Bill C-81 – Accessible Canada Act: An Act to Ensure a Barrier-free Canada

May 30, 2019. In 2010, Canada ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), but no corresponding accessibility legislation was passed in Canada that specifically deals with Canadians with disabilities, other than our Canadian Human Rights Act.   (See Hearing Accessibility Is A Human Right) Bill C-81 – Accessible Canada Act is meant to address this, and has been supported by all federal parties.  The bill is currently in the final amendments for wording before coming into law. (For more information, see https://nupge.ca/content/national-accessability-week-starts-stall-bill-c-81 and https://ipolitics.ca/2019/05/29/accessibility-bill-set-to-become-law-as-liberals-prepare-to-use-cloture/)

What does the passage of this bill mean?  Per Employment and Social Development Canada’s website, “Bill C-81 would give the Government of Canada the authority to work with stakeholders and Canadians with disabilities to create new accessibility standards and regulations that would apply to sectors in the federal jurisdiction, such as banking, telecommunications, transportation industries like air and rail, and the Government of Canada itself. These new regulated standards would set out requirements for organizations to follow in order to identify, remove, and prevent barriers to accessibility.”  (See https://www.canada.ca/en/employment-social-development/programs/accessible-people-disabilities.html)

Many of you may recall that when the Federal Accessibility Act Consultation came to Charlottetown in December 2016, we were there and presented a summary of the main barriers to accessibility faced by people with hearing loss.  We also gave recommendations on how to remove those barriers and how to change attitudes.  (See here for a copy of our submission: FAL Submission Dec 8 2016)

Since that historic day, we have been doing our best here on Prince Edward Island to improve accessibility options, remove barriers to accessibility, and change attitudes in the perception of hearing loss.  Our education and outreach activities have resulted in modest success, and perhaps it’s a good moment in time to summarize some of these accomplishments:

  • A booklet on communication tips for those with hearing loss was published.
  • The Aural Report blog was begun by me, followed by a Twitter account.
  • A project with PEI lawyers resulted in lawyers able to recognize the signs of hearing loss and improve communications with clients.  As lawyers encouraged their clients with hearing loss to try out pocket talkers, an unexpected benefit occurred.  Clients began to accept that hearing loss was not the stigma they thought it was and took steps to improve their ability to hear.
  • Hearing loops were installed in a few places on the Island, resulting in exceptional clarity of sound availability for those who attend events at those places.
  • Media coverage on hearing related topics in newspapers and on radio.

The items listed above are in addition to ongoing meetings with guest speakers on topics related to hearing health and hearing loss, speaking engagements, and outreach at various conferences and events. The speech reading classes facilitated by Nancy MacPhee are increasingly popular. Currently we are engaged in an advocacy effort related to funding access for seniors who are having difficulty affording hearing aids.

With the passage of Bill C-81, we hope to be able to do more here on the island with regards to hearing accessibility.

Employment and Social Development Canada’s (ESDC) Accessibility Secretariat Survey

You can play a part in shaping future federal accessibility policy by participating in a survey conducted by Quorus Consulting Group on behalf of the Employment and Social Development Canada’s (ESDC) Accessibility Secretariat. The survey is open to Canadian citizens at least 18 years of age who have had a disability in the past or are currently living with a disability, and takes about 15 minutes to complete, depending on how much feedback you want to provide.

The information you provide will be managed according to the requirements of the Privacy Act. Survey submissions are accepted from May 28 to June 28, 2019. Here’s how you can participate:

© Daria Valkenburg

UPCOMING EVENTS

June Chapter meeting:  Tuesday, June 25, 2019 at 9:30 am at North Tryon Presbyterian Church. Guest speakers:  Colin MacKenzie and Nancy MacPheeColin will speak about his experience as a youth with hearing loss.  Nancy will give a report on the CHHA National Conference in Montreal that she attended.

Outreach Event: Invitation to have a display booth on June 26, 2019 at the National Human Rights Conference, at The Delta Prince Edward Hotel in Charlottetown. Link to the agenda: https://www.cashra2019pei.ca/programme.

