CRTC invites comments on the potential for a video relay service for Canadians who are deaf, hard of hearing or speech impaired

OTTAWA-GATINEAU, March 27, 2013 /CNW/ - Today, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) launched a public consultation on whether video relay service for Canadians who are deaf, hard of hearing or speech impaired should be offered. As part of this consultation, the CRTC will hold a public hearing starting on October 21, 2013, in Gatineau, Quebec.

Currently, two text-based relay services, Internet Protocol relay and teletypewriter relay, are available to Canadians who are deaf, hard of hearing or speech impaired. Video relay service would enable people who use sign language to communicate with voice telephone users via an operator who relays the conversation from sign language to spoken language, and vice versa.

"Video relay service is an example of the initiatives we are exploring to improve the accessibility of communication services," said Jean-Pierre Blais, Chairman of the CRTC. "There are a number of factors that must be weighed before we can decide whether this service should be made available in Canada. We encourage all Canadians to participate in this consultation and to share their views."

Canadians are invited to share their views on, among others, the following topics:

  • the benefits of video relay service
  • whether video relay service should be offered and, if so, how it could be implemented and administered
  • the costs of video relay service and how they should be covered, and
  • how to make the best use of resources, such as VRS operators.

The CRTC encourages Canadians to participate by submitting their initial comments by May 17, 2013.  They may do so by:

The CRTC is making efforts to accommodate Canadians who communicate primarily in ASL or LSQ. To promote their participation, ASL and LSQ versions of the notice of consultation can be viewed on the CRTC's YouTube channel.

Canadians who communicate primarily in ASL and LSQ will also be able to record their comments in sign language and upload their video on the YouTube channel. These comments will be transcribed and posted on the Commission's website to enable people who do not understand sign language. All comments will form part of the public record that will be considered by the CRTC.

In addition, the CRTC will offer simultaneous interpretation in ASL and LSQ during the October 2013 public hearing.

Telecom Notice of Consultation CRTC 2013-155

Reference documents:

Fact sheet: How to participate in CRTC public proceedings
News release: CRTC to continue fact-finding exercise on video relay service (May 25, 2012)
Broadcasting and Telecom Regulatory Policy CRTC 2009-430

SOURCE: Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission

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