COVID-19: Canadian Council of the Blind Public Posts Regarding COVID-19

The CCB has made available to its members and the general public some important facts and resources that can be accessed from the following link:




Thx, Albert


Resource: Zoom Keyboard Commands, All Platforms by Ryan Fleury

Canadian Council of the Blind (CCB)

Get Together with Technology (GTT)


Zoom Conference Keyboard Commands, All Platforms


Compiled by Ryan Fleury, Trainer at Canadian Assistive Technology (


Reading Tip: This document applies HTML headings to help navigate its content. With screen readers, you may press the H key to jump forward or Shift H to jump backward from heading to heading.


PC Computers:

Zoom Windows Built in keyboard commands

Available Keyboard Shortcuts

F6: Navigate among Zoom popup windows.

Ctrl+Alt+Shift: Move focus to Zoom’s meeting controls

PageUp: View previous 25 video stream in gallery view

PageDown: View next 25 video stream in gallery view

Alt: Turn on/off the option Always show meeting control toolbar in Accessibility Settings

Alt+F1: Switch to active speaker view in video meeting

Alt+F2: Switch to gallery video view in video meeting

Alt+F4: Close the current window

Alt+V: Start/Stop Video

Alt+A: Mute/unmute audio

Alt+M: Mute/unmute audio for everyone except host Note: For the meeting host only

Alt+S: Launch share screen window and stop screen share Note: Will only work when meeting control toolbar has focus

Alt+Shift+S: Start/stop new screen share Note: Will only work when meeting control toolbar has focus

Alt+T: Pause or resume screen share Note: Will only work when meeting control toolbar has focus

Alt+R: Start/stop local recording

Alt+C: Start/stop cloud recording

Alt+P: Pause or resume recording

Alt+N: Switch camera

Alt+F: Enter or exit full screen

Alt+H: Display/hide In-Meeting Chat panel

Alt+U:Display/hide Participants panel

Alt+I: Open Invite window

Alt+Y: Raise/lower hand

Alt+Shift+R: Gain Remote Control

Alt+Shift+G: Stop Remote Control

Ctrl+2: Read active speaker name

Ctrl+Alt+Shift+H: Show/Hide floating meeting controls

Alt+Shift+T: Screenshot

Switch to Portrait/Landscape View: Alt+L

Ctrl+W: Close current chat session

Ctrl+Up: Go to previous chat

Ctrl+Down: Go to next chat

Ctrl+T: Jump to chat with someone

Ctrl+F: Search

Ctrl+Tab: Move to the next tab (right)

Ctrl+Shift+Tab: Move to the previous tab (left)


Zoom Mac keyboard commands

Available Shortcuts

Meeting Shortcuts

Command(⌘)+J: Join Meeting

Command(⌘)+Control+V: Start Meeting

Command(⌘)+J: Schedule Meeting

Command(⌘)+Control+S: Screen Share via Direct Share

Command(⌘)+Shift+A: Mute/unmute audio

Command(⌘)+Control+M: Mute audio for everyone except the host (only available to the host)

Command(⌘)+Control+U: Unmute audio for everyone except host (only available to the host)

Space: Push to talk

Command(⌘)+Shift+V: Start/stop video

Command(⌘)+Shift+N: Switch camera

Command(⌘)+Shift+S: Start/stop screen share

Command(⌘)+Shift+T: Pause or resume screen share

Command(⌘)+Shift+R: Start local recording

Command(⌘)+Shift+C: Start cloud recording

Command(⌘)+Shift+P: Pause or resume recording

Command(⌘)+Shift+W: Switch to active speaker view or gallery view, depending on current view

Control+P: View previous 25 participants in gallery view

Control+N: View next 25 participants in gallery view

Command(⌘)+U: Display/hide Participants panel

Command(⌘)+Shift+H: Show/hide In-Meeting Chat Panel

Command(⌘)+I: Open invite window

Option+Y: Raise hand/lower hand

Ctrl+Shift+R: Gain remote control

Ctrl+Shift+G: Stop remote control

Command(⌘)+Shift+F: Enter or exit full screen

Command(⌘)+Shift+M: Switch to minimal window

Ctrl+Option+Command+H: Show/hide meeting controls

Ctrl+Shift+R: Gain remote control

Ctrl+Shift+G: Stop remote control

Ctrl+\: Toggle the “Always Show meeting controls” options in Settings/Accessibility

