VISIONS October 2018


Visions October 2018 DIGITAL PDF | Visions October 2018 DIGITAL
Advertisement: Bell offers the Doro 824C and 824. These smartphones are designed with accessibility in mind. With your purchase of a Doro mobile device, you’ll also receive a free pair of AfterShokz Trekz Titanium headphones.
 
Click this message to learn more.

VISIONS

Canadian Council of the Blind Newsletter

 

October 2018

 

“A lack of sight is not a lack of vision”

 
 
 

President’s Message++

 
Welcome to the fall season! If weather is like what the summer was we should expect lots of sunshine.
The Canadian Council of the Blind (CCB) chapters across the country will have all started up preparing for activities and events over the next number of months. As 2019 is the anniversary of the CCB I anticipate many are considering ways to celebrate in their communities and demonstrate to everyone our “abilities” rather than our disability.
 
It is now the season for all sports activities to get started. Have fun, get exercise, socialize, and learn or assist in the GTT program so that we can lead a more productive lifestyle.
 
September has been very busy at the National level as well. Meetings were held with the Biosimilar Working Group (biosimilaroptions.ca). The Biosimilars Working Group is a key collaboration of diverse organizations, registered health charities, and health care advocacy coalitions who are dedicated to ensure that good outcomes for patients are at the center of health policy in Canada, specifically in the biologic medication treatment. These medications are used by many of our members for the disease processes that we need to deal with on a daily basis. This, the reason for our participation, as per our mandate –“improving the quality of life for those who are blind and in the prevention of blindness”.
 
Both our Advocacy and Membership committees met in September which will continue throughout the fall. Should you have advocacy items you would like the committee to look into contact Pat Gates at advocacy@ccbnational.net. Some of the current topics of discussion were the possibility of a National Pharmacare Program urging members to take part in consultations in communities over the next while. Also the concern of Greyhound service in Western Canada was a hot topic.  Regarding ideas of how to attract new members may be sent to Co-Chairs Heather Hannett (hjhannett@telus.net) or Jim Tokos (jtokos@ccbnational.net).
 
The Bylaws committee continues to work toward making required changes to comply with the CNCA. This process does require a great deal of work and thank you to Mike Vrooman for leading the committee.
 
We continue to work with other groups of and for the Blind to help improve the quality of our lives, the prevention of blindness and awareness of the organization. This involves meeting with government officials at all levels, community organizations, letter writing to ensure we continue to receive reading material of our choice plus much more. We continue to work with the International Federation on Ageing (IFA) on the Eye See You campaign, as we all know blindness has no limits of age, gender, etc.
 
There are lots of interesting articles in the newsletter. We encourage good new items, photos, or interesting articles that your chapter (such as dinners, awareness tables, sporting events,) are doing for the newsletter.
 
Louise Gillis, National President
 

Announcements

 

Two Important Days++

October 11, 2018 – World Sight Day

The World Sight Day is the most important advocacy and communications event on the eye health calendar.  Observed annually on the second Thrusday of October, it is a global event meant to draw attention on blindness and vision impairment.
Around 253 million people live with vision impairment worldwide, of which 36 million are blind.  The vast majority live in low-income settings.  More than 80% are aged 50 years or above.  More than 80% of all visual impairment can be prevented or cured.
 
During this World Sight Day celebrations the World Blind Union provides the following advice and call for action:

  • It is important for all to have their eyes screened once a year in order to avoid preventable causes of blindness.
  • Governments should allocate appropriate budgets across the world for vision health.
  • WBU also encourages radio and television campaigns to sensitize the public about eye conditions and interventions.

 

October 15, 2018 – White Cane Day

The mission of White Cane Day is to educate the world about blindness and how the blind and visually sighted persons can live and work independently while giving back to their communities.
 
On this year’s White Cane Day, October 15, the World Blind Union emphasizes that trainings and awareness campaigns towards the promotion of mobility and orientation using the white can guarantee autonomy to blind and partially sighted persons to choose places they would like to go to and to participate effectively in their communities.
 
You can read the WBU’s entire press releases here. http://ccbnational.net/fresco/wbu-statement-on-the-world-sight-day-2018/
http://ccbnational.net/fresco/wbu-statement-on-white-cane-day-october-15-2018/
If you would like even more information please visit www.worldblindunion.org
 

GTT at the Annual CNIB Technology Fair++

On Thursday September 27 members of the blind/low vision community, family and friends, educators, vendors and community partners gathered for the annual CNIB Technology Fair.  This event took place at Ottawa’s City Hall.  The room was filled with booths, offering everything from technology solutions that assist people living with vision loss and beyond. Ottawa’s blind/low vision community was also well-represented with a host of services, as well as the Ottawa CCB Chapter and Get Together With Technology Program.
 
Kim Kilpatrick, GTT Program Coordinator and some GTT program participants were on hand to answer questions and provide information about this innovative, peer-driven group where people could learn to use all kinds of technology for increased independence.  For example, those who stopped by the booth saw how any iPhone with Voiceover enabled would assist a blind person to read mail, find a bus stop, read short printed text aloud, take a picture, access the internet, use Social Media, attend school, and send a text. Whether blindness/low vision was life-long or recently-diagnosed, there was something for everyone! Other kinds of technology (both high and low tech) were also demonstrated.  Many visitors felt encouraged and said that they would follow up on what they had learned about GTT’s blog posts, one-to-one drop-in sessions, monthly evening meetings and/or monthly conference calls.  For more information, please contact 613-567-0311 or (toll-free) 1-877-304-0968
By Shelley Morris and Kim Kilpatrick (Picture from Fran Cutler)
Picture shows a very large GTT sign with GTT program Coordinator Kim Kilpatrick using a keyboard paired with an iPhone.
 

CCB President Advocates for Patients at International Conference ++

 
In August, longtime Canadian Council of the Blind (CCB) partner, the International Federation on Ageing (IFA) hosted delegates from 75 countries at the 14th Global Conference on Ageing, in Toronto. The conference focused on critical issues facing older people today and for future generations. A diverse range of topics on ageing, which included a focus on vision were addressed and debated, guided by insights from thought leaders, new research, and real-world examples.
 
