Sign Language Interpreting Services
- Role of the interpreter
- Fees / Cancellation Policy
- After-Hours Health, Mental Health and Emergency Services
Culturally Deaf people in Simcoe County use a visual language called American Sign Language (ASL) as their primary mode of communication. It has its own grammar, syntax and uses a different word order than English.
One of the values of Deaf Access Simcoe Muskoka is to ensure that Deaf and hearing members of our community have equal rights and communication access. To this end, Deaf Access books ASL/English interpreters as needed.
ASL/English Interpreters bridge the communication between English speakers and ASL users.
The rights of Deaf people must be accommodated as stated under the equality provisions in Canada's Charter of Rights and Freedoms. To avoid miscommunication and to break down language barriers, it is best to hire an interpreter.
Interpreters scheduled through DASM are well educated and skilled in the language and culture of both Deaf and hearing people. They provide communication in ASL and spoken English. Our ASL interpreters are professional and bound by a strict code of ethics including confidentiality.
- Interpret everything that is signed and spoken.
- Keep all information confidential.
- Provide interpretation only. The interpreters are not there to advise or provide their personal opinions on anything that is discussed.
- Accept only those assignments for which they are qualified.
- Arrive earlier than the scheduled appointment so they can become familiar with the people and the situation.
- Consult with the consumers about the lighting and seating arrangement.
Arrive on time. The interpreter will only wait a limited time.
15 min for 1 hour meetings
30 min for 2 hour meetings
1 hour for 2 hour + meetings
- Provide the interpreter with any preparation materials prior to the appointment, such as an agenda, outlines and/or presentations.
- Maintain speech or sign at a normal pace.
- Ensure one person speaks or signs at a time.
Booking An Interpreter: Call Deaf Access at (705) 728-3577
Provide the following:
- Name and telephone numbers of the consumers.
- Date, time and location of appointment.
- Name and phone numbers of contact person for interpreter.
- The purpose of appointment.
- The number of people who will be present
- Special circumstances, such as video recording, media coverage, etc.
- Call as soon as you know about the appointment. We need as much notice as possible when booking.
- Contact us for information on emergency requests.
- Any assignment that is longer than two hours, or is complex, requires two sign language interpreters.
- There is a fee for this service.
- We try to accommodate last minute requests.
Fees for ASL Interpreting are as follows: $55.00 per hour based on a two hour minimum plus travel/other expenses. Day rates and half day rates are negotiable on a per assignment basis. Assignments depending on content and length may require more than one interpreter.
If you change or cancel your appointment, please call as soon as possible. Cancellations need to be made at least two (2) business days before the scheduled appointment to avoid being charged a fee for service.
Deaf Access Simcoe Muskoka's mandate is to ensure effective communication between deaf and hearing individuals by providing ASL/English interpreters. Services are provided in a variety of situations including one to one, group meetings or conferences. Settings include but are not limited to:
- Mental Health
- Social Services
- Personal matters
For Local and Provincial Consumer Groups' website and contact information, click here to be redirected to the Helpful Links page.
Ontario Interpreting Services (OIS) After Hours Emergency Service
Through funding received from the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care, OIS offers after-hours interpreting services for health and mental health emergencies. The after-hours service is available across Ontario on weeknights from 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 a.m. and 24 hrs / day on weekends and holidays. OIS's ultimate goal is to provide 24-hours a day, 7-days a week emergency interpreting services.
OIS After-Hours Emergency Interpreting Service - Call Centre
A call centre, "Answer Plus Inc.", will answer all after hour emergency requests for interpreters. Customer Service Representatives (CSR), or operators, will answer incoming telephone and TTY calls. All CSRs were trained in the proper use of the TTY.
Voice and TTY Toll-Free Emergency numbers
There are two toll-free numbers that can be used anywhere in the province.
The toll-free TTY number is 1-866-831-4657.
The toll-free telephone number is 1-866-256-5142.
A wallet card is available that lists both numbers. You can carry this card with you so you don't have to remember the number if you are in an emergency situation. If you need a card, you can pick one up at any CHS office.
