Access the World and Communicate

SLIAO, Sign Language Interpreting Associates Ottawa Inc., was incorporated in June 1997 by a group of ASL Interpreters who determined that working in partnership and pooling our resources and expertise, would improve the quality and availability of interpreting service in the Ottawa area.  SLIAO is a Canadian company owned equally by 5 Shareholders each of whom is a Director of the Corporation.  Three of the 5 shareholders are CODA’s (Children of Deaf Adults).

All of the interpreters who work with SLIAO are active members of AVLIC (Association of Visual Language Interpreters of Canada).

Our Purpose

SLIAO’s purpose is to help everyone access and take part in the modern world we live in. We help people do this through interpreting services for the Deaf community. When in-person interpreting is not available, we offer SWIFT – a video conferencing service that uses smartphones, laptops and other electronic devices such as videophones to provide interpreting services offsite.

SLIAO provides English-ASL sign language interpreting and video remote interpreting through our own SWIFT Video Interpreting Service, LSQ-French interpreting by special request and video translation as well as Deaf Interpreter (DI) services for:

  • federal, provincial and municipal government organizations
  • businesses
  • unions
  • community organizations
  • courthouses
  • meetings, conferences and training
  • post-secondary institutions
  • hospitals, clinics, dental offices

SLIAO has provided interpretation services across Canada and the far north. We are able to make use of our extensive contacts to ensure companies are connected with professional interpreters across Canada, saving travel costs, time and stress.

SWIFT Video Interpreting Services accesses a platform named ACANO and uses smartphones, laptops and other electronic devices such as videophones and other video systems to provide interpreting services offsite. The potential for VRI and VRS in remote and isolated areas is immense.

In 20 years of business SLIAO has rarely been unable to fill an interpreting request.


Key milestones in our history

A community of Ottawa interpreters who share in their dedication and commitment to the Deaf community come together to form SLIAO (1997).

  • Awarded its first Standing Offer by Public Works and Government Services Canada (PWGSC) (1997)
  • Developed and executed a plan to streamline business applications and processes (2007)
  • Established annual Phil Parker Lecture Series of renowned speakers to inspire the Deaf, interpreter and hearing communities (2008)
  • Implemented online booking tool to communicate with clients/partners on a common protocol (2010)
  • Connecting Community Interpreting Services, an Educational Interpreting corporation, joined SLIAO (2014)
  • Developing Deaf Interpreter training and mentorship opportunities (2013)
  • Inclusion of new technology within SLIAO’s workflow including video interpreting services in order to provide service to remote areas of Canada (2014)
  • Awarded CAV contract to provide VRS services nationwide (2016)
  • SLIAO currently holds contracts with the Translation Bureau for federal government assignments and regularly serves over 150 clients including:
    • The Province of Ontario/ The Attorney General of Ontario
    • Canada Post Corporation
    • Canadian Human Rights Commission
    • Canadian Medical Association
    • City of Ottawa
    • Canadian Union of Public Employees / Canadian Union of Postal Workers
    • University of Ottawa
    • Carleton University
    • Algonquin College
    • Canadian Hospice and Palliative Care Association
    • Council of Canadians with Disabilities


  • A strong leadership team comprising five highly experienced interpreters committed to supporting the Deaf and Sign Language Interpreter communities.
  • A resource pool of 11 employees and 40 contractors who have demonstrated sign language interpreting expertise, high levels of professionalism, who share in the leadership team’s commitment to the Deaf community, and that includes specialized experience in the medical, legal, technical, public sector, and conference fields.
  • 20 years of experience handling large contracts for sign language interpreting services including for the Government of Canada.
  • Experience providing video interpreting services, and the infrastructure to support the provision of these services.
  • A strong track record of fulfilling all requests for interpreting services, including last minute (same-day) requests.
  • A high-level of customer satisfaction and repeat business as demonstrated by the long-term customer relationships we have; some customers have been with us since our inception in 1997.
  • A high-level of employee and contractor satisfaction. We offer sign language interpreters an opportunity to work according to their desired schedules and have built our corporate culture around shared values and goals.
  • A good reputation within the Deaf and sign language interpreting communities. We are highly involved in organizations serving these communities. Several members of SLIAO were founders of professional organizations that include AVLIC, OASLI, and SLINC.
  • A history of investing in technology and facilities to support the efficient operations of the business including our central enterprise management system, on-line scheduling system, and video interpreting services system.
  • 100% Canadian – Owned and Managed by Interpreters that work in the field and who understand the needs.
  • Facilities and infrastructure in place.
  • Knowledgeable interpreters, some of whom already hold COI certifications with others currently working towards the designation.
  • Specialized knowledge amongst interpreters (legal, medical, conference, technical, government bureaucracy, education.)
  • Experience and qualifications in successfully managing and delivering services for large public sector contracts.
  • Video Interpreting assignments for individuals and events across Canada.
  • One-stop shop, pulling together a team of interpreters in response to special or ongoing requirements. This allows us to fulfill any request and simplifies the process for organizers/clients seeking interpreter services.
  • Contractors are happy to work with us and are eager to accommodate client needs when requested.
  • Ability to provide interpreters on very short notice, and more importantly, a quick response to enquiries for interpreters and interpreting services.

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