Category: BC-Yukon Newsletters

British Columbia – Yukon Division Summer 2016 News

Sep 07 2016

British Columbia – Yukon Division
PO Box 531 , Postal Station Main, Chilliwack, BC V2P 7V5
604-795-3885 – 1-800-874-4666 – email
Website – Facebook CCB BC-Yukon Division

Under the Distinguished Patronage of Her Honour
The Honourable Judith Guichon, OBC
Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia

Summer 2016 News

Hello, wow – hmmm I wonder how many times I can get away with saying wow in every newsletter. Summer is coming to an end and believe it or not it’s time to get our Chapters up and running, think about membership, Christmas, White Cane Week etc… Wow where does time go and how fast it flies by… Hope you all are enthusiastic and excited about the coming year and what it could offer your Chapter members or how you could make a difference in the lives of other blind and partially sighted individuals in your communities…

Letting you know our 2017 AGM and Workshop will be held on Wednesday April 24th at the Hampton inn and suites by Hilton, 19500 Langley By-Pass, Surrey and we are again hoping for a great turnout. Please remember we will be selling Division Wide 50/50 tickets starting in November to be drawn at our workshop – in 2015 our winner from Prince George won $5,969 – and we are sure with your help we can top that number….

If you would like past copies of the Division Newsletter emailed to you, please email Ann; and do not hesitate to call me or any other Division Board Member for more information or clarification on any content in this newsletter… Ann McNabb, CCB BC-Yukon Division President

///CCB BC-Yukon Division Website…
We would just like to remind everyone that our web site has been up and running since May. The web site provides all contact information of the BC-Yukon Board as well as all Chapter contact information. The site also features all the programs in place, a photo gallery, current happenings in the Division, and access to all publications such as National and Division Newsletters. Again, everyone is encouraged to frequent the web site and we encourage you to provide your feedback too the web site manager, Darren Douma. Darren hopes everyone will also provide many pictures from the many Chapter activities that take place through-out the year. However, when providing any pictures, please also provide details of where the picture was taken, what event it was, and who is pictured. This allows us to tag each picture with information that will allow all users’ screen readers to provide them with useful information and make their browsing time more enjoyable. Any future information you would like to provide along with any feedback about the web site, please e-mail Darren at:  HYPERLINK “”

///Membership Tidbits…
As previously reported, membership remains one of the highest priorities in the CCB BC-Yukon Division and although regular chapter events and activities have been quiet over the summer months and ongoing work has been done behind the scenes to increase membership and develop new chapters. The official welcome announcement for our 27th chapter is pending the issuance of the charter from National office … stay tuned!

Membership drives as well as information and awareness days are being planned in several BC communities and efforts are on-going to eventually establish a chapter in the Yukon Territory. The Division Membership Committee is also aware that some chapters are struggling and efforts are being made to assist these chapters in re-building their membership.

If you are aware of any individual, group or community that would benefit support from contact with the CCB BC-Yukon Division, please Reach out to our Division Assistant Judy Macdonald at 250-706-0233 or by email  HYPERLINK “” or Lori Fry BC-Yukon Division National Representative and Membership Committee Chair at 250-395-2452 or by email  HYPERLINK “”


///Chapter Call in Sessions…
Calling all chapters – the 2016 chapter call in sessions will resume on Thursday September 16, 2016 at 10:00 AM.  Dial 1-866-351-5099 when you here hello press the pound/number key and enter the one time participation code 442 (will change for each session). We encourage all chapters to designate a member to take part from the comfort of their own home. The next few sessions will be facilitated by two CCB BC-Yukon Division board members. This is a great opportunity to get to know your elected board members, more about the ongoing work of the BC-Yukon Division and increase communication between all concerned.  We look forward to speaking with you

Future call in session dates will be a Thursday at 10:00 AM – October 13th, November 18th and December 8th…

///White Cane Week 2017…
– February 5th to 11th

White Cane Week is just around the corner. I would like to share a list of ideas from our Chapters. Please email  HYPERLINK “mailto:patchicquen@hotmail.comand” patchicquen@hotmail.comand I will share your events and ideas in our next newsletter. It is important to get out and let everyone know who we are and about our Chapters – to help our low vision and blind friends in our respective communities.

///Sports & Recreation…
All Chapters are encouraged to send any pictures and information of any sports and recreational activities happening within your Chapters through-out the year. Please contact the Sports and Recreation Committee member, Darren Douma with any information and pictures. Please do provide detailed information along with each picture you send.

///Blind Golf…
Speaking of Sports and recreation, Darren Douma participated in the 2016 Western Canadian AND Canadian Blind Golf Championships this past July in Westlock, Alberta. Unfortunately, Darren did not defend his Canadian title from 2015, but finished second this year in his sight category. Darren did have more positive results in the Western Championships by coming in first place in his sight category. All in all, the event was well attended, well run, and everyone had a great time.
Beyond Darren’s participation in these competitions in Westlock, Darren was named the new President of Western Canadian Blind Golf Association (WCBGA) and Vice President of Blind Golf Canada (BGC). Darren plans on working harder in these roles to promote blind golf in BC and Canada. Whether individuals would like to be competitive or play recreationally, Darren hopes that he can facilitate their future participation in blind golf. This would also include any individuals that would like to come out as volunteers to blind golf events, sight coach for induvial players, or sponsor blind golf, you are also encouraged to contact Darren anytime.

///Welcome to Canada A…
– submitted by Bill Conway

Hello my name is Chief A K 47, a new resident to Canada. I arrived, in my new found country, on August 11th, 2016. It was quite the ordeal in travelling to my final destination, and my new home. I left my training facility at 4 AM EST and arrived 11 AM PST at Vancouver airport, and needed to use the washroom badly. Before I left Canada customs, I faced my first barrier, overcame that, got to use the facilities — in front of a RCMP car — got home at 5:45 PM PST and finally got something to eat. Boy was I hungry; my last meal was at 4:30 PM, EST the day before.

Let me try and explain how I got here… I was trained at a certified school in Morristown New Jersey, My training was on going and I graduated with my Masters in ‘Independent Guidance’. Two days before I left Morristown New Jersey, USA, my new boss was asked to sign documents from the Province of British Columbia, Ministry of Justice. Questions were asked, about this new school policy, with answers from the training facility in the positivizes; they created new policy because of this new law in the province of BC; policy that ensures their graduates are protected by all laws when they leave the training facility; also indicated that the government of BC is asking all certified schools to register their graduates that reside in BC, before they leave the training facility.

My new boss disagrees with registering me in this manner, especially when the Executive Director of the Ministry of Justice, said “we have a choice”. My boss hesitated in the signing, but did not want to violate the schools policies, at this time. My boss now waits to see what registering me means for me in the future.

Now I am just one stride from entering Canada, via Vancouver Airport, and I was stopped. I am very fortunate that my new boss knows a little about the laws of my new country. After clearing the stamping of my bosses passport for re-entering into Canada, a male Custom Agent asked my boss to stop, so he could examine me, — I still had to use the washroom and felt like wetting the agent’s pant leg, —, my boss stated that I was a “Service Dog”, a female Canadian Custom Agent and the Customer Service Agent, that was guiding my boss, agreed with me and told the male agent it was wrong to stop me and examine me. This took just a few minutes to accomplish. It was about time to double step to find my bosses driver and get to the washroom. I went from 4 AM, EST, until 11:30 AM, PST, — for the washrooms on the planes are too awkward for me to use…

Now it took 2.5 hours to travel to Horseshoe Bay, just in time for a ferry delay. We had just got there in time for the 2:15 PM sailing, but of course there was a ferry delay. We finally boarded on the 3:45 PM sailing, which it left at 4:10 PM. Now we were 3rd off the boat and dashed for home and where my Kibble and Bit’s await.

O now I must abide by Bill #17 “Guide Dog and Service Dog Act” for the Province of British Columbia. My boss says it is based upon a business model and tends to add additional hurdles as we travel throughout this province, and is not a user friendly law. My boss says, ‘don’t worry, be happy’, you are now a Canadian. O’Canada A
Bark, Bark, Bark

///Camp Bowen Update…
– submitted by the Camp Bowen Team

This year, the Camp Bowen Society for the Visually Impaired Chapter has run its most successful adult retreat to date. Eighteen campers spent four wonderful days at the Bowen Island Lodge. Campers participated in activities such as a basic self-defence workshop, Showdown, and a campfire with a sing-along. Some campers enjoyed catered meals at the lodge while others chose to explore the local restaurants. A good time was had by all.

Now that camp is over for the summer, fundraising for next year has begun. We were recently at Bowfest, Bowen Island’s community fair, where we raised money by having people donate to play Showdown. BC Blind Sports generously donated the use of their Showdown table.

Keep an eye on the News section of for upcoming fundraisers and next year’s camp info. If you would like to help us fundraise or have any questions about our programs, call us at +1 (844) MyBowen (692-6936).

///GTT in BC…

GTT Victoria took the summer off this year, and we’re ready to get back to work on September 7 in the Community Room of the Greater Victoria Public Library, 735 Broughton Street from 1:00 until 3:30 PM. This group meets on the first Wednesday of each month through the fall, winter and spring. To RSVP please contact Albert Ruel at 250-240-2343, or  HYPERLINK “”

GTT Nanaimo also took the summer off this year, and we’re ready to get back to work on September 8th at The 710 Club, 285 Prideaux Street. This group usually meets on the first Thursday, from 1:00 until 4:00 PM, however in September we will meet after the Labour Day Weekend. To RSVP, please call Donna Hudon at 250-618-0010, or email at  HYPERLINK “”, or Albert Ruel at 250-240-2343, or email at  HYPERLINK “mailto:GTT”

GTT Vancouver,under the leadership of Shawn Marsolais at Blind Beginnings, continued to meet through July and August so will roll right into fall without a hitch. Please look for us at the Blind Beginnings office at 227 6th Street in New Westminster on the second Wednesday of each month from 10:00 AM until 12:00 Noon. To RSVP please contact Shawn Marsolais at, 604-434-7243, or  HYPERLINK “”

For general GTT information in Western Canada please contact Albert Ruel at 250-240-2343, or  HYPERLINK “”

How to keep up to GTT happenings across Canada:

If you wish to follow the GTT Groups now starting to gather all over Canada, you can do so by registering your email address as follows. Registering will have you receiving each announcement in your email inbox without any effort on your part.

Here’s how to register:

Point your Web Browser to,
Find the Edit Field near the bottom of the Web Page and type in your email address.
Tab to the Submit Button and Press the Space Bar or Enter Key.
Launch your Email Program and find an email message from the GTT Program Blog and open it.
Scroll through the message to find the Confirm Link and Press the Enter Key.
This will take you to the GTT Program Blog and should display a message confirming that you have been successfully registered to receive ongoing Blog Posts.

Congratulations! You’re part of the GTT Team. Welcome aboard. You will now receive every invitation, resource article and set of summary notes we post to the GTT Blog automatically in your email inbox.

To stay in touch with GTT on Twitter please follow the two Twitter Feeds listed below:

@GTTVanisle and @GTTProgram

To stay in touch with GTT on Facebook please search for GTTProgram.

///Kamloops White Cane Chapter…
– submitted by Vern Short

At last we are enjoying a beautiful/hot summer in Kamloops. This summer the Kamloops White Cane Club is excited to take a bus trip to the O’Keefe Ranch in Vernon and have lunch there. Also, the MacArthur Island Lawn Bowling Club in Kamloops is hosting a Blind/Visually Impaired Lawn Bowling Tournament on Saturday September 24th with door prizes, team prizes, lots of good food for all and good times too – teams from Vancouver Island, Kelowna and Kamloops will be competing at this event – we look forward to having a great time.

///Provincial Book Club…
The fall season is upon us once again after a summer hiatus, and the selected book to be read in September is River God by Wilbur Smith. This is a long read, about 24 hours, and it’s the first in the 4-book Egyptian series.

The BC Book Club members will meet next on September 24 from 9:00 until 10:00 AM to discuss this book, and to plan the rest of the fall and winter books to be read and reviewed.

If you want to know more about, or to join the BC Book Club please RSVP with President Kathy Sanness, 250-395-0395, or  HYPERLINK “” She will share the toll free number and passcode with those who request access.

///Vancouver VocalEye…
– continue to check out our website for the latest and greatest VocalEye has to offer!  HYPERLINK “”

Tales from the Blind Side, VocalEye’s 4th annual fundraiser – an exciting night filled with fun, food, great prizes, 50/50, raffle baskets, great story’s and good company!!! Held on Saturday November 5, 2016 from 6:00 to 10:00 PM at the Moose’s Down Under Pub, 830 West Pender Street – downstairs – Vancouver. Come and support access to arts and culture for people living with vision loss – tickets are only $25. For more information please contact Amy Amantea at or 604-763-2695. Out of town guests are welcome and a hotel partner can offer great rates, so please inquire with Amy if interested.

Upcoming shows…
* Carry On: A Musical – VocalEye’s first described performance at the Vancouver Fringe Festival – described on Wednesday September 14, 2016 at 7:15 PM at the Firehall Arts Centre, 280 East Cordova Street, Vancouver – 604-762-5294
* Baskerville: A Sherlock Holmes Mystery – a zany whodunit, my dear Watson – described on Sunday October 2, 2016 at 2:00 PM at the Arts Club Stanley, 2750 Granville Street, Vancouver – 604-687-1644
* The Flick – A sly look at changing reels and changing times – described on Tuesday October 18, 2016 at 7:30 PM at the Arts Club Granville Island, 1585 Johnston Street, Vancouver – 604-687-1644
* To See or Not to See – a new play by a Canadian playwright with vision loss, Ruth Bieber – described on Saturday October 22, 2016 at 2:00 PM at the Rotary Centre for the Arts (Mary Irwin Theatre), 421 Cawston Avenue, Kelowna – 250-717-5304
* Baskerville: A Sherlock Holmes Mystery – described on Saturday October 22, 2016 at 4:00 PM at the Surrey Arts Centre, 13750-88th Avenue, Surrey – 604-501-5566

///Barrier Free BC in Abbotsford…
* that just over 604,000 British Columbians with disabilities encounter physical, sensory, cognitive, learning and intellectual barriers including ones related to technology, education, communication, employment, attitudes and others on a daily basis
* that it is a natural progression of the aging process for people to experience physical and/or sensory limitations or even a permanent life-altering disability as they grow older
* that the Federal Government of Canada is working toward the goal of enacting a Canadians with Disabilities Act which will require goods, services and facilities which come under their jurisdiction to be accessible to all persons with disabilities, but it will only apply to goods, services and facilities made available through Federal Ministries and federally funded programs with no ability to apply a similar requirement on goods, services or facilities made available through provincial governments or provincially regulated businesses
* that he Provinces of Ontario and Manitoba have enacted disability legislation with the Province of Nova Scotia working toward the introduction and enactment of disability legislation in 2016
* that the Government of British Columbia launched an initiative entitled “Accessibility 2024” on June 16 2014 with the goal of making BC the most progressive province in Canada for people with disabilities by the year 2024, an initiative which is neither mandatory or legislated
* that the Government of BC is considering whether to develop and enact a British Columbians with Disabilities Act
* that the CCB BC-Yukon Division Board has endorsed the thirteen principles upon which a British Columbians with Disabilities Act should be based as they believe it is important to achieve a barrier-free province for all persons with disabilities and encourage CCB Chapters, members, their families and friends to get on board

The following motion was passed at our meeting on June 8, 2016…

Motion for the Canadian Council of the Blind Abbotsford Blind & Visually Impaired Society Chapter to support the Barrier-Free BC campaign that is calling upon BC’s Legislative Assembly to enact a strong and effective British Columbians with Disabilities Act

Furthermore, our members agreed to add their names to the growing list of individual supporters for a Barrier Free BC; and encourage and challenge other CCB Chapters to do the same…

///Barrier Free BC in Kamloops…
– submitted by Vern Short

Since June I have been busy campaigning on behalf of the Barrier Free BC Campaign in Kamloops. On July 18th, Ken Gray CNIB Division Board Chair and I spent an hour with MLA/Transportation Minister Todd Stone discussing this campaign; and another meeting is in the works for the fall with both local MLAs present. On August 16th, I attended a City Council meeting, where I was able to get Barrier Free BC on the Council Agenda. And on September 22nd, I will do a ten minute presentation for the Thompson-Nicola Regional District Board of Directors about Barrier Free BC – this timing is great considering they go to the Union of BC Municipalities later in September.

