The Loss of Grant Robinson

This weekend Toronto Blind Curling Club (TBCC) lost one of our own – friend and fellow curler, Grant Robinson.  I can’t put into words how this unexpected loss has impacted me, our club and Toronto’s VI community.  Grant was someone you could turn to, no matter what support the occasion called for. In both his work and personal life, Grant was an ambassador for blind / vision impaired sports and accessibility.  I know he was a mentor for several young, VI folks looking for career advice.  He was a very successful and influential individual our collective “we” will feel his absence in our lives.

I turned to Grant when I wanted objective, intelligent advice, although I only understood about 80% of his response since his vocabulary was much better than mine.  He helped me with simple technology tasks that I couldn’t figure out and remained patient and uncondescending.  He was my vice at 2019 Canadian Vision Impaired Curling Competition and as a team we brought home our first silver medal.  But mostly, he was my friend. 

This past Friday we found ourselves short of players for our second sheet.  Grant, Dave Lee, Lloyd Pike and I played a two-on-two game.  After social hour, Grant, my brother Rick and I shared a streetcar to Broadview.  Throughout the evening we had good discussions, solved a lot of the world’s problems, shared some laughs and just had a great evening of fellowship.  Never in my worst nightmare could I have imagined that, when we said goodbye to Grant that night, it was the last time we would see him.  We all grieve his loss.

Our deepest sympathy goes out to Grant’s parents.  Our thoughts are with you during this very difficult time.

Ann LaFontaine
Toronto Blind Curling Club

Grant Robinson throwing a rock as part of Team Ontario at CVICC 2020
Grant Robinson at CVICC 2020

WBU statement on White Cane Safety Day on Tuesday 15 October 2019

The World Blind Union Logo

The World Blind Union (WBU) joins the rest of the world in observing White Cane Safety Day on Tuesday 15th October 2019.

White Cane Safety Day reminds the world of the importance of the White Cane as a tool for independent living for blind and partially sighted persons.

The World Blind Union takes this opportunity to advocate for policies, laws and proper infrastructure in all countries to allow independent and safe travel of blind and partially sighted persons in their homes, educational institutions, work environment, and their community.

This is in keeping with Article 9 of the UN Convention on the Rights of persons with disabilities (UNCRPD) which requires countries to identify and eliminate obstacles and barriers and ensure that persons with disabilities can access their environment, transportation, and public facilities. It is also in line with Article 19 which states that persons with disabilities must be able to live independently, to be included in the community and to choose where they want to live: and Article 20 which states that personal mobility and independence are to be fostered by facilitating affordable personal mobility training in mobility skills and access to mobility aids.

In addition, Goal 11 of the Sustainable Development Goals stresses the importance of making cities and human settlements inclusive and safe for all. It is necessary that countries work towards achieving this Goal as universal access will eliminate some the challenges currently experienced by blind and partially sighted White Cane users in our member countries.

As we commemorate this important day, it is our hope that policy makers recognize the importance of the right of blind and partially sighted persons to travel independently and safely in a universally accessible environment, and the use of the White Cane.

We believe that a more inclusive, accessible and equal society will lead to better living conditions for our community.

Accessible Canada Act Survey

Time to fill out this survey and share it with some of your networks: 

It comes together from Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital and Reena in Toronto. The survey is to see if there needs to be more education on the Accessible Canada Act nationwide. They are looking to get input from across different regions in Canada. Once all the data is collected by HB and Reena, it will be provided to all parties running in the Federal Election with a public perspective on how to improve the Accessible Canada Act.

It is open to people all Canadians and residents, whether or not they identify as having a disability.

Feel free to share it with your colleagues too!

Biosimilars Survey 2019

The GI Society recently launched a survey on patient opinions and outlook regarding biologic medications, including biosimilars.

They’re inviting Canadian patients, from all disease areas, treated with biologic medications. They will use the information gathered anonymously and in aggregate to shape future programming and to inform community members, healthcare professionals, and health policy decision-makers.

Here is the link to the survey:

Inspire Democracy webinar for stakeholders – Webinaire d’Inspirer la démocratie destiné aux intervenants

(English follows)


Nous organisons un webinaire important dans le cadre du programme Inspirer la démocratie destiné au réseau d’intervenants. Le webinaire portera sur la campagne d’information des électeurs et les produits de communication connexes qui vous aideront à communiquer des renseignements sur où, quand et comment s’inscrire pour voter.

Le webinaire aura lieu le 25 septembre, à 13 h (HE).

Si vous souhaiter y participer, inscrivez-vous en nous envoyant un courriel au plus tard le 21 septembre.

Nous vous remercions de votre soutien continu.

Outils et services de vote le jour de l’élection :

Good afternoon,

Inspire Democracy is hosting an important webinar for its network of stakeholders! Our focus will be on the Voter Information Campaign and related communications products. These products will help you share information on where, when and the ways to register and vote.

The webinar will be held on September 24 at 1:00 p.m. ET.

If you wish to participate, please register by sending us an email before Sept 21.

Thank you for your continued support. 

Voting assistance tools and services on election day:

AMD PSA at the 2019 Toronto International Film Festival

The PSA can be seen at Masters Programme screenings at the 2019
Toronto International Film Festival

Video Description: Dr. Peter Kertes, Dr. Cyntia Qian, and Dr. Varun Chandhary talk about their favourite movie moments while a black mark grows over their images from the center of the screen. The words, Movies Stay with you. So should your vision. Followed by, Spot the symptoms of AMD. The logos appear for the Fighting Blindness Canada, Canadian Retina Society, and the Canadian Council of the Blind.

Survey data needed!

Hi All,

There is a new treatment approved by Health Canada and soon CADTH will be requesting patient group feedback to get it listed/recommended for the provincial formularies. To this end we will be working with Fighting Blindness Canada on a joint submission and to do this we need to have survey data.

Have your say and fill in the survey by following the link below.