CCB National Newsletter, Visions, October 2018

 

 

 

 

 

 

VISIONS

Canadian Council of the Blind Newsletter

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

October 2018

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

President’s Message++

1Louise Gillis – CCB National President

Welcome to the fall season! If weather is like what the summer was we should expect lots of sunshine.

The Canadian Council of the Blind (CCB) chapters across the country will have all started up preparing for activities and events over the next number of months. As 2019 is the anniversary of the CCB I anticipate many are considering ways to celebrate in their communities and demonstrate to everyone our “abilities” rather than our disability.

 

It is now the season for all sports activities to get started. Have fun, get exercise, socialize, and learn or assist in the GTT program so that we can lead a more productive lifestyle.

 

September has been very busy at the National level as well. Meetings were held with the Biosimilar Working Group (biosimilaroptions.ca). The Biosimilars Working Group is a key collaboration of diverse organizations, registered health charities, and health care advocacy coalitions who are dedicated to ensure that good outcomes for patients are at the center of health policy in Canada, specifically in the biologic medication treatment. These medications are used by many of our members for the disease processes that we need to deal with on a daily basis. This, the reason for our participation, as per our mandate –“improving the quality of life for those who are blind and in the prevention of blindness”.

 

Both our Advocacy and Membership committees met in September which will continue throughout the fall. Should you have advocacy items you would like the committee to look into contact Pat Gates at advocacy@ccbnational.net. Some of the current topics of discussion were the possibility of a National Pharmacare Program urging members to take part in consultations in communities over the next while. Also the concern of Greyhound service in Western Canada was a hot topic.  Regarding ideas of how to attract new members may be sent to Co-Chairs Heather Hannett (hjhannett@telus.net) or Jim Tokos (jtokos@ccbnational.net).

The Bylaws committee continues to work toward making required changes to comply with the CNCA. This process does require a great deal of work and thank you to Mike Vrooman for leading the committee.

 

We continue to work with other groups of and for the Blind to help improve the quality of our lives, the prevention of blindness and awareness of the organization. This involves meeting with government officials at all levels, community organizations, letter writing to ensure we continue to receive reading material of our choice plus much more. We continue to work with the International Federation on Ageing (IFA) on the Eye See You campaign, as we all know blindness has no limits of age, gender, etc.

 

There are lots of interesting articles in the newsletter. We encourage good new items, photos, or interesting articles that your chapter (such as dinners, awareness tables, sporting events,) are doing for the newsletter.

 

Louise Gillis, National President

 

 

Announcements

 

Two Important Days++

October 11, 2018 – World Sight Day

The World Sight Day is the most important advocacy and communications event on the eye health calendar.  Observed annually on the second Thrusday of October, it is a global event meant to draw attention on blindness and vision impairment.

Around 253 million people live with vision impairment worldwide, of which 36 million are blind.  The vast majority live in low-income settings.  More than 80% are aged 50 years or above.  More than 80% of all visual impairment can be prevented or cured.

 

During this World Sight Day celebrations the World Blind Union provides the following advice and call for action:

  • It is important for all to have their eyes screened once a year in order to avoid preventable causes of blindness.
  • Governments should allocate appropriate budgets across the world for vision health.
  • WBU also encourages radio and television campaigns to sensitize the public about eye conditions and interventions.

 

October 15, 2018 – White Cane Day

The mission of White Cane Day is to educate the world about blindness and how the blind and visually sighted persons can live and work independently while giving back to their communities.

 

On this year’s White Cane Day, October 15, the World Blind Union emphasizes that trainings and awareness campaigns towards the promotion of mobility and orientation using the white can guarantee autonomy to blind and partially sighted persons to choose places they would like to go to and to participate effectively in their communities.

 

You can read the WBU’s entire press releases here. http://ccbnational.net/fresco/wbu-statement-on-the-world-sight-day-2018/

http://ccbnational.net/fresco/wbu-statement-on-white-cane-day-october-15-2018/

If you would like even more information please visit www.worldblindunion.org

 

GTT at the Annual CNIB Technology Fair++

On Thursday September 27 members of the blind/low vision community, family and friends, educators, vendors and community partners gathered for the annual CNIB Technology Fair.  This event took place at Ottawa’s City Hall.  The room was filled with booths, offering everything from technology solutions that assist people living with vision loss and beyond. Ottawa’s blind/low vision community was also well-represented with a host of services, as well as the Ottawa CCB Chapter and Get Together With Technology Program.

 

2Kim Kilpatrick at the 2018 CNIB Techology Fair

Kim Kilpatrick, GTT Program Coordinator and some GTT program participants were on hand to answer questions and provide information about this innovative, peer-driven group where people could learn to use all kinds of technology for increased independence.  For example, those who stopped by the booth saw how any iPhone with Voiceover enabled would assist a blind person to read mail, find a bus stop, read short printed text aloud, take a picture, access the internet, use Social Media, attend school, and send a text. Whether blindness/low vision was life-long or recently-diagnosed, there was something for everyone! Other kinds of technology (both high and low tech) were also demonstrated.  Many visitors felt encouraged and said that they would follow up on what they had learned about GTT’s blog posts, one-to-one drop-in sessions, monthly evening meetings and/or monthly conference calls.  For more information, please contact 613-567-0311 or (toll-free) 1-877-304-0968

By Shelley Morris and Kim Kilpatrick (Picture from Fran Cutler)

Picture shows a very large GTT sign with GTT program Coordinator Kim Kilpatrick using a keyboard paired with an iPhone.

 

CCB President Advocates for Patients at International Conference ++

 

In August, longtime Canadian Council of the Blind (CCB) partner, the International Federation on Ageing (IFA) hosted delegates from 75 countries at the 14th Global Conference on Ageing, in Toronto. The conference focused on critical issues facing older people today and for future generations. A diverse range of topics on ageing, which included a focus on vision were addressed and debated, guided by insights from thought leaders, new research, and real-world examples.

 

CCB President Louise Gillis was invited to participate in a panel discussion with experts from the World Health Organization, the IFA, and Canada’s leading ophthalmologists. Rooted in ageism is the false and problematic myth that vision deterioration is just a part of ‘normal’ ageing. Vision loss is not an ‘ageing issue’ yet among adult at-risk populations there is a relatively low-level awareness of the need for regular eye screening, symptomatology of eye diseases and access to safe and effective treatments.

 

The panel discussion explored the relationship of vision-loss and declines in the health and the wellbeing of older populations, while focusing on important access, screening and policy issues that are threatening an individual’s ability to optimize vision health.

 

“Ensuring the voice of the patient is heard loud and clear is always an objective for me,” says Louise Gillis, CCB President. “With such a high profile conference, this was an important opportunity to not only highlight concerns and issues from the vision community, but to help establish an actionable framework that in collaboration with various stakeholders, we can achieve.”

3Louise Gillis at the IFA 2018 Conference

The vision symposium at the conference was a marquee event that put ‘vision health’ on the priority list for Canadians. Through their ongoing work on the Eye See You campaign, the CCB and the IFA are a driving force, advocating for the rights of all patients. New advocacy initiatives are underway and the groups encourage you to visit http://www.eyeseeyou.care to ensure your voice is heard.

 

CCB Health & Fitness October Update!++

Thanks to everyone who participated in our September Mindful Eating Challenge.  We received some great feedback from across the country.

 

What have you learned from examining your own eating habits? Have you made any tweaks?  Have any questions?

 

As always, it isn’t a one size fits all answer, it is about being self aware and making little changes over time.  Small changes in our lifestyle habits can have huge payoffs!!  What’s the old saying?  Slow and steady wins the race!!  Keep being mindful and looking for opportunities to make healthy choices.

 

FITNESS TRACKERS

As we turn the page on a new month, I got thinking about the number of CCB members out there that either:

-use their smartphone’s GPS or accelerometer and an app, to measure their activity -use a dedicated activity tracker or fitness wearable, such as a gps watch, heart rate monitor, fitness tracker (fitbit, garmin, polar)

We all love technology and CCB Health & Fitness will be looking at this a bit more in depth as we move forward.

 

We would LOVE and appreciate your feedback.

 

Please send Ryan an email letting him know what technology you use to keep track of fitness; you phone, a dedicated fitness wearable, or none at all?

 

ccb.healthandfitness@gmail.com

 

As always, we welcome feedback and suggestions on topics and challenges moving forward!

 

 

 

 

CCB Chapter Update++

 

Hands of Fire proudly welcomes you to our third annual fundraising event: It’s in the Fingertips – A Night of Art and Music! Hands of Fire is a not-for-profit organization and a chapter of the Canadian Council of the Blind which offers sculpture classes to blind and visually impaired individuals. We are a Toronto-based group comprised of a number of talented blind and visually impaired artists who are thrilled to showcase their amazing and diverse works of art to the greater Toronto community in this fundraising event.

4Kangaroo by Susanna

This year’s fundraiser will be hosted at Jumblies Theatre, located 132 Fort York Boulevard, Toronto, ON M5V OE3. This downtown gallery space is steps from public transit and easy to access. Sculpture made by the artists will be on display and for sale, with the artists present to socialize and speak about their art. We are excited to announce that this year’s fundraiser will include live musical performances by members of the blind and visually impaired community as well! With great art, music, a sociable and friendly environment, as well as food and drinks, this night promises to be one to remember.

 

On behalf of Hands of Fire, we cordially invite you to come visit us this November 10 at Jumblies Theatre for a night of art and music, and all for a great cause!

 

 

 

 

CCB Chapter News:++

 

CCB Chatham/Kent Chapter: The past 14 months have brought about the establishment of a new Chapter, customized Chapter logo, creation of our Mission Statement “providing support, information and social activities for all our members”, the recruitment of the current 40 members, both blind or visually impaired and sighted, grant writing including budget development and submission, 3 fundraising events, 2 of them very successful and the other one I’ll classify as a learning experience while maneuvering through the Municipality rules, regulations and bi-laws.

