From the President’s Desk
White Cane Week – A Personal Perspective
Saturday, February 6th: it was a very busy and enjoyable Embassy Day at the Ottawa Curling Club. Meeting and greeting some wonderful people from twenty-six embassies, sharing in photo shoots, and the curling demonstration with embassy involvement were the highlights. It was indeed a pleasure.
Sunday, February 7th: the Opening Ceremonies of the 2010 Canadian Vision Impaired Curling Championships were an exciting time with the curlers anxious to get going. Many thanks to Doris Koop, the curlers and volunteers, the Ottawa Curling Club staff, our sponsors, and to all those who helped make it a successful week.
Monday, February 8th: I had the privilege of presenting a CCB Honorary Membership to Teresa Dupuis, the 80-year-old fireball Coordinator of the CCB Ottawa Chapter. It was a wonderful evening spent with a lively group of members; thanks for your warm welcome.
The closing banquet on Friday, February 12th was a special evening with a presentation by ex-soldier Paul Franklin, distribution of curling awards, and the presentation of the 2010 White Cane Week Person of the Year award for Lori Fry, Coordinator of the BC/Yukon Division. Lori, along with her Division Council, has restored that division to an active role within CCB.
Congratulations to all the curling teams who excelled at their skill and to the tournament winners. The tremendous support of our sponsors and volunteers truly made this week a success. Thank you one and all for allowing me to share in the 2010 White Cane Week activities.
White Cane Week 2010:
The sixth annual Canadian Vision Impaired Curling Championships were a great success! Congratulations to all the blind curlers!
Special congratulations to:
First Place Winners - Team Canada (Kelowna, BC)
Second Place Winners - Team Ontario 2 (Hamilton, ON) and
Third Place Winners - Team Alberta
Way to go!
The final results for the week are as follows:
Final Round Robin Standings
1. AB (Alberta) 7 wins 1 loss
2. BC (British Columbia/Team Canada) 7 wins 1 loss
3. ON1 (Ontario/Kitchener) 5 wins 3 losses
4. ON2 (Ontario/Hamilton) 4 wins 4 losses
5. SK (Saskatchewan) 4 wins 4 losses
6. MB (Manitoba) 4 wins 4 losses
7. NS (Nova Scotia) 3 wins 5 losses
8. NB (New Brunswick) 1 win 7 losses
9. NL (Newfoundland) 0 wins 8 losses
*Final standing tie breakers are determined by who beat who in round robin play. This also determines who plays in page 3-4 of the playoffs.
Curling Awards Banquet
On Friday, February 12, curlers and honoured guests including Carleton University’s Paul Menton Centre staff; CCB bursary recipients; Lions and officials from the Office for Disability Issues listened to Paul Franklin, the very inspirational guest speaker. Mr. Franklin is a former Canadian medic who lost both legs in Afghanistan.
For more highlights of White Cane Week 2010 events at the local chapter level please stay tuned to the newsletter, and visit the CCB website at: www.ccbnational.net
Embassies Give Curling a Try!:
This year’s second annual Embassy Day gave White Cane Week a special international flare!
On Saturday, February 6, 26 Embassies ventured down to the Ottawa Curling Club, site of the annual Canadian Vision Impaired Curling Championships, where they had a chance to try curling, meet some blind curlers, and even have their picture taken with Harold Schnellert, CCB National President!
Many Embassies in Ottawa have been instrumental in th e development of the Ki tchens of the World™ cookbook and are supporters of CCB.
This was a wonderful opportunity to promote awareness on an international level, as well as have a lot of fun!
As a special highlight, the crowd was treated to the musical stylings of Lucas Haneman, 22 year-old vision-impaired jazz guitarist.
