Petition Presented In PEI Legislature

July 13, 2019.  The petition that has been in circulation for the past three months was presented in the PEI Legislature by Leader of the Official Opposition, and Green Party Leader, Peter Bevan-Baker, on Tuesday, July 9, 2019. 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

Annie Lee MacDonald and I delivered the petition sheets, plus letters of support that we had received, to Peter Bevan-Baker, and learned a bit about the process.  We were told that although the petition would be recorded in the legislature’s official record, there would not be any discussion about it on the day it was presented.  If we want to have the policy changed, it is up to us and the public to show continued support for this initiative and to keep the issue fresh in the media.

CIMG2998 Jul 8 2019 Meeting re petition Annie Lee Peter Daria

Annie Lee MacDonald, Peter Bevan-Baker, and Daria Valkenburg with the petition binders and letters of support that were presented in the PEI Legislature on July 9, 2019. (Photo credit: Pieter Valkenburg)

Just before the petition was presented a few late sheets were returned, bringing our final total to 2014, or 80.56% of our original goal.  Our thanks as well to the Long River Women’s Institute for their support.

Petition Jul 9 2019

Alma Nunn sent a message of thanks to Peter Bevan-Baker:  “Thank you for supporting our petition for change in the PEI seniors’ hearing aid subsidies. It is most appreciated by all members who worked so diligently to prepare it and everyone who signed it.”

On the day of the presentation, Annie Lee MacDonald and Bob Furlotte attended the session.  Unfortunately, cameras were not allowed in the session, but Annie Lee noted that “Peter presented each binder separately to the clerk and did what he was allowed to do. It is hard to get a reading because no one comments. The minister assured him he will be taking a serious look at it. Politicians were very friendly, shaking hands as we were lined up in the corridor waiting for the politicians to parade in.” Annie Lee was subsequently interviewed by CBC. (See https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/prince-edward-island/pei-seniors-hearing-aid-assistance-1.5206463)  She handed out the press release we had prepared. (See Hear PEI re petition being presented in legislature)

After the CBC article was published, a comment was made by Judith Bayliss, who has given permission for us to include it here. Thank you Judith.

IMG_2496 Comment by Judith Bayliss

So, the next steps over the summer are up to us and to YOU, if we want to effect a change in policy.  What can you do?  Write a letter to the editor of the newspaper.  Send a copy of your letter to your MLA and consider sending a copy to the Minister of Health.  Please also send a copy to hearpei@gmail.com While the legislature is not in session over the summer, the work of government continues and your advocacy support is needed.

Our education and outreach activities provide not only awareness, but also tips and techniques to help Islanders thrive while living with hearing loss. Donations gratefully accepted at:   https://www.canadahelps.org/en/dn/34708  And please remember, 100% of your donation stays on the island for island-related activities.

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

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Petition Update For Week 12

July 7, 2019.  The petition to request equal treatment for adult Islanders in the supplementation of costs for hearing aids is nearing the end as we finished Week 12.  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

Petition will be presented in the PEI Legislature on July 9, 2019 by Peter Bevan-Baker.

We are honoured that Leader of the Official Opposition, and Green Party Leader, Peter Bevan-Baker, will be presenting the petition in the PEI Legislature on the afternoon of Tuesday, July 9, 2019. Peter commented that “I am happy to present this petition on behalf of Hear PEI and look forward to the department’s response to the concern that the group has brought to our attention through this petition.”  Thank you Peter!

Anyone interested in attending the legislature on Tuesday afternoon is welcome to come and show support.  Here is what we have been advised for those wishing to attend: “It’s difficult to predict with accuracy what time, but likely between 3 and 3.30 on Tuesday. People who wish to attend should come to the Coles building (where the legislature sits) and enter through the accessible entrance in the basement (it is marked clearly). I would suggest showing up prior to 2 pm as it is occasionally full for question period and you may not get in for 3 pm.”  For those unfamiliar with the Coles Building, the address is 175 Richmond Street in Charlottetown.  Here is a link to driving directions:   https://www.princeedwardisland.ca/en/building/coles-building

This week we also thank Ralph and Valerie Muttart for their support in circulating the petition.  “My sister wears hearing aids” Valerie explained.