 

Every Chapter member had the opportunity to participate in the following events – golf, lawn bowling, self-defense classes, mini golf, horseback riding, game day, trivia night, pot lucks, BBQs, monthly bowling, Christmas get-together, Pizza party, Elmira Maple Syrup Festival bus trip, volunteering at the information booth for RetroFest, and manning the information table at various senior awareness events.

 

Our Chapter meetings have had guest speakers from the Canadian Mental Health, Police Department, Hydro Rebate Program representative, Heart and Stroke and Self Defense instructors.

It’s been quite a ride!

Kathie & Dave

 

 

 

US House of Representatives Passes Marrakesh Treaty Implementation Act Treaty Now Awaits Presidential Action ++

 

Washington, DC (September 25, 2018): The United States House of Representatives has passed the Marrakesh Treaty Implementation Act (S. 2559), which makes modest changes to copyright law that will bring the United States into compliance with the terms of the Marrakesh Treaty. The Senate gave its advice and consent to ratification of the treaty and passed the implementing legislation on June 28.

 

“For almost a decade now, the National Federation of the Blind, our partners, and other advocates have worked to bring the Marrakesh Treaty into being and into force,” said Mark A. Riccobono, President of the National Federation of the Blind. “Today we applaud the United States House of Representatives for its passage of the Marrakesh Treaty Implementation Act. We now urge President Trump to sign this implementing legislation, and to order the State Department to deposit the instrument of ratification with the World Intellectual Property Organization as soon as practicable. We are closer than ever to the day when blind Americans will have greater access to the world’s knowledge, in many of its original languages, than we have ever had in human history.”

 

 

Assistive Technology

 

Introducing the Doro 824++

It’s the smartphone designed to make mobile more accessible. And it’s available exclusively at Bell.

 

Simplified user interface

With specially designed apps and an easy-to-read 5” HD screen, it’s easy to use email, access your camera, browse the Web or message your contacts. Plus, the Google TalkBack feature helps low-vision users navigate. The Doro 824 is intuitive and understandable with larger fonts and a simplified menu.

 

Safety and support features

Stay safe with a dedicated emergency assistance button that dials a predefined contact. Step-by-step guides and videos will coach you through the basic features, helping you understand your new phone. The My Doro Manager app lets your relatives or caregivers remotely manage settings, share photos, set up accounts, add calendar appointments and more – all done remotely.

 

Modern design

The stylish, accessible design combines the simplicity of basic phones with the more advanced features of smartphones. Ergonomic and grip-friendly, the Doro 824 comes designed with physical buttons, including an emergency button.

 

HD camera and sound

Take beautiful pictures with the 8-megapixel camera. It’s easy to capture the moment by pressing the physical camera button. Plus, with the 2-megapixel front-facing camera and the Google Hangouts app, you can stay connected through video chat.

 

Need some extra help? The Doro is hearing aid compatible and provides loud, crystal clear sound.

 

Doro 824 customers who self-identify as having an accessibility need qualify for an $8.54 monthly bill credit. Please let your Bell customer service representative know when activating your phone, or contact the Bell Accessibility services centre.

 

Accessibility add-on: complimentary 2 GB of data per month for qualified customers with hearing, speech or visual accessibility needs.

 

For more information, please visit: https://www.bell.ca/Mobility/Products/Doro-824?INT=MOB_mobdevpg_BTN_poplink_Mass_051016_mb_details

 

Bank Note Reader Update++

Today, the Bank of Canada announced that it will begin to phase out the bank note reader program. The bank note reader is the handheld device that identifies denominations through machine readable codes.

 

As technology continues to evolve, the Bank has determined that there are more modern devices that can be used. For those with a smartphone or tablet, the Bank has evaluated apps currently on the market, and both Seeing AI and NantMobile Money Reader quickly and reliably denominate Canadian bank notes.

 

There are several benefits to using apps: they are free and easy to download and try out; they are easy to update as new bank notes enter circulation; and instead of a single function device like the bank note reader, smartphones and tablets have built-in accessibility features that can be used for various needs.

The bank note reader will continue to be available for a time, but no further upgrades are planned and the reader will not be compatible with the next generation of vertical bank notes.

A number of bank note accessibility features will continue to help the blind and partially sighted recognize all five denominations with confidence. They include: the tactile feature, large high-contrast numerals and use of distinct colours for each denomination.

 

The Bank is also issuing a recall of the latest model of the bank note reader to upgrade and improve its performance with the polymer notes currently in circulation.

 

Those who’ve received this model of the bank note reader will be contacted by telephone and offered an upgraded device. A “swap” approach will ensure that individuals are never without a reader.

 

 

Donna’s Low Tech Tips: A scam alert++

 

Today, I’d like to introduce you to my scam alert.

Those emails asking you to login and verify your username and password that appears to be coming from your bank or insurance company.

 

If the email in question that you have received seems to be from a bank or insurance company that you do not do business with then you are okay.  Just delete it and move on.

 

On the other hand if the email in question is from a bank or insurance company that you do business with; then by all means you can read it but my advice would be to also delete it.

 

No bank or insurance company would ever send you this type of email.

 

Not sure?  Then just visit your bank.

Ask them to verify that they never sent you such an email. You could also call to verify as well.

 

Some of these types of emails may also go as far as to ask you to provide such details as your date of birth and account number.

 

Just delete this email and move on.

What would happen if you were to respond?

 

The simple answer would be trouble, lots of trouble, and now you have given a scammer out there carte blanche to hack into either your bank account and/or your very own computer system.

 

In the News

 

 

HoloLens can now guide the blind through complicated buildings

The headset’s ability to map a space and talk people through it may prove more important than the mixing-imagery-with-reality stuff. ++

 

HoloLens, Microsoft’s pricey face computer, is made for mixing digital images with the real world. But a group of scientists found it’s really good at a totally unanticipated application: helping blind people find their way through buildings and offering a better sense of where objects are around them.

 

The researchers, at the California Institute of Technology, created a new guiding app for HoloLens by taking advantage of the device’s real-time room and object mapping capability, as well as speakers that can make audio seem to be coming from different points in three-dimensional space. They used these features to map a complicated path through a campus building and created a virtual guide that helps a blind person navigate it, calling out directions like “Follow me” from what seems like a meter or so ahead of the person, according to work recently published on the bioRxiv website.

 

An accompanying video shows how this plays out in reality. A female voice directs a HoloLens-wearing study subject, who is blind, by saying things like “Railings on both sides,”

5 This render show the actual paths taken by the users in the navigation tests (image from techcrunch.com)

“Upstairs,” and “Right turn ahead.” The man follows the commands, walking easily from a first-floor lobby up a set of staircases, around several corners, and past a few doorways until he arrives at a room on the second floor.

 

He’s one of seven subjects who tried the application. All got to their destination on the first try, though one briefly got off track. Markus Meister, a professor at Caltech and coauthor of the study, thinks the research could eventually lead to a device that could be offered to visually impaired visitors at places like hotels or malls, helping them get around unfamiliar areas more easily. There are already some tools that can be used this way outdoors, such as turn-by-turn mapping apps—but indoors, as Meister notes, there aren’t as many options.

 

The World Health Organization estimates that 253 million people are blind or visually impaired, so the potential market for such an application could be huge. But there’s still a lot of work to be done. For now, any routes from one point to another must be scanned in advance, and there isn’t a way to track other people who might walk through the space as the HoloLens wearer is navigating it.

 

But the study subject in the video, at least, was impressed with the work thus far. “That was pretty cool,” he says, chuckling, at the end of the clip.

By Rachel Metz

  Hope for new macular degeneration treatments buoys patients++

 

Sometimes it starts with wavy vision. Objects appear distorted. Familiar faces go blurry.

 

Sean Teare, a 48-year-old health care consultant from Duxbury, struggled to read menus in dimly lit restaurants. After a battery of tests, his optometrist told him he had age-related macular degeneration, or AMD, an eye disease that afflicts more than 9 million Americans and can cause serious vision loss. “It came as a complete shock,” said Teare.

 

The prevalence of the condition is rising as the population ages. The number of early-stage cases for those 50 and older is projected to nearly double to 17.8 million in the United States by 2050, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. For baby boomers, who are living longer than past generations and fiercely prize their independence, it’s a dreaded diagnosis that threatens to rob them of everyday functions such as reading, driving, cooking, or watching television.

 

With the increase in cases has come a burst of research activity. There’s currently no cure for the disorder, and no treatment for its most common form, which accounts for 85 percent of cases.

But scientists in Massachusetts and around the world are experimenting with dozens of drug candidates, including about 20 in clinical trials that work to preserve vision and, ideally, restore sight. They include not only well-established drugs, such as repurposed statins, but also new approaches such as gene therapies, stem cell treatments, and medicines tailored to the genetic makeup of patients.

 

“We’re close to seeing some important findings,” said Dr. Joan Miller, chief of the ophthalmology department at Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary in Boston.

 

The disease, considered the leading cause of blindness in older Americans, is triggered by fatty deposits that damage a spot in the retina called the macular, which lets the eye see fine detail. Its rate of progression varies. Some patients don’t experience vision loss for many years; others lose sight in their central field of vision, inhibiting their ability to see straight ahead, but retain peripheral vision.

 

Patients with a more severe form of the disease can receive periodic injections of an antibody into the eye that can slow progression of the disease by blocking leaky blood vessels.

 

Miller, who helped pioneer the science behind Lucentis, approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 2006 as the first treatment for age-related macular degeneration, hopes to see a new generation of treatments emerging in the next five to 10 years.

Some of those new treatments could be less uncomfortable and time-consuming than today’s injections. The emerging field of gene therapies, for instance, promises “one and done” procedures that could stop the disease in its tracks by inserting healthy genes into cells in place of defective or missing ones. Another approach involves stimulating cells in the retina to act as mini-production factories that generate proteins to protect the macular.

 

Such advances can’t come soon enough for such patients as Laura Brennan, 64, of South Boston, who gets shots into her eyes every two months to stabilize her vision.

Brennan, who first experienced wavy vision when she was in her 50s, is determined to keep living her normal life. The injections and other adjustments have enabled her to continue walking, swimming, and working as a chef for Foodie’s Markets in South Boston and the South End.

