Silent Voice was founded by a Catholic priest and a group of community-minded individuals in the early 1970s. The group recognized that disadvantaged Deaf adults and children had a number of significant needs that were not being met within the social service community at that time. They established a set of core values to raise awareness on the barriers facing the Deaf community and bring together the community resources to address them. As the needs became greater and the services expanded, the organization was granted federal incorporation as a not-for-profit charitable organization in 1975.

Historical Highlights

1970 – Rev. Brian Dwyer and Victoria Kargul initiated the services to the Deaf community under the name of St. Francis Deaf Bureau. They, together with community-spirited volunteers, developed, organized, and delivered programs for Deaf adults and children

1973 – The first office space was established in the basement of Holy Name Church, Danforth Avenue, to provide full-time services to the Deaf community

1974 – The first public grant was received enabling Silent Voice Canada to hire four full-time employees.

1974 – The first ever Sign Language Summer Camp for children was organized in the summer.

1975 – In January “Silent Voice Canada” was incorporated and active fundraising to support and sustain the services began. The first grants from the Ministry of Community and Social Services and the City of Toronto were received in June and August respectively.

1977 – Increased funding enabled Silent Voice Canada to introduce new services and programs such an Experimental Interpreter Training program in co-operation with other social agencies

1980 – The Deaf Youth Leadership and Sports Development program was introduced to meet a growing need among Deaf youth in high schools.

1981 – Silent Voice was accepted as a member agency of the Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Toronto.