Canadians Speak Up: Babies Deserve An Equal Start

TORONTO, June 02, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- As Hearing and Speech Awareness Month draws to a close, The Hearing Foundation of Canada (THFC) is pleased to announce the success of the campaign. aims to provide parity for screening and intervention programs for infant hearing across Canada.

As part of this campaign, an online petition was launched, with a paper petition sponsored by Peter Julian, MP for Burnaby - New Westminster. The online petition has so far received over 11,500 signatures from concerned individuals across Canada. Signatures are still being collected, and hopes to surpass 15,000 names. Peter Julian will be formally tabling the paper petition in the House of Commons in June. The petition calls for the establishment of a national infant hearing health strategy. Canada is among the last of the developed countries without a national strategy and standards around newborn hearing screening and early intervention. Instead these programs vary widely between provinces and territories. All signatories support the right of infants to ensure that they have all the essential support and resources needed to have a good start in life.

“Because [Beckett] was born healthy in Saskatchewan, he got missed. That’s just wrong. All parents in Canada need to advocate for their child’s rights. All babies in Canada have a right to equal access and the best possible start.”

-- Aimee Lewis, mother of Beckett, who was only diagnosed with severe hearing loss at age two.

In Canada, more than 2,000 children are born with hearing loss every year. Nearly six in every one thousand Canadian babies have some degree of hearing loss, making congenital hearing loss one of the country’s most common birth defects. In support of the petitioners’ request, Mr. Julian is helping raise awareness for this pressing national issue.

The campaign hopes that the federal government demonstrates leadership on this pressing issue and works with the provinces and territories to create a national mandate for infant screening and intervention across Canada. Every baby deserves a chance to hear and communicate to reach its potential in life.

The Hearing Foundation of Canada is a national charity committed to improving hearing health through education and early intervention, raising awareness about hearing loss, and supporting medical research that improves diagnosis and treatment.


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