 

“When I first noticed that I couldn’t make out someone’s face across the room, that was very difficult,” said Brennan, who recalls her father also developing macular degeneration late in life. “But I’ve been able to adapt. I know who people are by their steps or their voice. At this point, my goal is to preserve the vision that I have, not to have it decrease anymore.”

 

Hemera Biosciences, a Waltham startup, is seeking to develop a kind of vaccine that would make treatments easier and less invasive for patients like Brennan.

“Patients in their 60s and 70s will go to their ophthalmologists,” said Hemera chief executive Adam Rogers. “If they’re diagnosed with AMD, they can receive a shot and keep it at bay during their lifetimes. I think that’s something we could see in the next five to seven years.”

 

Biopharma giants such as Genentech, Novartis, and Regeneron are also working on experimental medicines. So are a raft of biotech startups ranging from Cambridge’s Gemini Therapeutics to Regenxbio in Rockville, Md.

 

For drug makers, the tens of millions of people with age-related macular degeneration are a potentially lucrative market. Sales of current medicines, mostly first-generation treatments including Lucentis, totaled nearly $5 billion in 2016, and the expected new drugs will expand the market to $11.5 billion by 2026, the British analytics firm GlobalData projects.

The approval of the first-ever gene therapy for any disease last December galvanized eye researchers. The new drug, Luxturna, treats a rare genetic retinal disease in children by replacing a mutation with a corrective gene. In March, Mass Eye and Ear performed the first-ever procedure to administer the drug to a patient.

“It opened up the avenue for other gene-based treatments, and some of that might be applicable to AMD,” said Miller.

While macular degeneration is thought to be influenced not only by genetics but by environmental factors, such as smoking, “gene therapies have incredible potential” to treat the disease, said Luk Vandenberghe, cofounder of Odylia Therapeutics, a Boston nonprofit working to commercialize retinal disease research. Decades of research to understand diseases is now helping to power the new approaches to treatments, he said.

 

There’s also hope that the success of gene therapies for maladies of the eye could help launch similar kinds of treatments for other diseases.

Ben Shaberman, an official at the Foundation Fighting Blindness, a patient advocacy group, said the retina – a thin tissue lining the back of the eye – is emerging as an ideal proving ground for the young gene therapy field.

 

“The retina is accessible and a really good target,” he said. “If you get things to work in the retina, there’s a good chance you could apply them to neurodegenerative disorders of the brain or the central nervous system.”

 

Gemini, based in Kendall Square, is trying to bring the precision medicine model being deployed in targeted cancer treatments to AMD. Unlike drug developers that try to make one-size-fits-all treatments for macular degeneration, it’s focusing on treatments tailored to subsets of patients with distinct genetic variations that put them at risk.

“We believe that genetics plays a key role, and we’re spending a lot of time trying to understand these subpopulations,” said Gemini chief executive James McLaughlin.

 

Sometimes patients themselves aren’t sure what role genetics has played in their disease. Teare, who was diagnosed with the disease in 2016, doesn’t know anyone in his family with it. He wonders if his exposure to sunlight while boating or skiing was a factor.

Teare feels lucky to have the less severe form of the disease. And he’s been quick to embrace lifestyle changes – eating a diet rich in fish and vegetables and wearing sunglasses with ultraviolet eye protection – in an effort to keep it from progressing. Last year, he ran the Marine Corps Marathon in Washington, D.C., to raise money for the Foundation Fighting Blindness.

He’s counting on his healthy diet and lifestyle – and his upbeat attitude – as he awaits the progress of research programs.

 

“This isn’t a terminal illness,” he said. “I feel I can make lifestyle changes that will keep it from progressing until there’s some kind of treatment.”

By Robert Weisman, Globe Staff   September 09, 2018

 

REMINDERS

 

 

Membership Madness++

Hi Everyone!  Becky from the office here.  All chapters should have received their membership packages.  Independent membership will be sent shortly.

 

Early Bird Draw – November 2, 2018

Chapter Rebate Deadline – December 7, 2018

All 2019 Memberships Due – December 28, 2018

White Cane Week Orders Due – January 4, 2019

WCW Insurance Requests Due – January 4, 2019

 

DON’T FORGET DONATIONS!++

Donations Received in the office in 2018 are the only ones that can be receipted for 2018.  Remember to send those donations if you want receipts.

 

 

 

www.ccbnational.net                 1-877-304-0968

ccb@ccbnational.net

CCB National Newsletter, Visions, September 2018

 

 

 

 

 

 

VISIONS

Canadian Council of the Blind Newsletter

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

September 2018

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

President’s Message++

1Louise Gillis – CCB National President

I hope that all have had a great summer with lots of sunshine, activities with families and friends and now fired up to begin the fall season of CCB activities. I am aware that there have been many wild fires in several provinces and hoping no one has been affected.

 

As noted in the newsletter below we are all very saddened on the untimely passing of Michelle Anfinson. Michelle will be missed greatly by her family and friends in Regina and also by the many curlers she has assisted over the years at all the curling championship events that Team Saskatchewan attended. Our condolences to all her family at this difficult time.

 

Over the summer members of our committees have continued to do some work. In regard to advocacy we have been asked by CNIB to provide input on Wednesday, September 19, they have extended an invitation to our members to participate in a teleconference call hosted by CNIB. The most important items are – Accessible Pedestrian Signals and Non-Signalized Pedestrian Crossings. Contact Lui Greco, National Manager of Advocacy CNIB: lui.greco@cnib.ca. See more info in this newsletter.

 

Also, it is time to talk to your local Members of Parliament to ensure Bill C-81, An Act to ensure a barrier-free Canada passes through the legislature this fall keeping in mind any thoughts you may have for improvement to the act into the future.

 

As we realize that making Point of Sale (POS) devices more fully accessible does not exist alone within any one sector of either the disability community or the financial/payment services industry. Therefore it is necessary to do this collaboratively by bringig together payment processors, banks, stakeholders from within the disability community to move this initiative forward. This is a process that we are working on with other disability organizations.

 

A letter has been sent on behalf of CCB to The Honourable Marc Garneau, Minister of Transport, Government of Canada regarding the recent news on Greyhound services. This service affects all of Canada and is very important to our community.

 

The Bylaws committee continued to meet over the summer and will increase meeting times during the fall season. Also, the membership committee will be in full force in September.

 

It is now time to be thinking of what our chapters will be planning for 2019 in celebration of our 75th anniversary. CCB is becoming a more active organization in the prevention of blindness as well as developing programs for those of us with vision loss so we have lots to celebrate.

 

Enjoy this edition of Visions.

Louise Gillis, National President.

 

 

 

 

Announcements

 

CCB HEATH & FITNESS++

September Challenge!

 

After a successful 150 challenge in July, where we focused on getting everyone a bit more aware of how much activity they are doing…we want to launch our September Challenge.

 

Being healthy is a balance of many factors, being active, living as stress free as possible and being mindful of what we are eating.

 

For September we would love you to join our challenge and take part in “mindful eating”.  We don’t want you to count calories but what we do want you to try and do, is to write down what you eat on a daily basis.

 

Keep a list on your phone, on the fridge, wherever is easy and convenient.  The goal is to take an honest look at what we eat/drink on a daily basis.

 

Don’t judge yourself too harshly if you see a trend of maybe a bit of unhealthy eating, but rather use it as a motivator to introduce healthier choices.

 

If you already eat well, great, keep it rolling!

 

How do you know if you are eating well?

Best to keep tabs on our podcast, Facebook and Youtube channels and subscribe to our email list.  Here we will continue the discussion and give tips/ideas on best ways to eat more mindfully.

 

See below on ways to keep track of all we do!

 

HOW ARE WE DOING AFTER 1 YEAR?!!

CCB Health & Fitness is turning 1 year old!  Roughly a year ago we transitioned from our successful local Trust Your Buddy Program, over to our Nationally reaching health & fitness education program.

We want to get your opinion and thoughts on where we are now and what we can do better!

 

Some questions to consider and provide your feedback on:

  1. a) Have you learned anything in the past year?
  2. b) Do you find it easy to follow us and consume all the content we are putting out there?
  3. c) How do you best keep track of us? Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Podcast, Email list, Blog, Newsletter?
  4. d) What would you like to see Health & Fitness do either Nationally, Provincially, Locally, on an Individual basis or with chapters?

 

We NEED YOUR HELP!  In order to grow and to serve the CCB membership better, we want your honest feedback.

Ryan is excited for open, honest feedback….don’t worry you won’t hurt his feelings!

 

Simply email Ryan and let us know how the program has affected you, how you would like to see it grow AND any other programming you’d like to see us take on?

 

Do you need more info on general topics? Things like employment, travel, general coping skills, socialization, or life skills?   Perhaps we can incorporate this if the feedback shows a need.

The CCB is here to help you live your best life….so let us know how we can do better.

 

Thanks in advance!!

All the contact info is below.

RYAN VAN PRAET (R. Kin)

CCB Health & Fitness

National Program Manager & Coach

ccb.healthandfitness@gmail.com <mailto:ccb.healthandfitness@gmail.com>

226-627-2179

 

 

Go to our page: https://ccbhealthandfitness.wordpress.com

to find links to Facebook, Youtube, Twitter, Podcast & Email Chat List

 

Get Together with Technology (GTT) Victoria++

A Chapter of the Canadian Council of the Blind

in Partnership with The Greater Victoria Public Library

 

Theme: Tom’s NFB Tech Round-up – Accessible Voting in the Fall

 

Date: September 5, 2018

Time: 1:00 PM to 3:00 PM

Where: Community Room, GVPL, Main Branch 735 Broughton St

 

First Hour:

Tom Dekker will give us 2 or 3 wonderful technology nuggets he picked-up/learned at the NFB Convention in July, then we’ll discuss the accessibility of the upcoming fall referendum on Proportional Representation and the Province-wide Civic Elections.

