THE VOICE – The Voice of Albertans With Disabilities

This is a copy the THE VOICE, a newsletter for Albertans with disabilities. The LINK to the website is

This link is also listed on our LInks Page, Canadian Links


Accessible Television Options

VAD has had many people contact our office asking about closed captioning and video descriptions. Follow the instructions below to set up Shaw and Telus accessibility.


SHAW Accessibility Options

With BlueCurve TV you have access to the following

accessibility options:

-Closed Captioning

-Video Descriptions

-Voice Guidance

Press the Shaw button on your remote

Use the right arrow or left arrow button to select Settings (the gear icon)

Press OK on the remote

Scroll down to Accessibility Settings and press OK



On my optik remote…

• Menu button

• scroll right to Settings

• scroll down to Television

• scroll down to Closed captioning

• ensure closed captions is ON

• ensure it’s “Closed captioning 1”


People Facing Unemployment

Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB)

We will provide a taxable benefit of $2,000 a month for up to 4 months to eligible workers who have lost their income due to COVID-19.


There are two ways to apply:


Over the phone with an automated phone service:

1-800-959-2019 or 1-800-959-2041


Both of these services are available 21 hours a day, 7 days a week. Both services are closed from 3:00 a.m. to 6:00 a.m. (Eastern time) for maintenance.


Income tax filing and payment dates: CRA and COVID-19

The Filing date for 2019 tax year has been extended until June 1, 2020. Penalties and interest will not be charged if the deferred payment requirements are met by September 1, 2020. Penalties and interest relief will be considered on a case-by-case basis for income tax balances that are not covered by the COVID-19 relief provisions.


Free tax clinic

If you’re planning to go to a free tax clinic, please check the directory and call the clinic before you go. Some clinics may have had to close or change their hours due to concerns surrounding COVID-19 or to mandatory closure ordered by authorities. Tax filing season has been extended from April 30 to June 1, 2020.


Communication Access

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Over 440,000 Canadians have disabilities that affect their speech and/or their ability to understand what someone else is saying. Like everyone, people with communication disabilities have a legal right to equal access to goods and services. For that to happen, they have to be able to communicate s​uccessfully. Businesses, organizations, and essential services in Canada are required by law to make their services fully accessible for people who have communication disabilities.


What Is Communication Access?

Communication access is what people who work in businesses and organizations can do to help people with communication disabilities:

·     understand what’s being said

·     have their messages accurately unders​​tood by others

·     have the supports they may need to communicate at meetings, public events, and over the telephone

·     get written information in ways they can understand and use

·     sign documents, take notes, and complete forms

·     communicate in the ways they prefer, such as:

·     speech (talking)​​

·     gestures

·     writing

·     pointing to objects or pictures

·     spelling words

·     typing on a communication device

·     having someone assist them


People with communication challenges may have individual communication access needs, but there are some general things your business or organization can do to improve access to your services.

·     Welcome the person with a communication disability by smiling, saying hello, and talking directly to them and not just the person with them.

·     Ask the person for the best way to communicate with them. They may tell you or give you instructions to read.

·     Move to a quiet area or where you can see and read how to communicate with them.

·     Give the person enough time to communicate. It often takes longer for a person with a communication disability to get their message across.

·     Wait until you understand the person’s message. Tell them what you understand so far and ask if you can guess what they mean, or wait for them to repeat the message or tell you another way.

·     Use everyday language and show pictures and objects of what you’re talking about if they have difficulty understanding what you’re saying.

·     Provide different ways for people to contact your organization (e.g., telephone, fax, email, text, TTY, relay services, online ordering).

·     Be prepared to communicate with people who use speech devices and assistants over the telephone.

·     Make sure your signs are clear, easy to see and understand.

·     Give the agenda for any meetings or public events to them ahead of time, and ask how they will signal that they have something to say.

·     Make sure your reading material is easy to read and understand. Ask people if they want help or if they want an electronic copy of the material.

·     Make your forms easy to read, understand, and complete. Ask if they want help writing on the form or if they would like to complete an electronic form on a computer.