Petition Update For Week 6

May 25, 2019.  Signed petition sheets to request equal treatment for adult Islanders in the supplementation of costs for hearing aids continue to be handed in. The petition requests the following: Supplement the cost of hearing aids for seniors by extending the AccessAbility Supports Program to include all adults, not just those up to age 65, or devise a similar program

This week we thank more organizations whose members have signed the petition, among them: The UCW groups at Trinity United Church in Summerside and South Shore United Church in Tryon, the Borden-Carleton Seniors Group, and the PEI Chapter of the Huntington Society of Canada.

CIMG2958 Apr 28 2019 Barb Clement with petition

Barb Clement of Tryon collected signatures during a meeting of the PEI Chapter of the Huntington Society of Canada. (Photo credit: Daria Valkenburg)

As of the end of Week 6, we’ve reached 43.84% of our goal, with sheets of signed petitions returned as follows:

Petition May 25 2019

The petition is available at:

  • three PEI Council of People With Disabilities offices: Charlottetown, Summerside, and Montague.
  • office of ENT specialist Dr. Kristian MacDonald in Charlottetown
  • South Shore Actiplex in Crapaud.
  • Harvey’s General Store in Crapaud. Thank you Doug and Susan Harvey!
  • Bonshaw Post Office
  • Horizon Hearing Centre offices in Charlottetown, Summerside, and Montague (see https://www.horizonhearingcentre.ca/). Thank you Michael and Lynn Learie!
  • PEI Audiology in Charlottetown. Thank you Peter Benstead!

All of us can identify a family member or friend whose life is restricted because of their hearing loss. So we ask you to support the petition and help us reach our goal of a minimum of 2,500 signatures. We welcome not only your signature, but also your letters of support. Updates will be posted on this blog and on Twitter (@HearPEI).

We all can do more to help build awareness of hearing issues, and to encourage hearing loss prevention programs.  Your voices and your suggestions for improvements to hearing accessibility are needed.  If you think our outreach and educational activities have made a difference, please let us know. Your letters of support make a BIG difference when we try to encourage hearing accessibility. It tells others that we are not a lone voice in the wilderness.  Please share your ideas and stories by commenting on this blog, or by sending an email to hearpei@gmail.com.  Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter @HearPEI.

© Daria Valkenburg

UPCOMING EVENTS

Upcoming fundraising ceilidh offered by Bonshaw Hall on Sunday, May 26, 2019, from 2 to 4 pm.  The organizers are generously sharing their proceeds with us, to help in our non-project related activities. We hope you come out and enjoy the show, while helping us at the same time.  Can’t attend?  You can donate directly to us or through our Canada Helps page at:  https://www.canadahelps.org/en/dn/34708.

May Chapter meeting:  Tuesday, May 28, 2019 at 9:30 am at North Tryon Presbyterian Church. Audiologist Derek Hughes of Campbell Hearing will discuss new trends in hearing aid technology and give a summation of his research findings on singing for those who have cochlear implants for his master’s thesis Several members participated in this study.

 

Upcoming Fundraiser Ceilidh at Bonshaw Hall on May 26, 2019 at 2 pm

May 23, 2019.  Regular blog readers know that we are a non-profit charitable organization, run on a volunteer basis.  While we receive grants for various limited projects, the majority of our outreach and educational activities, to improve accessibility awareness for those with hearing loss, are funded by donations.

So, we are grateful and excited about the upcoming fundraising activity offered by Bonshaw Hall, which has monthly ceilidhs.  This month, the organizers are generously sharing their proceeds with us, to help fund our education and outreach activities. We hope you come out and enjoy the show, while helping us at the same time.  Below is the announcement from Bonshaw Hall:

The monthly Ceilidh Concert at Bonshaw Hall will be Sunday, ​May 26  from 2 – 4 pm. Performers will include special musical guests: The Retrofrets ukulele group ( Hazel St Amand, Ann Campbell, Barry & Leah Ziegler), Cameron MacDuffee (actor with Charlottetown Festival), Johanne Gass, Bill MacIntyre, and step dancer James Ronahan, plus regulars Tony the Troubador, Herb MacDonald and/or Phil Pineau.  50/50 draw, homemade cookies and tea, plus open mic time. Admission is by donation. All ages welcome; accessible for small wheelchairs. For more information phone 902-675-4093 or check the facebook page https://www.facebook.com/events/2212074202246799. Always lots of fun!

