1. Health
You can opt-out at any time. Please refer to our privacy policy for contact information.

Canada's Deaf Community


Updated October 12, 2011

Due to Canada's size, it impossible to present a comprehensive picture of the deaf and hard of hearing community of Canada. Instead, what follows should be considered representative of Canada's deaf and hard of hearing community. From schools for the deaf to captioning service providers, it is all there in Canada.

Canadian Deaf and Hard of Hearing Organizations

Canada has at least five key national organizations for deaf and hard of hearing people:

Canadian Association of the Deaf

The Canadian Association of the Deaf (CAD)(http://www.cad.ca), around since 1940, calls itself the national consumer organization for 300,000 deaf people. CAD researches data on and writes reports about key deaf issues. CAD has also drafted multiple position papers on topics ranging from Health Care to Youth. The CAD office in Ontario is home to a resource center on deafness. The Association regularly carries out projects focused on improving the quality of life for deaf people. One project is the Visible Languages Translation Initiative Project, which expands access to video relay services in public places such as banks.

Canadian Cultural Society of the Deaf

Founded in 1970, the Canadian Cultural Society of the Deaf (CCSD) (http://www.deafculturecentre.ca) became a nonprofit in 1973. The Society claims to represent over 450,000 deaf Canadians. Instead of issues and rights, the Cultural Society's focus is on culture. It supports various aspects of deaf culture such as the arts and literature.

One way the Society supports deaf culture is through its deaf culture center in Old Town Toronto, with a museum, research, and archives. Like any cultural center, the Society holds programs and workshops for arts, culture, and history. CCSD has also produced deaf television programs and websites. In fact, its website is a virtual museum, with video. The virtual museum is divided into visual arts, language, and place (museum pieces such as an 1890s sign language alphabet poster). In addition, the site has online learning guides.

Canadian Hearing Society

The Canadian Hearing Society (http://www.chs.ca/ )is a services organization founded in 1940, offering services in four category areas: accessibility services including deafblind services and communication access realtime translation (CART); hearing healthcare; counseling, and education. Within these four categories are services such as employment assistance, speechreading lessons, assistive listening devices, and hearing aids. These services are offered via 28 offices in Ontario. In addition to services, CHS also has publications on deafness and hearing loss, and publishes a magazine, Vibes.

Canadian Hard of Hearing Association

Hard of hearing people in Canada are represented by the Canadian Hard of Hearing Association (CHHA) (http://chha.ca), which was established in 1982. This association has 53 branches and nine provincial chapters, and holds annual conferences. Their website offers several publications, and some of the free topics include education, employment, noise, and speechreading. There are also free downloadable posters. The CHHA publishes Listen/Écoute magazine, and has a scholarship program for hard of hearing, oral, and late deafned college students. The scholarship program provides two scholarships, both of which honor people who had been original founders of the CHHA.

Deaf Diversity in Canada

Canada's deaf and hard of hearing gay community has three organizations. One is the Association Des Gais et Lesbiennes Sourds, Inc. Two others are the Ontario Rainbow Alliance of the Deaf, and the British Columbia Rainbow Alliance of the Deaf.

The Canadian deaf-blind community has two organizations. The first is the Canadian National Society of the Deaf-Blind (http://www.deafblindcanada.ca). The CNSDB is an advocacy organization that advocates for deaf-blind services and educates hearing people about deaf-blindness. The second is the Canadian Deafblind Association of Canada (CDBA)( http://www.cdbanational.com). The CDBA is also an advocacy organization and maintains a list of services for deaf-blind people in Canada. Together, the CNSDB and the CDBA have formed the Canadian Deaf-Blind Council Inc. (http://www.cdbc-csac.ca) to provide a united voice for advocacy.

Other Deaf Community Organizations

Besides the aforementioned key organizations, Canada also has a handful of other organizations for people in the deaf and hard of hearing community. Silent Voice Canada (http://www.silentvoice.ca/) is an organization that promotes sign language to family members. For example, Silent Voice has a sign language summer program for children. Services for adults include a deaf parenting program. Deaf Youth Canada (http://www.deafyouth.ca/) is for deaf Canadians between 18 and 30 years old, and it focuses on issues such as education, and offers a leadership camp for deaf youth.

The Bob Rumball Foundation For The Deaf (http://www.bobrumball.org)is a large organization composed of four wings: The Rumball Centre for the Deaf (a community center and a service provider. Services include a residential program for deaf adults with additional disabilities, and preschool programs); Bob Rumball Associations for the Deaf (social services such as services for multihandicapped deaf people); Bob Rumball Home for the Deaf (for deaf seniors), and Bob Rumball Camp for the Deaf (summer camp and winter activities).

Western Canada is home to the Western Institute for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (http://www.widhh.com). All of their offices are in British Columbia. The Institute offers hearing healthcare services, interpreting services, assistive listening devices, and employment guidance.

Deaf Canada Conference

Deaf and hard of hearing Canadians can enjoy an annual national conference, the Deaf Canada Conference. This annual conference that celebrates deaf culture, began in 1973. At the conference, workshops are held and papers presented. Typical workshop topics include literacy, interpreting, and business.

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.

We comply with the HONcode standard
for trustworthy health
information: verify here.