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Annual Report 2015-2016


The Canadian Hearing Society is the leading provider of services, products and information that:

  • remove barriers to communication
  • advance hearing health
  • promote equity for people who are culturally Deaf, oral deaf, deafened and hard of hearing


A society where people are respected; have full access to communication; and are able to participate without social, economic or emotional barriers.

Chair: Timothy Andrade
Vice-Chair: Mary-Lu Brennan
Vice-Chair: Mark Wafer
Treasurer: Peter Bar
Secretary: Julia Dumanian
Albert Brule
Linda Campbell
Bryanne Gilkinson
Diane Gregoris
Arista Haas
David Hass
Catherine MacKinnon
Jim Muccilli
Rohan Smith
Penny Woolford


President and CEO: Julia Dumanian
VP, Clinical and Community Services: Dr. Chantal Graveline
VP, Finance and Corporate Services: Stephanus Greeff
VP, Stakeholder and Employer Relations: Gary Malkowski
VP, Innovation and Enterprise Development: Shane Silver

A photo of the Board of Directors

A clear vision for tomorrow



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Throughout its history, CHS has always been focused on the future, working on new and innovative ways to serve its clients, while still staying true to its roots. The creation of CHS back in 1940 was the direct result of CHS’s founding members addressing a need in the community: to further the cause of people who were Deaf and hard of hearing. Today, CHS is using that same principle to propel the organization in a new direction.

Last year was a year of change for CHS, steered by the transformational leadership of CHS’s new CEO Julia Dumanian. The board stands united behind Julia’s vision for tomorrow, which has seen the refocus and realignment of CHS’s programs and services. The board has also been busy ensuring that CHS is in a strong governance position to help advance the organization.


In 2016, the board undertook an intensive review of its governance policies which give overall direction to the agency, ensuring accountability, and that we always deliver on our mission, ethically and sustainably. This review included making sure our policies adhere to current legislation, follow governance best practices, and meet the best interests of the organization. The landscape has changed, but the people we serve will always be at the heart of every decision the board makes.

I would like to thank my fellow board members for their tireless dedication to CHS, CHS’s executive leadership team, management, staff, funders, donors, volunteers and members for their continued support through this exciting time of change. Together, we will continue to evolve, adapt and build the organization for an even brighter tomorrow.

Successful year paves the way for the future


President and CEO

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A lot has changed since the early days of CHS, yet our passion and commitment to breaking down barriers to access and improving our clients’ quality of life remain as strong as ever. This year, we celebrated our 75th anniversary, looking back with pride at our many achievements, while also planning for the years ahead.

We are seizing every opportunity to adapt to the changing needs of the community and our clients, advances in technology, and the realities of the funding environment.

It was a busy year for CHS. While celebrating our 75th anniversary, we served more than 36,000 clients in programs and services across the province. We hosted Get CONNECTED which celebrated the role that technology has played in breaking down barriers to communication. We travelled beyond our borders to engage with academic partners and focus on youth, which included the completion of our Barrier-Free Education Initiative.


I also met with staff, clients, stakeholders and other industry partners to gather input on ways to ready CHS for the future. The result was the creation of a strategy that is refocusing the organization, driving our priorities for 2016-17, and positioning us to offer our clients the right service at the right time in the right place.

To accomplish this we have reorganized CHS into four core business pillars:

  • Employment and training
  • Community-based social services
  • Products and professional services
  • Clinical services

The objectives of this new and modern structure is to have greater impact, greater accountability and greater opportunities for growth.

This exciting change has already resulted in more active engagement with youth and a heightened focus on employment and training through new partnerships. We are also tailoring our existing programs to better meet the needs of our clients, including a new program which offers hearing healthcare for seniors and persons with disabilities in the comfort of their home. The support of our donors, partners, volunteers and staff over the past year has helped make these successes reality – and for that, I thank you.

I especially want to thank our amazing CHS staff for their expertise and commitment to our mission. CHS has been trusted for more than 75 years, and with our team’s passion, professionalism, and talent, we will remain the preeminent experts in hearing healthcare and services for people who are Deaf and hard of hearing for the next 75.

