The “Deaf” self-identify as a cultural group rather than a disability group. They share a common language, American Sign Language (ASL) in North America, culture, history and experience, as well as a vision for full inclusion in society.
The Canadian Association of the Deaf estimates that one percent of the population is Deaf or late deafened — this includes those who were born with no hearing, lost their hearing early in life due to illness or other causes, or completely lost their hearing in mid- or later life. This translates to approximately 38,000 deaf Albertans.
Access to services in their own language (ASL) is of primary importance for the Deaf community. Provisions of the Canadian Human Rights Act require that public services be provided with equal access to communication; in most cases this may mean with the assistance of a sign language interpreter.
Learn more about services to Deaf Albertans here.