News & Events
DEAF COMMUNITIES ACROSS CANADA ATTEND VIDEO RELAY SERVICES (VRS) AWARENESS DAY EVENTS ON SEPTEMBER 21, 2012
September 11, 2012
For immediate release
11 September, 2012 (Ottawa, ON) – The Canadian Association of the Deaf (CAD), in partnership with British Columbia Video Relay Services (BCVRS) Committee, announces that the nationwide VRS Awareness Day will take place on Friday, September 21, 2012.
Groups of Deaf Canadians will gather at CRTC and Industry Canada offices in 9 out of 10 provinces across Canada at 11AM respectively in their time zones to insist for the provision of a permanent Video Relay Service (VRS) in Canada that includes spoken languages, English and French, and signed languages, American Sign Language (ASL) and Langue des Signes Québécoise (LSQ).
The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has been investigating Video Relay Services (VRS) as an option for Deaf Canadians since 2006. As of July 2012 Bell has completed a feasibility study and Telus-Sorenson has completed a trial on VRS in Canada; reports have been submitted to CRTC for their review. Deaf Canadians are grateful to CRTC for their long history of telecommunications provisions for Deaf, and Hard of hearing people. We look forward to an affirmative decision from CRTC by no later than December 31, 2012.
“We want the September 21st event to reflect our gratitude to CRTC for accomplishments during the last 40 years including Closed Captioning (CC), TTY, 9-1-1 TTY and IP Text Relay which have benefited both the Deaf community and the hearing community,” said Kimberly Wood, representing the BCVRS Committee. “We want the VRS service to continue building bridges between both communities across Canada.”
“Deaf Canadians are eager to find out the next steps from CRTC because we want them to render a final decision of YES for VRS service across Canada by the end of this calendar year”, said Frank Folino, Vice President of the Canadian Association of the Deaf.
The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms states that Deaf citizens have “a right to the assistance of an interpreter,” in situations where they do not “speak the language in which the proceedings are conducted.” TTY devices do not allow for ASL or LSQ access, instead forcing consumers to use English or French. VRS, on the other hand, ensures that Deaf individuals contribute to their workplace, their community, and their families with equal efficiency. Deaf Canadians would like Video Relay Services as an option for telecommunications, in addition to type-written telecommunications.
Canada is a progressive, inclusive country and we look forward to seeing those values reflected in providing equal access through technology for our Deaf citizens.
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