How to use the OIS After-Hours Emergency Service
If you need an interpreter for a health or mental health emergency just call either the voice or TTY toll-free numbers shown on the card. Your call will go directly to the call centre, "Answer Plus Inc.".
A Customer Service Representative (CSR) will answer your call. The CSR will ask you for some information and then search their records to see if there is an interpreter on call in the area from which you are calling.
Remember, all information you give to the CSR and the interpreter is confidential.
If you would like, the CSR will contact the on-call interpreter while you are on hold. The CSR will give the on-call interpreter the information you provided, then tell you which interpreter you can expect. The interpreter will meet you at the medical institution within an hour.
Or, if you prefer, you can go directly to the medical institution after you speak with the CSR. You don't have to wait while the CSR contacts the interpreter. Once the CSR has the necessary information from you, he or she will try to locate an interpreter and send the interpreter to the medical institution to meet you there. If you are having a serious medical emergency, don't worry about calling the CSR before going to the hospital. Your first call should be 911. Once you are in the hospital ask the hospital personnel to call the call centre to request an interpreter.
The on-call interpreter will stay with you until your emergency appointment is finished. If this extends past 9:00 a.m. the interpreter or hospital personnel may call OIS and request another interpreter.
Legislation Regarding Access
Deaf Access Simcoe Muskoka was established in 1984. One of its core programs is the provision of American Sign Language - English interpreting services all across Simcoe County.
Deaf Access Simcoe Muskoka has staff interpreter positions to meet the need in the community where funding permits. DASM supplements its staff interpreter (s) by hiring freelance interpreters whenever possible to meet the demand in the community. Through increased interpreter service, Deaf, Deafened and Hard of Hearing citizens who use sign language can better access the community.
Deaf Access Simcoe Muskoka believes the provision of sign language interpreters is an accessibility issue. Agencies, business, government and service providers have a responsibility to provide access to their services DASM charges a fee for service for the provision of sign language interpreting.
There are several court decisions that have been made over time which support DASM in their position on accessibility. In addition, the policies of DASM are in accordance with the existing Human Rights legislation. They are as follows:
The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms - Section14 & 15 (1985)
A party or witness in any proceedings who does not understand or speak the language in which the proceedings are conducted or who is deaf has the right to the assistance of an interpreter.
Section 15 - Equality Rights
- Every individual is equal before and under the law and has the right to the equal protection and equal benefit of the law without discrimination and, in particular, without discrimination based on race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, sex, age or mental or physical disability.
- Subsection (1) does not preclude any law, program or activity that has as its object the amelioration of conditions of disadvantaged individuals or groups including those that are disadvantaged because of race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, sex, age or mental or physical disability.
This section of the Charter makes it clear that every individual in Canada - regardless of race, religion, national or ethnic origin, colour, sex, age or physical or mental disability - is to be considered equal. This means that governments must not discriminate on any of these grounds in its laws or programs.
The Supreme Court of Canada has stated that the purpose of section 15 is to protect those groups who suffer social, political and legal disadvantage in society.
For more details on the Charter go to www.pch.gc.ca
On October 9, 1997, in a unanimous decision, the Supreme Court of Canada ordered the Government of British Columbia to pay for sign language interpreters when Deaf people access health care services. The failure to provide sign language interpretation where it is needed for effective communication in the delivery of health care services violates the rights of deaf people. The Supreme Court ruling followed an appeal by three B.C. Deaf individuals who were denied the services of an interpreter during medical treatment. They argued that sign language interpreters are an essential part of health care for Deaf people, and that the health care system must accommodate their needs under the equality provisions in the Charter of Rights.
The Eldridge ruling has far- reaching implications. The Supreme Court decision went beyond ensuring interpreters for deaf people in medical situations. It stated that governments cannot escape their constitutional obligations to provide equal access to public services. Within reasonable limits, no disabled person should be prevented access to a government service. Education, training, health care, social services, all are affected by this landmark decision. The decision requires the removal of barriers that prohibit full participation from all members of the community.