Command(⌘)+W: Prompt to End or Leave Meeting

Chat Shortcuts

Command(⌘)+K: Jump to chat with someone

Command(⌘)+T: Screenshot

General Shortcuts

Command(⌘)+W: Close the current window

Command(⌘)+L: Switch to Portrait or Landscape View, depending on

Current View

Ctrl+T: Switch from one tab to the next


Using Jaws with Zoom

Pressing Insert W will bring up this list of commands

General keystrokes:

Mute or unmute audio: Alt+A works with nvda

Raise or lower your hand: Alt+Y  works with nvda

Open the Invite window: Alt+I works with nvda

Show the In-Meeting Chat panel: Alt+H works with nvda

Show the Participants panel: Alt+U works with nvda

Move between Zoom popup windows: F6  works with nvda


Recording Keystrokes:

Start local recording: Alt+R works with nvda but nothing is spoken as guest you get prompt to aks permission to record from host

Start cloud recording: Alt+C as host works with nvda as guest no feed back

Pause or resume recording: Alt+P works with nvda but doesn’t say anything


Video Meeting Keystrokes:

Switch to active speaker view:  Alt+F1: no feed back

Switch to gallery video view: Alt+F2 no feed back

Start or stop Video: Alt+V works with nvda


Meeting Organizer Keystrokes:

Mute or unmute audio for everyone except the host: Alt+M: works with nvda but no feed back it worked

Switch camera: Alt+N  no feed back

Enter or exit full screen: Alt+F works with nvda

Gain remote control: Alt+Shift+R not sure if it works with nvda

Stop remote control: Alt+Shift+G not sure if it works with nvda


The following keystrokes are available when the meeting control toolbar has focus.

Launch share screen window and stop screen share: Alt+S works with nvda

Start or stop new screen share: Alt+Shift+S works with nvda

Pause or resume screen share: Alt+T works with nvda but nothing is spoken


Using Jaws Pressing Insert H will bring up this list of commands



These are the commands associated with the Jaws scripts included in Jaws and don’t work with NVDA.

To enable or disable alerts, press Alt+Windows+S.

To hear the most recent alert, press Alt+Windows+A.

To be reminded of whether alert announcements are enabled or disabled, press JAWSKey+Tab.

To review the last 10 alerts or messages, press Control+1 through to Control+0. Press twice quickly to virtualise.

To only allow chat messages when pressing Control+1 through to Control+0 press control+F5.


IOS and Android

Phone controls for meeting host

If you have entered the Host Key to start the meeting, you will have host controls available to you by entering DTMF tones on your dial pad. To hear all available commands, enter ** on your phone.


*4 – End the meeting for all participants

*5 – Lock or Unlock the meeting

*6 – Mute or unmute yourself

*7 – Start or Stop Recording

Note: all participants in the meeting will be notified when recording is stopped or started.

*# – Hear the number of participants in the meeting

99 – Mute or unmute all participants


Phone commands available for meeting participants

The following commands can be entered via DTMF tones using your phone’s dial pad while in a Zoom Meeting:


Star (*) 6 – Toggle mute/ un-mute

Star (*) 9 – Toggle raise/ lower hand




Fighting Blindness Canada has put together a website containing up to date information about COVID-19 as it pertains to people living with vision loss.


Quoted text:

We understand this time of uncertainty may be confusing. We have prepared answers to some questions you may have about your eye health during these times.
Please note, different levels of government and professional associations have made recommendations regarding healthcare practices in response to COVID-19.
There may be different recommendations depending on your personal eye health, health care provider, or where you live.


Check it out right here:

Information about COVID-19 and Your Eye Health


Tech-Ease GTT Regina Summary Notes, Facebook, Aira, BeMyEyes and Meet Me In The Cloud, February 29, 2020

Tech-Ease/ Get Together with Technology

Regina Drop-In Meeting

Summary Notes

February 29, 2020


Sponsored by Vision Impaired Resource Network (VIRN),

Canadian Council of the Blind (CCB)

And the

Regina Public Library


Assistive Technology Peer Support by and for people who are blind/low vision


Attendance: Barry, Jerome, Wes, Donna, Sarenia, Blaine D, Michelle, Amber, Patti-Lynn (RPL), Doug (via phone), Camille


Regrets: Linda, Blaine R, Anna, Jessica


Facebook Groups:

  • Explained Facebook in general
  • Types of status updated, checking in, etc.
  • Explained privacy settings generally
  • Explained pages vs. Groups
  • explained different types of groups
  • Explained public groups and private groups
  • Advantages of FB Groups
    • Nice way to make friends you’ll never meet
    • Nice to have like minded friends



Joining FB group:


Find a Facebook group. Interest you. Type into in the search box.


