Sorenson’s Impact on Canada : Accountability (Part 5)


This is the fifth and last 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.

Now, you have read the previous blog about Deaf Canadian’s long fight to get VRS, and how Sorenson got involved with TELUS for the carrot and stick experiment.

Today is January 14, 2012. Tomorrow is January 15, 2012.

Tomorrow, Deaf Canadians lost VRS.
Tomorrow, is the deadline for us to give comments to FCC.

The 109-page document is still not accessible to Deaf Americans. There is no ASL videos available.

We can demand FCC for the postponement of the deadline.
We can demand FCC to provide ASL videos of their 109-page document.

We can go to FCC website and leave a comment there. Express your feelings about having call centers in Canada, and how it is hurting Deaf Canadians.

We can go to FCC website to express our concerns about win-back strategies, porting 10-digit number, confusion, and many more.

The link to FCC website here and please type proceeding number 10-51 or 03-123.

That is our responsibility to educate ourselves. It is our responsibility to remain vigilant.


No. Who?


Amy Cohen Efron

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21 comments on “Sorenson’s Impact on Canada : Accountability (Part 5)

Wow……………………just wow……… head is “gearing” here. I’m hearing 2 different things. First of all, Sorenson using Canadian Certified Interpreter for US citizens? And it sounds like there’s a good possibility of “double billing” here? $ from FCC for Canadian VRS calls? And $ from Tellus to “cover” Canadian VRS calls?

Thank you for posting about the issues related to VRS and Sorenson in Canada. You presented an American side to the situation, which puts a new light on what we Canadians know. The more information we have all unearthed to date (and will continue to unearth) has thus far put Sorenson in a very bad light.

Also, thank you for your support for our cause. This is an issue that transcends borders, and behooves a collective effort on the part of Deaf Americans and Deaf Canadians.

What I see here is Sorenson trying to corner the market in Canada, just as it has here in the USA. More: it is saving money by using Canadian contractors for USA client service, but the downside of that is it robbed Canada of its best interpreters, a moral dilemma. Sorenson is taking advantage of the complexity of FCC and CRTC procedures to edge into that market and grab interpreters that may become part of the Canadian VRS market.

How to release the grip of Sorenson? Allow competitors to set up business in Canada for Canadian consumers. Match the salary Sorenson pays with equivalent salaries for Canadian business. NAFTA has resulted in harming foreign businesses and at present there is little that can be done except to meet the American invaders with local competition

What CRTC must realize is that Canadian consumers and Canadian businesses are being harmed by American intruders establishing stakeholds without giving Canadian consumers a piece of the business. Where service is concerned, the local consumer must be served first.

you know VRS trail will end tomorrow , what will happened to canadian interpreters at call center here in Canada ?? and what if CRTC approved VRS to be permanent in Canada , what happened to interpreters at call center here??

that is a big question mark ??



Thanks for your information on this blog and I understand that you are an American who contributed the information to your audience members in United States.

Please note that Canada is a bilingual English-French country, and we have our official signed languages are ASL(American Sign Language) and LSQ (Langue des Signes Québécoise).

A permanent VRS service must be provided in ASL and LSQ equivalency as the statement from Canadian Association of the Deaf and as a bilingual person, I am wondering to find out there will be a blog available in French for Deaf Francophone communities across Canada?

Thank you!



Merci pour vos informations sur ce blog et je comprends que vous êtes un Américain qui a contribué l’information à vos membres du public dans les États-Unis.

S’il vous plaît noter que le Canada est un organisme bilingue anglais-français pays, et nous avons nos langues officielles sont signées ASL (American Sign Language) et LSQ (Langue des Signes Québécoise).

Un service permanent de la VRS doivent être fournis dans l’ASL et la LSQ d’équivalence que la déclaration de l’Association des Sourds du Canada et comme une personne bilingue, je me demande pour savoir qu’il y aura un blog disponible en français pour les communautés francophones sourds à travers le Canada?



I am more than willing to translate my blog to French. I need help. Could you help me?


Amy-try Googletranslate

I will do that but it will come with problems with translation. It is not perfect.

close enough I suppose………..

Hi Amy,

You have done a wonderful job on writing about Sorenson and their negative impact on Canada! *Waving hands in air* 🙂

Google Translate is not good enough because French and French Canadian are different in some forms.

I am concerned about having call centers in Canada,
and how it is hurting Deaf Canadians. Please disconnect
all VRS call centers in Canada.