Can’t attend the ceilidh?  Please consider making a donation to help us in our activities. See our donation pledge form: CHHA PEI Donation Pledge Form  You can donate by cash or cheque, or through our Canada Helps page at:  https://www.canadahelps.org/en/dn/34708.

You can email us at hearpei@gmail.com or comment on this blogYou can also follow us on Twitter: @HearPEI

© Daria Valkenburg

UPCOMING EVENTS

Upcoming fundraising ceilidh at Bonshaw Hall on Sunday, May 26, 2019, from 2 to 4 pm.  The organizers are generously sharing their proceeds with us, to help fund our outreach and educational activities. We hope you come out and enjoy the show, while helping us at the same time.  Can’t attend?  You can donate directly to us or through our Canada Helps page at:  https://www.canadahelps.org/en/dn/34708.

May Chapter meeting:  Tuesday, May 28, 2019 at 9:30 am at North Tryon Presbyterian Church. Guest speaker: Audiologist Derek Hughes of Campbell Hearing will discuss new trends in hearing aids and give a summation of his research findings on singing for those who have cochlear implants for his master’s thesis Several members participated in this study.

Outreach event:  May 29, 2019. Invitation to attend the launch of the Accessibility Awareness Training Module Framework during the National AccessAbility Week 2019.  Hear PEI participated in a focus group consultation for this framework, which was developed by the PEI Council of People With Disabilities.  Annie Lee MacDonald and Daria Valkenburg will attend.

June Chapter meeting:  Tuesday, June 25, 2019 at 9:30 am at North Tryon Presbyterian Church. Guest speaker:  Colin MacKenzie.

 

Petition Update For Week 5

May 19, 2019.  The petition to request equal treatment for adult Islanders in the supplementation of costs for hearing aids continues.  (Not sure what the petition is about?  See Petition Launched To Request Equal Treatment For Adult Islanders Re Access To Hearing Aid Subsidies) Briefly, the petition requests the following: Supplement the cost of hearing aids for seniors by extending the AccessAbility Supports Program to include all adults, not just those up to age 65, or devise a similar program

A big thank you to more organizations that have signed the petition, among them: members of the Augustine Cove Branch of the Women’s Institute of PEI, and the staff at T. Daniel Tweel Law Office in Charlottetown.  This law office participated in a project sponsored by the Law Foundation of PEI to help improve communications with those who have hearing loss, and has a pocket talker available that clients with hearing loss can use.  (For a listing of lawyers and other law community organizations that have a pocket talker available, see https://theauralreport.wordpress.com/pei-lawyers-with-pocket-talkers/)

CIMG2963 May 11 2019 Danny Tweel & Jacob Fancini

Lawyers Danny Tweel (left) and Jacob Fancini (right) of T. Daniel Tweel Law Office in Charlottetown. (Photo credit: Daria Valkenburg)

The King’s County office of the PEI Council of People with Disabilities in Montague sent a photo of the petition being signed in their office.  Thank you!

