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.


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!

2020-2021 Scholarship Recipients

SAC is proud to award 26 scholarships to the following student associates as part of the 2020-2021 SAC Scholarship Program:

Beach Family Graduate Scholarships

  • Nida Latif – McGill University
    • Nida Latif just finished her first year in the MScA Speech-Language Pathology program at McGill University. After finishing the program, she hopes to work with children with language difficulties related to autism and adults with aphasia. Her goal is to work towards providing more appropriate services in the uniquely multilingual environment of Montréal.
  • Isabella Speranza – University of Toronto
    • Isabella is currently a speech-language pathology student at the University of Toronto. She is extremely excited to pursue a career working in rural, underserved communities with the geriatric population after graduation. Regardless of location, every person has the right to communication and she is excited to be able to advocate for this.
  • Megan Van Kannel – McGill University
    • Isabella is currently a speech-language pathology student at the University of Toronto. She is extremely excited to pursue a career working in rural, underserved communities with the geriatric population after graduation. Regardless of location, every person has the right to communication and she is excited to be able to advocate for this.

Beach Family Placement Support Scholarships

  • Kendra Smith – Western University
    • Kendra Smith is a graduating Speech-Language Pathology student in the M.Cl.Sc. program in Communication Sciences and Disorders at Western University. She has a special interest in augmentative and alternative communication and plans to transition to work in a clinic or hospital setting in the coming months.

Communication Health Assistant Scholarship

  • Hollie Dorrington – St. Lawrence College
    • Hollie Dorrington is currently a Communicative Disorders Assistant Student at St. Lawrence College in Kingston, Ontario. After finishing school she hopes to work with children of all ages in all kinds of clinical settings.

Elks & Royal Purple Fund for Children Deborah Kully Scholarship

  • Levy Stewart-Bernard – University of Toronto

Elks & Royal Purple Fund for Children Susan Lane Scholarship

  • Jessica Kirby – McGill University
    • Jessica Kirby and is a 2nd year student in the Speech-Language Pathology program at McGill University. In a few short months, she will be starting her career as a speech-language pathologist. Jessica is open to working with a variety of clientele, however, the areas of aural rehabilitation and early intervention are of special interest to her.

Elks & Royal Purple Fund for Children Gordon Leslie Memorial Scholarships

  • Anika Talukder – McGill University
    • Anika Talukder is in her final year at McGill University with a plan to work with pre-school and school aged children using play-based intervention. She hopes to expand her clinical knowledge by attending a number of workshops and webinars.
  • Scotia McKinley – University of Toronto
    • Scotia is currently in the process of finishing her last placement as part of the University of Toronto’s Speech-Language Pathology program working with spine, orthopedics and cardiology patients at Toronto Western Hospital. She hopes to draw on the wonderful experience she has gained through this placement to continue treating adult patients in the acute and rehabilitation sectors in the future.
  • Konstantina Charamis – University of Ottawa
    • Konstantina Charamis is a MHSc candidate currently completing her studies at the University of Ottawa. Her professional focus is in adult populations with neurogenic communication disorders and her research interests include Shared Decision Making for persons with aphasia, with a commitment to socioculturally inclusive and responsive patient care. She aspires to practice in the clinical setting and to contribute to developments within the field of speech-language pathology with the goal of providing patients with optimal care and outcomes.
  • Christine Muscat – University of Toronto
    • Christine Muscat is a second year Speech-Language Pathology graduate student at the University of Toronto. She will be beginning a MSc/PhD in Rehabilitation Science at the University of Toronto in the fall of 2021. Her research will focus on investigating subacute paediatric stroke speech and language outcomes, on the path to pursue a career as a clinician-scientist.
  • Molly Clarke – McGill University
    • Molly is currently completing her final internship, marking the end of her Masters in Speech-Language Pathology at McGill University. She is very grateful to have received financial support from SAC in both her first and second years of study. Molly is a second-generation S-LP, following in her mom’s (Judy Lawlor) footsteps and hopes that one day they will be able to work together at home in Newfoundland. Molly’s clinical experience has mainly been in rehabilitation centres and she loves working in a rehab setting, both with children and adults.
  • Bianca Cava – University of Wisconsin-River Falls
  • Kaylee Miller – University of Toronto
  • Gagandeep Cheema – University of British Columbia
  • Regina Wenk – University of British Columbia
  • Mikayla Blumenthal – University of Toronto

SAC Scholarships

  • Charlotte Tai – University of British Columbia
    • Charlotte Tai is a second-year audiology student at the UBC School of Audiology and Speech Sciences. Upon completion of her Master of Science degree by summer 2021, she will be starting work as a pediatric audiologist and hopes to continue to raise awareness about hearing health for musicians.

Isabel Richard Scholarships

  • Emily White – University of Alberta
    • Emily is completing the second year of her Speech-Language Pathology degree at the University of Alberta. Her passion lies in supporting individuals in reaching their communication and swallowing goals post stroke or TBI.
  • Barbara Coelho – Laurentian University
  • Veronick Sorenson – University of Ottawa

Grace Margaret Harris Scholarship

  • Gabrielle Rouleau – McGill University

For more information about SAC’s scholarship program, please visit our website.