Ask the person how they sign written forms. They may use:

·     a written signature

·     an X

·     a stamp

·     an electronic signature

·     someone to assist them


When using a business or organization, people who have speech and language disabilities have the right to expect to:

be treated with respect

understand what the person is saying to them

have their messages understood by the other person

use the communication method(s) that work best for them

use a communication assistant if they want

have someone follow their instructions on how to communicate with them

get enough time to communicate their messages

ask questions and express their opinions

be taken seriously

connect with the organization using the telephone or another way that works better for them

get communication supports that they may need to communicate effectively at meetings

get supports they may need to read or understand the organization’s written materials

get supports they may need to complete an organization’s forms, take notes and sign documents


Credits: Communication Disabilities Access Canada (CDAC)



COVID 19 Symptoms

COVID-19 symptoms are similar to influenza and other respiratory illnesses.


Common symptoms can be mild: cough, fever, shortness of breath, runny nose or sore throat. Symptom of serious illness: difficulty breathing or pneumonia. If you have symptoms:

·     legally-required to isolate for at least 10 days, or until symptoms resolve, whichever is longer

·     take the COVID-19 self-assessment

·     call Health Link 811 for further instructions if directed by the self-assessment tool

·     do not go to an ER or clinic – if you need immediate medical attention, call 911 and inform them you may have COVID-19.


VAD membership drive

VAD has decided to move our annual membership drive to September to allow time for our members to work through the changes to their working environments. Watch for the member applications to come out in the early fall.

COVID 19 in Alberta Updates 

Go to the link listed above for the most current updates on the COVID-19 pandemic.



Build an emergency kit

When dangerous situations arise, it’s important to be able to act quickly. Having an emergency kit can help reduce the stress of making important decisions in urgent situations. Choose a bin, backpack or a rolling suitcase, fill them with enough supplies for at least 72 hours and store them in a place where you can quickly grab them. Here’s what to pack:

·     Water (4L per person per day)

·     Non-perishable food such as protein/granola bars

·     Trail mix/dried fruit

·     Crackers and cereals

·     Canned meat, fish and beans

·     Canned/boxed juice

·     Clothing and Bedding Change(s) of clothing appropriate for the season

·     Extra undergarments and socks

·     Raincoat, poncho, jacket

·     Spare shoes

·     Sleeping bag, blanket or emergency heat blanket

·     Light and Fuel

·     Battery-powered or crank flashlights/lamps

·     Candles with candle holder

·     Lighter or Waterproof matches

·     Manual can opener

·     Dishes and utensils

·     Battery-powered or crank radio

·     Extra batteries

·     Pen and paper

·     Pocket knife

·     Duct tape

·     Whistle

·     Basic tools and work gloves

·     First-aid kit

·     Toiletries (toilet paper, personal and feminine hygiene, toothbrush and paste)

·     Cleaning supplies (hand sanitizer, dish soap, dish towel etc.)

·     Medication (acetaminophen, ibuprofen, medications)

·     Pet food and supplies

·     Garbage, recycle and sealable clear plastic bags

·     Personal identification

·     Copies of birth and marriage certificate, will, passports, citizenship papers

·     Insurance policies

·     Money (small bills and change)

·     Credit card information

·     Contact list

·     Small toys and stuffed animals

·     Playing cards and games

·     Reading material

·     Activity books and crossword puzzles

·     Colouring books and markers/crayons

·     Charging cords for electronic devices

* Not sure what to pack? Ask a health professional


Feedback on current situation

How can we help you?

We want feedback from you in this trying time to be able learn how you’re all being affected, what can we do to support you, and how would you like to be supported.


1.  Currently, what are your biggest concerns given the current situation with COVID-19?

2.  Looking to the future, what do you foresee being a issue for you as this continues?

3.  What would make the greatest impact on your quality of life right now?

4.  How could services, supports, information sharing etc. improve to help you through this crisis?

5.  Is there anything else you would like to add? (Please, tell us anything!)

6.  If you want more information or would like us to respond to anything you’ve mentioned here, please provide what ever contact details you are comfortable with.

10 Post Polio Survival Tips

Dealing with PPS? Here are ten tips to help get you through the day.

  1. Don’t beat yourself up over the “I can’t do it” feeling.
  2. Be excited about the “I can do it” stuff.
  3. Take a rest break when you need to.
  4. Eat well and stay hydrated, get plenty of sleep.
  5. Don’t over exert, especially on those days when you are feeling extra great.
  6. Don’t be afraid to use available meds to help you through the tough times.
  7. Don’t isolate yourself; socialize in person, social media, telephone.
  8. Think positive thoughts; our thoughts make us what we are, we can control thoughts.
  9. On that note, laugh, think happy, choose happy, be happy, be joyful
  10. Lastly, but certainly not least, grow a thick skin!

Bernd’s Personal Wisdom (well, it works for me most days)