SAC in Action
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Our Vote Communication Health federal election advocacy campaign was hugely successful! The campaign sparked grassroots advocacy across the country and ensured over 200 newly-elected MPs have heard from their constituents about communication health. We would like to sincerely thank everyone who participated in this campaign, especially those who shared it with their colleagues, clients, patients, friends and family. Our success would not have been possible without such enthusiasm from engaged speech-language pathologists, audiologists and communication health assistants. Between September 10 and October 19, people from all over Canada visited to send letters to their local election candidates, and support for the campaign was particularly strong in Quebec. Congratulations to everyone for coming together to advocate for communication health!

As the national association that represents the distinct but interconnected professions of audiology and speech-language pathology, there is no shortage of important communication health issues that SAC could have addressed in the Vote Communication Health campaign. However, to keep our messages clear and concise, we chose to focus on three key issues: early hearing detection and intervention, a national seniors strategy and speech and language services in schools.

To further advocate for action on seniors' communication health issues, SAC joined the Alliance for a National Seniors Strategy and the Demand a Plan campaign — an initiative launched by the Canadian Medical Association (CMA). SAC is one of more than 50 participating partners in the Alliance. In September, SAC CEO Joanne Charlebois attended a Hill Times event presented by the CMA. The event was entitled Platform 2015: Health and featured a discussion on health issues in the federal election. Watch a video of the discussion here.

SAC also hosted a Lunch & Learn, presented by Huw Williams, President of Impact Public Affairs, to provide members and associates with the tools they needed to make an impact in the federal election. Click here to download a free webcast of the Lunch & Learn, Political Action in the 2015 Federal Election (look for " Recorded Lunch & Learns 2015...").
In This Issue

SAC's 2015 Vote Communication Health Campaign

Official Statement and Letter to Memorial University of Newfoundland

Communciation Health Becomes Front Page News

Election Advocacy: Reaching Out to the Prime Minister and Members of Parliament

SAC's Letter to Canada's Premiers

Meeting With the Canadian Teachers' Federation

Autism Spectrum Disorder Working Group

Federal Healthcare Partnership

SAC's New Strategic Plan
Election Advocacy: Reaching Out to the Prime Minister and Members of Parliament
Pre-election Letters


In advance of the federal election, SAC composed letters to the leaders of all four major political parties: Stephen Harper, Justin Trudeau, Tom Mulcair and Elizabeth May. The letters called on these leaders to address the communication health needs of the people of Canada and reiterated SAC’s three election ‘asks’ from our Vote Communication Health campaign — the establishment of standardized early hearing detection and intervention programs across the country, an increase in funding for speech and language services for school-aged children and the establishment of a national seniors strategy.
Post-election Letters

After the election, SAC wrote a letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to congratulate him on a successful election campaign. The letter highlighted our three 'asks' once again. SAC will be sending letters of congratulations to all elected MPs. We look forward to working with this new government on communication health issues.
Official Statement and Letter to Memorial University of Newfoundland
Many SAC members and associates were shocked to learn about a professor at Memorial University of Newfoundland (MUN) who refused to wear an FM transmitter to accommodate a student with a hearing impairment. In response, SAC released an official statement criticizing MUN for failing to uphold an internal Policy for Accommodations for Students with Disabilities. SAC and the Newfoundland and Labrador Association of Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists also wrote a letter to the university demanding that action be taken.
Communication Health Becomes Front Page News
SAC raised the profile of communication health issues recently by working with two media organizations.

The Globe and Mail

The Globe and Mail put speech-language pathology on the front page of its Life & Arts section in August. The feature story highlighted the importance of speech-language pathology to a child’s development and examined the causes of lengthy wait times in Ontario. Shanda Hunter-Trottier, an SAC member, explained to the Globe and Mail that wait times are not due to a lack of speech-language pathologists, but rather a lack of funding for positions. Peggy Allen, S-LP (C), president of the Ontario Association of Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists, added that the division of speech-language pathology services between three Ontario ministries also increases wait times.