CCB President Louise Gillis was invited to participate in a panel discussion with experts from the World Health Organization, the IFA, and Canada’s leading ophthalmologists. Rooted in ageism is the false and problematic myth that vision deterioration is just a part of ‘normal’ ageing. Vision loss is not an ‘ageing issue’ yet among adult at-risk populations there is a relatively low-level awareness of the need for regular eye screening, symptomatology of eye diseases and access to safe and effective treatments.
 
The panel discussion explored the relationship of vision-loss and declines in the health and the wellbeing of older populations, while focusing on important access, screening and policy issues that are threatening an individual’s ability to optimize vision health.
 
“Ensuring the voice of the patient is heard loud and clear is always an objective for me,” says Louise Gillis, CCB President. “With such a high profile conference, this was an important opportunity to not only highlight concerns and issues from the vision community, but to help establish an actionable framework that in collaboration with various stakeholders, we can achieve.”
 
The vision symposium at the conference was a marquee event that put ‘vision health’ on the priority list for Canadians. Through their ongoing work on the Eye See You campaign, the CCB and the IFA are a driving force, advocating for the rights of all patients. New advocacy initiatives are underway and the groups encourage you to visit www.eyeseeyou.care to ensure your voice is heard.
 

CCB Health & Fitness October Update!++

Thanks to everyone who participated in our September Mindful Eating Challenge.  We received some great feedback from across the country.
 
What have you learned from examining your own eating habits? Have you made any tweaks?  Have any questions?
 
As always, it isn’t a one size fits all answer, it is about being self aware and making little changes over time.  Small changes in our lifestyle habits can have huge payoffs!!  What’s the old saying?  Slow and steady wins the race!!  Keep being mindful and looking for opportunities to make healthy choices.
 

FITNESS TRACKERS

As we turn the page on a new month, I got thinking about the number of CCB members out there that either:
-use their smartphone’s GPS or accelerometer and an app, to measure their activity -use a dedicated activity tracker or fitness wearable, such as a gps watch, heart rate monitor, fitness tracker (fitbit, garmin, polar)
 
We all love technology and CCB Health & Fitness will be looking at this a bit more in depth as we move forward.
 
We would LOVE and appreciate your feedback.
 
Please send Ryan an email letting him know what technology you use to keep track of fitness; you phone, a dedicated fitness wearable, or none at all?
 
ccb.healthandfitness@gmail.com
 
As always, we welcome feedback and suggestions on topics and challenges moving forward!
 

CCB Chapter Update++

 
Hands of Fire proudly welcomes you to our third annual fundraising event: It’s in the Fingertips – A Night of Art and Music! Hands of Fire is a not-for-profit organization and a chapter of the Canadian Council of the Blind which offers sculpture classes to blind and visually impaired individuals. We are a Toronto-based group comprised of a number of talented blind and visually impaired artists who are thrilled to showcase their amazing and diverse works of art to the greater Toronto community in this fundraising event.
 
This year’s fundraiser will be hosted at Jumblies Theatre, located 132 Fort York Boulevard, Toronto, ON M5V OE3. This downtown gallery space is steps from public transit and easy to access. Sculpture made by the artists will be on display and for sale, with the artists present to socialize and speak about their art. We are excited to announce that this year’s fundraiser will include live musical performances by members of the blind and visually impaired community as well! With great art, music, a sociable and friendly environment, as well as food and drinks, this night promises to be one to remember.
 
On behalf of Hands of Fire, we cordially invite you to come visit us this November 10 at Jumblies Theatre for a night of art and music, and all for a great cause!
 

CCB Chapter News:++

 
CCB Chatham/Kent Chapter: The past 14 months have brought about the establishment of a new Chapter, customized Chapter logo, creation of our Mission Statement “providing support, information and social activities for all our members”, the recruitment of the current 40 members, both blind or visually impaired and sighted, grant writing including budget development and submission, 3 fundraising events, 2 of them very successful and the other one I’ll classify as a learning experience while maneuvering through the Municipality rules, regulations and bi-laws.
 
Every Chapter member had the opportunity to participate in the following events – golf, lawn bowling, self-defense classes, mini golf, horseback riding, game day, trivia night, pot lucks, BBQs, monthly bowling, Christmas get-together, Pizza party, Elmira Maple Syrup Festival bus trip, volunteering at the information booth for RetroFest, and manning the information table at various senior awareness events.
 
Our Chapter meetings have had guest speakers from the Canadian Mental Health, Police Department, Hydro Rebate Program representative, Heart and Stroke and Self Defense instructors.
It’s been quite a ride!
Kathie & Dave
 
 
 

US House of Representatives Passes Marrakesh Treaty Implementation Act Treaty Now Awaits Presidential Action ++

 
Washington, DC (September 25, 2018): The United States House of Representatives has passed the Marrakesh Treaty Implementation Act (S. 2559), which makes modest changes to copyright law that will bring the United States into compliance with the terms of the Marrakesh Treaty. The Senate gave its advice and consent to ratification of the treaty and passed the implementing legislation on June 28.
 
“For almost a decade now, the National Federation of the Blind, our partners, and other advocates have worked to bring the Marrakesh Treaty into being and into force,” said Mark A. Riccobono, President of the National Federation of the Blind. “Today we applaud the United States House of Representatives for its passage of the Marrakesh Treaty Implementation Act. We now urge President Trump to sign this implementing legislation, and to order the State Department to deposit the instrument of ratification with the World Intellectual Property Organization as soon as practicable. We are closer than ever to the day when blind Americans will have greater access to the world’s knowledge, in many of its original languages, than we have ever had in human history.”
 
 

Assistive Technology

 

Introducing the Doro 824++

It’s the smartphone designed to make mobile more accessible. And it’s available exclusively at Bell.
 

Simplified user interface

With specially designed apps and an easy-to-read 5” HD screen, it’s easy to use email, access your camera, browse the Web or message your contacts. Plus, the Google TalkBack feature helps low-vision users navigate. The Doro 824 is intuitive and understandable with larger fonts and a simplified menu.
 

