Supporting VRS Growth and Activation in Canada

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TBNuQs4rYT8?feature=player_embedded]

Video Relay Service (VRS) is old news in the United States. It has been around for more than ten years and people have become very accustomed to the idea of having VRS. So accustomed that when another country gets excited about getting VRS, it isn't a big deal to Americans. This isn't the approach Americans should be taking when watching and listening to Canada, our own neighbor to the north, gets all ready for VRS deployment.

BCVRS had shared this statement below the video, "The Quest for VRS in Canada"

FINALLY! Here it is — the video that y’all have been waiting for!! The BCVRS Committee is proud to present a short documentary-drama film, co-produced by the committee and Lenois Productions, which appeared at the CRTC VRS Hearing today for the first time in our government’s history! MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!! (BCVRS Committee)

Their website is a wealth of information and shares their updates throughout time as projects are completed, deadlines are established, and information is gathered. On May 2, 2014 they had pushed a press release to share their biggest news.

April 22, 2014 - Ottawa/Gatineau - Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC)  annonced that Canadians who are Deaf, Hard of Hearing, or those that are unable to use voice will have access to a new telecommunication service called Video Relay Service. There is an ASL version of the highlights of the VRS decision (Video above). CRTC has an english YouTube ASL video playlist.

A little bit of background information about the BCVRS:

The BCVRS Committee has diligently worked for the past 5 years to gather the views of community members (Deaf, Hard of Hearing and Deaf-Blind consumers) regarding the need for a Video Relay Service. The BCVRS Committee was one of the first two grassroots VRS committees to be established to further the push for a Video Relay Services to be established in Canada. Community views and feedback were gathered through public community meetings and internet-based videos, maintaining a social networking site (4,619 individuals across 13 VRS-related groups), text-based and video blogs for benefit of the Deaf Community and its allies. We have gathered letters, petitions and videos showing community member views. We were successful along with our allies, in pulling in 3,176 interventions for CRTC 2013-155. The BCVRS represented our community at the CRTC 2013-155 proceedings in Gatineau, Quebec on October 24, 2013. (BCVRS Press Release)

The CRTC 2013-155 was the proceeding of further discussion on whether having a VRS industry in Canada is festible and further discussions on issues. On the telecommunication notice by the CRTC, they had a deadline of May 17, 2013 for intervention.

In the CRTC 2013-155, there was an estimation of up to 20,000 people that would adopt the use of VRS and between 11,000-13,500 would be ASL users and the rest (3,500-6,000) would be using LSQ (French Sign Language). How they came up with these numbers is in Appendix B of their notice.

The latest update on BCVRS's twitter page is a screenshot of their projected timeline and DSTidbits has encouraged them to share a video of their e-PowerPoint file so more community leaders in both America and Canada are knowledgeable about plans behind the developing VRS industry in Canada.

Written by Mary Pat

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