Another volunteer, Lynda Sudsbury, said that “I placed the petition by the counter at the mechanics shop, Alleymar, where I work and let customers read the petition.  If anyone asked about it, I explained that I had received help for my $1,700 hearing aid through the AccessAbility Supports Program.  I wouldn’t have been to easily able to afford it otherwise.  I was lucky as I am under 65 and knew I could get help.  I just want to make sure someone over 65 has the same access to help, if they need it.  No one hearing my explanation ever refused to sign.”  Thank you for sharing that story, Lynda, and for circulating the petition.

As of the end of Week 12, we’ve reached 79.64% of our goal, with sheets of signed petitions returned as follows:

Petition Jul 6 2019

While it’s a disappointment that we didn’t achieve our goal of 2,500 signatures, we are very pleased that support came from across the island, from people of all ages and walks of life, and from both people with and without hearing loss.  We believe this represents a good cross section of Islanders.  Perhaps more petitions will still be returned to help bump up this number.

Hearing loss is the #3 chronic condition in Canada!

Awareness of hearing issues and hearing loss prevention programs are important.  Hearing loss can happen to anyone, and it is the #3 chronic condition in Canada! Arthritis is #1 and hypertension (high blood pressure) is #2.  We don’t hide from having arthritis and high blood pressure, but unfortunately, many people hide their hearing loss.

Our education and outreach activities provide not only awareness, but also tips and techniques to help Islanders thrive while living with hearing loss. If you missed donating during the Great Canadian Giving Challenge in June, please note we have a Canada Helps page for donations all year long.  Donations gratefully accepted at:   https://www.canadahelps.org/en/dn/34708  And please remember, 100% of your donation stays on the island for island-related activities.

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

Petition Update For Week 11

July 1, 2019.  The petition to request equal treatment for adult Islanders in the supplementation of costs for hearing aids continues to be circulated as it heads into Week 12.  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

During Week 11, supporters of the petition came from both sides of the age spectrum, from age 18 to age 95!  Thank you to Colin MacKenzie and Ruth Brewer (Read about Ruth at “The Pocket Talker Is My Lifeline”).

IMG_2577 Jun 25 2019 Colin MacKenzie signs petition

18 year old Colin MacKenzie signs the petition, while Brenda Porter looks on. (Photo credit: Annie Lee MacDonald)

IMG_2600 Jun 29 2019 Ruth Brewer

95 year old Ruth Brewer signs the petition for equal access to hearing aid support. (Photo credit: Elmer MacDonald)

Thank you also to Joan Gallant for reaching out to her MLA, Brad Trivers, about the petition, who responded by writing her that “Hearing aids are such a critical support for people – regardless of age.

As of the end of Week 11, we’ve reached 74% of our goal, with sheets of signed petitions returned as follows:

Petition Jun 29 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 (see https://peiaudiology.ca/). Thank you Peter Benstead!
  • Campbell Hearing in Charlottetown (see http://www.campbellhearing.ca/). Thank you Krista Campbell and Derek Hughes!

We ask you to support the petition and help us reach our goal of a minimum of 2,500 signatures. If you’d like to be one of the volunteers circulating the petition amongst your family and friends, send an email to hearpei@gmail.com.  We welcome not only your signature, but also letters of support. Updates will continue to be posted on this blog and on Twitter (@HearPEI).

Awareness of hearing issues and hearing loss prevention programs are important.  Our education and outreach activities provide not only awareness, but also tips and techniques to help Islanders thrive while living with hearing loss.

If you missed donating during the Great Canadian Giving Challenge in June, please note we have a Canada Helps page for donations all year long.  Donations gratefully accepted at:   https://www.canadahelps.org/en/dn/34708  And please remember, 100% of your donation stays on the island for island-related activities.

