VRS company’s attempts to lure them to work serving Americans, and who said they will wait to work for the Canadian VRS! Thanks to Gordon Ryall, Melba Blunden, Jules Desrosiers, and all others who worked on delivering CAD projects in 2006. Special thanks go to Dr. Anne Toth, who did such a fantastic job with our Bridge of Signs project. I know there are many others I have forgotten to mention — oh! Josee-Sarah Bower for being our in-house interpreter, and Elliott Richman for his work as the newsletter editor — so if your name is not here, please forgive me, you’re still in our thoughts!

We will look forward to a wonderful 2007 for everyone!