 

Second Hour:

During the second hour Corry Stuive, Albert Ruel and Tom Dekker will lead the group in discussion on any other assistive tech topic participants want to raise.  Please bring to the meeting all your other assistive technology questions, nuggets and frustrations for discussion with the group.

 

For More Information:

Contact Albert Ruel at 250-240-2343, or email us at GTT.Victoria@Gmail.com

 

 

News from the Hill++:

We at CCB are very pleased to see Minister Carla Qualtrough be appointed to the accessibility portfolio. The appointment of Minister Qualtrough to this portfolio bodes well for the country. Accessibility is a top priority not only for individual provinces but for the country as a whole. Congratulations!

 

 

 

 

 

Golfing for the Blind++

Our very own British Columbia Blind Golfer from Langley, B.C., George Thirkill, Won the Overall championship at the Western Canadian Blind Golf Championships in Winnipeg the week of July 9th to 12th. There were 21 players from all over Canada.

The championship consisted of 2 rounds Stableford matches with 4 divisions.

B1 –B2 – B3 & Seniors. The weather was some sun with winds on both days and some rain. The course was very challenging for a Blind golfer, but they managed to get some assistance from their guides on some of the tricky holes.  By the way, I was George’s Coach and guide.   George shot a 91 on the first day and a score of 85 on the second day, due to some excellent putting to win by 2 strokes.  The junior winner B3, Keifer Jones, 24yrs old from Calgary, shot a 75 & 76 to take the Junior division. Keifer is the top blind golfer in the world.  George represents Blind Golf

2Gerry Nelson, George Thrikill, and Darren Douma

British Columbia and at age 79 is the Top senior golfer in the world.  George along with our other top golfer from B.C., Darren Douma (member of the CCB VIBE Creston Chapter), from Creston, will be heading to Rome, Italy this year to compete in the World Blind matches and Team play competition representing Canada.

 

Gerry Nelson, President of Blind Golf Canada, said we are always looking for people that are visually impaired or Blind, or Disabled to come out and learn how to golf.  We have a Blind Training facility at the National Golf Academy in Langley at the Tall Timbers Golf Course and we can be reached at Nitrogolf@shaw.ca.  There is No Cost for the blind or disabled.

 

 

Chapter News++:

Members and friends of the Pembroke White Cane Club gather to celebrate two important birthdays.

 

The Pembroke CCB White Cane Club held a Birthday Party for two of our senior members on August 15th at a popular local bake shop. The two guests of honour were George Foss, who will celebrate his 95th Birthday in September, and Marion Jackson, who turned a young 93 on the 15th of August. Both are active members of our club providing wisdom mixed with humour to the group.     Of course there was a very yummy cake served up with a choice of beverage.

 

Lots of laughs with numerous photos taken, including this group shot.

As we all departed we all agreed that we should do this more often.

A big thank you to the staff at the bake shop.

3Members of the CCB Pembroke White Cane Club

Submitted by Gerry Frketich on behalf of the CCB Pembroke White Cane Club.

 

 

In Memory++:

On the morning of August 10, 2018 Michell Anfinson lost her fight with cancer, at the age of 46.  Michelle was very active in the CCB Regina Chapter, the Saskatchewan Team for the CVICC, and the Western Bonspiels.

She will be missed, and our thoughts are with Marv and the rest of their family.

 

Assistive Technology

 

Demo of Accessible Audible Traffic Signal in Peterborough Ontario++:

 

Devon Wilkins interviewed a CNIB/Vision Rehabilitation Ontario Orientation and Mobility Specialist as they demonstrate the use of an accessible Peterborough intersection. Wach here: https. //www.dropbox.com/s/s966rq25bwdxfm1/Audible%20Traffic%20Signals.mp3?dl=0

 

CCB Tech Articles, Donna’s Low Tech Tips: Cleaning & laundry++:

 

Today, I’d like to talk about cleaning & laundry.

 

Wear an apron with large pockets when cleaning. The pockets may be used to hold cleaning materials such as a dust cloth and polish, or may be used to hold small items you pick up along the way and plan to return to their original storage places.  Likewise, put cleaning materials in a basket or bucket and carry it around the house with you so all materials will be handy as needed.

 

Avoid spot cleaning!  Clean the whole surface to ensure no spots are missed.  When cleaning counters, start at one end and work to the other in overlapping strips.  Use your free hand to check areas just cleaned for extra stubborn spots.  Also work in overlapping strips when dusting, vacuuming, washing floors, etc.  In large areas, you may find it helpful to divide the surface into sections such as halves or quarters, with overlapping boundaries.  Use pieces of furniture (for example, a chair in the middle of the kitchen floor), or use permanent fixtures to mark the boundaries of each section you are cleaning.

Transfer liquid cleaners into containers with pumps for easy use.

Containers can be filled with a funnel.  Remember that flat-sided bottles upset easily.

 

To fill a steam iron use a turkey baster, a funnel, or a squirt bottle.

 

Safety pins or Sock Tuckers (available in department stores) can be used to keep socks in pairs during washing and drying.  Some people find it helpful to buy socks in different colors, patterns or textures for sorting purposes.

 

Wash small items in a pillow case or small mesh laundry bag to keep them from getting lost.

 

To measure laundry detergent use the scoop provided. Avoid pouring directly from the box.

 

 

 

 

                Advocacy

 

 

 

Let’s Get It Out There++:

Tele Town Hall Committee Consultations

 

The goal of the “Let’s Get It Out There” project was to take a holistic view of issues around advocacy, respect and working more closely together. Although there have been previous efforts at coalition building, this was an opportunity through a Tele Town Hall consultation process to receive feedback and suggestions at a grass roots level.  See the Tele Town Hall Committee Mission Statement appended to this report.

 

In Canada, our history of people who are blind, partially sighted and deafblind working together is not that different from other countries. The main thing that makes Canada different is the small population spread over a vast distance that makes ongoing collaboration and communications difficult. When looking at advocacy, we have many different organizations and individuals working on issues sometimes together, but very often in isolation not knowing or trusting what each other is doing. Even today with more communications options available, because of accessibility issues of some current technology and the lack of assistive technology training, many times we are not aware of what each other are doing.

 

Although this discussion was meant to cover all ages, economics and other demographics, no effort was put into ensuring that all were adequately represented.  To recruit participants the communications avenues employed were through discussion mailing lists, Facebook Groups, Twitter feeds and newsletters known by the committee members and the organizations they interact with.  In short, we relied on word of mouth to promote the Tele Town Hall meetings, and by copying representatives of the blindness, low vision and deafblind organizations on our radar it was hoped that news of this initiative would be circulated to their respective networks.  It was noted that the first meeting had the largest number of participants, with numbers decreasing as we moved into the final two gatherings.

 

This report looks at the discussion that occurred during each of the town hall meetings and attempts to put forward some suggestions and challenges to individuals and organizations working in the sector and what that might look like. It should be noted that even though the role of service providers like CNIB was not the main goal of this discussion, it does factor into the ongoing relationships between people and organizations representing people who are blind, partially sighted and deafblind.

 

Here is a link to download the final report in MS Word format.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/v7pb3krn6lxzhks/Tele%20Town%2Hall%20Final%20Report%20Protected%202018Aug17.docx?dl=0

 

 

 

 

 

Pedestrian Crossings and Accessibility++:

The emergence of new traffic signaling devices at a growing number of intersections are creating concern for pedestrians with sight loss. When is it safe to begin a crossing, how will marked cross walks be delineated and will drivers know how to respond to new signaling mechanisms?

In recent months, CNIB has witnessed a growing number of requests for advocacy support to address concerns regarding these new or different devices.

 

Clearing our Path, online since 2016, has been CNIB’s go to resource on accessible environments since it was first published in 1999. The guidelines under review for this project can be found at:

http://www.clearingourpath.ca/4.2.0-street-crossings_e.php

 

This section of Clearing Our path contains guidelines on:

  1. Curb Ramps and Depressed Curbs
  2. Islands
  3. Raised Pedestrian Crossings

*4.    **Accessible Pedestrian Signals*

  1. Roundabouts

*6.    **Non-Signalized Pedestrian Crossings*

 

*Of these, items 4 and 6 will be the primary focus of this initiative.*

 

Request for input

A working group has been struck to consider these as well as other issues surrounding accessible pedestrian signals and intersection design.

 

On Wednesday, September 19, we would like to extend an invitation to your members to participate in a teleconference call hosted by CNIB.

 

The questions we would like to have feedback for include:

  1. What are some of the new intersection and mid-block crossings tactics, structures, or devices being adopted in your area at either controlled or non-controlled intersections?

 

  1. What are any accessibility challenges posed by these tactics, structures or devices?

 

  1. What recommendations would you have that would better ensure accessibility and safety for pedestrians who are blind, deafblind or who have sight loss;

 

  1. Any additional information you wish to share relevant to Audible Pedestrian Signals, pedestrian intersections and mid-block crossings?

 

Comments from this conversation will be collected and reviewed by a national working group and any comments for change will be reflected in the sections of clearing our path sited above.

Alternatively, any written comments or suggestions would also be appreciated. These should be sent to lui.greco@cnib.ca no later than September 28.

Submitted by Lui Greco, National Manager of Advocacy

CNIB

 

 

 

Visually-impaired Victorians need design change to life-threatening bike lanes++:

 

Support our BC Human Rights case to insist that the City change its ill-conceived, life-threatening design of floating bus stops, such as along Pandora Street, that require transit users to cross a separated bike lane to get on or off buses in Victoria, BC.

 

The blind/ visually impaired have already experienced several serious incidents in Victoria (ones we know of) while crossing bike lanes. Imagine the sudden whiz of a bike past you and your guide dog’s nose or tires screeching in front of you as you step out to cross a bike lane.

 

No one wants to see the inevitable–a crash causing bodily injuries or death as a result of the City not changing this dangerous inaccessible design. Imagine your sense of confidence shaken by uncertainty and fear, knowing you cannot hear oncoming bikes as you step out to cross a bike lane. It’s Russian Roulette.

