Press Release: Talking labels makes prescriptions easier to access for the visually impaired at pharmacies across Empire’s family of brands, February 12, 2020

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

February 12, 2020

 

Talking labels makes prescriptions easier to access for the visually impaired at pharmacies across Empire’s family of brands

 

Lawtons Drugs, Sobeys, Safeway, Thrifty Foods, Foodland, IGA (western Canada) and FreshCo pharmacies partner with En-Vision America to boost medication safety for low vision, blind and print-impaired pharmacy patients through ScripTalk; an innovative and accessible audible prescription label service

 

Stellarton, NS – Empire and its family of brands, continue to lead the grocery retail sector in providing inclusive customer experiences as the first national pharmacy network in Canada to offer ScripTalk audible prescription labels at all its in-store and stand-alone pharmacy locations, including Lawtons Drugs, Sobeys, Safeway, Thrifty Foods, Foodland, IGA (western Canada) and FreshCo.

 

A first-of-its kind at the national level by a Canadian pharmacy network, this rollout offers Canadians reliable access to simple, innovative technology to improve independent management of prescription medication.

 

ScripTalk audible prescription labels enable blind, low vision or print-impaired pharmacy patients to hear important prescription label information free of charge using En-Vision America’s Pharmacy Freedom Program.

 

With ScripTalk, pharmacists are able to code prescription labels with RFID or Radio Frequency Identification technology. Patients can then use a small, hand-held, base prescription reader called the ScripTalk Station Reader, available free of charge, to hear important prescription information and instructions read aloud (i.e. an audible label).  Patients can also access talking prescription labels by using En-Vision America’s mobile phone application that is compatible with the coded prescription labels.

 

“We’re proud to offer ScripTalk at all of our pharmacies across the country. ScripTalk is an easy-to-use yet innovative technology that is breaking barriers for those who are blind, have experienced vision loss, or are otherwise not able to read vital prescription information,” said Vivek Sood, Executive Vice President, Related Business, Sobeys Inc. “With this technology, we’re empowering our patients to independently manage their medications safely at our pharmacies, in their homes, or wherever they may be.”

 

“We at the Canadian Council of the Blind (CCB) are very pleased to be working with Empire and its family of brands to make prescriptions and important medical information more accessible for those of us who are unable to read or have difficulty reading medication labels. ScripTalk provides independence for people with print disabilities. The ScriptTalk audible prescription labels and readers are helping to overcome major issues that our community has struggled with for years. We’re thrilled to see this innovative new technology being offered across all of Empire’s banner pharmacies in Canada, including Safeway, FreshCo, and more,” Said Louise Gillis, CCB National President.

 

CCB’s Louise Gillis went on to say, “With Sobeys’ new talking labels, individuals with sight loss are now able to manage their medications more safely and independently.  The CCB estimates that there are 1.5 million Canadians living with vision loss, ranging from partial sight to total blindness. This population is seriously underserved with limited accessible pharmacy provided options for prescription labels. This puts them at risk for misinformation when accessing the pharmaceutical information on the attached labels.”

 

All Empire banner pharmacy locations across Canada, including Lawtons Drug Stores, and in-store pharmacies located in Sobeys, Safeway, Thrifty Foods, Foodland, IGA (western Canada) and FreshCo banners have implemented the ScripTalk service.

 

About Empire

Empire Company Limited (TSX: EMP.A) is a Canadian company headquartered in Stellarton, Nova Scotia. Empire’s key businesses are food retailing, through wholly-owned subsidiary Sobeys Inc., and related real estate. With approximately $25.6 billion in annualized sales and $13.8 billion in assets, Empire and its subsidiaries, franchisees and affiliates employ approximately 123,000 people.

Sobeys National Pharmacy

Sobeys National Pharmacy has more than 420 pharmacies across Canada, including Sobeys, Safeway, Thrifty Foods, FreshCo and Lawtons Drugs pharmacies; each with a dedicated team to help you manage your medication and health care needs. From advice on what to take for a cough or cold to helping you manage a new prescription medication, our teams are committed to providing convenient and personalized services for your family’s health and wellbeing.

 

About En-Vision America

En-Vision America, a Palmetto, Fla.-based company, provides high-tech products aimed at solving problems for individuals with disabilities. The company has spearheaded many innovations relating to labeling including voice-enabled products like i.d. mate, the talking bar code reader, and ScriptAbility, which includes talking prescription labels, Braille, large print, dual language and Controlled Substance Safety Labels (CSSLs). Originally founded by Philip C. and David B. Raistrick in 1996, the cornerstone of the company is based on one single premise: To provide those with disabilities equal access and greater independence through technology. Today, more than 20,000 individuals are using ScripTalk. For additional information, visit www.envisionamerica.com.

 

CCB Backgrounder:

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

For further information, please contact:

Violet MacLeod

External Communications and Corporate Affairs

Sobeys, Inc.

