Frequently Asked Questions

Who is able to use SRV Canada VRS?

SRV Canada VRS is for Deaf or Hard of Hearing people who live in Canada and who wish to communicate over video using sign language. Deaf or Hard of Hearing sign language customers register for the service and receive a 10-digit phone number for making and receiving calls on their chosen Internet device or devices; including Windows, Mac, iOS or Android. Deaf or Hard of Hearing people can be called by anyone in the world via their 10-digit number.

What languages does SRV Canada VRS support?

SRV Canada VRS is for people who live in Canada who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing and who use American Sign Language (ASL) and/or langue des signes québécoise (LSQ). The service is also available to those who do not use sign language but use English or French and want to communicate with someone who is Deaf or Hard of Hearing. Video Interpreters interpret ASL to English or LSQ to French and vice versa.

Can a Deaf child under the age of majority register to use SRV Canada VRS?

Yes. A Deaf child under the age of majority can register to use SRV Canada VRS with the written authorization of their Parent or Legal Guardian.

Registration occurs in the app, so you must download the app first.

To get started, go to srvcanadavrs.ca and scroll to bottom of page and click on the icon of the app you’d like to install.

As part of the registration process, you must indicate you are registering a Deaf child who is under the age of majority. By doing so, we will automatically email a Parental Consent form to the email address provided.

Once completed, the form should be scanned and emailed to Customer Service at: support@srvcanadavrs.ca or mail the form to:

SRV Canada VRS Customer Service C/O Ivès Inc.
7240 rue Waverly,
Suite 205 Montréal,
Québec, H2R 2Y8

Once the signed Parental Consent form has been received, a member of our Customer Service team will contact the Parent or Legal Guardian for confirmation purposes.

Within a business day or two, the child’s 10-digit number will be sent to the email address provided and they can start using SRV Canada VRS.

How do I register to use SRV Canada VRS?

People who live in Canada and who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing download the app, install it and then register for a 10-digit phone number through the app. Beginning on July 18, 2018 customers may register for a 2nd account for business use. Register for SRV Canada VRS now.

How does SRV Canada VRS protect my privacy?

All customers are required to sign a customer agreement with the Canadian Administrator of VRS (CAV) which explains rights and responsibilities of SRV Canada VRS customers. The Canadian Administrator of VRS (CAV) ensures that strong privacy and fair usage policies are in place which protect the rights and privacy of customers.

What is a 10-digit phone number?

The Canadian Administrator of VRS (CAV) assigns a personal 10-digit phone number to each customer. The 10-digit phone number allows SRV Canada VRS customers to make and receive calls using any of the supported Internet-connected device; PC, Mac or Android or iOS smartphones.

YOU MAY NOT CREATE MULTIPLE ACCOUNTS!
You may download and install the SRV Canada VRS app on more than one device and switch between devices, but you will still only have one account and one 10 digit number. Just use the same username and password on all your devices.

Is there a cost to use SRV Canada VRS?

SRV Canada VRS is a free service. The costs associated with providing the service are funded by Canada’s Telephone Service Providers and the fund is administered through Canada’s National Contribution Fund. Certain calls, notably international calls to locations outside of Canada and the Continental US, require the customer to have an international dialing service.

What equipment is required to use SRV Canada VRS?

SRV Canada VRS is an Internet based service. Customers are required to have a broadband Internet connection, and a computer (PC or Mac), smartphone or tablet (Android or iOS). Detailed requirements for equipment and broadband connections can be found here.

Is there a cost for apps?

SRV Canada VRS provides free user apps for downloading to PCs, Android, and iOS smartphones and tablets, as well as a browser version of the app for Mac users.

Downloads:

PC / Standalone APP (FR & EN)

MAC / Safari (FR & EN)

Android (EN) / Android (FR)

iOS

Do I have to use an SRV Canada VRS app to use the service?

Yes. To use SRV Canada VRS, you must use one of the downloadable apps on your device of choice. Apps are FREE and available for, PC, iPhone, and Android. For Mac there is a web based portal.

Does SRV Canada VRS offer 9-1-1 support?

SRV Canada VRS provides 9-1-1 service during its hours of operation across Canada. Customers can use sign language using the SRV Canada VRS app and ASL/English or LSQ/French Video Interpreters during 9-1-1 calls.

All 9-1-1 calls are treated as urgent. They go directly to first place in the SRV Canada VRS call centre’s queue, and are answered within 30 seconds. The supervisor in charge, or if a supervisor is not available, another VI is alerted to the 9-1-1 call, and assists as needed.

