VRS Update

Hello members,

VRS is coming to Canada! This is an exciting time for everyone. AVLIC is thrilled that the hard work of the Canadian Deaf community and their allies is finally coming to fruition!

AVLIC would like to commend the Canadian Administrator of VRS (CAV) board of directors and staff on all of their work in bringing the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission’s (CRTC) recommendations to life. We wait in anticipation for the launch of VRS.

At the AVLIC 2016 conference, the CAV board chair, Cynthia Benoit, and ASL permanent invitee, Marty Taylor, gave a presentation to conference delegates about CAV’s activities. During this presentation questions were fielded from those in attendance. Following this presentation, and in response to some commonly asked questions, the AVLIC Board requested a meeting with the CAV Executive Director, Sue Decker, to discuss certain issues further.

As mentioned in a message to the members from the AVLIC Board dated August 25, 2016 a meeting between AVLIC and the CAV had been arranged. This meeting took place on August 31, 2016, online, through a video conference platform. In attendance of the meeting was:

●      AVLIC Past President, Jocelyn Mark

●      AVLIC President, Ashley Campbell

●      CAV Executive Director, Sue Decker

●      CAV Project Consultant / Acting COO/CFO, Jonathan Masters.

AVLIC would like to again thank Ms. Decker and Mr. Masters for taking the time from their busy schedules leading up to the launch of VRS to meet with AVLIC and listen to our concerns.

Items brought forward by AVLIC for discussion at this meeting were:

●      Membership to a professional interpreter association as part of the condition of employment for interpreters working in the Canadian VRS setting

●      Grievance processes for consumers

●      Video Interpreter Providers (VIPs) in British Columbia and Occupational Title Protection (OTP).

Membership requirements

The CRTC did not mandate the CAV to require interpreters working in the Canadian VRS setting to hold membership from professional interpreter associations, such as AVLIC, AQILS, or RID. The CAV has also decided to not mandate the Video Interpreter Providers (VIPs) it has contracted with (Convo, SLIAO and Sivet) to require the interpreters working for them to be members of a professional interpreter association. However, the CAV has stated that the VIPs are free to add the requirement of membership to a professional interpreter association as part of the VIP’s hiring process.

AVLIC is committed to advocating for the exclusive employment AVLIC Active members in good standing as ASL-English interpreters. AVLIC and WAVLI have jointly reached out to Convo, welcoming them to the Canadian VRS landscape. In our letter, we provided information about AVLIC’s programs and services.  We look forward to building a positive relationship with Convo, and to promoting the benefits of exclusively hiring AVLIC Active members in good standing as ASL-English interpreters in the Canadian VRS setting.

CAV Grievance Process

As mandated by the CRTC (click here, see section 121) , the CAV has developed an internal customer service department that will handle complaints, compliments and feedback from consumers. AVLIC respects this internal process. In keeping with the recommendations for the Professional Compliance Review Process (see # 28), any concerns brought forward to the AVLIC PCRP regarding an AVLIC member’s professional conduct while working in an environment subjected to an employer-specific internal grievance process, those concerns will be forwarded to the employer for resolution. During the meeting between AVLIC and the CAV, the CAV stated they will provide more information to Canadians about the CAV’s customer service department in the near future.

Video Interpreter Providers (VIPs) in British Columbia and OTP

WAVLI, our Affiliate Chapter in BC, holds Occupational Title Protection (OTP) over the following 3 registered titles

●      Registered ASL/English Interpreter

●      Registered Sign Language Interpreter

●      Registered Visual Language Interpreter

Any job posting / position that includes one of the three protected titles must also require the hired candidates to hold Active AVLIC / WAVLI membership.

As mentioned earlier in this communication, Convo is opening a video relay call center in Vancouver, BC. According to the CAV, the position title of any interpreter working in the Canadian VRS environment will be “Video Interpreter (VI)”.

AVLIC has had conversations with WAVLI and offered support in determining how OTP applies to VIP hiring practices within the province of British Columbia.

Representatives from AVLIC and WAVLI will meet to discuss the issue further - date to be determined. The membership will be updated as details unfold.

Meeting Wrap Up

At the end of the meeting Ms. Decker and Mr. Masters asked for patience, trust, and good faith. With the VRS launch date being less than a month away, the CAV is very focused on the beta testing and preparing for the launch. They stated they will be in a better position for feedback after the launch. 

AVLIC continues to work to support our members and the communities we serve. Should you have any questions or concerns about the content found in this message, please feel free to contact the AVLIC President at: president@avlic.ca.


Ashley Campbell

AVLIC President on behalf of the 2016-2018 Board of Directors