Human Rights Win for Deaf and Hard of Hearing

Posted by Johannes Schenk on October 11th, 2006 — Posted in Human Rights Law

The Canadian Association Of The Deaf, James Roots, Gary Milkowski, Barbara Lagrange and Marie Lou Cassie and Her Majesty The Queen, 2006 FC 971, a recent decision of the Federal Court of Canada deals with deaf and hard of hearing rights in Canada.

The case holds that the Federal Government’s failure to provide interpretive sign language services to allow hearing impaired individuals access to government services was a section 15 Charter breach. Justice Mosley ordered that:

THIS COURT HEREBY ORDERS AND ADJUDGES that:

1. Professional sign language interpretation services are to be provided and paid for by the Government of Canada, upon request, where a deaf or hard of hearing person receives services from or participates in programs administered by the Government of Canada and the nature of communication between the government and the person requires such services;

2. 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 Canadians have identifiable interests and the nature of communications requires such services, visual interpretation services are to be provided and paid for by the Government of Canada to allow the meaningful participation of organizations representing the deaf and hard of hearing communities;

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