National Newsletter April 2016


CCB National Newsletter
April 2016
++CCB Atlantic Sports Weekend: The 39th Annual Atlantic Sports Weekend will be held from May 20 till May 22, 2016 and is based at the Ramada Inn, 240 Brownlow Ave., Dartmouth, Nova Scotia.

This is an excellent opportunity to renew old friendships and make new ones while participating in friendly competitions and social events.

The activities include a talent show, meet-and-greet, bowling, track and field, swimming, a dance, table bowling, darts, cribbage, and more. The weekend concludes with an Awards Banquet costing only $20.00 per person.

For further information, please contact Brenda Green at 902-406-6874, or e-mail

++CNIB Lake Joseph Centre Young Adult Week – July 24th through July 30th, 2016: This program is intended for young adults who would like to meet, mix and mingle with their peers. It is geared towards youth who are transitioning from youth and family programs to adult programs. Guests experience a combination of structured and elective programming.
For further information please contact:
Jacqueline Harrison, Manager
CNIB Lake Joseph Centre
705 375 2630 x 5505
1 877 748 4028 x 5505
705 375 2323

++Ontario Vision Impaired Golfers Invite
OVIG is hosting a three day invitational golf tournament in conjunction with its annual provincial.

This event called Ontario Open Blind Golf Championships which we are hosting in August on the 12th to the 14th, 2016 is looking for vision impaired golfers to join us.

If interested please check out our website,, then join the golfers at Hamilton’s Chippewa Golf Course.

All information is on the site or you can contact David Burnett at

++Get Together with Technology (GTT):
The Halifax based Access & Awareness NS Chapter of the Canadian Council of the Blind will be holding its second “Get Together With Technology (GTT)” session on Tuesday, April 5, 2016 from 6 p.m. until 7:30 p.m. in the cafeteria annex at the Atlantic Provinces Special Education Authority (APSEA), 5944 South St., Halifax. This session will again involve exchanging knowledge, tips, general information and ideas regarding any technologies used by us in our daily lives. In particular, this session will focus on the iPhone 6. Bring your device(s) with you and be prepared to learn and to help others learn by exchanging our knowledge and information including information about new and upcoming apps. All are welcome. This session is free!

So that we will know the number of attendees expected, please register by emailing or leave a phone message at 902-422-7758.

See you there!

++Congratulations! 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 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.

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 viceregal 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.
++New Chapter Welcome!
A warm welcome to our newest chapter: CCB Glenvale Players Theatre Group. Based out of Toronto, Ontario, this chapter of fifteen members is a, “Theatrical group comprising blind, vision impaired, sighted members as well as persons with other disabilities, who share an interest in theater arts.”

++Feedback Request: We are delighted to share with you a new Discussion Paper on what the Canadians with Disabilities Act, promised to Canadians by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, should include. This Discussion Paper draws on experience with accessibility laws in Ontario and Manitoba, and elsewhere around the world. It is built on the 14 principles for the Canadians with Disabilities Act which Barrier-Free Canada has put forward, on Canada’s obligations under the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and any feedback from our supporters.

Below, we set out a summary of this 48-page Discussion Paper. You can download the new Discussion Paper on What the Canadians with Disabilities Act Should Include, in an accessible MS Word document, by visiting:

This Discussion Paper was written by Barrier-Free Canada co-chair David Lepofsky, to help Barrier-Free Canada and others across Canada come up with ideas on what the Canadians with Disabilities Act should include.
We encourage you to:
* Send us your feedback on this Discussion Paper. Do you agree with the ingredients for the Canadians with Disabilities Act that it proposes? Are there other things you think should be included in the Canadians with Disabilities Act?
Send your feedback to us at

Please try to get us your feedback by the end of May 2016. We will use your feedback as Barrier-Free Canada formulates its full brief on what the promised Canadians with Disabilities Act should include, that we will send to all political parties.

* Please widely circulate this Discussion Paper. Send it to friends, family, community organizations, and religious communities in which you are involved. Encourage as many people as possible to send us feedback and ideas. Use it to help build support in the community for a strong and effective Canadians with Disabilities Act.

