Langley, BC – Today, Langley MP Mark Warawa welcomes the decision by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) to make Video Relay Service available for users of American Sign Language (ASL) and Langue des signes québécoise(LSQ). When it launches, the telecommunications service will facilitate conversations between people who are Deaf, hard of hearing and speech impaired and other Canadians, and vice versa.
“This new service will greatly improve the quality of life for thousands of Canadians who are hard of hearing or speech impaired,” said the Langley MP. “Whether it’s to make a doctor’s appointment, speak to a friend, or make any other type of telephone call, video relay service will make it possible for Canadians who are hard of hearing or speech impaired to communicate in sign language with greater ease.”
Video relay service is a telecommunications service that will enable Canadians to conduct telephone calls using ASL or LSQ. An operator facilitates the conversation between the two parties by relaying the conversation between sign language and spoken language.
“I have met with Langley residents of the Deaf and hard of hearing community for almost three years and I continue to support their request for this service. As a result, I am very pleased to hear the CRTC’s decision to make this service available as early as fall of 2015.” added Warawa.
Although video relay service will be offered at no charge, users will need their own high-speed Internet service and an Internet-connected device, such as a computer, smartphone, tablet or videophone. Additional services, such as voice mail and call display, will be billed at rates similar to those charged for corresponding voice services.
The CRTC is an independent public authority in charge of regulating and supervising Canadian broadcasting and telecommunications.
- The CRTC is requiring that video relay service be made available to Canadians who are Deaf, hard of hearing or speech impaired, starting as early as in the fall of 2015.
- Video relay service is a telecommunications service that will enable Canadians who are hard of hearing or speech impaired that use American Sign Language or Langue des signes québécoiseto communicate with voice telephone users, and vice versa.
- Users must sign up for video relay service, which will be offered at no charge. However, users will need their own high-speed Internet service and an Internet-connected device, such as a computer, smartphone, tablet or videophone. Users will also be responsible for additional services, such as voice mail and call display, and long-distance charges.
- Canadians who wish to call a user of video relay service simply have to dial their number and make a regular voice call.
- An independent administrator will be created to oversee the implementation of video relay service, and funding to support this service will be capped at $30 million per year.
- Canadians with hearing or speech disabilities currently have access to two text-based services: Internet Protocol relay and teletypewriter relay. The CRTC may review these services at a later date.
- It is estimated that there will be approximately 20,000 primary users of video relay service.
To ensure the perspectives of users are reflected in the decision-making process, an independent administrator will be created to oversee the implementation and provision of video relay service. The CRTC has established minimum requirements for the provision of this service to ensure that the needs of Canadian citizens are met. The administrator will have to ensure that these requirements are met.
The CRTC is seeking proposals on the administrator’s structure and precise mandate, including the composition of the Board of Directors. Proposals must be submitted by May 22, 2014. The CRTC is also inviting comments on these proposals and other relevant issues until June 25, 2014.
The CRTC will conduct a review of video relay service three years after it has launched to assess whether it is meeting the needs of Canadians in an efficient manner.
- Video: Highlights of the VRS decision (in ASL)
- Video: Frequently asked questions about VRS (in ASL)
- Infographic on video relay service
- Telecom Regulatory Policy CRTC 2014-187
- Telecom Notice of Consultation CRTC 2014-188
- Telecom Notice of Consultation CRTC 2013-155
- News release: CRTC invites comments on the potential for a video relay service for Canadians who are deaf, hard of hearing or speech impaired (March 27, 2013)