From Summer 2010 Edition of “The Loop” page 7

In the first week of April, the administration of the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT) proposed suspending 13 programs, which included the court reporting and captioning program (see Edmonton’s Journal article by clicking here). Some members at this meeting felt they did not have enough information to make an informed decision, so the vote on this motion was postponed until Friday, April 16, 2010.

News of the possible closure of the only publicly funded court reporting/captioning school in Canada spread quickly. During the week of April 12-16, 2010, the Alberta Shorthand Reporters Association (ASRA) initiated a letter-writing campaign in support of the court reporting program. More than 400 letters were received in support of the program from lawyers, judges, CART and captioning consumers, members of the hard of hearing and Deaf communities, court reporters, NAIT program alumni, firm owners, staff from disability offices, other provincial professional court reporting associations, and representatives of the National Court Reporters Association, to name a few.

On Friday, April 16, a peaceful support rally was organized by ASRA (Alberta Shorthand Reporters Association) and CHHA (Canadian Hard of Hearing Association) outside the NAIT Governors Boardroom, where the vote at the NAIT Administration Meeting was taking place on whether NAIT would suspend the 13 programs. This vote was turned down at that time, and the group decided to evaluate each program to be cut over the next six months on its own merits.

The court reporting and captioning program will continue in September, and the current first-year students will continue into a second year. Currently, the program has a full quota and a waiting list of prospective students registered to begin their first year in the program starting in September.

As a result of NAIT?s restructuring, the program will have a new chair.

The NAIT Advisory Board Meeting originally scheduled for Friday, May 28, was postponed until the fall. As a result of this, ASRA scheduled a meeting of concerned program stakeholders for Friday, May 28, at an off-NAIT location. Members shared information, made recommendations, and planned further actions. ASRA is awaiting further information before deciding its next course of action. ASRA has offered to assist NAIT in any way to help in the restructuring transition, in program changes, and improvements for future success of the program.

HOW YOU CAN HELP – Write a letter to your local Member of Parliament asking them to keep the CART program of instruction in Canada (NAIT).