CCB Toronto Visionaries: 2020 White Cane Week Experience Expo! Saturday, February 8, 2020

Come Celebrate the 2020 WCW Experience Expo!

The CCB Toronto Visionaries Chapter, Canadian Council of the Blind, welcomes you to our 5th great year!  On Saturday February 8, 2020, we’ll be hosting Canada’s only exposition and consumer show for those living with vision loss!


This year, the 2020 Experience Expo takes as its theme the ability for all of us to see clearly, to see the potential of people with sight loss as equal to the potential of other Canadians, and to show that, when it comes to having a clear view of their own potential, those who live with sight loss have a vision that is 20/20!


Once again, we’ll be returning to the Miles Nadal Jewish Community Centre, 750 Spadina Avenue, right at the south-west corner of Bloor & Spadina in Toronto and just steps from the Spadina subway station.


In a single space with over 6000 square feet of room for more than 50 exhibitors, we’ll be bringing together community groups, agencies, product and service providers serving the vision loss community here in Toronto.


The Expo is open from 10am to 4pm, and will be followed by the Visionaries Forum, a panel discussion focused on independence through gainful employment from 4pm to 6pm, and a ‘Community Social’ dinner from 6pm to 8pm, featuring music, food, and a cash bar!

  • Free guest wi-fi provided by BELL Canada


Every visitor to the Expo is eligible to enter a ballot for our Grand Prize Draw, a trip for two from Toronto to Ottawa with two nights’ accommodation at the Best Western Downtown Suites Hotel.



Admission to the Expo, the Visionaries Forum, and the Community Social is absolutely free!  If you’d like to attend the Forum or join us for the Dinner/Social, please RSVP to or call the Voice Mail Line at 416-760-2163.  Please note: seating at the Forum is limited, so please reserve your place as soon as possible.


Visit our website at for more information.


So bring your ‘Experience’ to the Expo!  And celebrate with us on February 8th!


Ian White,

President, CCB Toronto Visionaries Chapter,

Canadian Council of the Blind

Presenting Sponsors: Accessible Media Inc, BELL Canada, and VIA Rail.

Additional sponsorship provided by: Bausch + Lomb, Bayer, Labtician Thea, Novartis, and Best Western


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Guest Post: Call for Blind, Deaf-blind and Low Vision Ottawa Research Participants: Help make tax benefits accessible

Hi GTT Program Blog Ottawa participants.  I forward this as a potential opportunity for those Ottawa residents who might be interested in participating face to face.


French to follow

En français à suivre


My name is Hillary Lorimer, I am a researcher working for the Canadian Digital Service. We are a government organization that designs and develops online government services. We are currently working with the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) on a new service that will help low-income Canadians access the tax benefits they are entitled to.


We want to make this service as accessible as possible. We are looking for people who are blind or low-vision who would be interested in trying an early version of this service and providing feedback on their experience.


We are scheduling research sessions starting early to mid-February. The sessions will take approximately one hour and we are offering 50 dollars as compensation for 1 hour of your time.


You do not need to have low income to participate and the research session will have no impact on your personal tax return.


If you are interested in participating or would like to learn more, please get in touch by calling Hillary Lorimer at 613-402-3085. You can also send an email to . We get back to you with more details about the research.


We are looking forward to hearing from you.


Hillary Lorimer


Canadian Digital Service

Government of Canada



Privacy Notice

Giving the Canadian Digital Service (CDS) and the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) your contact information is completely voluntary.

If you respond to this opportunity, your email address, phone number, language preference, and name will be collected by CDS and CRA. This personal information will only be used to contact you about the study.

This personal information will not be used for any “administrative purposes”. This means that it will not be used to make any decisions that affect your access to Government of Canada services.

CDS is a program within the Treasury Board Secretariat (TBS) of Canada.

The collection and use of your personal information by TBS is authorized by the Financial Administration Act.

