Statement on Anti-Asian Racism

SAC strongly condemns the escalating violence against the Asian community, most recently manifested by the recent mass shooting in Atlanta. To our Asian colleagues, members, associates and friends and your families, we stand beside you in your grief, and we mourn your losses alongside you. We stand in solidarity with you and share a deep concern for the recent events, your safety and your well-being and that of your families in your communities.

SAC calls on our provincial and federal governments to reflect on their roles in addressing racist words and actions. We call on members, students and colleagues to reflect on the consequences of racist and bigoted behaviour as well as the real-world consequences for innocent people.

We call on our SAC community to:

  • Report all incidents of anti-Asian violence to authorities.
  • Provide Safe Spaces: Allow Asian Canadian friends and colleagues to share their experiences and listen to what they have to say.
  • Educate yourself and others: The most effective way to eliminate racism in all its forms is to educate yourself and those around you about other racialized people, their cultures and how racism manifests itself.

Read the full statement on our diversity page.

Medical Assistance in Dying – Update to Canadian Legislation

Credit: Government of Canada

On March 17, 2021, the Government of Canada announced that changes to Canada’s medical assistance in dying (MAID) law are officially in force. The new law includes changes to eligibility, procedural safeguards, and the framework for the federal government’s data collection and reporting regime.

The new law responds to feedback from over 300,000 Canadians, experts, practitioners, stakeholders, provinces and territories and is also informed by the testimony of over 120 expert witnesses.

Read the amended MAID law.

Specifically, the new law:

  • Removes the requirement for a person’s natural death to be reasonably foreseeable in order to be eligible for MAID, in response to the 2019 Superior Court of Québec’s Truchon ruling
  • Introduces a two-track approach to procedural safeguards based on whether or not a person’s natural death is reasonably foreseeable
    • Existing safeguards are maintained and, in some cases, eased for eligible persons whose natural death is reasonably foreseeable
    • New and strengthened safeguards are introduced for eligible persons whose natural death is not reasonably foreseeable
  • Temporarily excludes eligibility for individuals suffering solely from mental illness for 24 months, and requires the Ministers of Justice and Health to initiate an expert review tasked with making recommendations within the next year on protocols, guidance and safeguards for MAID for persons suffering from mental illness
  • Allows eligible persons whose natural death is reasonably foreseeable, and who have a set date to receive MAID, to waive final consent if they are at risk of losing capacity in the interim
  • Allows for expanded data collection and analysis through the federal monitoring regime to provide a more complete and inclusive picture of MAID in Canada

Please refer to the Government of Canada website for further details on what this change in MAID legislation means for Canadians.


New FREE Resource for S-LPs: The Brisbane Evidence-Based Language Test

Credit: Southern Cross University, Brisbane AU

A FREE reliable and valid language test for speech pathologists

The Brisbane Evidence-Based Language Test (EBLT) is a free speech-language pathology resource developed in Australia and being used by health professionals around the world.

There are a variety of types of tests available within the Brisbane EBLT available for S-LPs to download online. The test version to select is at the discretion of the treating clinician based on the clinical context and patient’s ability. The assessments examine language functioning across the severity spectrum in the areas of perception, auditory comprehension, verbal expression and reading and writing, among other things.

All versions of the Brisbane EBLT have been developed using evidence-based principles and have supporting reliability and validity data.

Learn more and download the Brisbane EBLT!


Update on Transparent Masks Available in Canada

A number of transparent masks are available or are being developed in Canada including, but not limited to:

For more information about transparent masks, Speech-Language & Audiology Canada (SAC) members and associates may wish to refer to Health Canada’s Guidance for Transparent Medical Mask Technical Specifications. SAC also recommends that members and associates seek infection prevention and control guidance from their employer or local public health agency about the level of protection that a specific transparent mask provides against COVID-19.

SAC will continue to provide SAC members and associates with information from Health Canada about the use of transparent masks as it becomes available.


S-LPs helping COVID-19 patients learn how to swallow and speak again

Credit: CTV News

This week, CTV News published an article highlighting the crucial role of S-LPs in treating COVID-19 patients on the frontline. The article also features SAC members Avital Winer, S-LP(C), Dr. Stacey Skoretz, S-LP(C) and Sarah Jane Garland, S-LP(C).

“One of the main tools used in hospitals during the pandemic has been the ventilator, a machine that supports the breathing of those battling a severe case of COVID-19 — but after weeks or months on a ventilator, recovering patients can struggle to swallow, eat, drink or even to speak. That’s where speech-language pathologists come in, fulfilling an essential, but little-known role in the frontline response to this pandemic.”

Read the full article. 


March 3 is World Hearing Day!

World Hearing Day has now passed. Watch the recording of our special World Hearing Day webinar.

