National Newsletter December 2016



++CCB Toronto Visionaries Chapter to host the 2017 White Cane Week ‘Experience’ Expo!:

As part of the Canadian Council of the Blind’s ‘White Cane Week’ public awareness campaign in February, the CCB Toronto Visionaries Chapter, in collaboration with CNIB Toronto and with the generous sponsorship of Accessible Media Inc, is hosting the 2017 WCW ‘Experience’ Expo

A hands-on, interactive exposition in which exhibitors share their ‘experience’, providing creative, adaptive solutions to all aspects of life with vision loss. Through interactive demonstrations and activities, visitors can ‘experience’ new ways to overcome barriers, gain independence, and live a full, rich life.

Come and engage with dozens of exhibitors to find out what it’s like – hands on – to navigate using a smart phone with Blind Square, test your putting skills – blind-folded! – with the Ontario Visually Impaired Golfers, try your hand at sculpting in clay with Hands of Fire Sculpture Group, or climb onto a tandem bike with Trailblazers Tandem Cycling!  The CNIB will be on hand, demonstrating everything from cooking techniques to screen-readers!  And much, much more!  So come out to the ‘Experience’ Expo, get interactive, try something new, and explore the possibilities!   

When:  Saturday, February 4,                                     2017 from 10am to 4pm

Where:  CNIB Centre, 1929 Bayview Avenue, Toronto.

Immediately following the Expo from 4pm to 8pm, the CCB Toronto Visionaries will be holding a Community Social featuring music, food, a cash bar & door prizes!

Admission is free to the Expo and Community Social.

But if you plan to attend the Community Social, please RSVP to our Voice Mail Line, 416-760-2163 or at

So come out and share the ‘Experience’ at the 2017 WCW ‘Experience’ Expo!

++Impressions of the Braille Conference:

In this submission Kim Kilpatrick shares her thoughts on the 2016 CNIB Braille Conference, held in Toronto on October 21. (This submission first appeared in the Braille Literacy Canada newsletter.)

This was only my second ever braille conference.  I enjoyed it immensely and found the workshops I attended very worth while. But, what I appreciated even more, was being in a room filled with people who are as passionate about braille as I am.  

I loved hearing the winners of the braille creative writing contest, reading confidently and fluently in braille their winning entries.

To read them go to and search for the 2016 winners. 

I appreciated having braille hand outs that I could use to follow along in one workshop.  Having braille hand outs in any presentation always makes workshops much more enjoyable and enlightening.  

I was on a panel in one workshop talking about many different refreshable braille devices.  It was nice to be in a group of people who loved to talk about refreshable braille, and the pros and cons of each device.  

The key note speech by Cay Holbrook was also a highlight for me and wrapped up the day beautifully. 

By Kim Kilpatrick 

++Trust Your Buddy:

Ryan Van Praet recently ran his first Trust Your Buddy (TYB) clinic at the local YMCA in Chatham, Ontario.

The clinic saw a good turnout and great support from the YMCA. This is just one more way CCB is supporting blind athletes to reach their goals and maintain a healthy lifestyle.

For more information on the TYB program, please contact:

Ryan Van Praet

Accessible Recreation for the Blind



December 1st is Don and Avril Grant’s 60th wedding anniversary. Don is a member of the CCB National Board. We would like to wish Don and Avril a big congratulations on this momentous event!

++CCB BC-Yukon Division Book Club:

The CCB, BC-Yukon Division Book Club is seeking additional members, so if you’re interested in joining the Book Club please contact Kathy Sanness or Albert Ruel directly. Contact info is found at the bottom of this article.

For those who RSVP to join the Book Club monthly discussion Kathy will circulate the toll free number and call-in code. The meeting takes place from 9:00 to 10:00 AM Pacific Time on the 4th Saturday of each month, except for December 2016.

For further information contact:

Kathy Sanness, President

Mobile: 1-250-395-0395

Albert Ruel, Secretary

Mobile: 1-250-240-2343

++Get Together with Technology:

The CCB sponsored GTT program continues to thrive across the country, keeping the blind community up to date on assistive technology. This fantastic program allows the community to find out what’s new on the tech market, consult with peers on what’s working for them and even receive training on their products.

If you have any questions or would like more information on GTT, please contact: Kim Kilpatrick, GTT Coordinator at



Or follow the GTT blog to get the latest information at

++Let’s Get It Out There: Tele Town Hall Next Steps:

Hello Tele Town Hall Participants:

As we promised in our previous communication, this note is to provide you with an update re our next steps.