The collection and use of your personal information by CRA is authorized by the Income Tax Act.

Collection and use of your personal information for correspondence is in accordance with the federal Privacy Act. Under the Privacy Act, individuals have the right of protection, access to and correction or notation of their personal information.

Any personal information that may be collected is described in the Standard Personal Information Bank entitled Outreach Activities, PSU 938

If you have any comments or concerns about what you read here, or about your privacy rights, you may contact:

TBS Access to Information and Privacy Coordinator.


Telephone: 1-866-312-1511

You have the right to complain to the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada about the handling of your personal information.


Telephone: 1-800-282-1376


Opportunité de participer à la recherche : Aidez à rendre les avantages fiscaux accessibles




Je m’appelle Hillary Lorimer. Je suis chercheure et je travaille pour le Service Numérique Canadien. C’est une organisation gouvernementale qui simplifie et rend plus accessible les services publics. Nous travaillons avec l’agence du revenu du Canada (ARC) sur un nouveau service qui permettra aux Canadiens qui ont un faible revenu d’accéder aux avantages fiscaux auxquels ils ont droit, plus facilement.

Nous voulons rendre ce nouveau service le plus accessible possible. Nous cherchons donc des gens qui ont 18 ans et plus et qui s’identifient comme étant aveugles ou malvoyant pour nous donner leur avis sur la version numérique du service en utilisant des appareils d’assistance, incluant les lecteurs d’écran.

Nous planifions organiser ces séances du début jusqu’à la mi-février. La séance durera une heure et nous vous donnerons 50 dollars pour cette heure de votre temps.


Si vous utilisez des appareils d’assistance, que vous êtes intéressé ou que vous voulez simplement en apprendre plus, appeler 343.548.9468 . Vous pouvez aussi envoyer un courriel à Nous vous donnerons plus de détails par la suite.


Merci beaucoup et il nous fera plaisir d’entrer en contact avec vous!


Hillary Lorimer


Service numérique canadien

Gouvernement du Canada




Énoncé de confidentialité

Le fait de fournir vos coordonnées à l’équipe de recherche est entièrement volontaire.

En répondant à cette opportunité, vous comprenez que votre adresse électronique, votre numéro de téléphone, votre langue de préférence et votre nom seront recueillis par le SNC. Ces renseignements personnels ne seront utilisés que pour communiquer avec vous au sujet de l’étude.

Ces renseignements personnels ne seront pas utilisés à des « fins administratives ». Cela veut dire que vos renseignements ne serviront pas à prendre des décisions qui ont une incidence sur votre accès aux services du gouvernement du Canada.

Le SNC est un programme au sein du Secrétariat du Conseil du Trésor (SCT) du Canada.

La collecte et l’utilisation de vos renseignements personnels par le SCT sont autorisées en vertu de la Loi sur la gestion des finances publiques

La collecte et l’utilisation de vos renseignements personnels par l’ARC sont autorisées par la Loi de l’impôt sur le revenu

La collecte et l’utilisation de vos renseignements personnels aux fins de correspondance sont conformes à la Loi sur la protection des renseignements personnels du gouvernement fédéral. En vertu de la Loi sur la protection des renseignements personnels, vous avez droit à la protection, à l’accès et à la correction ou à la mention de vos renseignements personnels.

Toute information personnelle qui pourra être recueillie est décrite dans les Fichiers de renseignements personnels ordinaires qui figurent sous Activités de sensibilisation.

Si vous avez des commentaires ou des préoccupations concernant le présent énoncé ou vos droits en matière de protection de vos renseignements personnels, vous pouvez contacter :

Le coordonnateur de l’accès à l’information et de la protection des renseignements personnels du SCT
Courriel :
Téléphone : 1 866 312-1511

Vous avez également la possibilité de déposer une plainte auprès du Commissariat à la protection de la vie privée du Canada quant à la façon dont vos renseignements personnels sont traités.