This is an exciting time for CHS and the people we serve.

The future is here and now and I am excited to go forward together.

Employment and training

We are growing our workforce literacy program, driving college and university internships, promoting barrier-free education, driving employment access services, focusing on youth initiatives, and supporting new Canadians.


clients served across all programs and services in 2015-16

1 in 5

clients of CHS Employment Services are aged 17-29, the crucial early career development years

Ensuring barrier-free education for all

Student in class

Jeremy dreads being called on in class – but not because he doesn’t know the answers. Jeremy has hearing loss and sometimes has difficulty following lessons. Jeremy’s story is one shared by many students across the country. About 1 in 250 Canadian babies are born Deaf, with some degree of hearing loss or will develop progressive childhood hearing loss.

In an effort to ensure these children enjoy an inclusive, barrier-free learning environment in their school years, CHS has developed online learning materials for teachers and parents.

A classroom accessibility guide and a mental health guide offer information, strategies and resources, including links and relevant guides throughout.

Recommendations that appear in the classroom accessibility guide such as installing FM or soundfield equipment will allow students like Jeremy to access information in the classroom.

The materials were developed in partnership with schoolboards and mental health experts as part of the Barrier-Free Education Initiative, a project funded by the Ontario Ministry of Education.

CHS hosts its first employment fair at Gallaudet

Julia Dumanian speaks to students

An eager group of Canadian students studying at Gallaudet came away inspired and hopeful about their future careers after attending CHS’s first employment fair at the Washington, D.C.-based school. Students in attendance learned about CHS Employment Services internship programs and opportunities to work in Canada during the event, while networking with a prestigious group of guests and presenters. The job fair featured interactive exhibits from CHS, Gallaudet, the Canadian Embassy and the US Department of Education. CHS staff interacted with graduate and undergraduate Canadian students from a variety of fields considering re-entry into the workforce in Canada.



More than 1,840 people have been supported by Employment Services since 2014. An average of 250 Deaf and hard of hearing individuals find jobs with CHS’s help each year. We also offer American Sign Language classes, life skills training, language instruction and education services, and have impacted more than 1,700 learners through these skills-focused programs.

More than 1,840 people have been supported by Employment Services since 2014. An average of 250 Deaf and hard of hearing individuals find jobs with CHS’s help each year. We also offer American Sign Language classeslife skills traininglanguage instruction and education services, and have impacted more than 1,700 learners through these skills-focused programs.

Employment services coaching aids career transition

Bernard sitting at his desk

After graduating from the National Technical Institute for the Deaf (NTID) at Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) with an associates degree in computer aided drafting technology and a bachelor of science in mechanical engineering technology, Bernard, a Deaf immigrant, came looking for guidance from CHS Employment Services. With help from his CHS Employment Consultant, he improved his interview skills, boosted his self-confidence and became more independent. 

He also worked with communication devices consultants at CHS to find the right alerting system, TTY and other technical devices for personal and business situations.

Today, Bernard is a multi-task manager at VR3 Engineering in Stratford, Ontario, where his role includes manufacturing management and processing, inventory, analysis and customer care.

“It is a pleasure to communicate with my co-workers and clients without barriers thanks to the support I received from CHS,” Bernard says. “CHS provided me with the services I needed to create a better future for myself. Because of the support I received from CHS, I can manage my job, my life and my future.”

Making businesses accessible and inclusive

Man and woman looking at a map

This spring, CHS and the Ontario Restaurant Hotel & Motel Association launched a new website that provides practical information on what restaurant, hotel, and motel owners can do to make their businesses more accessible – for both employees and guests. Information on the website helps business owners understand the attitudinal and environmental barriers people who are Deaf and hard of hearing face in the workplace and how easily they can be addressed.

The website is rich in video and written content that will help employers transform their businesses.

Supporting victims of violence with interpreting services

In May 2015, CHS’s interpreting services received funding for Women’s Directorate Ontario designated to support the Language Interpreter Services program, which delivers interpreting services that help victims of domestic or sexual violence. During the program’s first year, CHS served 355 women and provided 1,168 hours of service for sign language interpretation – exceeding the expectations set by the Ministry of Citizenship, Immigration and International Trade.

