What we do
The Provincial Language Service (PLS) is a program of PHSA that provides spoken language interpreting and written translation services to BC health authorities, as well as manages the contract for provincial medical Sign language interpreting.
The service is provided through the Western Institute for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (WIDHH), which operates the Medical Interpretation Services (MIS).
MIS provides ASL interpreters and intervenors services for the deaf, deaf-blind and hard of hearing patient at no direct cost to clients or health care providers for services that fall under the Medicare Act and the Hospital Insurance Act. This service is provided following a 1997 Supreme Court of Canada ruling that sign language interpretation must be provided to Deaf patients in BC to comply with the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
The service assists in creating equitable access to medical appointments for deaf, deaf-blind and hard of hearing patients, allowing greater access to communication with health care providers.
A qualified interpreter optimizes the delivery of safe and equitable health care for patients with various cultural and language needs.
They are trained to accurately convey all parts of a message without changing the content, meaning or tone, reducing errors and enhancing safety.
Using a professional interpreter also allows the patient or family member to focus solely on understanding their illness or to support a loved one to increase satisfaction with care.