///World Sight Day (WSD) & World white Cane Safety Day…
WSD is an annual day of awareness held on the second Thursday of October – in 2016 on October 13th – to focus global attention on blindness and vision impairment.

WHITE CANE SAFETY DAY is held on October 15th each
year and  is a time to remind people about how the white cane is an important tool in helping the blind and partially sighted live with greater independence. The white cane is a symbol of blindness, courage and independent spirit; a symbol of Ability not Disability.

My White Cane Song was written by the students of the Blennz Music School (Blind and Low Vision Education in New Zealand). My White Cane Song link…

///Canadian Accessible Library Services Conference Call…
– submitted by Albert Ruel

On July 27, 2016, CCB and AEBC hosted a national conference call regarding accessible library services in Canada. The national conference call was sponsored by the Canadian Council of the Blind’s Get Together with Technology Program (GTT) and AEBC’s Accessible Information and Copyright Committee.

The topic of the call was “Canadian Accessible Library Services: Who provides it, what do they provide, how does it work and what does the future look like?” Leo Bissonnette, AEBC National Board Member, and Albert Ruel, GTT Coordinator, acted as moderators and Kim Kilpatrick, GTT Coordinator, assisted with the question and answer sessions and other logistical details.

During the call, approximately 30 participating listeners heard presentations from representatives of the Center for Equitable Library Access’, Michael Ciccone and Margaret Williams, as well from the National Network for Equitable Library Services’ we had Sabina Iseli-Otto presenting.

The presenters were provided a list of questions in advance of the call that were generated from AEBC email list discussions, and from participants of GTT meetings held over the preceding few months. On July 27th the live callers were also offered an opportunity to ask their burning questions following the two 15 minute presentations, then all of those combined responses were gathered into two separate documents and circulated by CCB and AEBC to their respective constituents.

Those documents are too lengthy to include in this article, however are available for download as follows:

NNELS Summary Notes:

CELA Summary Notes:

For additional information about this joint effort, or to receive your copy of the summary notes please contact Albert Ruel at 250-240-2343, or  HYPERLINK “”

CCB and AEBC staff and volunteers want to thank the presenters from both Library organizations for their time and considerable effort, as well as to thank those who took time out of their busy summer to dial into the call.

///Your CCB BC-Yukon Board of Directors…
In order for you to get to know who your elected Division Board of Directors are, In this newsletter and subsequent newsletters, I will be including the biographies submitted by your Division Directors for the 2016Conference…

///Your CCB BC-Yukon Division Director…
– submitted by Bill Conway for the 2016 Conference
My blindness started fifty seven years ago, from a tramatic injury. Since the mid 70’s, , I have learnt how to live independently with no visual acuety. Most of my education took place in Southern Ontario, with additional coarses taken in Vancouver.

During the mid 70’s athletics became part of my life. This gave me the opportunity of becoming a team player, confidence in my abilities, & the determination not to quit. When I put on my running shoes, I participated in local,provincial, national & international track events, from the 100 meter dash,to the marathon. When I put on my cross country skis, opportunities opened up for me to participate in events, from provincial, to the Olympic level of competition.

My working years has been always within the disability community. From working in the recreational field,with citizens with visual impairments, to working for those with a variety of disabilities,in the job search market, & by doing so, it gave me a real understanding of all of the barriers we must face on a daily basis.

Learning about barriers became front & centre after I received my first Seeing Eye dog in 1979. For the Educating the general public on simple guidelines is an ongoing commitment. My current Seeing eye dog, Lady Slick, & I visits schools, hospitals,& aged friendly homes to give talks about Guide Dogs, & put smiles on a number of faces.

Over the past twenty years, I have involved myself in a number of committees& community affairs;

1995-2016 Attended PAWS Bi-annual International Guide & Assistance Dog Conferences
1995 – 2005; board member BC Coalition for People with Disabilities, (BCCPD
2006-16 District of sechelt Accessibility Advisory committee,( Chair, past 7 yrs)
2010-16 District of sechelt Revitalization Advisory committee, (chair)
2006-11, & 2013-16 President Sunshine Coast White Cane club
2011-16 Provincial Director, CCB BC Yukon Division
Given presentations at BC Ferry public hearings
Involved with Transit 25 year Vision workshops

in my spare time, I mentor a number of citizens with disabilities, enjoy good walks, reading great novels, & repair antique caned furniture. There is no place I will not go when asked, for it seems making new pathways & providing suggestive advice is what I have become known to do.

///Your CCB BC-Yukon Division Director…
– submitted by Donna Rekve for the 2016 Conference
I have been volunteering for CCB for many years. I have been on the ßexecutive for the Powell River Chapter as secretary, treasurer, organizer for events,White Cane Week etc.
Although not blind, i do have a vision impairment as i have vitreous tears in both eyes.
As well as this, i have been the director for Emergency Social Services for several years and been a volunteer as well for over 26 years. I had a team of over 45 people, was part of the emergency team at City Hall and worked with the mayor, regional district, fire, police, ambulance, hospital, coroner and many other top officials. My job was to train a team to attend fires, floods and earthquakes. We provided food, clothing and lodging for evacuees, pet care and meds.
Part of my duties as director was to work with our City Hall emergency team to hold a mock disaster. I provided voluteers to be actors in plane crashes. At times i wrote the script and every year myself and one other volunteer did all of the injury makeup on over 40 people. I worked with the doctors and hospital on providing real life looking injuries to what the hospital needed.
Every year, i am also an inury makeup volunteer for the grade 11 students for the party program where we have 3 days of a car crash with a teenage male and a dead female. We teach these students what can happen if you drink and drive, do drugs and drive or text and drive. Again, i work with the hospital, fire, police ,ambulance and coroner.
I have also been a volunteer with the Salvation Army, Red Cross and St.John Ambulance in the same capacity.
As a genealogist, i have been on the board of directors for several terms, on the board for the senior centre for a couple of terms and am an officer with Powell River’s Order of the Eastern Star.
This past year, i was honoured to be appointed as a director for the BC-Yukon Division for CCB. I am on several committees which include the board of directors, policy committee, bylaws committee and book of honour committee and have thoroughly enjoyed my time with all of the other board members and hope my contributions have helped in some small way in the building of this very strong team.
I would truly love to remain one of the directors.

*** Please feel free to make contact with your Division Board…
Ann McNabb, President – 604-795-7230 – HYPERLINK “”
Lori Fry, National Representative – 250-395-2452 –  HYPERLINK “”
Gerry Braak, 1st Vice President – 604-485-5028 - HYPERLINK “”
Pat Chicquen, 2nd Vice President – 250-339-3904 – HYPERLINK “”
Bill Conway, Director – 604-740-5896 – HYPERLINK “”
Darren Douma, Director – 250-428-8715 –  HYPERLINK “” \t “_blank”
Donna Rekve, Director – 604-483-4220 –  HYPERLINK “”
Kathy Sanness, Director – 250-395-0395 –  HYPERLINK “”

British Columbia – Yukon Division Spring 2016 News

May 18 2016

British Columbia – Yukon Division

PO Box 531 , Postal Station Main, Chilliwack, BC V2P 7V5

604-795-3885 or 1-800-874-4666 or


Under the Distinguished Patronage of Her Honour

The Honourable Judith Guichon, OBC

Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia



Spring 2016 News

Hello, wow, summer is almost upon us and most of us will be taking a bit of a break from our regular Chapter activities; although I suspect some of you have summer activities as well and I am hoping you report those activities to me for our next edition…


I would like to thank all our Chapters who sent a delegate and supported the 2016 Workshop and Conference. Congratulations to all returning Directors and especially to Kathy Sanness, who was willing to add her name to the fray. Although, we did need to say good bye to Terry Pipkey and thank him for his contributions. As per usual, we had the opportunity to learn from one another and will continue to enhance future meetings with that knowledge…


The Silent Auction was a success due to the efforts of Chapters who donated items and Vern Short who visited many business locations in Kamloops – Our Silent Auction netted us $1,441 and the two 50 50 draws $329.50 – thank you everyone for your continued support and loyalty; and special thanks to CCB Kamloops White Cane Chapter for helping to make the Division’s Conference a success…


If you would like past copies of the Division Newsletter emailed to you, please email Ann; and do not hesitate to call me or any other Division Board Member for more information or clarification on any content in this newsletter… Ann McNabb, CCB BC-Yukon Division President



///2016 Triennial Conference…

– submitted by Brodie McKenzie

On behalf of the PoCo Visually Impaired People (VIP) CCB (Port Coquitlam) chapter, thank you to everyone for the great hospitality. Thank you to the Board of Directors, Conference Committee and all those who worked so hard to make this a big success. It was so nice to see old friends and make many new ones. Thank you to the Port Coquitlam Lions Club for their financial donation, my mother and I would not have been able to attend it if it wasn’t for this generosity. Thank you to the Kamloops Curling Club for the delicious meals, and a great venue to hold the conference. It was a great experience – learning new things in the technology world for those who are blind or with vision loss. The talk on the history of Braille was very intriguing. Thank you to everyone from myself and my mom Gisele. A big thank you to Gerry for the shuttle service from the bus depot and back. We hope to see everyone at the 2017 AGM.


– submitted by Amy Amantea, Vancouver VocalEye

I had a great time at the conference/AGM this weekend. I have never been to Kamloops, just driven past. It is always great to see the many returning delegates and catch up, share information and learn about what their Chapters are doing. In some capacity, I will be a CCB member for life. You all did such a great job arranging things again for this year, you should be so proud of a successful event and the addition of a silent auction was a great idea – something to include for future conferences.  Congratulations to the new board!



– submitted by Vern Short, Kamloops

As a first time attendee at a CCB BC-Yukon Division conference, hosted by Kamloops on April 22nd & 23rd, I was able to catch up with old friends and meet new friends in the Division. I enjoyed the fellowship/stories of all who attended. It is my hope that the delegates, members and executive enjoyed themselves here. I was only too proud to contribute to the overall success of the conference. I personally learned a few new things from the conference and listening to each Chapter’s activities report – the ideas that are out there are all wonderful to hear about. The GTT workshop was great, but more is needed locally and more frequently with the   GTT. Yes; I do agree and urge others to fully support the 13 principals for a new BC Persons’ with a Disability Act, to encompass a true spectrum of fairness for all British Columbians with a disability. So lets all do our part in getting this information out to the people that need to know about it.


  • Submitted by Geraldine Braak, Powell River

It was with great interest that I received very many comments about the Conference.  It was disappointing that I could not attend and I thank all of you for giving me the trust and confidence to elect me as First Vice President and will work to the best of my ability.  Have a great spring and summer.


///Book of Honour Winners for 2016…

At the Canadian Council of the Blind (CCB) BC-Yukon Division 2016 Conference in Kamloops, two Book of Honour Certificates were given out – first, as per our tradition, to a blind member and second, for the first time, to a sighted member. Congratulations and thanks go out to Florence (Flo) Hill from the Sunshine Coast White Cane Chapter who was the blind recipient and Gladys Lindgren from the Chilliwack White Cane Chapter who was the sighted recipient. Following are Flo’s and Gladys’ profiles sent in by their Chapters…


Flo Hill’s parents were immigrants from Scotland, and arrived just in time, to Vancouver, for Flo to be born in 1920. Here she was raised and educated along with her 2 brothers and 1 sister. In 1973, Flo and her husband, Roy, moved to the Sunshine Coast of Half Moon Bay. Over the next number of years Flo, realized that her sight was giving her some problems. She went through a number of examinations and a variety of medication, Flo accepted to be a participant in a research project, pertaining to The Prevention and Curability of Macular Degeneration. Although the research project was not a success for Flo, what it did do was to pave the way for the medication that Othomologist provide their patients today. During the time Flo was in the process of losing her sight, Flo volunteered her time at our local Hospital Gift shop. She only left after she no longer could identify what was on the shelves.


Flo joined the Sunshine Coast White Cane Club in 1999. She stated, “I came because I enjoy meeting people and help where I can”. Flo became very active in the club and in 2004 was elected president. Flo brought in a large selection of speakers from our community so we could be informed on a variety of topics.  During White Cane Week, we would hear Flo asking anyone who stopped at our table, do you know anyone who is blind, along with other questions. Flo would try anything   to acquire additional members for our club.   Unfortunately, Flo stepped aside in 2009 to oversee her beloved husband.   Flo is still an active member in our club and always willing to give suggestions for good speakers at the rightful age of 95 years young.


Gladys Lindgren is a long time member of the CCB Chilliwack white Cane Chapter as a sighted member. In 1979, when Gladys retired working as a bookkeeper at Fraser Valley Foods, she joined her husband Lindy (Albert) who was already a CCB member in the Chilliwack Chapter. The executive at the time asked Gladys if she would be willing to be the club’s treasurer and Gladys agreed. Over the next 30 years, Gladys kept a meticulous accounting of the club’s finances – always having the financial reports ready and balanced. Right from the start Gladys was involved with the club, offering her eyes, her hands and her wisdom for the benefit of the club members. Numerous times throughout the years Gladys has sat behind information tables, during White Cane Week and Canada Day Celebrations, helping to make crafts and selling at craft and bake sales at the mall and driving anyone and everyone to wherever they needed to go for club business. When Lindy passed away, Gladys continued to support the club as a board member and still offers us her support and experience. Gladys is now 92 and is finding it difficult to remember everything, but we all do remember her contributions for more than 30 years and believe she deserves this recognition.

