* To read more about any of the topics below, click on the title of the topic. Note: your cursor will not change to the 'hand' when hovering over the title, but clicking on it will expand to show you more details about the topic.

1. What is a sign language interpreter?

Interpreting happens when two people or two groups of people do not share a common language but need to or want to communicate with each other. In Canada, when Deaf and hearing people interact, most interpreters provide interpretation in spoken English and American Sign Language (ASL). In some francophone or bilingual regions in Canada, interpreters provide interpretation in French and langue des signes québécoise (LSQ). Interpreters are knowledgeable in the sign language and culture of Deaf and hard of hearing persons, and the spoken language and the norms of the (hearing) majority culture.

To learn more about why to hire an AVLIC member for an assignment, click here.

2. What is a Deaf interpreter?

AVLIC has a committee preparing a position paper and summary document about the role of a Deaf interpreter. In the meantime, AVLIC offers the following links to other websites which describe what a Deaf interpreter is and how they work within the interpreting team.

3. How do I hire an interpreter? Can I advertise my posting on the AVLIC website?

How do I hire an interpreter?

Sign language interpreters can be hired by:

  • Private contract - the terms of the assignment are negotiated directly between the person paying for interpreting services and the interpreter(s). Payment is made directly to the interpreter(s).
  • Agency contract - the terms of the assignment are based on an agency standards and rates. The agency will make arrangements to have an interpreter(s) at the assignment. Payment is made to the agency.
  • Staffing agreement - some locations have interpreters on staff to cover varied assignments.

AVLIC does not act as an interpreter booking agency; however, if you need to hire an interpreter, please consider some of the options detailed in the section below.

I have a job posting; can I advertise my posting on the AVLIC website?

If you have an on-going, contract interpreting assignment or permanent interpreting position you would like to advertise to the national membership via our job posting's page (within the members only section) as well as by direct e-mail to members, please send a .doc or .docx version or .pdf version of the job posting to avlic@avlic.ca. There is a $20 administrative fee for this service.

  • Job postings for non-interpreting positions, such as educational assistants, ASL teachers, executive staff, etc. will not be accepted.  Postings must be for interpreting positions only.
  • All job postings must require AVLIC membership as a condition of employment. To learn more about why it is important to hire an AVLIC member, see the paragraph below and/or visit our Why Hire an AVLIC member page.

For one-time or short-term assignments:

  • Use the AVLIC Directory of Members to privately contract a current Active member. Please click here to view this directory. When using the directory, there are search options that will let you narrow down the list to members (search by province or search by city). You can use the e-mail addresses provided by members to contact them directly and privately negotiate the terms of the assignment.
  • Consider contacting the Affiliate Chapter in your area with assignment details for local distribution (if applicable; options vary by chapter).  Click here for contact details for our Affiliate Chapters.
  • Contact a private or publicly funded interpreting agency. (AVLIC is not able to formally endorse any agencies at this time, but we are working to create a policy to address this type of request. Details will be availble by summer 2015 of the policy details.)

AVLIC promotes respect for the consumer's communication rights by encouraging the use of qualified interpreters of their choice for barrier free communication.  Asking the consumer for a list of interpreters with whom they have a good, professional working relationship with is vital to a successful, equitable interaction. For more information on consumer preference, feel free to contact us at avlic@avlic.ca.

Hiring a member of AVLIC is vital to ensure the interpreter you hire has graduated from an Interpreter Education Program or has satisfactorily met this standard through other experience as deemed by the AVLIC Board of Directors and the Affiliate Chapters. AVLIC members are expected to maintain high standards of professional conduct in their career as an interpreter. Only members of AVLIC are accountable to the AVLIC Code of Ethics and follow the Guidelines for Professional Conduct since they agree to abide to it as a condition of membership. AVLIC also offers a Dispute Resolution Process that assists members and consumers when professional relationships are strained. Ultimately, through AVLIC membership the interpreter demonstrates that they are committed to the profession and striving for certification.