The Let’s Get It Out There tele town hall team met a few days ago and based on tremendous feedback received on the original call, and subsequently by email and phone we will be carrying out the following:

*Sometime around mid-December, or perhaps earlier we will make available to participants the written summary notes of the October 29th, 2016 tele town hall meeting

*We will post it to all the email and other listserves used to communicate with you to date.

*Some time in January the organizing team will meet to plan our next tele town hall meeting, expected to be hosted some time in early spring.

In the meantime if you wish to share any additional feedback with us please do not hesitate to send it to

Once again we thank you for your continuing interest and willingness to participate.

Yours sincerely,

The Let’s Get It Out There tele town hall team: Richard Marion, Anthony Tibbs, Melanie Marsden, Albert Ruel, Paul Edwards, Robin East, Louise Gillis, Pat Seed, Jane Blaine, Kim Kilpatrick, and Donna Jodhan

++CCB Peterborough Chapter Christmas Party:

CCB Peterborough, ON is excited to invite you to our first

Christmas Party on Thursday, December 8 from 1:30 to 4:00 pm. The party is being held at Emmanuel United Church, 254 George St N.

You and a friend are invited. Please bring a pot-luck afternoon appetizer and wear your favourite festive sweater.

RSVP: Please call Debby at (705) 874-6905

Submitted by

Debby Haryett & CCB

++Invitation to Participate in Phone Conference on new Music Braille Code!

Sign up now to participate in a conference call focusing on music Braille code, 2015!

To Music Braille readers, transcribers, and teachers in the U.S. and Canada:

Do you have questions about the new music braille code? Join a conference call about the Music Braille Code, 2015 (MBC-2015), presented by the Braille Authority of North America (BANA), on Tuesday, January 17, 2017, from 8:00-9:00 pm Eastern Standard Time. Ask questions of expert music braille transcriber and proofreader Dan Geminder, Chair of the BANA Music Braille Committee that wrote the new codebook, and of other members of his committee.

What will you learn about during the call?

*MBC-2015 has clarified many aspects of music braille and is easier to search than was the previous codebook.

*MBC-2015 aligns more closely with the music braille international manual than did the previous codebook.

*MBC-2015 incorporates UEB (Unified English Braille), with international consultation.

Don’t have MBC-2015 yet? It will be sold by the American Printing House for the Blind and is currently available from the BANA website in both PDF and BRF formats (the BRF is in zipped files). Visit for download instructions.

Interested in participating in this conference call? It will be limited to 25 participants, so please let us know of your desire to participate by emailing no later than Friday, December 16. Participants will be notified of their selection for the call, will receive more information about the call, and will be encouraged to email their music braille questions prior to the call so that Dan and his committee can answer those questions most clearly and completely.

BANA is excited to inform the music braille community about what’s in MBC-2015 and looks forward to hearing from those interested in participating in this informative conference call!

You can follow the work of BANA by signing up for BANA-Announce, a one-way email list that disseminates news and information. To join this list, send a blank email message to and follow the directions in the confirmation email that will be sent in response. You can also follow BANA on Facebook and Twitter!

++Camp Bowen Society for the Visually Impaired is looking for your help:

We desperately need your help!

We are the Camp Bowen Society for the Visually Impaired, a Chapter of the Canadian Council of the Blind and the non-profit that took over the visually impaired summer camp programs on Bowen Island, BC from CNIB in late 2010. Last year, we were unable to hold child and youth programs because of a funding shortfall. The only reason the adult program was able to run was because several adults were able to help cover the program costs. This was helped by the fact that the adult program has a smaller overhead because it does not require as many resources to run.

We need your help to ensure this valuable program continues. Program costs have risen dramatically and many of the families we serve often face disability-related expenses, leaving limited income for recreational activities.

Next year, we plan to run child, youth and adult programs, open to all Canadians, and we can only do it with your help.

Please donate to our fundraiser on Canada Helps and help our campers be able to continue to call Camp Bowen their second home. We are in desperate need of donations ahead of the December 31, 2016 deadline for the fundraiser. Whether you can help with one dollar or more, every donation is greatly appreciated.

To donate, visit the following link:

For more information about Camp Bowen or the fundraiser, please visit or call +1 (844) MYBOWEN (692-6936).

Thanks in advance for your support.