Please note that Gladys died on April 17th, before she received this award. Letting you know on the Wednesday before, we whispered in Gladys’ ear that she was the first recipient of this award – we are not sure if she understood, but we like to think she did…


///Membership Tidbits…

The CCB BC-Yukon Division extends an official welcome to the newly formed Get Together With Technology (GTT) Vancouver Chapter. Membership remains a priority for the Division and we will soon be announcing the addition of the 27th chapter currently in the process of registering with the National office.


Membership is growing in numbers and strength due to the united forces within the blind community along with the efforts of all our members. This was evident at the recent CCB 2016 Triennial Conference held in Kamloops. The majority of all Division Chapters were represented by delegates and members, guides and volunteers who all contributed to the successful outcome of the conference. Without the membership, this would not be possible.




///Chapter Call in Sessions…

These sessions offer an opportunity for your Chapter to exchange their ideas and successes; express their concerns or struggles while providing peer mentoring, encouragement and motivation to each other through productive discussions. Your Chapter is encouraged to call in – it is important to maintain strong communication amongst the Chapters and members of the Division.


Dialling instructions and a different conference code are sent to members by email prior to the scheduled session. The next Call In Session will be held on Thursday June 16th at 10:00 AM and there will be no sessions in July and August.

If you require further details or assistance please contact Judy Macdonald at 250-706-0233 or by email at


Thank you to all who have taken the time to participate!


///Provincial Book Club…

– submitted by Albert Ruel

Here are the books so far selected for our spring reading pleasure. The BC Book Club members will take the summer off from meeting, however we’ll continue to read while enjoying time on the beach or at the cabin.


We urge all of you to think about some good books you’d like to recommend for the group and then join us in the fall when we re-convene. President Kathy Sanness can be reached at…

250-395-0395 or


To join us on our monthly calls you may dial the below number, followed by the Code that precedes each listed book…


Code # 283, May 28: Just One Evil Act, Elizabeth George

Code #358, June 25: Harry Potter


///Chilliwack White Cane Chapter…

– Barrier Free BC


* that just over 604,000 British Columbians with disabilities encounter physical, sensory, cognitive, learning and intellectual barriers including ones related to technology, education, communication, employment, attitudes and others on a daily basis

* that it is a natural progression of the aging process for people to experience physical and/or sensory limitations or even a permanent life-altering disability as they grow older

* that the Federal Government of Canada is working toward the goal of enacting a Canadians with Disabilities Act which will require goods, services and facilities which come under their jurisdiction to be accessible to all persons with disabilities, but it will only apply to goods, services and facilities made available through Federal Ministries and federally funded programs with no ability to apply a similar requirement on goods, services or facilities made available through provincial governments or provincially regulated businesses

* that the Provinces of Ontario and Manitoba have enacted disability legislation with the Province of Nova Scotia working toward the introduction and enactment of disability legislation in 2016

* that the Government of British Columbia launched an initiative entitled “Accessibility 2024” on June 16 2014 with the goal of making BC the most progressive province in Canada for people with disabilities by the year 2024, an initiative which is neither mandatory or legislated

* that the Government of BC is considering whether to develop and enact a British Columbians with Disabilities Act

* that the CCB BC-Yukon Division Board has endorsed the thirteen principles upon which a British Columbians with Disabilities Act should be based as they believe it is important to achieve a barrier-free province for all persons with disabilities and encourage CCB Chapters, members, their families and friends to get on board


The following motion was passed at our meeting on May 4, 2016…

Motion for the Canadian Council of the Blind Chilliwack White Cane Chapter to support the Barrier-Free BC campaign that is calling upon BC’s Legislative Assembly to enact a strong and effective British Columbians with Disabilities Act


Furthermore, our members agreed to add their names to the growing list of individual supporters for a Barrier Free BC; and encourage and challenge other CCB Chapters to do the same…


///Comox Valley White Cane Chapter…

– submitted by Pat Chicquen

All is well in the Comox Valley.  We are having a picnic on the 5th of July.  Invited are the Powell River Chapter, Campbell River Chapter, Doug Stouley and Albert Ruel along with their driver.


On May 14th we had our first annual Car Wash and Hot Dog Sale. It was held at Westview Ford.  They supplied everything for the car wash plus hot dogs and drinks.  Our great helpers were very tired by the end of their shifts. We did very well with the car wash and hot dog sales raising $1000.05 in sales and donations.


Have a great summer everyone.


///Get Together with Technology at Seeing Beyond the Horizon…

– Richmond BC May 4, 5, 6 and 7, 2016

  • Submitted by Albert Ruel

Albert Ruel and Brenda Forbes attended the 2016 Seeing Beyond the Horizon Conference with a wide variety of pamphlets and brochures outlining CCB’s work, and through discussion offered some practical ways that CCB and the Teachers of the Vision Impaired might work together in the education of Canadian youth who are blind, partially sighted and deaf-blind as they transition from school to adulthood.  Many asked where GTT meetings are currently being held in the evenings and on weekends so that more youth and working aged adults can be included in our programs, and that is what we will focus our energy on for the coming months, the establishment of gatherings conducive to participation by youth who are still in school and those adults who work during the day.


Welcoming the Canadian Vision Teachers to the Seeing Beyond the Horizon 2016 Bi-Annual Conference the CCB offered a Door Prize which was made up of a CCB blanket, travel mug, earphones, keychain flashlight and pen all nestled inside a CCB tote bag, along with bottles of Sumac Ridge BC red and white wine.  Congratulations to the CCB Door Prize winner, and those who won the many other door prizes on offer by the conference venders.


Many vision teachers, braillists and other allied professionals who work with blind, partially sighted and deaf-blind students in the K to Grade 12 school system and who attended this conference stopped by the CCB/GTT booth to explore how our programs might support their work.  It is CCB’s belief that through offering varied types of peer mentoring, such as the Get Together with Technology program we can assist in the student’s transition from high school to adult life, and those same youth can help adults better understand the role that assistive technology can play in leveling the playing field for work, leisure and recreation.  Our youth have so much to offer adults and seniors, and we know too that adults and seniors have a lot to offer our youth in the areas of general life skills, as well as assistive technology.


CCB staff and volunteers who attended this vital conference also learned a great deal from the other venders in attendance.  Many technology, way finding and braille production devices and strategies were on display for all to experience.  Those resources too will be disseminated to CCB membership through GTT meetings and the Division and National newsletters.


///Kelowna Blind Curling Chapter…

– submitted by Bill Mah

We are taking a much deserved brake after a busy curling season. Our Club will have a summer barbecue in June along with our annual meeting. This is when we take time to plan for the upcoming year. Our group has joined once again the Commercial League in the fall and we are looking forward to sending a team back to the Canadian Vision Impaired Championships in Ottawa in February. New curlers are always welcomed. Please contact Bill at (250) 878-0710 if anyone would like to try curling in the fall.


Unrelated to curling, I want to invite people to join the Kelowna Yacht Club in their annual fishing derby for the blind on July 23rd. Contact Bill at (250) 878-0710 if you wish further information on this event.


///Lawn Bowling…

– submitted by Al Hanet from Kelowna

For over 25 years I have been asking, harassing and begging CCB members to join us in lawn bowling with and for the Blind – with no success recruiting Bowlers. Now I must tell you time is running short, I am just about 80 years old and when I am gone so will blind Lawn bowling. You will have lost the opportunity to play in one of the best Sports in the world for the Blind and visually Impaired.


I have had the opportunity to travel to 8 Major countries in the World and have earned nearly 60 winning medals for blind lawn bowling. This year we are holding the Nationals in Ladner and this may be your last chance in participating in this great sport, for fun entertainment and really tough competition.


I for one am totally grateful for one Visually Impaired Person, who came to me and said “Al, come lawn bowling”. I am older now, but still a very competitive lawn bowler.


///Prince George White Cane Chapter…

– submitted by Margaret Storey

We are a small group who gather once a month to air problems at our meeting and then have a lovely lunch prepared by the Ladies at the Church where we meet. However, we also have a celebrity in our midst… Our President, Ron McIvor, is a blind skier. Last year he was sidelined with a badly broken ankle a week before competition, but this year he went all out. The first event was Canadian Ski For at Kananakis, Alberta, where Ron won Silver in the 10k and the 20k. Then Ron went on to Norway for the World Championships against up to 100 others, where he won Silver in the 10k and then Bronze in the biathlon – consisting of skiing and shooting. He isn’t very good at shooting, so did very well – we are very proud of our President.


///Sunshine Coast White Cane Chapter…

– submitted by Bill Conway

The Sunshine Coast members were very pleased to learn, that their nominee, for the Book of Honour – Blind Person’s category, was selected.  The presentation of the lovely wooden frame, with a glass insert, was presented to Florence Hill on May 11th.  President Bill presented, it to her, at the clubs yearly outing, to a local restaurant.  She received a lovely round of applause from the other patrons and our club members.  Flo indicated, upon receiving the plaque, now I really have something to look at and able to read it at the same time, for it was done in bold print.  She gave us her thanks of appreciation and then allowed pictures to be taken.  Once again the club wishes to thank the Book of Honour Committee for their worthy selection.


Also, on May 15th, President Bill, present the “Advocates for Veterans” resolution to the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 140, to President Kay Medcalf.  This presentation was done at their monthly meeting.  There were approximately 40 members and its executive in attendance.  There were words of appreciation for our ongoing commitment in supporting local veterans.  The resolution was done, in such a manner, that it would be readable by a variety of ages. …Note; this RCL branch has supported our club to the tune of $10,000 over the past 16 years…


We only have one more meeting before the summer hits us.  This year the club will be having its yearly picnic in the Township of Gibson.  We will gather at one of the community halls that are situated on the water front.  Here we will enjoy the comfortable site, smell the many flowers, and enjoy a pot luck lunch.  The Sunshine Coast members wish that you all have a safe and enjoyable summer.


///Vancouver VocalEye…

– submitted by Amy Amantea

Some exciting times at VocalEye and we continue to work with the vision loss community to create the best service we can and to meet the needs to people with vision loss that create a barrier to participation and enjoying arts and culture!! Below is a list of the described performances for summer 2016. Any questions can be directed to Steph Kirkland, Executive Director at 604-364-5949 or – sign up for the newsletter by contacting Steph or visiting – its free and full of information about arts and culture and a community of people living with vision loss.

VocalEye Described Performances and Events for SUMMER 2016…

* Describing Fireworks Workshops – VocalEye conducted a pilot-test of our hands-on tactile technique for describing fireworks for people who are blind at the Celebration of Light last year – This year, we’re offering 2 free workshops in the technique: Saturday June 18th or Saturday June 25th from 11:00 AM to 3:00 PM at Langara College, 100 West 49th Avenue. Each 4 hour workshop will be led by Collin van Uchelen and will include an introduction to pyrotechnical terms with videos to illustrate common and unusual effects. Sighted participants will learn and practice the technique, honing their skills with feedback from their partners. Theatre Buddies and light snacks will be provided. Any VocalEye member with vision loss may attend a workshop with their sighted companion or ask to be paired with a Theatre Buddy and participants will have the option to attend one or more live fireworks experiences in July – the details of those events will be provided at the workshop. This technique is still in the experimental stage, so we value your feedback and participation, whether or not you join us for the live events. Space is limited. Please contact Steph for more information and to register for one of the workshops: 604-364-5949 or


Summer Musicals and Bard on the Beach…

* Billy Elliot, the 10-time Tony Award-winning musical sensation about a boy from a coal-mining town who wants to be a ballet dancer. Described by Teri Snelgrove on Sunday, June 5th at 2:00 PM at The Arts Club Stanley, 2750 Granville Street, Vancouver. Tickets are $29 for VocalEye users, while they last. Please call 604-687-1644 to purchase. (

* Rock of Ages, this 80s classic rock/glam rock hit musical features songs from Foreigner, Twisted Sister, Journey, Styx, Bon Jovi and Bowie, to name a few. Described by Ingrid Turk on Tuesday July 5th at 7:30 PM at The Arts Club Granville Island, 1585 Johnston Street, Vancouver. Tickets are $29 for VocalEye users, while they last. Please call 604-687-1644 to purchase. (

* Romeo and Juliet, Shakespeare’s timeless tale of star-crossed lovers will be described on Sunday July 17th at 2:00 PM at the Bard on the Beach MainStage, 1695 Whyte Avenue, Vanier Park, Vancouver – this performance will be followed by a Touch Tour. Tickets are $29 for VocalEye users and the same price for up to one companion. Please call 604-739-0559 to purchase. (

* The Merry Wives of Windsor is brimming with music, flirting, fun and faeries! Described on Sunday July 24th at 2:00 PM at the Bard on the Beach MainStage, 1695 Whyte Avenue, Vanier Park, Vancouver – this performance will be followed by a Touch Tour. Tickets are $29 for VocalEye users and the same price for up to one companion. Please call 604-739-0559 to purchase. (


Vancouver Pride Parade, a free, public, outdoor extravaganza described on Sunday July 31st. Description equipment and accessible seating will be available in Alexandra Park, Vancouver from Noon until 3:00 PM. More details to come… Theatre Under the Stars described performances are still to be confirmed… Please mark your calendars and check the VocalEye website for updates, reviews and support materials. (


A link to the VocalEye May newsletter: (


///The Blind Beader…
Hello CCB Members, it was lovely to see everyone at the conference/AGM in Kamloops! Thanks so much to those of you who made purchases from The Blind beader, your support and feedback is very much appreciated! Did you know that The Blind Beader creates a line of jewellery and accessories to help raise funds for VocalEye? Adorned with the Turkish “Evil Eye” a Talisman that has been used for centuries in many cultures around the world to bring good luck and ward off evil  and negative energy, each piece is uniquely created. items in this collection include book marks, eye glass chains, key chains, zipper charms, earrings, necklaces, bracelets and wine charms and Pandora style beads – all starting from $5. If you want an easy way to help support VocalEye and raise funds to provide access to arts and culture for people living with vision loss, please let me know. If you have any upcoming events and wish to sell some of the pieces on behalf of VocalEye to help us raise funds that would be much appreciated! It takes about $75,000 a year to provide the service that we do for people with vision loss and every dollar is put directly back into providing the service. To inquire about this collection or any other creation by The Blind Beader contact me directly. thanks again for all your support!
Amy Amantea 604-763-2695 or


///Your CCB BC-Yukon Board of Directors…

In order for you to get to know who your elected Division Board of Directors are, In this newsletter and subsequent newsletters, I will be including the biographies submitted by your Division Directors for the 2016Conference…


///Your CCB BC-Yukon Division Newest Board Member…

– submitted by Kathy Sanness for the 2016 Conference

I grew up on a small ranch out of 100 Mile House and lived in that area until I moved to Kelowna in December 2014.  I raised three sons there, the oldest of which had Asthma all his childhood and the youngest of which is Autistic; he is the reason for my move to Kelowna as there were not sufficient resources for him in 100 Mile House.  I worked for all my adult life, even while raising my sons.  I also volunteered to help parents of Autistic children in our school district.  I was forced to retire when I lost most of the sight in my second eye due to Macular Degeneration caused by extreme myopia.  At that time (1998), I worked in the senior secondary school as a Youth Care Worker in the Alternate Program.  That is when I joined the local White Cane Club.  I served first as Secretary-Treasurer, then as Treasurer, and later as Vice President until I moved away.  I volunteered as Peer Councillor for the CNIB for a number of years for the area between Clinton and Quesnel including the Chilcotins.  I joined the Interlakes Lions in 2005.  While there I ran the 50/50 draws every meeting, when needed I collected money for dinner, I served as Director for several years until my  husband got sick and I even served as Second Vice President for one term.  I worked on fundraising for both the White Cane Club and the Interlakes Lions.


