TORONTO, March 11, 2015 /CNW/ - Today, the Canadian Hearing Society (CHS) kicks off its 75th anniversary of serving Deaf and hard of hearing communities with a community celebration, simulcast from 17 offices across Ontario, from Windsor to Thunder Bay to Ottawa.
The community celebration will feature virtual and in-person presentations, displays, demonstrations and tours. Members of the Deaf and hard of hearing communities, former staff, board members, community partners and donors will attend their local CHS office for the province-wide celebration. All presentations, including the keynote address from Interim President and CEO Stephanus Greeff, will be offered in English and American Sign Language.
"This is the first of many opportunities for us to recognize our accomplishments as an organization and to honour the many staff, volunteers, board members, community partners, supporters, and generous donors who have contributed to making CHS what it is today," said Greeff.
Advances in technology have been making communication easier between people who are culturally Deaf, oral deaf, deafened, hard of hearing and hearing. Whether it is teletypewriters (TTYs), the Bell Relay System, captioning, texting or FaceTime, technology has helped connect people across distances. CHS was a pioneer in establishing the first TTY network and directory in Canada in 1976. CHS also pioneered a video conference system in 1999, called DeafLINKS, that connected people who were Deaf, Deafblind and hard of hearing and living in remote areas in Ontario.
"CHS has a proud history of serving people who are culturally Deaf, oral deaf, deafened and hard of hearing," added Greeff. "Over 75 years, CHS's national advocacy initiatives and partnerships have furthered the removal of communication barriers and the promotion of equity for all our consumers."
Founded in 1940 by a small group of people who came together to support children and families who were Deaf and hard of hearing, and deafened servicemen returning from WWII, CHS has grown to a multi-service agency providing 17 programs in 26 offices across Ontario, as well as services and advocacy initiatives across the country. CHS provides its communication devices program in Saskatchewan and Manitoba through partnerships with Deaf Centre Manitoba Inc., Saskatchewan Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services and the Society of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Nova Scotians.
Over 75 years, CHS has achieved many major milestones working together with the Deaf and hard of hearing community:
- 1967 – CHS provided the only independent hearing aid service in Toronto and set the standard for audiology clinics in teaching hospitals throughout the province. Today, audiology is offered in eight Hearing Clinics Plus locations in Ontario.
- 1980 – CHS and the Ontario Association of the Deaf (OAD) worked together to get government support for the first sign language interpreter service in Ontario in 1975. By 1980, Ontario Interpreting Services was officially established.
- 2005 – After CHS, the Canadian Hard of Hearing Association, the Canadian Association of the Deaf, and others lobbied for 10 years, the Ontario Legislature unanimously passed the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act.
CHS has also launched a digital timeline to showcase the history of the organization over 75 years at www.chs.ca/timeline. People are invited to share their stories and pictures of CHS history using the hashtag #CHS75years to @CHSCanada on Twitter; the Canadian Hearing Society (CHSSCO) on Facebook; and @CanadianHearingSociety on Instagram. Visit www.chs.ca/75years for more information.
About the Canadian Hearing Society
The Canadian Hearing Society has been proudly serving Deaf and Hard of Hearing communities for 75 years. CHS was incorporated in 1940 and in 2015 is celebrating 75 years of providing services, products and information to culturally Deaf, oral deaf, deafened, and hard of hearing people and educating the hearing public. CHS is governed by a board of directors, the majority of whom are Deaf or hard of hearing. The organization is funded by government, grants, membership and various fundraising activities. For more information or to find your regional office, visit www.chs.ca.
SOURCE The Canadian Hearing Society
For further information: CHS Media Contact: Marie-Lauren Gregoire, Email: [email protected], Phone: 416-928-2500 ext 272