The VI and emergency answering personnel will attempt to confirm that the customer is at their registered address, or if not there, where they are. Note that the call is connected to the Public Service Answering Point (PSAP) based on the customer’s location.

Once the location and nature of the emergency is determined, the PSAP dispatches the appropriate responder, fire, police or medical.

The VI stays with the caller and assists the emergency services personnel as long as they are needed.

Emergencies are a primary reason, it is important that SRV Canada VRS customers keep their home address up to date.

Can I use Directory Assistance or 411 to locate a 10-digit number?

SRV Canada VRS 10-digit numbers are not listed with outside directory assistance services or 411. However, SRV Canada VRS offers an in-service 10-digit number directory which allows SRV Canada VRS customers to find other customers who opt-in to make their 10-digit numbers accessible during the registration process.

Can I use SRV Canada VRS to make and receive international calls?

Customers can receive calls from anyplace in the world.

Customers may also place calls to any 10-digit number in Canada, and most locations in the U.S. without charge. However, if an area in the U.S. is not covered, (e.g. Alaska and Hawaii) or in other countries), a system message will be provided and the caller must use a long distance or international calling card to complete and pay for the call.

Long distance or international calling cards generally work by providing a special number, and then the customer is asked to enter the number they want to call, and their calling service PIN. When using a calling card with VRS, you must dial the calling service number first and follow their instructions.

Please make sure the calling card you select works with VOIP (internet based) services and/or cell phone services.

Can hearing people register for SRV Canada VRS?

Hearing callers cannot register for SRV Canada VRS apps. However, they may call registered customers by dialing their 10-digit number. They are connected with the registered customer via a trained VI in the language, either ASL or LSQ, that is set by the registered customer.

What is a Point-to-Point call?

When a registered SRV Canada VRS customer calls another registered SRV Canada VRS customer, the system automatically connects the two customers directly without involving a VI. This is referred to as a “Point-to-Point” call.

Are SRV Canada VRS apps and U.S. apps interoperable so Deaf customers can make cross-border Point- to-Point calls using their SRV Canada VRS apps?

Point-to-Point calls between Canadian and U.S. VRS applications are not possible at this time. SRV Canada VRS suggests Skype or Facetime as an alternative way to communicate Point-to-Point.

Can I make calls to 900 and other “Pay-for-Service” numbers such as Astrology and Gambling?

Calls to 900 and other “Pay-for-Service” numbers including some 800, 888, 877, 866 numbers cannot be made through SRV Canada VRS.

Is it possible to register a business, organization, government or school for an account and a 10-digit number?

Not yet. SRV Canada VRS’s primary focus continues to be to register individual Deaf customers for their personal use with a single account and 10-digit number. However, as a second step, effective July 18, 2018, we will begin allowing customers to register for a 2nd account and get a 10-digit VRS number for their business use. For the next many months, we will monitor the new calling and usage patterns to determine if, and when, we can allow businesses and other enterprises register, which will be the third step in our progression.

Additionally, please note, SRV Canada VRS shall not be used to support business or employment activities that depend on using phone services as the substance of the activity. This includes activities such as: telemarketing, phone-based customer service or other support services, phone sales or repetitive confirmation calling, or other types of heavy or repetitive calling which may be deemed excessive by CAV.

Can I use my 10-digit number when I travel out of Canada?

Yes. If you can access Internet service, you may use your device for outgoing and incoming calls exactly the same way as if you were in Canada. Note that, especially if you are using a mobile device, data roaming charges may be significant. Also, to make “local” calls to where you are, for instance even if you were in London, England, you would need a long distance service (as described in 13.)  to make a call to London, England.

Can I use VRS in the car?

Like texting while driving, using SRV Canada VRS while driving is unsafe and not permitted. However, if you have the right Internet or cell connection, you may be able to use the app as a passenger in a car.

How do I use VRS to communicate with an organization that requires written authorization allowing them to talk with me through a VRS interpreter (VI)?

Many banks, healthcare facilities and government offices requires your consent or permission to disclose personal information over the phone when a “3rd party” or as in this case, a VRS interpreter (VI) is part of the call. SRV Canada VRS has prepared a form to assist you to give your permission in these situations. Download the form here.

If the number I am calling is “Busy”, may I ask the VI to redial?

Yes. The VI will be happy to re-dial up to 3 times. After 3 tries, if the number is still busy, the VI will ask you to hang up and try the call again at another time.