Warm regards,

The Camp Bowen Team

++World Blind Union

International Day of Persons with Disabilities December 3rd, 2016

December 3rd is the day that the whole world celebrates persons with disabilities and their full and equal inclusion in society. The United Nations (UN) theme for this year is “Achieving 17 Goals for the Future We Want,” in reference to the Sustainable Developments Goals (SDGs). The SDGs were adopted by the UN General Assembly in September 2015 and they have several explicit references to persons with disabilities. These references in the SDGs ensure that persons with disabilities will be included in the main international development agenda that will last until 2030.

The Goals cover a range of topics, including health, education, peace and gender. Goal #8 is “promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all.” This goal is also a major priority for the World Blind Union (WBU). Despite advances in education, rehabilitation, technology and social attitudes, blind and partially sighted persons are still very likely to be unemployed in all parts of the world. In developed countries, the employment of blind people is approximately only 25% and in developing countries, the number of employed blind people falls below 10%.

“Blind and partially sighted people want to work and are able to work. The only thing that holds them back is the lack of opportunity,” said Dr. Fredric Schroeder, President of the World Blind Union. He further stated that “blind and partially sighted people need access to a good education, assistive technology, and someone to give them a chance to show what they can do.”

The future that the WBU wants is one where all persons with disabilities, including blind and partially sighted persons, have full access to gainful employment, equal to persons without disabilities. In order to achieve this goal, we need to address the barriers that still persist that prevent blind people from becoming employed.

Barriers still include the lack of legislation for preventing discrimination against persons with disabilities in the workplace or during the hiring process, the lack of knowledge needed to support and/or train blind and partially sighted employees and the remaining stigmas and false perceptions many people still have towards blind people, such as the belief that blind people are less capable than their sighted peers or more expensive than other employees.

A recent Ipsos study conducted in Canada for the CNIB found that 70% of Canadians would choose a sighted candidate over a blind candidate even if both candidates were equally qualified. These kinds of stigmas towards hiring blind people are not unique to Canada; unfortunately, they are a truly global problem.

To combat these barriers and stigmas, the WBU has an employment website called Project Aspiro, which is dedicated to providing skills and resources for blind and partially sighted students and job seekers to help them find employment. The website also highlights the integral role that employers have and the site has resources to help employers hire and keep blind and partially sighted employees.

Additionally, CNIB recently launched an employment campaign called EmployAbility, which has useful resources and information for job seekers and employers alike.

++Ontario Division is holding an election on January 24, 2017:

We have reached the end of our three year term and are opening the floor for persons within Ontario that are interested in becoming members of the Divisional Council.

Please send your biography to before the end of December.

Once all candidate biography’s have been received they will be e-mailed to chapter contacts. During the January 24, 2017 Reach Out call there will be an election.

If you have any questions please contact Gary Saxon Ontario Division president and secretary at 1 866 643 9873.

Merry Christmas from Ontario division

In the News

++Coming Soon to your Quiet Hybrid:

Under a new safety regulation issued by the US federal government, hybrids and electric cars will be equipped with a device that emits sound to alert passersby that the vehicle is running. Manufacturers have until Sept. 1, 2019, to meet the requirement.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in announcing the new safety standard, said adding noise to the nearly soundless vehicles could prevent nearly 2,400 injuries to pedestrians and cyclists.

The measure is of special importance to people who are blind or visually impaired.

“The sound is really important when you’re at an intersection because it’s really the only thing that’s telling you not only whether there are cars in the intersection or not, but what the overall pattern of the traffic is,” said Chris Danielsen, a spokesman for the Baltimore-based National Federation of the Blind, which lobbied for the measure.

Danielson, who is blind, said sound is critical even for a person who is using a guide dog or when intersections are equipped with audio devices to help people navigate. It’s also important in parking lots, where slow-moving hybrids or electric vehicles can travel in almost complete silence.

The federal safety agency began gathering evidence of potential dangers posed by cars powered by something besides an internal combustion engine at least six years ago. In 2009, Nissan proposed adding a chime or perhaps even a futuristic whirring noise that reminded one of our colleagues of the flying machines in “Blade Runner.”

But, in a way, the rule will take the automobile industry back in time, to the days when engineers sweated over ways to silence the gas-powered engine.

Automakers will have to equip all new hybrids and electric passenger vehicles with sound alerts that operate when the vehicles travel forward at speeds of up to about 19 miles an hour or in reverse. The agency said that at faster speeds, an artificial sound alert isn’t needed because the vehicle’s tire and wind noises can alert pedestrians.

By Fredrick Kunkle, Washington Post.