The page will show up and if you keep swiping to the right or scroll down. There will be a “joined group” button where you can press after that is pressed the Box will turn to ” cancel join request”


some groups will automatically pop up two or three questions pertaining to the group that they want you to answer before your request is accepted.

Also, on that page you can look at how many posts in a day are put up on that page or how many people are in that page or how many of your friends or in the group. who the moderators or group administrators are.


Facebook should notify you when your request to join has been accepted by the group moderator.


If you want to leave the group at any time go to the group page the top right-hand corner has will be visual three dots beside the ” search” option. Is a “member tools button”


You will be presented with options like following options “share. ”

“Following.” “Notifications.” “Favourites. ”

“Add to home screen.” and “report” just keep swiping to the right until you hear.

” leave group button.” You will be asked if you are sure you want to leave group.


When you are approved to a group The General etiquette is to write a short post introducing yourself and the reason why you wanted to join the group in the first place…


Once you have joined the group. If you click on the title of the group name you will be presented with the group rules that are always good to read.


This will present you with additional information like how long the group has been running. how many members in the group how active the group is how many posts per day.

You can also see options like the group history and whether the group is private, secret, or public.

A public group means everybody can see posts in that group whether you’re a member of the group or not.


Private means people can find the group but only members in the group can see individuals’ posts.


Secret groups are groups that only members know about the group or know how to find it. Basically, with this group you have to be added by somebody already in the secret group in order to know about it.


Every time privacy settings are changed in a group generally group members will be given a notification sound in your regular Facebook notifications.

Members also have the opportunity to add their friends to groups. some groups have the ability for members to approve other members some it’s the moderators only that do the approving.


Typically, one of the rules is asking your friends before adding them to groups but interest you to make sure they are interested as well…

That’s just common sense but I thought I’d write it anyways.


Here’s how to find all the groups that you’re involved in…


Across the top of Facebook, you have “news feed”

“memories” “dating” “notifications” and then the far right-hand side of the screen there is “menu” option.

When you click on that you will have the first option is to view your personal profile. Then if you keep swiping to the right or scroll down you will have options


” memories”


“Marketplace” “videos on events”


“saved ”

“Nearby friends” “dating”

” gaming”


If you click on group you have an option for your groups.

If you are a moderator for any of the groups. They will show up first.

Under group you manage. Then under that will be “other groups.” and then the rest of your groups will show up in a list form.

you can also change these click on “the sort your other groups” button right next to other group button. on the right-hand side to show in alphabetical order. For most recent that you’ve posted to.

Etc. if that makes finding a specific group easier.


Moderators also along with you have the ability to shut commenting off on a post if the comments get to negative.


You click on your individual post and you have an option for turn commenting off.


If you would like to edit your post go to the right-hand side of your original post.


The right hand of your post is

” post menu”.

There you can see options like “copy link “ or “edit post”

If you edit the post more than once you can see the edit history which is a recent update with Facebook.

This is also where you can turn commenting off.

there are many different groups depending on your interest there are lots of groups for visually impaired or disability in general.  especially support groups. There are even groups like instant pot users or gardening. Funko Pop figurine groups.  Etc.


Aira Updates:

  • Aira equipment includes glasses (2nd generation), tether, controller (which is an Android phone w/ nothing else on it but Aira),  or you can use your phone,  and you can use a Bluetooth headphones
  • You can buddy full plans with Aira and now there’s is a 5 minute free call you can use unlimited
  • Plans: 30 min for $30 USD, 120 minutes for $99 USD, 300 minutes for $299 USD, they got rid of unlimited plan (it was downgraded to 700 minutes plan but only people grandfathered into it retina it)
  • You can fluctuate between the other plans as needs dictate, you can switch in the middle of the month and pay more or less if you go up or down in plans for remainder of the month
  • There are a lot of incentives to the plans – if you are looking for a job they will help you with job related job search tasks for 30 minutes for free added to account
  • If you are a JAWS user and a license holder of it and you call in they will help you with (or team viewer) they don’t charge for this help
  • They will help with quick books if it’s not reading well as well
  • The 5 minutes plan, someone can give someone else a referral code, which is 7 days unlimited access to play with it, the person referring gets 30 free minutes plus bonus minutes if the person buys a plan (referrer gets equal to what referee gets for free)
  • The Aira controller which is the android phone, there is a voice assistant named Chloe, she can help call an agent, check battery, she can check minutes available, etc.
  • Glasses have a connection port on them, in the middle of the glasses on the front is the camera, the camera has a 120 degree or so camera, they have frameless glasses as well if you wear glasses regularly
  • The glasses/controller are an add on for people with more than 30 minutes plans ($600 one time for the glasses/controller or $25 a month)
  • There are no controls on the glasses, only on the phone
  • Cord is a female to female cable connection
  • Glasses can see 5 feet more to each side than with phone camera, also can see further into the distance as it has a good quality camera
  • We did a demo with an agent, he said help with cooking directions, checking mail, described renaissance fair for someone, describe Super Bowl to someone, lots of different things, can call an Uber for you as well
    • Not allowed to help with anything involving nudity
    • Not allowed to comment on specific safety, can give visual info like when walking light is on, but it is up to someone to choose to cross the street



Aira discontinuing Horizon glasses and phone end of March 2020..

” Dear Horizon User,


The current Horizon Android smartphone no longer accommodates regular Horizon application updates. The current Horizon Android smartphone no longer accommodates regular Horizon application updates so that means our Aira tech team does not have much control to improve the experience. The model of smartphone that supports the Horizon system has been discontinued by Samsung so we must move on and find a new option.


As smartphones, like the latest iPhone, have transitioned away from physical buttons, finding a device to support a one-button access interface is a significant challenge. So what does that mean? It means that Aira’s smart glasses hardware solution is not meeting the Aira standard today and furthermore the Explorer experience with Horizon will continue to decline. Simply put, we need to find a new solution that better meets the demands of our Explorer community. With that, and after considerable analysis, I have decided that beginning on April 1, Aira will no longer support calls made from Horizon smart glasses. This change will allow our technical team to refocus on improving the core service. Below is a FAQ section if you want to learn more.


So the next question is naturally: If Horizon doesn’t meet the Aira standard, what will? We are aligning our hardware strategy with the mainstream devices that you all already use such as an iPhone, Android Smartphone and some new and emerging platforms. We would appreciate your help by sharing your thoughts on new devices and platforms, products and technologies that we should consider integrating into the Aira Explorer experience. Send them to and Customer Care will gather a list of potential smart glasses or other devices to utilize in our future.


Aira was founded on the idea of both creating and leveraging leading technology to bring you the Explorer a modern, useful and one-of-a-kind experience. Our passion for creating the leading experience has never been stronger.


Thank you for your continued support of Aira. Aira agents look forward to connecting with you soon.


We wouldn’t be here without you,


CEO of Aira”


Be My Eyes:

  • Specialized partners – Companies that can answer questions through the Be My Eyes app specific to their products:
    • Google, Microsoft, ClearBlue, Herbal Essence, P&G, Pantene, National Federation of the Blind, as well as some banks, but as none are Canadian I am not listing them


Next Meeting:

March 28 @ 2 pm

Topics: Windows 10 – the good, the bad and the ugly





Tech-Ease Drop In/GTT is a go! We are temporarily changing the format, to accommodate social distancing and civic service closures. Below is the information regarding tech-ease for this month, so you can join us from home!


Q: What if I don’t have zoom on my cell phone or computer?

A: Just follow the dial in information provided below.

Q: What if I have zoom on my computer?

A: select the link for the meeting posted below, and it will take you to the meeting.

Q: are there a list of shortcuts for zoom on the computer?

A: yes, these instructions will be sent in a following email with subject line of: “Zoom Computer shortcuts”

Q: What is one touch dialing:

A: this allows you to select the phone number and is supposed to automatically dial you into the call on your IOS device to the conference line without the need to enter ID numbers. I am unsure how this works otherwise.