Téléphone : 1 800 282-1376.


Exploring the use of smartphones and tablets among people with visual impairments: Are mainstream devices replacing the use of traditional visual aids?: Assistive Technology: Vol 0, No 0, by Natalina Martiniello

Dear GTT Blog readers.  I urge you all to check out this well done report by Natalina Martiniello and how it impacts the community of blind, partially sighted and deaf-blind people.  You will find the website to be well marked with Heading navigation, so click the below link with confidence.




Smartphones and tablets incorporate built-in accessibility features, but little is known about their impact within the visually impaired population. This

study explored the use of smartphones and tablets, the degree to which they replace traditional visual aids, and factors influencing these decisions. Data

were collected through an anonymous online survey targeted toward visually impaired participants above the age of 18, whom had been using a smartphone

or tablet for at least three months. Among participants (n = 466), 87.4% felt that mainstream devices are replacing traditional solutions. This is especially

true for object identification, navigation, requesting sighted help, listening to audiobooks, reading eBooks and optical character recognition. In these

cases, at least two-thirds of respondents indicated that mainstream devices were replacing traditional tools most or all of the time. Users across all

ages with higher self-reported proficiency were more likely to select a mainstream device over a traditional solution. Our results suggest that mainstream

devices are frequently used amongst visually impaired adults in place of or in combination with traditional assistive aids for specific tasks; however,

traditional devices are still preferable for certain tasks, including those requiring extensive typing or editing. This provides important context to designers

and rehabilitation personnel in understanding the factors influencing device usage.


Thx, Albert


Sent from my iPhone

Repost: January 2020 is Accessibility Month at SBBC – Small Business BC

For the month of January Small Business BC, Community Futures and Public Services Procurement Canada are offering a number of seminars free of charge to persons with disabilities. Seminars are in-person or via webinar. Just need to follow the link at the end of the below announcement to begin the free registration process. Please feel free to share with anyone you think might be interested.



We have partnered with Small Business BC (SBBC) and Community Futures – Entrepreneurs with Disabilities Program (EDP) to make January 2020 Accessibility Month at SBBC.  All of the seminars and webinars in January will feature:

  • Free AIRA Access coverage of the building, so that blind and visually-impaired business people can navigate the venue.
  • Live ASL interpretation;
  • Presentation materials revised to improve readability for those with vision or cognitive impairments
  • Dedicated wheelchair accessible space in the room.
  • Free access to any presentation for anyone who identifies as having a disability (paid for by Community Futures).
  • A “tip sheet” to help presenters make their presentations more accessible. Once it is reviewed by PSPC HQ, we will share with all of the January presenters.


PSPC recognizes that there are likely to be lessons learned over the course of the month before we can truly offer barrier-free service. To the extent possible, we will incorporate those lessons during the month rather than waiting until the end.

Attendees can participate in person at SBBC’s Waterfront Station offices or online by registering at Small Business BC:


World Blind Union Employment Survey, Deadline January 31, 2020

Hi GTT Blog Readers.  Please consider completing this WBU employment survey.  I’m providing a brief excerpt from their website followed by the link where you can learn more, and where you can actually access the survey itself.


Survey Deadline: January 31. 2020


Quoted text:

WBU has developed a short survey to identify employment patterns of people who are blind or partially sighted and of working-age throughout the world.


The WBU Employment Committee is undertaking this project to understand the levels of employment for individuals with sight loss. This research will provide up-to-date data on employment for people who are blind or have low vision (partial sight). Current employment information is old (more than 10 years old in most countries) and much of the information that is available is not specific to people who are blind or have low vision (partial sight). The information available also doesn’t provide details about the nature and type of employment or about barriers to employment that people with vision impairment face.

The purpose of this survey is to understand how WBU can best advocate for individuals who are blind or have partial sight. The survey designed for the WBU membership can be completed in 20-25 minutes and it is available in English, French, and Spanish.

