CAPE survey confirms continued Parliamentary interpreters’ health and safety risks a year into the pandemic

Download the preliminary results (PDF)

OTTAWA, May 26, 2021 - The Canadian Association of Professional Employees (CAPE) released today the results of a survey conducted earlier this month amongst the federal interpreters it represents to assess their health and safety risks in the context of their current virtual work arrangement. Federal interpreters have been reporting numerous challenges since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, over a year ago.

Over 60% of the interpreters represented by CAPE responded to the survey.  The preliminary results released today show that of the respondents:

  • 92% are concerned about job-related hearing loss in the future
  • 79% have been in a situation that they perceived to be dangerous according to the Canada Labour Code while performing remote simultaneous Interpretation.
  • 79% indicated having filed at least one hazardous occurrence report for sound issues since March 2020.

The results also revealed that since March 2020, most interpreters (85%) are now providing remote simultaneous interpretation between 76% and 100% of their time, a sharp increase since the start of the pandemic.

"The survey confirms what we knew about our members health and safety risks, and shows once again the seriousness of the problem and the urgency to address it” said Greg Phillips, CAPE President. " It’s been a year since we sounded the alarm at the House of Commons, yet our members continue to deal with those risks and could face irreversible impacts on their health; the hazards they face might be invisible to those who benefit from their services, but they are very real.”

In May 2020, CAPE sounded the alarm at the House of Commons on injuries sustained by interpreters while delivering virtual simultaneous interpretation services. CAPE’s recommendations were later included in the May 2021 report of the Standing Committee on Official Languages.

Learn more about the health and safety risks interpreters have been facing since the beginning of the pandemic.

About the Canadian Association of Professional Employees (CAPE)

CAPE represents over 20,000 federal public service employees across Canada, and is the third-largest federal public service union in the country. CAPE represents economists, policy analysts, researchers in the Library of Parliament, analysts in the Office of the Parliamentary Budget Officer, statisticians, translators, interpreters, and terminologists.


For more information, please contact:

Katia Theriault  
Director of Communications and Public Affairs / Directrice des Communications et affaires publiques
Tel: 613-236-9181 ext. 225
Cell :819-431-1015