Archive for category In the News

CHHA 911- Exciting News for a Barrier Free life.

Access to Emergency Servicesis crucial. But in today’s world of technology, people who are deaf, hard of hearing or have speech impairments (DHHSI), these services are often inaccessible.

In November 2008, Arthur Rendall, a CHHA member from Burlington, made a presentation to the CRTC regarding the need to make 911 service accessible by wireless handheld devices, using SMS text rather than voice. In 2009 CRTC requested that an investigation be conducted into identifying a system that would DHHSI community members to have access to emergency service from anywhere in Canada by such devices.

In January 2010, the CRTC issued a directive to the Interconnection Steering Committee Emergency Services to progress with the investigations findings, which mandated the introduction of a 911 service via “Text Messaging”.

Mr. Rendall now sits on the Emergency Service Working Group of the CRTC and is requesting assistance from interested CHHA members living in Vancouver, Toronto, PEEL Region (Mississauga/Brampton) and Montreal to take part in trial testing of the system that has been developed.

The system will be tested using the test candidates’ personal wireless devices, which will be registered with their Wireless Service Provider as a DHHSI. The system operates when the DHHSI caller contacts the local 911 operator by text. Therefore the wireless number of the DHHSI registrant must be known so to allow the gateway for 9-1-1 and the Emergency Service Operator to set up their equipment to accept text messaging rather than voice.

These trial tests will be conducted over approximately 3 months. It is hoped that if the tests go well, the system will go live before the end of 2011 and Canada DHHSI community will have the only such direct 9-1-1 system in the world.

Please send your name, where you reside (city) and WSP carrier used for your handheld device to CHHA National Office attention of Karla Wilson. The snail address is: 2415 Holly Lane, Suite 205, Ottawa, Ontario K1V 7P2 or by email at

Thank you in advance for your help in bringing peace of mind to the community of Canadians who are not able to relay on voice/speech emergency systems.

CRTC to decide on control of Accessibility Fund in BCE tangible benefits

(Distributed from CHHA National Office) – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

(16 February 2011) ’s broadcast regulator, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) must shortly rule on who will control a $5.7 million Accessibility Fund, which BCE has proposed as part of its tangible benefits commitment. The objective of the fund would be to ensure that the broadcasting system becomes 100% accessible to disabled Canadians by 2020. The CRTC will decide whether to empower the accessibility community to do the job or entrust the task to BCE.

Proposed by Media Access on behalf of the Access 2020 Coalition, the commitment will underwrite the final details and execution of a business plan to achieve 100% accessibility in Canadian broadcasting by 2020.

“We believe the CRTC recognizes this opportunity to establish an Accessibility Fund, controlled by accessibility organizations to work with experts, academics and stakeholders, an approach never before attempted,” stated Beverley Milligan, Executive Director of Media Access Canada. “The CRTC will be the first regulator in the history of international broadcasting to empower accessibility organizations to finally get the job done for Canadians with disabilities.”

In submissions to the CRTC, Media Access presented uncontested evidence that past attempts on the part of broadcasters to consult with accessibility organizations have not succeeded. “BCE’s suggestion that it establish its own fund to work towards 100% accessibility in broadcasting in consultation with the accessibility community is just more of the same, empty words.” stated Louise Gillis, National President, Canadian Council of the Blind.

“If BCE wants to control the fund, does this mean they are prepared to ensure 100% accessibility by 2020?” noted Louise Norman, President of the Canadian Hard of Hearing Association. “Broadcasters like BCE have had 60 years to provide 100% accessibility on their own and they haven’t. This work should be overseen by those who are most committed to its success.”

“On behalf of Canadians with disabilities MAC has developed a business plan to achieve 100% accessibility in a reasonable time frame. The accessibility industry must be allowed the control to execute it. This can be done and we know how to do it. The technology and the knowledge are there. What has been lacking to date is the commitment to make it happen,” says Milligan. “Consultation in the past has been a smokescreen behind which the broadcasters have hidden”.

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For further information contact:
Beverley Milligan, Media Access ph: 416-488-9521

Private Member’s Bill to make the Disability Tax Credit (DTC) less discriminatory to hard of hearing persons needs your support!

From the CHHA National’s Head Office to the “DTC Call to Arms”


MP Peter Julian, NDP-Burnaby-West, has tabled Bill C-577 – An act to amend the Income tax Act (hearing impairment). The purpose of the Bill is to clarify the terminology used that currently confuses the authorizers able to sign the DTC forms.

The Canadian Hard of Hearing Association (CHHA) along with its partners the Canadian Association of Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists (CASLPA), the Canadian Academy of Audiology (CAA), and VOICE for Hearing Impaired Children have been working to correct this iniquity but WE NEED YOUR HELP!

Tell your Member of Parliament how important it is for you or your family member to obtain the Disability Tax Credit. If you are receiving it already tell your MP that you support the Bill and you hope that they will support it on behalf of Canadians with hearing loss.

Email, call, fax or visit your Member of Parliament to ensure that this Bill is taken seriously and passes all readings in the House. Please cc us on all your emails, inform us of your visit or telephone calls, and send us copies of your letters. Send to Visit the CHHA website for background information and links to obtain your MPs name and coordinates as well as a link for Canada’s media.

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Its time for action…
Its time to let your voice be heard…
Its time to give visibility to this unseen disability!