About four years ago I was asked to start a book club for the CCB in BC.  Then almost three years ago we were asked to become our own chapter, with me as president.  This year, with the help of some of my Lioness club, I put on a display in a local mall for White Cane Week. Since moving to Kelowna, I have joined OVIS (the Okanagan Visually Impaired Society), where I play crib with several of my fellow members every Tuesday, and the Kelowna Lioness Club.  I have also become the local peer councillor for the CNIB.


///Your CCB BC-Yukon Division 1st Vice President…

– submitted by Geraldine Braak for the 2016 Conference

I have been involved with the Canadian Council of the Blind BC-Yukon Division since 1973. I started the Powell River White Cane Club which is now known as the CCB Powell River Chapter. I was elected as delegate to the CCB BC-Yukon Division Conference where I was elected as board member. I served as Director of Legislation, 2nd Vice President and 1st Vice President and was elected to the CCB National Board of Directors. I served as Director of Legislation and 1st Vice President and became National President for an 8 year period. The Canadian Council of the Blind is a member of the World’s Blind Union (WBU) which I attended as a delegate in a variety of different countries. I served as 1st Vice President for the North American, Caribbean Division of the WBU and served as chair person of the Women’s Committee and as an executive member of the WBU board of directors. I represented the CCB in a variety of different countries. I have been very involved for more than 40 years and I received the Order of British Columbia and have been invested as an officer in the Order of Canada and received a Honourary Doctorate of Law Degree. I also received the CCB National Award of Merit and been awarded a Life Membership in the CCB. I have also represented the CCB on many provincial and national committees and was chair person of the advisory committee on the Accessible Transportation for the federal ministry. I was very involved in the start-up of the Canadian Braille Authority and served as the first Past President. Of course there are many other involvements all of which I feel privileged to be nominated to and had the opportunity to gain a tremendous amount of experience.


*** Please feel free to make contact with your Division Board…

Ann McNabb, President – 604-795-7230 –

Lori Fry, National Representative – 250-395-2452 –

Gerry Braak, 1st Vice President – 604-485-5028 –

Pat Chicquen, 2nd Vice President – 250-339-3904 –

Bill Conway, Director – 604-740-5896 –

Darren Douma, Director – 250-428-8715 –

Donna Rekve, Director – 604-483-4220 –

Kathy Sanness, Director – 250-395-0395 –



BC-Yukon Winter – Spring 2016 News

Apr 04 2016

British Columbia – Yukon Division

PO Box 531 , Postal Station Main, Chilliwack, BC V2P 7V5

604-795-3885 or 1-800-874-4666 or


Under the Distinguished Patronage of Her Honour

The Honourable Judith Guichon, OBC

Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia


Winter/Spring 2016 News

Hello, I know I’ve said it before and for sure I’ll say it many times more over the years – how time flies – it’s already April! Our conference is less than three weeks away –       Yikes! There’s still lots to do and organize and hoping all who are planning to attend, have a memorable time; the Conference Committee and others on the ground in Kamloops have worked tirelessly on your behalf – Thank you for helping to organize an event to be proud of…

The 2016 CCB BC-Yukon Division Conference is being held in Kamloops on April 22nd and 23rd – focusing on the braille and technology workshop; and our Annual General Meeting, where we will take care of the Division’s business. Throughout the two days there will be dignitaries in attendance, giving their support and sharing their thoughts. And most importantly, there will be good food, door prizes, 50/50 draws, a silent auction and lots more activity…

This year’s workshop promises to be informative and interesting- Betty Nobel and Albert Ruel will be the facilitators – “Braille: its Past and its future and Get Together With Technology (GTT). These presentations will outline the history and development of braille reading and writing, the development of Unified English Braille and the emergence of refreshable braille technology.  We will learn how braille was used in the past, how it continues to be used and how it will be used in the future.  Betty will involve the group in some interactive activities and test their knowledge of braille.  We will all explore the value of braille in employment situations, public places, the use of braille for labeling and signage, and more…  Additionally, these sessions will include an introduction of the GTT Peer Mentoring program; discussion regarding how blindness and low vision technology integrates in our lives; and how people can find ways to engage in peer mentoring where they live. We will be given the opportunity for one-on-one or small group explorations of some of the devices that might be used on a daily basis for work, recreation and leisure offered by the attending Venders and GTT representatives. And as an extra special bonus, an optional evening session – Moonlighting with GTT – an opportunity to talk more about GTT and technology…


Please do not hesitate to call me or any other Division Board Member for more information or clarification…

Ann McNabb, CCB BC-Yukon Division President



///New on Facebook…

For those that don’t know, CCB BC-Yukon Division is now on Facebook! Are you not a Facebook user yet? It’s easy to sign up and it’s also FREE! To sign up, go to – in two minutes or less you can be a Facebook user.


Once you are signed up as a Facebook user, on your homepage, in the search box at the top of your homepage, type in “CCB bc-yukon division” and hit enter. Our Division page should be displayed for you or a list should come up for you to select from.


In order to view all division Facebook activity and postings, you will have to click on the “LIKE” button on this page. Once you have done so, all division postings will fall onto your home page for you to view.


You are also encouraged to “SHARE” with all your friends on Facebook. Please also share with ALL your Chapter members! You can also post stories or information you feel may be valuable to all our Chapter members.


Overall, Facebook provides us with a way of communicating all division activities, also promote our provincial endeavors to others and gives us an opportunity to attract new members.


///Future Division Website…

The CCB BC-Yukon Division is in the process of constructing our own website; and everyone can help out by putting forth any ideas you have for our website. You are also encouraged to send in any pictures you have from White Cane Week, previous annual conferences, GTT conferences, and so forth. Our web site will have a photo gallery where these pictures can be archived. Other features for our web site can include: Get Together With Technology, Provincial Book Club, previous Book of Honour recipients, Guide Dog News, Advocacy, Sports and Recreation promotions and much much more.


All ideas and potential submissions are welcome and encouraged! Please forward to Darren Douma at:


///Membership Tidbits…

Division Director, Bill Conway, continues his efforts to assist the North Shore Chapter with new growth. Bill will provide his guidance and expertise to the members of this chapter as they seek out additional members and a new president.


The membership recruitment session HELD on February 13th at the Community School on Bowen Island also served as the White Cane Week open house for the Camp Bowen Society for the Visually Impaired Chapter. This event resulted in one new member and some great exposure for this CCB chapter.


Upcoming on May 6th,the CCB will be hosting a membership recruitment session at the Langley Senior Recreation and Resourses Centre in order to develop a new chapter in the Langley area.


Chapters are encouraged to continue their participation in the monthly chapter call in sessions as a way to communicate, share ideas and help keep BC chapters healthy and strong. This is a valuable communication and interactive resource available to members and chapters.


Stay tuned for the announcement of our newest chapter, coming soon…


///Chapter Call in Sessions…

So far the 2016 chapter call in sessions have been a big success with the sharing of valuable information. Chapter members are getting to know each other, finding out what other chapters do and/or are planning and sharing fund raising and event ideas.


The CCB BC-Yukon Division is continuing with the monthly chapter call in sessions in May and June and would like to invite a representative from each chapter to participate. This can be done from the comfort of your own home! An April call in session was not scheduled due to the 2016 Triennial Conference in Kamloops.


Remember, a representative from your chapter can be any person agreed upon by the chapter to relay information from the chapter or back to the chapter. Also this does not have to be the same person each time, anyone who wishes is welcome to participate upon letting your chapter know in advance.

If there is an interest, guest speakers can be scheduled to attend these sessions. Suggestions for topics of interest are welcome. Let’s keep the communication lines open for members of the CCB BC-Yukon Division. Thank you to all who have taken the time to participate!

The session dates will be sent to all chapters in a reminder email and are accessed via tele-conference line at 1-866-351-5099 when you here hello press the number/pound key and then the participation numbers which are different for each session. If you wish a reminder phone call rather than an email or if you require further details or assistance please contact Judy Macdonald at 250-706-0233 or by email at


May call in session will be held Thursday May 12th at 10:00 AM.

June call in session will be held Thursday June 16th at 10:00 AM.


/// Winter Spring 2016 Provincial Book Club Happenings…

– Respectfully submitted, Albert A. Ruel, CCB BC-Yukon Provincial Book Club

The BC Book Club continues to meet at 10:00 AM on the forth Saturday of each month by teleconference call for about an hour to discuss a book chosen by the group. Our latest books were the Martian by Andy Weir read during the month of February, and 1st To Die by James Patterson read during the month of March.


I was pleasantly surprised by The Martian as I usually avoid “Science Fiction” books; however this one was more of a comedy with a little suspense thrown in for good measure.  Although there was a good amount of science and mechanics offered in the book, the main character who narrated the book was funny and engaging.  I also found the reader to be pleasant to listen to for the entire book.


James Patterson can offer some really scary and gruesome tales, and he didn’t disappoint with this book.  The crimes described in 1st To Die were tragic and gruesome just as we have come to expect, as were the twists and turns in the final pages of the book.  Thankfully the Women’s Murder Club were successful in finding the killer and stopping any further murders.  If you don’t like this level of suspense or description of violence you might do well to keep looking for your next book.


Should you wish to join us for the next few books we’ll read between now and our summer break please contact our President, Kathy Sanness to reserve your seat on the conference call.  Kathy can be reached at, 250-395-0395, or


The Book Club Teleconference toll free number is:


Code #333, April 30:  Klee Wyk, Emily Karr


May 28:           Just One Evil Act, Elizabeth George

June 25:           Harry Potter (Tentative)


///                               White Cane Week (WCW)…

– Submitted by Pat Chicquen

This year, WCW was held from February 8th to 13th. It is a very important time for our members to get information out to the general public and also to visually impaired people who have not heard of the Canadian Council of the Blind and our local White Cane Chapters. There were numerous events This year, organized by our Chapters – including hosting an open house; inviting guest speakers; setting up information tables in local malls, grocery stores or seniors centers; being available for TV and radio interviews or newspaper articles; visiting schools; and going door to door to local businesses, handing out CCB information. Thank you to everyone who went out and shared information about their insight regarding vision loss. – Great work…


///Governor General’s Caring Canadian Award…

On behalf of His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General of Canada, the CCB Bc-Yukon Division is pleased to inform you that Lori Fry, CCB BC-Yukon Division National Representative and National 1st Vice-president, has been awarded the Governor General’s Caring Canadian Award in recognition of her 25 years of service to the Canadian Council of the Blind and her community.


Photo description… Lori Fry and His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General of Canada


The Presentation of Canadian Honours was held on March 4, 2016 at the Chan Centre for the Performing Arts at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver and was presented by His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General of Canada.


When the Right Honourable Roméo LeBlanc became Governor General of Canada, he was determined to thank the thousands of caring people who give so much to their fellow citizens—the unsung heroes who volunteer their time, their efforts and a great deal of their lives to helping others, and who ask for nothing in return. In 1995, the Governor General’s Caring Canadian Award was created. The award recognizes individuals who volunteer their time to help others and to build a smarter and more caring nation. The award also highlights the fine example set by these volunteers, whose compassion and engagement are so much a part of our Canadian character.


The award recognizes living Canadians and permanent residents who have made a significant, sustained, unpaid contribution to their community, in Canada or abroad.


The award’s emblem represents Canadians who selflessly give of their time and energy to others.


The maple leaf symbolizes the people of Canada and their spirit; the heart depicts the open-heartedness of volunteers; and the outstretched hand portrays boundless generosity. The blue and gold colours, which appear on the vice regal flag, indicate the award’s connection with the governor general.


The Caring Canadian Award consists of a certificate and a lapel pin presented to recipients by the governor general or by lieutenant governors, territorial commissioners, mayors or partner organizations.


///“A Vision for the Fine-Arts”…

Over a year ago, Darren Douma, chapter president of Visual Impairment & Blind Empowerment (VIBE)-Creston Chapter, decided he wanted to sponsor a fine-arts trip to New York. Darren’s wife Brooke is the Drama and Choir teacher at the local high school. Darren and Brooke had previously taken students on fine-arts trips through the school before. Darren really wanted to share the experience of a fine arts trip to New York with students. So instead of running the trip through the school, Darren sponsored the trip through the VIBE-Creston Chapter. So over the past year, the Chapter fund-raised within the community to raise funds to off-set many costs for students to take part in this fine-arts trip. There were many smokie sales at the local grocery store, where Darren cooked up these tasty treats. Also, a “BIG” thank you to our local Overwaitea Foods store for their constant support of blind and vision-impaired endeavors. The VIBE Chapter also managed all funds for the students until the trip date. So days after attending the Sport BC awards in Vancouver, Darren was off to New York for 6 days during Spring Break. Darren’s wife Brooke, also a VIBE chapter member, and two other chaperons, took charge of 27 students and headed off to the “Big Apple”.

The 6 days were very action packed and busy times. The students visited the Umpire State Building, Rockefeller Center, Radio City Hall, the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, the MET, Museum of Modern Art. The students also had two workshops with professional actors. One of the actors plays the Phantom, from “Phantom of the Opera”. The group also took in three broadway performances. They enjoyed all 3, but the one they most enjoyed was “Finding Neverland”. A lead in this play was Kelsey Grammar, who was part of the “Cheers” cast and “Frasier”.   It was an unbelievable performance and one the kids won’t forget anytime soon.


Overall, it was a great experience by all. Darren really wanted to sponsor this trip because of an appreciation for the fine-arts. With limited vision, Darren still wants to take in as much as possible. Seeing all the modern and historical art in the museums and taking in as much of the broad way shows, Darren is thankful for these moments. It was even more rewarding to share this experience with all 27 students, as they too appreciated the opportunity and had the trip of a lifetime.