Time: Mar 28, 2020 02:00 PM Saskatchewan

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 204 975 9341

One tap mobile

Please select one of the following Canadian phone numbers for one tap mobile access



Dial by your location

Please select one of the Canadian phone numbers below. Please note, Saskatchewan does not have their designated line. 1(587) is an alberta phone number if you choose to join through these numbers.

+1 778 907 2071 Canada

+1 438 809 7799 Canada

+1 587 328 1099 Canada

+1 647 374 4685 Canada

+1 647 558 0588 Canada

Meeting ID: 204 975 9341

Find your local number:




Some shortcuts that would be helpful for the Zoom Tech Meetings if you are joining the meeting with your computer and using a keyboard.


Alt+V: Start/Stop Video

Alt+A: Mute/unmute audio

Alt+Y: Raise/lower hand

Ctrl+Alt+Shift+H: Show/Hide floating meeting controls




Meet Me Accessibly is a three-hour audiobook, written and narrated by Jonathan Mosen. It takes you from the basics of attending your first Zoom meeting, all the way to content sharing of your video and audio from a computer or iDevice.


Just some of the things Jonathan shows you in Meet Me Accessibly include:


Attending your first Zoom meeting


Working with and configuring the Windows client


Working with and configuring the iOS client


Creating compelling and effective online meetings of up to 100 participants for discussions or webinars


Using Zoom to have a sighted person take control of your computer, even a Mac user can control a Windows PC and vice versa


Running visually attractive presentations using PowerPoint, or by sharing the output of any application on your computer


Using the high-quality, low-latency audio capabilities of Zoom for one-on-one conversations


Holding global Internet and telephone conferences


Taking advantage of the exceptional audio for use in a podcast, including creating separate audio files for every participant for use in a multitrack editor such as Amadeus Pro or Reaper


Recording meetings and podcast interviews on your iPhone, thanks to the Zoom cloud recording capability


Recording top-quality tech demonstrations thanks to the easy-to-use ability for Zoom to capture your computer’s sound


Sharing the screen and audio from apps on your iDevice


Enabling stereo audio


Turning off Zoom’s audio processing for pure, top-quality sound


Scheduling meetings


Holding instant meetings


Using your personal meeting ID


As you can see, there’s so much that Zoom can do, you’ll wonder how you lived without it.


In Meet Me Accessibly, Jonathan uses JAWS for Windows, the world’s most used screen reader when working with Windows. When discussing Zoom’s mobile offerings, he uses an iPhone running VoiceOver, the screen reader built into all iOS products. But the user interface of Zoom adheres closely to accessibility standards, so even if you use a different platform or screen reader, you should still be able to glean much from the demonstrations and descriptions.


Download Meet Me Accessibly free


To help any blind person who may need to telecommute during the COVID-19 outbreak, we have made Meet Me Accessibly free to download. You may distribute it for download anywhere, as long as the files are not modified in any way.


When you download, you get a zip file with the book divided into 19 MP3 files to make it easy to get to the sections you want. An included M3U playlist allows you to easily play the book from beginning to end. We’ve taken care to number the files sequentially, so the book imports beautifully into Voice Dream Reader on an iDevice.


Download Meet Me Accessibly free.


Connect with Tech-Ease Regina:



Tech-Ease YQR YXE (@techeasesk) | Twitter

The latest Tweets from Tech-Ease YQR YXE (@techeasesk). Are you Visually impaired, Related to someone visually impaired, or an educator of someone visually impaired …


Resource: CCB/GTT Weekly Open Chat Zoom Calls Expanding to 3-Days Per Week

Canadian Council of the Blind (CCB)

Get Together with Technology (GTT)


CCB/GTT Weekly Open Chat Zoom Calls Expanding!


The COVID-19 pandemic means that we all must observe ‘social distancing’ in order to ‘flatten the curve’ and stem the spread of the Coronavirus.  Whether you are distancing or in isolation, there is no need to feel isolated.  Now more than ever, technology allows us to be more ‘connected’ even when we have to spend time apart.


GTT 3-Times Weekly Open Chat:

Building Community among Canada’s blind and low vision population

Starting on March 27, 2020 for 90 minutes each Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 1:00 PM to 2:30 PM (Eastern), GTT staff and/or volunteers will host a vision loss and blindness related Zoom call to discuss all manner of assistive technology and adjustment to blindness issues that are on your mind.  For now only the Wednesday calls will be facilitated, however if the need arises for all gatherings to be lead by a facilitator that will be added in due course.


