Follow up to an item at the  Otawa evening GTT meeting in October.  CRTC hearings on accessibiity.  

The note below is provided  by Wayne  and if anyone wants to be in touch  with him about this please contact me at and I will put you in touch with him. 

Hi everyone. I am just following up on he item I mentioned at our last GTT Ottawa evening meeting.
I am a member of the Telecommunications (CRTC) Committee. This committee is composed of the following members; Leo Bissonette, John Rae, and me from AEBC and Lui Greco from CNIB. The committee has been very active in making several submissions to the CRTC on a variety of issues concerning the delivery of telecom services including cell service and television. If you are interested in joining this committee, please contact me or Leo Bisonette. We would welcome any new members who have an interest in these issues.
This committee will be making a presentation to the CRTC on November 4th on the process for making complaints related to accessibility concerns with respect to the delivery of telecommunications services. It will focus on the Commissioner for Complaints for Telecommunications Services (CCTS), which is the vehicle used by the CRTC to handle most complaints. You may visit the following link to read this committee’s submission to the CRTC on this issue.
Submission by AEBC and CNIB – CRTC 2015-239: Commissioner for Complaints for Telecommunications Services
In order to support the Committee’s presentation, you are encouraged to attend the hearing. While only Committee members will be able to speak at the hearing, your presence will help support the importance of this issue for blind and partially-sighted Canadians. 
In order to facilitate the transportation and other logistics for people wishing to attend, Lui Greco has reserved a room at the CNIB Office for November 3rd from 2:00 to 3:00 PM to discuss the arrangements for getting to the meeting. If you cannot attend this meeting in person, you can dial in at the following number: 1 (866) 783-7393 participant code 16975769. The tentative plan is to have transportation arranged from the CNIB Office to the CRTC Hearings at 7:30 AM on November 4th and returning to the CNIB at 4:00. However, once our presentation has been confirmed by the CRTC, I will share this information and you are more than welcome to proceed directly to the CRTC hearings in Gatineau. The address is: 
Conference Centre

Phase IV

Outaouais Room

140 Promenade du Portage

Gatineau, Quebec.

If you are planning on proceeding there directly, pleas let Lui Greco or Christine Robins know. Lui can be reached at hiss cell number; 403) 629-3522. Lui and Christine will be at the entrance at 8:30 AM to help people navigate the maze to the conference room. I will share the hearing time once it is confirmed. If you plan on arriving later, please let Lui know.
Business attire is recommended for attendees.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to let me know.


GTT Ottawa meeting notes September 21 2015.

GTT Ottawa Meeting

Date: Monday Sept 20 2015
This meeting was live-streamed
Location:  CCB office 20 James Street
The meeting was also attended by vendors who were in town in order to attend the annual CNIB Tech Fair taking place in Ottawa on Tuesday September 21. The vendors all described their products, and told us what was new.

Bram Caron:  Aroga Technologies

–Canada-wide ; hi and low  tech products for people with disabilities including communication, mobility and vision.  Aroga also distributes Ambutech canes.
–The canes are available in any colour you want
–Classic white canes are also available.
–For every cane you choose, there are also lots of different kinds of tips.
–Canes available in white with coloured handles, joints and tips.
— Canes with a red base are still available
–Colours include; royal blue, purple, gold, red, and many more. 
–The solid coloured cane is available
–The hybrid cane is a little less durable than the standard mobility cane but is very light weight and easy to carry around.  Many guide dog users carry them around to have a cane when needed. between mobility and identification  cane; these are good for the not-so-heavy cane users.  These are also called slim-line canes.
–Kiddie canes are also available.
— A question was asked about whether or not people who are blind traveling around with these types of canes confuse the public?    Aroga and ambutech have not noticed this.  These canes are becoming more popular and are causing some people (especially kids and youth who might not otherwise use a cane) to begin carrying one around. 

–You can usually tell that a person is blind, regardless of the colour cane he/she is using
–There are now different ways people use their canes to get around. There are tappers and swipers who use canes differently.  Cane choice is a personal preference — Society still recognizes them as canes for vision-impaired.
–Some canes have lights on them in Europe.  The lights are hard to replace, and the batteries are easily-broken  
–There are many cane handles to choose from although the hybrid (slim line)  canes come with cork handles only at the moment. 
The other canes can come with foam, cork, carved wood and like a golf-club.  Wood handles are heavy. As with cane preference,  handles also are a matter of preference.  It often amounts to what  transmits information best for each user.  
–There is quite a new cane tip called Dakota disc:  It feels like a mini-frisbee–good for grass, sand, gravel There are also tips that are roller-balls now have high-mileage. There are also marshmallow and pencil tips. 
Again tip preference varies for each cane user. 

