When a major telecommunications outage left more than 12 million users without wireless service in July 2022, the disruption was far more dire for the many Canadians dependent on accessibility apps.
"On the other hand, there are certain services specifically designed to facilitate communication between Deaf and hearing consumers, such as Video Relay Service, Message Relay Service and text with 911." "Immediate access to 911 on someone else’s mobile phone would not be possible during an outage," she said.In March, the CRTC launched a consultation with the goal of developing a framework to improve the reliability and resiliency of telecommunications networks.
"While it can be disconcerting for hearing people to be cut off during an outage, they are still able to gather information through unfettered verbal interactions from various sources including the radio," Wood wrote. "This 'one-stop' place would keep all Deaf consumers apprised of any outages," she wrote. "This one stop website would prevent miscommunication or misrepresentation amongst Deaf consumers regarding the nature, severity and duration of such outages."
She added that public service announcements were not made available in sign language formats and some Deaf people missed critical information shared throughout the day. Meanwhile, a separate submission to the CRTC from the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Coalition — a group formed by Deafness Advocacy Association Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Labrador Association of the Deaf and Ontario Association of the Deaf — raised concerns surrounding the willingness of most big telecoms to act on the issue.
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