Safety and support features

Stay safe with a dedicated emergency assistance button that dials a predefined contact. Step-by-step guides and videos will coach you through the basic features, helping you understand your new phone. The My Doro Manager app lets your relatives or caregivers remotely manage settings, share photos, set up accounts, add calendar appointments and more – all done remotely.
 

Modern design

The stylish, accessible design combines the simplicity of basic phones with the more advanced features of smartphones. Ergonomic and grip-friendly, the Doro 824 comes designed with physical buttons, including an emergency button.
 

HD camera and sound

Take beautiful pictures with the 8-megapixel camera. It’s easy to capture the moment by pressing the physical camera button. Plus, with the 2-megapixel front-facing camera and the Google Hangouts app, you can stay connected through video chat.
 
Need some extra help? The Doro is hearing aid compatible and provides loud, crystal clear sound.
 
Doro 824 customers who self-identify as having an accessibility need qualify for an $8.54 monthly bill credit. Please let your Bell customer service representative know when activating your phone, or contact the Bell Accessibility services centre.
 
Accessibility add-on: complimentary 2 GB of data per month for qualified customers with hearing, speech or visual accessibility needs.
 
For more information, please visit: https://www.bell.ca/Mobility/Products/Doro-824?INT=MOB_mobdevpg_BTN_poplink_Mass_051016_mb_details
 

Bank Note Reader Update++

 
Today, the Bank of Canada announced that it will begin to phase out the bank note reader program. The bank note reader is the handheld device that identifies denominations through machine readable codes.
 
As technology continues to evolve, the Bank has determined that there are more modern devices that can be used. For those with a smartphone or tablet, the Bank has evaluated apps currently on the market, and both Seeing AI and NantMobile Money Reader quickly and reliably denominate Canadian bank notes.
 
There are several benefits to using apps: they are free and easy to download and try out; they are easy to update as new bank notes enter circulation; and instead of a single function device like the bank note reader, smartphones and tablets have built-in accessibility features that can be used for various needs.
 
The bank note reader will continue to be available for a time, but no further upgrades are planned and the reader will not be compatible with the next generation of vertical bank notes.
A number of bank note accessibility features will continue to help the blind and partially sighted recognize all five denominations with confidence. They include: the tactile feature, large high-contrast numerals and use of distinct colours for each denomination.
 
The Bank is also issuing a recall of the latest model of the bank note reader to upgrade and improve its performance with the polymer notes currently in circulation.
 
Those who’ve received this model of the bank note reader will be contacted by telephone and offered an upgraded device. A “swap” approach will ensure that individuals are never without a reader.
 
 

Donna’s Low Tech Tips: A scam alert++

 
Today, I’d like to introduce you to my scam alert.
Those emails asking you to login and verify your username and password that appears to be coming from your bank or insurance company.
 
If the email in question that you have received seems to be from a bank or insurance company that you do not do business with then you are okay.  Just delete it and move on.
 
On the other hand if the email in question is from a bank or insurance company that you do business with; then by all means you can read it but my advice would be to also delete it.
 
No bank or insurance company would ever send you this type of email.
 
Not sure?  Then just visit your bank.
Ask them to verify that they never sent you such an email. You could also call to verify as well.
 
Some of these types of emails may also go as far as to ask you to provide such details as your date of birth and account number.
 
Just delete this email and move on.
What would happen if you were to respond?
 
The simple answer would be trouble, lots of trouble, and now you have given a scammer out there carte blanche to hack into either your bank account and/or your very own computer system.
 

In the News

 
 

HoloLens can now guide the blind through complicated buildings

The headset’s ability to map a space and talk people through it may prove more important than the mixing-imagery-with-reality stuff. ++

 
HoloLens, Microsoft’s pricey face computer, is made for mixing digital images with the real world. But a group of scientists found it’s really good at a totally unanticipated application: helping blind people find their way through buildings and offering a better sense of where objects are around them.
 
The researchers, at the California Institute of Technology, created a new guiding app for HoloLens by taking advantage of the device’s real-time room and object mapping capability, as well as speakers that can make audio seem to be coming from different points in three-dimensional space. They used these features to map a complicated path through a campus building and created a virtual guide that helps a blind person navigate it, calling out directions like “Follow me” from what seems like a meter or so ahead of the person, according to work recently published on the bioRxiv website.
 
An accompanying video shows how this plays out in reality. A female voice directs a HoloLens-wearing study subject, who is blind, by saying things like “Railings on both sides,”
“Upstairs,” and “Right turn ahead.” The man follows the commands, walking easily from a first-floor lobby up a set of staircases, around several corners, and past a few doorways until he arrives at a room on the second floor.
 
He’s one of seven subjects who tried the application. All got to their destination on the first try, though one briefly got off track. Markus Meister, a professor at Caltech and coauthor of the study, thinks the research could eventually lead to a device that could be offered to visually impaired visitors at places like hotels or malls, helping them get around unfamiliar areas more easily. There are already some tools that can be used this way outdoors, such as turn-by-turn mapping apps—but indoors, as Meister notes, there aren’t as many options.
 
The World Health Organization estimates that 253 million people are blind or visually impaired, so the potential market for such an application could be huge. But there’s still a lot of work to be done. For now, any routes from one point to another must be scanned in advance, and there isn’t a way to track other people who might walk through the space as the HoloLens wearer is navigating it.
 
But the study subject in the video, at least, was impressed with the work thus far. “That was pretty cool,” he says, chuckling, at the end of the clip.
By Rachel Metz
 

  Hope for new macular degeneration treatments buoys patients++

 
Sometimes it starts with wavy vision. Objects appear distorted. Familiar faces go blurry.
 
Sean Teare, a 48-year-old health care consultant from Duxbury, struggled to read menus in dimly lit restaurants. After a battery of tests, his optometrist told him he had age-related macular degeneration, or AMD, an eye disease that afflicts more than 9 million Americans and can cause serious vision loss. “It came as a complete shock,” said Teare.
 
