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June 1, 2006

Breaking Down Communication Barriers For Ontarians Who Are Deaf Or Deafblind

From: CNW Telbec (Communiqués de presse), Canada - Jun 1, 2006

Budget Investment Means More Service, Greater Independence For People With Disabilities

TORONTO, June 1 /CNW/ - The McGuinty government is investing in more
services for Ontarians who need intervenors or sign language interpreters to
assist them with daily activities.

"For someone who is deafblind or has a hearing disability, communication
barriers can seriously limit their access to things that most of us take for
granted, such as going to the bank or visiting their doctor," said Community
and Social Services Minister Madeleine Meilleur. "By breaking down these
communication barriers, we are building greater independence for people with

The government's 2006 Budget includes nearly $11 million for interpreter
and intervenor services, an increase of nearly 65 per cent over existing
funding levels. The funding will help to provide more service to people who
need it, improve the quality of services and improve wages to attract and keep
people who provide interpreter and intervenor services. The government will
also explore opportunities to increase the availability of French sign
language interpreters and intervenors in the coming year.

"I am particularly pleased to be working with our stakeholders and with
my colleague, the minister of Training, Colleges and Universities, on issues
of access and availability of French sign language interpreters and
intervenors," said Meilleur.

Interpreters act as a language and cultural bridge between a deaf person
and a hearing person and make it possible for deaf and hard-of-hearing people
to use essential services such as legal, health and social services.
Intervenors make it possible for deafblind people to participate in community
activities through a variety of communication methods.

"The Canadian National Institute for the Blind welcomes this historic
investment in critical service," said CNIB Ontario executive director Dennis
Tottenham. "The government's progressive approach to modernizing these
services will provide tremendous support for deafblind Ontarians to
participate in their communities and live independently. CNIB is committed to
intervention services and it is gratifying to know that the government is
there with us."

The government is also providing $1.9 million to the Canadian Hearing
Society, in partnership with the Canadian Deafblind and Rubella Association,
to develop an interpreter and intervenor services database to make it easier
and faster for people to find services when they need them.

These investments are the latest way the McGuinty government is breaking
down barriers for people with disabilities. Since 2003, the government has

- Provided $28.2 million to help universities and colleges provide
services for students with disabilities to help them succeed
- Committed nearly $276 million to strengthen community supports for
people with a developmental disability
- Committed to closing the province's remaining institutions for people
with developmental disability and creating new homes for them in
communities across Ontario.

"We are committed to building a province in which people with
disabilities can participate to their fullest potential," said Meilleur. "By
investing in greater accessibility for people with disabilities, we are
investing in stronger, more inclusive communities for us all."

Disponible en français

For further information: Carole Drouin, Minister's Office, (416)
325-5219; Paul Doig, Communications and Marketing Branch, (416) 325-5187

© 2005 Groupe CNW Ltée