Violet.MacLeod@Sobeys.com

782-440-2208

Press Release: The Canadian Council of the Blind Applauds the Federal Government’s Support of Canadians with Sight Loss in the Federal Budget 2019

CCB 75th Anniversary Logo 1Figure 122CCB 75th Anniversary Logo 3A square 75th Anniversary logo containing the word anniversary in English and French along with the numbers 1944 – 2019 across the bottom, and the words Canadian Council of the Blind across the top.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

Federal Budget 2019:

The Canadian Council of the Blind Applauds the Federal Government’s Support of Canadians with Sight Loss

 

The Canadian Council of the Blind (CCB) is emboldened by the announcement of several measures in the 2019 Federal Budget that will greatly benefit Canada’s sight loss community.

 

A 2012 Canadian Survey on Disability, undertaken by Statistics Canada for Canadians 15 years of age and over, showed that 756,300 Canadians had “seeing disabilities.” In their more recent 2017 Canadian Survey on Disability, this number increased by over 100% (1,519,840 Canadians with a “seeing disability”). These numbers reflect the scope of the problem – now exasperated by an ever-aging population – which is why the measures announced in Budget 2019 are so important.

 

First, to address the challenges faced by Canadians with vision loss and print disabilities, we are pleased to see that Budget 2019 proposes to provide the Centre for Equitable Library Access with an investment of $3.0 million in 2019–20 to produce new accessible reading materials that will be available through public libraries across Canada. While this is a one-year allotment (hopefully to increase in the future), it is a good start for an initiative that is greatly appreciated by the sight loss and print disabilities community.

 

Second, the CCB supports and commends the government’s Budget proposal to invest $22.8 million over five years, starting in 2019–20, to provide Canada’s independent book publishing industry a much-needed assist in increasing their production of accessible books for persons with print disabilities. We will be waiting, with great anticipation, for materials provided to persons with print disabilities to exceed the 10% of books currently made available in accessible format.

 

Third, in support of independence of persons with disabilities, Budget 2019 also proposes to invest $0.5 million in 2019–20 towards finding ways to improve the accessibility of electronic payment terminals to enable persons with disabilities to conduct daily activities, such as paying for their groceries, without relying on others. Providing this type of accessibility with swift action on implementation will receive strong support from peoples with disabilities.

 

Fourth, the CCB is also pleased to see the mention of drug costs – which also affects many in our community. The budget included a section on pharmacare, with several announcements, including the introduction of the Canadian Drug Agency to improve prices and lower the cost of prescription drugs for Canadians by up to $3 billion per year in the long-term.

 

And finally, most notably to the CCB, the government is committed to improving employment opportunities for persons with sight loss. To this end, Budget 2019 proposes to provide $1.0 million in the next fiscal year to the Canadian National Institute for the Blind to connect persons with vision loss to small- and medium-sized employers. The CCB sees this as a top priority. With chronic unemployment in the sight loss community (according to our recent survey), the CCB looks forward to reviewing the plans, confirming what will be covered, and getting a handle on where people will find work. The CCB is looking forward to working with the government and stakeholders, in this first of many steps required, to put Canadians with vision loss on an equal footing with their fellow Canadians.

 

Employment is a top concern for the low-vision community in Canada. For this reason, the CCB has recently completed a national “Survey on Accessibility and Assistive Technology” to help Canadians with vision loss participate in the workforce. Over 450 members of Canada’s vision loss community participated in the survey. The CCB looks forward to sharing the results of this survey with its federal government partners in this initiative.

 

The CCB would like to extend its deepest gratitude to the Minister of Public Services and Procurement, Carla Qualtrough, a true champion for Canadians with disabilities. The CCB offers its full support to Minister Qualtrough and looks forward to working to implement her broad vision for improving the lives of Canadians with sight loss and ensuring that this Budget 2019, when passed, contains these all-important measures.

 

 

Louise Gillis

National President

Canadian Council of the Blind

 

For more information, contact Becky Goodwin at CCB National: bgoodwin@ccbnational.net or 613-567-0311.

Follow up and addition to the press release on WIPO treaty.

I am posting this press release from the CCB national president.

This is a follow up to the press release on the WIPO treaty.

PRESS RELEASE

04-29-2015

 

As President of the Canadian Council of the Blind (CCB) I wish to thank Industry Minister James Moore and the Canadian Government for being one of the first G7 countries to join the Marrakesh Treaty to facilitate access to published work for persons with vision loss and other print disabilities. 

 

Once the treaty is enforced Canada will be there to fully implement it.  This is a major step for those of us with vision loss in Canada and around the world. 

 

We at CCB have worked alongside CNIB and World Blind Union (WBU) to help make this happen as our organization holds two of the four Canadian representative spots on the WBU and we work hand-in-hand to improve the lives of Canadians with vision loss. 

 

The CCB was founded in 1944 by veterans of both world wars. It is the largest membership based organization for the blind in Canada. With 9 divisions and over 70 chapters, all members of the national board of directors are either blind or legally blind. 

CCB programs include bursaries, peer support, sports, and recreation including the national Canadian Vision Impaired Curling Championship (CVICC) for 11 consecutive years, training in the latest adaptive devices for those with vision loss and mobile eye clinics for early intervention and prevention of vision loss.

Louise Gillis

National President

The Canadian Council of the Blind

www.ccbnational.net

ccbpresident@ccbnational.net