* Send this Discussion Paper to your Member of Parliament. Talk to your MP about what you would like a strong Canadians with Disabilities Act to include.

Summary of the March 15, 2016 Discussion Paper on What the Canadians with Disabilities Act should Include
By Barrier-Free Canada co-chair David Lepofsky

a) The purpose of the Canadians with Disabilities Act should be to ensure that, as far as Parliament can achieve this, the Federal Government should lead Canada to become fully accessible to people with disabilities by a deadline that the law will set. It should effectively implement the equality rights which the Charter of Rights and the Canada Human Rights Act guarantee to people with disabilities, without their having to battle accessibility barriers one at a time, and one organization at a time, by filing individual human rights complaints or Charter claims.

b) The Canadians with Disabilities Act should ensure that all federally-regulated organizations provide accessible goods, services, facilities and employment.

c) The Canadians with Disabilities Act should put the Government of Canada in charge of leading Canada to full accessibility.

d) The Canadians with Disabilities Act should create an independent Canada Accessibility Commissioner, reporting directly to Parliament, that will lead the Act’s implementation and enforcement.

e) The Canadians with Disabilities Act should establish a clear, broad, inclusive definition of “disability.”

f) The Canadians with Disabilities Act should require the Federal Government to create the mandatory, enforceable accessibility standards that will lead Canada to full accessibility.

g) The Canadians with Disabilities Act should ensure a prompt, effective and open process for developing and reviewing Federal accessibility standards.

h) The Canadians with Disabilities Act should ensure the effective enforcement of the Canadians with Disabilities Act.

i) The Canadians with Disabilities Act should ensure strong centralized action on disability accessibility among Federal Regulatory Agencies.

j) The Canadians with Disabilities Act should ensure that the strongest accessibility law always prevails.

k) The Canadians with Disabilities Act should ensure that public money is never used to create, perpetuate or exacerbate accessibility barriers.

l) The Canadians with Disabilities Act should ensure that no Federal laws authorize or require disability barriers.

m) The Canadians with Disabilities Act should ensure that Federal elections become fully accessible to voters and candidates with disabilities.

n) The Canadians with Disabilities Act should ensure a fully accessible Federal Government.

o) The Canadians with Disabilities Act should ensure full accessibility of all courts within federal authority.

p) The Canadians with Disabilities Act should mandate a national strategy for expanding international trade in Canadian accessible goods, services and facilities.

q) The Canadians with Disabilities Act should establish initial and interim measures to promote accessibility pending development of Federal accessibility standards.

r) The Canadians with Disabilities Act should ensure that efforts at educating the public on accessibility under the Canadians with Disabilities Act don’t stall or delay needed implementation and enforcement action.

s) The Canadians with Disabilities Act should mandate the Federal Government to assist and encourage Provincial and Territorial Governments to enact comprehensive, detailed accessibility legislation.

t) The Canadians with Disabilities Act should mandate the Federal Government to create national model Accessibility Standards which provinces, territories and other organizations across Canada can use.

u) The Canadians with Disabilities Act should set time lines for Federal Government action on implementing the Canadians with Disabilities Act.

v) The Canadians with Disabilities Act should require periodic Independent Reviews of progress under the Act.

w) The Canadians with Disabilities Act should be meaningful, have teeth, and not be mere window-dressing.

++Books Without Ink: Special Touch Event for Blind and Low-Vision People in Manitoba: On Saturday April 9, please come and learn about the early history of books made by and for blind people. In this special after-hours opening of Books Without Ink, visitors can examine rare and fragile raised-print books from the early Victorian period as well as other artefacts, including a kleidograph and tactile maps. Co-curator Vanessa Warne, a professor at the University of Manitoba, will host this event and discuss artifacts with visitors; an audio guide and braille guide will be available. Artefacts usually exhibited behind glass will be taken out of their cases for visitors to examine by touch.

There is no admission charge. All are welcome. The event will take place in Archives & Special Collections, on the third-floor of the Elizabeth Dafoe library at the University of Manitoba campus. The Archives are accessible by elevator; an accessible washroom is located in the Archives Space. The Archives will open for this event on Saturday April 9 at noon and close again at 3pm. Please stop by to touch and learn more about the history of raised print. No RSVP is needed.