CCB was pleased to have the following Embassies in attendance:
- Embassy of the Argentine Republic
- Embassy of the Republic of Azerbaijan
- Embassy of Bolivia
- Embassy of the Republic of Bulgaria
- Embassy of the Republic of Cuba
- Embassy of the Czech Republic
- Embassy of the Republic of Estonia
- Embassy of the Republic of Guatemala
- Embassy of the Republic of Iraq
- Embassy of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan
- Embassy of Kenya
- Embassy of the State of Kuwait
- Embassy of Libya
- High Commission of Malaysia
- Embassy of the Netherlands
- High Commission for the Islamic Republic of Pakistan
- Embassy of the Republic of Peru
- Embassy of the Portuguese Republic
- Embassy of Russia
- Embassy of the Republic of Slovenia
- High Commission for the Republic of South Africa
- High Commission for the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago
- Embassy of Turkey
- Embassy of Ukraine
- Embassy of the United Mexican States
- Embassy of the United States of America
A special gift was made to CCB in honour of Dalal Abou-Eid & Geoff Sheppard by Len & Marian Cooper in recognition of the extra kindness they showed to Len during the CVICC Curling Championship.
White Cane Week Local Events:
Here are just a few of the local activities from across the country. Stay tuned for more to come!
Manitoba Division: Winnipeg - On Wednesday February 24th CCB Manitoba Division presented this year’s 2010 Inclusion Award to BMO Bank of Montreal. Accepting the award was Richard Jaques, Vice-President, Manitoba and Northwest Ontario District, BMO Bank of Montreal.
Each year the CCB MB Division presents the Inclusion Award to a company, group or individual who has created or expanded a service or product which increases the opportunities for Manitobans who are blind or vision impaired.
"We are honouring BMO for their inclusion of voice output on all their automated banking machines," says Doris Koop, CCB MB Division Coordinator. "While other financial institutions have made individual ABMs accessible, BMO has recognized the need to make this service available at all of their ABMs."
“My colleagues and I at BMO are extremely proud of this 2010 Inclusion Award that recognizes our efforts to assist customers with visual impairment and to provide them with greater freedom and independence to do their banking”, said Rick Jaques, Vice-President, Manitoba & Northwestern Ontario, BMO Bank of Montreal. “This initiative is part of our ongoing effort to make our services more accessible to customers, and a key element in building on our promise to be the bank that defines great customer service,” added Mr. Jaques.
The voice output feature allows anyone to plug into the machine using common headsets used for portable music players. Once plugged in the user will hear private voice instructions when conducting an ABM transaction. A unique added safety feature is that users can choose to turn the screen off for added safety. ABM's were demonstrated by a vision impaired user.
“We are very happy that BMO took this initiative and even happier to present them this award,” said Koop. “They are clearly deserving of the award.”
BMO launched the technology in 2009 with the help of London, Ontario based company, Phoenix Interactive.
BMO Bank of Montreal also offers fully personalized large-print cheques with perforated guidelines as well as statements in Braille.
Manitoba Division would like to invite you to visit their new website: www.ccbmb.ca. This website is designed to be accessible for everyone without having to give up the aesthetic appeal. You can change the colour to best suit you, change font size and a screen reader reads the site with ease.
BC-Yukon Division: Members from the 100 Mile House & District Chapter hosted an open house on February 11th, 2010 at the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 260 in 100 Mile House. It was attended by 30 people. Terry Pipkey from the CNIB Prince George office was in attendance as a co-host. Terry is a visually impaired member of our 100 Mile House Chapter. Terry brought with him a good display of visual aids and literature to compliment what our club provided. He put on a thirty minute presentation that was very informative and very well received.
Lunch was provided by the club along with a large Birthday cake to celebrate the chapter’s 19th birthday. There was a great deal of interest in many of the visual aids now available to enhance our daily lives. Our member Ben Johnson treated us by singing The Power of the Dream by Terry Kelly. A lot of socializing and mingling contributed to a successful event.
Invitations were created by our secretary and they were sent by the CNIB (Northern Division) to all clients in our area. We advertised using posters, radio coverage, interviews and newspaper articles.
Our local Dr. Specs Optical designed an ad to promote awareness of White Cane Week, The CCB, and our local White Cane Club. They offered a tune up for your glasses for a donation to our club.
On February 10th about a dozen of our members took the bus to Williams Lake to attend that chapter’s WCW event which was held in their local mall. It was very informative and a great success in promoting awareness in their community.