In addition to asking for AVLIC membership, the following questions can assist you in finding the appropriate interpreter for your situation:

  • Certification with AVLIC (Certificate of Interpretation, COI)
  • Accreditation (provincial and/or employer screenings)
  • Years of experience
  • Areas of experience/expertise
  • Comfort and familiarity with the nature and format of the appointment
  • Willingness to travel
  • Availability of a resume

When contacting interpreters it is important to provide the date, time, duration and location of the appointment. However, it is important to keep the names of participants confidential until the interpreter has confirmed that they are available to work at which point particulars can be discussed before confirming services.

To learn even more about why to hire an AVLIC member for an assignment, click here.

4. How do I become an interpreter?

To apply to an Interpreter Education Program (IEP), please contact the program in which you are interested. Each program can provide you with the pre-requisites for admission. Once formal interpreting education is completed, interpreters need to remain abreast of research and trends in the field. Interpreters should participate in professional development events, workshops and conferences annually. Higher education is encouraged and an advantage.

Those interested in becoming interpreters should have excellent interpersonal and communication skills, be flexible, non-judgmental, diplomatic, objective and have superior self-discipline. One should also have a drive to be creative, pursue life-long learning, enjoy working in a variety of settings and available to attend frequent professional development.

Membership with AVLIC and a local Affiliate Chapter is expected of all working interpreters.

5. How do I become a member of AVLIC?

Please refer to the Membership Information page for full details.

6. I am not an interpreter; can I still be a member of AVLIC?


While AVLIC membership is reserved for working interpreters and students training to become an interpreter, we do offer a Subscription service so that others (i.e.. employers of interpreters, agencies, Deaf community members, interpreter education program coordinators, etc.) can receive announcements and current information about the Association and the profession. 

People actively working in the interpreting field who do not meet the AVLIC membership criteria (Active member) are not able to apply for Subscription service. The Subscription service is intended for non-interpreters.

The AVLIC subscription year is from April 1st to March 31st annually.  New subscriptions can be processed at any time of the year, but there are no pro-rated fees (full year's fees owing regardless of join date) and subscriptions must be renewed by the next March 31st. (For example: if an application is processed on September 1, 2012, the full year's fees are owing and the subscription would need to be renewed by March 31, 2013 for the next subscription year.)

Subscription service is a dual service, and as such AVLIC and at least 1 Affiliate Chapter must be chosen (AVLIC-only subscription service is not available).  The cost for subscription with AVLIC and 1 Affiliate Chapter is $30/year.  Additional Affiliate Chapters can also be added at a cost of $25/additional chapter.

Subscription ServiceManual FormOnline Form

*note: renewing Subscribers whose account has not lapsed can renew online through their profile.

7. How do I become certified with AVLIC?

An interpreter must be a member of AVLIC in order to enter into the Canadian Evaluation System (CES) to become certified. The CES has four phases:

  • Phase One: Written Test of Knowledge
  • Phase Two: Preparation
  • Phase Three: Test of Interpretation
  • Phase Four: Certification Maintenance

Please click here for more information about the Canadian Evaluation System.

8. I am a member of AVLIC and I have forgotten my password. Who do I contact?

If you have forgotten your password for the website, please contact the administrative manager at avlic@avlic.ca. The administrative manager is not able to view members' passwords because they are encrypted, however, the manager is able to reset a new password for you. 

9. Does AVLIC offer a payment plan? What are payment options for membership fees?

AVLIC accepts payment for membership fees in the following ways:

For new or renewing members, the payment plan option is designed to  spread out payments to reduce any financial hardship and encourage lapsed members to rejoin. For existing members, AVLIC encourages the use of the payment plan instead of allowing your membership to expire.

10. I am a member of AVLIC. I will be going on a leave from work and want to know more about reduced membership fees?

The Membership Leave Policy allows Active members who are not earning interpreting income to pay only 25% of the AVLIC and Affiliate Chapter Active membership fees for no less than six months and no more than one year, unless approved by the AVLIC Board of Directors. During this time members will remain in good standing but with some membership benefits suspended with the Association and its Affiliate Chapter.

