National Video Relay Services in Canada – NOW!

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National Video Relay Services in Canada – NOW!
January 9, 2012

CAD-ASC call to action for National Video Relay Services in Canada

6 January, 2012 (Ottawa, ON) – The Board of Directors of the Canadian Association of the Deaf – Association des Sourds du Canada (CAD-ASC) is asking Deaf Canadians to show their support for the BC-VRS Committee rally on Friday January 13, 2012. The BC-VRS Committee has worked very hard to provide French and Langue des Signes Québécoise (LSQ) video blogs to ensure that Deaf Francophone are included in their activities.

CAD-ASC recognizes the rights of Deaf people in British Columbia and Alberta to organize a VRS Rally across Canada to demand the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) orders Telus to extend its VRS service to Deaf people.

Bell Canada has invited CAD-ASC to join its VRS Feasibility Study to research how a national VRS will be established in official spoken languages (English and French) and official signed languages (American Sign Language (ASL) and Langue des Signes Québécoise (LSQ)). Bell Canada also invited CAD’s-ASC’s partnering organizations, which include the Canadian Hearing Society, the Ontario Association of the Deaf, and Centre québécois de la déficience auditive to participate in the study.

Following the VRS Feasibility Study, Bell Canada will submit the results in a report to the CRTC. This report will include program governance, technology requirements, numbers of projected calls, numbers of projected minutes, fraud protection, funding programs, education and outreach, as well as ASL and LSQ interpreters.

The CAD Board of Directors is currently working on strategies and approaches at the policy and advocacy levels of the CRTC. CAD-ASC expects CRTC will announce a public hearing this spring after it receives both reports from Telus and Bell Canada by end of this February.

CAD-ASC will focus its advocacy work on lobbying activities toward the CRTC during the public hearing on the behalf of Deaf Canadians to demand a permanent national VRS service that includes ASL, LSQ, English and French is established at the national level by 2013.

CAD-ASC will announce its advocacy plans to Deaf Canadians within the next few weeks to lobby for a national VRS service in Canada.