Please note: this interesting exhibit will close permanently at the end of April and loaned artifacts will be returned to schools and museums across North America. If you have any questions, please email Vanessa at or call 204-474-8144 to leave a phone message. Special accommodations can be made for larger groups interested in visiting together.
++World Book and Copyright Day:
Toronto, April 23, 2016: Millions of people, including children and students, are being denied access to books and other printed materials. Less than 10% of published works are made into accessible formats in developed countries. Blind and partially sighted people, especially students, in wealthy countries like the U.S. and in Europe still face unequal barriers when accessing published works. These barriers cause many students to have to wait unacceptably long periods of time for their textbooks, assuming they are able to get the book in an accessible format at all. In developing countries, the situation is even worse as less than 1% of books are ever made into accessible formats. Many students are unable to receive a full education in large part due to the lack of accessible materials. In places like India, the country with the highest number of people who are blind or partially sighted, over half of all children with a visual disability are out of school.

This global lack of accessible published materials is known as the “book famine.” The World Blind Union has worked alongside multiple stakeholders for years to overcome this book famine. These efforts have resulted in an international treaty, the Marrakesh Treaty, which will directly address the book famine in two important ways. Firstly, it will enable “authorized entities,” such as blind persons’ organizations and libraries, to more easily reproduce works into accessible formats (Braille, DAISY, audio, large print, e-books, etc.), for non-profit distribution. Secondly, the Treaty will permit authorized entities to share accessible books and other printed materials across borders with other authorized entities.

The current international system does not allow for cross-border sharing, leading to the needless duplication of books, which uses up already limited resources. However, once the Marrakesh Treaty comes into force, cross-border sharing will be legal, which will help to avoid the duplication of reproduction efforts in different countries. The Treaty will also enable countries with large collections of accessible books to share them with blind and print disabled people in countries with fewer resources. Cross-border sharing is essential for combating the book famine as blind and partially sighted people are among the poorest of the poor, and organizations for the blind often do not have the resources needed to produce enough materials in accessible formats.

Blind and print disabled people want to be able to go to a bookstore or library and pick up and read the new bestseller like everyone else. Blind and partially sighted children want to be able to go to school and to become literate just as much as their sighted peers do. It has been well documented that education is the key to unlocking the future potential of children, enabling them to become gainfully employed as adults and participate effectively as students, parents, coworkers, and citizens in their communities and their families.

Literacy, education, and full participation in society no longer need to be denied to the world’s blind and print disabled, but the Marrakesh Treaty can only start helping end the book famine once it is ratified and implemented. The Treaty and its benefits will only apply to countries that have ratified it, and it will only come into force once it has been ratified by 20 countries. Currently, the Treaty has been ratified by 15 countries, making it possible for the treaty to come into force in 2016, allowing its promise of access to information and literature for all to turn into a reality. The WBU calls for every government to stop denying their blind and print disabled citizens their right to read by ratifying and then effectively implementing the Marrakesh Treaty, ensuring that its original spirit of human rights and equality for all is maintained throughout its implementation.

You can learn more about our Marrakesh Treaty Ratification and Implementation Campaign, what governments can do to help end the book famine, and download a letter that you can use to encourage your government to ratify the Treaty on our Campaign page:

++A Useful resource about filing income taxes: We have been provided some useful information about filing your taxes more independently. Steve Sleigh is the person at Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) working on this, and at the bottom of this posting will be Steve’s contact info. He encourages everyone to contact him to help make filing taxes accessible for people who are blind or have low vision.

What’s new for the 2016 tax-filing season?
Did you know?
There are changes and enhancements to existing services, credits, and amounts for individual taxpayers for the 2016 tax-filing season!