These Open Chat format calls are free of charge and will address a variety of needs.  Connect with us through your landline telephone, iDevice, Android device or computer as best suits your interests and abilities.  Here’s how to get connected:

Join the GTT Weekly Open Chat Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 983 959 5688

Toronto One tap mobile for Smart Phones:


Toronto: +16473744685

Alberta: +1 587 328 1099

BC: +1 778 907 2071 Canada

Manitoba: +1 204 515 1268

Montreal: +1 438 809 7799


Contact GTT Staff:

Toll Free: +1-877-304-0968

Kim Kilpatrick, GTT Coordinator, Extension 513

Albert Ruel, GTT Coordinator, Extension 550,

David Greene, GTT Trainer, Extension 509

Brian Bibeault, Volunteer Trainer:


 CCB and GTT on Social Media:

GTT Blog: https://GTTProgram.Blog/


CCB Facebook:

GTT Facebook Group:

GTT Facebook Page:

Twitter: @GTTWest @GTTProgram @CCBNational



Announcement from Braille Literacy Canada of upcoming first BLC Braille zoomers call on April 4 2020.

Become a Braille Zoomer: Free Virtual Get-Together
for Adult Braille Learners, Starting April 4th!
Braille Literacy Canada is launching the Braille Zoomers group – a monthly virtual get-together for adult and older adult braille learners. Whether you are in the process of learning braille now or you learned it as an adult at some time in the past, come join us!

Each virtual get-together will be an informal opportunity to share resources, support and ideas for adult braille learners. While there will be a general theme each month, members will determine the direction of the discussion so that we can best support your braille learning journey. If you have specific braille learning or braille usage questions you’d like us to address, you can write to us at

Our first virtual gathering will take place on Saturday, April 4th at 1 PM Eastern (10am Pacific, 11am Mountain/Saskatchewan, 12pm Central, 2pm Atlantic).

To participate, write to by Wednesday, April 1st and we will add you to the list. The details on how to join will be sent to you after you register.

We hope to have you there – let’s get the virtual braille fun started!

Windows From the Keyboard Tips, File Explorer – Delete File Confirmation, March 25, 2020

Hello. This is Gerry Chevalier from the GTT Edmonton Chapter. This weekly blog provides tips that I find useful as a keyboard user of Windows. The information is for Windows10 and Office 365, although many tips still apply to older versions.  The tips do not require a screen reader unless specifically noted. Thus, the tips apply whether you are a keyboard user or low vision mouse user. Here is this week’s tip.


Windows File Explorer – Delete File Confirmation

When you press Delete to delete a file Windows may or may not ask you to confirm. You can ensure there is a confirmation prompt by doing this:

  • Press Windows key + M to focus on the desktop.
  • Press R multiple times until you are focused on the Recycle Bin icon.
  • Press Alt+Enter to open the Properties of the Recycle Bin.
  • TAB to the check box to Display a Delete confirmation prompt and press the spacebar to activate it.
  • TAB to the OK button and press spacebar to activate it and return to your desktop. You will now be prompted to confirm each time you delete a file. The files you delete will be moved to the recycle bin so you can recover them if you need to. You can selectively bypass moving the deleted file to the recycle bin if you press Shift+Delete when deleting a file.


That’s it for this tip. Until next Wednesday, happy computing.


Upcoming events to help with social distancing from Braille Literacy Canada

Dear parents, teachers, braille users, and friends,

Over the past few weeks, we have all, like you, been impacted by the ever-evolving COVID-19 situation. Staying at home and practising self-isolation will continue to be critical for overcoming this global pandemic. Many children are home as schools suspend their operations. Many people are working from home, while others may be feeling anxious if they are among those whose work has been impacted.

For some people with disabilities, this global pandemic may be presenting even more challenges. Some may have lost the social activities they once relied on, or may be experiencing the effect of temporarily suspended supports and services. For those who can’t drive, accessing essential services may be posing even more challenges.

We at BLC recognize that these are unusual and stressful times for many. On behalf of the entire board, I want you to know that we have been thinking about what we can do to help.

First, if you have a friend, colleague or family member with a disability (or without!), reach out (by phone or text). Ask if they need any help ordering groceries online. Check in with the people around you with a friendly social phone call.