The prevalence of the condition is rising as the population ages. The number of early-stage cases for those 50 and older is projected to nearly double to 17.8 million in the United States by 2050, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. For baby boomers, who are living longer than past generations and fiercely prize their independence, it’s a dreaded diagnosis that threatens to rob them of everyday functions such as reading, driving, cooking, or watching television.
 
With the increase in cases has come a burst of research activity. There’s currently no cure for the disorder, and no treatment for its most common form, which accounts for 85 percent of cases.
But scientists in Massachusetts and around the world are experimenting with dozens of drug candidates, including about 20 in clinical trials that work to preserve vision and, ideally, restore sight. They include not only well-established drugs, such as repurposed statins, but also new approaches such as gene therapies, stem cell treatments, and medicines tailored to the genetic makeup of patients.
 
“We’re close to seeing some important findings,” said Dr. Joan Miller, chief of the ophthalmology department at Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary in Boston.
 
The disease, considered the leading cause of blindness in older Americans, is triggered by fatty deposits that damage a spot in the retina called the macular, which lets the eye see fine detail. Its rate of progression varies. Some patients don’t experience vision loss for many years; others lose sight in their central field of vision, inhibiting their ability to see straight ahead, but retain peripheral vision.
 
Patients with a more severe form of the disease can receive periodic injections of an antibody into the eye that can slow progression of the disease by blocking leaky blood vessels.
 
Miller, who helped pioneer the science behind Lucentis, approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 2006 as the first treatment for age-related macular degeneration, hopes to see a new generation of treatments emerging in the next five to 10 years.
Some of those new treatments could be less uncomfortable and time-consuming than today’s injections. The emerging field of gene therapies, for instance, promises “one and done” procedures that could stop the disease in its tracks by inserting healthy genes into cells in place of defective or missing ones. Another approach involves stimulating cells in the retina to act as mini-production factories that generate proteins to protect the macular.
 
Such advances can’t come soon enough for such patients as Laura Brennan, 64, of South Boston, who gets shots into her eyes every two months to stabilize her vision.
Brennan, who first experienced wavy vision when she was in her 50s, is determined to keep living her normal life. The injections and other adjustments have enabled her to continue walking, swimming, and working as a chef for Foodie’s Markets in South Boston and the South End.
 
“When I first noticed that I couldn’t make out someone’s face across the room, that was very difficult,” said Brennan, who recalls her father also developing macular degeneration late in life. “But I’ve been able to adapt. I know who people are by their steps or their voice. At this point, my goal is to preserve the vision that I have, not to have it decrease anymore.”
 
Hemera Biosciences, a Waltham startup, is seeking to develop a kind of vaccine that would make treatments easier and less invasive for patients like Brennan.
“Patients in their 60s and 70s will go to their ophthalmologists,” said Hemera chief executive Adam Rogers. “If they’re diagnosed with AMD, they can receive a shot and keep it at bay during their lifetimes. I think that’s something we could see in the next five to seven years.”
 
Biopharma giants such as Genentech, Novartis, and Regeneron are also working on experimental medicines. So are a raft of biotech startups ranging from Cambridge’s Gemini Therapeutics to Regenxbio in Rockville, Md.
 
For drug makers, the tens of millions of people with age-related macular degeneration are a potentially lucrative market. Sales of current medicines, mostly first-generation treatments including Lucentis, totaled nearly $5 billion in 2016, and the expected new drugs will expand the market to $11.5 billion by 2026, the British analytics firm GlobalData projects.
The approval of the first-ever gene therapy for any disease last December galvanized eye researchers. The new drug, Luxturna, treats a rare genetic retinal disease in children by replacing a mutation with a corrective gene. In March, Mass Eye and Ear performed the first-ever procedure to administer the drug to a patient.
 
“It opened up the avenue for other gene-based treatments, and some of that might be applicable to AMD,” said Miller.
While macular degeneration is thought to be influenced not only by genetics but by environmental factors, such as smoking, “gene therapies have incredible potential” to treat the disease, said Luk Vandenberghe, cofounder of Odylia Therapeutics, a Boston nonprofit working to commercialize retinal disease research. Decades of research to understand diseases is now helping to power the new approaches to treatments, he said.
 
There’s also hope that the success of gene therapies for maladies of the eye could help launch similar kinds of treatments for other diseases.
Ben Shaberman, an official at the Foundation Fighting Blindness, a patient advocacy group, said the retina – a thin tissue lining the back of the eye – is emerging as an ideal proving ground for the young gene therapy field.
 
“The retina is accessible and a really good target,” he said. “If you get things to work in the retina, there’s a good chance you could apply them to neurodegenerative disorders of the brain or the central nervous system.”
 
Gemini, based in Kendall Square, is trying to bring the precision medicine model being deployed in targeted cancer treatments to AMD. Unlike drug developers that try to make one-size-fits-all treatments for macular degeneration, it’s focusing on treatments tailored to subsets of patients with distinct genetic variations that put them at risk.
“We believe that genetics plays a key role, and we’re spending a lot of time trying to understand these subpopulations,” said Gemini chief executive James McLaughlin.
 
Sometimes patients themselves aren’t sure what role genetics has played in their disease. Teare, who was diagnosed with the disease in 2016, doesn’t know anyone in his family with it. He wonders if his exposure to sunlight while boating or skiing was a factor.
 
Teare feels lucky to have the less severe form of the disease. And he’s been quick to embrace lifestyle changes – eating a diet rich in fish and vegetables and wearing sunglasses with ultraviolet eye protection – in an effort to keep it from progressing. Last year, he ran the Marine Corps Marathon in Washington, D.C., to raise money for the Foundation Fighting Blindness.
He’s counting on his healthy diet and lifestyle – and his upbeat attitude – as he awaits the progress of research programs.
 
“This isn’t a terminal illness,” he said. “I feel I can make lifestyle changes that will keep it from progressing until there’s some kind of treatment.”
By Robert Weisman, Globe Staff   September 09, 2018
 

REMINDERS

 
 

Membership Madness++

 
Hi Everyone!  Becky from the office here.  All chapters should have received their membership packages.  Independent membership will be sent shortly.
 