///Western Blind Curling Association (WBCA) 44th Annual Championships…

– Submitted by Terry Pipkey, PGBCC

The WBCA Championships were held in Lanigan Saskatchewan from February 24 to 27, 2016. This bonspiel saw seven (7) teams compete in a round robin event over four (4) days. The two teams from BC were Prince George and Vancouver.


Our Prince George Blind Curling Chapter (PGBCC) joined the Prince George Seniors Curling League last September to get better competition for our curling team. We didn’t play well in our BC Provincials in Kelowna in January as we finished last in the bonspiel.


Thanks to the 100 Mile House Chapter, who gave us their spot to attend the Westerns in Lanigan Saskatchewan, where we earned a 2nd Place Finish. The whole team really jelled and we had a super time eating home cooked Ukrainian food like: Cabbage Rolls, Scallop Potatoes, and numerous other dessert dishes. The Lioness Club, who did all the cooking, even had these huge Puffed Wheat Squares, which took me a half hour to eat each time I had one. Our team did well on the raffles as well; we managed to win 2 Bottles of Hard stuff and three 50/50 draws. Needless to say, the team wants to go back to the Westerns ASAP. The Saskatchewan #2 team did win the bonspiel, which was a first for them. We really had a great time at this event.


Prince George will be hosting the BC Provincial “West Coast Blind Curling Championships” early in January 2017 so; we have lots of work ahead of us. We encourage other chapters to consider “Blind Curling” as an option to exercise and socialize – its lots of fun…


We hope everyone has a GREAT spring and we hope to see you at the 2016 BC-Yukon Division Conference in Kamloops in late April…


///More of Lefty’s Story…

In our last newsletter, it was mentioned that one of our chapter members was nominated by BC Blind sports for the annual Sport BC’s “Person with a Disability” Award. Following this nomination, a Sports BC Nomination Committee voted Darren Douma as a “finalist in the PWD category. The Sport BC Athlete of the Year awards was held in March in Vancouver at the Convention Centre. Darren indicated that being at the awards dinner in Vancouver was like attending the Academy awards. There were over 600 people in attendance, and Sport BC provided everyone with a great evening of entertainment.


In the PWD category, Darren Douma (blind golfer) from Creston, BC was one of three finalists. The other two finalists were: Nathan Stein, (swimmer) from Maple Ridge, BC and Trevor Hirschfield, (wheelchair rugby), from Vancouver, BC; and the winner was Trevor Hirschfield. Regardless of the outcome, it was an honour for Darren to be nominated by BC Blind Sports and made a finalist by Sport BC. There were many athletes just as deserving that did not make it to the finalist stage. Despite all of Darren’s accomplishments, he has not had the opportunity to compete in the Olympics or Pan-Am Games. The other two finalists have had these opportunities, and this makes the nomination even more memorable – to be even considered for an award among the talent of these two outstanding individuals.


What’s next for Darren (Lefty)? The ISPS Handa US Blind Golf Championships in Tucson, Arizona from April 13th-April 18th. Hopefully, he will have some good news for us at the conference in Kamloops (April 21-24th).


Funding struggles – Darren Douma has been struggling the last 2 years and is seeking corporate sponsorship support in order to continue in his competitive blind golf endeavors – it is very costly to travel and compete. If anyone has any knowledge, connections, or ideas of any potential sponsorship out there, please give Darren a call. Without any future sponsorship support, Darren will be forced to give up competing in blind golf. Darren is seeking 2 or more sponsors to assist – he is not looking for a simple hand out from these sponsors. For sponsorship support, Darren would entertain a working relationship with any corporate sponsor, where he could be a spokesman for these sponsors; promote their business, products, services, etc. Any proposed sponsor could leverage a marketing opportunity to support a visually-impaired athlete to continue to compete, and also take advantage of a marketing opportunity to support blind golf. No corporation has looked at or entertained such an opportunity, and here they have an opportunity…


///Blind Hockey…

Hello my name is Brodie McKenzie and I am currently the president of the CCB Port Coquitlam Visually Impaired People (Poco VIP) Chapter. On March 10, 2016 me and the Vancouver Eclipse Blind Hockey Team departed from Vancouver and arrived in Toronto Canada. The Vancouver Eclipse with other blind hockey clubs from across the nation and hockey clubs from both the west and east coast of the United States came to join our open league and the Western All-Star select league. The hockey tournament started March 11, 2016 with the opening ceremonies in downtown Toronto at the Mattamy Athletic Centre – the old Maple Leaf Gardens.


Friday and Saturday were competing games for the open league teams and the select league All-Star games; Sunday was the Duard Die Championships for the bronze medal game; then there was the gold medal game. Finally, the All-Star final game best out of three series were played. I had the chance and opportunity to be a part of the Western All-Star team – the All-Star players across the nation were chosen throughout the year and are considered the best partially sighted or blind hockey players across Canada.


It was very exciting and the tournament was a great success.   I had the chance to meet a lot of great new faces, and of course had the pleasure of seeing old faces also. This year was a transformation for the organization; it is now the Canadian Blind Hockey Association. With this transformation, the organizations in Canada are teaming up with USA Hockey, this will bring a jumpstart to travel the world and get other countries involved so there can be a World Championship. In the next 10 years, they are hoping to achieve their goal to have blind hockey in the 2016 Paralympics.


I have been playing hockey for two years with the Vancouver Eclipse Blind Hockey Team. A great group of guys and girls and I always look forward to my Friday practice at Moody Park Arena in New Westminster. I encourage everyone who is partially sighted or blind to get some skates on and of course wear helmet and full protective gear – get on the ice, get the blood flowing and stick handle a metal noisy Puck  – It’s a lot of great fun. Keep your head up and sticks on the ice. Cheers…
///Get Together With Technology (GTT) Victoria News…

Spring greetings from sunny Victoria, where daffodils and enthusiasm for adaptive technology are in full bloom… Our members trust you all had a memorable White Cane Week this past month. We’ve been busy here in Victoria.


We have made a major change to our monthly meeting format to meet the demands for peer instruction. We now spend the first half of the meeting addressing peer tutoring, rather than waiting until the latter half of the meeting to do this. This means that people who may be unable to stay for the entire meeting will still have the opportunity to receive assistance with their adaptive technology – so far, so good…


Our February meeting was dedicated to adaptive gaming, and we had a guest speaker, Aedan Staddon, speak to the group on this topic. Albert Ruel shared his knowledge of online radio stations and other media with the group at our March meeting.


Aside from lots of fun, accessible games, we learned lots of great commands that fall under the heading of “I Didn’t Know That.” Here are just a few of them:


  1. Deleting lots of text in an iPhone edit field.

Tap the delete key once and hold it down on the second tap. It will delete from the end of the field to the beginning of the field;


  1. If you need to check if something is level, go to the second page of the compass and you’ll find the level feature; and


  1. Voiceover Starter is an iPhone app/game that is super helpful with learning all the needed gestures for optimum iProduct use.


The Victoria GTT group meets monthly at our Downtown Victoria library branch. This has allowed us to get to know library staff and to work with them regarding accessibility. Tom Dekker met with library staff to reassess Overdrive, the library’s software system for browsing and downloading audio books. Despite a software upgrade, Overdrive is still not accessible. However, the library has now switched to an accessible program called 3M Cloud Library.


In addition to technology trivia, the Victoria chapter has taken on a local project to advocate on behalf of the blind community regarding improving accessible transit services for blind and visually disabled Transit users. The Victoria Division of BC Transit installed Trekker Breeze units on its buses in 2015 in an attempt to meet the needs of blind bus travellers. The system is inappropriate on many levels, and we are beginning to lobby local representatives of Transit, the union and others to revisit this decision.


We have also been busy working with local municipal and city politicians to lobby for support for a British Columbians with Disabilities Act. The City of Victoria was the first city in BC to pass a resolution at its Council meeting confirming its support of a British Columbians with Disabilities Act. Thanks to our members for attending the Council meeting to put a face to the blind community. The municipality of Saanich has also been approached and we’re awaiting news of their support too. Thanks to a new member, Greg Koyle, for all his assistance with the Transit issue and with the Barrier-Free BC initiative.


All the best for Spring 2016 from the GTT Victoria crowd!


///Kamloops   White Cane Chapter News…

The Kamloops  Blind  Curling  Team   wrapped  up  Team  practice  and  games  for  the  season   and  are hoping  to  build  on  their progress for  next  season; while the Kamloops  Blind  Lawn  Bowling  Team  is  eagerly  awaiting  the startup  date  for   lawn  bowling. Annually, the Kamloops Blind 5 Pin Bowling Team competes with Kelowna in a tournament – this year they are traveling    to   Kelowna on May 7th.


///News from the World Blind Union (WBU)…

– Submitted by Charles Mossop from Nanaimo, President of the WBU North America/Caribbean Region

Although the work of the WBU is carried out at an international level, the benefits of its work are important to blind and partially sighted people throughout the world, whether they live in the largest of cities or the smallest of communities. Two major projects are underway at the WBU at the present time. These are; first, support for the international ratification of the Treaty of Marrakesh; and, second, negotiations on the warning sound to be made by hybrid and electric vehicles.


The Treaty of Marrakesh – This treaty and its ratification process now occupy a position of central importance to the WBU. The treaty, once ratified and brought into force, will, in essence, allow for the free movement of materials accessible to persons with print disabilities across international boundaries without copyright restrictions. The treaty, adopted in 2014 after four years of negotiation in which the WBU was a central participant, is a United Nations instrument of agreement and therefore does not enter into force until at least twenty countries have formally ratified it. At present, sixteen countries have done so, and it is hoped the treaty will enter into force well before the end of this year. At an event hosted by CNIB in May, 2015, at which representatives of the CCB were also present, the Government of Canada announced it will accede to the treaty and implement its provisions through amendments to the Copyright Act which is currently under review. A motion to that effect was presented in the House of Commons the following day, and no objections were raised either at that time, or in the following thirty days allowed. All indications are that the new government will carry the motion forward, amend the Copyright Act as necessary and then deposit the official instrument of ratification with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), the UN agency in Geneva, Switzerland, responsible for overseeing the treaty. The WBU is coordinating a worldwide program of advocacy aimed at encouraging all countries to ratify the treaty as soon as possible.


Hybrid and Electric Vehicles – WBU continues to be active in the pursuit of an International Technical Regulation (ITR) governing the numerous issues surrounding the sound to be made by vehicles when under electric power. Dr. Frederic Schroeder of the National Federation of the Blind (NFB) in the US, and WBU’s First Vice President, spearheads the effort on behalf of WBU. Two major areas of disagreement have emerged: the question of whether the sound should be permanent or left to the driver’s discretion, and whether the sound should be emitted when the vehicle is stationary, or only when it is in motion. European and Japanese manufacturers have so far taken the position that the sound should be left up to the driver, and should cease when the vehicle stops. That position is clearly unacceptable, and negotiations continue in cooperation with the Asia-Pacific Region of the WBU and the European Blind Union (EBU). The good news is that in North America, vehicle manufacturers have accepted that the sound must be permanent, whether the vehicle is in motion or at rest. This addresses our concerns here, but there is much work to be done to convince other manufacturers to accept the same view. One possible avenue is to advocate that all vehicles sold in North America, regardless of where they are actually made, must conform to the higher standard, but even if we are successful in that step, blind and partially sighted persons living outside North America will still be in danger.


///Barrier-Free British Columbia…

How you can add your voice and support our campaign – you can support the Barrier-Free BC campaign in several ways…

* Visit the Barrier-Free BC web site at Barrier-Free BC and read the founding principles and “Just say Yes” Action Kit.

* Visit the Add Your Voice page and sign up as a supporter.  You can choose to have your name published along with other supporters on the Barrier-Free BC website, receive updates such as these, or simply register your support by completing the online form.

* If you represent an organization and you wish to register your organization’s support, you can send an email to us at and we will be delighted to acknowledge your support on our website. Alternately, if you are affiliated with an organization, bring the Barrier-Free BC campaign to the attention of the Executive Director and/or the board chair. Encourage them to visit our web site and add the organization’s support to our campaign.

* You can make a significant contribution by spreading the message by word of mouth, writing to, placing a telephone call or visiting your MLA and/or even writing to the Premier or provincial party leaders. The “Just say Yes” Action Kit provides detailed information on what you might ask or say when speaking with your MLA or his/her assistant. It also provides some suggestions when emailing or tweeting your MLA.

* Follow Barrier-Free BC on Twitter – @barrierfreebc and re-tweet postings along to your followers. Encourage all your followers to add their voice to the Barrier-Free BC campaign.


///Orbit Braille Reader…

On March 24, 2016 in Toronto, the new Orbit braille reader was launched at the Annual International Technology & Persons with Disabilities Conference IN San Diego, California. The Orbit braille reader is the first ever affordable refreshable braille reader that is portable. Until now, braille displays cost on average around $3,000, putting them out of reach for many people – not just in Canada, but around the world. In contrast, the new Orbit braille reader will retail for under $400, providing an important new option for people who are blind or partially sighted to access literacy at an affordable cost. A refreshable braille display is a device that allows a person who is blind or partially sighted to read the contents of a display, like a computer, a text line at a time as a line of braille characters.


In addition to CNIB contributing to the research and development funding, expertise and testing, Diane Bergeron, Executive Director, Strategic Relations and Engagement, CNIB, was a member of the product development committee which provided input on design and testing in Canada. “Reading is one of the daily human activities affected most profoundly by vision loss, and it’s absolutely critical to the success of a person who is blind or partially sighted living in a sighted world,” said Bergeron. “Early childhood literacy can have an impact on a person’s commitment to education, ability to work and level of personal satisfaction in life.”Braille continues to be an important tool for people who are blind or partially sighted, despite advances in technology. Reading braille helps teach basic literacy skills like spelling, grammar, sentence structure and comprehension in a way that audio cannot help with. Simply hearing the words “there” and “their” won’t teach you how “they’re” spelled.


The Orbit braille reader works over Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, and can read files stored on an SD card inserted in the reader. The Orbit braille reader can read translated, formatted braille (BRF) files, translated, unformatted brailled (BRL) files, portable embosser format (PEF) files and text (TXT) files.


CNIB is the exclusive supplier of the Orbit braille reader in Canada, which will be available in the fall from Shop CNIB at


*** Please feel free to make contact with your Division Board…

Ann McNabb, President – 604-795-7230 –

Gerry Braak, 1st Vice President – 604-485-5028 –

Pat Chicquen, 2nd Vice President – 250-339-3904 –

Bill Conway, Director – 604-740-5896 –

Darren Douma, Director – 250-428-8715 –

Lori Fry, Director/National Rep – 250-395-2452 –

Terry Pipkey, Director – 250-562-1892 –

Donna Rekve, Director – 604-483-4220 –



BC-Yukon Winter 2016 News

Feb 11 2016

British Columbia – Yukon Division

PO Box 531 , Postal Station Main, Chilliwack, BC V2P 7V5

604-795-3885 or 1-800-874-4666 or


Under the Distinguished Patronage of Her Honour

The Honourable Judith Guichon, OBC

Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia


Winter 2016 News

Hello, your Division Board would like to wish you all our best for the events you have planned for White Cane Week (WCW). There will be members throughout the province manning information booths, visiting schools, collaborating with the community and sharing their experiences… Remember, whatever your Chapter has decided to do in your community is important and gives the CCB the exposure it needs to thrive with success.