Teresa MacKinnon,Community Access Worker Kings County on right watches Donna Cochrane sign the petition

Donna Cochrane (left) signs the petition in the presence of Community Access Worker Theresa MacKinnon (right). (Photo credit: Canda MacNeill)

So far, in Week 5, we’ve reached 37.8% of our goal, with sheets of signed petitions returned as follows:

Petition May 18 2019

The petition is currently available at:

  • three PEI Council of People With Disabilities offices: Charlottetown, Summerside, and Montague.
  • office of ENT specialist Dr. Kristian MacDonald in Charlottetown, who wrote to say “this is important”. Indeed it certainly is.
  • South Shore Actiplex in Crapaud.
  • Harvey’s General Store in Crapaud. Thank you Doug and Susan Harvey!
  • Bonshaw Post Office
  • Horizon Hearing Centre offices in Charlottetown, Summerside, and Montague (see https://www.horizonhearingcentre.ca/). Thank you Michael and Lynn Learie!
  • PEI Audiology in Charlottetown. Thank you Peter Benstead!

All of us can identify a family member or friend whose life is restricted because of their hearing loss. So we ask you to support the petition and help us reach our goal of a minimum of 2,500 signatures. We welcome not only your signature, but also your letters of support. Updates will be posted on this blog and on Twitter (@HearPEI).

We all can do more to help build awareness of hearing issues, and to encourage hearing loss prevention programs.  Your voices and your suggestions for improvements to hearing accessibility are needed.  If you think our outreach and educational activities have made a difference, please let us know. Your letters of support make a BIG difference when we try to encourage hearing accessibility. It tells others that we are not a lone voice in the wilderness.  Please share your ideas and stories by commenting on this blog, or by sending an email to hearpei@gmail.com.  Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter @HearPEI.

© Daria Valkenburg

UPCOMING EVENTS

Upcoming fundraising ceilidh offered by Bonshaw Hall on Sunday, May 26, 2019, from 2 to 4 pm.  The organizers are generously sharing their proceeds with us, to help in our non-project related activities. We hope you come out and enjoy the show, while helping us at the same time.  Can’t attend?  You can donate directly to us or through our Canada Helps page at:  https://www.canadahelps.org/en/dn/34708.

May Chapter meeting:  Tuesday, May 28, 2019 at 9:30 am at North Tryon Presbyterian Church. Audiologist Derek Hughes of Campbell Hearing will discuss new trends in hearing aid technology and give a summation of his research findings on singing for those who have cochlear implants for his master’s thesis Several members participated in this study.

Accessibility Helps Everyone

May 14, 2019.  How many of you have heard of Vint Cerf?  He has had hearing loss since birth and has a cochlear implant.  He met his wife Sigrid at an audiologist’s office, and there they were, two people with hearing loss.  Big deal, you may be thinking.  Well, it is a big deal, because Vint Cerf decided to find a way to improve the way people like him and his wife could communicate.  And he did. He’s one of the ‘fathers of the internet’, responsible for developing the early email protocols that we still use. If you use the internet and email, you can thank people like Vint Cerf who not only improved communication accessibility for himself, his wife, and everyone else with hearing loss, but transformed the way we all communicate. (See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vint_Cerf and https://dhhcouncil.wisconsin.gov/dhhfiles/pdf/Cerf.pdf)

In the November 3, 2018 issue of The Economist, in an article ‘Better By Design’ by the columnist Bartleby, he quotes August de los Reyes, a designer for Google, who notes that “Disability is simply a mismatch between a person’s ability and their environment.”  Bartleby went on to say that “Disability is designed into the world.  Imagine that your home had been built by cats.  Entrances and exits would be small flaps, which is all that a cat would need.  Humans would be trapped inside, rendered immobile by a particular environment.

I thought of Mr. Cerf and Mr. de los Reyes recently, when I read that the Charlottetown Airport Authority was looking for public input into their long-term master plan.  There was a link to a survey, which I read and participated in.  To my disappointment, there was NOTHING in the survey about improving accessibility at the airport. I had to click ‘other’ in many of the options to address accessibility.   (See https://www.theguardian.pe.ca/news/local/charlottetown-airport-seeking-public-input-for-long-term-master-plan-308437/)

If you have suggestions for accessibility, such as a hearing loop at the airport counters, real time captioning screening of announcements, and the adoption of sunflower lanyards for hidden disabilities, such as is used at Heathrow Airport (See Travelling With An Invisible Disability), please consider filling out the survey.

