Official Languages

The issue
What are the official languages of the Canadian Association of the Deaf?

CAD's position
The CAD uses American Sign Language and la Langue des Signes Québécoise as its two official languages. The CAD also recognizes English and French as its two secondary languages. ASL and LSQ have equal status, while English and French have equal (to each other) secondary (to ASL and LSQ) status.

The Canadian Association of the Deaf is committed to the principle of equality between anglophones and francophones in all aspects of Canadian and Deaf life.

The official working languages of the Canadian Association of the Deaf are American Sign Language (ASL) and la Langue des Signes Quebecoise (LSQ). These two languages have equal status and first priority within the CAD and its activities.

The CAD uses spoken/written English and French as its secondary languages. These two languages have equal status with each other, and they have second priority (below ASL and LSQ) within the CAD and its activities.

The Canadian Association of the Deaf recognizes the existence of different modes of accessing language such as captioning, lipreading, assistive devices, and oral interpretation. These modes have third priority within the CAD and its activities, but they do not have official status or equality with ASL/LSQ or English/French.

The Canadian Association of the Deaf is aware of the existence of various sign systems. We not recognize the validity of these methods of communication; we consider them a means by which hearing educators and others have attempted to oppress the Deaf community, and we do not grant them status within the CAD and its activities.

The commitment of the Canadian Association of the Deaf towards the equality of anglophones and francophones includes the production of bilingual materials such as ASL/LSQ videos and French/English written documents. It includes working towards a bilingual ASL/LSQ approach in CAD meetings and conferences as appropriate. It includes encouraging greater involvement in CAD activities by francophones, such as organizational affiliation with the CAD, personal involvement in CAD Committee work, attending CAD functions, and representing the CAD to other organizations and advisory bodies.

The by-laws of the Canadian Association of the Deaf specifically require francophone voting representation from the three provinces with significant French populations (Ontario, Quebec, and New Brunswick). The by-laws also require a minimum number of seats on the Board of Directors to be filled by francophones.

The Canadian Association of the Deaf recognizes the existence of a Deaf francophone population outside of Quebec, notably in the Sudbury area of Ontario and the northeastern region of New Brunswick. The special problems faced by non-Quebec Deaf francophones are very serious; they are "double minorities", being Deaf and French in a hearing and English society. In addition, it has been difficult for them to organize their communities and to obtain the resources, education, experience, and services they need to advocate for themselves. The CAD supports their efforts and their rights to equality.

APPROVED: 23 JULY 2012

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:
The Canadian Association of the Deaf
303 - 251 Bank Street
Ottawa, Ontario K2P 1X3
(613)565-2882 Voice/TTY
(613)565-1207 Fax
www.cad.ca




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