Information has been sent out re the CCB BC-Yukon Division 2016 Conference – Workshop and AGM – in Kamloops on April 22nd & 23rd. It is the hope of the Division that all Chapters will send a delegate. Renewing friendships, making new friends, sharing stories/adventures and having a great time are all part of a fantastic experience. More information and details will be coming your way in the coming weeks…


A reminder – the 2016 CCB BC-Yukon Division Book of Honour deadline is on February 15th. The Division encourages your Chapter to send in your deserving members nominations.



Please do not hesitate to call me or any other Division Board Member for more information or clarification…

Ann McNabb, CCB BC-Yukon Division President



///An Opportunity…

The CCB BC-Yukon Division is anticipating the need of employing a person with experience and qualifications in fund development and proposal writing. We are expecting that through the circulation of this newsletter and by word of mouth, to reach interested persons that have experience and qualifications in this challenging field to contact us to examine if they can assist the CCB to meet their needs.

Please contact: Lori Fry at 1-250-95-2452

or Geraldine Braak at 1-604-485-5028.



///White Cane Week (WCW) at Park Royal South…

WCW is an initiative of the Canadian Council of the Blind (CCB) providing an opportunity to educate the community about vision loss and its prevention; and to highlight the resources, services and products that are available to people living with vision loss. WCW has been celebrated across Canada since 1946 and during early February local events will be hosted from coast to coast!


Come and join us on February 12, 2016 at Park Royal South, 2nd floor near the Osaka Market from 10:00 AM to 3:00 PM. In advance, guests with vision loss can arrange for a sighted guide from a Park Royal bus stop – please call Amy at 604-763-2695.


All attendees will be entered into a draw to win one of two Park Royal gift cards valued at $100 each, generously donated by Park Royal Shopping Centre. Come and check us out!



Photo description… left to right – Amy Amantea, Diane Schwitzer with guide dog in training Pinto and Rosamund Van Leeuwen with guide dog Rory
///Membership Tidbits…

Welcome to the newest CCB BC-Yukon Division Chapter, the Lower Mainland Chapter.  This chapter promotes blind sports, both recreationally and competitively.


Information awareness sessions and chapter development are on-going in various BC communities such as Vancouver, Whitehorse, Smithers, Langley and Castlegar as well as other areas that do not currently have a CCB chapter.  Future consideration is also being given to the Delta/Tswassen area.  There will be a membership recruitment session on February 13th at the Community School on Bowen Island and it will also serve as the White Cane Week open house for the Camp Bowen Society for the Visually Impaired Chapter.


If you are aware of any particular community that may be interested in establishing a CCB Chapter in their area or your chapter would like assistance in hosting an open house to assist with membership growth, please contact the Division office.


Chapters are encouraged to participate in the monthly chapter call in sessions as a way to communicate, share ideas and help keep BC chapters healthy and strong.


There are currently a total of 25 CCB BC-Yukon Division chapters. Despite limited resources, the BC-Yukon Division has established 10 new chapters over the past six years.


///Division Book Club News…

The book club meets on the 4th Saturday of each month, with the exception of April where it has been moved to the 5th Saturday due to the CCB BC Yukon Division Annual General Meeting taking place on the 4th Saturday. All meetings are done by teleconference call from 9:00 to 10:00 AM Pacific Time. Please contact Kathy or Albert for the call-in number, which has a different passcode each month.


Listed here are the books to be read over the coming months by the BC Book Club members…

February 27:    The Martian, Andy Weir

March 26:     1stTo Die, James Patterson

April 30:             Klee Wyk, Emily Karr

May 28:  Just One Evil Act, Elizabeth George

June 25:           Harry Potter (Tentative)


For more information, please contact…

Kathy Sanness, President

Mobile: 1-250 395 0395



Albert Ruel, Secretary

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



///Chapter Call in Sessions…

Thank you to all who have taken the time to participate! The new call in instructions are working well and listed below! The 2015 Chapter Call In Sessions were a big success with the sharing of valuable information and ideas. Chapter members got to know each other, found out what other Chapters had done or are planning to do and we even had a few laughs! The CCB BC-Yukon Division is continuing with the monthly Chapter Call in Sessions in 2016 and would like to invite a representative from each Chapter to participate. This can be done from the comfort of your own home! Remember, a representative from your Chapter can be any person agreed upon by the Chapter to relay information back to the Chapter – this does not have to be the same person each time, let’s give anyone who wishes a chance to participate the opportunity to do so. If there is an interest, guest speakers can be scheduled to attend these sessions – suggestions for topics of interest are welcome.


Let’s keep the communication lines open for members of the CCB BC-Yukon Division.

The session dates will be sent to all chapters in a reminder email and are accessed via tele-conference line at 1-866-351-5099 when you here hello press the number/pound key and then the participation numbers which are different for each session. If you wish a reminder phone call rather than an email or If you require further details or assistance please contact Judy Macdonald at 250-706-0233 or by email at


The February Call In Session will be held Thursday February 25th at 7:00 PM and the March call in session will be held Saturday March 19th at 10:00 AM – participation codes will be sent in the Call In Session email reminders. We encourage your chapter to participate and look forward to speaking with you.


///Kelowna Blind Curlers Host Annual Bonspiel…

The Kelowna Blind Curling Chapter of the CCB hosted the annual provincial blind curling bonspiel from January 8-10th, 2016. The welcome mat was rolled out for teams from Vancouver, Prince George, 100 Mile House and the host Kelowna team. Volunteers from the host committee have spent the last several months to insure that all visitors had a good time in Kelowna and the bonspiel ran smoothly. We wish to salute all of those people that gave of their time from our volunteer drivers, people that helped to serve the meals and the officials at the rink that supervised the games. This spiel could not happen without their participation. Of course, we further wish to express thanks to our sponsors: CCB BC-Yukon Division, Kelowna Chamber of Commerce, Remedies RX, Costco and independent Grocers for their sponsorship of the event.


The opening ceremonies were highlighted by a moment of silence for Jim Harris, a member of the Kelowna Blind Curling Club. Jim was an active member of our group. Learning of his passing the day prior to the start of the spiel was extremely sad and we will miss Jim’s contribution to our Club.


Kelowna won the event and will represent BC at the 2017 Canadian visually impaired championships in Ottawa. The second place team was Vancouver and they will take one of the 2 spots at the Western Blind Bonspiel from February 24-28th, 2016 in Lanigan Saskatchewan. The third place team was 100 Mile House and they passed on the second spot for the Westerns and offered it to Prince George. We wish all of these team the best of luck in their respective bonspiels. Good luck to the 100 Mile House team this coming February at the 2016 Canadian Visually Impaired Championships in Ottawa.

  • SUBMITED BY: Bill Mah, Kelowna blind curlers


///Athlete of the Year Award Finalist…

Congratulations to Darren Douma for being selected by Sport BC as a Finalist in the Athlete with a Disability category – recognizing an athlete with a disability who has demonstrated extraordinary athletic performance in provincial, national or international competitions in a team or individual sport in British Columbia; and will be announced at the 50th Annual Athlete of the Year Awards in March 2016. Nominations are received from the provincial and multi-sport organizations, high schools, colleges, or universities. Finalists and winners are selected by a committee of 20 highly regarded BC sportswriters, broadcasters, and amateur sport leaders.


The Athlete of the Year Awards, founded by Sport BC, is the longest standing sport recognition event in Canada. Awards in 18 different categories are given each year to athletes, coaches, and officials for their performance and contribution to sport in our province. The awards play a valuable role in nurturing athletic success and recognizing some of BC’s growing talents.


///Lefty’s Blind Golf in 2015 …

  • Darren Douma was busy competing in national and international blind golf events in 2015… At the Ressmeyer Vision Cup in Milan, Italy on June 27th to 29th, Darren participated in North America vs the Team Rest of the World, with Team Rest of the World retaining the Cup. The ISPS Handa Canadian Blind Golf Championships in Creston, BC on July 11th & 12th was a national & international Event organized by Darren in his home town. At the Nations Cup in Truro, Nova Scotia from July 26th to 28th, Darren was Part of Team Canada playing Team USA- Ryder Cup Format – where Team Canada retained the Nations Cup. Following this, Darren Played at a Provincial & National Event, at the Nova Scotia Invitational, again in Truro Nova Scotia on July 29th& 30th.


///Where is Darren “Lefty” Douma Playing in 2016…

This year Darren will be participating at the ISPS Handa US Blind Golf Championships in Tucson, Arizona from April 13th to 19th; at the Western Canadian Blind golf Championships in Westlock, Alberta from July 10th to 12th; at the ISPS Handa Canadian Blind Golf Championships in Westlock, Alberta from July 13th to 15th; and the Commonwealth Cup-Team Canada versus Team England-Ryder Cup Format in Truro, Nova Scotia from August 3rd to 5th. Good luck Lefty!


///The CCB Dogwood White Cane Chapter…

When you look at all of the excellent work that many of the larger CCB groups do it is inspiring. Our small group of 10 and 2 volunteers pales in comparison, but it fills a need in our area for companionship through activity and sharing of knowledge. We are a table bowling group of seniors who meet weekly. For those of you who are not aware – table bowling allows our members to stand upright while bowling, as difficulty with balance is a common denominator in our group. As we send our small ball barrelling down the table to the 5 pins at the other end, we are coached by Eugene Amburg, who is well known to many of you in the curling groups. Our long time volunteer, Mary Brown, reads the newsletters from CCB and other pertinent news before we begin bowling and we conclude the afternoon with refreshments and some sharing. This fall, we set aside one meeting where each member was asked to do a small talk on an adaptive device that they found most useful, how they used it and how it helped them – this was beneficial to us all. We also enjoyed a Christmas luncheon, put on by Dogwood at the beginning of December, followed by carols from a local high school and a small play put on by volunteers. One of our newest members, Jane Van Zuilehom, treated us all to some sweets and she delivered a thank you card to a local elementary school that had made up Christmas treat bags for everyone on behalf of the group.

Happy New Year everyone – Pat Roy – President


///Get Together with Technology (GTT) – Victoria…

  • Respectfully submitted, Tom Dekker and Hanna Leavitt, GTT Victoria Coordinators


The big news is that GTT Victoria has a new home as of last fall. We’ve moved from Fort Techtoria to the Greater Victoria Public Library, Central Branch. The staff has been most accommodating, and the group is very appreciative of this ideal meeting location.


In addition to our regular tech-related presentations, covering topics such as: the accessibility of Microsoft Windows Ribbons, the Windows Smart Phone, apps created by Q-Continuum/Accessible Aps, and podcasts, we’ve also covered Siri, the iOS voice dictation app, GPS apps and devices and Voice on the Go, a new system designed to provide inexpensive access to email from either a land line or a mobile phone. Look Mom, no computer! The Voice on the Go system enables access to this key form of communication and is ideal for anyone who is transitioning to vision loss and hasn’t yet mastered computer-access technologies.


The GTT Victoria group invites you to tune in CFAX Radio 1070 on the last Saturday of each month to hear Tom Dekker discuss accessible technologies with Allan Perry, the host of CFAX’s TechTalk show.


The coordinating team for GTT Victoria recently met with Saanich Mayor, Richard Atwell, and City of Victoria Councillor, Jeremy Loveday, to discuss improving accessibility in these two Island communities through the formation of accessibility working groups. These groups can advise Councils of access-related concerns regarding future community initiatives.


Also discussed was the recommendation that both Victoria and Saanich Councils become part of endorsing the efforts of Barrier-Free BC in lobbying for a British Columbians with Disabilities Act as well as a Canadians with Disabilities Act. The Victoria group will continue to lobby South Island councils for their support and endorsement of Barrier-Free BC initiatives.


The GTT Victoria group is also active in evaluating the current Trekker Breeze talking GPS solution selected by BC Transit as its Bus-Stop Announcement system. We will continue monitoring how well it supports the needs of Victoria residents with disabilities. If any of you ride a Capital Regional District public transit bus, please let us know your thoughts on what you hear, or don’t hear as the case may be.


If you have any suggestions for meeting topics or presenters please contact Tom Dekker or Hannah Leavitt.

Tom: 250-900-9982 or by email at

Hanna: 250-744-1519 or by Email at


To stay in touch with what’s going on in all the current groups, or to get one started in your community, please contact Albert Ruel as follows:

1-877-304-0968 Ext. 550

Or you may register your email address at the bottom of the GTT Program blog page at the following URL:


++Voice-activated email system a saviour for blind…

  • From the CCB January 2016 National Newsletter
  • Victoria man: It may seem as if there’s no end to the ways we can communicate with each other these days.

We’ve got telephones, email, Skype, text messages, voice-controlled smartphones, social media sites such as Facebook, Tumblr, Snap chat and Twitter and letters sent through Canada Post.

Even so, some people are shut out of this plethora of options.


That’s what happened to Victoria’s Greg Koyl, 64, who lost most of his vision in August 2014 as a result of glaucoma. He turned off his computer and 600 emails piled up. These were messages he could not read or respond to.


But now he’s using a computer-free system to send and receive emails using only a telephone.


That’s thanks to Peter Young, general manager of Victoria’s Priority 1 Computer Service and Alan Perry of eGurus Technology Tutors.


The duo worked together to offer a service called Talk and Send, based on a Voice on the Go system. Young said he contacted the company, which refined an existing system to suit Koyl’s needs. Priority 1 is the reseller of the product in Victoria.


Koyl is its biggest fan.


“It has made a huge difference in my life,” Koyl said. It is “incredibly simple” to use.


Talk and Send has allowed Koyl, a former B.C. public servant with more than 100 contacts, to communicate with friends and relatives in a way “that really helps me feel like I’m part of society again.”


With just 10 per cent of vision remaining, Koyl can only pick out large shapes. He anticipates losing the rest of his sight.


This is not the only technology for those with restricted vision.

Young, Perry and Koyl believe this system doesn’t only assist those with reading and typing challenges. It could suit those with arthritis.


It’s also inexpensive, costing just $8.99 per month, and a contract is not required. The subscription includes 100 minutes of long distance calls throughout North America, Young said. There’s a $60 initial set-up cost through eGurus.

Only a telephone is needed. Landlines or cellphones can be used. Text messages can be sent as well.


Koyl uses his landline to connect to the system, which operates through voice commands picked up through its speaker. When he states someone’s name, the system confirms that it has the correct person, and Koyl dictates an email. He listens to incoming messages, gets updates from Facebook and could use Twitter if he wished. It also operates in a number of other languages, including Spanish and French.