Early Bird Draw – November 2, 2018
Chapter Rebate Deadline – December 7, 2018
All 2019 Memberships Due – December 28, 2018
White Cane Week Orders Due – January 4, 2019
WCW Insurance Requests Due – January 4, 2019
 

DON’T FORGET DONATIONS!++

 
Donations Received in the office in 2018 are the only ones that can be receipted for 2018.  Remember to send those donations if you want receipts.
 
 
 
www.ccbnational.net                 1-877-304-0968
ccb@ccbnational.net

WBU statement on the World Sight Day 2018

The World Sight Day is the most important advocacy and communications event on the eye health calendar. Observed annually on the second Thursday of October, it is a global event meant to draw attention on blindness and vision impairment. On this day, the World Blind Union (WBU) in collaboration with other organizations provide information through awareness raising regarding eye care. One of the priorities of WBU is to ensure the prevention of sight loss through advocacy for affordable and accessible eye health services as well as providing referrals.

Around 253 million people live with vision impairment worldwide, of which 36 million are blind. The vast majority live in low-income settings. More than 80% are aged 50 years or above. Globally, uncorrected refractive errors and un-operated cataract are the top two causes of vision impairment. More than 80% of all visual impairment can be prevented or cured. Measures to do so should focus on increasing access to quality, comprehensive eye care services, especially at the community level (WHO)

 

The World Sight Day is therefore significant to raise public awareness of blindness and vision impairment, influence governments to participate in and designate funds for national blindness prevention programmes and educate the public about blindness prevention.

 

Globally, cataracts and glaucoma are the leading causes of blindness. The defects include: long sightedness, short sightedness, low vision, most of which defects can be corrected through eye health interventions recommended by the world health organization, vision 2020​ among others. The right to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health stipulated under the CRPD (UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities) includes provision of accessible eye care services nearer to the community. This obligation has been accepted by about 174 states parties that ratified the Convention. However, this right manifests several challenges: There are very few eye care doctors, ophthalmologists and optometrists that provide eye care services in the communities across the world; Most of the families in the communities at both national and regional levels are not aware of the existing eye care services; These services are under funded by governments and are not available, accessible and affordable to the entire communities that need them; Eye glasses are too expensive for our communities to afford yet they need them.

 

During this World Sight Day celebrations, on October 11, the World blind Union provides the following advice and call for action:

  • It is important for all children and adults to have their eyes screened once a year in order to avoid preventable causes of blindness.
  • Governments should allocate appropriate budgets across the world to conduct the following activities: Construct vision corridors in the communities to enable village health teams and nurses to conduct eye health screening; conduct eye health services in schools to ensure that children receive them; conduct outreach clinics to provide eye care services; provide eye glasses at a subsidized cost; provide medical examination equipment in all hospitals and health centers; as well as encourage trainings of doctors, optometrists and ophthalmologists to improve their skills in eye health.
  • WBU also encourages radio and television campaigns to sensitize the public about eye conditions and interventions.

If this is done, we are sure that governments would have met their obligation of providing eye care services to blind and partially sighted persons across the globe.

———————

The World Blind Union (WBU) is the global organization that represents the estimated 253 million people worldwide who are blind or partially sighted. Members consist of organizations of blind people advocating on their own behalf and organizations that serve the blind, in over 190 countries, as well as international organizations working in the field of vision impairment. Visit our website at www.worldblindunion.org

 

For further information, please contact:

 

Terry Mutuku

Communications Officer, World Blind Union

Terry.Mutuku@wbu.ngo​​

WBU statement on White Cane Day October 15, 2018

In October every year, blind and partially sighted persons across the world celebrate White Cane Day. The mission of White Cane Day is to educate the world about blindness and how the blind and visually sighted persons can live and work independently while giving back to their communities. It is also aimed at celebrating the abilities and successes achieved by blind and partially sighted persons worldwide and to honor the many contributions they make to the society.

The white cane is recognized as a symbol of independence, a sign of autonomy and respect for the inherent dignity for the blind and partially sighted persons which is in line with Article 3 of the principles enshrined in the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). The White cane is also in line with the obligations stipulated under Article 9 of the CRPD on accessibility, Article 20 on mobility and sustainable development goal number 11 on accessible cities and human settlements.

On this year’s World Cane Day, October 15, the World Blind Union emphasizes that trainings and awareness campaigns towards the promotion of mobility and orientation using the white cane guarantee autonomy to blind and partially sighted persons to choose places they would like to go to and to participate effectively in their communities. This day helps to create a platform for advocacy to several public and private entities regarding the needs and rights of blind and partially sighted persons.

 

However, one of the key challenges is that white canes are too expensive and not affordable to most blind persons in developing countries. Even when blind and partially sighted persons have white canes, they continue to face significant barriers during their movements. These barriers include: lack of safe and accessible urban spaces that are user friendly as well as lack of tactile markers that facilitate the use of a white cane.

 

The World Blind Union is appealing to member states to meet their obligations of the CRPD and the commitments enshrined in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It is critical that governments allocate budgets and national action plans to include provision of white canes as well as the provision of mobility trainings for blind and partially sighted persons. Governments should also provide adequate resources to facilitate the provision of white canes to blind people at the national level free of charge in the spirit of leave no one behind in order to promote inclusive development.

 

Our conviction is that a more inclusive, accessible and equal society will lead to better living conditions for our community. We envision a world in which we, as blind or partially sighted people, can participate fully in any aspect of life we choose.

 

———————

The World Blind Union (WBU) is the global organization that represents the estimated 253 million people worldwide who are blind or partially sighted. Members consist of organizations of blind people advocating on their own behalf and organizations that serve the blind, in over 190 countries, as well as international organizations working in the field of vision impairment. Visit our website at www.worldblindunion.org

 

For further information, please contact:

 

Terry Mutuku

Communications Officer, World Blind Union

Terry.Mutuku@wbu.ngo​​​

Declaration of Solidarity by the World Blind

Declaration of Solidarity by the World Blind

 

We are the representatives of the organizations of the blind from various countries who are gathered in the ancient theatre located in the ruins of Troy, hosted by the office of the Çanakkale Governor, at the invitation of the Turkish Federation of the Blind, in keeping with the fact that 2018 has been declared the “Year of Troy” by the government of the Turkish Republic. Each of us is working to strengthen people with visual impairments in our own geographical area by establishing local, national and international networks, and considering each other from the perspective of knowledge and love.

