This article discusses some issues in Canadian sign language recognition in light of the federal government's recent introduction of an Accessible Canada Act and related deaf community activism. We identify gaps in knowledge surrounding sign language use, including communicative practices of deaf Indigenous peoples, and outline the history of the struggle for sign language rights in Canada. We discuss existing protections for sign language access rights in Canadian constitutional legislation and how these may preclude the need for sign language recognition within the framework of disability legislation. Next, we propose a sign languages act to parallel the forthcoming Indigenous Languages Act that may better encompass sign language rights for deaf Canadians.

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Canadian Modern Language Review
School of Linguistics and Language Studies

Snoddon, K, & Wilkinson, E. (Erin). (2019). Problematizing the legal recognition of sign languages in Canada. Canadian Modern Language Review, 75(2), 128–144. doi:10.3138/cmlr.2018-0232