Monica Elaine Campbell Receives the Order of Ontario

 

Monica Elaine Campbell awarded the Order of Ontario, January, 2016

Monica Elaine Campbell was born in PEI the middle of 5 siblings. At 15 months of age her profound deafness was diagnosed and at age 4, upon being fitted with hearing aids, she understood what made her different from her siblings – her “ears were different”. In fact, she has never heard a word. She excelled at school and graduated from UPEI on the Dean’s honour role.

Monica Elaine learned sign language after moving to Ottawa in her late twenties. After attending a Deaf culture workshop, which was a real eye opener, she began to immerse herself in Deaf culture and to find a new outlet for her talents and advocacy work and she soon became a trusted, respected and loved member of the Deaf community.

Monica Elaine decided to pursue a certificate in palliative care, graduating in 2005 from the Palliative Care Multidisciplinary Program at Algonquin College. She took the palliative care training offered by the Hospice at Maycourt and helped establish the Deaf Palliative Care Team which is a resource throughout the Ottawa Carleton region to Deaf individuals receiving care from various health care facilities or hospice, palliative care professionals. The Team of volunteers is ready to assist the staff of various facilities to provide culturally sensitive care and Monica Elaine ensures communication amongst the various parties is as smooth as possible. Staff report that their understanding of the needs of the Deaf has been enhanced by Monica Elaine’s encouraging and friendly manner.

Monica Elaine leads by example and inspires others. She is often called on, as a friend and mentor, for support by many who wish to talk about their anxieties, their treatments, and available resources. Her knowledge, resourcefulness, generosity and sympathetic ear make a huge difference in helping others overcome the obstacles they face.

At the national level Monica Elaine was the CAD (Canadian Association of the Deaf) representative on many committees where she was seen as persuasive, articulate and innovative and she was admired for her insight, diligence and leadership.

In 2003 Monica Elaine and two friends, one Deaf and one hearing, formed a committee, lovingly referred to as Don’s Dream for Long Term Care and after 5 years of tireless work, a partnership was established and funds secured for a dedicated floor at the Glebe Centre where Deaf seniors, who wish to be served together in one facility, can do so.

Monica Elaine’s calm, gentle, yet persuasive manner and eloquence in explaining the specific needs of the Deaf makes a difference by inspiring others to want to be involved alongside her in her work.

Monica Elaine is a fiercely determined advocate of the rights of the Deaf to interpreting services that are provided by professional, qualified sign language interpreters. She speaks eloquently about the need to provide accessible services to the Deaf community and the liability in not doing so. Monica Elaine argues that accessibility with ramps and elevators for a person who uses a wheelchair are a “given” in our society and professional, qualified interpreters should be accepted as the accessibility equivalent for the Deaf. Further, she argues, the use of an interpreter who is not a professional or qualified is like having a paramedic perform surgery.

In presentations she has spoken about the issue and encourages others to think about their legal responsibility to the Deaf.

Recently, Monica Elaine has been instrumental in expanding the focus of the Palliative Care Team to all areas of support in health care and the Team is now referred to as the Ottawa Deaf Health Care Team, ODHCT.

Monica Elaine continues visiting sick and lonely Deaf members in the community on behalf of St Rene Goupil Catholic Deaf Ministry as well as speaking at the national and local level on providing services to the Deaf and Deafblind. As well, Monica Elaine is a member of the Ottawa Deaf Centre’s ODC Legacy Board and the representative to the Ottawa Community Foundation.

Monica Elaine’s engaging personality and persuasive arguments have mobilized many people to action on behalf of Deaf and Deafblind people. The essence of her contributions is her belief that to be Deaf is a gift to be valued as much as life itself.

Christine Wilson Highlights

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  • Founder, Director and Chair of Board of Sign Language Interpreting Associates Ottawa INC (SLIAO)
  • ASL/English interpreter, RN by profession (no longer active), CODA (Child of Deaf Adults)
  • Accredited interpreter with PWGSC, Translation Bureau and Ministry of the Attorney General
  • Established non-profit organization to provide group homes for Deaf individuals with multiple disabilities: Total Communication Environment (TCE)
  • Involved in establishing culturally specific Long Term Care for the Deaf and Co-Lead of the Ottawa Deaf Health Care Team
  • Founding member of local, provincial and Canadian professional organizations of sign language interpreters: SLINC, OASLI and AVLIC (now CASLI).
  • Established sign language program at Algonquin College, (mid 1970’s) ensuring all teachers were Deaf
  • Volunteered with Deaf children locally and internationally
  • 10 plus years as ASL interpreter for CPAC’s telecast of Parliament’s daily Question Period
  • One of first ASL interpreters with PWGSC, Translation Bureau more than 35 years ago
  • 1987 Ottawa Citizen of the Year
  • 2012 Ontario Medal for Good Citizenship (O.M.C.)
  • 2012 Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal

The Official Opening of the Glebe Centre Deaf Unit

On May 8, 2015, the Deaf community, representatives from the Lions Homes for Deaf People (LHDP), staff of the Glebe Centre and invited guests came together to officially open the Deaf unit of the Glebe Centre.

Deaf seniors who need Long Term Care can apply to the Glebe Centre and when admitted they will reside on a specially outfitted floor – the 4th!  

The overriding advantage is that Deaf seniors will be served together in one Long Term Care facility, thus decreasing their isolation and loneliness by providing culturally specific LTC for Deaf and Deafblind seniors.  A second advantage is that staff will be able to serve the needs of this group more effectively as the numbers of staff acquiring sign language skills and an understanding of the Deaf will create an environment of inclusion for the Deaf residents. When you are the only Deaf person in a facility, the isolation you feel is pervasive. There is little incentive for staff to learn your language.

A culturally appropriate Long Term Care setting is a setting, within the existing LTC system, that understands the needs of Deaf and Deafblind persons would have staff and volunteers trained in sign language, and would provide sign language interpreters and interveners as needed, through the CHS or Sign Language Interpreting Associates Ottawa (SLIAO) and CNIB. Having Deaf friends and other Deaf people living in the same “home” and staff able to use ASL (American Sign Language) would make the “golden” years truly fulfilling.

After speeches by Lawrence Grant, Executive Director of the Glebe Centre, Susan McKinley, Deaf community representative, Lions members, the city Councillor, David Chernushenko and Chantale LeClerc, Executive Director of the LHIN, tours of the home were provided followed by refreshments.

The hope is that Deaf seniors will take up to fifteen of the thirty-two beds on the Fourth Floor, known as Queenswood.