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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
info@mediac.ca 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”
 

RED HOT ALERT!

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 currie.ab@gmail.com 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.

English – www.chha.ca/chha/dtc.php

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

HOH individuals being unjustly denied the Disability Tax Credit

Check out CHHA National website for more information (click here) on the facts of Disability Tax Credit and the unfairness it brings to those who are hard of hearing. Also check out MP Peter Julian’s Bill to Canada’s Parliament (http://peterjulian.ndp.ca/Bill_C-577).

See the Press Conference on YouTube:
http://www.youtube.com/user/PeterJulianMP?feature=mhum#p/a/u/1/WtIG7O7ys3w -Part 1

http://www.youtube.com/user/PeterJulianMP?feature=mhum#p/a/u/0/WbyNIzT6KSA
– Part 2

You can help by voicing your opinions and show support to Bill C 577 by writing to your MP and to the Media!!

 
From the CHHA National website (see the link here), the following was posted as a press release …

Ottawa, October 5, 2010 – The Canadian Hard of Hearing Association (CHHA), a national organization representing millions of Canadians who live with hearing loss, urges the Government of Canada to amend the words contained in the eligibility criteria under the Disability Tax Credit (DTC) as it applies to individuals who are hard of hearing. The present criteria, particularly the words “quiet setting”, have caused a great deal of uncertainty amongst physicians, audiologists and other qualified authorizers of the Disability Tax Credit Certificate. This uncertainty has led to many hard of hearing individuals being unjustly denied the Disability Tax Credit, and brought to the forefront its discriminatory nature.

The only direction on what a “quiet setting” might mean comes from case law. Barber v. The Queen (2001 CanLii 863), which is the only case where the court sets out the purposes of the Income Tax Act in relation to Disability Tax Credit, acknowledges that the question of the definition of “quiet setting” is squarely before it, and proceeds to give a definition [see paras. 52-55]. It is the law from Barber upon which we have based our recommendations.

In response to complaints about the uncertainty of the present criteria, the CHHA National Working Group on the Disability Tax Credit has developed a proposal to revise the criteria in an effort to give effect to the purpose of the Disability Tax Credit. In developing our position on this issue, we have consulted with our members across the country as well as key organizations such as the Canadian Association of Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists (CASLPA) which represents some 5,500 speech-language, and audiology professionals, the Canadian Academy of Audiology (CAA), and VOICE for Hearing Impaired Children which represents the interests of hearing impaired children in Canada.

CHHA thanks Peter Julian, NDP-Burnaby-West for tabling Bill C-577 (An Act to amend the Income tax Act (hearing impairment)) to correct this discrimination.

Further information is available from our website at www.chha.ca/chha/dtc.php.

The Canadian Hard of Hearing Association (CHHA) is the voice of hard of hearing Canadians, providing educational programs and advocating self-help. Its aim is full hearing accessibility in Canadian society. It is there to… Help to Hear Those Who Love to Listen.

For more information, contact Michael Currie, Chair, National Working Group on the Disability Tax Credit, Canadian Hard of Hearing Association, at currie.ab@gmail.com or 1-604-626-5971.