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

 

 

“The Pocket Talker Is My Lifeline”

June 30, 2019.  As volunteers for a non-profit organization dedicated to improving hearing accessibility and building awareness on hearing loss issues here on Prince Edward Island, we meet people of all ages and from all walks of life.  The number one issue of importance to anyone with hearing loss is being able to communicate.  This is one reason why the current petition being circulated that is asking for equal access to hearing aid funding for all Islanders, regardless of age, is receiving such support.

One senior who finds communication vital is 95 year old Ruth Brewer of Rustico. Although she is nearly blind and has hearing loss, she lives a very independent life.  Annie Lee MacDonald visited her this winter when she purchased a pocket talker, an affordable option as she could not afford the cost of hearing aids.

Over the past few years, Island lawyers who participated in a project to improve communications with clients who have hearing loss have been ardent supporters and advocates for removing barriers and stigma surrounding hearing loss. (See PEI Lawyers & Law Community With Pocket Talkers and Improving Communication Between the Legal Community and Those With Hearing Loss) It was through her lawyer that Ruth learned about the pocket talker, as her daughter Dede Wilson noted:  “My mum had used it in discussions with our lawyer at Stewart and McKelvey. It was wonderful for her and really changed her life. She then was able to call and order one from you.

Being able to hear brought me back from giving up on life to becoming human again.”…. Ruth Brewer

The pocket talker is my lifeline”, Ruth Brewer said.  “Being able to hear brought me back from giving up on life to becoming human again.” During another visit with Annie Lee this week,  Ruth explained that there are many seniors like her who become tired of peoples’ impatience with them when they can’t hear, especially family who refuse to accept they have trouble hearing.

Ruth is an amazing woman” says Annie Lee.  “She was an advocate for many things in her active years and especially for convincing the government to allow nurse practitioners to practise on PEI. She says it took seven years. She is also very ready to advocate for the government to supplement the cost of hearing aids for seniors over sixty five. Communication is very important to Ruth.”

Indeed, Ruth signed the petition for equal access to hearing aid funding, bringing our total of signatures to 1,848, or 74% of our goal.  (See Petition Update For Week 8 for more on this important initiative)

IMG_2610 Jun 29 2019 Ruth Brewer & Annie Lee MacDonald

Ruth Brewer signs the petition for equal access to hearing aid funding while Annie Lee MacDonald looks on. (Photo credit: Elmer MacDonald)

Individual stories of those with hearing loss are important as we build awareness of hearing issues, and encourage hearing accessibility. 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

 

Congratulations To Spring 2019 Speech Reading Graduates

June 30, 2019.  The spring session of Speech Reading is now completed, with two Levels of classes run this time.  Instructor Nancy MacPhee reported that five students successfully completed Level 1 and another 5 successfully completed Level 2.

The Level 1 graduates are:

  • Kari Ferguson
  • Anita Matheson
  • Gail Metcalf
  • Catherine Parkman
  • Doug Hagan
Level 1 Sp 19 blog

Level 1 Speech Reading graduates Spring 2019 session. Left to right: Kari Ferguson, Anita Matheson, Gail Metcalf, Doug Hagan. (Photo credit: Nancy MacPhee)

The Level 2 graduates are:

  • Ellen Kitchener
  • Hari Boggs
  • Barbara Bain
  • Sharon Beaton
  • Bob Furlotte

Congratulations to all the graduates and to instructor Nancy MaacPhee for another successful session of classes.  Thank you to Seniors Active Living Centre and Sobey’s Community Room for providing space for the two courses.

If you would like to put your name on the list for the fall session of Level 1, please send an email to hearpei@gmail.com.

Have you taken a speech reading course?  We would love to hear from you.  Your comments can be made on this blog, or you can email us at hearpei@gmail.com.  We are also on Twitter @HearPEI.