Members requesting a membership leave must meet the following criteria:

  1. Not earn income from interpreting for between six months and a year. (Motion: HX02G-17)
  2. Should the leave period NOT coincide with the membership year, dues will be calculated in 1 month increments. (Motion WP14G-21)
  3. At the time of the request, be an Active member in good standing.

Approval for a leave is based on one of the following reasons:

  • Illness/Injury: Applies to members requesting exemption based on illness must provide a doctor's note with their request. Members themselves may be unable to work due to their own illness or that of a spouse (partner) or family member.
  • Upgrading Education: Applies to members who have returned to post-secondary education and are not earning income as an interpreter. Supporting documentation (registration) must be provided by the member. If the member discontinues their studies during the school year, Active membership fees (less any reduced fees already paid) will be paid by the member.
  • Bereavement: Applies to members who experience the loss of a spouse, partner or family member. Members must provide a death certificate with their request
  • Parental Leave: Applies to members who are unable to work in order to fulfill childcare obligations. This includes pregnancy (maternity) leave. Members must provide a doctor’s note with their request.

Items of note:

  • Leave requests can be received at any time during the membership year. If membership fees have already been paid for the year, then a credit for the difference will be applied to the next membership year.
  • There are no refunds on membership fees paid. Only a credit, described above, for the fees already paid will be issued.

More details on the process can be found in the members only section of the website (sign into your members only account and then visit the Bylaws, Policies & Procedures page. All requests can be directed to the administrative manager at avlic@avlic.ca.

11. What is Occupational Title Protection?

Occupational Title Protection is the restricted use of a job title (name) by a defined group and those who use the protected title must meet specific criteria.

Within Canada, Occupational Title Protection is provincially legislated; as such, AVLIC is unable to seek Occupational Title Protection on behalf of its members. Instead, each Affiliate Chapter must apply to their respective provincial governments for Title Protection.

On July 7, 2011, Occupational Title Protection was granted to the Westcoast Association of Visual Language Interpreters (WAVLI) through the BC Provincial Government (click here to read the announcement).  The three protected titles, which are reserved for use by WAVLI members only within the province of BC, include:

  • Registered ASL/English Interpreter
  • Registered Sign Language Interpreter
  • Registered Visual Language Interpreter

To see some commonly asked questions and answers related to WAVLI's Occupational Title Protection, click here or visit the WAVLI website to learn more.

Other AVLIC Affiliate Chapters have begun the process to seek Occupational Title Protection through their provincial governments.  Official updates will be added to this section of the website as they become available.

12. I have information to share with the members of AVLIC, what is the easiest way to do this?

AVLIC has several ways to disseminate information of interest to our members. We have an email distribution list, a current announcements page for members only, The AVLIC News newsletter distributed three times a year as well as the AVLIC Facebook and Twitter accounts. For any of these avenues, please contact the administrative manager at avlic@avlic.ca

13. My question isn't listed here and I don't know where to find the answer, who do I contact?

Over the last few months, AVLIC has been undergoing large internal changes. With the addition of an executive director in August 2016, the AVLIC Board of Directors has begun the transition process from a working board model towards a governing board model. As part of that transition some operational duties and responsibilities formerly taken care of by the Board have been downloaded to the AVLIC Office.

While the transition is still ongoing, the AVLIC Board and the AVLIC office have created an organizational communication chart to guide members who need to contact AVLIC with a question, but aren't sure to direct the question to.


Please click here to view the AVLIC External Communications Chart in PDF format.


If you need to contact

·      the Board, please contact Ashley Campbell, AVLIC President: president@avlic.ca

·      the Executive Director, please contact Jennifer Best: exec_dir@avlic.ca

·      the Administrative Assistant, please contact Sally Scheel: avlic@avlic.ca

·      the (interim) PCRP Intake Officer, please contact Colleen Friel: pcrp@avlic.ca

·      a committee coordinator, please click here

o   you will be re-directed to AVLIC's committees page on the Members Only side of AVLIC's website (you will need to be logged into your AVLIC profile)


As the transition process continues, we anticipate this organizational chart and contact list will evolve. The membership will be updated accordingly.