SAC in Action
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Meeting With MPs
Peter Julian, MP for Burnaby-New Westminster, Li Qi, PhD, RAUD, Aud(C), Joanne Charlebois, SAC CEO, and Pierre Dionne Labelle, MP for Rivière-du-Nord.
As part of SAC’s ongoing advocacy work, the association makes an effort to maintain a regular presence on Parliament Hill — and this spring was no exception. Last month, 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, represents Dr. Qi’s riding (Burnaby-New Westminster) and Pierre Dionne Labelle, represents 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 this point, the NDP does not have a position on the issue, as such, 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.

Mr. Julian has a history of involvement in speech and hearing issues: in 2011, he tabled a bill on the Disability Tax Credit for hearing loss. SAC supported the bill and attended a related press conference. Mr. Julian also previously served as the Executive Director of the Western Institute for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing and is functional in American Sign Language.
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In This Issue

Meeting With MPs

MP Householder Mailings

Senator Joan Fraser Supports Speech and Hearing Month

Preparing for the 2015 Federal Election

Collaborations With Other Health Care Organizations:

BRAVE and LOVE: Our 2015 Ad Campaign

Representation for Members and Associates in Saskatchewan

Federal Healthcare Partnership Q and A

SAC Meets With HEAL Partners

S-LP Disability Tax Credit Tip Sheet


Discussing Accessible Telecommunications
MP Householder Mailings
Several times throughout the year, MPs have the opportunity to send out printed newsletters, known as “householders”, to their constituents. As part of this year’s Speech and Hearing Month Campaign, SAC provided MPs with pre-written content to include in their May householder mailings. The association reached out to MPs that were involved in last year’s Day on the Hill and supplied them with information about Speech and Hearing month, facts about communication disorders and tips for spotting emerging speech, language, auditory and balance disorders. 

In addition to reaching out to the MPs that SAC met with during last year’s Day on the Hill, the association also sent materials to MPs responsible for health-care issues.

If you received a householder from your MP that includes information related to communication health, let us know! Please send an image or a scanned version of the newsletter to Joanne Charlebois at joanne@sac-oac.ca.
Senator Joan Fraser Supports Speech and Hearing Month
Also on the Hill during May, Senator Joan Fraser mentioned Speech and Hearing Month in a speech to the Senate. The Hon. Joan Fraser highlighted SAC’s focus on communication health and aging and made a motion to encourage other senators to acknowledge the many people in Canada who have communication disorders.
Preparing for the 2015 Federal Election
SAC has big plans to get political candidates running in the upcoming federal election interested in communication health. This autumn, we’ll launch an online platform that will allow members, associates and people from across Canada to ask candidates in their ridings to address key issues related to communication health.
 
Stay tuned for more information on this project over the coming months! 
Collaborations With Other Health-Care Organizations
The Canadian Medical Association’s “Demand a Plan” Campaign

As a member of the Alliance for a National Seniors Strategy, SAC has pledged support for the Canadian Medical Association's (CMA) Demand a Plan Campaign to urge decision-makers to make seniors' health care a priority. Along with more than 50 other partner organizations, SAC is calling on all political parties to include a national seniors strategy in their election campaign platforms. SAC's participation in this initiative is recognized on the Demand a Plan website.

Please visit www.DemandAPlan.ca to add your voice to this initiative.

Highlighting Communication Health at the Canadian Geriatric Society's Annual Scientific Meeting

Carla Di Gironimo, MS, S-LP(C), CCC-SLP, at the SAC table at the
Canadian Geriatric Society's Annual Scientific Meeting.
Carla Di Gironimo, MS, S-LP(C), CCC-SLP, SAC’s Director of Speech-Language Pathology and Standards, Roula Baali, AuD, Aud(C), and Philippe Fournier, M.Sc.S., audiologist, attended the Canadian Geriatric Society's Annual Scientific Meeting in April in Montreal, Q.C. The three SAC representatives spoke with many doctors who work with older patients about some of the communication disorders that disproportionately affect seniors as well as the importance of referring patients to a speech-language pathologist or an audiologist in a timely manner. The SAC representatives also handed out info sheets, relevant position papers and copies of our Communication Health and Aging brochure.