 

Today, we have come here to these fertile lands of ancient times tested by war and violence with our messages of solidarity, peace and fellowship.

 

Embracing the blind poet, Homer, who depicted the Trojan Wars in a lively, colorful and effective manner in his epic The Iliad as our common value, and taking the world-wide solidarity and fellowship of the blind into consideration against the brutality and cruelty of the war described in this unique masterpiece; in this mesmerizing atmosphere created by these feelings we would like to call out to all the communities around the whole world to say the following:

 

According to research, the number of persons who have lost their lives in local, regional and global wars throughout human history is as high as the present population of the world. In the First World War, one of the two most deadly catastrophic events of the 20th century, 17 million people lost their lives, and 65 million people lost their lives in the Second World War. The number of injured was twice as much.

 

War is one of the main reasons of disability. A non-defensive war is a crime against humanity and is irrational as a problem-solving method. By destroying people and nature, it destroys civilizations created over thousands of years. This is because a substantial part of the pecuniary resources is spent on the development and trade of mass destruction weapons, rather than on eradicating hunger from the earth, on solving problems such as the ones faced in health, education, social security, rehabilitation, accessibility and on increasing the welfare of people. Therefore, war is the greatest obstacle to the progress of humanity.

 

The blind are the most sincere and determined opponents of war, as war increases the population of the blind to a significant extent and leads to the use of resources needed in the prevention of disability or in improving living standards for persons with disabilities to be wasted.

 

Since the early ages, persons with disabilities have been ignored and totally disregarded in time of war, as they are the most degraded, marginalized, neglected and forgotten population in the community. War eliminates human values as well ​​because it darkens the souls and makes them more selfish and violent. The greatest force behind the fight of the blind is universal humanitarian values ​​and public conscience which war also destroys.

 

Ensuring the world to be a very peaceful environment is in favor of the blind from every angle. In this way, the huge amount of money allocated for war would be spent on solving the fundamental problems of humanity, on improving the level of prosperity and happiness. The blind would get their share of this. As more resources would be allocated to health services, to prevent traffic and occupational accidents, to eliminate poverty and ignorance in a permanent peace environment, the number of persons with disabilities would decrease. Therefore, importance would be attached more to the solutions of the problems of persons with disabilities on education, rehabilitation and employment; discrimination against persons with disabilities would be prevented; and more intensive efforts would be made for training and awareness of the community about persons with disabilities.

 

 

 

With those ideas, we would like to remind you of one of the meaningful expressions of the Republic of Turkey’s founder Atatürk: “Unless the nation’s existence is in danger, war is murder.”

 

We promise to work full steam ahead to ensure a future in which blissful peace and fellowship blossom and in which wars turn into memories imbedded in the history books.

VISIONS September 2018

Visions September 2018 TEXT | Visions September 2018 DIGITAL | Visions September 2018 DIGITAL (PDF)

 
Advertisment: Bell offers the Doro 824C and 824. These smartphones are designed with accessibility in mind. With your purchase of a Doro mobile device, you’ll also receive a free pair of AfterShokz Trekz Titanium headphones.
Click this message to learn more.

VISIONS

Canadian Council of the Blind Newsletter

 

September 2018

 

“A lack of sight is not a lack of vision”

 
 

President’s Message++

I hope that all have had a great summer with lots of sunshine, activities with families and friends and now fired up to begin the fall season of CCB activities. I am aware that there have been many wild fires in several provinces and hoping no one has been affected.
 
As noted in the newsletter below we are all very saddened on the untimely passing of Michelle Anfinson. Michelle will be missed greatly by her family and friends in Regina and also by the many curlers she has assisted over the years at all the curling championship events that Team Saskatchewan attended. Our condolences to all her family at this difficult time.
 
Over the summer members of our committees have continued to do some work. In regard to advocacy we have been asked by CNIB to provide input on Wednesday, September 19, they have extended an invitation to our members to participate in a teleconference call hosted by CNIB. The most important items are – Accessible Pedestrian Signals and Non-Signalized Pedestrian Crossings. Contact Lui Greco, National Manager of Advocacy CNIB: lui.greco@cnib.ca. See more info in this newsletter.
 
Also, it is time to talk to your local Members of Parliament to ensure Bill C-81, An Act to ensure a barrier-free Canada passes through the legislature this fall keeping in mind any thoughts you may have for improvement to the act into the future.
 
As we realize that making Point of Sale (POS) devices more fully accessible does not exist alone within any one sector of either the disability community or the financial/payment services industry. Therefore it is necessary to do this collaboratively by bringig together payment processors, banks, stakeholders from within the disability community to move this initiative forward. This is a process that we are working on with other disability organizations.
 
A letter has been sent on behalf of CCB to The Honourable Marc Garneau, Minister of Transport, Government of Canada regarding the recent news on Greyhound services. This service affects all of Canada and is very important to our community.
 
The Bylaws committee continued to meet over the summer and will increase meeting times during the fall season. Also, the membership committee will be in full force in September.
 
It is now time to be thinking of what our chapters will be planning for 2019 in celebration of our 75th anniversary. CCB is becoming a more active organization in the prevention of blindness as well as developing programs for those of us with vision loss so we have lots to celebrate.
 
Enjoy this edition of Visions.
Louise Gillis, National President.
 
 

Announcements

 

CCB HEATH & FITNESS++

September Challenge!

 
After a successful 150 challenge in July, where we focused on getting everyone a bit more aware of how much activity they are doing…we want to launch our September Challenge.
 
Being healthy is a balance of many factors, being active, living as stress free as possible and being mindful of what we are eating.
 
