OAD's Update on Services Available to the Deaf Community during COVID-19.

Image description and transcript for the video “OAD’s Update on Services Available to the Deaf Community during COVID-19”

[Image description: Donald Prong is wearing a black shirt with OAD Logo. He is wearing glasses and is in front of a grey background. He will be signing in the whole video]

Donald Prong:

Hello everyone - Deaf Ontarians from all across the province. This is my third vlog.

This vlog will discuss what services for Deaf people in Ontario currently looks like.

As you are already aware of, many organizations and services are currently closed, although many of them are still providing some service at a minimum I am going to explain more about these services.

First - BRCCED (Bob Rumball Canadian Centre of Excellence for the Deaf) and BRHD (Bob Rumball Home for the Deaf) located in Toronto and Barrie - they are closed. Visiting friends at these locations are not allowed. They will not be accepting new clients. Intakes are currently put on hold. The only exception is if a Deaf person who has a health crisis and is near death and needs admittance to BRHD. Again, the Deaf person must have had a serious health crisis.

Secondly, Silent Voice is also closed. However, some of their services are still providing some information and tips, such as sharing some vlogs in ASL relating to COVID-19. One of their staff, Thinaja, have been doing some good vlogs that you can access on their website and Facebook page. From now and on, we hope to share these vlogs on our social media outlets. We will also be distributing their new vlogs to our members as we are aware that many of you do not have Facebook.

Thirdly, CHS is also closed with the exception of their their interpreting services that will be made available for emergencies only, particularly for medical crises such as emergency surgery or relating to COVID-19. I asked if interpreting will be provided remotely (VRI) but I was advised they will try their best to provide an in-person interpreter. I was also told that their interpreters have been trained to prevent as much as possible their exposure to infectious diseases so they are able to enter hospitals to interpret. Interpreters will not be available to interpret regular medical appointments and these appointments will be cancelled. They will be focusing on emergencies only.

I also asked about counselling services, particularly during this time of anxiety and uncertainty and there may be people who need someone to talk with. CHS responded that they are aware of this concern and is currently trying to figure out how to best provide this in the near future.

Also, our Deaf schools are currently closed. Recently, our Minister of Education announced that our schools will continue to be closed after April 6. They are still working on how to continue to provide academic learning for our children. Please look at their website for more information or contact your school.

Thank you for your time to watch this vlog.