Contributing to Canadian Nurse

In honour of Speech and Hearing Month, the May issue of Canadian Nurse included three articles about communication health. The articles feature two SAC members — Colleen Braun-Janzen, MA, S-LP(C) and Sandra Baker, M.Sc., Aud(C), RAUD, RHIP — raising awareness about communication disorders among nurses, who represent an important link between the public and communication health professionals.
BRAVE and LOVE: Our 2015 Ad Campaign
    
 
Left: Barbara Burnet, S-LP(C), poses in front of one of SAC's 2015 ads in Vancouver, B.C.
Right:
Carla Di Gironimo, MS, S-LP(C), CCC-SLP, Director of Speech-Language Pathology and Standards at SAC, takes a selfie with an ad in Montreal, Q.C

The 2015 follow-up to last year’s wildly successful advertising campaign was visible from coast to coast this spring. The brand new BRAVE and LOVE advertisements ran in Vancouver and Toronto (in English) and in Montreal (in French) for six weeks, beginning in early May. The AWE and JOY advertisements we introduced in 2014 ran in Calgary and Halifax for six weeks, also beginning in early May. The transit campaign was supported by a national online ad campaign that ran through Facebook and Google AdWords. Thanks to everyone who took the time to share their selfies with the ads!  
 
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Riana Topan, Communications Specialist at SAC, stands next to an ad in Toronto, O.N.
Representation for Audiologist Members in Saskatchewan
Historically, the Saskatchewan Association of Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists has predominantly operated as a regulatory body, but also provided some professional association support that was not necessarily in its mandate. Now that SASLPA is operating solely as a regulatory body, Saskatchewan audiologists encountering difficulties with the Saskatchewan Workers' Compensation Board (WCBSASK) turned to SAC for assistance.

Due to the absence of a provincial professional association in Saskatchewan, WCBSASK had been unwilling to enter into consultations or discussions with audiologists on matters related to audiology services and fee schedules. Upon learning of the situation, SAC stepped forward to ensure that Saskatchewan audiologists are properly represented. Together with the Canadian Academy of Audiology (CAA), SAC established formal representation to WCBSASK to advocate on behalf of audiologists.

Although SAC is not mandated to represent members and associates on province-specific matters, the association was pleased to be able to support its Saskatchewan members in this situation.
Federal Healthcare Partnership Q and A
SAC hosted its annual meeting with the Federal Healthcare Partnership (FHP) last month. Chantal Kealey, AuD, Aud(C), SAC’s Director of Audiology and Communication Health Assistants, shared audiologists’ questions with the FHP, which includes Veteran Affairs Canada, Blue Cross Medavie, the Department of National Defense, the RCMP and the Non-Insured Health Benefits for First Nations and Inuit program at Health Canada. Dr. Kealey organized the meeting by teleconference this year, though the Department of National Defense and the RCMP attended in person. You can read the full Q and A on our  website.
SAC Meets With HEAL Partners
SAC CEO Joanne Charlebois attended the Health Action Lobby (HEAL) March meeting in Ottawa. SAC is one of 39 member organizations that comprise HEAL. Representatives discussed the HEAL election advocacy strategy and how HEAL members can promote and participate in The Canadian Way, which launched in December 2014. The launch included a Nanos poll, a press release, several media interviews as well as a press conference on Parliament Hill. HEAL is urging the federal government to embrace The Canadian Way — making change through compassion, collaboration and consensus. Read the group’s Consensus Statement here.
S-LP Disability Tax Credit Tip Sheet
SAC recently created a Disability Tax Credit Tip Sheet for speech-language pathologists. The association developed the tip sheet after consulting with the Canada Revenue Agency and we encourage S-LPs to use it as a guide when certifying the Disability Tax Credit (DTC) Certificate for their patients or clients. The Disability Tax Credit Tip Sheet for audiologists is also available on our website.
Discussing Accessible Telecommunications
Over the past month, Communication Disabilities Access Canada (CDAC) has urged the Canadian Radio Television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) to make telecommunications more accessible in Canada. The CRTC is conducting a public consultation on the use of Message Relay Services (MRS) for people who are deaf, hard of hearing or who have a speech disability, and CDAC is using this opportunity to ask the CRTC to bring national attention to the significant barriers to telephone communication faced by people with speech and language disorders.
 
Although MRS are helpful for some, individuals with speech and language disorders still lack access to reliable and affordable telecommunication services and may not be able to live independently as a result. CDAC invited SAC members and associates to participate in an online discussion to tell the CRTC that improved message, video or speech-to-speech relay services could greatly improve the quality of life for many people in Canada with communication disorders.
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