Improving workplace accessibility


Logos of workplaces working with CHS for improving accessibilityBreaking down barriers to communication to improve employment opportunities for people who are Deaf and hard of hearing is a longstanding mandate for CHS. In addition to its partnership with ORHMA, CHS is currently working to improve workplace accessibility for both employees and customers with TD Canada Trust, Metrolinx, CBC, Bell, the Government of Canada and more.


First-of-its-kind Deaf Interpreter screening

A man signing during a video callWith funding from Ministry of Community and Social Services, CHS has developed and implemented a first-of-its kind Deaf Interpreter Screening tool and protocol. The screening tool and protocol will qualify Deaf Interpreters to work for CHS interpreting services and will ensure consistency in interpreter skills and qualifications. It also brings CHS’s DI screening tool in line with existing ASL-English interpreter screening tools.

Clinical Services

We offer specialized hearing healthcare solutions, including hearing tests and tinnitus consultations, as well as counselling services that provide professional support to deal with mental health issues, addiction, abuse and other serious challenges.


clients were served through CHS Hearing Healthcare, including visits to audiologists, last year


clients were served through CHS counselling programs last year

can’t come to us… we’ll come to you

Elderly man with caregiver

Bruce, a longstanding client of CHS’s audiology program, was in his 70s and living on his own in an apartment. He uses a wheelchair and has both moderate to severe hearing loss and low vision. Because of his low vision, Bruce is highly dependent on his hearing aids. So when one hearing aid broke, Bruce needed a replacement right away.


Bruce mentioned to his hearing care counsellor what a hardship it was for him to come in for an appointment. In order to come to the clinic, Bruce would have to not only hire a wheelchair taxi, but also an escort to accompany him for safety reasons. Coming in to the clinic was not only expensive for him – it was physically exhausting, too.


After identifying this issue, Bruce was assessed and approved to be the first recipient of a new CHS service: Hearing Healthcare at Home. The service offers hearing assessments, hearing tests, counselling, information, and dispensing of hearing aids and assistive listening devices – all in the comfort of the client’s home.


“Planning my visits to CHS had been so difficult. It’s such a relief to have my audiologist come right to my living room for testing and fittings,” Bruce says. Bruce is happy with his new hearing aids and his case paved the way for visits to other clients through the creation of Hearing Healthcare at Home.

CHS counselling leads to police partnership and community best practices

Woman speak to an officerBridget, a 38-year-old woman who is Deaf, was experiencing stress and anxiety at work. She was a severe hoarder with multiple health problems which led to being off work and considering going on disability income. She was becoming increasingly dependent on her co-workers for support. 


Eventually, her employer referred her to CONNECT Counselling at CHS. Working with her counsellor, Bridget learned healthy stress management techniques, decision-making strategies, harm reduction, and independent life skills to help manage life decisions. After both her physical and mental health stabilized, Bridget returned to work. “I feel so much more clear-headed now and back in control of my life,” Bridget says. 


Through counselling, Bridget also revealed that she had been the victim of a major financial fraudster that specifically targets the Deaf community, which she ultimately reported to the police. 


Bridget’s case allowed CHS to develop a strong partnership with police and social workers to help identify victims of fraud. The partnership also led police to refer Deaf community members to CONNECT. Today, police use this case as an example of successful community partnerships for best practices to better serve Deaf and hard of hearing residents.

Community-based social services

We offer free counselling services designed to improve communication with loved ones, stay involved socially, and remain independent, as well as general support services designed to help clients manage everyday life.


General Support Services clients served last year


Hearing Care Counselling clients served last year

Giving independence and security back to clients

Three older men talking

When Glen first met his CHS hearing care counsellor, he felt hopeless. His wife had recently passed away, leaving him alone in his home. Glen had depended on his wife to cook, clean, and take care of him. But because he had hearing loss, Glen also depended on her at night. He felt safe knowing that she would hear an intruder, fire alarm or other noise that could identify danger. 

