Support and resources for the Deaf, deafened, and hard of hearing.


UPDATE #13: April 6, 2020

Update from Prime Minister Trudeau:

Update from Alberta Chief Medical Health Officer:

UPDATE #12: April 2, 2020

Do you need help navigating financial support?

Canada Emergency Response Benefit applications open today. Visit the CERB website here to apply online.…/s…/benefits/ei/cerb-application.html

UPDATE # 11: April 1, 2020

Update from the Prime Minister:

Update from the Alberta Chief Medical Health Officer:

Update from City of Calgary Emergency Management Agency:

UPDATE #10: March 31, 2020

Update from the Prime Minister:

Update from the Alberta Chief Medical Health Officer:

UPDATE #9: March 30, 2020

We here at Deaf & Hear Alberta know that you like the choice of who interprets for you. As a valued client, your satisfaction has always been, and remains, our top priority.  

Presently we are reaching out to locations that have cancelled appointments with in-person Interpretation Services due to the Covid19 virus. We are asking businesses and offices if, for the next while, we can offer them a three-way meeting via Ring Central or FaceTime as an alternative, so the Interpreters can work safely from their home but still provide support to our clients with communication access. 

The Business Development Team at DHA have researched, developed and are implementing a new booking and VRI platform. We were planning a June rollout of this initiative, but the current pandemic has had a large impact on all of us. The option to interpret from home is now critical. 

  1. We want to stress this will not replace in-person interpreting going forward, however the immediate safety of all those involved is paramount. This option keeps the lines of communication open for our hearing clients, our Deaf and hard of hearing community, and our interpreters to continue to provide service in a safe way. 
  2. The date for launching the VRI Platform is April 6, 2020.

Local, certified, VRI trained Interpreters will give you access to appointments and select opportunities and eliminate wait times. These interpreters will be people you know who have already worked with you in the past. 

Additionally, Deaf & Hear Alberta will be implementing a new Booking Service that we believe to be more user friendly and will improve internal communication for both you and businesses/offices,  which will help book an interpreter faster. 

Deaf & Hear Alberta would like to eliminate the barriers to interpreter access and is excited to work with our clients and our interpreters with this new technology. We hope that our continued commitment to you and the individuals we work with to provide service for gives you confidence and we look forward to partnering with you in the weeks ahead. 

Thank you. The last two weeks has been surreal and by working together and communicating often, we here at DHA are confident that we all will come out of this time stronger than we ever have been! 

UPDATE #8: March 30, 2020

Thank you to those who asked us questions and had comments about the changes made by AHS.  We would like to clarify a few things to help you understand what to expect. 

As we said in our last Vlog Alberta Health Services (AHS) will be using Video Remote Interpretation (VRI) to provide American Sign Language (ASL) interpretation in emergency departments.   

Why they are doing this, is to ensuring effective and timely communication between patients and their health care teams.   
The emergency department staff in these hospitals have been trained to use VRI for ASL interpretation.  VRI is available immediately upon arrival to emergency. 

Based on the unique circumstances of each patient’s care situation, the healthcare team can then decide what the most appropriate method of interpretation VRI or face-to-face.  This will also be the case in different program areas across AHS.  We wait for AHS to update us and then we will pass this information to you. 

It is very important that patients are having trouble with interpretation through VRI, share your concerns with health care team this needs to happen to ensure clear communication.   

DHA and AHS are aware that this is a change in process and are working together.  We have common goals; to support the Deaf community in this transition and to utilize new approaches to service delivery that help improve access to ASL services across the province.   

If you have feedback of your experience with VRI (both positive and negative), please contact and DHA will be happy to assist in providing this feedback to AHS’s Interpretation management. 

Another option is to contact AHS through the Patient concerns & feedback website:   
The goal is to provide access to effective and timely communication between patient and the health care providers. 