World Hearing Day is an annual global advocacy event and the most extensive awareness campaign calling for action to address hearing loss and related issues. By celebrating this day, we bring additional awareness about hearing loss and the importance of ear and hearing care and enable communities worldwide to promote this important health issue as a national agenda item. This year also marks the release of the first ever World Report on Hearing.

Every year, this day addresses a specific theme. The theme of World Hearing Day 2021 is:

Hearing care for ALL!
Screen. Rehabilitate. Communicate

World Hearing Day aims to address the following:

  • Good hearing and communication are important at all stages of life.
  • Hearing loss (and related ear diseases) can be avoided through preventative actions such as: protection against loud sounds; good ear care practices and immunization.
  • Hearing loss (and related ear diseases) can be addressed when it is identified in a timely manner and appropriate care sought.
  • People at risk of hearing loss should check their hearing regularly.
  • People having hearing loss (or related ear diseases) should seek care from a health care provider.

Learn more about World Hearing Day and the World Report on Hearing.

St. Joseph’s Health Care Launches Education Toolkit for Concussion Patients

Credit: St. Joseph’s Health Care

A concussion is a brain injury caused by a hit to the head or body that forces the brain to move back and forth inside the skull. Known as an invisible injury, a concussion can affect a person’s physical, mental, behavioral and/or emotional health. While 80% of people recover from a concussion, 20% have persistent symptoms that can develop or worsen over time. If people stop activity all together, it can delay their recovery but if they push themselves too hard, it can intensify concussion symptoms.

To help patients get back to living full lives, a health care team at St. Joseph’s Health Care London’s Acquired Brain Injury (ABI) Outpatient and Outreach Program at Parkwood Institute has developed a free online toolkit for people to use at home.

“We have several programs and services that introduces patients and their family caregivers to many of these resources, but we also know there are others in the community and across our region with concussions who could benefit from the strategies developed here at Parkwood Institute. The most exciting part about this toolkit is that it was co-designed with patients and families and made possible by generous donations from former patients and several community partners. So many people and organizations have joined together to make this happen,” says ABI Program Coordinator Saagar Walia.

The ABI Education Toolkit launched February 1, 2021 and includes programs and services to provide strategies to help patients get back to life and focus on:

  • Activity and exercise
  • Sleep
  • Hearing
  • Mental health
  • Balance
  • Vision
  • Memory and attention*

Read more about St. Joseph’s ABI Education Toolkit.

*Please note that the memory and attention section of this toolkit features SAC member Penny Welch-West, S-LP(C).

Statement of Intent – Think Tank on Hearing in Later Life

Credit: International Federation on Ageing (IFA)

Ageing and hearing care sectors join forces to raise awareness of the link between hearing and healthy ageing, and the importance of improving access to hearing care for older adults

The International Federation on Ageing (IFA) together with leaders from the fields of audiology, or otolaryngology, psychology, dementia research, geriatric medicine, gerontology, academic, public health, government, industry and NGOs launch a Statement of Intent based on the findings from the “Think Tank on Hearing in Later Life” convened in November 2020.

The statement emphasizes five key areas of action that need to be taken to improve hearing care for older adults:

  1. Increase awareness and tackle stigma
  2. Synthesize and disseminate knowledge to change practice in the context of healthy ageing
  3. Articulate economic advantages of hearing care and elevating hearing loss as a public health concern
  4. Promote equity and access to hearing care
  5. Apply evidence to guide actions

Learn more by reading and sharing the messages from the Statement of Intent which is pertinent given the forthcoming WHO World Report on Hearing (launching March 3, 2021) and the UN Decade of Healthy Ageing (2021-2030) which aims to maximize the functional abilities of older people through the delivery of person-centered integrated health and social care within age-friendly environments.


Become an SAC Board Director – Deadline Extended!

Your Chance to Contribute to Your Profession!

SAC is currently seeking applications from members interested in serving on SAC’s Board of Directors for a three-year term. In 2021, there will be four (4) Director vacancies on the Board — including the role of Director-Student. Applicants must be an SAC member or associate at the time of application. The successful candidate must maintain their SAC membership for the duration of their term.

Serving on the Board is an incredible opportunity to work with and learn from leaders in the professions, represent your peers, raise the profile of communication health across Canada and gain valuable experience in the process.

If you would like to learn more about this opportunity, please visit our Board election portal.

The deadline to apply is February 15, 2021.

Q&A on New NIHB Coverage for Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) Face-to-Face Equipment and Supplies

Credit: Indigenous Services Canada’s Non-Insured Health Benefits (NIHB) Program

As of January 6, 2021, the Non-Insured Health Benefits (NIHB) Program provides coverage for Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) face-to-face equipment and supplies, as well as mounting and access equipment.

Indigenous Services Canada has put together a Q&A document on the topic to help navigate this new coverage.

Read the Q&A now!