Emails go out in text form, with Koyl’s voice recording attached to the email. This allows recipients to hear a voice — something that could also be popular for grandparents who get messages from their grandchildren, Young said.


Koyl can vet emails before they are sent and rewrite them if he wishes.


He would be pleased to discuss the service with anyone interested. His email:


The system is easy to use, said Young. It suits people who find technology confusing, he said. He recalled when his own parents found email increasing difficult to use as they aged. “I wanted something simple, especially for people who can’t memorize.”


Perry connected Koyl’s phone to the system in April. By the next day, Koyl had sent out 40 emails.


Working out easier access to technology and to help people remain independent is one of Young’s interests. His business has specially adapted products, such large-button devices. He refurbishes computers to sell them at low prices to seniors so they can send emails and surf the net.


In 2009, Priority 1 donated $7,000 worth of computer equipment to set up a lab for people in Salvation Army facility. The donation included a dozen computers, plus LCD monitors and printers.


Anyone wanting to try out the Talk and Send system can contact Priority 1 at 250-475-7510.

By Carla Wilson / Times Colonist


///New Release…

Charles Mossop from Nanaimo is pleased to announce the release of his latest novel The Golden Phoenix. Like his two previous novels, it is historical fiction, moving from seventeenth century India and eighteenth century Siam, China and England to the present. As is his customary style, the historical thread is interwoven with a present day story which draws the plot together at the end. The protagonist, searching for a semi-legendary objet d’art reputedly of enormous value, becomes unwittingly involved in a dangerous, multimillion-dollar, scheme launched by her client, a wealthy Hong Kong business tycoon. If you are interested in knowing more, or reading the book, you are invited to visit his page at


+++CCB National Person of the Year…

-From the February 2016 CCB Newsletter

CCB is also extremely pleased to present the 2016 Person of the Year Award to Charles Mossop. Congratulations!


///Barrier-Free British Columbia – 13 PRINCIPLES for the British Columbians with Disabilities Act…

A Non-Partisan Campaign for a Barrier Free BC for All Persons with Disabilities. Advocating for the Enactment of a Strong and Effective British Columbians with Disabilities Act



The purpose of the British Columbians with Disabilities Act is to achieve a Barrier-Free British Columbia for persons with disabilities by a deadline that the Act will set, and that will be within as short a time as is reasonably possible, with implementation to begin immediately upon proclamation, to effectively ensure to all persons with disabilities in British Columbia the equal opportunity to fully and meaningfully participate in all aspects of life in British Columbia based on their individual merit.


  1. The Act APPLIES TO ALL:

The British Columbians with Disabilities Act should apply to all persons with disabilities whether they have a physical, mental, sensory, communication, learning and/or intellectual disability or mental health condition, or are regarded as having one, and whether their disability is visible or invisible to others. It should apply to all accessibility barriers, for example physical, legal, bureaucratic, information, communication, attitudinal, technological, policy or other barriers. It should apply to the British Columbia Legislature as well as to all British Columbia government entities, British Columbia-owned public premises and facilities, companies and organizations within British Columbia or which British Columbia can regulate, recipients of British Columbia grants, subsidies, loans or other funds, and any other persons or organizations to which the British Columbia Government can apply it.


  1. The Act SETS THE BAR:

The British Columbians with Disabilities Act’s requirements should supersede all other legislation, regulations or policies which provide lesser protections and entitlements to persons with disabilities. The Act and regulations made under it should not take away any rights that British Columbians with disabilities now enjoy;



The British Columbians with Disabilities Act should require British Columbia, including organizations to which it applies, to be made fully accessible to all persons with disabilities through the removal of existing barriers and the prevention of the creation of new barriers, within strict time frames to be prescribed in the legislation or regulations;



The British Columbians with Disabilities Act should require providers of goods, services and facilities to which the Act applies to ensure that their goods, services and facilities are fully usable by persons with disabilities, and that they are designed based on principles of universal design, to accommodate the needs of persons with disabilities. Providers of these goods, services and facilities should be required to devise and implement detailed plans to remove existing barriers and to prevent new barriers within legislated timetables;



The British Columbians with Disabilities Act should require organizations to which it applies to take proactive steps to achieve barrier-free workplaces and employment within prescribed time limits. Among other things, those employers should be required to identify existing employment and workplace barriers which impede persons with disabilities, and then to devise and implement plans for the removal of these barriers, and for the prevention of new workplace and employment barriers;



The British Columbians with Disabilities Act should require the British Columbia Government to lead British Columbia to achieving the Act’s goals. It should specify actions the British Columbia Government will take to fulfill this mandate. Among other things, it should require the British Columbia Government to provide education and other information resources to organizations, individuals and groups who need to comply with the Act. It should also require the British Columbia Government to appoint an independent person to periodically review and publicly report on progress towards full accessibility, and to make recommendations on any actions needed to achieve the Act’s goals;



The British Columbians with Disabilities Act should provide for a prompt, independent and effective process for enforcement, and should require that the Act be effectively enforced. This should include, among other things, an effective avenue for persons with disabilities to raise with enforcement officials violations of the Act that they have encountered. It should not simply incorporate the existing procedures for filing discrimination complaints with the British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal or under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, as these are too slow and cumbersome, and can yield inadequate remedies;



As part of its requirement that the British Columbia Government lead British Columbia to the goal of full accessibility for British Columbians with disabilities, the Act should require the British Columbia Government to make regulations needed to define with clarity the steps required for compliance with the British Columbians with Disabilities Act. It should be open for such regulations to be made on an industry-by-industry or sector-by-sector basis. This should include a requirement that input be obtained from affected groups such as persons with disabilities and obligated organizations, before those regulations are enacted. It should also provide persons with disabilities with the opportunity to apply to have regulations made in specific sectors of the economy to which the Act can apply. The Act should require the British Columbia Government to make all the accessibility standards regulations needed to ensure that its goals are achieved, and that these regulations be independently reviewed for sufficiency every four years after they were enacted;



The British Columbians with Disabilities Act should require that the British Columbia Government ensure that no public money is used to create or perpetuate barriers against persons with disabilities. For example, all British Columbia Government departments, agencies, and crown corporations should be required to make it a strict condition of funding any program, or any capital or other infrastructure project, or of any transfer payment, subsidy, loan, grant (such as research grants) or other payment of public funds, that no such funds may be used to create or perpetuate barriers against persons with disabilities. They should also be required to make it a condition of any procurement of any services, goods or facilities, that these be designed to be fully accessible to and usable by persons with disabilities. Any grant (including for example, research grant), loan, subsidy, contract or other such payment which does not so provide is void and unenforceable by the grant-recipient or contractor with the department, agency, or crown corporation in question. The British Columbia Government should be required to monitor and enforce these requirements and to periodically report to the public on compliance.



The British Columbians with Disabilities Act should require the British Columbia Government to review all British Columbia legislation and regulations to identify possible accessibility barriers that they may impose or permit, and to propose omnibus legislation within a specified time to address these barriers. It should require the British Columbia Government to review all future proposed legislation and regulations, before they are enacted, to certify and ensure that they do not create, perpetuate or allow for accessibility barriers in them or in activity or programs operated under them. As an immediate priority under these activities, the British Columbia Government should get input from voters with disabilities on accessibility barriers in provincial and municipal election campaigns and the voting process, and should develop reforms to remove and prevent such barriers.


  1. The Act SETS POLICY:

The British Columbians with Disabilities Act should set as a provincial policy the fostering of international and inter-provincial trade aimed at better meeting the market of up to one billion persons with disabilities around the world.



The British Columbians with Disabilities Act must be more than mere window dressing. It should contribute meaningfully to the improvement of the position of persons with disabilities in British Columbia. It must have real force, effect and teeth.


Web site:


Twitter: @barrierfreebc




*** Please feel free to make contact with your Division Board…


Ann McNabb, President – 604-795-7230 –

Gerry Braak, 1st Vice President – 604-485-5028 –

Pat Chicquen, 2nd Vice President – 250-339-3904 –

Bill Conway, Director – 604-740-5896 –

Darren Douma, Director – 250-428-8715 –

Lori Fry, Director/National Rep – 250-395-2452 –

Terry Pipkey, Director – 250-562-1892 –

Donna Rekve, Director – 604-483-4220 –



BC-Yukon Fall/Winter 2015 News

Nov 19 2015


Fall/Winter 2015 News


Hello, as per usual, the time moves on even if I have trouble keeping up with it… Hoping you all took time to remember those who fought and died for us this past week, either at home or at your local Remembrance Day Ceremonies. A special connection for the CCB – the CCB was founded in 1944 by blinded war veterans…


It seems I forgot to welcome the Victoria Get Together With Technology Chapter in the last newsletter; even though they submitted an article – please forgive my oversight and welcome to the CCB BC-Yukon Division. Remember to get your National dues in by the beginning of December to receive the rebate and your Chapter’s White Cane Week order form requesting WCW materials.


At this time, I would like to announce the resignation of Joyce Chevsky from the Comox Valley, who has served with great enthusiasm on the Division Board of Directors, on the Division Newsletters, the Book of Honour and other committees. Thank you Joyce for your dedication and support…


Call or email me or any other board member at any time if you have any questions or if you would like to chat… Our contact information is at the bottom of this newsletter… – Ann McNabb President


CCB BC-Yukon Division 2016 Conference…

Please note these dates on your calendar, the CCB BC-Yukon Division Workshop and Conference will be held Friday and Saturday April 22nd & 23rd at the Thompson Hotel and Curling Club in Kamloops. This year we will be asking delegates to bring an item or a basket of goodies from their community, to be included in a Silent Auction – to help offset expenses. Your Chapter will be receiving important registration information via email in the next few weeks.


Book of Honour 2016…

A reminder that the CCB BC-Yukon Division Book of Honour will have two categories for next year’s presentation. As is our tradition, a legally blind member will be one of the recipients and the other recipient will be a sighted volunteer member. Your Chapter will be receiving their nomination forms and the accompanying information in late November or early December


Membership Tidbits…

On September 22, 2015, the North Shore Chapter hosted an information/awareness session at the North Vancouver City Library. Along with other volunteers, Division President Ann McNabb and Director Bill Conway were on site to meet with the public and assist the chapter with membership recruitment.


Efforts are being made to host more information/awareness sessions in other BC communities where CCB chapters currently exist as well as in new areas around the province. Preliminary plans are underway to develop a chapter in the Yukon, which would be a huge accomplishment for the Division. Sustaining and expanding the membership is ongoing in BC and we hope to welcome two new special interest chapters in the near future. There are currently 24 chapters in the BC-Yukon Division.


Division Book Club News…

The book Club continues to meet by teleconference on the fourth Saturday of each month at 9:00 AM for approximately one hour. A different book is red over the weeks leading to the gatherings then discussed during each meeting.  The upcoming list of books so far selected are as follows:

November 28, 2015;                Angela’s Ashes: A Memoir of a Childhood by Frank McCourt

December 2015;              No meeting.

January 23, 2016;           Moment of Truth by Lisa Scottoline


For more information on the Book Club meetings, book ßselections or how to get involved contact Kathy Sanness at, (250) 395-0395 or


Chapter Call in Sessions…

Thank you to all who have taken the time to participate! Heads up, there are new call in instructions listed below! The CCB BC-Yukon Division is continuing with two more monthly Chapter Call In sessions for 2015 and would like to invite a representative from each Chapter to participate. This can be done from the comfort of your own home! All topics are open for discussion and could include sharing information, fund raising ideas, Chapter concerns, Chapter successes and any other suggestions you may have, as there will be no set agenda. Remember a representative from your Chapter can be any person agreed upon by the Chapter to relay information back to the Chapter. In addition, this does not have to be the same person each time; let’s give anyone who wishes a chance to participate.


These sessions will have a facilitator who will be identified at the beginning of each call in session and will be responsible for keeping things on track and on time as well as reporting back should it be required. If there is an interest, guest speakers can also be arranged. Let’s all help keep the communication lines open for members of the CCB BC-Yukon Division.


The next call in dates will be Tuesday November 17th at 3:00pm and Thursday December 10th at 10:00am via tele-conference line at 1-866-351-5099 when you here hello press the number/pound key and then 475 for the November session and 174 for the December session. Reminder emails will be sent out but if you wish a reminder phone call, have any suggestions of dates and times that would better suit your Chapter or if you require further details please contact Judy Macdonald at 250-706-0233 or by email at – we look forward to speaking with you!


Get Together With Technology (GTT)…

The GTT program in British Columbia is doing very well, with active chapters in Nanaimo, Victoria and Vancouver. Interest has been expressed by a small group and Kamloops, and a few individuals in the Prince George area. In Kelowna the existing White Cane Club has struggled to attract new members, so have asked GTT to invite the blind envisioned impaired residents of that city to a GTT meeting. Plans are currently being made for that to happen between now and Christmas. Stay tuned for more details.

In Victoria, we continue to enjoy the leadership of Tom Dekker and Hanna Leavitt, as they attract interesting presentations and connect people with the peer support they need in order to use their assistive technology. This group continues to meet on the first Wednesday of each month, with a new meeting place at the Greater Victoria Public Library. We thank the Library for the free use of their Community Room, which is the perfect size and boasts wonderful audiovisual equipment. For more information about this group, please contact Tom at 250-661-9799 or

The Nanaimo GTT group is small, and meets sporadically on the first Thursday of each month at the 710 Club. We are appreciative of the free space offered by this generous organization. If you wish to know more about the Nanaimo GTT group, contact Donna Hudon at 250-618-0010 or

The Vancouver GTT group, our most recent organization to start meeting in British Columbia is skillfully led by two of the youth leaders from the Blind Beginnings organization. We appreciate very much the oversight that Shawn Marsolais, The Executive Director of blind beginning’s provides to this group. The youth leaders in charge are Clement Chou and Matthew Alveraz, and they have put on two very interesting programs so far. If you wish to know more about GTT, Vancouver please contact Shawn Marsolais at 604-434-7243 or

In early December, GTT hopes to gather like-minded individuals in Kelowna and Kamloops, as well as attending the Comox Valley White Cane Club. For further information, contact Albert Ruel at 250-240-2343 or
Vancouver VocalEye Raffle…

VocalEye has an exciting raffle opportunity just in time for Christmas! There are two top prizes and you get to choose if you want to enter for a chance to win a PlexTalk Linio Pocket or a Samsung Galaxy 8.4 inch tablet! A third prize will be drawn and anyone who purchased tickets is eligible to win.


The third prize is four tickets to VocalEye’s More Tales from the Blindside 2016 showcase (food included), a $100 value.