End of quoted text.


Thx, Albert




VoiceOver vs. Talkback: My Time on the Other Side | AppleVis

Having read this well done article I think I remain comfortable with my decision to stay with the iPhone.

###A Fair Look at Talkback and VoiceOver
— Read on

CCB National Newsletter, Visions, November 2019


Canadian Council of the Blind Newsletter

November 2019

“A lack of sight is not a lack of vision”


To access all the good news in this month’s newsletter follow this link.


CCB Backgrounder:


The CCB was founded in 1944 by a coalition of blind war veterans, schools of the blind and local chapters to create a national self-governing organization. The CCB was incorporated by Letters Patent on May 10, 1950 and is a registered charity under the provisions of the Income Tax Act (Canada).

The purpose of the CCB is to give people with vision loss a distinctive and unique perspective before governments.  CCB deals with the ongoing effects of vision loss by encouraging active living and rehabilitation through peer support and social and recreational activities.

CCB promotes measures to conserve sight, create a close relationship with the sighted community and provide employment opportunities.


The CCB recognizes that vision loss has no boundaries with respect to gender, income, ethnicity, culture, other disabilities or age.

The CCB understands in many instances vision loss is preventable and sometimes is symptomatic of other health issues.  For the 21st century, the CCB is committed to an integrated proactive health approach for early detection to improve the quality of life for all Canadians.

As the largest membership organization of the blind and partially sighted in Canada the CCB is the “Voice of the Blind™”.



CCB National Office

100-20 James Street Ottawa ON  K2P 0T6

Toll Free: 1-877-304-0968 Email: URL:


Airacast Episode 20 Aira’s Street Crossing Policy

Hi all.  I listened to this podcast yesterday and got the low-down on how Aira has changed their street crossing policy.  Previously their Agents wouldn’t talk to you at all when you were crossing streets, however as of November 4, 2019 they are offering limited information during street crossings if you ask for it.  To me this is a huge game changer.  Check out the podcast link below.


Thx, Albert


Access: Technology lags for people with vision, hearing impairments, Victoria News

Access: Technology lags for people with vision, hearing impairments

Author: Nina Grossman

Date Written: Oct 23, 2019 at 9:30 AM

Date Saved: 10/28/19, 8:53 PM


This is the third instalment of “Access,” a Black Press Media three-part series focusing on accessibility in Greater Victoria. See Part One- Access: A Day in the Life Using a Wheelchair in Victoria, and Part Two- Access: Greater Victoria non-profit brings the outdoors to people of all abilities

Heidi Prop’s fingers run over the raised white cells on her BrailleNote Touch Plus. She easily reads more than 200 words per minute, consuming online content with the tips of her fingers faster than most people can with their eyes.

Without vision since birth, Prop doesn’t ‘see’ the words in her head when the pins pop up to form braille words on the android-based braille tablet, she instead hears them like a narrator. She’s sitting in an office at the Pacific Training Centre for the Blind (PTCB) in Victoria, but the braille display allows her to read and write almost anywhere. With a braille output, Prop can check her email, browse the web, download apps and more.

The device is a model of technology that’s added ease to her life, but not all aspects of digitization have made the same leap; many aspects of the internet remain hidden to the blind community.

For example, devices called ‘screen readers’ make web pages accessible, but often stumble when navigating inaccessible websites. Elizabeth Lalonde, PTCB executive director, opens a Wikipedia page on grizzly bears and a robotic voice begins washing over the screen at a rate too rapid for most of the sighted population to consume.

But before the screen reader reaches the information, Lalonde has to navigate a series of unlabeled links and buttons – small hurdles standing in front of the content she’s trying to reach.

PTCB helps people who are vision-impaired learn how to navigate the world around them – from crossing the street and taking transit to cooking dinner or reading braille.