For September we would love you to join our challenge and take part in “mindful eating”.  We don’t want you to count calories but what we do want you to try and do, is to write down what you eat on a daily basis.
 
Keep a list on your phone, on the fridge, wherever is easy and convenient.  The goal is to take an honest look at what we eat/drink on a daily basis.
 
Don’t judge yourself too harshly if you see a trend of maybe a bit of unhealthy eating, but rather use it as a motivator to introduce healthier choices.
 
If you already eat well, great, keep it rolling!
 
How do you know if you are eating well?
Best to keep tabs on our podcast, Facebook and Youtube channels and subscribe to our email list.  Here we will continue the discussion and give tips/ideas on best ways to eat more mindfully.
 
See below on ways to keep track of all we do!
 

HOW ARE WE DOING AFTER 1 YEAR?!!

CCB Health & Fitness is turning 1 year old!  Roughly a year ago we transitioned from our successful local Trust Your Buddy Program, over to our Nationally reaching health & fitness education program.
We want to get your opinion and thoughts on where we are now and what we can do better!
 

Some questions to consider and provide your feedback on:

  1. a) Have you learned anything in the past year?
  2. b) Do you find it easy to follow us and consume all the content we are putting out there?
  3. c) How do you best keep track of us? Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Podcast, Email list, Blog, Newsletter?
  4. d) What would you like to see Health & Fitness do either Nationally, Provincially, Locally, on an Individual basis or with chapters?

 
We NEED YOUR HELP!  In order to grow and to serve the CCB membership better, we want your honest feedback.
Ryan is excited for open, honest feedback….don’t worry you won’t hurt his feelings!
 
Simply email Ryan and let us know how the program has affected you, how you would like to see it grow AND any other programming you’d like to see us take on?
 
Do you need more info on general topics? Things like employment, travel, general coping skills, socialization, or life skills?   Perhaps we can incorporate this if the feedback shows a need.
 
The CCB is here to help you live your best life….so let us know how we can do better.
 
Thanks in advance!!
All the contact info is below.
RYAN VAN PRAET (R. Kin)
CCB Health & Fitness
National Program Manager & Coach
ccb.healthandfitness@gmail.com <mailto:ccb.healthandfitness@gmail.com>
226-627-2179
 
Go to our page: https://ccbhealthandfitness.wordpress.com
to find links to Facebook, Youtube, Twitter, Podcast & Email Chat List
 

Get Together with Technology (GTT) Victoria++

A Chapter of the Canadian Council of the Blind
in Partnership with The Greater Victoria Public Library
 
Theme: Tom’s NFB Tech Round-up – Accessible Voting in the Fall
 
Date: September 5, 2018
Time: 1:00 PM to 3:00 PM
Where: Community Room, GVPL, Main Branch 735 Broughton St
 
First Hour:
Tom Dekker will give us 2 or 3 wonderful technology nuggets he picked-up/learned at the NFB Convention in July, then we’ll discuss the accessibility of the upcoming fall referendum on Proportional Representation and the Province-wide Civic Elections.
 
Second Hour:
During the second hour Corry Stuive, Albert Ruel and Tom Dekker will lead the group in discussion on any other assistive tech topic participants want to raise.  Please bring to the meeting all your other assistive technology questions, nuggets and frustrations for discussion with the group.
 
For More Information:
Contact Albert Ruel at 250-240-2343, or email us at GTT.Victoria@Gmail.com
 
 

News from the Hill++:

We at CCB are very pleased to see Minister Carla Qualtrough be appointed to the accessibility portfolio. The appointment of Minister Qualtrough to this portfolio bodes well for the country. Accessibility is a top priority not only for individual provinces but for the country as a whole. Congratulations!
 
 

Golfing for the Blind++

Our very own British Columbia Blind Golfer from Langley, B.C., George Thirkill, Won the Overall championship at the Western Canadian Blind Golf Championships in Winnipeg the week of July 9th to 12th. There were 21 players from all over Canada.
The championship consisted of 2 rounds Stableford matches with 4 divisions.
B1 –B2 – B3 & Seniors. The weather was some sun with winds on both days and some rain. The course was very challenging for a Blind golfer, but they managed to get some assistance from their guides on some of the tricky holes.  By the way, I was George’s Coach and guide.   George shot a 91 on the first day and a score of 85 on the second day, due to some excellent putting to win by 2 strokes.  The junior winner B3, Keifer Jones, 24yrs old from Calgary, shot a 75 & 76 to take the Junior division. Keifer is the top blind golfer in the world.  George represents Blind Golf British Columbia and at age 79 is the Top senior golfer in the world.  George along with our other top golfer from B.C., Darren Douma (member of the CCB VIBE Creston Chapter), from Creston, will be heading to Rome, Italy this year to compete in the World Blind matches and Team play competition representing Canada.
 
Gerry Nelson, President of Blind Golf Canada, said we are always looking for people that are visually impaired or Blind, or Disabled to come out and learn how to golf.  We have a Blind Training facility at the National Golf Academy in Langley at the Tall Timbers Golf Course and we can be reached at Nitrogolf@shaw.ca.  There is No Cost for the blind or disabled.
 
 

Chapter News++:

Members and friends of the Pembroke White Cane Club gather to celebrate two important birthdays.
 
The Pembroke CCB White Cane Club held a Birthday Party for two of our senior members on August 15th at a popular local bake shop. The two guests of honour were George Foss, who will celebrate his 95th Birthday in September, and Marion Jackson, who turned a young 93 on the 15th of August. Both are active members of our club providing wisdom mixed with humour to the group.     Of course there was a very yummy cake served up with a choice of beverage.
 
Lots of laughs with numerous photos taken, including this group shot.
As we all departed we all agreed that we should do this more often.
A big thank you to the staff at the bake shop.
Submitted by Gerry Frketich on behalf of the CCB Pembroke White Cane Club.
 

In Memory++:

On the morning of August 10, 2018 Michell Anfinson lost her fight with cancer, at the age of 46.  Michelle was very active in the CCB Regina Chapter, the Saskatchewan Team for the CVICC, and the Western Bonspiels.
She will be missed, and our thoughts are with Marv and the rest of their family.
 