++Blind artists share their vision:

“Don’t touch the artwork” is a common warning seen in museums and art galleries. But a new exhibit at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights is encouraging art lovers to do the opposite.

The exhibit, Sight Unseen: International Photography by Blind Artists, will showcase the work of photographers who are visually impaired. Originally shown at the University of California Riverside, it’s the first time the exhibit is being shown in Canada.

Maureen Fitzhenry, the museum’s media relations manager, said the exhibit will “challenge some of the assumptions that people have about those who are visually impaired.” It will also help mark the 10th anniversary of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

Fitzhenry said the exhibit is a way for the photographers to connect with the sighted world and communicate ideas and realities through their art, while encouraging sighted people to question their own perceptions. The goal is to show sighted individuals how visually impaired photographers work.

“Our vision is a powerful sense that can blind us to other senses,” said Fitzhenry. “We end up only perceiving things through our eyes and ignoring our other senses.”

The exhibit will feature 100 photographs from 13 photographers. Six of the photographs were printed using 3D printing technology by a company called 3DPhotoWorks. The technology gives the images depth and texture, converting them from two-dimensional into three-dimensional tactile art. The visually impaired are able to touch the photographs, enabling them to “see” the artwork.

It’s the first time the 3D printing technology will be used in a museum exhibit. The photographs are embedded with one to four sensors. When touched, the sensors can describe the colour, the background of the artist and the context of the image. John Olson is the co-founder of 3DPhotoWorks, which started seven years ago.

Olson said the process is new for the sighted who aren’t used to looking at length and depth in photography.

“For the blind, it’s the first process that allows them to create a mental image that they see in their mind’s eye… When a blind person can make their own determination about an image — without the help of a docent — that provides them with freedom, independence and equality.”

Bruce Hall, a nature photographer, is one of the photographers featured in Sights Unseen. Legally blind from birth, he uses photography as a way to “see things I don’t see with the naked eye. I get an impression and then later I see detail. For me it’s like seeing things twice.”

Hall’s work in the exhibit revolves around his twin sons who are severely autistic. Hall said photography “opens dialogue, and that’s what you have to do, whatever the human rights issue is.”

The exhibit is meant to be experienced by both the visually impaired and sighted communities. Sighted museum-goers are also able to interact with the exhibit in other ways through interactive stations, film screenings, taking photos without being able to see the subject, and the display of several tactile ink drawings.

The exhibit opens Saturday and runs until Sept. 18.

By Alexandra De Pape, Winnipeg Free Press

++Running with Gaston in the New York City Marathon:

We did it, we ran and completed the NYC Marathon on Sunday, November 6, 2016!

It was an incredible satisfying experience guiding Gaston Bedard, a deaf blind 64 year old runner in the biggest street party in the world, with 51,000 other runners.

Gaston who is totally blind and deaf began planning this special NYC adventure, which included his son Marc and the 3 of us as his guides some 2 years ago.

We ran and participated as members of Achilles International based in New York City.

The NYRR Marathon was a great and very well organized event, especially considering there are 51,000 runners running through the 5 boroughs of New York City – population 8 million.

Gaston was clearly very well organized, well connected, and he had it all figured out which produced a great successful weekend in NYC.

We arrived by rental car on the Friday to the Hotel Pennsylvania and got access to a clean parking that was located close by. Our check-in, although the hotel was very busy, went fairly smoothly, as Gaston had made booking arrangements a few months in advance. We got our rooms and keys withing minutes.

At around 6 pm, that evening, the 4 of us made our way up to an amazing pasta dinner accommodating over 300 Achilles International athletes and their guides. The food was very good, with wonderful speeches and awards.

Meeting Dick Traum was a moment to remember. We took some great photos of the 4 of us with Dick Traun, who at age 75, participates in 5 marathons per year in a hand cycle. Gaston had been reading about Dick Traun and the Achilles International team for a number of years, so it was a really special occasion for him.

Dick Traun is the first amputee to complete the NYC Marathon, which he did in 1976. Dick inspired Terry Fox to pursue his Marathon of Hope across Canada.

Gaston’s son Marc arrived at Hotel Penn at around 9 pm, to complete our amazing Canadian team.

At around 9 am on Saturday morning, the 5 of us walked over to the Expo in the Javits Center, 11th Avenue at 35th Street, to pick up our bibs and race materials.

It was wonderful to finally meet Russell Koplin who was well organized and who set us up quickly, with the New York Road Runners booth a few feet away.