The centre also focuses heavily on using the web – a skill more or less required in order to survive the modern world. But technology is advancing beyond the speed of accessibility, says Alex Jurgensen, lead program coordinator at PTCB, who adds that creators end up playing catch up, adapting their websites and devices for vision and hearing-impaired users long after initial creation.

“A lot of information is out there, but websites can often be inaccessible,” Jurgensen says, noting things such as forms, apps and anything with unusual or unlabeled text can pose a challenge. Scrolling through unlabeled links will have the voice reader say “link” with no further description and scrolling over an image with no alt text embedded in the code will simply read off the name of the image file.

Lalonde says Instagram, for example, is simply not worth using for the vision impaired. But it could be if people described what was in their photos, or if Instagram added an alt text option for each picture, so users could describe what they posted, such as “pug sits on a red blanket in the park on a sunny day.”

Jurgensen describes it as adding a ‘sticky note’ to your image – an easy step that allows those who are vision-impaired to access a prominent element of everyday internet use.

But some elements of the information age don’t adapt. For example: memes. Text created as part of an image is indistinguishable for screen readers. Jurgensen notes apps such as Skip the Dishes can be difficult too. Without labelled button options, he’s ordered food far spicier than he’s intended.

One exception is the iPhone, which becomes usable for vision-impaired users with the simple slide of a toggle that turns on ‘voice over.’

“Camera. Maps. Google. Finance Folder.” The robot voice used to guide drivers to their destinations guides Lalonde through her phone. She double taps on the screen when she’s ready to use an app.

But devices with built-in accessibility software are few and far between – a disheartening reality for the more than six million Canadians living with disabilities.

Lalonde and Jurgensen say websites and online content should be “born accessible,” with accessibility built-in as part of the creation, instead of as afterthoughts or available only through expensive or impractical add-on software.

People with vision-impairments aren’t the only ones facing challenges either. A huge number of videos fail to include subtitles or descriptions of content, throwing in barriers for anyone who has hearing impairments.

And the barriers are nothing new. The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines were published in 1999 by a group of international experts in digital accessibility. The guideline was used internationally to create digital accessibility policies.

The experts created a testing and scoring format for websites and programs, finding the most successful sites included criteria such as audio tracks (so people who are hearing impaired can understand audio information), the ability to re-size text, the ability to turn off or extending time limits on tasks, and designing consistently, so people will always know where to find what they are looking for when they are navigating the site.

READ ALSO: Victoria’s $750,000 accessibility reserve fund makes improvement ‘not the side project’

And while the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms included people with disabilities when it was created in 1982, it’s only recently that a bill relating directly to accessibility was taken to the House of Commons.

The Accessible Canada Act (Bill C-81) received unanimous support in May and is in the final stages of becoming law. Accessibility Minister Carla Qualtrough called the bill “the most transformative piece of legislation” since the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and called its progress “a testament to the work, commitment and contributions of the Canadian disability community.”

The bill, still not fully formed, is expected to include digital content and technologies law, likely based on the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines – meaning a number of official sites might be scrambling to get their content up to code.

“A lot of the solutions are fairly simple,” Lalonde notes. “But it’s a question of getting businesses and innovators to adapt accessibility into their process from the start.

“It’s a catch-22,” she adds. “Technology has made a major difference in my life and I know [in] the lives of a lot of blind people because it’s allowed us to access so much more information than we could access before. In some ways it’s been absolutely phenomenal, but … the lack of accessibility keeping up with the technology – that’s the problem.”

Jurgensen nods. “No matter how many steps we take forward it feels like it’s a cat and mouse game, and we’re the ones who are one step behind.”
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iOS 13 Tip: Quickly Activate Reader Mode in Safari | Thoughts from David Goldfield

In previous versions of iOS it was fairly easy to activate reader mode while on a supported page in the Safari Web browser. All that was needed was to navigate to the Reader button, located toward the upper left hand corner below the status line, and, if you are a VoiceOver user, double-tap. iOS 13…
— Read on