Glen was now in a panic. He wasn’t sleeping and was becoming irrational. He wanted to put bars on his windows and get a steel padlock on his bedroom door. He woke up every night thinking his house was on fire or someone was robbing him. Because he had lost his hearing, he was starting to lose his sense of safety. He needed someone to help him regain control over his environment.

With support from CHS, Glen was able to install smoke detectors, a door knocker, a bed shaker alarm system and motion sensing lights on his porch. His CHS counsellor continued to see Glen and provide him with information and supportive counselling. After a few visits, Glen was visibly happier.  

Today, Glen has regained his independence and his sense of security, and he’s reconnected with others in the community. “I can sleep soundly now – I feel like I’m back in control of my life,” Glen says.


Helping clients realize their dreams

Melanie with a syringe

When Melanie was growing up in a small town in Northern Ontario, her hearing loss didn’t really impact her life. After receiving her first pair of hearing aids in kindergarten, she continued to do what she enjoyed: camping, fishing and other activities. But when she went to college to pursue a career in nursing, she knew she would need some accessibility accommodations in order to ensure her success.

So she came to CHS. Working with her General Support Services (GSS) counsellor, Melanie found the equipment she needed to complete her program, including an FM system for her classes and an amplified stethoscope for her placements in the field.

With these supports in place, things were going great in school – until she came up against her biggest challenge yet. Just a few days away from starting her last placement before graduation, Melanie’s placement coordinator at school decided her hearing loss would interfere with her job duties and performance. She insisted Melanie have a hearing test. There was no way Melanie could schedule it in time. Melanie was devastated and felt she was being discriminated against because of her hearing loss. 

After Melanie explained the situation to her CHS counsellor, her counsellor advocated on her behalf, scheduling a formal meeting with the Dean of her program. Ultimately, Melanie won her case, completed her placement and went on to graduate. Today, Melanie is a registered practical nurse with a job she loves. 

“If it wasn’t for my CHS counsellor, I would’ve given up on my dream of being a nurse. I wouldn’t be the person I am today,” Melanie says. “She saved my career and changed my life.”

Consumer advocacy is just one of the many services GSS offers. They also provide supportive counselling, coping strategies, referral services and special assistance to help individuals overcome language and cultural barriers to everyday living situations.



Watch in ASL

Over the past year, we have seen your heartfelt commitment to the unique work we do at CHS. It’s incredible the things we can do together when we push beyond our boundaries and pool our resources to serve more people who are Deaf and hard of hearing.

By donating funds, volunteering, participating in our events, and engaging with us online and at our offices, you are supporting a vital, 75-plus-year history that enables barrier-free access to communication and an increased quality of life for thousands of Deaf and hard of hearing Canadians – an accomplishment of which we can all be proud.

Going forward, we will take our community donor and corporate partner relationships to new heights. Our goal is to strengthen ties with local Deaf and hard of hearing communities to drive fundraising and awareness, allowing CHS to provide more services to more people.

At the corporate level, we will strengthen our alignment with organizations that value accessibility for Deaf and hard of hearing Canadians and are committed to joining with CHS to raise funds for programs and services that have a lasting impact on people’s lives.

It is an exciting time of transformation and innovation at CHS. I invite you to learn more about all of CHS’s services and programs, including inspirational accounts of how people realized their dreams with CHS’s help. 

Join us in making more dreams come true.

Shane Silver

VP, Innovation and Enterprise Development


Fundraising revenue breakdown

Fundraising revenue breakdown - Individual giving 38.4%, Gaming 21.1%, Special events 17.3%, Bequests/In memoriam 15.2%, Foundations, corporations and service clube 6.9%, Other 1.0%

Tulips campaign

To coincide with Speech and Hearing Awareness Month in May 2015, CHS launched its Orange Emperor Tulip Campaign. Through the spring, CHS sold Orange Emperor tulips bulbs to individuals, cities, regions and parks to raise money for CHS programs and services in celebration of CHS’s 75th anniversary. 

Some of the 1,000 bulbs purchased by the Niagara Parks Commission.

