Canadian Hearing Society (CHS) Still On Strike—Causes Trouble for Deaf People

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On 10th March, 2017 the Canadian Hearing Society (CHS) held a strike when negotiations for sick leave benefits and wages were halted. Since then, the strike has been going strong and has caused a lot of problems. Though Prime Minister Justin Trudeau recently revealed the 2017 budget, it looks like CHS is still not happy with the outcome.

Johanne Venne, a mother of two cannot hear voices completely. The only way she is able to communicate with other people is through lip reading. However, sometimes she hires a CHS interpreter who helps her communicate during medical appointments and work meetings. Things have been particularly bad for her this week as she describes her weekend one of the toughest times where she desperately needed an interpreter.

This week, Venne had been busy making her father’s funeral arrangements. Since CHS was on strike, she was finding difficulty in collaborating with her family members to take care of even the tiniest of details. According to her, with no way of understanding what was going on, every word of the discussion went above her head.

Venne cannot rely solely on lip reading. Without her supporter by her side, there was no one she could depend on.

The CHS has offered a generous package to meet their staffs’ demands but the strike still continues. No negotiations have taken place thus far, which is an indication that PM Trudeau has yet to take the matter in his own hands.  

The lack of negotiations indicate that CHS is not willing to bend anymore, whereas the staff members are holding out for a more generous package that comes in the form of a contract. According to CHS, if the staff members do not end the strike in a few days, they might have to lay off some of them to get their services going.


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