–What’s the best cane/tip for snow?  There are  different kinds of snow and snow like conditions.   It would depend on where you are living and what kind of walking you do.
Something that glides over snow.  Dakota tips are good for gliding but heavier and possibly not as durable as roller or marshmallow tips. 
 There is a support cane that you use for support while walking.  It is not a mobility cane. 
Canes are used for support, mobility, identity.
–Aroga has 15 different kinds of canes
–Aroga has other products, including the vibrating glasses that warn the blind person about objects and obstacles that are above the waist and above the sweep of a cane.
–When a product breaks, Aroga tries to get it back to the customer as soon as possible.
Their web site is
–Their phone number is  1-800-561-6222

David Greenich: Canadialog

–The  company has  been around for 5 years
–They have products from Freedom Scientific, JAWS, Magic, and focus Braille Displays.
–You can try before you buy for about a week before you make the commitment.
–This company is nationwide with offices throughout Canada.
–David demonstrated a portable CCTV that weighs less than 5 lbs and can be connected to a laptop.
The book goes under the camera like a CCTV There is also a bigger model of CCTV, weighing about 8 lbs.
–Another product they sell is the Topaz, costing $2,700.00.  This may qualify for ADP funding  
–They also sell the Ruby magnifier–hand held.
–Reminder Rosie–a talking alarm clock that saves up to 25 reminders is a new product they  are starting to sell.  They will be selling other household products too. 

— Clients are looking for more the low tech products such as clocks, microwaves etc.Their web site is 

Stephen Ricci: Frontier Computing

–He has also been a customer, having used the products himself.
— This company was founded by someone who is blind.
–They sell products for people with other kinds of disabilities; It is a one-stop shop for high  and low-tech as well as an ADP vendor; corporate, educational institutions, libraries, government and individuals, at home, work, play and school. Their products hope to level the playing field, and to help people feel independent, self-confident and successful.
–Some equipment is loaned.
–They represent all the manufacturers but don’t have a large supply of materials.  
–Frontier staff use the products.  
–if a product should break, they try to get it back to the customer as soon as possible. They also offer tech  support to customers.

–The Zoomtext keyboard is of better quality.  The letters are in large print and high-contrast and specialized keys that control some of the functions. This can be found on AISquared.  

Michel: Humanware

–A manufacturer of innovative solutions like the Braille Note Apex note taker and the Victor Readers Prodigy–video magnifier assistant that works on a tablet.
–Humanware does market surveys to find out what the consumer wants.
–The Trekker Breeze 2 has been revamped and more efficient, like a talking GPS–walking or riding public transportation.
–The Victor Reader Stream allows you to listen to radio shows over Wi-Fi.  It also allows you to download podcasts and download books from CNIB/CELA library and bookshare.

–Questions arose about transferring CDs onto the Stream.
–There are different options for braille displays to connect to computers and smart phones.  
The human ware line up includes the brailliant braille displays as well as the braille note family of note takers.  
There was a question about getting a braille display that had limited note taking capabilities. 

–We don’t need all the features as these are available on our phones.  
–Humanware can be contacted at 1-888-722-3393 

Claude Harris: Locus Engineering

–Developing an echolocation device
–Not everyone can echolocate
–The device consists of a small board sends out an ultrasonic pulse and makes tones. Each frequency represents a distance, with close objects making a high-frequency tone and getting lower the further away the object is from you
–It is meant to be an extension of a white cane–a succession of echoes that warn us about obstacles ahead.  
–Users can change the chirp rate. You can send a pulse out or have it set to automatic–there are 6 frequency bands. He is just in the process of developing this product.  He is very keen to have some of us test this product once he has developed it more. 
In a few months we can try it out.
–Can it be fitted onto a white cane? If not on the cane, it could be clipped on or worn.
–As a cane is angled, it may not be able to get a straight echo.
–What about people who are blind and also need to use walkers?  Could it be put onto the front of a mobility device like a walker or wheelchair?   
–Hand-guide; set to beep or vibrate
–Every 6 inches, users will hear a new musical tone.  You can hear things ahead of you.  You would aim the device like a flashlight as it has a very directional beam.  
— Claude’s website is

Issues discussed:

— CNIB ID cards question. If you are totally blind, you don’t need an eye assessment to get a new CNIB ID card.   This new practice was put into place because there have been so many changes and advancements in ophthalmology and optometry.  We will be required to show proof of legal blindness.  You can obtain an eye report through your optometrist or ophthalmologist just before your ID card is due.