All of us can identify a family member or friend whose life is restricted because of their hearing loss. We all can do more to help build awareness of hearing issues, and to encourage hearing loss prevention programs.  Your voices and your suggestions for improvements to hearing accessibility are needed.  While our outreach and educational activities help to change perceptions, we need your letters of support as we try to encourage hearing accessibility. It tells others that we are not a lone voice in the wilderness.  Please share your ideas and stories by commenting on this blog, or by sending an email to hearpei@gmail.com.  Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter @HearPEI.

© Daria Valkenburg

UPCOMING EVENTS

Upcoming fundraising ceilidh offered by Bonshaw Hall on Sunday, May 26, 2019, from 2 to 4 pm.  The organizers are generously sharing their proceeds with us, to help in our non-project related activities. We hope you come out and enjoy the show, while helping us at the same time.  Can’t attend?  You can donate directly to us or through our Canada Helps page at:  https://www.canadahelps.org/en/dn/34708.

May Chapter meeting:  Tuesday, May 28, 2019 at 9:30 am at North Tryon Presbyterian Church. Audiologist Derek Hughes of Campbell Hearing will discuss new trends in hearing aids and give a summation of his research findings on singing for those who have cochlear implants for his master’s thesis Several members participated in this study.

 

Petition Update For Week 4

May 9, 2019.  So much has happened this week with the petition to request equal treatment for all adult Islanders with regard to hearing aid subsidies that I’m providing an update, even though the week is not yet over.  (Not sure what the petition is about?  See Petition Launched To Request Equal Treatment For Adult Islanders Re Access To Hearing Aid Subsidies) Briefly, the petition requests the following: Supplement the cost of hearing aids for seniors by extending the AccessAbility Supports Program to include all adults, not just those up to age 65, or devise a similar program

The petition is currently available at:

  • three PEI Council of People With Disabilities offices: Charlottetown, Summerside, and Montague.
  • office of ENT specialist Dr. Kristian MacDonald in Charlottetown, who wrote to say “this is important”. Indeed it certainly is.
  • South Shore Actiplex in Crapaud.
  • Harvey’s General Store in Crapaud. Thank you Doug and Susan Harvey!
  • Bonshaw Post Office
  • Horizon Hearing Centre offices in Charlottetown, Summerside, and Montague (see https://www.horizonhearingcentre.ca/). Thank you Michael and Lynn Learie!
  • PEI Audiology in Charlottetown. Thank you Peter Benstead!

The petition will also be available at the PEI Women’s Institute Convention this Saturday, May 11, at Slemon Park Hotel & Convention Centre in Summerside.  Thank you to our volunteers who will be circulating the petition:  Joan Dawson, Marjorie Inman, and Ruth Walsh.

An article about the petition for equal access to hearing aid funding for seniors was published in the May 8 edition of County Line Courier. Thank you to Mike and Isabel Smith for helping to spread the word about this initiative.  If you aren’t in the area reached by the newspaper, the article can be read here: CLC May 8 2019 p25 Should The Cost of Hearing Aids Be Supplemented

So far, in Week 4, we’ve reached 27.64% of our goal, with sheets of signed petitions returned as follows:

Petition May 9 2019

All of us can identify a family member or friend whose life is restricted because of their hearing loss. So we ask you to support the petition and help us reach our goal of a minimum of 2,500 signatures. We welcome not only your signature, but also your letters of support. Updates will be posted on this blog and on Twitter (@HearPEI).

We all can do more to help build awareness of hearing issues, and to encourage hearing loss prevention programs.  Your voices and your suggestions for improvements to hearing accessibility are needed.  If you think our outreach and educational activities have made a difference, please let us know. Your letters of support make a BIG difference when we try to encourage hearing accessibility. It tells others that we are not a lone voice in the wilderness.  Please share your ideas and stories by commenting on this blog, or by sending an email to hearpei@gmail.com.  Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter @HearPEI.