 

People ask: What’s the difference between crossing a bike lane versus crossing a street as a blind or visually-impaired person? We cross city street intersections all the time by listening to traffic flow and pedestrian signals. Vehicle traffic on roads can be heard. Bikes, on the other hand, are silent, stealthily silent, so you cannot judge when it’s safe to cross a bike lane.

 

For more information on this initiative, please visit: https://www.gofundme.com/cfb-bike-lanes

 

 

In the News

 

How Running Can Help Protect Your Eyesight++:

 

Find out how many miles a week you should log to reap the benefits.

 

Your heart isn’t the only organ that can benefit from regular running: The more fit and active you are, the less likely you are to develop glaucoma, a serious eye disease that can damage your optic nerve and even lead to blindness, new research set to be published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise finds.

 

In the study researchers analyzed data from more than 9,500 people between ages 40 and 81 enrolled in a long-term study at the famous Cooper Clinic in Dallas. The researchers compared the subjects’ aerobic fitness (measured by treadmill tests) and weekly amount of exercise (reported by the subjects) to how many of them developed incident glaucoma during a nearly six-year follow-up period. The researchers specifically looked at incident glaucoma, the more common form of the condition, rather than traumatic glaucoma, which is caused by direct injury to the eye.

 

The researchers found that those who were the most active and the fittest had only half the risk of developing glaucoma as the least-active, less-fit group. Running 10 miles per week at a 10-minute mile pace would be enough to rank in the study’s fittest, most-active category.

 

This isn’t the first time scientists discovered a vision benefit to running.

This new research builds on a study published in 2009. In that study, which involved only runners, those with the highest mileage and best 10K times had the lowest rate of glaucoma, compared to lower-mileage and/or slower runners. The new study strengthens the pro-running evidence by including sedentary people as well as casual exercisers who are less active and fit than runners, and by showing that modest mileage appears to bring significant eye-health benefits.

So why might running lower your risk for glaucoma?

As the new study states, “intraocular pressure is the primary modifiable risk factor for glaucoma.” When pressure in your eye is too high, it can damage the optic nerve in your eye, potentially leading to glaucoma.

 

Other studies have found that a single workout reduces intraocular pressure, which the reduction is greater following more intense workouts, and that higher levels of fitness are associated with lower underlying intraocular pressure. Taken together, these findings suggest that exercise that’s frequent and intense enough to boost fitness, such as regular running, should lower intraocular pressure enough to make a significant difference.

 

And the glaucoma reduction might not be the only eye-related benefit to

running: Separate research by the 2009 study authors found that the more people ran, the less likely they were to develop cataracts during a six-year follow-up period.

 

Although few people probably take up running to help their eyes, you have to love research like this that shows just how profoundly regular running improves nearly all aspects of your health.

By Scott Douglas

 

On-line Training++:

Please find info below about some free online training courses coming in the next couple of months.  Explanations and descriptions are below.  Matt’s email is at the bottom of the message.

 

Hi everyone, first off, please share this with others, as I’ll explain later on in the message. Many of you may remember, or may have taken, the iPad training course I offered this past spring. I was really humbled and appreciative of all the positive feedback from that course, and I felt that the response to it was overwhelming.

 

I’m now excited to announce that I will be offering more free training courses for 2018-19 training season.

 

First off, I’ll be offering four major courses over the next year. They are as follows:

 

Replacing Your Traditional TV with Apple TV: four sessions, one session per week, beginning Tuesday, October 2, 2018

 

Living the Connected Digital Life: Four sessions, one session per week, beginning Tuesday, October 30, 2018

 

Learn Voiceover In and Out: eight sessions, two per week, beginning Tuesday, January 22, 2019

 

Learning Voiceover In and Out, Section B: Eight Sessions, two per week, beginning Tuesday, February 19, 2019

 

IPad for All Computing: 12 Sessions, two per week, beginning Tuesday, April 16, 2019

 

The courses which have two days per week will be held on Tuesdays and Thursdays. All courses will be held in the afternoon, with exact start times to be decided. Plan on somewhere around 2PM or 2:30 PM Eastern.

Sessions will last for two hours.

 

As with prior courses, each course is completely free and is available to everyone, sighted and non-sighted alike. As before, courses will be held in Zoom, with an accompanying set of materials, offered as iTunes U courses, with the exception of the Apple TV and Connected Digital Life courses, which will require only small handouts rather than complete iTunes U courses.

 

I’ll provide descriptions of each course below. What I’d love is if people would start sharing this with your friends, family, co-workers, etc, and on any other relevant lists you may belong to.

Additionally, please let me know which courses interest you.

 

The Apple TV course was sort of requested by several participants in this year’s iPad course. It will be designed to offer participants an overview of what the Apple TV can do and how to use it. We will then get into various options for making the Apple TV your complete living room device, cutting the cord, streaming, etc. what about local channels? How about sports? What does it cost? How many people can watch at the same time?

On and on. We’ll answer all the questions we can, with a particular emphasis on Voiceover use as well. You do not need to own an Apple TV to benefit from this course. Even if you are just mildly interested in it and want to explore what’s out there, we’d love for you to join.

 

The Connected Digital Life will explore in-depth how to make all your devices work for you no matter where you are. We will spend lots of time on all the iCloud features and services, such as iCloud Photo Library, iTunes in the CLoud, iCloud Drive, and many more. We’ll discuss iCloud Keychain for password and credit card autofill, Apple Pay, continuity, multiple devices together, HomeKit and home automation devices, and much more. Anyone with an iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, Apple TV, Apple Watch, HomePod, Mac, or any combination of these devices should benefit from this course.

 

The Voiceover In and Out course is something I believe many are looking for. You’ll notice I’m offering two sections. This is because I intentionally want to keep enrollment small and look at the students to best tailor the course to individual needs. This will be perfect for anyone who has never used an Apple device and wants to learn about it, or anyone who has just gotten their first Apple device. Additionally, those who have been using Apple products for years but want further Voiceover help will also benefit. Finally, if you struggle with certain gestures, fingering, or just want advance tips and tricks, this course is for you as well. Note that as of right now, this course will primarily focus on Apple iOS including iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch, TVOS, Watch OS, and HomePod. Though we wil indeed explore keyboard commands and Braille displays, our primary mode of using these devices will be gestures. My most recent certifications are on the iOS side of things, and that’s what I use, so I’d prefer to not do Mac OS for now.

 

Finally, for the iPad course. You’ll notice I’ve renamed it. You’ll also notice that it’s longer than the one we did this past spring – 12 sessions instead of 8. This is because I really want to go deeper. We will be spending minimal time on learning Voiceover. If you want that, choose both this iPad course as well as the Voiceover course. In this course, we’ll do what we did last time, except much more involved. Instead of just talking for a short time about Messages, we’ll practice sending and receiving messages, use screen effects and iMessage apps, attach photos, record audio messages, and more. Instead of just discussing the calendar, we’ll create test events, modify events, use features like travel time, shared calendars, and much more. We’ll actually create short movies in Apple Clips, view a Keynote presentation together, and we will spend one whole session on file management and two entire sessions on nothing but Pages.

 

This course is for everyone, though having an iPad is strongly suggested, though you will be able to complete most of the course on your phone. We will have a prerequisite this time though – a strong familiarity with Voiceover. If you do not feel comfortable with Voiceover but would like to take this course, just also take the Voiceover In and Out course, and you’ll be fine. Even if you took the 2018 iPad course, you may wish to take the 2019 one, as it will as I’ve stated, go much deeper.

 

Again, please contact me with any questions, and please let me know which courses you’d like to take, and please share. Even though some of these are quite a ways off in the calendar yet, please start letting me know what you’d like, because creating course materials and course structure will be much better the more time I have. Shortly I will respond to those who have actually chosen specific courses, and I’ll keep in touch with you from now through the start of the courses. Thanks again, and I look forward to hearing from you. Take care.

I can be reached at m.jvollbrecht@comcast.net

 

REMINDERS

 

Hi Everyone!  Becky from the office here.  Membership season is here!  Here are the important dates that are listed in the package.

 

Early Bird Draw – November 2, 2018

Chapter Rebate Deadline – December 7, 2018

All 2019 Memberships Due – December 28, 2018

White Cane Week Orders Due – January 4, 2019

WCW Insurance Requests Due – January 4, 2019

Enjoy the rest of your summer!

 

DON’T FORGET!

Donations Received in the office in 2018 are the only ones that can be receipted for 2018.  Remember to send those donations if for your receipts.

 

 

 

www.ccbnational.net                 1-877-304-0968

ccb@ccbnational.net

CCB Newsletters: Visions, February 2018 Canadian Council of the Blind National Newsletter

 

 

 

 

VISIONS

Canadian Council of the Blind Newsletter

 

 

 

 

February 2018

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

Photo by Tai Jyun Chang on Unsplash

Announcements

 

 

 

President’s Message++

As you receive this message everyone will be busy working on White Cane Week events. The fact we live in Canada with very changeable weather it is difficult for some events to take place on their scheduled day so please don’t let that deter you. This is one week that we place emphasis on our “ABILITIES not disabilities” which we live with all year and so should our events.

 

As persons living with vision loss we are capable of great accomplishments. Some of us are not as able as others, and that is when we can offer support and guidance to assist those in need in reaching their goals. Programs such as GTT and CCB Health & Fitness are great examples of this type of peer support and mentoring, while at the same time learning new technology, exercise, eating better and therefore leading a much happier life. When the community sees people with vision loss becoming more active it often encourages them to improve their lifestyle.

 

CCB is very active with many other organizations across Canada and internationally as I have mentioned before. We will continue working with these groups for some time well into the future.

One of the major undertakings for this year will be to ensure our By Laws are in compliance with the Canada Not for Profit Act. Our committee will be busy reviewing and getting the changes made as needed with input from the membership.

As we begin this New Year we will work together in a positive way to make Canada a more accessible country for everyone. In August the IFA 14th Global Convention on Ageing will be held in Canada. CCB will be presenting a paper on Eye Health and the importance of eye exams/care which is an important example of working with other groups to improve care and prevent illness – all part of our mandate.