Important facts
• Updated notice of assessment – The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) has improved the notice of assessment! The new, simpler format provides the most important information about your assessment on the first page. This is part of the CRA’s effort to improve its correspondence with individuals. Online tax records are as official as a paper record.
• Auto-fill my return – The Auto-fill my return service is now available through some certified tax software. This service allows you to automatically fill in certain parts of your income tax and benefit return. To use the Auto-fill my return service, you must be fully registered for My Account.
• Online mail – Online mail is the fast, easy and secure way to manage your tax correspondence. Get statements such as your notice of assessment online in My Account, instead of in the mail. To register, provide us with an email address on your income tax and benefit return or register directly online at New correspondence, such as benefits statements (summer 2016), will be added this year!
• Disability Tax Credit – This year, Canadians claiming the Disability Tax Credit (DTC) will be able to file their T1 return online regardless of whether or not their Form T2201, Disability Tax Credit Certificate has been submitted to the CRA for that tax year.
• MyCRA mobile app – Get your tax information anytime, anywhere, on your mobile device! In October 2015, new features were added to the MyCRA mobile app such as personalized benefit payment information, enhanced tax return status, and Canada child tax benefit application status. Starting February 2016, you will also be able to update your address, manage your online mail with the CRA, and sign up for direct deposit.

The CRA’s online services make filing and managing your taxes easier. The CRA’s online services are fast, easy, and secure. You can use them to help file your income tax and benefit return, make a payment, track the status of your return, register for online mail, apply for child benefits, and more. Access the CRA’s full suite of self-service options—register for My Account at today, and start managing your tax matters online!

Here is the information directly from Steve. Below is an introduction for the newsletter. Below the introduction are instructions for using Auto-fill my return.

An important objective of the Electronic Filing Services Section
(EFSS) is to ensure that Canadians who use assistive technologies have options to file their returns using 3rd party software and CRA’s Net file service. To meet this objective we have been consulting regularly with companies who share their Netfile tax software links on CRA’s web-site as well as organizations dedicated to helping Canadians who are visually impaired or blind. In doing so, we have developed a communication strategy to inform and educate software developers of the needs of persons that use assistive technology, and how they can implement best practices to help meet those needs. We expect that our partners in the software development industry will continue their support on this important initiative.

EFSS continues to reach out and communicate with various organizations such as the Canadian Council of the Blind (CCB), Canadian National Institute for the Blind (CNIB) and Alliance for Equality for Blind Canadians (AEBC) to collaborate on communications to persons that use assistive technologies, highlighting the options and features available to them. Additionally, we have provided presentations to these groups with details on the use of Assistive Technology and NETFILE software.

Here are the instructions for Auto-fill my return:
To use Auto-fill my return, you need to:
· Fully be registered for My Account
· Select a use NETFILE-certified software that offers Auto-fill
my return You will be prompted to enter your My Account user ID and password to use the Auto-fill my return service.
· Follow the steps laid out in the software. Once Auto-fill my
return has populated your information, make sure that all the proper fields on the return are filled in and that the information provided is true and accurate.
· File your return as directed.

Submitted by: Steve Sleigh
Senior Projects Officer

In the News
++Toyota Introduces Wearable Device For The Blind: Toyota is exploring its catchphrase, “Let’s Go Places,” from an unexpected angle.

The Japanese automaker has developed a wearable device aimed at assisting the blind and visually impaired. It’s a gadget worn around the shoulders that will help people navigate their surroundings, filling “the gaps left by canes, dogs and basic GPS devices.”

Toyota announced the new initiative, “Project BLAID,” on its blog. According to, the company will begin beta testing the device soon.

“We want to extend the freedom of mobility for all, no matter their circumstance, location or ability,” Toyota North America’s chief administrative officer Simon Nagata said in a statement.

The device will be equipped with cameras to detect the user’s surroundings, as well as speakers and vibration motors that willl relay information.

“It will help users better navigate indoor spaces, such as office buildings and shopping malls, by helping them identify everyday features, including bathrooms, escalators, stairs and doors,” said the blog post.

In a video introducing the device, Toyota said it hopes to eventually add other features, like mapping, facial recognition and object identification to BLAID.

“This has the ability to transform and change people’s lives,” said project engineer Rajiv Daval in the clip.