 

Last Chance To Help Us Win $10,000

June 28, 2019.  An earlier blog posting discussed the Great Canadian Giving Challenge Charity Appeal, and the opportunity to win $10,000 every time an online donation was made at Canada Helps during the month of June.  Time is running out for this contest! (See The Great Canadian Giving Challenge Charity Appeal)

A big thank you to everyone who donated.  Not only did you help ensure that we have the funds to continue helping Islanders with hearing accessibility awareness and education, you gave us a chance at this prize.  If you haven’t yet donated, please consider doing so at https://www.canadahelps.org/en/gcgc/86759 

Donor Joan Gallant provided the following message with her donation:  “I appreciate all the hard work done for those of us with hearing problems. It is an important organization and thanks go out to Annie Lee MacDonald and Daria Valkenburg for the many hours they put in for the benefit of those who are hard of hearing.” Thank you, Joan, for your heartfelt comments.  Want to join Joan? 100% of your donation stays on the island. Here is the link again!  See https://www.canadahelps.org/en/gcgc/86759 

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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.  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

Petition Update For Week 8

June 8, 2019. The petition to request equal treatment for adult Islanders in the supplementation of costs for hearing aids continues to be circulated.  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 thank you is extended to the staff at Pizza Donair Hub in Borden-Carleton! Not only did we enjoy a delicious lunch, they were very supportive of our petition.  We also thank the elected municipal and provincial officials we met at last week’s National Accessibility Week event in Charlottetown, hosted by the PEI Council of People With Disabilities.  All supported this initiative, and all except one, a provincial Minister, signed the petition. Thank you as well to Campbell Hearing in Charlottetown.  The petition is now available in their waiting room.

As of the end of Week 8, we’ve reached 66.24% of our goal, with sheets of signed petitions returned as follows:

Petition May 30 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 (see https://peiaudiology.ca/). Thank you Peter Benstead!
  • Campbell Hearing in Charlottetown (see http://www.campbellhearing.ca/). Thank you Krista Campbell and Derek Hughes!

We ask you to support the petition and help us reach our goal of a minimum of 2,500 signatures. If you’d like to be one of the volunteers circulating the petition amongst your family and friends, send an email to hearpei@gmail.com.  We welcome not only your signature, but also your letters of support. Updates will be posted on this blog and on Twitter (@HearPEI).

Awareness of hearing issues and hearing loss prevention programs are important.  Our education and outreach activities provide not only awareness, but also tips and techniques to help Islanders thrive while living with hearing loss. Please consider donating to us this month, during the Great Canadian Giving Challenge.  100% of your donation stays on the island for island-related activities. Visit our secure online donation page here to process your online donation today.  Every donation enters our organization into a draw for $10,000.

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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

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.

 

The Great Canadian Giving Challenge Charity Appeal

June 8, 2019.  Over the period that this blog has run, readers have had a chance to learn about various issues related to hearing loss and hearing health.  You’ve been able to follow the activities of volunteers here on Prince Edward Island.  And you’ve had a forum to comment and share your own information and insights.  While everyone involved with our hearing loss group here on the Island is a volunteer, funding is still needed to keep going.  So this blog posting is an appeal for you to consider making a donation to continue this good work…….

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Supporters and Friends of Islanders who have hearing loss:                                      

The Great Canadian Giving Challenge is here!!   Every $1 donated to the PEI Chapter of the Canadian Hard of Hearing Association in June via CanadaHelps.org, automatically enters us to win an additional $10,000 donation. The grand prize draw is on Canada Day and one lucky charity will receive the grand prize of $10,000. 

As volunteers who actively work towards increased awareness of hearing loss issues, we ask you to consider making a donation to us during the challenge.  We are dependent on your generous donation to maintain and expand advocacy, outreach, and education for Islanders with hearing loss.  Every dollar that you donate goes directly to these initiatives right here in PEI.

