Thursday, March 13, 2008

Petition Canada for CapTel and VRS

Not that it is entirely unheard of Americans meddling in foreign affairs, but I just have to do this.

It has recently been brought to my attention that Canada does not have CapTel nor Videophone Relay service available for its hard of hearing and deaf community. The US provides both of these services practically for free. The only service that Canada fund is the TTY that is practically obsolete in the US. Technology for the deaf has evolved so much since the TTY and I feel that our northern friends should reap the benefits of technology.

If you live in Canada, please petition your government following the steps below. Print this out, take it to your deaf clubs, deaf events, HOH meetings, church, bingo, bar, raves and encourage others to file a petition. :)

Electronic Filing/Contact Directions:
File a comment electronically--which the Commission encourages. Please follow the instructions below:
1. Go to the CRTC Web site at:
2. Select French or English
3. Select 'Contact Us' at the top of the page
4. Select 'E-Forms'
5. Select 'Complaints and Inquiries'
6. From the drop down menu select, 'Inquiry' then select next
7. Select 'Other' type of inquiry, next
8. Insert your first and last name and province
9. Select how you would like the CRTC to contact you (e-mail, letter, or telephone)
10. If you choose e-mail insert your e-mail address and select next
11. Let the Canadian government know of your desire for Captel service by sending the paragraph below or one of your own messages into the comment box

Sample Message to Send to the CRTC:

Dear CRTC,

I am requesting that the CRTC provide funds for captioned telephone and video relay service to become available to Canada's deaf and hard-of-hearing community. I am also requesting that the CRTC allow VRS-based companies such as Ultratec INC, Sprint and Sorenson Communications, access to Canada's telecommunications market. Captel provides real-time captioning of telephone conversations that is ideal for those with some degree of hearing loss. Sprint WebCapTel ( ) has just released a web-based service that allows a person who can speak but has difficulty hearing over the phone to read word-for-word captions of their call on a web browser during the call, while at the same time hearing the other person using any telephone. VRS allows the deaf and hard-of-hearing to naturally communicate with hearing individuals and businesses using sign language. Captel and VRS is far superior to TTY/TDD relay and will greatly enhance my professional and personal life. The deaf and hard-of-hearing community has complete access to Captel and VRS in the United States and we deserve no less.


Insert your full name

12. When finished with your message select next
13. Select 'Yes, submit' to officially submit your inquiry to the CRTC
14. A reference number will be provided on the final page, please print this page off for your reference

Mailing Address:
Secretary General
Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC)
Ottawa, Ontario
Canada, K1A ON2

Other Contact Options:
1-877-249-2782 (toll-free Voice)
1-877-909-2782 (toll-free TDD)
1- 819-994-0218 (fax)


Anonymous said...

Abbie, great to have you to help our neighborly country.

Check your interesting error in your second paragraph. (had a drink last night?)

Anyway you had me looking at my tty with cover on it...there's dust on it. Gotta clean it after I get up later today.

Anonymous said...

Just found your blog, i have a profound loss in my left ear and the right one at this point is borderline severe. I have some questions about your loss but don't know that your blog is the place to ask. would it be ok to email you?
Adam Fitzgerald

Abbie said...

Lane, thank you for pointing that out :) I just fixed it, I don't know what I was thinking and it was a sober mistake hehe :)

Adam, please feel free to send me an email with any questions that you have. My email address is bionicwoman2007 @ I will be looking forward to hearing from you!

Anonymous said...

We will have VRS which are to be run separately by two phone companies called Bell Canada and Telus. I do not know when they will be ready, but the VRS is available to only four provinces - Ontario, Quebec, Alberta and British Columbia where the Bell Canada and Telus provide their services.

Here's two links about the CRTC decision from the Canadian Association of the Deaf and CRTC:

I have several concerns about the VRS by the Bell Canada and Telus in Canada and they are:

1) taking away some certified and well-qualified interpreters from Deaf community
2)Whom will the Bell Canada and Telus hire as VP installers and other positions which require them to contact or engage in any convesation with the Deaf people in person.
3) Will they allow any Deaf people be on their advisory committee or board?
4) How do they hire interpreters? Would their rudimentary ASL skills be enough acceptable to the companies while they are not to the Deaf people?
5) Will they respond to the concerns of Deaf people and find solutions which are agreeable to them?