Within a few minutes, Gaston had his bib, his race kit, and we all had our race shirts, and we received our Achilles tech guide shirts with logo and bright yellow colours.

The 5 of us took pictures with Russell, smiling happily and giving the thumbs up. The Achilles International group made the bib pick-up and guide info very accessible and the process was painless.

Race morning Sunday, started quite early as we had to be at the bus pick up location, only a few blocks away from the Hotel Penn by 5:30am. We met up with Russell and other Achilles runners and guides. The buses left by 6:30 and we were police escorted through Manhattan and Brooklyn to the Staten Island start line.

The Achilles waiting area for the Athletes and guides included a good size tent, bagels, fruit, coffee and water and also private Porta potties for those part of the Achilles International group.

At the start a very special moment happened as Achilles athletes and their guides left the waiting area we were greeted by ovations and cheers from other runners waiting for the next wave. This kind gesture made the whole team feel really special.

We were lead by the Achilles group to the start line – Wave 1 out of 4. We were part the green line, which meant we started on the lower deck of the Verrazano Bridge, with two other lines on the upper deck, (Approximately 10 plus thousand runners per wave.) We were placed at the end of wave 1. A stirring rendition of the Star Spangled Banner and a very loud Howitzer that even made Gaston jump.  Nervous anticipation peeked and soon we were crossing the Verrazano Bridge.

The race wound its way through the five boroughs. It was inspiring seeing all the other Achilles teams, having regular participants cheer the team on, offering us their gels, or getting hydration for us. The spectator crowd was also incredible with their cheerful shouts. Water stations were plentiful and of course, busy. We kept to Gaston’s game plan and the strategy of remaining in the middle, with the guides venturing off. This worked well.

This is the same guiding strategy Gaston used with his guides in the Boston Marathon and in the Scotiabank Ottawa Marathon in 2014.

Gaston’s son Marc, being our support on the outside of the course, met up with us at all three locations at the appropriate times by using the subway system, and by texting with Addie running just behind Gaston when she was not guiding.

Gaston is thrilled to have given his son Marc 3 big hugs during the marathon, at 13 km, 24 km and then at 34 km, this was a very important part of the whole race strategy.

Gaston says, “This NYC adventure was our third special father son adventure, the first was the Boston Marathon in April 2015. I knew that I wasn’t in the best fitness of my young age, but I just wanted to run it, just be part of the biggest street party in the world. I also wanted to meet up with Dick Traun, founder and president of Achilles International and to chat with Russell Koplin and the wonderful folks in NYC”.

The first 5km were a quiet comfortable run. At 5km we were caught by the 2nd wave and the merging of the course.

We are now fully surrounded by 51,000 runners on the biggest marathon ever. But the fun had really just begun. It truly is a big street party and Achilles athletes received lots of encouragement not only from the 1 million spectators but from other runners who wished us the best.

We ran through the 5 very cool Boroughs of NYC (Staten Island, Brooklyn, Queens, The Bronx, & Manhattan) each with their distinct personalities.

It was fun guiding Gaston up and over all the bridges and hills which include the Verrazano Narrows Bridge at the start, the Pulaski Bridge at the halfway point, the Queensboro Bridge, before the 24 km mark, the Willis Avenue Bridge just before the 20 mile mark, the 24th mile up 5th Avenue and The last 2 miles in Central Park.

Gaston is an educator at heart, he coached us on various guiding techniques, showed us how to sign using hand signals and finger-spelling, he inspired us, he led the way by fined example, he’s a great team player and great role model.

We ended the NYC marathon, as a team, with the last few KMS through central park and crossing the finish line right outside Central park, with an incredible crowd and bleachers of spectators.

It felt so wonderful crossing the finish line, the 4 of us holding hands with arms held up high, big smiles on our faces.

The 4 of us collected our great New York City Marathon medals, got our team photo taken in front of the race banner. Then we made our way to meet up with Marc at the Achilles International family reunion tent, near Central Park. Eleanor had our bags and gear ready for us.

Gaston likes to say, ‘When you have good people around you, it’s amazing what you can do. My guides are very special people”.

Thank you to everyone for all your amazing support throughout the training and on race day. Melinda Lee – thank you so much for reaching out to form Team Gaston!

Many thanks to Bank Street Running Room for the excellent support and routes throughout the training. And to the Orleans Running Room thank you for all the incredible support throughout our training.

Special big thanks to Achilles International in NYC for all the great coordinations for such a logistically challenging event.

By Addie Lee, Michel Carriere and Laurence Wright