More information: 
This link below:   It explains more about how AHS will use VRI and Face to Face Interpreter.  
From the website:American Sign Language (ASL) Interpretation for Patients with Hearing and Speech Conditions 
Smooth communication between patients and the care team is important for good healthcare. To support better communication between the health care teams and people who have hearing and speech concerns, AHS offers Interpreter services both in person and by video.  AHS will make sure that the most appropriate and accessible mode of interpretation is used for each patient.  The AHS care team will decide based on accessibility of the services, the special situation of each patient’s care and time sensitivity. 
Video Remote Interpretation (VRI) 
Video remote interpretation is on-demand access to trained professional medical American Sign Language interpreters, by video, offered on an iPad or tablet.  
AHS is in the process of implementing this technology in facilities across the province and currently has more than 70 units in Calgary, Edmonton and Red Deer. At these sites, video interpretation is now available 24/7. This immediate accessibility is enabling staff to communicate effectively with patients in a timely manner to ensure they continue to receive quality and appropriate care. 
As we roll out the VRI units across AHS sites, we are moving towards VRI being the main way that we will provide ASL interpretation services, unless there are unique/special circumstances where VRI would not be effective and face-to-face is deemed more appropriate. 
Face-to-Face Interpretation 
Face-to-face interpretation is mainly available in Edmonton and Calgary. If a patient is located in a rural area, interpretation services are delivered through Telehealth or video remote interpretation in most cases, unless the healthcare provider determines that an in-person interpreter is the most appropriate approach to a patient’s situation. 
Thank you and we hope you have found this vlog informative. 

UPDATE #7: March 30, 2020

Today’s update from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau:

Update from Calgary Emergency Management Agency:

Update from the Alberta Chief Medical Health Officer:

UPDATE #6: March 29, 2020

Today’s update from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau:

UPDATE #5: March 28, 2020

Today’s update from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau:

UPDATE #4: March 27, 2020

Today’s update from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau:

Today’s update from CEMA:

Today’s update from the Alberta Chief Medical Officer:

UPDATE #3: March 26, 2020

Deaf & Hear Alberta continues to share official government announcements when they are made available. To access the videos, click the links below:

Updates from Alberta Chief Medical Officer:

Updates from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau:

Updates from the City of Calgary Emergency Management Agency:

UPDATE #2: March 16, 2020

We have communicated with Alberta Health Services who is aware that there is an issue with TTY. They are working with Telus to resolve this. You have the option to call through VRS to the Healthlink, or better yet, click on this self-assessment tool provided by AHS.:

UPDATE #1: March 13, 2020

Deaf & Hear Alberta at this time remains open to the public.  We are aware of the Coronavirus (Covid 19) and we know how serious the pandemic is.  And we want to assure you that we will keep you informed as best we can.

Although the risk for Albertans is still considered low at this time that may change in the coming weeks.

At this time we want to make sure you have the right information to follow in case you need to seek help if you are feeling sick and you think you might have Corona Virus.

We have received the following recommendation from the Alberta Health website:

Common symptoms of the coronavirus include: fever, cough, extreme tiredness; the most serious symptoms are difficulty breathing and pneumonia.

Alberta Health and Health Canada strongly encourage you to self-isolate, if you have these symptoms or have traveled outside Canada. This means to stay at home and call Health Link 811 for instructions.

Do not go to the EMERGENCY ROOM. BUT If you need immediate medical attention, please call/text 911 and inform them that you may have COVID-19.

It has been brought to our attention that you must use the TTY to call 811.  And when you call 811 using the TTY service you may have to keep calling before you can reach someone. The service is very busy and many people are not getting through right away.

In the meantime, you can help to prevent the spread of Coronavirus and protect yourself and others when you:

  • Self-isolate if you’re feeling sick
  • Wash your hands frequently
  • Cover coughs and sneezes
  • Avoid touching your face

Health Canada has also advised that there is an increased risk of more severe outcomes for Canadians:

  1. aged 65 and over
  2. with compromised immune systems
  3. with underlying medical conditions

Should you need or want to contact us for programs and services such as ASL interpreting services, for the safety of yourselves and the team at Deaf & Hear Alberta the best way to reach us and avoid human to human contact at this time is through email, text, facetime, skype and other electronic means such as Facebook direct message. We are monitoring these communications lines during regular business hours. After hours and emergency services numbers remain the same.

Thank you for your understanding.    

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