One in five Canadians has some form of hearing loss.  Even if you don’t suffer from hearing loss, many of you will know someone who does. Early intervention is important for several reasons, among them:

  • Hearing loss can worsen. It never gets better!
  • People tend to adapt to hearing aids more easily if they get them earlier.
  • Some studies show that untreated hearing impairment can affect your socioeconomic status.
  • Untreated hearing loss can lead to higher depression and anxiety rates.
  • Untreated hearing loss may increase the likelihood of dementia.

Our education and outreach activities tackle these issues by providing not only awareness, but also tips and techniques to help Islanders thrive while living with hearing loss.  You may have participated in one of our outreach and awareness programs, or attended a seminar or information meeting. But we can’t do it without your support – whether the donation is large or small, every dollar helps. And just imagine what we could do if we won the $10,000!

Please consider donating to us during the Great Canadian Giving Challenge during June.  Visit our secure online donation page here to process your online donation today.

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We all can do more to help build awareness of hearing issues, and to encourage hearing loss prevention programs.    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

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.

 

 

Hearing Loss and Intersectionality

June 4, 2019.  Sometimes you have no idea that you know something!  This became clear when Annie Lee MacDonald and I were invited to participate in a focus group consultation regarding development of an intersectional accessibility training module at the PEI Council of People With Disabilities.  ‘Intersectional Accessibility’?  What was that? we wondered.  We soon found it that it was only the phrase that was unfamiliar!

The session, led by Andy J. Glydon, the Council’s Diversity Training Coordinator, was interesting and informative, leading to a lot of good discussions.  We began with an exercise.  In the photo below, you can see us holding a very long piece of string.  This is to help illustrate things we had in common.  One person began by sharing some information, until someone else found something in common with what was being said, and took hold of the string. This went on until everyone found something in common with at least one person.

CIMG2962 May 10 2019 PEI Council of Disabilities focus group

Participating in an exercise to illustrate common points of interest was a lot of fun!

This then led to an introduction to the concept of intersectionality, which refers to the way in which the effects of multiple forms of discrimination can combine, interact, or intersect.  The term was first used to describe the differences between what a white or a black woman might experience in terms of discrimination. (See https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/intersectionality or https://www.cjr.org/language_corner/intersectionality.php)

In looking at the viewpoint of disability, the discussion then led to how different groups might be perceived, even if they have the same disability.  With hearing loss issues, it got us thinking about how a child with hearing loss could be perceived, as opposed to a working person, or a senior.  Are they thought of in the same way? What if the person with hearing loss had another disability or condition to deal with? Do social factors affect perception?

Hearing loss is very inclusive in terms of who can be affected!  Young, middle-aged, or senior, wealthy, middle-income, or poor, of any cultural background or anywhere in the world, anyone can have, or be at risk for, hearing loss.

So why did I say that only the phrase was unfamiliar?  When I went to university…. a hundred years ago it seems…. women were encouraged to attend sessions on discrimination to ‘prepare you for the way you could be marginalized’ in applying for a career position or being in the workplace.  In those days, potential employers (always men!) would get around questions they were forbidden to ask (like if you were married and had children), by asking inappropriate, but not illegal, questions like “Are you on the pill?”  We were warned this was code for “Are you in a relationship?  Are you about to get pregnant?”  It was suggested we reply by pretending to misunderstand, rather than pointing out that it was not an acceptable question.

You could apply the term intersectionality in describing the differences in how men and women were treated in interviews and the workplace in those days.  If you had a surname or cultural background that wasn’t Anglo-Saxon, you had an additional challenge to deal with. Add in a disability of any kind, and you had a third layer of challenge.  The list went on.

These memories came back when we attended the launch of the Intersectional Accessibility Framework during National Awareness Week earlier this week.  It’s a great first step towards starting the conversation on making the Island more accessible for all.

During this event, it was encouraging to hear Peter Bevan-Baker, MLA and Leader of the Green Party, explain that real time captioning was introduced in the PEI legislature earlier this year.  Well done!

We all can do more to help build awareness of hearing issues, and to encourage hearing loss prevention programs.    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

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.

 

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.