CAD Winter 2011-12 Report by Doug Momotiuk, President

News & Events

CAD Winter 2011-12 Report by Doug Momotiuk, President
March 26, 2012

CAD Winter 2011-12 Report

VRS Issues in Canada
In a press release February 1, 2012, the CAD Board announced the latest steps in our battle for a permanent Video Relay Services (VRS) in Canada that includes ASL and LSQ and spoken languages (English and French). The CAD also launched on online petition to demand that the federal government and Members of Parliament support a permanent national VRS in Canada by the fall of 2012.

On February 9 and 10, 2012, Frank Folino, CAD Vice-President, met several Members of Parliament in Ottawa including Scott Simms, Liberal Critics for Canadian Heritage; Marc Garneau, Liberal House Leader; Rodger Cuzner, a representative from the Liberal Interim Leader’s office; Geoff Regan, Liberal Critic for Industry and Consumer Affairs; and Paul Calandera, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage. Frank explained important points about VRS in Canada. Peter Julian, NDP, prepared a press conference but it was cancelled due to conflict with other federal meetings and accessibility issues. Good work by Frank!

Frank Folino and Jim Roots attended the final meeting of Bell Canada’s VRS Feasibility Study Advisory Council as CAD representatives on February 16th, 2012, along with representatives from CHS, OAD and CQDA. The Council reviewed the final report before Bell submitted it to the CRTC at the end of February.

The CAD has been fighting for a national VRS since 2004 and will not stop until it is established on a permanent funded basis.

CAD’s Board Meeting
The Board met through Skype video on February 10th, 2012. Sheila Montney, Aaron Montney and I were in Winnipeg while Frank Folino, Marie-Josee Blier and Jim Roots were in Ottawa. This was the first video Board meeting in CAD’s history.

The Board discussed VRS, Deaf Canada Conference ’12, the vacant position of Director at Large, video mails, fundraising ideas, a Board retreat, the 2nd International Conference of the World Federation of the Deaf in October 2013, and plans for a 75th Anniversary event in 2015.

Drummond’s Recommendations
CAD wrote a letter to Ontario’s Dalton McGuinty, Premier, and Dwight Duncan, Minister of Finance, urging them to reject the recommendation of the Drummond Report to close 3 of the 4 Deaf schools in Ontario. For most deaf children and students, the environments and curricula of the four schools in Belleville, London, Milton and Ottawa are their best chance to achieve academic and social excellence. Deaf students who have strong levels of ASL/LSQ early proficiency also attain high levels of English/French literacy.

We in the Deaf Community see the long-term results of the campaign against Sign language and Deaf schools: adults who are poorly educated and unable to quality for post-secondary institutions, who are unemployed, who suffer mental health and addiction problems directly related to their lack of real language skills. The government might save a few dollars on education now, but it will end up spending millions on poverty, unemployment, and social and health expenses in the future if the schools are closed.

On March 27, 2012, we were very happy to learn that the Government of Ontario took our advice and rejected Drummond’s recommendation.

CCD’s Press Release on Raising the Age of Eligibility for Old Age Security
The Social Policy Committee of the Council of Canadians with Disabilities is concerned that many Deaf people and people with disabilities will live in poverty for a longer period of time if the age of eligibility for Old Age Security is raised from 65 to 67.

Between 45 and 60% of the people who live on social assistance (welfare) are persons with disabilities including Deaf Canadians.

The Old Age Security, combined with the Guaranteed Income Supplement benefit, is better than any social assistance program in Canada. Many Canadians look forward to turning 65 because they will have a better income.

The Minister of Finance, Jim Flaherty, announced that changes to the age of eligibility for OAS will start in April 2023, rising gradually to age 67 from 65. The changes will apply to you if you are 54 years old or younger at the present time.

Doug Momotiuk
President, CAD