Securing a strong and sustainable future
In 2016-2017, the Board of Directors took on the important role of validating the Canadian Hearing Society’s Strategic Plan, which has determined the direction of the organization for the next three years. Over this past year, the Board has been committed to supporting the CEO and the executive leadership team in executing the Strategic Plan, and ensuring the plan remains a living document.
We are passionate about the Strategic Plan and the direction of the organization. We are equally committed to a financially responsible organization that delivers the highest quality programs, products and services to produce a positive impact on the greatest number of lives from coast to coast.
The Board’s key priorities are to eliminate risk for the Canadian Hearing Society and to support the organization’s operational direction to strengthen and grow across the country. We are your champions of donor dollars and your stewards of tax dollars. As overseers of the business activities of the Canadian Hearing Society, we take our fiduciary responsibility very seriously. The board remains committed to full and complete accountability and to ensuring ongoing risk mitigation.
The Board is also cognisant of the fact that we’ve inherited a 78-year legacy. As guardians of that legacy, we feel responsible to honour the history of the organization. In addition, we are resolved to securing a strong, vibrant and sustainable future for CHS and the people that we serve.
As Board Chair, I want to thank the directors who voluntarily give their time and their intellect to supporting the mission, vision and direction of the Canadian Hearing Society. On behalf of the Board, we want to thank our CEO, Julia Dumanian, whose strong leadership of the organization and partnership with the Board advances our mandate: bringing our strategic plan to life.
When the Canadian Hearing Society is successful, the Deaf and hard of hearing communities across Canada are the direct beneficiaries. Working together, we can continue to look forward to an even brighter future for this organization.
CHS committed to quality, innovation and growth
When the Canadian Hearing Society unveiled its 2017-2020 Strategic Plan last year, it established our priority and intention to move the organization, Canada’s premiere provider of professional services and products for Deaf and hard of hearing Canadians, to the next level.
I am proud to say that we did what we set out to do; we focused on initiatives that brought the Strategic Plan to life and established our pre-eminence as the service provider for people who are Deaf and hard of hearing.
Last year, we broke all records for the number of clients we served, products sold, and fundraising dollars earned. These robust results reflect our clients’ satisfaction and trust in our commitment to quality in everything we do. Backed by their support and confidence, we will continue to create innovative products and services, and push forward to build a national presence.
We have always made it our business to be exceptional in all that we do but we have never been content to rest on our laurels. To be the best, you must constantly raise the bar. This drive for continuous improvement, fueled by dedication and hard work, led to the Canadian Hearing Society achieving Primer Accreditation Status from Accreditation Canada. We are proud to be the only organization in our field to hold this designation.
What does accreditation mean for our clients? It means that we adhere to a rigorous commitment to uncompromising quality, safety and reliability in what we provide. It confirms and underscores that we are the leading destination for Deaf and hard of hearing Canadians. Accreditation touches our entire organization and we will continue to work as a team to earn accreditation in the years ahead.
We are passionate about what we do and are experts in our field. These qualities have helped shape the organization for more than 78 years. Our Strategic Plan will allow us to continue building on our history and to become a modern, progressive and professional organization that is evolving, growing and expanding.
Technology is the great equalizer and enabler for our clients. Over the past year, we developed several communications products that enable greater and broader participation for Deaf and hard of hearing Canadians.
First, we developed an exciting new video remote interpreting app, WaveLink, that is breaking barriers for Deaf Canadians by providing greater access to communication and improving integration and independent living.
We also introduced a new toll-free number and video call capability that has simplified client access to the Canadian Hearing Society while maintaining consistently high levels of service.
We take our responsibility to our clients very seriously. No one understands the needs of Deaf and hard of hearing Canadians like we do. No one is more dedicated to meeting their needs than we are. Our unwavering support and commitment to be the best provider of programs, services and products to our community is ingrained in the hearts and minds of our staff. It will continue to be a core value, defining who we are into the future.