We brainstormed topics  for  future meetings

–using braille displays with iphones
–comparing braille displays
–using hand-held magnifiers
–What is new in IOS 9?

— AODA; where to turn if you have a question or concern
–Ottawa Public Library now has 3-D printers–what do they do?  
–Will there be a workshop on 3d printing–is the software accessible?  
–all about spreadsheets How to use them. 
–A workshop on photography–using your camera and KNFB Reader and other barcode readers  to get information
–Useable, exchangeable and nice-to-have apps
–Household and kitchen items touchscreens and menus labelling and identifying
Comparison of screen readers

Next Meeting

Monday, October 26
CCB Office, 20 James Street
We will divide into two groups. 
Group 1. All about braille displays. 
Group 2. All about hand held magnifyers. 

Notes for ottawa GTT meeting Monday Feb 23 2015 (all about Ottawa Public Library Services) 

Here are the meeting notes from our GTT  Ottawa meeting on Monday February 23.  

Thanks very much to Shelley Morris for providing the notes. 

There were 23 people in attendence.  

We had two special guest presenters, Matt and Tristene from the Ottawa Public library. 


Kim reminded everyone to subscribe to the GTT blog to get up to date notes, resources, meeting announcements for both local and national groups, and more. 

If anyone is having trouble subscribing, let Kim know and she can help you. National conference calls will take place on the second wed of every month.

Next conference:  Wed Mar 11 7:00 p.m.

Daytime  Ottawa GTT group is going well.  It is a smaller group with more individualized attention.  This group takes place on

the third Thursday of each month from 10 AM to noon.

Next Daytime GTT–Thursday March 19 at the CCB national offices, 20 James street.

News, updates and announcements:

Kim said that the VoiceDream  Writer app works well for editing and writing documents on your idevices.  The IOS app for Google Chrome is now accessible.  It  is not crashing and may work better for those having problems with Safari. 

MS Word and Outlook apps now also seem to be accessible on Idevices.  There is no indication that MS office is accessible on the mac. 

The CNIB–direct to player app is a bit buggy but does allow you to download their books directly on to your I device.  it has many great and easy to use features.  They are going to fix bugs in it.  For now, Kim can  help those who are interested in trying it out. this app can take books from your downloaded shelf. It is currently available in iOS only and not available on iPad yet.

Steve Sleigh (CRA) has been meeting with some GTT members  to determine the accessibility of tax preparation software.  We have been trying out some of the programs endorsed by CRA and will have more reports and updates in the coming months. 

Richard Updated on Ballroom Dancing Program:

Richard Marsolais said CCB, CNIB and GTT have been partnering to have a ballroom dancing program.  Feb 26 is the last Thursday for the first session, which has been very successful.  Another session should be starting in March. Interested, contact Richard at 613-563-4021 ext 5029 or at 

Kim announced that

Blind yoga still a drop in on Saturdays here at CCB 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. If anyone is interested in finding out more about yoga, contact Kim at 613-567-0311 or 

Ana Zurita   invited everyone to a digital communication seminar on Saturday March 21at Algonquin College.  There will be 4 speakers related to digital communications; analytics, strategies, design thinking, how to develop user-friendly websites, storytelling, and UX (user experience). Richard Marsolais  announced that he is already working on the 4th annual

CNIB Tech Show to take place on Sept 22 2015. –asked the group to contact him if  we have any new ideas for displays/workshops.

Presentation from Matt and Tristene. 

CELA is the new CNIB library.  

CELA started with the belief that Blind people and people with print disabilities have rights to the same print material as everyone else.

Those who were registered with the CNIB library service before April 2014 can still use the CNIB library web site and service as they have been doing.. CELA stands for Centre for equitable library access.

CNIB and CELA clients can receive in the mail hard copy braille, print/braille, or daisy books on cd.  Alternatively, if they feel comfortable doing so, they can  go online and download books from CELA.