Thank you,


Google Translate or any form of online translate are NEVER accurate. Just get someone like Frank to translate everything into French. He’s the best person if he’s willing. If not, somebody who has knowledge of French can do it as well. I speak very little French…basically crappy H.S. but that can’t be passable to any French speaking people. Probably I’ll end up saying “Que?” Nevermind….that’s Spanish.. 😛 LOL

Amy…wow, what an eye opener for this blog series. That’s why we should fight along side with Canadians over this. I know they need the interpreters for other things such as dr appt. hospitals, education, meeting and whatever. That is part of Deaf’s livelihood


HI Deaf Canadians,

I am from America and I am your side because I am Deaf. I understand what you are going through about VRS. IT should not be about business or profits. Sorenson VRS should have not made any trail. it should have been Permanent. Nothing wrong having Sorenson VRS over Canada and in Needed of Deaf Canadians. I have few Acquaintance Friend whom I meet in Gally. Deaf Canadian seem to have same as our ASL except for French Sign Language. I am sure most of the Deaf Canadians would agree with me. If not, I understand and I still on your side of Deaf Canadians.

Brian Buckley: “It should not be about business or profits”

Me: How can interpreters survive if it’s not about profits. Every human being needs to make money to survive. I don’t understand how it shouldn’t be about profits. Should we return to the old days when family members and friends were interpreting for their friends/family for free?

BB: “VRS should have not made any trail”

Me: I don’t understand what you mean. Before the Canadian VRS trial project (again it was a ‘test project’) was implemented, everyone knew that it was only one year long. Fortunately it was extended by 6 months only because there was deferred funding left over. I sure was relieved! Remember that only 311 Canadian Citizens had VRS in Alberta and BC. It had no impact on the rest of the Deaf Canadians living in different provinces or even those who didn’t have it in BC/Alberta.

BB: “Deaf Canadian seem to have same as our ASL except for French Sign Language”

Me: We don’t have French Sign Language (remember we are not France). We have Langues des Signes Quebecoise. To translate that, it essentially means Quebec Sign Language.

BB: “I am sure most of the Deaf Canadians would agree with me”

Me: I don’t agree with you, so that’s a huge assumption you’re making for all the Deaf Canadians in Canada.

Speaking of How Sorenson VRS make Profit and Bussiness?

You are right about that but still, many Deaf Canadians were not happy about being cut off from VRS. Also, Many Deaf Candaian seems not aware that they are being cut off got them upset.
you seem not concern of other Deaf Candaians who need VRS for, Dr appt, business owner, and so on and evenly Deaf to Deaf on VP. so you are not agreeing with me some of those I am not aware of.
do you support your Deaf Canadians Commuity about want to keep Sorenson VRS, do you? it seem you are not very fan of this and you seem to support Sorenson VRS decision to cut off from all Deaf Canadians, do you? I wonder…

I want to show my support to Deaf Canadians of their need for Sorenson VRS( it can be influence of other VRS) I am showing my support to tell Sorenson VRS not to cut it off from Deaf world. See what I am saying?

BB: “Many Deaf Candaian seems not aware that they are being cut off got them upset”

Me: What is your evidence? I can tell you where I got my sources that we all knew it was coming to an end. is a website many deaf people go to in British Columbia. You will see that there are 8 separate posts for VRS. There were townhall meetings about VRS. Clearly we all knew that the trial was coming to an end. There were multiple vlogs and messages circulating that this trial project was coming to an end 18 months later.

There are vlogs posted by the former BC VRS committee and Alberta committee where Lisa Anderson-Kellet, Linda Cundy and the BC VRS Committee posted several vlogs.

Linda Cundy posted a vlog 3 months ago at where she talks about details of the trial project.

BC VRS Townhall Feb 3, 2011

In fact you will see 21 videos posted by BC VRS at

I think I have presented you with enough evidence that we knew this was happening.

BB: “You seem not concern of other Deaf Candaians”

Me: Can you tell me where in my message that I said I’m not concerned? Of course I am concerned. I am Deaf after all and I use VRS like my best friend at my work (I should say used to, as the trial project ends tonight and will no longer be able to use it for work). Thankfully we have IP Relay while we wait for CRTC to process all the data they will receive from Telus and Bell.

BB: “you seem to support Sorenson VRS decision to cut off from all Deaf Canadians, do you?”

Me: First of all, only 311 Deaf people out of thousands and thousands of Deaf people had VRS. Only a small group of people had VRS. Thousands of Deaf people could only use IP Relay and TTY. So the service was not cut off from ‘all Deaf Canadians”.

Second of all, it wasn’t Sorenson who cut off VRS. It was Telus/CRTC. Sorenson just provided the service. The project was run by Telus, not Sorenson.

Finally, since we don’t have VRS in Canada yet, the first goal is to get VRS, regardless of which company provides the service. The first thing we need is approval for VRS. The bidding of different VRS companies come later. Frankly that’s not the priority at this time. The priority is getting approval for VRS.