Here is what BLC will be doing to help:
1. Braille Zoomers Group: You may have seen our announcement in January that we will be launching a virtual group for adults who are learning braille. In light of the current situation, we have decided to start these meetings sooner than planned. They will take place on the first Saturday of each month at 1 PM Eastern, beginning on April 4th. If you are an adult braille learner, please email (or call 1-877-861-4576) to join our group. We will be sending the Zoom link and call in details for the first meeting in the coming days. We invite any adult braille learner regardless of where you are in your braille journey. Come join us for this social get-together through Zoom, and meet other adult braille learners just like you!
2. Resources: We are compiling a list of resources that may be especially helpful to the Canadian braille community – online shopping apps and resources, distance learning and online homework assistance, methods for accessing alternative reading materials to maintain student skills, social get-togethers through telephone or online platforms, resources for learning how to use Zoom, and much more. If you have specific resources that you think would be helpful, please write to us at and we will add it to the list. We will circulate this list in the coming days both by email and on our Facebook page, and will update it as more resources become available.
3. Parent support: For parents with blind and low vision students, we want to do our part to support you while your students are not at school. Though we are not all teachers, we still can play a role in supporting you in a variety of ways. We will be circulating an announcement directed specifically to parents, inviting them to write to us with any questions they may have about the braille code, how their child’s assistive technology works, and ideas for maintaining braille and braille technology-related skills during this time. If you are a parent of a braille using child with a specific question or if you are looking for a resource, write to us at (or call 1-877-861-4576).
4. Special teleconference: We are organizing a special teleconference to take place in early April (date TBD) specifically directed to parents (though all are welcome). We will use this opportunity to share resources that support home learning and ideas for home-based braille activities. We will also answer any questions you may have about braille and braille-related technology. If you are a parent (or student) with questions, please join us. Registration will be free of charge for members and non-members alike for this special online workshop.
5. Facebook page: Keep an eye on our Facebook page. Whenever we come across a resource that we feel might be helpful, we will share it there, with the hashtag #SixDotsStrong
We hope that these measures provide some added support during this time. Please let us know if you have any questions, and stay tuned for all of the above in the coming days and weeks!

With friendship and solidarity,
Natalie Martiniello and your entire Braille Literacy Canada board

Re-Post: Audible just made hundreds of audiobooks completely free – Radio Times

Free audiobooks include novels narrated by Thandie Newton and Dan Stevens


Dear GTT Followers, I have clarified what is available and how to access it with this post revision. free books.


Here is further clarification for my post on Friday regarding the free books.  They seem to be mostly for kids while school is in recess, however this is the process for accessing some classics as well as kids books.  They appear to be for streaming only and don’t seem to provide any download links.


  1. Go to, Audible just made hundreds of audiobooks completely free
  2. On the page that shows up find the link, and press Enter.
  3. Navigate to the Start Listening Button and press the Space Bar.
  4. From this page you may search for books, or navigate through the categories and lists available. They are available in a few other languages as well as English.  It seems the reading speed can be adjusted once you begin playing a book, and the Navigation Quick Keys screen reader users are accustomed to will work when accessing this from a PC.  Pressing the letter P will take you to the Play/Pause button, the letter E will bring focus to the Search Edit Field and so on.  Links lists with Insert F7 is another good way to navigate to the books you want.  I couldn’t sort out how to minimize the Player once it is activated, however all other controls can be found below the Audio Player, or with Nav Quick Keys.



— Read on


Thx, Albert


Resource: CCB’s GTT “Zooming” Forward through the current Social Distancing Situation

Canadian Council of the Blind (CCB)

Get Together with Technology (GTT)


  GTT Zooming Forward through the current Social Distancing Situation


The COVID-19 pandemic means that we all must observe ‘social distancing’ in order to ‘flatten the curve’ and stem the spread of the Coronavirus.  Whether you are distancing or in isolation, there is no need to feel isolated.  Now more than ever, technology allows us to be more ‘connected’ even when we have to spend time apart.

Blindness and low vision sometimes causes the need for additional supports like sighted guides and visual assistance in our homes and communities, which is greatly impacted by the need to “Socially Distance” ourselves.  In such instances it isn’t just the virus that is isolating us, it’s blindness or low vision that is intensifying the situation.

