Did you know: One Deaf lawyer helped increase access for all Deaf Canadians?

Friday, 29 August 2014 10:34am

In 2000, Vancouver lawyer Henry Vlug lodged a complaint against the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) in the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal (CHRT) for not including closed captions on all of its television programs.

Vlug stated he could not enjoy programs such as major league baseball playoff games without the inclusion of captions, arguing that Deaf Canadians are equal to those who can hear since their taxes funded the broadcaster, entitling them to the full experience of CBC programming.

The case was won and the lawyer granted CAD$10,000 by the CHRT for pain and suffering. CBC appealed the tribunal’s settlement but later dropped the bid when it settled with Vlug out of court for a lower amount.

Due to his numerous contributions for the Deaf community, Vlug has since been appointed a Queen’s Counsel (Q.C.) by the British Columbia Bar, becoming the first Deaf lawyer in Canada to achieve the honour.

If you want to learn more about captions on TV, or find information on subscription and digital TV captions in Australia (including common problems with captions), check out our accessible television category.


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