There are more concerns that I have but that is enough for now at least.

I have preferred Sign Relay Canada that the Canadian Associatio of the Deaf (CAD) and Canadian Cultural Society of the Deaf (CCSD) to run the VRS because they would provide their services to all Deaf people across Canada. Unfortunately the CRTC made a decision to award the VRS to phone companies because of regulations and/or laws which stated the phone companies were given first choice to run the sservice.

OCDAC said...

TTY's nearing obsolesce? Youre kiding right? At the CSUN conference were seeing cell phone companies telling us that newer cell phones will have tty capability. The same thing goes for the newer gadgets for the deaf-blind, they have tty capability too. TTY is not heading toward obsolesce, they're evolving into other devices.

Abbie said...

You are absolutely correct that TTY is evolving into other devices, my cell phone has that capability as well. However, when I have attempted to use TTY to call companies, I was lucky to get some one to answer the phone. In my opinion, the newer technologies are more streamlined and people could certainly benefit from it.

Unknown said...

I thought Canada is ahead of United States in such matters since they have health coverage for all of their citizens.

This is news to me and interesting.

Thanks for sharing and making us aware of this.


David said...

Abbie thanks again for helping with all this ground work and advice. Nice work! And Merci!
Our National Health care system and technical advances do not necessarily go hand in hand. We have 10% of the population that U.S. has and the phone companies make technology decisions on numbers unfortunately. Our universal health care system does nothing to to advance the decisions of private enterprise such as Bell Canada or Telus. I spent 3 months in a hospital this past September to end of December. I had to fight the administration tooth and nail because I was deaf, and they would not provide me with a TTY or an interpretor of some sort when I was being briefed medically by doctors etc. My fighting was not in vain. By the time I was discharged I persuaded the hospital to purchase 5 TTY phones. I was the first to get one in my room and ended up training some of the staff.
Health care is fine, but our hearing impaired population is the same proportionally as yours. Having said that 2.4 million hearing impaired is a small number for big companies to invest in. I will take your post to my local hearing society, and I will also petition my Member of Parliament.
As always, your post rocks sister.
Thank you

David said...

also help me out here. Darryl Hacket talks about "VRS"?
Not sure what that is

David said...

I hope you didn't mind me "Hijacking" your directions and putting them on my Post yesterday. Why reinvent the wheel if you have a Edison at the Blog helm.
Thanks again Abbie!
Will keep you posted on any responses from the Government.

Abbie said...

David the #1 guy :)

VRS stands for Video Relay Service. Video relay calls are placed over a high-speed Internet connection. The video camera is connected to a TV, or through a personal computer equipped with a Web camera. The deaf user sees an ASL interpreter on their TV and signs to the interpreter, who then contacts the hearing user via a standard phone line and relays the conversation between the two parties. A user can also place a call to another person that has VRS and sign back and forth as if they were right in front of each other. It is really cool!

Feel free to hijack it lol... The more the people know about it, the better.

Anonymous said...

Why only Canada? I live in Tucson and Mexico is our neighbor as well but our sympathies betray selective preferences... screw the non-English speaking brownies? I know absolutely none of us set out to be like this but time and time again it appears so.

Maybe after Canada achieves equitable citizenship for all can we shift energies to Mexico?

Abbie said...

Now that it has been brought to my attention, I will check into on how you can petition Mexico for such services. I was not aware of this until you mentioned it.

Thank you for making me aware of this and please check back later to see any updates!

Shari said...

LIke Lane, I have a TTY with it's cover on it, collecting dust. I don't use it as much as I used to. Only for appointments-I call the WI Relay service. I had no idea it's becoming obsolete. Good thing it's still in mint condition. :) I've lost touch with deaf friends since I've been married and they have moved away. I guess it's easy to do when you start a family.

I hope CapTel will get a foothold in Canada. Anything that will help is beneficial. :)

Anonymous said...

Last I lived in New Jersey....and the only New I can find in Canada is Noofinndlynn. Glad to hear you're doing a public service up there. Now let's have roughly 193 more countries to go!

David said...


Anonymous said...

Oh good luck! I am helping with the Captioned relay and Video relay campaign in the UK. We've only just started. Will you be updating us on the campaign's progress?