As always, I would like to thank the Board of Directors for their determination, tenacity, and support in 2017-2018. With the backing of our donors, partners, and passionate, professional staff members, we will continue to bring our Strategic Plan to life in 2018-2019 by providing support and industry-leading service and care to our clients across the country.
President and CEO
Board of Directors – 2017/18
Timothy Andrade – Chair, Board of Directors
Albert Brulé – Chair, Governance Committee
Mark Wafer – Vice Chair, Board of Directors
– Chair, Finance and Audit
Julia Dumanian – Corporate Secretary
Dr. Donna Bain
The Honourable David C. Onley
Executive Leadership Team
Julia Dumanian – President and CEO
Dr. Chantal Graveline – VP, Clinical and Community Services
Gary Malkowski – VP, Stakeholder and Employer Relations
Shane Silver – VP, Innovation and Enterprise Development
To be the leading organization serving Deaf and hard of hearing Canadians by advancing a barrier-free society.
To provide industry-leading services and products that enable Deaf and hard of hearing Canadians to overcome barriers to participation.
New corporate video showcases CHS impact on clients
In the spring of 2018, the Canadian Hearing Society developed a new corporate video to highlight its wide range of programs and services and the impact they have on the lives of Deaf and hard of hearing Canadians.
CHS is dedicated to maintaining the highest standards in everything we do, from our products to programs to services. That commitment to quality is rooted in our expertise as service providers for people who are Deaf and hard of hearing and ensures our clients are receiving professional, accountable service delivery from coast to coast.
Primer Accreditation status highlights CHS commitment to quality
In July 2018, after months of ambitious and rigorous preparation, the Canadian Hearing Society proudly announced that it had successfully achieved Primer Accreditation Status with Accreditation Canada.
Accreditation is an ongoing process of assessing healthcare and social services organizations against standards of excellence to identify areas of expertise and opportunities for development.
There are many accreditation benchmarks against which CHS was measured, including industry standards and Required Organizational Practices. CHS was assessed against these measures by a team of Accreditation Canada surveyors who met with and interviewed staff and clients at CHS offices across the province.
CHS will use the results of Accreditation Canada’s assessments to improve the quality and safety of its services as the organization continues to grow.
CHS voluntarily participates in the accreditation process to demonstrate its commitment to continued improvement and excellence in client care and will continue to work with Accreditation Canada on its quality journey.
Having achieved Primer status from Accreditation Canada, the Canadian Hearing Society will now move on to the next phase of accreditation: Qmentum. During this next phase, the Canadian Hearing Society will continue to take part in ongoing self-assessments to determine areas which require improvement and then undertake quality improvement projects to address these areas.
Our whole organization is involved in accreditation, from staff to board members, clients and other consumers, and families. Working toward this next phase of accreditation is part of our ongoing commitment to quality and safety in our service delivery.
Working towards a career in healthcare with CHS support
In 2016, Mariam, who was born deaf, had been working towards becoming a registered nurse with the goal of one day supporting the healthcare needs of the Deaf community. She wanted to find out if there were any other Deaf healthcare professionals in Canada, so she contacted the Canadian Hearing Society.
While staff from CHS assisted with her search, Mariam was amazed to learn about the many other programs and services that CHS offers, including American Sign Language classes. Mariam was raised oral deaf, meaning she uses speech to communicate, but she had recently become interested in sign language after meeting an interpreter in university. Soon after, Mariam enrolled in her first ASL classes at CHS. She also purchased several communication devices from CHS, including products like amplified alarm clocks – to make sure she’s on time for class!
Mariam’s journey with the Canadian Hearing Society continued in the summer of 2017, when she was accepted as a research assistant at the Hamilton office. During her internship, Mariam researched the prevalence of accessibility and disability services at post-secondary institutions across Canada and presented her findings to senior management.
“I greatly enjoyed my experience as a summer student; my colleagues and manager were all tremendously supportive during my time there,” Mariam says. “I am happy that organizations like the Canadian Hearing Society exist, so that people like myself, who are Deaf and hard of hearing, can enjoy barrier-free participation in all aspects of their lives.”