As Tech Times noted, Toyota wasn’t the first company to announce an initiative of this kind. In November, Microsoft, in collaboration with the British charity Guide Dogs, revealed a souped-up smart headset geared toward helping visually-impaired people navigate their way around cities.
By Dominique Mosbergen, Senior Writer, The Huffington Post

++A Blind Man’s Quest to Backpack the World: From the inception of the human race on planet Earth, intrepid men and women followed their ‘adventure inclinations’ to explore the continents, oceans and outer space.

Some raft, some swim, some climb and some fly. And some sling a heavy backpack onto their shoulders for the ultimate personal quest. Whatever drives each of us, that ‘Spirit of Adventure’ tugs at our heartstrings and plays upon our minds.

Individual human beings create their own quests in the natural world in order to give their lives meaning. But what if you’re totally blind? What do you do? How do you do it?

The fabled Colorado trail winds 486 miles from the mouth of Waterton Canyon southwest of Denver to Durango, Colorado. It peaks at 13,271 feet while most of the trail runs above 10,000 feet. The trail encompasses 89,000 feet of vertical climbing.

Blind raconteur, Trevor Thomas, 46, became the first sightless backpacker to complete the arduous trek along the Colorado Trail along with his guide dog, Tennille in 2015. Whether you look at Amelia Earhart or Charles Lindbergh, someone must gather the courage to go “Where no one has gone before.” Once that person breaks through the “impossible” quest, others gain courage to lift themselves toward their highest and best.
Thomas, of Charlotte, N.C, said, “Hiking started off as a way for me to get my own life back. But it has turned into a crusade for independence for blind people.”

As a writer who has packed the Colorado Trail, I can tell you it’s not for the faint of heart. It’s rugged, wild and can be dangerous.
Yet Thomas prepared to succeed. As a blind backpacker, he fell many times.
He failed in 2011 to complete the trek. Later, armed with a GPS system, which monitored his journey, he sent messages to friends and family. He carried a satellite phone for emergencies. His expedition leader created a mile-by-mile instruction guidebook for Thomas to follow with his talking iPhone.

The system warned him about cliffs, lakes, streams and other obstacles.
Along with his high-tech equipment, his guide dog Tennille carried him through countless dangers. Thomas said, “When you take vision away, you have to rely on every other sense—touch, smell, hearing—so in a sense I think I get a more robust, multi-dimensional experience.”

In 2002, Thomas became the first sightless backpacker to complete the 2,175-mile Appalachia Trail. It’s known as the “tunnel of green” because trees dominate the entire trail while leaving trekkers in the woods the whole journey. Later, Thomas finished the 2,654-mile Pacific Coast Trail from Mexico to Canada. To add icing to the cake, he completed the 211-mile John Muir Trail from Yosemite Valley to Mount Whitney.
Ironically, as he began descending into blindness, his friends gave him a litany of reasons for not doing anything. “Everyone told me about all the things I couldn’t do,” he said.

One of his friends, the first blind man to summit Mt. Everest along with the tallest mountains on all seven continents said, “Thomas pushed the envelope more than anyone else in the category of backpacking.” Not a bad compliment from a man who pushed every category into the “no limits for blind people.”
The Power of Adventure: When coyotes howl outside your tent, that may be adventure. While you’re sweating like a horse in a climb over a 12,000-foot pass, that’s adventure. When howling headwinds press your lips against your teeth, you face a mighty adventure. While pushing through a raging rainstorm, adventure drenches you. But that’s not what makes an adventure.

It is your willingness to struggle through it, to present yourself at the doorstep of Nature. Can any greater joy come from life than living inside the ‘moment’ of an adventure? It may be a fleeting ‘high’, a stranger that changes your life, an animal that delights you or frightens you, a struggle where you triumphed, or even failed, yet you braved the challenge. Those moments present you uncommon experiences that give your life eternal expectation. That’s adventure!” With that in mind, Thomas said, “The reality is, blindness is not the life-ending injury or illness people think it is. I hike to give people hope.”
Thomas does more than that! He offers every person the opportunity to examine his or her life and choose to take that quest higher-along the magnificent Colorado Trail.
Reach Trevor Thomas:
By Frosty Wooldridge