© Daria Valkenburg

UPCOMING EVENTS

Upcoming fundraising ceilidh offered by Bonshaw Hall on Sunday, May 26, 2019, from 2 to 4 pm.  The organizers are generously sharing their proceeds with us, to help in our non-project related activities. We hope you come out and enjoy the show, while helping us at the same time.  Can’t attend?  You can donate directly to us or through our Canada Helps page at:  https://www.canadahelps.org/en/dn/34708.

May Chapter meeting:  Tuesday, May 28, 2019 at 9:30 am at North Tryon Presbyterian Church. Audiologist Derek Hughes of Campbell Hearing will discuss new trends in hearing aid technology and give a summation of his research findings on singing for those who have cochlear implants for his master’s thesis Several members participated in this study.

Petition Update For Week 3

May 5, 2019.  Regular blog readers are aware of the petition launched to request equal treatment for all adult Islanders with regard to hearing aid subsidies.  (See Petition Launched To Request Equal Treatment For Adult Islanders Re Access To Hearing Aid Subsidies) Briefly, the petition requests the following: Supplement the cost of hearing aids for seniors by extending the AccessAbility Supports Program to include all adults, not just those up to age 65, or devise a similar program. 

As volunteers come forward to circulate the petition, we extend a big thank you to the wonderful Islanders who are supporting this initiative.  “It’s a matter of justice” so many have told us.  Among those to thank for supporting equal access to hearing aid subsidies for all Islanders are the staff at the Hampton Dental Clinic in Hampton, the staff at Family and Friends Restaurant in Kensington, the staff at Blue Goose Restaurant in Desable, the members of the British Motoring Association of Prince Edward Island, and members of Borden-Carleton Legion Branch #10 of the Royal Canadian Legion.

The petition is available in more places now as well:

  • three PEI Council of People With Disabilities offices: Charlottetown, Summerside, and Montague.
  • office of ENT specialist Dr. Kristian MacDonald in Charlottetown, who wrote to say “this is important”. Indeed it certainly is.
  • South Shore Actiplex in Crapaud.
  • Harvey’s General Store in Crapaud.
  • Horizon Hearing Centre offices in Charlottetown, Summerside, and Montague (see https://www.horizonhearingcentre.ca/)

To date, in Week 3, we’ve reached 19.52% of our goal, with sheets of signed petitions returned as follows:Petition May 5 2019

our-goal-blog

All of us can identify a family member or friend whose life is restricted because of their hearing loss. So we ask you to support the petition and help us reach our goal of a minimum of 2,500 signatures. We welcome not only your signature, but also your letters of support. Updates will be posted on this blog and on Twitter (@HearPEI).

We all can do more to help build awareness of hearing issues, and to encourage hearing loss prevention programs.  Your voices and your suggestions for improvements to hearing accessibility are needed.  If you think our outreach and educational activities have made a difference, please let us know. Your letters of support make a BIG difference when we try to encourage hearing accessibility. It tells others that we are not a lone voice in the wilderness.  Please share your ideas and stories by commenting on this blog, or by sending an email to hearpei@gmail.com.  Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter @HearPEI.

© Daria Valkenburg

UPCOMING EVENTS

Upcoming event in a venue equipped with a hearing loop gives you a chance to experience the clarity of sound heard through a hearing loop. CONCERT:  Phase II & Friends Concert – Here Comes Summer at West River United Church in Cornwall, May 5, 2019 at 7 pm.   Fundraiser for the church.  Advance tickets may be obtained after church on April 21st and 28th, or by contacting the Church office at 902-566-4052. Tickets are $10.

Upcoming fundraising ceilidh offered by Bonshaw Hall on Sunday, May 26, 2019, from 2 to 4 pm.  The organizers are generously sharing their proceeds with us, to help in our non-project related activities. We hope you come out and enjoy the show, while helping us at the same time.  Can’t attend?  You can donate directly to us or through our Canada Helps page at:  https://www.canadahelps.org/en/dn/34708.

May Chapter meeting:  Tuesday, May 28, 2019 at 9:30 am at North Tryon Presbyterian Church.