As the national association representing communication health professionals, Speech-Language & Audiology Canada (SAC) is committed to highlighting the professions and to raising the profile of communications health in Canada.
Some of our latest advocacy initiatives include:
Official Statement Regarding Winnipeg Regional Health Authority’s (WRHA) cuts to outpatient audiology (2017)
Communication Health and End-of-Life Care Resource Tool Kits (2017)
Speech and Hearing Month 2017 Advocacy on Parliament Hill (2017)
Official Statement Regarding Government of Saskatchewan's Decision to Eliminate the Majority of Publicly Funded Audiology Services (2017)
Demand a Plan for a New National Health Accord (2017)
Don't Tax My Health Benefits Campaign (2016)
Official Statement Regarding Saskatoon Health Region Job Cuts (2016)
Early Hearing Detection and Intervention (EHDI) Progress Report and Position Statement (2016)
Speech and Hearing Month 2016 Advocacy on Parliament Hill (2016)
Vote Communication Health (2015)
Speech and Hearing Month 2015 Advocacy on Parliament Hill (2015)
Speech and Hearing Month 2014 Advocacy on Parliament Hill (2014)
The International Communication Project (2014)
Early Hearing Detection and Intervention (EHDI) Report Card (2014)
Official Statement Regarding Winnipeg Regional Health Authority’s (WRHA) cuts to outpatient audiology
In July 2017, the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority’s (WRHA) announced cuts to outpatient audiology, physiotherapy and occupational therapy services. In response, the Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists (CAOT), the Canadian Physiotherapy Association (CPA) and Speech-Language & Audiology Canada (SAC) released a joint official statement urging the WRHA to immediately consult with health professionals in the public and private sector regarding the potential negative impacts of this decision.
In June 2017, SAC released two new resource toolkits designed to inform health-care professionals, patients/clients and their loved ones about common communication and swallowing issues at the end of life. Communication health professionals are encouraged to use these resources in their practice and to share them with colleagues, patients/clients and their families.
For more information, please visit our website.
As part of our advocacy during Speech and Hearing Month, SAC's Executive Committee joined SAC staff on Parliament Hill on May 8 for meetings with Members of Parliament from all major federal political parties.
In recognition of Canada's aging population, this year's meetings focused on the crucial role speech-language pathologists and audiologists play in supporting seniors' health.
Over the month of May, SAC representatives met with more than 12 federal politicians and their staff regarding communication health issues in Canada.
Official Statement Regarding Government of Saskatchewan's Decision to Eliminate the Majority of Publicly Funded Audiology Services
In the spring of 2017, the Government of Saskatchewan announced that it would be shutting down the Hearing Aid Plan (HAP) as well as eliminating many publicly-funded audiology positions effective July 1, 2017. In response to this announcement, SAC released an official statement urging the government to consult with the province’s audiologists immediately. Read the Official Statement here.
Several major news outlets covered the issue. Here are a few of the stories:
- 'I will be living a life in silence': Sask. teen speaking out against cuts to hearing aid program
- NDP says 9 audiologist out of work over hearing aid plan cut
- Audiologists worry waits will grow after Hearing Aid Plan cut
- Hearing aid program cut sparks family frustration
- Budget cuts to audiologists painful for struggling family
In February 2017, the Canadian Medical Association, on behalf of Demand a Plan supporters, issued an open letter to Prime Minister Trudeau and his colleagues in Parliament repeating their call for action on seniors care and asking the Prime Minister to keep his promise for a new national Health Accord.
The Demand a Plan campaign was launched as part of the Alliance for a National Seniors Strategy. SAC is one of more than 70 participating partners in the Alliance.
In response to reports that the federal government was considering a tax on employer-sponsored health benefit plans, SAC joined a group of allied health-care organizations, including the Canadian Dental Association, Canadian Chiropractic Association and Canadian Physiotherapy Association, in urging the federal government against taxing these essential health care services.
To raise awareness about the negative impact of this proposed change, health-care associations, including SAC, hosted a press conference on Parliament Hill in late December 2016 and launched the Don't Tax My Health Benefits campaign. Response to the campaign was overwhelming, with over 130,000 Canadians emailing their local MP and federal Minister of Finance Bill Morneau to voice their concerns about this proposed tax.
SAC also sent a letter directly to Minister Morneau expressing our concerns about the effect the proposed tax change could have on speech-language pathology and audiology services across Canada.