The CCB’s GTT program is making plans to support Canadians who are blind and partially sighted. We will help you to learn how to stay connected while you ensure your personal safety.  If you need assistance with your technology, this will now be provided through one-on-one telephone training sessions and with weekly 90-minute open chat calls, and through the already-available GTTSupport email distribution list, WhatsApp Group, GTTProgram.Blog site and on Facebook. One-on-one telephone coaching sessions can also be facilitated should people need to learn how to download audiobooks from Canada’s accessible Libraries, or to learn how to get sighted assistance through BeMyEyes and Aira services using smart phones and tablets.  See below for booking information.

 Zoom Conferencing One-On-One Tutorial Sessions:

Starting on March 18, 2020 GTT staff and volunteers will be available for one-on-one telephone sessions aimed at assisting those who want to learn how to install and use the very accessible Zoom Conferencing system on iOS devices, Android devices, or PC and Mac computers.  For one-on-one training sessions contact GTT staff and volunteers as per below.

In the meantime, download the app for your device by following the below links to download the Zoom Cloud Meeting app for:

Zoom For Windows Computers;

Zoom for Mac Computers;

Zoom for iOS from the AppStore;

Zoom for Android from the Google Play Store.

 GTT Weekly Open Chat:  Building Community among Canada’s blind and low vision population

Starting on March 18, 2020 for 90 minutes each Wednesday from 1:00 PM to 2:30 PM (Eastern), GTT staff and/or volunteers will host a GTT Zoom call to discuss all manner of assistive technology and adjustment to blindness issues that are on your mind.  These calls are free of charge, and the topics are open, and will address a variety of needs.  Connect with us through your landline telephone, iDevice, Android device or computer as best suits your interests and abilities.  Here’s how to get connected:

Join the GTT Weekly Open Chat Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 983 959 5688

Toronto One tap mobile for Smart Phones:


Toronto: +16473744685

Alberta: +1 587 328 1099

BC: +1 778 907 2071 Canada

Manitoba: +1 204 515 1268

Montreal: +1 438 809 7799


 GTT Audiobook Download Tutorial Sessions:

While in-person book clubs may have been cancelled and libraries may have closed, staying at home means that you have more time to catch up on your reading.  Are you struggling to download audiobooks from your favourite Library; has the volunteer who usually does this for you had to self-isolate?  GTT staff and volunteers can help you learn how to download the audiobooks you need into the listening device you own.

 BeMyEyes and Aira for Sighted Assistance:

If you can’t have visits with people in your community and/or your family supports you count on to get those important things done around home or beyond on a daily basis, and if you have a smart phone or tablet, let GTT show you how to connect with sighted volunteers and staff of these two services so they can help.  Contact GTT staff and volunteers for your one-on-one session to learn how to utilize the free BeMyEyes and subscription based Aira services.

Online Shopping:

If you need to do more online grocery and other types of shopping, and your access to such apps and websites is a struggle, contact GTT staff and volunteers and book a time for someone to coach you to learn the app or website that best meets your shopping needs.  Please be sure to let us know the specific store(s) where you want to shop so the right person can be assigned to coach you.

 Podcasts and Streaming:

Are you finding yourself with more time on your hands these days?  Would you like to learn how to stream movies, podcasts and other forms of entertainment?  GTT may be able to help, so contact us and book a time for a telephone or Zoom coaching session.


GTTProgram.Blog Site, for all GTT Events and Activities:

On the GTT Program Blog site you will find postings of all the upcoming events and activities we have planned, as well as some useful resources that might help you to stay connected.  Register your email address on this site and all that gets posted there will land seamlessly in your Inbox in an easy to read format.  If you’re not successful at the below steps, ask Albert Ruel to add you by email at:

To get started, go to:

Near the bottom of the page find and click on the Follow Link, type your email address and click on the Submit Button.  That will prompt the system to send you a Confirmation email message, and once you have clicked on the Confirm Button within that message you’ll be registered.  Welcome aboard. 

 Book Your One-On-One GTT Training Session Today:

Toll Free: +1-877-304-0968

Kim Kilpatrick, GTT Coordinator, Extension 513

Albert Ruel, GTT Coordinator, Extension 550,

David Greene, GTT Trainer, Extension 509

 CCB and GTT on Social Media:

GTT Blog: https://GTTProgram.Blog/


CCB Facebook:

GTT Facebook Group:

GTT Facebook Page:

Twitter: @GTTWest @GTTProgram @CCBNational