Last year, more than 1,400 students were enrolled in American Sign Language (ASL) classes at CHS.
How CHS’s support put my daughter on the path to success
When my daughter, Victoria, was born premature, doctors discovered she had many potentially life-threatening health issues. One issue produced an excess of toxins in her system which, in turn, caused irreversible damage to the nerves in her ears. But because there was such an intense focus on keeping Victoria healthy on a day-to-day basis, her hearing loss wasn’t identified until she started school.
Language had always seemed confusing and frustrating for Victoria and she would often have massive temper tantrums. So, we scheduled a hearing test. There, we learned she had developed an 80% hearing loss in both ears. I was devastated to learn hearing loss was the root of her frustrations.
Now we knew she needed hearing aids, so I turned to the Canadian Hearing Society.
With the help of our CHS audiologist, we were not only able to get Victoria’s hearing aids, but we learned about other products and services available to us. With the Canadian Hearing Society’s advocacy and support, Victoria was enrolled in an Individualized Education Program at school, she received assistive listening devices to use in the classroom, and we learned communication strategies and how to advocate for Victoria’s needs with teachers.
Without the Canadian Hearing Society’s support, I feel like Victoria would have been labelled a “problem child” with behavioural issues. The Canadian Hearing Society was so instrumental in making sure we got in contact with the right people and helped navigate the system to make sure Victoria had the best education possible.
Our whole family dynamic changed, too. With the Canadian Hearing Society’s help, we learned to adapt of communication style, to really listen to each other, and to respect our limitations.
Years later, the Canadian Hearing Society was still there to support us when Victoria was accepted into the Nursing Program at Nipissing University. We made sure she went to a school that had the best accessibility resources possible, including notetakers and even a specialized stethoscope designed for someone with hearing loss. Thanks, in part, to these supports, I am so proud to say that Victoria is now working as a full-time nurse at North Bay Regional Health Centre.
Victoria is an amazing young woman and I don’t think she’d be on the successful, driven path she’s on today without the help of the Canadian Hearing Society.
Thank you, CHS!
Client satisfaction survey results very positive for CHS
Following the approval of CHS’s new Strategic Plan in September 2017, a client satisfaction survey was created to measure and solicit feedback from clients accessing clinical services provided by Canadian Hearing Society.
550 clients from CHS’s Audiology and Counselling programs completed the survey in October 2017. Respondents were clients who received an appointment between April 1 to September 30, 2017. The survey was available in multiple languages (English, ASL, French, LSQ, Simplified Chinese, Russian and Portuguese).
Key findings include:
- Eight out of ten respondents (83%) were satisfied or very satisfied with the care and services they received from CHS;
- 87% of respondents were satisfied or very satisfied with the high level of staff understanding and response to their needs;
- 88% of respondents felt they were treated with dignity and respect by CHS staff;
- 85% felt satisfied or very satisfied with how long it takes to receive services from CHS; and
- 77% of respondents were satisfied with their own involvement in planning personalized care;
The results are testament to the hard work, talents and commitment of CHS’s highly skilled, professional staff. CHS will use the survey results to look for opportunities to strengthen our services and better support our clients to high quality person and family centred care.
Continuing best-in-class service thanks to new collective agreement
In late June 2018, members of CUPE Local 2073, the local representing the Canadian Hearing Society’s unionized employees, voted overwhelmingly to ratify a new three-year collective agreement with CHS. The new agreement allows CHS to continue delivering essential programs and services to Deaf and hard of hearing Canadians with the invaluable support of CUPE Local 2073 members.
Both negotiating teams worked collaboratively to create a modern, progressive and professional agreement, allowing CHS to continue to deliver best-in-class programs, products, and services for the thousands of clients and families it serves.