 

Enjoy the many articles of interest in this edition of the CCB Newsletter.

Louise Gillis, National President

 

The New Newsletter++

Welcome to VISIONS our exciting new newsletter.  I’m sure you’ve noticed this has a very different layout to what we were doing before.  We are now accepting pictures with your article submissions.  Not all pictures will be published in the newsletter, but they are very welcome.  If you do submit pictures, please let us know who is in them so we can have accurate alt text and captions.  The headings in word will be done the same as they have been recently to make everything as readable as possible.  Word and pdf versions will be emailed out and on our website.  Thank you all for your help as we move forward with this beautiful new format.

 

It’s time to have your say++

On March 10, 2018 the Tele Town Hall organizing team will be hosting its fifth and final Tele Town Hall. Like the previous four; this will be open to participants across Canada.

 

 

Date and start times across Canada

Date: March 10, 2018

 

Times: 10:00 am Pacific

11:00 am Mountain

Noon Central

1:00 pm Eastern

2:00 pm Atlantic

2:30 in Newfoundland

This meeting will last no longer than two hours.

Moderator: Jane Blaine.

 

Introduction:

In the summer of 2016, we the Tele Town Hall organizing team embarked on a journey to facilitate a number of Tele Town Halls across Canada with the mission to give participants an opportunity to share their views on a variety of topics related to the current state of blindness rehabilitation and consumerism in Canada.

As a non-biased team, we felt strongly that we were in a position to facilitate these Town Halls and at the end of it all to present a report to participants and other stakeholders.

Let’s get it out there

Our first two Tele Town Halls held at the end of October 2016 and in early March 2017 invited participants to share their views on the following:

* The present state of the consumer movement in Canada

* What if anything should we be doing to affect change

* What would be a logical and reasonable path to pursue if change was desired?

* Who could be involved?

* How could this be accomplished and

* What mechanisms could be used in order to accomplish this?

 

 

Advocacy without borders

Our third Tele Town Hall held in October 2017 gave participants an opportunity to hear about how rehabilitation services and consumer movements operate in New Zealand and Australia thanks to two guest speakers who shared their views with us.

They were Martine Abel Williamson; treasurer of the World Blind Union and well known advocate from New Zealand and Fran Cutler; a well-known advocate who works both in Australia and Canada splitting her time equally between both countries.

Our fourth Tele Town Hall held in November 2017 gave participants an opportunity to hear from guest speakers from the United States.  In similar fashion to our third Tele Town Hall; we featured high profile speakers who shared their views on the state of rehabilitation services and consumer movements in the United States.

They were Mitch Pomerantz; A past president of the American Council of the Blind and an active advocate in the development of the Americans with disabilities Act, and John Panarese; a well-known trainer in Apple products and an active advocate in helping others to gain equal access to training opportunities.

 

 

Now it is time to have your final say in this series

The fifth and final Tele Town Hall will give participants an opportunity to have their say and in so doing to help shape the future of our consumer advocacy movement in Canada.  Based on comments and suggestions garnered from previous Tele Town Halls, many participants do not believe that living with the status quo is a viable option.  Accordingly, we would like to preface the discussions of this final Tele Town Hall with a list of questions meant to help you formulate some thoughts before attending.  Also, reading the notes taken during the previous 4 Tele Town Hall meetings might help us all chart a path, and those links are found below our list of “thought provoking” questions.

 

 

 

 

Question one:

How well do current blindness/low vision rehabilitation service organizations in Canada serve your needs, or how do they not serve your needs as the case may be?

Question two:

How well do current blindness/low vision advocacy/social/support organizations in Canada serve your needs, or how are they not serving your needs as the case may be?  IE, are you personally happy with the existing consumer advocacy and support movements in Canada?

Question three:

If not, what will make them more responsive to blind Canadians needs, and flexible enough to move with emerging societal demands

Question four:

What strategies are required if we’re to strengthen the voice of blind Canadians with Governments, employers and communities?  IE, do blind Canadians need one single strong voice in order to advance our needs?

Question five:

What strategies can blind Canadians employ to amplify their voices in order to be better heard within Canadian organizations “of” and “for” the blind?  IE, do blind Canadians want to be more involved in driving the organizations that provide rehabilitation services in Canada?

 

All Four Sets of Tele Town Hall Notes can be downloaded from:

October 29, 2016, download here.

March 4, 2017, download here.

October 14, 2017, download here.

November 18, 2017, download here.

 

To register as a participant please email

TeleTownHall1@Gmail.com

And you will receive an acknowledgment of your email.

An electronic copy of the rules of engagement will be sent to you during the week of March 04.

We thank you!

 

Signed

Donna Jodhan, Richard Marion, Robin East, Anthony Tibbs, Albert Ruel, Louise Gillis, Pat Seed, Jane Blaine, Melanie Marsden, Kim Kilpatrick, Leo Bissonnette, Paul Edwards

 

White Cane Week++

Get ready for another fun and exciting awareness week from February 4 to 10. Events include our annual AMI Canadian Vision Impaired Curling Championship and countless local activities. Please visit the CCB website to keep yourself updated on the many exciting events that will be taking place this year across the country. And stay tuned for reports on events in upcoming newsletters!

 

 

CCB Celebrates its 15th Annual White Cane Week++

This year marks the CCB’s 15th annual celebration of White Cane Week (WCW). Each year, during the first full week of February, the Council recognizes the ability of Canadians who are blind or have low vision through a week long, national celebration. This celebration, WCW, aims to bring awareness and an appreciation to issues of accessibility, health and inclusion.

Across Canada, there are WCW initiatives on both the local, provincial and national levels. CCB Divisions and Chapters plan, promote and deliver WCW event activities within their communities.  There are sports competitions, hands-on demonstrations, open houses, an Expo and tours, amongst other events, taking place to promote and raise awareness of the White Cane as a symbol of “ability not disability”. Each event is unique to the chapter and community where it is being held. Each is built around a framework of promoting chapter activities, membership, and to raise awareness of the chapter, the CCB and its programs within these local communities.

 

 

 

Some White Cane Week Highlights: February 4-10, 2018

 

CCB Toronto Visionaries Chapter Holds 3rd Annual ‘Experience’ Expo:

This year’s, ‘Experience’ Expo is being held, from 10am to 4pm, on Saturday February 3, at the Miles Nadal Jewish Community Centre, at Bloor and Spadina, in downtown Toronto. Improving on last year’s event, ‘Experience’ Expo 2018 is already an incredible success, with sold out floor space and a 35% increase in exhibitors.

 

‘Experience’ Expo is in its third year and is Canada’s only expo dedicated to the blind and those with vision loss.  A hands-on, interactive exposition in which exhibitors share their ‘experience’, providing creative, adoptive solutions to all aspects of life with vision loss. Through interactive demonstrations and activities, visitors can ‘experience’ new ways to overcome barriers, gain independence and live a full rich life. So come out to ‘Experience’ Expo and explore the possibilities.

Please visit our website at http://www.ccbtorontovisionaries.ca/WCW.php

CCB’s AMI Canadian Vision Impaired Curling Championship; (CVICC)

This National Championship takes place each year in Ottawa, at the historic Ottawa Curling Club. The curling event brings together teams, from coast to coast, for the 5 day, tournament.  The CVICC runs Monday through Friday of WCW.  The Championship final will take place at 1:00pm, Friday February 9th followed by closing ceremonies by way of the CVICC Awards Banquet that evening. Here participating curlers are recognized, as champions, as all-stars and are rewarded with their hard fought and well-earned medals.

3 Brian Lechelt from Team Canada (Kelowna) throws his rock while Team Ontario watches

CCB 2018 Person of the Year Award Recipient:

The Canadian Council of the Blind is extremely pleased to announce its 2018 Person of the Year is the Honourable Dr. Asha Seth. The retired Senator, Dr. Seth will receive her Award on Friday, February 9th at the Councils award dinner at the Ottawa Curling Club.

 

The honourable Dr. Seth is a visionary leader, trail blazing a path for many to emulate. Through it all, it is her commitment to helping others that shines brightest among her accomplishments. Please refer to the full story in White Cane Magazine available, in digital form, on the CCB website at www.ccbnational.net

CCB 2018 President’s Award Recipient:

The Canadian Council of the Blind’s President’s award is given annually to an individual or organization that, in their work or service, with or for the blind and partially sighted, have made a real; difference in improving the quality of life of our community in Canada.

 

This year’s recipient is the International Federation on Ageing (IFA) in recognition of its hard work on behalf of patient advocacy.  Dr. Jane Barratt, Secretary General of the IFA, will attend the awards dinner, at the Ottawa Curling Club, on Friday February 9th and receive the President’s Award, on behalf of the Federation. The full story can be found in White Cane Magazine available, in digital form, on the CCB website at www.ccbnational.net

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

GTT Prince Edward Island Meeting Invitation, General Discussion and Brainstorming Session, February 28, 2018++

 

 

 

You are invited!  Blind and low vision GTT participants meet monthly to learn about and share their experiences using assistive technologies in their daily lives at home, school, or at work.

 

Agenda for the first Prince Edward Island Conference Call GTT Meeting:

Date: Wednesday, February 28, 2018 from 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm, Prince Edward Island Time.

Location: CCB Toll Free Conference Number.

Call-in Information:

1-866-740-1260

Passcode is 5670311#

Smart Phone users can tap on the below number to have the passcode dialed automatically following the toll free number:

1-866-740-1260, 5670311#

 

Theme: •Brainstorming for the first, and future meetings of GTT and the CCB Assistive Technology Program on Prince Edward Island.

  • Albert Ruel and Sandra Poirier will lead a brainstorming session regarding future content and format for GTT Newfoundland meetings

 

Some are curious about the kinds of topics or technologies that may be discussed in future meetings. Here are a few potential topics:

  1. Talking books, talking book machines and accessible Libraries: How do I get started; where do I ask my questions; what do I do to find books I will like?
  2. What types of magnification technology will help me access vital text in my home?
  3. How can we who are living with Low and no vision get access to vital information?
  4. Smart phones, which one is best, how much are they and who will help me learn how to use one?
  5. Is a computer actually needed in my life, and if so who’s going to help me pick one out or learn how to use it?
  6. Is the internet a safe place to get information I need?
  7. Hey Google, Alexa, what are these smart speakers we keep hearing about, is that something I need or want?