In autumn 2016, following cuts to audiology and speech-language pathology positions by the Saskatoon Health Region, SAC released an Official Statement urging the health region to reinstate the positions immediately. Read the Official Statement here.
Major news outlets in Saskatchewan covered the story. Here are a few of the stories:
- Audiologist group slams health region cuts (Saskatoon StarPhoenix)
- Cuts to audiologists at SHR detrimental, mom says (CTV News)
- Longer waits for hearing aids after Saskatoon Health Region job cuts, says union (CBC)
On January 18, 2016, the Canadian Infant Hearing Task Force (CIHTF) released a progress report on the state of early hearing detection and intervention (EHDI) programs in Canada. The EHDI Progress Report is an interim status update on the EHDI Report Card, which the task force released in 2014. The CIHTF — a collaboration between SAC and the Canadian Academy of Audiology (CAA) — also released its first official EHDI Position Statement in January 2016.
To learn more, visit our EHDI page.
Speech and Hearing Month 2016’s advocacy campaign focused on the need for a national seniors strategy. SAC met with four MPs who are also members of the Standing Committee on Health (HESA) and spoke with them in detail about the importance of having a national seniors strategy — one that includes timely, publicly-funded communication health services for seniors with communication, hearing, balance and swallowing disorders.
In the lead up to the 2015 Canadian federal election, SAC launched an energetic advocacy campaign to push communication health issues to the forefront. At the heart of our Vote Communication Health Campaign was an easy-to-use online platform that allowed members, associates and the public to send pre-written letters to all of their local candidates running for election.
The Vote Communication Health campaign ensured that over 200 elected MPs heard from their constituents about communication health. It prompted responses from all five major political parties. In total, 2,745 letters were sent to 898 federal election candidates.
As part of SAC’s ongoing advocacy work, the association maintained it's presence on Parliament Hill in 2015. SAC CEO Joanne Charlebois and SAC Board Director Li Qi, PhD, RAUD, Aud(C), met with two MPs from the New Democratic Party (NDP). Peter Julian, the Official Opposition House Leader and representative for Burnaby-New Westminster, and Pierre Dionne Labelle, representative for Rivière-du-Nord. Both MPs sat down with Ms. Charlebois and Dr. Qi to discuss the association’s Communication Health and Aging Campaign and the urgent need for a national dementia strategy. At the time of this meeting, the NDP did not have a position on the issue. SAC therefore took the opportunity to discuss the association’s involvement in the Demand a Plan Campaign and to share additional resources like SAC’s new Communication Health and Aging brochure.
The day before our 2014 conference began, 39 SAC delegates gathered on Parliament Hill for an advocacy day dedicated to communication health. The goal was to urge decision-makers across the country to prioritize communication health. The day began with a press conference, followed by 38 meetings with MPs, including seven official opposition critics, four cabinet ministers and the Prime Minister’s Office. At these meetings, delegates asked MPs to sign a letter addressed to Hon. Rona Ambrose, Minister of Health, asking Ms. Ambrose and her department to recognize the importance of communication health and take a leadership role at the federal level. Delegates also encouraged MPs to pledge their support for the Universal Declaration of Communication Rights. SAC capped off the day by hosting a reception at the parliamentary restaurant for SAC delegates, MPs and senators alike. Representatives from 10 federal offices were present at the reception.
In 2014, SAC joined together with five other organizations from around the world to found the International Communication Project (ICP). The purpose of this initiative is to advocate for people with communication disorders at an international level and assure communication is recognized as a basic human right. To date, thousands of people have signed the Universal Declaration of Communication Rights, millions have learned about the project from news coverage and events around the world and dozens of organizations have joined the project as participants. As an ICP founding organization, SAC continues to work to raise awareness about the importance of communications as a basic human right.
You can help by signing the Universal Declaration of Communication Rights, submitting a story or photo for the ICP website and by telling your friends, family, colleagues, clients and patients about the project.
In 2014, SAC released a report card on the State of EHDI Programs in Canada at a national press conference on Parliament Hill.
The report card was developed by SAC and the Canadian Academy of Audiology (collectively operating as the CIHTF). It was endorsed by the Canadian Paediatric Society, the Elks and Royal Purple of Canada and VOICE for Hearing Impaired Children. The purpose of the press conference was not only to launch the report card, but also urge the federal government to take a leadership role and work with provinces and territories to implement comprehensive EHDI programs across the country. SAC believes this is a national issue: every child in Canada should have access to an excellent EHDI program, regardless of where they live.