From client to classroom
Julio, who is Deaf, came to Employment Services at CHS looking for part-time work. Working with his Employment Services consultant, he refined his cover letter and resume and attended career events while pursuing a new job. What he didn’t expect was that his experience as a CHS client would lead him to the classroom as an ASL instructor.
CHS counsellor goes ‘beyond call of duty’ for veteran
In 2012, Armand, a retired Canadian Armed Forces veteran, was feeling discouraged. The Ottawa resident lived alone and had been facing challenges with hearing loss over the past couple of years. He struggled hearing on the telephone and was shocked to find how cruel some people could be when he didn’t understand them.
To compound matters, when Armand went looking for hearing aids, he felt he was being pushed by salespeople into making a purchase he couldn’t afford.
So when he came to the Canadian Hearing Society, he was relieved to discover his Hearing Care Counsellor Barbara Christopher was sympathetic and understanding to his situation.
With Barbara’s assistance, Armand secured benefits from Veteran’s Affairs that would allow him a new pair of hearing aids every four years.
To ensure Armand’s healthcare was accessible, Barbara also accompanied him to appointments and provided the doctor and his staff strategies on how to best communicate during appointments.
Since Armand no longer drives, Barbara also advocated on Armand’s behalf to a local public transportation alternative after Armand struggled communicating with staff over the phone.
Over the last few years, Armand’s hearing has continued to deteriorate. As a result, Barbara has been offering additional assistance, providing coping strategies for day-to-day activities to improve quality of life and to reduce feelings of isolation, loneliness, and frustration.
“Barbara has always gone above and beyond the call of duty,” Armand says. “She is a true ambassador for the Canadian Hearing Society.”
Last year, more than 6,800 clients were served by the Canadian Hearing Society’s counselling programs.
Adjusting to life in Canada with support from CHS
My name is Nguyet Duong-Seto and I am Deaf. I was born in Vietnam. I have 13 siblings, all who currently live in Vietnam, including two sisters and one brother who are also Deaf.
I first came to Canada from Vietnam after marrying my Canadian husband, who is also Deaf. I love Canada, but when I first arrived, English, American Sign Language (ASL) and Canadian culture were all unfamiliar to me. Thankfully, my husband introduced me to the Language Instruction for Newcomers to Canada program at the Canadian Hearing Society in Mississauga in 2008.
Over the last 10 years, I worked very hard studying English and ASL, and learning about Canadian culture. My skills and knowledge have improved very well.
Through the LINC program, I was also able to get my G1 driver’s license. And just last year, I was able to successfully become a Canadian citizen! I feel very proud of myself!
The LINC program at the Canadian Hearing Society has served me very well. I am very thankful to Maureen Mitchell, Laura Walker and Lisa Near at the Canadian Hearing Society for all their wonderful support over the years. Thank you, CHS!
In an ever-changing world of new technologies and ideas, creating fresh and unique products and modes of service delivery is vital to future success. CHS places a special emphasis on developing innovative products and services, because we know how crucial they are to ensuring barrier-free participation for our clients.
New toll-free number and video call capabilities improve access to CHS
In February 2018, the Canadian Hearing Society launched its new 1-866 number for all offices, programs and services, allowing individuals from anywhere in Canada to easily reach CHS via voice, video, TTY and fax.
People contacting the Canadian Hearing Society can now call a single, toll-free phone number (1-866-518-0000) or use video to communicate in American Sign Language (ASL) or la langue des signes québécoise (LSQ).
This change is increasing access for Deaf, hard of hearing and hearing people across Canada, simplifying how people reach us, and helping ensure every client receives the same high level of service.
Revolutionary new interpreting app provides equal access for all
In 2018, the Canadian Hearing Society formally launched WaveLink, an on-demand, mobile app which connects you with a CHS-approved sign language interpreter from anywhere in the country.
With the click of a button, WaveLink allows convenient, reliable three-way communication between Deaf and hearing individuals through a remote sign language interpreter.
WaveLink is useful in a multitude of work environments, including banking, transportation, hospitality, recreation, and government social services – anywhere that customer service is important. The technology is secure, confidential and helps ensure businesses are meeting requirements of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act.