 

 

 

 

Who Should Attend:

Any blind or low vision person who is interested in learning how assistive technologies can help them lead more independent lives.

  • Anyone interested in contributing to the future of the Prince Edward Island GTT group by sharing ideas for future meetings to discuss other blind or low vision assistive devices.

 

For More Information contact:

Sandra Poirier : SandraPoirier@EastLink.ca or Albert Ruel Albert.GTT@CCBNational.net

 

 

 

 

 

Inclusion – There’s an App for That!

New Technology Improves Interior Navigation for Everyone++

 

Vancouver, BC, February 9, 2018.

 

As part of CCB White Cane Week and in collaboration with the Vancouver Central Library, Right-Hear Accessible Solutions from Israel and Canadian Assistive Technology, the CCB and Gateway Navigation CCC Limited are pleased to present the first indoor audio navigation experience of its kind in Canada. Corry Stuive, representing the CCB and advisor for the Beacon Navigation Project, explains, “Accessibility and inclusion is not just about putting braille on signs, but giving the blind the equal opportunity to hear the information in the same way a sighted person can read them.  This technology creates real inclusion and independence.”

 

Steve Barclay, President, Canadian Assistive Technology, describes how the BLE (Bluetooth low energy) beacon was deployed at the Vancouver Central Library, “We placed nine of these beacons at decision-making points such as entrances, stairs and elevators around the Vancouver Central Library.  This created nine accessibility zones that provide orientation information. The technology builds an audio road map that any individual with a smartphone and the free Right-Hear app can use to orientate themselves to their immediate surroundings and assist them in navigating the indoor venue independently.  The service can be accessed in multiple languages.” Right-Hear

 

Jim Taggart, Director of Gateway and advocate for social sustainability within the architectural profession, summarizes the Project’s focus, “We are dedicated to improving the accessibility of interior spaces for members of the blind and visually impaired community in Canada. Just as smart phone-based GPS has made exterior navigation easier for everyone, so Gateway imagines a wireless, technology-based network that will make complex buildings, such as airports, transit hubs, shopping malls and public buildings accessible to all those who cannot read signage or interpret other wayfinding cues.”

 

Mike May, recently appointed Executive Director at Envision, Inc., will be adding his vast experience and knowledge to the panel to discuss the importance of creating accessible and inclusive smart cities. The American Foundation for the Blind recognizes Mike’s past and current contributions as a pioneer and leader in the accessible technology sector.  Mike describes one of his current projects at Envision, Inc., “One of the many exciting projects being undertaken by Envision is using proximity beacons to create smart and accessible bus stops. This will help to connect people with real-time digital technology supported by location based services that will assist all commuters, including blind or visually impaired to travel safely and independently.”

David Brun, Founder Gateway Navigation CCC Limited, reflects, “Working in banking for twenty-years and a life time adjusting to sight loss has reinforced to me the importance of accessibility, inclusion, training and employment so that visually impaired people can fully engage in our society.  That has become both Gateway’s mission and its passion.  Over the last several years, Gateway has participated in discussions with many individuals and organizations to implement the proximity beacon technology into public buildings and spaces in Canada.  We are extremely excited to be launching the Beacon Navigation Project in Vancouver and are committed to promoting accessibility, inclusion, training and employment for blind and disabled people.” For more information visit www.gnc3.com

Contacts:

Beacon Navigation Project

Email: partners@gnc3.com

Website: www.gnc3.com

 

Albert Ruel, CCB

Toll Free Tel: 1-877-304-0968 Ext. 550

 

David Brun, Gateway Navigation CCC Limited

Tel: 604-499-4818.

 

 

CCB Access & Awareness NS Chapter – Three Members Receive Nova Scotia Human Rights Awards++

On December 8, 2017, Access & Awareness NS Chapter members, Barry Abbott, Barbara Legay (posthumously) and Chapter Chair Pat Gates, who were three members of a group of approximately 20 people with disabilities, were presented with Nova Scotia Human Rights Awards at a celebration held in Halifax. They were part of a group called the “Bill 59 Community Alliance” which worked closely with the provincial government to bring about accessibility legislation for all Nova Scotians. Bill 59: “An Accessibility Act” was proclaimed in September 2017 after several months of hard work by all involved. Nova Scotia is proud to be the third province in Canada to have accessibility legislation and our Chapter is proud to have three of our members play a role in bringing this legislation to our province.

Submitted by James Hubley, Access & Awareness NS Chapter

 

 

 

Seeking members for the CCB Mysteries chapter++

How would you like to be a part of a brand new chapter whose mission is to plan dinner mystery evenings where audiences get to help catch the killer and pronounce sentence as well?

Affordable, filled with excitement and fun and you never know what comes next? Please read on.

We invite persons from coast to coast to join!  We plan to hold these events in cities across Canada and here is where you can be a part of the action!

 

Our first event is taking place in Toronto on February 23 and doors open at 5:45 pm.

A dinner, game show, mystery, and o yes!  door prizes!

 

Want more info? Email info@sterlingcreations.ca or call 416 491 7711.

 

Advocacy News++

The CCB National Advocacy Committee has taken on the project of promoting the use of Script Talk by both our members and pharmacists across Canada. We hope that our advocacy work will ultimately result in all pharmacies adopting a uniform, accessible and equitable system across the country.

 

An important step in this process is to learn information about the pharmacies you are using in your home area. With this information we will then contact the major chains to provide information on Script Talk and to work towards the adoption of the Script Talk system.

 

Please send your information to:

Advocacy@ccbnational.net

Submitted by Pat Gates, Chair, CCB National Advocacy Committee

 

 

 

 

 

Helpful Info from the CCB National Advocacy Committee++

The CCB National Advocacy Committee, at the request of a CCB member, undertook to write to the Federal Government Minister responsible for passports regarding a concern about accessibility at a Federal service location in the member’s area. While renewing his passport, he noted that a blind person or someone with low vision would not know when their number was shown on the screen and therefore might miss their turn at the service desk.  There was no audio announcement of numbers for those waiting in the queue. We asked the Minister what could be done at any Federal service location to make it accessible.

 

The response from the Minister’s Office stated that any Canadian requiring adaptive services at a passport office should make themselves known to a representative in that office immediately upon arrival and let them know that they require personalized assistance. Persons requiring adaptive service would be given comprehensive, personalized assistance in order to remove any barriers.

Submitted by Pat Gates, Chair

On behalf of the CCB National Advocacy Committee

 

Chapter News++

The CCB CK (Chatham-Kent, ON) Chapter held a successful trivia/potluck day on January 27th. Also, the chapter now offers a peer support program, which takes place every third Wednesday of every month at 1:30 PM until 3 PM at the United Way building of Chatham Kent.

For more information, please contact Markus McCracken, Co Coordinator,

CCB Chatham-Kent Chapter

makaveli2014@live.ca     519 784 3416

 

 

International Federation on Aging (IFA) Calling for Additional Abstracts++

Due to the demand to present at the IFA 14th Global Conference on Ageing (https://www.ifa2018.com) additional rooms have now been confirmed to facilitate additional abstract submissions. In order to balance the program, the IFA is highly interested in abstracts under the themes/subtheme: Combating Ageism; Toward Healthy Ageing; and Addressing Inequalities.

 

Further abstracts under the theme of Age-Friendly Environments are also welcome. The new deadline for additional abstracts is 6 April 2018.

 

With a conference program that will stimulate, educate and inform, join us in Toronto in August 2018 and take a few extra days to explore our city and region (https://www.ifa2018.com/location/about-toronto/)

Assistive Technology

Get Together with Technology (GTT) Top Ten Apps of 2017++

Here are the Top Ten Apps of 2017 as surveyed late in the year through the GTTProgram Blog, GTTSupport Email List and GTTProgram Facebook Group participants.  This was not a scientific survey, so might be considered by some to be a “Fake List”.  Be that as it may, your friendly GTT Group has likely had a hand in the results, and all of you are encouraged to submit your favourites for the 2018 list as we roll into November/December.

 

In order to do so, please stay in touch and participate with GTT groups where ever they gather throughout 2018 by following us at: www.GTTProgram.WordPress.com

Of course, none of the below iDevice, Android, PC or Mac apps are usable by blind, deaf-blind or partially sighted users if the operating system, screen reader and/or magnifier apps aren’t mastered first.  To learn more about how you might gain the skills you need for mastering the above, get involved with a GTT group or conference call near you and ask your questions.  You can also sign up for the GTTSupport email list for this very purpose by sending a blank email message to, GTTSupport+Subscribe@Groups.io

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Favourite Apps Listed according to the votes submitted:

 

 

Top 10 iOS Apps:

  1. Seeing AI, a free app By Microsoft Corporation.
  2. Native iOS Mail, a free email client built into every Apple device.
  3. Voice Dream Reader, a paid app By Voice Dream LLC.
  4. Nearby Explorer, a paid app By American Printing House for the Blind (APH).
  5. TuneIn Radio, a free app By TuneIn.
  6. Native iOS Reminders, a free app built into every Apple device.
  7. Transit, a free app By Transit App, Inc.
  8. VO Calendar, a paid app By Devista B.V.
  9. Bank, free apps by a variety of Canadian Banks.
  10. CBC Radio/News, free apps by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Top 10 PC Apps:

  1. MS Office, a paid word processing, email and spreadsheet suite of apps by Microsoft Corporation.
  2. Audacity, a free, open source multi-track recording and editing app.
  3. Firefox, a free open source web browser by Mozilla.
  4. Humanware Companion, a free VR Stream companion app by Humanware.
  5. JAWS, a paid screen reading app by Freedom Scientific.
  6. Notepad, a free Native app by Microsoft Corporation.
  7. NVDA, a free screen reading app by NVAccess.
  8. Openbook, a paid scan and read app by Freedom Scientific.
  9. Chicken Nugget, a paid Twitter app by Accessible Apps.
  10. GoldWave, a paid audio editing, recording and conversion app by GoldWave Inc.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Top 8 Mac Apps:

  1. Amadeus pro, a paid Audio editor / sound and voice recorder app by HairerSoft.
  2. Dropbox, a free cloud based file storage app by Dropbox.
  3. Facetime, a free iOS communications app by Apple.
  4. Skype, a free communications app by Microsoft Corporation.
  5. Twitterrific, a paid Twitter Client By The Iconfactory.
  6. Native Mail app, a free iOS email app by Apple.
  7. Twitter for mac, a free twitter client By Twitter, Inc.
  8. Audacity, a free, open source multi-track recording and editing app.