Jocelyn Fedyczko, S-LP(C), SAC Board Director Anila Punnoose, S-LP(C) and SAC CEO Joanne Charlebois also contributed to this story. The article included a sidebar about the availability of speech-language pathology services in different provinces and territories. In response to a lack of information in the story's sidebar, SAC has launched a project with the Pan-Canadian Alliance to compile information for the media about communication health services across all of Canada’s provinces and territories.

Good Times

Good Times, a magazine for Canadians who are either retired or preparing for retirement, ran two feature stories this summer about communication health. A feature in the July/August edition focused on a number of communication disorders, including aphasia, voice and speech difficulties, thinking problems, memory problems and swallowing problems. It featured interviews with SAC members Taslim Moosa, S-LP(C), Bernise Hachey, S-LP(C), Board Director-Communication Health Assistant Bernadine Sachwyn and Board Director Richard J. Welland. A feature in the September issue focused on age-related hearing loss. It included interviews with SAC members Jason Schmiedge, Aud(C), Navid Shahnaz, Aud(C), and Board Director Li Qi, Aud(C).
SAC’s Letters to Canada’s Premiers
All of Canada’s Premiers met as the Council of the Federation this July. To bring their attention to communication health issues, SAC sent a letter to all of the Premiers in advance of their meeting to highlight our concerns regarding communication disorders in seniors. In the letter, SAC discussed the need for provincial, territorial and federal governments to work together to establish a national seniors strategy that includes long-term care and improved home-care services. Seniors care is a key priority for the Council of the Federation's Health Care Innovation Working Group and the letter outlined some of the communication disorders that are common among seniors and highlighted a lack of preventative services in Canada. SAC asked the Premiers to address these concerns at their meeting.
Meeting With the Canadian Teachers' Federation
In October, SAC CEO Joanne Charlebois met with the President of the Canadian Teachers' Federation, Heather Smith. Ms. Charlebois expressed her concerns about the low number of school boards hiring audiologists in Canada. She also raised the issue of long wait lists for speech-language pathology services in schools and spoke about the key role speech-language pathologists can play in supporting literacy skills. This was the first meeting with the Canadian Teachers' Federation and each organization has agreed to determine how best to work together in the future. SAC is committed to increasing collaboration with prominent organizations in the education sector.
Autism Spectrum Disorder Working Group
This summer, SAC wrote to the Public Health Agency of Canada to ask to be included in the newly-formed Autism Spectrum Disorder Working Group. The working group features representatives of many key organizations in autism research and treatment as well as the Minister of Health (formerly Rona Ambrose). Speech-language pathologists are not currently represented in the group, despite the key role they play in treating people with autism. SAC will continue to advocate for its inclusion in the working group to ensure that speech-language pathologists are represented. We will keep members and associates updated on progress on this issue.
Federal Healthcare Partnership
SAC attended the semi-annual meeting with the Federal Healthcare Partnership (FHP) on October 23. Chantal Kealey, AuD, Aud(C), SAC’s Director of Audiology and Communication Health Assistants, shared audiologists’ questions and concerns 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.

The Q and A will be available soon and posted on the SAC website.
SAC’s New Strategic Plan
SAC’s Board of Directors and staff are in the process of preparing the association’s 2016-2019 strategic plan. We hired Meredith Low Consulting (MLC) to assist with the development of the new plan to ensure that it reflects what members and associates want from their association. The consultation process was broader than ever before: MLC conducted focus groups with members and associates from across Canada and collected feedback via an online survey. We are pleased to report that the survey had 1,437 respondents. MLC also conducted focus groups with non-members and stakeholders.This new plan will shape SAC's advocacy initiatives for the next three years. We will share the 2016-2019 strategic plan with members and associates early next year.
Copyright © 2015 SAC | OAC, All rights reserved.

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