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Western Institute for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Media Release


Tel:  604-736-5851

Email: ezheng@widhh.com




Vancouver, BC, May 4, 2015 –  The Western Institute for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (WIDHH), a local nonprofit, has partnered with a new restaurant that employs Deaf and Hard of Hearing workers.


DeaFined, opening May 7th at the start of Better Hearing & Speech Month, will be staffed entirely by Deaf and Hard of Hearing servers. 


WIDHH’s employment counsellers worked closely with DeaFined owner Moe Alameddine to recruit and train staff. 


Linda Franchi, Head of Counselling at WIDHH said that she was delighted to work with DeaFined to fulfill Moe’s vision of a restaurant that accommodates and values Deaf and Hard of Hearing employees. 


“Many people don’t know that WIDHH is the largest provider of employment services for Deaf and Hard of Hearing persons in BC,” she said. “Each year, WIDHH assists countless people with hearing loss overcome workplace barriers through counselling and workshops.”


WIDHH also offers recruitment and workplace support assistance to employers like DeaFined looking to employ Deaf and Hard of Hearing staff.


Recent surveys reveal that only 20.6% of Deaf Canadians are fully employed, 42% are under-employed, and 37.5% of Deaf Canadians are unemployed. 


Susan Masters, Executive Director of WIDHH, said that unemployment figures are so alarming because employers have traditionally not considered the idea of hiring staff with hearing loss. 


“The restaurant is an important first step in normalizing the idea of Deaf and Hard of Hearing workers in the service industry,” she said. “I hope that other Vancouver businesses will look at DeaFined’s model and say ‘why not have a Deaf or Hard of Hearing employee?’” 




The Western Institute for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (WIDHH) is a British Columbian nonprofit committed to providing the widest range of services under one roof to assist those who are Deaf, Hard of Hearing, Deafened, and Deaf Blind.  If you are experiencing difficulties with your hearing, WIDHH can assist with Audiology, Counselling, Interpreting, and Communication Devices. For more information, please visit www.widdh.com


For more information or an interview with WIDHH’s Executive Director Susan Masters, please contact: Ellen Zheng, Media Relations at 604-736-5851 orezheng@widhh.com.

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