 

 

 

Top 4 Android Apps:

  1. Aqua mail, a free email client by MobiSystems.
  2. Amazing mp3 recorder, a free memo and call recorder by StereoMatch.
  3. Nearby explorer, a paid app By American Printing House for the Blind (APH).
  4. Podcast addict, a free Podcast player by Xavier Guillemane.

 

Respectfully submitted by Albert A. Ruel, GTT Coordinator

For more information please contact your GTT Coordinators:

Albert Ruel

1-877-304-0968,ext 550

albert.GTT@CCBNational.net

or

Kim Kilpatrick

1-877-304-0968 ext. 513

GTTProgram@Gmail.com

 

 

How to Use Headings to Organize a Document++

Taken from: http://www.washington.edu/accessibility/documents/word/

 

Using good heading structure helps people without eyesight to understand how the document is organized. Screen reader and Braille users can also jump between headings, which makes navigation much more efficient than if there are no headings.

 

Making text larger and bold does not make it a heading. In order to convert text to a heading in Microsoft Word, you must use the built-in Heading styles like “Heading 1” and “Heading 2”, available under Styles in the Home tab of the Ribbon in Office versions 2010 and higher.

 

Headings should form an outline, using the “Heading 1” style for the main heading, and “Heading 2” for sub-headings. If there are additional levels of headings within the document’s outline, using “Heading 3”, “Heading 4”, etc.

 

 

Instructions on How to Add Headings to a Document, by Albert Ruel:

 

To create section headings in your documents, do the following:

  1. Highlight the text you wish to turn into a Heading. Note, the entire paragraph will be turned into a Heading if the text you wish to use isn’t on its own line. For example: The Contacts Section of a document might be created as follows;

 

For more information contact:

Sally, Sue, Bill or Jack at 1-888-555-1234.

 

If the names of the individuals were left on the same line as the Heading, it too would have been marked as a Level 1 Heading.  For screen reader users it is cumbersome to hear an entire paragraph read as a Heading, so keep those bits of text short.

 

  1. To create a level 1 Heading with the selected text, hold down the Alt and Control keys and press the number 1 on the number row. Conversely, levels 2 and 3 can be created as above, and Levels 4, 5 and 6 Headings can only be created by accessing the Styles Sheet in the Ribbons.

To Use Headings when reading text with a screen reader:

  1. To list all the Headings in a document or email message, hold down the Insert key while pressing the F6 key.
  2. Arrow through the list to read each Heading, or use First Letter command to locate a specific Heading. Note, your screen reader will announce after each Heading the corresponding number of the Heading.
  3. Press the Enter key on the Heading you wish to access and your cursor will be placed at that location within the document, web page or email message.

 

Using the letter H for accessing Headings in MS Word:

  1. Hold down the Insert key while pressing the letter Z to turn Quick Keys on. This action takes you out of edit mode and allows you to press the letter H to move from one Heading to the next, or Shift H to move backward from Heading to Heading.
  2. Once you have located the desired Heading and want to return to edit mode you will hold down the Insert key while pressing the letter Z again to turn Quick Keys off.

 

Note: pressing the letter H will navigate all the Headings in a document in the order they appear, and using Shift H will have you accessing them in reverse order.

 

An additional means of accessing Headings:

  1. To access the Level 1 Headings, press the number 1 on the number row.

This will take you to the first occurrence of a Level 1 Heading, and pressing it again will take you to the next occurrence.  Shift number 1 will move the cursor backward through the Level 1 Headings.

  1. Once a Level 1 Heading is located, pressing the number 2 on the number row will have the cursor landing on the first Level 2 Heading found below that Level 1 Heading.

 

  1. Once the desired section of a Web Page, MS Word document or Email message is found, you can press your down arrow keys to read the text found below that Heading.

 

  1. If the desired Heading is also marked as a Link, pressing the Enter key will activate the Link.

 

Note: Don’t forget to hold down the Insert key while pressing the letter Z to turn Quick Keys off and return to edit mode.  Quick Keys is only needed in MS Word or when creating an Outlook email message.  It is not needed on the web or when reading an email message because edit mode is not turned on when doing those functions.

 

 

 

CNIB HUB++

 

In June 2017, CNIB opened a Community Hub in Toronto – the first of its kind in the province – for people that are blind or partially sighted. Located at 1525 Yonge Street (just north of St. Clair) The Hub is an innovative, accessible space where community members with sight loss can come for social and emotional support, learn new skills, take part in exciting Foundation Programs and thrive in an engaging space.

 

The space was designed and developed in close consultation with our program participants, volunteers and staff. Considerations ranging from the colour of the chairs (multi-coloured) and walls (white) to the accessibility of the furniture all went into the design of the space.

 

The building itself includes the following features:

  • Custom made furniture by Carol Kaifosh & Siobhan Allman at POCKIT Studio. The furniture was designed to be durable, collapsible, portable and accessible.
  • An accessible kitchen (donated by Mattamy Homes and The Brick) with tactile pieces and braille signage
  • Wayfinding floor strips and photo luminescent stair/handrail markings from Kinesik Engineering Products Inc.
  • Plexiglas panels under the stairwell to prevent dog paws and white canes from getting caught
  • An elevator and accessible washroom
  • Tactile artwork on the walls with braille created by Kate Ramos
  • A graffiti wall mural created by artist Leyland Adams
  • A virtual reality room and tech hub where community members, both those with sight loss and with full vision, can simulate various situations with sight loss and learn more about assistive technology
  • A Doggy Bar where “K9 staff,” volunteers and guides can enjoy a tasty treat
  • A “No-Office” community space where staff and volunteers can create and share ideas in an inclusive atmosphere

Design considerations are ongoing as we continue to grow in our space and learn from our staff, volunteers and program participants.

 

The Hub offers specialized life-enhancing programs designed to help people with sight loss smash barriers in many areas such as access, employment, education, leadership and research & technology.

 

For more information about Community Hub and to check out our programs, please visit: http://www.cnib.ca/en/ontario/gta/Pages/default.aspx

 

In the News

 

Blind B.C. woman’s access to audio books threatened by political flap++

 

A woman who is legally blind has launched a petition to try to get the provincial government to fund an online audiobook library that she will no longer have access to at the end of this month.

 

Taeshim Youn, 31, has collected 100 signatures at change.org to try to maintain access for her and other print-disabled British Columbians to a collection of 540,000 audiobook titles at the Centre for Equitable Library Access.

 

That includes The Books of Pellinor fantasy series that she’s listening to, her form of literary entertainment since she lost her sight after being paralyzed by an autoimmune disorder in 2006.

 

“I usually listen to it at night and sometimes during the day,” said Youn. “I’m bed-bound and I don’t go out as much. And when I do, I get around by wheelchair.”

 

Listening to books read by professional narrators is “is like watching a good movie, but better because there’s so much to it.”

 

Youn also wrote a letter to her Port Moody MLA, the NDP’s Rick Glumac, urging him to ensure B.C funds the national service that all provinces, except for B.C., Manitoba and Nunavut, pay for.

 

“You, as part of my B.C. government, have a responsibility to fund library services for people with sight loss, just like you do for sighted citizens,” she said in her letter.

 

“Someone has to speak up,” said Youn by phone. “I’m hoping this will help.”

 

CELA was formed as a non-profit, publicly funded organization in 2014 to provide the books, magazines and newspapers the Canadian National Institute for the Blind had for years provided by license to public libraries.

CNIB gave up control of the library because it was more appropriate for the government as opposed to a charity to be providing an audio library for the print-disabled, said CELA executive director Michael Ciccone.

 

Almost all provincial and territorial governments agreed to fund the library, but in B.C. the support came instead from public libraries. In B.C., 17 libraries in heavily populated parts of the province pay for CELA, providing access to 80 per cent of the population, said Ciccone.

 

CNIB had agreed to pay for access for the users in the remaining 20 per cent of the province until public funding could be secured. There are about 2,500 users of the service, he said.

 

The bridge funding for the service expires at the end of this month, leaving about 240 users, including Youn, without access to CELA. The library in Port Moody, where she lives, is one of the libraries that doesn’t fund CELA.

 

Ciccone said CELA is in talks with the provincial education ministry and is hopeful it will be funded before the end of January.

 

But the education ministry, in an emailed statement, said the province already funds a competing audio library called the National Network for Equitable Library Services, available through every public library in B.C.

 

Annual funding for NNELS in B.C. is $115,000, it said.

 

Ciccone said its requesting $132,000 a year to fund CELA.

 

NNELS, which was also formed in 2014 through the B.C. Libraries Co-operative, has 30,000 titles.

 

Former NNELS executive director Ben Hyman said print-disabled citizens, which includes those with vision disabilities as well as those with dyslexia or those with difficulties holding books, are better served by the two services because it offers them choice.

 

NNELS’s collection is growing and it will attempt to obtain special-order books, said Hyman.

 

He also said NNELS, which is funded by eight provinces (excluding Ontario and Quebec) has a different approach to its collection, choosing not to pay for “big-batch licensing deals” as CELA does.

 

He said NNELS is run through a “different philosophy,” which will enable it to build a sustainable collection that will be broadly available to what’s expected to be a growing proportion of print-disabled users.

By Susan Lazaruk

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

www.ccbnational.net 1-877-304-0968

 

 

ccb@ccbnational.net