Blog

Sorenson’s Impact on Canada : Proliferation (Part 2)

All,

This is the second blog entry of 5-blog series about Sorenson Communications, Inc’s impact on Canada.

It is my responsibility as a Deaf American Citizen to share this information based on facts, reliable sources and supporting evidence to you. Then you can get involved to make things right with FCC and our Deaf Canadian citizens.

I was stunned how pervasive Sorenson Communications, Inc. by proliferating their VRS call centers all over the United States, including Canada and Puerto Rico. Sorenson was considering setting up call centers in Europe too.

Sorenson started proliferating in 2005 to meet the huge demand of VRS services and also meeting FCC’s requirement to have VRS to respond a call within 20-seconds.

Sorenson contracted Dr. John H. Johnson, Vice President of National Economic Research Associates, (NERA), an international economic consulting firm to do the proliferation study. This lengthy study was submitted to FCC on November 8, 2006, and that information helped Sorenson identifying specific where they can set up call centers.

I did little bit archival web search, with help from the Wayback Machine, I discovered that on December 1, 2006, Sorenson posted job opportunities for four call centers in Canada (Edmonton, Vancouver, Winnepeg, and Toronto.) for the first time. That was one month after Dr. Johnson’s study that was submitted to FCC.

Deaf Canadians noticed that their sign language interpreters was been hired by Sorenson. It became increasingly difficult for Deaf Canadians to find an interpreter for their own basic needs (doctor’s visit, court appointments, and educational and training opportunities.)

On May 27, 2010, FCC posted proposed rules which require all call centers to be located in United States. Please check this document, pages 9 and 10. FCC asked for comments.

Sorenson responded. There were a lot of comments from Sorenson employees working in Canada submitted to FCC pleading to keep their call centers in Canada.

Here are the example of comments below and you can find this on this link here.

David Hitchcock (10-51) – 06/14/2010
… Sorenson Communications established itself in Canada to lighten the stress on an already strained profession in the US To shut down the centres in Canada would …

SGiroux (10-51) – 06/14/2010

… Sorenson Communications established itself in Canada to lighten the stress on an already strained profession in the US To shut down the centres in Canada would …

Maria Dai (10-51) – 06/14/2010
… Sorenson Communications established itself in Canada to lighten the stress on an already strained profession in the US To shut down the centres in Canada would …

Victoria Yee (10-51) – 06/14/2010

… Sorenson Communications established itself in Canada to lighten the stress on an already strained profession in the US To shut down the centres in Canada would …

I found a video that was posted by Sorenson dated on June 25, 2010 in response to increasing complaints from Deaf Canadians reporting to FCC about call centers being established at Canada.

That video is a pure damage control technique. Smooth and saavy. Sickening.

Canadian Association of the Deaf wrote a strong letter to FCC here protesting against having call centers on their Canadian soil. Read this letter here. They submitted this letter on June 7, 2010.

However, Government of Canada supported having call centers. Read here.

Check this map as of December 2, 2011 to learn how many call centers in Canada managed by Sorenson Communications, Inc. Sorenson Communications of Canada, ULC.

I was notified that it is a separate business entity from Sorenson Communications, Inc. Apparently, these 8 call centers are managed by a Canadian business, Sorenson Communications of Canada, ULC providing services for Americans. Deaf Canadians can find out if this Canadian business has their own venture capitalists, or investors? The problem is that when the Canadian call centers bill their minutes to Federal Communications Commission for their service to Deaf Americans, does FCC recognize Sorenson Communications of Canada, ULC as one of the certifying VRS services? If not, then where the money go? Deaf Americans, let’s investigate on that.

How could FCC allow Sorenson run call centers at Canada? Our American consumers contributed money to the TRS fund and that money goes to Canadian VRS interpreters to provide video relay services to Deaf Americans, not Deaf Canadians. Deaf Canadians were outraged. So outraged.

Why is that?

I discovered that Sorenson found a loophole. The loophole is called North American Fair Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

My next blog entry will explain a bit more about Sorenson’s fight against FCC to allow call centers remain in Canada. What kind of motive is that? A pure benevolent action of Sorenson trying to provide the top quality services to Deaf Americans, or a true greed and corruption behind the mask of benevolence?

Did you like this? Share it!

4 comments on “Sorenson’s Impact on Canada : Proliferation (Part 2)

You may want to read that letter from the Government of Canada again. That is not what it states at all. The Government of Canada is not protesting Sorenson setting up call centre’s on Canadian soil. The FCC wanted to shut down call centres as there were some fraudulent calls made as well as fraudulent billing of minutes. None involved Canadian Interpreters. The Canadian Government was in support of keeping Sorenson VRS Centre’s in Canada.

Interesting…. I will go back and double check… Thanks for bringing this to my attention. I fixed it. It was CAD who protested and I attached the correct document, and fixed Government of Canada’s position supporting call centers.

So Deaf Canadians cannot use the VRS in Canada, right? The call centers in Canada only serves the callers from the U.S., it seems. The Canadian interpreters use the same ASL as south of the Canadian border, except for a number of local Canadian signs. So why not put the Canadian interpreters on the U.S. payroll for the calls originating in the U.S.

Abuse made by the Canadian call centers? What are they? Perhaps, the minutes charged to the FCC by them are calls made by the Canadian callers?

Hartmut

Harmut,

There has never been any abuse or false minutes recorded in ANY of the Canadian call centres. These occurances happened in US centres and only a few VI’s were involved. Just a few bad apples…..out of the hundreds of VI’s that work at Sorenson.

Sorenson set up in Canada because there was a shortage of VRS interpreters in the USA. Yes Canadian VI’s that work at Sorenson in Canada are providing VRS service to Deaf Americans. Canada has yet to set up VRS service, and I think most Interpreters that work at Sorenson in Canada hope that by them by Sorenson being here that it will speed up the process here. If it wasn’t for Sorenson a VRS trial would probably not have happened. I realize that there’s some negative comments towards Sorenson. Remember any VRS service is a business and that’s how it will be run. It’s not going to matter if its Purple, or any other VRS service or one set up in Canada it will be run like a business to make profit. Also, it would be nice to have a few VRS services set up in Canada, however keep in mind we may be a large country but we have a small population compared to the US. So we probably won’t see as many providers as the US. It’s just not feasible. I think Canadians just want the VRS service NOW!! So why not connect with Sorenson. Get VRS established and then worry about other providers.

Leave Comment

eleven − ten =