  The web site for CELA is very similar to the CNIB library, the mailing envelopes are different.

If you are new to this service, you have to go through your public library to register for it.  You can also let CNIB know that you are interested in library service. 

 your info goes to the public library and you need a library card. You will have access to everything in the public library.

If you are new to Canada, you may have a longer wait time. There is an annual non-residence fee of $50.00.  to belong to the library if you are not an Ottawa resident. 

You need to show ID to get a library card.  The ID needs to have your address on it.  If you are new to the city and don’t have ID, even a utility bill with your name and address on it will work. 

You will have access to CNIB library plus the collection of the public library.

CELA has access to CNIB library books.

CELA is national and public libraries are local.  

Some public libraries may include the option to search the CELA site when you visit their web sites. 


Public libraries also have a collection of daisy books

CELA uses the CNIB existing framework including their recording studio and volunteers–CELA contracts CNIB

CELA not only serves those who are blind/vision-impaired, they help those who have print disabilities such as dyslexia and those who would have trouble holding books.

In order to use the service, you will not be asked for a doctor’s certificate–it runs on self-disclosure.

Access to  content–bookshare–CNIB will continue under CELA  there is an international exchange of materials put into an accessible format.  For international languages we can request and link to other international libraries.  We should encourage our governments to ratify the Merikesh treaty so that we can have free access to all international  content. 

To find out more about this treaty, visit the world blind union site. 

Charles Mossop is the canadian  representative for World Blind Union and Jim Tokus from CCB is also involved with this  initiative. 

If you would like one of them to present on this, please let Kim know. 

It has been suggested that Kim find more information about this and post it here so that people can find out more about it. 

Canada has signed this agreement but not ratified it.  

OPL services

Overdrive–audio books and ebooks.  If there is a book you would like the OPL to get for you, you can make a suggestion to the OPL to purchase it. these requests are reviewed and responded to.

you can suggest 5 books per month for purchase.

Matt Abbott–selects most of the audio visual items that you see in the library including the CDs.  Some items are available in a described video format.

One of the new services offered by OPL is a streaming video service.  Currently it does not include blockbuster movies just yet–kind of like netfliix–videos and music hoopla

Hoopla is a streaming service.

accessibility features are slowly becoming more and more available.

Freegal is another streaming service available through OPL.

agreements with freegal is a music streaming service.  It is a database which has an agreement with Sony music.  You can download and stream the music in the database. 

you can  build a collection.  

Freegal can be very unfriendly for those with low vision. 

we have been asked to try it and let the OPL staff know what we find in terms of accessibility with Freegal and Hopla (the video streaming service). 

freegal and other companies provide these services for all libraries–we should give the feedback and we could ask for improvements when they renegotiate the contracts with Freegal and Hoopla.


Hoopla–has agreements with Warner and Universal

videos and music are streaming on a desktop

there are apps for these too which can be found in the App Store.

you will need a library card from OPL to access these services. 

Hoopla asks you to create an account. 

The provision of descriptive video is up to freegal and hoopla to negotiate with the studios–the descriptive video exists which is very frustrating as it isn’t always made available to us. Libraries are not responsible for making the third parties compliant with the AODA.

If GTT members lobbied we should say that we want access to it.  We need DVS. Most libraries now have the video and music streaming.  

Hoopla also has classic tv shows.  

Accessible status.  Those of us with (all) disabilities have a 6-week loan period as opposed to three weeks for non disabled library patrons.  Unfortunately, our status needs to be confirmed and a form filled out by a health care professional to get the OPL card that says we have a disability. Hopefully, a CNIB card may suffice in the future.  

We discussed the Access to Entertainment card available through the Easter Seals Ontario–for more information about this, contact them directly.  This card would allow you to bring a guide to a movie.  The cost of the card is $20.00 five years.  

Overdrive and screen readers

Overdrive has been accessible in the past but is less accessible now.  Please point this out to them. 

When using the overdrive app or overdrive on your computer, the  book disappears after 2 weeks.   Could this be extended?  

They are considering extending the loan period.  

Overdrive does not work with the  Booksense digital talking book player.   

it was hard to know within the  IOS app where you were in the book when you were  reading it.  Some apps let you navigate through a book much more easily.  These would include voicedream reader and audible.  Also the new CNIB Direct to player app is very good. 