The Ontarians with Disabilities Act
The Ontarians with Disabilities Act (2001) is a provincial law that requires organizations such as municipalities, hospitals, and educational institutions to create annual accessibility plans in consultation with persons with disabilities that identify and plan for the elimination and prevention of existing and formulating barriers to their participation. Under the Act, barriers can take any of the following forms: physical, architectural, informational, communicational, attitudinal, technological, and those created by policies or practices. It uses the same definition of disability as the Ontario Human Rights Code. The Act also includes provisions for the government of Ontario to enhance the accessibility of its buildings, resources, and services.
For the details of the entire Act go to: www.e-laws.gov.on.ca
View the Ontario Human Rights code here.
Federal Landmark Decision
On August 12, 2006, the Federal Court of Canada released a decision that has significant implications for access of deaf, deafened, deaf-blind and hard of hearing Canadians to the federal government.
"It is fundamental to an inclusive society that those with disabilities be accommodated when interacting with the institutions of government."
The decision included three important declarations:
- Where a deaf or hard of hearing person receives services or participates in programs administered by the Government of Canada, sign language interpreters are to be provided.
- Where the Government of Canada engages in public or private consultations with non-governmental organizations in the development of policy and programs in which the deaf and hard of hearing have identifiable interests, sign language interpreters must be provided where organizations of deaf and hard of hearing people wish to be involved.
- In the above circumstances, the Government of Canada is responsible for the cost of access.
United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Disabled
The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities was adopted on December 13, 2006 during the sixty-first session of the General Assembly. Canada's Minister of Foreign Affairs, Peter MacKay along with 80 other Member States signed the Convention and its Optional Protocol at United Nations Headquarters in New York on March 30, 2007.
The purpose of the Convention is to promote, protect and ensure the full and equal enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms by all persons with disabilities, and to promote respect for their inherent dignity.
The treaty aims to eradicate discrimination against persons with disabilities in all areas of life including employment, education, health services transportation and access to justice.
For the full convention details go to www.un.org
A highlight from Article 24 on Education:
3. Governments shall enable persons with disabilities to learn life and social development skills to facilitate their full and equal participation in education and as members of the community. To this end, States Parties shall take appropriate measures, including:
- facilitating the learning of sign language and the promotion of the linguistic identity of the Deaf community
- ensuring that the education of persons, and in particular children, who are blind, deaf, and deaf-blind, is delivered in the most appropriate languages and modes and means of communication for the individual, and in environments which maximize academic and social development.
4. In order to help ensure the realization of the rights, governments shall take appropriate measures to employ teachers, including those with disabilities, who are fluent in sign language, Braille, and to train professionals and staff who work at all levels of education. Such training shall incorporate disability awareness and the use of appropriate augmentative and alternative modes, means and formats of communication, educational techniques and materials to support persons with disabilities.
Goals and Objectives of Deaf Access's interpreting services
Part of Deaf Access Simcoe Muskoka's mandate is to increase accessibility for D/deaf, deafened and hard of hearing individuals by providing quality American Sign Language (ASL) - English interpreting services in a variety of life settings. These settings include:
- Mental Health
- Social services
- Personal business
- Government services
It is public policy in Ontario to recognize the inherent dignity and worth of every person and to provide for equal rights and opportunities without discrimination. The Ontario Human Rights Code guarantees equal treatment in the provision of goods, services, and facilities, occupancy of accommodation, contracts, employment and memberships in associations to members of the group protected under the code. It requires the removal of barriers to give meaning to the rights guaranteed to persons with disabilities in Part 1 of the Code. Therefore, organizations, businesses and government are responsible for the costs related to making their respective services and facilities accessible. There is no charge to the Deaf person. The policies of Deaf Access are in accordance with the existing Human Rights legislation.
This principle of equality is supported by the Supreme Court of Canada decision (Eldridge, 1997), Federal Court of Canada's decision (2006), and by the Charter of Rights. Both court decisions confirm that the government must recognize their obligation to identify, remove and prevent barriers which keep D/deaf, deafened and hard of hearing people from fully participating in, and benefiting from, society. The decisions also limits the ability of government to escape it's obligation under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms by privatizing governmental functions and services.
Deaf Access Simcoe Muskoka works with the Ontario Association of the Deaf (OAD), consumer organizations and professional organizations to advocate for increased access to sign language interpreters for all D/deaf people.