Language Advocacy Day's Letter to Dolly Begum
Wednesday, September 30, 2020
On International Translation Day, we are proud to announce Ontario’s first Language Advocacy Day!
As governments at all levels provide critical information about the COVID-19 virus, Ontarians who are less proficient in English and French have been left out of the loop. Insufficient availability of translated communications has led to barriers in accessing the services and supports necessary for their well- being. As a result, newcomers, including refugees, account for half of Ontario’s COVID-19 cases, while representing only a quarter of the population.
This oversight in communications access is not new to the pandemic, and has resulted in systematic inequality of service access for these Ontarians. In turn, this impacts their ability to integrate and contribute to Ontario’s society and economy.
In response to these challenges, a coalition of language service providers and like-minded organizations, including Access Alliance, The Association of Translators and Interpreters of Ontario, the Barbra Schlifer Commemorative Clinic, the Ontario Council of Community Interpreting, and MCIS Language Solutions will be hosting a virtual advocacy day on February 4, 2021, to share with MPPs the importance of language services and to suggest measures to strengthen the sector.
Language Advocacy Day will include digital discussions featuring thought leaders from the language services sector, public servants, and interpreters. The day will also feature lived experience stories of Ontarians limited proficiency in English and French.
DATE: Thursday, February 4, 2021
TIME: 9am to 5:30pm
To learn more, contact Craig Carter-Edwards at (416) 312-8307 or email.
“It is the right of Canadians to have equal access to public services, therefore, we must advocate for the interpreting profession.”
Lola Bendana, Director, Multi-Languages Corporation
“Language advocacy matters in critical situations. Language interpretation in a newcomer's first language is important when people are in crisis situations.”
Cathy Woodbeck, Executive DirectorThunder Bay Multicultural Association
“Language is not just about thoughts and words, it is about the social conventions that give context and meaning to our everyday interactions. We therefore must ensure everyone has the right to express themselves in the languages they are most comfortable in so they can live to their full potential.”
Latha Sukumar, Executive Director, MCIS Language Solutions
“The law of our land entitles every Canadian to have access to language services.”
Soheila Khatami, Certified ATIO Translator, Accredited Community Interpreter ACI