With COVID-19 restrictions still in place, Silent Voice has decided to share our 2019 Annual Report virtualy. The report includes messages (in English and ASL) from the Silent Voice Board Chair, Shelagh Durno, and from Executive Director, Kelly MacKenzie.
Although we are unable to meet in person, we hope that you will find this special edition of our annual report helpful. Please continue to watch for upcoming information on this year’s AGM.
For the deaf and hard of hearing, COVID-19 adds extra challenges for communicating in public.
We’ve all been told to avoid touching our face to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus. But for Thinaja Nadarajah, this public health advice is complicated. Nadarajah is deaf and American Sign Language is her first language.
“There’s a lot of touching of the face when signing,” she says. “We often communicate by touch, like tapping on the shoulder to get someone’s attention.”
Every year Silent Voice hosts its Annual General Meeting (AGM). This year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we have applied to Corporations Canada to postpone our meeting. Our application was approved. At this time we have not set a new date; however, we will let you know.
In its place, we will be posting our Annual Report. The Annual Report will reflect our fiscal year 2019. It seems strange to focus at this time on 2019 as so much has happened in 2020: COVID-19, staying at home, working from home, services provided remotely; it has had a global impact.
The Annual Report will include: the message from the Board Chair, message from me the Executive Director, our audited and approved financial statements, and more.
Our AGM will be postponed and we will announce the new date. And very shortly we will post our Annual Report in both English and ASL.
Silent Voice’s Sports Program has been encouraging members of our community to lead a healthier and active lifestyle by providing accessible physical activities. As part of our Ontario Sport and Recreation Communities Fund from the Government of Ontario, between April 1st, 2018 and March 31st, 2020 we have provided accessible physical activity opportunities for a total of 545 members of our community. Above is a video highlighting our sports program in the last few years.
Silent Voice is committed to continue taking the lead to provide children, youth and adults accessible sports and physical activities in our community. We are seeking funding to continue running this important program for the Deaf and hard of hearing community. If you are interested in supporting our program, please contact Ken Koffman at email@example.com.
Some of you might be familiar with the PAH! program, others might not be. PAH! is a children’s mental health program supporting Deaf and hard of hearing children, youth, and families as well as hearing children with Deaf parents/caregivers. We work with children from 0-18 years of age. Our services typically cover Halton and Central region.
We are opening up virtual services to other regions in Ontario during this difficult time to support Deaf and hard of hearing children and youth who might not have access to other mental health supports.
As you all know, the Premier of Ontario has announced that we will be focusing on first stage of the gradual opening of businesses and services throughout the province, as long as they could meet public health and safety requirements.
As part of stage 1, Silent Voice Canada is proud to be part of several network with partners in the social services, health and community sectors who are dedicated to supporting our clients. Together, we are exploring different avenues to ensure that resuming in-person services will meet public health and safety requirements of our staff and clients. We are looking at our city, provincial and federal governments’ public health authorities to ensure that we are meeting their recommended guidelines. This includes considerations related to our physical space, cleaning and personal protective equipment (PPE). At this time, the government is encouraging us to continue virtual and alternative service models, where appropriate.
We are still OPEN online! If you have any questions about services and support, please feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We would be happy to answer your questions or direct you to appropriate community resources.
Again, we would like to remind you all to stay home and practice social distancing!
Thank you for your support and patience as we navigate through this pandemic together.
Silent Voice is postponing all three weeks of our Free Income Tax Clinic for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing community until further notice. That means all tax clinic appointments between March 24 to April 9th have been cancelled. We are committed to ensuring the safety of all clients, accountants, volunteers and staff during the COVID-19 pandemic. We understand that your tax returns are important and we are also committed to making sure you will receive this critical service when it is safe to do so. We will be contacting those who have made an appointment personally once we set up a new date for you to file your 2019 taxes.
We will also connect with CRA for more information and share updates with you.
Thank you for your understanding and patience. Please stay safe during this difficult time. Toronto Public Health recommends staying at home whenever possible.