CCB Sunshine Coast White Cane Club members were involved in a community workshop "dialogue program" Feb 6th where discussions were held with community groups, sharing personal experiences and difficulties of low vision, promoting White Cane Week.
On Feb 13 the chapter had a display in a local mall, distributing brochures and talking to the public about vision loss and trying to recruit new members.
Respectively submitted by Jim Vinson, WCW 2010 Chairperson
100 Mile House & District Chapter
Nova Scotia Division: The CCB Halifax Chapter had a flag raising ceremony to begin White Cane Week on Monday February 8 at City Hall with refreshments afterwards on Argyle Street. Thursday was table bowling and cribbage and Friday we had a community booth with brochures, magazines explaining the history of White Cane Week and what CCB is all about and what we do for people who have low vision and vision loss. On Saturday we had white cane bowling at Fairlanes in the Halifax shopping centre.
The Chapter would like to thank our partner VoicePrint Canada Atlantic Region for all their help in the past four years and also the success of White Cane Week. Our white cane bowling was down a little this year but it was still a success. Yvon Clement had top triple at 231, top single was Tom Murphy at 98, Sherry Costa of VoicePrint won $10.00 for a strike and Mitchell Clement won $5.00 for a spare. We all had a lot of fun and had pizza and pop afterwards. Our White Cane Table Bowling was a success as well.
Respectively submitted by Raymond E. Allday Public Relations and Publicity & AnneMarie Laverty Public Relations and Publicity CCB Halifax Chapter
CCB Computer Training Update:
CCB COMPUTER TRAINING FOR YOUNG OR OLD!
The Computer Literacy Training program continues to train blind and visually impaired individuals of all ages on computers using adaptive technology. The program is opening up a world of communication and information to the blind.
Recent computer courses included: Dawson Creek, BC; Regina, SK; Edmonton, AB and Cornwall, ON.
This course is open to ALL blind and visually-impaired Canadians, not only CCB members, and the free 2-week course has an estimated value of $2000.00.
Upcoming courses include: Yellowknife, NWT; and Owen Sound, ON.
For further information on the program, and registration, please contact:
In The News
Workshop teaches computer skills to the visually impaired:
DAWSON CREEK - Navigating through all the applications on our computers and through the Internet can be hard enough for those of us not technologically savvy, but imagine trying to learn those skills if you could not see.
It might be difficult, but not impossible, as eight residents in Dawson Creek were learning on Jan. 26th. The sounds of' keyboard strokes and a monotonous, automated voice play¬ing back what was being typed filled a room at the Kiwanis Enterprise Centre, the site of a workshop put on by the Canadian Council of the Blind (CCB), with funding from Hu¬man Resources Development Canada, to teach basic computer skills to those with visual impairments. The workshop was free of charge for clients to participate.
Cherryl McNab, who was teaching the class along with co-¬trainer Brian Wice, explained participants were learning how to use Windows programs, including how to find their way around the desktop, and use applications such as Microsoft Word, address book, and Microsoft Outlook Express. She said the whole last week of the workshop is spent learning how to navigate the Internet.
“The goal is to allow blind people to have access to the same information as everyone else” said McNab, who is a blind person herself. “It also works to increase employment opportunities, to increase volunteer opportunities, and to give people a more up-to-date skill base.”
The participants were using programs created specifically for users with visual impairments, mainly Job Access with Speech (JAWS), which converts text on the screen to speech, and ZoomText, which has a main purpose to magnify the screen.
McNab said that less than 10 per cent of people with visual impairments are totally blind, so even bigger text on screens can make programs more accessible.
She said they also teach participants how to use computers without using the mouse, which can be very difficult for those with visual impairments to use. Instead, they learn key board shortcuts that allow them to do everything a mouse might do.
”When programmers start to program computers, they never use a mouse, and so all the shortcuts are already in the computer” said McNab. ”Some of them are hidden, but they are there already.”
Lois Mumby said she just bought a new computer and heard through a connection that the workshop was being offered. She was using the ZoomText software and said it was making a huge difference compared to the size of the text she was used to. She said she would like to learn how to navigate the Internet easily so she could shop and bank on line on her own. ”I don’t think I could get a job doing computer work, but I just want to be independent.”