How many calls may I make in a row?

These are referred to as sequential calls. You may make up to 3 sequential calls, but after 3, the VI will ask you to hang up, at which time you may start again or call back at another time.

What should I do if my SRV Canada VRS call disconnects during a conversation?

If a VRS call unexpectedly disconnects during a conversation with the hearing person, please wait until the interpreter promptly reconnects with you while the hearing person is still on the line. Do not call back nor call 9050.

Why must I use a 10-digit number to dial services like 211, 311, 511 and 811?

Services like 211, 311, 511, and 811 are location based and are not compatible with Voice Over IP (VoIP) technologies like VRS.

To reach one of these services, you must use TTY (that is telephone based, not VoIP based).  Some cities, like Ottawa and Gatineau, even have direct TTY lines (from your TTY, you dial 311 then choose *).

Another way of getting access to these services via VRS, is to go on the Internet to find the 10-digit telephone number for the service in your region.  For example: if you search “311 for Ottawa”, you’ll find: http://connectingottawa.com/resource/311-ottawa-city-operations where you can find the 10-digit telephone number to use on VRS, and also their direct TTY number.  The same is true for many other cities.

What is Caller ID and Caller ID - Hide?

Caller ID allows the person they are calling to know who is calling. They get a message with the VRS customer’s number, and sometimes name (depending on the carrier and service).

Hiding Caller ID prevents the display of the VRS 10-digit number to the person being called.

To hide your Caller ID, go to Settings in your app – Find “Hide my VRS number” and select your choices. Note: Calls to 9-1-1 will continue to display the Caller ID.

Why are Conference Calls limited to 90 minutes?

Time limits are being put in place in order that very heavy use by a few customers does not impair the experience of other users by increasing wait times or placing heavy teaming demands on VIs. Please be mindful, SRV Canada VRS is not a substitute for community-based interpreting or video remote interpreting (VRI) services. For calls lasting longer than 1.5 hours customers should consider hiring a sign language interpreter or VRI service.

What is Video Remote Interpreting (VRI)?

VRI is a fee-based remote interpreting service that allows customers to be in the same room with people they are meeting with or participate remotely and receive interpretation of the conversation visually through smartphone, laptop or other electronic devices.

Using VRI is especially appropriate where you are with the person or people you are talking to for example: hospital or health care situations, business meetings, etc.

In addition, when you are remote, but have a long meeting (over an hour), VRI can be used. You can dial into the meeting on the normal conference bridge, but also be connected to the VRI interpreter through your phone or computer. When you hire a VRI service, you are getting high quality interpreting attention that is equal to having an in-person interpreter. VRI is becoming very popular and there are many of these companies available throughout Canada.

Why do Interpreters "transfer" calls?

“Transferring” is a mechanism to keep interpreters healthy and safe, as well as a means for Call Centre Managers to keep interpreters healthy and wait times down.

As you know from your experience, signing, can be taxing, and generally, VRS interpreters sign for about 20-30 minutes depending on the intensity of the call, and then need a break. If the need for a break occurs during a call, especially a long call, the interpreter may transfer the call. This allows you to continue the call without going back into the queue and gives the interpreter the needed break.

An interpreter may also be ending their shift. If you call with less than 15 minutes before the end of the shift, they will let you know that there will be a transfer at that time.
Because every call is a new VRS face and new Hearing customer, presenting a random new topic, interpreters must adapt to each call quickly and efficiently. When an interpreter gets an extremely long call or if there are a lot of calls waiting, the interpreter may be asked to postpone their scheduled break to help customers waiting. In these cases, the interpreter will transfer the call as soon as when the opportunity presents.

There’s a lot of variables happening in the call centre at any given time and as a result, sometimes interpreters transfer calls at odd or unpredictable times. In cases where you require special attention or uninterrupted service, you should consider hiring a community-based interpreter or use a VRI service.

Why do Interpreters "team" on some calls?

Teaming is a mechanism that allows 2 or more interpreters to help one another during certain calling situations, for example, long conference calls, emergency 9-1-1 calls or other situations based on the interpreters’ judgement. These calls are unpredictable and increase physical and emotional stress levels of interpreters. Because of the unpredictable nature of the call and length, these types of calls use more interpreter resources and often cause other callers to wait a longer time. As such, we cannot guarantee “teaming” or your call not being transferred to another interpreter. Our goal is to provide the best quality service possible at any given time, but we are not able to predict certain events and therefore we must manage interpreter resources with prudence.