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SHRC Releases Deaf and Hard of Hearing Stakeholder Consultations Summary Report

May 12, 2016
Media Release

The Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission released a summary report today on its consultations with members of the deaf and hard of hearing communities. The report, “Access and Equality for Deaf, deaf, and Hard of Hearing People: A Report to Stakeholders,” is intended to be part of a longer-term systemic advocacy process. Systemic advocacy addresses differential treatment, policies, and rules that can unfairly disadvantage a group of people.

In June 2015, the Commission held the first of four community consultation sessions in Regina. Sessions and follow-up meetings were held in Saskatoon, Prince Albert, and La Ronge between July 2015 and February of this year. The Commission received reports, presentations, and reflections on the receipt of public services and supports for members of the deaf and hard of hearing community. As well, over 40 individual or group interviews were also completed.

“The Commission’s goal is to collaborate with individuals and stakeholders to improve access and inclusion for people who are deaf or hard of hearing,” said David Arnot, Chief Commissioner of the Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission. “This report is a first step in that direction.”

Consultation participants noted the need for universal newborn screening, and linking diagnosis to intervention information and options, including sign language training. Other issues include the limited availability of interpretation services and assistive technology in the education system, in healthcare settings, and in the receipt of public services.

“We heard from people who are thriving through Deaf culture, and we heard about resilience and adaptation in the deaf and hard of hearing communities. This is an opportunity to leverage that resilience, build on existing successes, and make meaningful and significant change in our province,” said Chief Commissioner Arnot. “I also believe that this approach will support the aims of the Saskatchewan Disability Strategy in an integral way.”