Cheryl Graff said her Braille teacher recommended the workshop even though she was familiar with computers, but added she had already learned a lot she didn’t know in just two days.
”I’m hoping to be able to navigate around the Internet” said Graff. “I can do it, but some pages are inaccessible to the blind, and for some pages I just don’t know commands to get in to certain things.”
She added she even learned about a version of Facebook that is compatible with the JAWS program.
McNab said there still are challenges presented by common applications and websites, but people are becoming more aware of it, but there are still probably about 50 percent of web pages that are still not accessible”
“Funding for the workshops is due to end in March” McNab said. She hopes the general public will learn about the program and lobby the federal government to continue the funding.
By Matthew Rains, Northeast News
This month the CCB Comox Valley Chapter received the news that a long time member, in fact a Charter member, Mary Harris, passed away. It was the wish of the membership that CCB be made aware of this as Mary, was not only a long time member, but she did a great deal of work keeping the Chapter together.
CNIB Library Receives $130,459 contribution:
FREDERICTON (- The provincial government is providing $130,459 to the Canadian National Institute for the Blind (CNIB) to help it maintain its library services.
Post-Secondary Education, Training and Labour Minister Donald Arseneault announced the funding today.
"New Brunswickers should have every tool available to inform and educate themselves," said Arseneault. "I am pleased that this province is leading the way as the first Atlantic province to answer CNIB's request for support.
We are working to ensure that all New Brunswickers have the opportunity to participate actively in the government's self-sufficiency objective."
The provincial funding will help the CNIB maintain its specialized library services to New Brunswickers who are blind or are partially sighted. It will also enable the CNIB to work with the New Brunswick Public Library Service to develop and implement its Service Model for People with Print Disabilities. This will be piloted in seven public libraries beginning Monday, March 1.
"CNIB applauds the leadership shown by the Government of New Brunswick as the first province in Atlantic Canada to support the right to read of its residents who have a print disability that prevents them from reading printed books," said Anthony Knight, CNIB's New Brunswick chair.
The CNIB library, based in Toronto, offers a website and a toll-free number for Canadians to order materials for home delivery. The library, under the Copyright Act, reproduces and distributes books and information in formats such as audio and braille.
"Whether you are blind or partially sighted; whether you struggle to read due to a learning disability; or whether a physical disability prevents you from turning pages, you now have access to thousands of audio, print-braille and braille books through the CNIB library," said Duncan Williams, CNIB's executive director for the Maritime provinces.
About 73,000 New Brunswickers have some form of print disability and, within this group, 22,000 have vision loss.
Onkyo Braille Literacy Essay Contest:
Again this year the National Federation of the Blind will administer the Onkyo Braille Literacy Essay Contest in the United States on behalf of the North America/Caribbean Region of the World Blind Union. The contest was created to promote Braille literacy and to encourage the exchange of social and cultural information. Blind people in the United States and Canada are eligible to apply.
Cooking Without Looking:
The first TV show ever produced especially for blind/visually impaired people. Three hosts, Celia Chacon, Tom Fox and Annette Watkins, are blind/visually impaired themselves, and moderate the 30-minute show which airs twice monthly on WXEL-TV42 PBS in Palm Beach, FL. The show will also air Wednesday evenings at 7:30 pm. "Cooking without Looking" is currently being prepared for national distribution on PBS.
Guest “chefs" who are blind or vision impaired create their culinary specialties, giving tips on how to cook/bake, stay safe and have fun in the kitchen with visual impairments. Past recipes have included "Easy Cheesy Potatoes;" "Strawberry Cheesecake Chacon;" Jamaican Jerk Chicken & Pork; and "Phil's Fabulous Gourmet Meatloaf."
A third segment, "Food for Thought," introduces viewers to people and community organizations who work with people who are blind/visually impaired. This includes guide dog puppy raisers; a blind pilot who received two corneal transplants and re-gained his sight; a blind psychologist who gave tips on preventing depression with sight loss; new vision technology, and MORE!
There are more than 20 half hour shows at