Fundraising events

The 2015-2016 calendar was once again packed with a number of great fundraising events and campaigns that support CHS programs and services. Here’s a selection of highlights from last year:


On Sept. 24, 2015, CHS hosted Get CONNECTED: The Social Interactive Event, to celebrate the technological advances that have helped break down communication barriers and connect people who are Deaf and hard of hearing with the world around them.

The upscale cocktail reception and fundraising initiative coincided with CHS’s 75th anniversary and featured keynote speaker Vinton Cerf, one of the ‘fathers of the internet and Vice President and Chief Internet Evangelist at Google.

Guests at the event were encouraged to use various social media platforms to share highlights from the event, while also showcasing the medium’s influence in breaking down communication barriers and connecting people from all walks of life.

Proceeds from the event helped CHS establish a client assistance fund to allow people who are Deaf and hard of hearing to “get connected” with technology that can help them live their lives fully, regardless of their financial ability.

Google’s Vinton Cerf addresses attendees at the upscale Get CONNECTED fundraising event in September 2015.

Reza Javaheri
Reza Javaheri and wife Narsis Eftekhari at Get CONNECTED


Reza Javaheri (pictured left) was one of three CHS clients who shared their success stories at Get CONNECTED. Reza told attendees of growing up Deaf in Iran, where the only sign language interpreters were thousands of miles away. After moving to Canada, Reza joined CHS’s Workforce Literacy program, a unique, individualized learning program where he learned English and ASL and basic skills for his new life in Canada. Today, with CHS’s help, Reza’s skills continue to improve and he’s excited about all the potential Canada has to offer.

Thank you!

Many individuals and organizations have responded to our call to action this year, providing much-needed support. Although this Annual Report only lists donors at the $500+ giving level, we wish to thank each and every CHS donor for their generosity.

Report from the Treasurer

It was a year of transition and change at CHS. The organization finished the year with a stable financial position as a result of prudent financial management and the realignment and reorganization of the agency.

Peter Bar

Watch in ASL

CHS ended the year with a deficit of ($1,070,758), which was offset by fund transfers. The agency maintained its funding from the government and United Way agencies and increased its sales of products and services.

In order to make the changes necessary to deliver our 2016-17 commitments and beyond, as well as better servicing our clients, CHS incurred some transition costs, including restructuring charges.

The organization also incurred some capital costs that included essential roof repairs, and upgrades to the elevators in our Toronto office to improve accessibility.

Prudent financial management was practiced across the organization:

  • Careful review and control of administrative and operating expenses helped the agency minimize the impact on operations; and
  • The program and management structure was redesigned and realigned to eliminate redundancies, improve efficiencies and strengthen front-line services, increasing accountability to our funders and stakeholders. 

Over the year, 88.4% of revenue was spent on direct service delivery, 2.8% on fundraising, and 8.8% on administration. 

Our financial strength and the ongoing support of CHS staff, funders, donors and the communities that we serve, have allowed CHS to focus on providing industry-leading products, programs and services to Deaf and hard of hearing Canadians in a fiscally responsible manner.

Revenue - Government 58.4%, Product Sales 23.1%, Fee for Service 9.2%, Fundraising and Gaming 4.6%, United Way 4.4%, Other 0.3%
investment by program and service pillar - Products and Professional Services 52%, Community Based Social Services 21%, Employment and Training 12%, Clinical Srvices 11%, Business Support Services 4%
Balance Sheet Summary - Assets: Non-Current 35%, Current 16%; Liabilities: Fund Balances 28%, Liabilities 22%
Expenses by category - Programs 88.4%, Administration 8.8%, Fundraising 2.8%

Our funding partners

It was a year of transition and change at CHS. The organization finished the year with a stable financial position as a result of prudent financial management and the realignment and reorganization of the agency.

Funding partners - Citizenship and Immigration Canada, Human Resources and Social Development Canada, Ontario Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration, Ontario Local Health Integration Network, Ontario Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities, Ontario Ministry of Community and Social Services, Ontario MEDG, City of Toronto, and United Way