Easy to set up and simple to use, WaveLink is compatible with most smartphones, tablets, and operating systems.
WaveLink is just one of many exciting ways that the Canadian Hearing Society is using technology to providing equal access for all Canadians.
Last year, CHS received more than 31,000 requests for interpreting services, including ASL interpreting, LSQ interpreting, video remote interpreting, and Deaf Interpreters.
Expanding our programs and services to help support even more clients is a top priority for the Canadian Hearing Society. Our strategic goal to create a national presence will propel the organization to new heights in the near future. By serving more clients, we’re positively impacting more lives of Deaf and hard of hearing Canadians and advancing a barrier-free society.
Expanding our summer student program to support more youth
In the summer of 2017, the Canadian Hearing Society expanded its summer student program yet again, inviting 18 post-secondary students to work at 14 CHS offices across the province (up from a record 16 students and 10 offices the previous year). The expansion also saw a more Deaf and hard of hearing students hired than ever before, while placements were longer on average, allowing students to gain even more valuable work experiences in an accessible environment.
Next year, CHS will expand and grow the program even further, highlighting our commitment to supporting and providing more opportunities for our young consumers.
CHS expands services into Quebec
On January 1, 2018, CHS expanded communication device sales to residents in Quebec by entering a multi-year contract. Any Quebec resident presenting a doctor’s referral and proof of consultation with an audiologist is eligible.
An estimated 350,000 Deaf and hard of hearing residents in Quebec will have greater access to high-quality communications devices – including custom-designed smoke detectors, amplified phones, and alarm clocks – as part of the Canadian Hearing Society’s efforts to serve more communities across Canada.
Last year, Deaf and hard of hearing Canadians benefited from more than 21,000 hearing aids and communication devices provided by CHS – a 31% increase year over year.
CHS awarded funding for Supported Employment Program
The Canadian Hearing Society has been awarded significant incremental funding for the 2018-2019 Supported Employment program. The program, funded by the Ontario Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development (MAESD), is specifically designed for individuals who face complex barriers to employment due to a disability. Support Employment furthers the Ontario Government’s commitment to inclusivity and enhancing services for those with disabilities, as well as its confidence in the Canadian Hearing Society as a leading organization for service delivery to Canadians who are Deaf and hard of hearing.
The program is focused on job placement and increasing employability skills for those with disabilities in communities including Timmins and Belleville. The Canadian Hearing Society will bolster its existing Employment Services programs in Belleville and Timmins to help people who are Deaf or hard of hearing secure competitive and long-term employment in the community.
Since 2014, the Canadian Hearing Society has supported more than 3,800 Deaf and hard of hearing clients in finding employment and placed more than 235 individuals in jobs each year.
Our donors made an unprecedented difference in the lives of Deaf and hard of hearing Canadians last year. Thank you to you and our other supporters for your extraordinary generosity and commitment, and the difference you continue to make in the lives of the people we serve.
Record number of life-changing scholarships presented at CHS golf event
When the Canadian Hearing Society introduced its National Scholarship Program in the spring of 2017, it attracted a flurry of applicants from Deaf and hard of hearing students from across the country. After careful review by a select committee of Deaf, hard of hearing and hearing business leaders, the applications produced 11 scholarship winners who were officially announced at CHS’s 2nd annual President’s Golf Tournament in September 2017.
The announcement marked the largest number of scholarships and the highest value awarded to students in the organization’s history. Thanks to the financial support from sponsors and participants, the golf tournament raised a record $225,000, with proceeds directed back into CHS’s National Scholarship Fund.
We are committed to providing even more life-changing financial support for Deaf and hard of hearing students and have set an ambitious goal to raise $1.5 million over the next few years to ensure CHS’s scholarship program remains sustainable in the future.