Audible is good if you don’t mind paying for books. 


Assistive technology is available at all branches of the OPL. 

They have Kurzweil 3000, (this does not work well for totally blind people.  It is more designed for people with learning disabilities.) We pointed out that they should get Kurzweil 1000 for scanning and OCR. They also have  Jaws, Dragon Naturally Speaking, Zoomtext, BrowseAloud. accessible keyboards, wide screen monitors and accessible tables. Please make sure that they have the Kurzweil version most appropriate for blind/vision-impaired users (version 1000).

you can book a time  to use this accessible equipment. 

 reserved–can be booked online or call.  

Some GTT members have used it and needed some help signing into the computer initially. 

  you can ask when you go in the branch.

Could you scan library material and put it onto a memory stick  and take it away with you?  

Yes.  There are no macs at the library. They use Windows.  

They are not planning on getting macs.

There are work stations that have the adaptive equipment.  

Homebound services are for those who want to use the library but can’t visit.  You need to get a 3 months registration  at the least. 

They can be great if you are injurred or  great for winteritme. The materials are delivered to participants’ homes.

Daisy books collection works side by side with homebound services.  Call homebound and register–you give them your library card for the time which you are registered. .  This is used so that they can sign the books out for you. 

They work very hard. 

There are 3 people serving 500 clients.  

There is no limits as to what you can have access to with the home bound service.   It is request based and you can place holds–you complete a form so that they will know what  you would like to borrow.  

At the front of the library, there are shelves called express. 

Express copies are those that you cannot place a hold on-usually new items — based on feedback from different branches and popularity of books.  the popular DVDs are on express for 6 months.  There are 33 library branches.  Express shelves are usually in a prominent place in the library and include things like best sellers.  

checking out books:

how accessible is this?  there is always staff to help people to check out.  We cannot use touch screens–the staff will help you if you are having difficulty.  All branches are at different stages of automation–the staff are trained to help.  There are  always information desks and that’s where you should go if you need help. 

When we walk into a library we don’t know what the layout is.  Could this be explained online so that we can know before we visit?    

All branches are different.  It might be a good idea of their individual  layout be put on the webpage as an MP3 and text file.   The city is doing this with community centres and should be done at libraries too. 

City of Ottawa has a wayfinding app that they are implementing.  


you can now get it free if you are a member of CELA/CNIB library. 

This service is great  and has lots of titles.  download them onto your device or your phone.  Some of the new digital talking book players (the  victor stream, plextalk linio)  With these players you can search and download directly Voice dream reader is a great app to use with bookshare.  

using Voicedream reader–you can not  select the format in bookshare that you want to use. It just downloads it in one format. 

Voicedream reader has many voices–one comes for free but you can download different voices in many different languages.   

Some suggestions for  using Voicedream Reader:

Voicedream reader

You can create a folder for books or other materials and name it whatever you like. 

Go to that folder, under the add button, go to web browser to add Cnib library books. 

Go to bookshare to add those books. 

Go Read is the Android version.

many people put things into MP3 when using bookshare.  You can choose from text, text with graphics or audio–it takes a few minutes to produce but the quality is better than daisy. This is for use from the web site using your computer. 


It was suggested that we have a workshop on voicedream writer. 

Voicedream reader is a book reading app for IOS.  The writer can be used with a braille display–has a built-in spell checker and dictionary.  It can also use dictate.  It uses this markdown language for formatting.  Could you print from voicedream writer?  you would have to export the file first.

Access note is another notetaking app that has gone free and is quite easy to use.

Voicedream writer is very user friendly and costs $10.00.  You can select text and when you double tap it lets you cut, copy, paste ETC.  

a tip for voiceover–when you are on the status bar at the top of your screen swipe up with 3 fingers and it will say control centre.  In that centre you can easily turn on and off, bluetooth, wifi, do not disturb, orientation lock, ETC. 

To get out of the centre, press the home button. 


Next GTT 

Monday March 16

6:00 – 8:00 p.m.

20 James Street. 

Some suggested topics are:

taxes;  how people can do them and how we may find people to help us if we are unable to do them ourselves.

Another suggested topic, online banking

A third suggested topic:  Internet providers–some examples–

ACANAC Techsavvy etc.

how to find service providers 

Does an iPhone cost the same everywhere.

We have decided on the topic of service providers. 

Come with ideas and tips and we will discuss this and share resources.