As part of the April 10, 2018 provincial budget, the Government of Saskatchewan announced an investment of more than $520,000 this year in a new program to ensure that babies born in Saskatchewan hospitals are screened for hearing loss.

This investment in Saskatchewan’s future generations comes as a direct result of the collaborative work of the Ministry of Health and Saskatchewan’s Human Rights Commission’s systemic advocacy committee. The committee was established in response to the D/deaf and Hard of Hearing Systemic initiative, and the Commission’s public consultation report, “Access and Equality for Deaf, deaf, and Hard of Hearing People: A Report to Stakeholders”, which heard it was “important to implement universal newborn screening for hearing disabilities.”

“This newborn screening program is a first-of-its-kind support for families with D/deaf and hard of hearing children in our province,” said David Arnot, Chief Commissioner of the Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission. “It also represents the power of cooperation on systemic issues facing people with disabilities.”

This investment has the power to positively affect all newborn children in our province. The benefit to each child who is accurately diagnosed, over the course of their lifetime, will amplify this investment and the impact of this systemic resolution.

“This is one of the largest single outcomes achieved by a systemic initiative to date,” said Arnot. “It would not have been possible without the dedication of government representatives, stakeholders, organizations, and individuals who have worked to address the concerns of people who are D/deaf and hard of hearing."