The PlexTalk Linio Pocket daisy/mp3 player from Aroga Technologies is valued at $369 – this portable player is essential for digital book downloads and will download direct from the CNIB library (WiFi). It also records audio and playback, plays music and mp3 files and is about the size of a cell phone. Listen with your earphone or on the high quality speakers. Aroga is available for a tutorial if you want first hand instruction on how to use it. This type of device is so handy for both readers and those who are volunteering and attending meetings. Tickets are $5 each and a max of 200 are available.


The Samsung Galaxy S 8.4 (inch screen) Titanium Android Tablet from NCIX Netlink, valued at $360. A handheld tablet that has full accessibility features for people with vision loss that can be turned on easily which including magnification and voice over. It is a great tool for searching the internet, reading emails, viewing print and audio books, taking and viewing photos, watching videos and listening to music or just looking up a new recipe!   This device is lightweight, portable, and the leader in Android technology! Perfect for any age and ability. Tickets are $5 each and a max of 200 are available


Choose to be entered to win either the PlexTalk or the Tablet or buy tickets for both! Tickets are $5 each and the draw date is December 17, 2015 – the winner will be contacted by phone. Credit card payments are welcome! Contact Amy for tickets at 604-763-2695 or (BC Gaming Event License #118990 – must be a BC resident, 19 years + to purchase tickets). Please help VocalEye raise funds and enter to win some fantastic prizes! Tickets went on sale November 1st and are already selling fast!! Don’t miss your chance to win!


VocalEye Presents…

Three described performances for the holidays – November-December 2015.


Described performance of A Christmas Story, the musical. Location – The Arts Club Stanley, 2750 Granville Street, Vancouver. Date – Sunday November 29th at 2:00 PM. Based on the popular film, this festive musical tells a tale familiar to anyone who has ever been a kid – the dogged pursuit of acquiring a desired toy. Filled with whimsical imagery, a memorable score and energetic dance sequences. This Canadian premiere makes a great holiday gift for the whole family. Tickets are $29 for vocalEye users, while they last.


Described performance of It’s A Wonderful Life! Location – The Arts Club Granville Island Stage, 1585 Johnston Street, Vancouver.

Date – Tuesday December 8th at 7:30 PM. Every time a bell rings, an angel gets his wings in this holiday favourite, based on the classic film of the same name. VocalEye will describe this performance for audience members with low vision, followed by a Talk Back with the cast. Tickets are $29 for vocalEye users, while they last.


Described performance of Peter and the Starcatcher. Location – Arts Club Goldcorp Stage, 162 West 1st Avenue. Date – Thursday December 17th at 7:30 PM. Audiences will be transported to a magical, whimsical world filled with swashbuckling pirates, magic amulets, and singing mermaids in this musical “prequel” to Peter Pan. Tickets are $25 for VocalEye users, while they last.


For more information for any of these performances, please visit our website or contact by phone 604-687-1644 for tickets.


The Blind Beader Presents…

It is coming up on Christmas time again! Every year I create a unique line of Christmas themed earrings: Designs and quantity are limited and include Christmas trees, Santa Claus, snowflakes, snowmen, wreathes, candy canes, reindeer and Christmas bells. All Christmas earrings are $5 per pair.


I also have a line of angel jewelery, which includes charms that hang from any standard zipper (purses, jackets, backpacks, pencil cases). Angels come in a variety of color and can be made into earrings, necklaces, bookmarks, keychains and bracelets. The angels start at $5 each.


I also create a line of originally designed jewelery that is great for gift giving and prices start at only $5.


If you get your Chapter together to place an order (friends and family included), I will donate 10% back to the chapter.


Shipping is free and pieces start at only $5.   Call or email me for specific questions. Orders received by December 15th will make it to you by Christmas!


Contact Amy Amantea, the Blind Beader – artist and designer of jewelery and accessories – or 604-763-2695.


White Cane Club “more than just support”…

– Written by Terry Farrell of the Comox Valley Record News Paper, published October 28th, 2015


With more than 40 members, the Comox Valley White Cane Club is an established support group for those with visual impairments. “We are much more than just a support group,” said club president Pat Chicquen. “Our goal is to provide social and recreational activities at a local level, but we also provide a lot of educational (tools), as well as the support.” Chicquen said despite the inference of the name, the White Cane Club is not a closed membership club, restricted to those with visual impairments. “Anybody can be a member,” said Chicquen. She added that in regards to business matters and other motions brought to the meetings, 60 percent of those voting must have visual impairments, but other than that it is wide open. “We have probably eight members in our club that are not visually impaired, and they are our volunteers. Without volunteers we’d be in trouble.” The volunteers play a big role in the club, particularly when it comes to helping with many social outings – be that an inter-club, like the one the club had with the Powell River Chapter this summer, or planning for the upcoming theatre trip to Chemainus. The club also has a monthly “Lunch Bunch” outing at a local eating establishment. The club has monthly meetings the first Tuesday of the month September to June, where, aside from general business, guest speakers are brought in to discuss issues such as living independently, and new equipment and services available for the visually impaired. The next meeting is at 1:00pm, Tuesday, Nov 2 at Berwick Comox Valley, 1700 Comox Ave., Comox. Peter Hildebrand has been a member ever since the club’s inception “some time around 1980. The first meeting was at the courthouse on Eighth and England,” he said. “I might have missed two or three meetings ever since. I enjoy the social aspect. It keeps me going.” Hildebrand, who lives in Casa Loma, added the White Cane Club gives him another social avenue. Chicquen said the most important service the club can provide is a sense of inclusiveness for those in the Valley with sight impairments. “A lot of people, when they get a diagnosis of things like (macular degeneration) they go home and shut the door,” she said. “We want them to come to us.” For more information about the club, call Pat Chicquen at 250-339-3904.



– from the local   coffee shop newsletter

The Kamloops Blind Lawn Bowling team had a successful season. At their last outing, the Blind and sighted teams held a challenge game for all. What was unique about the game was the sighted lawn bowling team had to wear goggles of different eye conditions to even up the match. The sighted team made some very interesting comments after the game – it was also pointed out, they were able to take off their goggles after the match. Pizza was enjoyed by all afterwards. Kamloops now has a blind curling team up and running too. Submitted by Vern Short, Kamloops White Cane Club


Lawn Bowling for the Blind in BC and Canada…

Al Hanet of Kelowna, BC has been lawn bowling with The Blind/Visually Impaired for more than 25 years.

This is one sport that the blind or visually impaired can do and do it well. Anyone 16 or older can participate in this sport. Do you want exercise, competition, strategy, and or walking up and down the greens approximately 3 to 4 kilometres a day and meeting persons with similar disabilities? Then this is your game, please contact Al by email at or by telephone at 250-765-2753 for more information.


The following is a copy of an article from the Delta Optimist, September 18, 2015 by Mark Booth…

No slowing down national champ. Like all amateur athletes, Matt Yole wants nothing more than to take his game to the world stage. Yet few can say they are doing it when they are 86 and battling their very limited vision. The Ladner resident recently returned from Calgary where he captured the B2 classification at the Blind Bowls Association of Canada (BBAC) Championships. His fifth appearance at Nationals proved to be the charm after winning silver at an earlier trip in Edmonton. Now he’s taking aim at an even bigger prize. “When (Nationals) were held in Ontario two years ago, the winner got to go to the Worlds in New Zealand. Unfortunately I didn’t make it,” he said. “But Richmond has put a bid in to host next year’s Nationals and the winner of that will go to Cape Town, South Africa the following year.” Yole has been a member of the Ladner Lawn Bowling Club for 26 years. His sight started to deteriorate around 1990. Macular Degeneration eventually caused him to lose his central vision and he hasn’t been able to drive for a decade. “I can’t see your face but I can see your feet and hands,” explained Yole, standing about five feet away. “I can see halfway down the green but nothing beyond that.” He still has his surround vision but isn’t sure how much longer. He is now dealing with glaucoma too. Thanks to the BBAC, Yole has been able to stay on the greens and remain in a competitive environment. There are four levels of classification ranging from B1 (complete blindness) to B4. It is taken seriously enough that each player’s participation must be formally confirmed by an ophthalmologist. At B2, Yole competes with a director – Chilliwack’s Don Hobbs. “He goes in front of me and directs me when he gets to the appropriate distance and shouts down how many meters,” Yole carefully explained. “He then puts his foot down to provide a direction to throw. The bowler also has to throw the jack. Either short, medium, long, or extra long. Control of the jack is really important. You are often trained to bowl better at some distances than others. I like the middle.” In Calgary, Yole was part of a dominating performance by BC bowlers that also saw gold medal triumphs by Nanaimo’s Aedan Seddon and Kelowna’s Al Hanet and Lisa Binnie. Yole also teamed with Kitchener’s Carrie Speers to win bronze in pairs. He initially qualified by winning his division at provincials in Nanaimo. Preparation for Nationals was tricky. Yole typically bowls on the synthetic surface in Ladner but the Rotary Park Lawn Bowling Club in Calgary is natural grass. To get used to the speed, he trained out of Tsawwassen and even spent some time in Kelowna before heading across the Rockies. Obviously, his game plan worked. “Richmond is synthetic turf too so it would be great if they get to host it,” Yole smiled. And getting to South Africa would be a whole lot closer too.


Barrier Free BC…

Barrier Free BC is working towards a BC Disabilities Act. For those who would like to join us, it is never too late to get involved or spread the word and help us formulate the strongest group possible representing the Disability community in this province.


The next meeting of Barrier Free BC is scheduled as follows…
Wednesday November 25th, from 1:00 to 3:30 PM at 200 – 5055 Joyce Street in Vancouver.

For those outside the Lower Mainland and travel is cost prohibitive a teleconference option is available as follows…
1-866-783-7393, participant code is 13634920#

Please share this opportunity with any interested parties you may feel has interest in becoming active in Barrier Free BC.

Follow us on twitter @barrierfreebc
Barrier Free BC is now on Facebook please follow us via our public page


Blind Beginnings Flashmob…

Over a year ago, a small group of Blind Beginnings Youth Leaders decided they would like to organize a flashmob. They began meeting monthly to plan what seemed like an enormous task. They needed a date and location that would be accessible to as many people as possible where there would be lots of on-lookers. They considered hundreds of songs while looking for uplifting positive music that would be easy to dance to. They wanted to showcase a positive side to blindness by incorporating white canes into the dance. They had to develop choreography that was not too complicated to teach to as many blind and partially sighted dancers as possible. Perhaps most difficult of all, they had to convince individuals who are blind or partially sighted to join the flashmob.


After many planning meetings and many practice sessions. The big day arrived. Here is a link to the flashmob video with audio description.


Blind Beginnings would like to thank the following individuals and organizations for making this project such a success:

  • The members of the Flashmob Committee for turning an idea into something amazing

Two very committed Youth Mentors; Owen Kristensen (AKA DJ Spacebar) for mixing and playing our music at practices and on the big day, and Randi Poitras who attended every single practice and created and taught most of the choreography

  • Angela Carroll-Wallace who encouraged the group from the very beginning and captured it all on video
  • Metro-town for allowing us to use the space for our flashmob
  • Descriptive Video works for providing audio-description to the video at no cost
  • The parents and volunteers who drove children to the practices and spent time helping them learn the steps.
  • Most of all, thank you to all the children, youth, parents, and supporters who danced in the flashmob. Yes, people who are blind can dance, and enjoy ourselves while we do it.


Please share this video with your networks and help us demonstrate that seeing things differently really does inspire limitless possibilities.


Who is Derrick Harvey…

Derrick Harvey works with the Canadian Red Cross as a Disaster Response Team Manager. Leading the Emergency Response Team for North Vancouver Island, the Gulf Islands and the Sunshine Coast. For the past 35 years, Derrick has been involved in international development. In that time, he has worked on the building and installation of low power FM stations, Training for fire departments, creating a young men’s business development team and other projects. He and his wife have lived in and visited over 74 countries to date.


In the early 1980’s, Derrick lived in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. He was hired to completely reconstruct and reprogramme a radio station that was and still is totally devoted to print handicapped individuals. The licence for this radio station was held by the Victoria Association for the Blind, which is now known as Vision Australia. The radio station, call sign 3 RPH (Radio for the Print Handicapped) was housed in an old Victorian style house in the Melbourne suburb of Kooyong. After taking the station off the air for 2 months to physically rebuilt the station and to recruit in excess of 500 volunteers to staff it, the station was reborn as a 24/7/365 news and information talk station.


Over the next 11 months, the audience went from less than 1% of the audience reach to an enviable 14%. The rebuilt transmitter on the AM band now achieved a greater reach within the state of Victoria. The station was entirely run by volunteers, many of whom were either totally blind or legally blind. The target audience was those individuals who were “Print Handicapped” this not only included those with a lack of sight, but also those who physically could not hold a book or newspaper and to people who were incarcerated and did not have daily access to print media.


The station mandate was to provide a reading service. Printed material was specifically edited for broadcast and then read on air by carefully selected presenters. The technical aspect was often carried out by the visually impaired members of the volunteer team and special equipment was either purchased or made on site to allow for the monitoring of signal and to facilitate up to six readers on a team. The Station was funded through programme sponsorship and had no commercials. Much of the funding came from the parent organization.


Derrick mentioned that as a sighted person in charge of the station, he always found it fascinating to go into the station after dark, to find a large group of volunteers actively programming the station with not a single light on in the building. He said that it “emphasized to me” the importance of this service to our print handicapped audience.


After finishing their stay in Australia, Derrick and his wife continued to play a role in overseas development work and this led to other radio stations being built in Vanuatu in the south pacific through UNICEF and in the Dead Sea valley in Jordan, through AMARC. Most recently in 2012/13 Derrick worked with UNESCO in East Africa, working with 24 Community Radio stations. Derrick is today working virtually with several stations in Tanzania and in early October of 2015 provided some innovative field reporter kits to allow those stations to cover that countries national elections.


Derrick began his radio career as a night news reader for a Toronto Station owned by the late Foster Hewitt and was later recruited to build the community TV station for Campbell River TV association. While radio is a main interest for Derrick, he also found time to be a fully qualified fire department training officer and created his own NGO’s to provide training in both Phnom Penh Cambodia and Port Vila Vanuatu.


Derrick joined the Canadian Red Cross 13 years ago and is currently a Disaster Response manager, Emergency Response team lead and also a Senior Facilitator in the Learning and Development centre of the Red Cross. In September, he was awarded the Red Cross Distinguished Service Award


Derrick and his lovely wife were married in 1972 and currently live in Comox, British Columbia


Bio: Interviewed and written by Donna Rekve


*** Please feel free to make contact with your Division Board…

Ann McNabb, President – 604-795-7230 –

Gerry Braak, 1st Vice President – 604-485-5028 –

Pat Chicquen, 2nd Vice President – 250-339-3904 –

Bill Conway, Director – 604-740-5896 –

Darren Douma, Director – 250-428-8715 –

Lori Fry, Director/National Rep – 250-395-2452 –

Terry Pipkey, Director – 250-562-1892 –

Donna Rekve, Director – 604-483-4220 –