Breaking Barriers contest raises awareness, funds for scholarship program
In the spring of 2018, the Canadian Hearing Society launched a new contest and fundraising initiative called Breaking Barriers to help raise awareness and donations in support of our National Scholarship Program. During the six-week campaign, participants were asked to share their photo or video stories about how they or others have overcome barriers to participation for a chance to win great prizes provided by our generous corporate sponsor, Enginess.
We received a fantastic response, with participants sharing their stories on social networks to raise awareness and solicit votes and donations. This year’s grand prize-winning entry was from Jacki Andre.
Next year, the Canadian Hearing Society will be expanding Breaking Barriers to provide even more support to Deaf and hard of hearing students through its scholarship program.
CHS scholarship winner shares goal of creating sustainable hearing aid
In early 2018, Josh Gomes, first-year Carleton University engineering student and scholarship winner as part of the Canadian Hearing Society’s National Scholarship Program, was featured on an episode of AMI This Week.
In the interview, Gomes discusses how his hearing loss inspired him to one day create a sustainable hearing aid that won’t require traditional batteries – and how that vision ultimately won him a scholarship from CHS.
Toronto jazz great thanks CHS with Gift of Gratitude
To say that music – specifically jazz music – is Terry Sheard’s life would be an understatement. The 93-year-old is something of a legend in the Toronto jazz community, having dedicated his life to the creation and appreciation of jazz music.
So when he began to develop hearing loss, Mr. Sheard was distraught. Both his father and grandfather became deafened in their later years. What would this mean for his ability to appreciate music?
Luckily, a friend suggested Mr. Sheard contact the audiology department at the Canadian Hearing Society who fitted him with new hearing aids.
With the assistance of the audiology staff, Mr. Sheard was able to get the technology he needed to remain independent and immersed in the music scene he loves so dearly.
His ability to continue to hear and appreciate music had a profound effect on Mr. Sheard. “I wanted to make it clear to the Canadian Hearing Society that this particular patient of theirs was very appreciative,” he said.
To show his appreciation, Mr. Sheard made a generous Gift of Gratitude donation to the Canadian Hearing Society, and he encourages others to do the same.
Gift of Gratitude donations are invested back into programs and services for Deaf and hard of hearing Canadians in need.
Thank you for your support
We would like to express our sincere appreciation to all those who supported the Canadian Hearing Society during the period of April 1, 2017 to March 31, 2018. We are extremely grateful for your commitment and ongoing support.
Report from the Chair of Finance Committee
It was an exceptional year at the Canadian Hearing Society. Our financial picture is one of stability and sustainability, paving the way for advancing the Strategic Plan and enabling continuous improvement for the organization and the lives of the clients who depend on the Canadian Hearing Society’s programs and services.
Last year, the organization successfully completed its 2017-2018 annual agency audit. We ended the year with a healthy and positive balance sheets which was used to offset accumulated deficits amassed in prior years, consistent with the organization’s deficit reduction strategy.
Funding from the government and United Way agencies has increased from previous years due to one-time funding received, while sales of products and services decreased due to labour disruption and tighter market competition. Salaries and benefits have increased but were offset by controlled hiring practices and as well as labour interruptions at the beginning of the fiscal year.
Management was successful in implementing a new short-term disability plan for their employees, eliminating the sick leave benefit liability completely.
These changes have enabled us to reduce our accumulated deficits and increase fund balances, adding to the agency’s financial sustainability.
Over the last fiscal year, 89.0% of revenues were spent on direct service delivery to people who are Deaf and hard of hearing, 2.5% on fundraising and 8.5% on administration.
The changes and improvements made last year have left the Canadian Hearing Society in a strong position to continue executing the 2017-2020 Strategic Plan and fulfill its mission.
I would like to thank my colleagues on the Finance Committee for their professionalism and commitment to the financial health of the organization. The Finance Committee worked diligently throughout the year to ensure CHS investments were well secured, expenditures were appropriately managed, and revenues were aligned with the organizational plans.
We remain keenly committed to mitigating risks and enabling a bright financial future for the Canadian Hearing Society.
Chair of Finance and Audit