BB: “I want to show my support to Deaf Canadians”

Me: I’m really happy that you have shown your genuine support for us Canadians, thank you!

I think the vrs should be in canada the reason i say this is because they have rights to have video phone in their home to communicate with Deaf friends and as well as families if they live out of state what happens when theirs an emergency and they need to dial their emergency number for an ambulance to arrive? VRS can save lives it did for my friend who had problems and I was able to communicate faster with relay on my video phone. saves lives Canada governments needs to wake up and understand the greatest needs among the Deaf people all over the world. I support all of the Canada people to have the right to have vrs .pray that they get it. Joanna

Joanna, I’m glad your friend didn’t die. I’m glad it ‘save lives’ for your friend.

Lisa’s name is not Anderson-Kellet with one “t.” It has two “t’s” as Anderson-Kellett.

Thank you,

Michael Kellett

If you look at the Article 102 of the NAFTA agreement outlines its purpose:

Grant the signatories Most Favored Nation status.

Eliminate barriers to trade and facilitate the cross-border movement of goods and services.

Promote conditions of fair competition.

Increase investment opportunities.

Provide protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights.

Create procedures for the resolution of trade disputes.

Establish a framework for further trilateral, regional, and multilateral cooperation to expand NAFTA’s benefits.

Please think about the second statement “Eliminate barriers to trade and facilitate the cross-border movement of goods and services.” It makes no sense for Sorenson to choose establish Support centers that will entirely provide services to America Deaf customers. It is like bringing American made capital goods into a foreign country only to make products and services for United States period, no one else. This Act was ratified by the legislatures of the three countries in 1993.

Number 1, China was granted as USA’s most favored nation status. This led USA mega-corporations to outsource our labor jobs to China mostly because labor is cheaper. If you are typing these messages on an iMac product, the machine is “Made in China and Designed in California.” Chuckle, this has been going on for a long time since NAFTA was ratified when I was in college.

This very Act made it legal for American companies to send jobs overseas to produce goods of all kinds and bring back home with a high price. Companies rake in huge profits and only pay minable to factory workers around $2 an hour. For these large corporations, it seems like a very good idea to produce things at a very low cost and reap big profits back at home in USA and Canada, at the end who gets the profits? The very corporations that send jobs to overseas countries such as China. These companies are Apple, Ford, GM, and many of other of electronics companies.

Now here is the problem with Sorenson. They are circumventing and eluding the strict NAFTA regulations. Sorenson, technically, can not use, set up, and locate its Sorenson Support Centers in overseas countries where American Sign Language (ASL) are not used in other countries Deaf Community. ASL visual language barely exists in China. Where else would they go to look for places to set up new centers? In other words, they went to Canada because ASL is used in most of Canada’s provinces except in Quebec where Quebec Sign Language is more widely used with the Deaf French Canadians. This other particular sign language known in French Canada as Langue des signes québécoise (LSQ). The bottom line Canada is not listed as a “ Most Favored Nation. China has that status.

Let us get back to the point. For a minute, I realized I was discussing LSQ as an issue, my apologies. As we may know that Sorenson, it is not surprising they would use, Canadians who could sign ASL fluently and work for the Sorenson Support Center (SSC).

I suspect that Sorenson found a loophole to place their SSCs in most of the provinces that border with the United States. Why did this videophone company move its SSCs to Canada? Any companies that operate outside of their own country would have to file their annual taxes to the IRS and the CRA (Canada Revenue Agency). This is not a keen idea for Sorenson to provide customer service and tech support to Deaf Americans outside of their own country.

From my four-year experience, I have gone back and forth between the USA and Canada. I have noticed both countries’ currencies about on par for a while. However, both dollars’ values do flip-flops. In a period of few weeks, the America dollar stays high above the Canada dollar or it will be below Canada’s dollar. It is always a “few to several” cents for every dollar. I do not think Sorenson will not worry about that.

There are many jobs, in Canada, have the same step wages as it is in the United States. This still begs the question “Why pay the Canadians Sorenson staff at the same wage as they would do in the USA. Is Sorenson taking advantage of the NAFTA act with a loophole? Yes and maybe, because it is the fact that Canada which is the one and only other country that has Deaf communities that use ASL; Sorenson is circumventing around this act because they can not technically use Chinese who use ASL . . . Where do we find them? Maybe sent the Deaf Americans to set up and work at the Support center. However, that creates problems; China has a strong censorship on the Internet, thus out signing dialogue will be monitored. Sorenson workers will need passports, work visas, and all the legial prior approval before going to China. In reality, it is too much trouble to ask for all preparations.

It is still my opinion that the support centers, for Deaf American Sorenson customer based in Canada, should discontinue and close their doors and relocate back to the U.S.A.

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