 

Assistive Technology

 

Demo of Accessible Audible Traffic Signal in Peterborough Ontario++:

Devon Wilkins interviewed a CNIB/Vision Rehabilitation Ontario Orientation and Mobility Specialist as they demonstrate the use of an accessible Peterborough intersection. Wach here: https. //www.dropbox.com/s/s966rq25bwdxfm1/Audible%20Traffic%20Signals.mp3?dl=0
 

CCB Tech Articles, Donna’s Low Tech Tips: Cleaning & laundry++:

Today, I’d like to talk about cleaning & laundry.
 
Wear an apron with large pockets when cleaning. The pockets may be used to hold cleaning materials such as a dust cloth and polish, or may be used to hold small items you pick up along the way and plan to return to their original storage places.  Likewise, put cleaning materials in a basket or bucket and carry it around the house with you so all materials will be handy as needed.
 
Avoid spot cleaning!  Clean the whole surface to ensure no spots are missed.  When cleaning counters, start at one end and work to the other in overlapping strips.  Use your free hand to check areas just cleaned for extra stubborn spots.  Also work in overlapping strips when dusting, vacuuming, washing floors, etc.  In large areas, you may find it helpful to divide the surface into sections such as halves or quarters, with overlapping boundaries.  Use pieces of furniture (for example, a chair in the middle of the kitchen floor), or use permanent fixtures to mark the boundaries of each section you are cleaning.
 
Transfer liquid cleaners into containers with pumps for easy use.
Containers can be filled with a funnel.  Remember that flat-sided bottles upset easily.
 
To fill a steam iron use a turkey baster, a funnel, or a squirt bottle.
 
Safety pins or Sock Tuckers (available in department stores) can be used to keep socks in pairs during washing and drying.  Some people find it helpful to buy socks in different colors, patterns or textures for sorting purposes.
 
Wash small items in a pillow case or small mesh laundry bag to keep them from getting lost.
 
To measure laundry detergent use the scoop provided. Avoid pouring directly from the box.
 

                Advocacy

 

Let’s Get It Out There++:

Tele Town Hall Committee Consultations
 
The goal of the “Let’s Get It Out There” project was to take a holistic view of issues around advocacy, respect and working more closely together. Although there have been previous efforts at coalition building, this was an opportunity through a Tele Town Hall consultation process to receive feedback and suggestions at a grass roots level.  See the Tele Town Hall Committee Mission Statement appended to this report.
 
In Canada, our history of people who are blind, partially sighted and deafblind working together is not that different from other countries. The main thing that makes Canada different is the small population spread over a vast distance that makes ongoing collaboration and communications difficult. When looking at advocacy, we have many different organizations and individuals working on issues sometimes together, but very often in isolation not knowing or trusting what each other is doing. Even today with more communications options available, because of accessibility issues of some current technology and the lack of assistive technology training, many times we are not aware of what each other are doing.
 
Although this discussion was meant to cover all ages, economics and other demographics, no effort was put into ensuring that all were adequately represented.  To recruit participants the communications avenues employed were through discussion mailing lists, Facebook Groups, Twitter feeds and newsletters known by the committee members and the organizations they interact with.  In short, we relied on word of mouth to promote the Tele Town Hall meetings, and by copying representatives of the blindness, low vision and deafblind organizations on our radar it was hoped that news of this initiative would be circulated to their respective networks.  It was noted that the first meeting had the largest number of participants, with numbers decreasing as we moved into the final two gatherings.
 
This report looks at the discussion that occurred during each of the town hall meetings and attempts to put forward some suggestions and challenges to individuals and organizations working in the sector and what that might look like. It should be noted that even though the role of service providers like CNIB was not the main goal of this discussion, it does factor into the ongoing relationships between people and organizations representing people who are blind, partially sighted and deafblind.
 
Here is a link to download the final report in MS Word format.
https://www.dropbox.com/s/v7pb3krn6lxzhks/Tele%20Town%2Hall%20Final%20Report%20Protected%202018Aug17.docx?dl=0
 
 

Pedestrian Crossings and Accessibility++:

The emergence of new traffic signaling devices at a growing number of intersections are creating concern for pedestrians with sight loss. When is it safe to begin a crossing, how will marked cross walks be delineated and will drivers know how to respond to new signaling mechanisms?
 
In recent months, CNIB has witnessed a growing number of requests for advocacy support to address concerns regarding these new or different devices.
 
Clearing our Path, online since 2016, has been CNIB’s go to resource on accessible environments since it was first published in 1999. The guidelines under review for this project can be found at:
http://www.clearingourpath.ca/4.2.0-street-crossings_e.php
 
This section of Clearing Our path contains guidelines on:

  1. Curb Ramps and Depressed Curbs
  2. Islands
  3. Raised Pedestrian Crossings

*4.    **Accessible Pedestrian Signals*

  1. Roundabouts

*6.    **Non-Signalized Pedestrian Crossings*
 
*Of these, items 4 and 6 will be the primary focus of this initiative.*
 
Request for input
A working group has been struck to consider these as well as other issues surrounding accessible pedestrian signals and intersection design.
 
On Wednesday, September 19, we would like to extend an invitation to your members to participate in a teleconference call hosted by CNIB.
 
The questions we would like to have feedback for include:

  1. What are some of the new intersection and mid-block crossings tactics, structures, or devices being adopted in your area at either controlled or non-controlled intersections?

 

  1. What are any accessibility challenges posed by these tactics, structures or devices?

 

  1. What recommendations would you have that would better ensure accessibility and safety for pedestrians who are blind, deafblind or who have sight loss;

 

  1. Any additional information you wish to share relevant to Audible Pedestrian Signals, pedestrian intersections and mid-block crossings?

 
Comments from this conversation will be collected and reviewed by a national working group and any comments for change will be reflected in the sections of clearing our path sited above.
 
Alternatively, any written comments or suggestions would also be appreciated. These should be sent to lui.greco@cnib.ca no later than September 28.
Submitted by Lui Greco, National Manager of Advocacy
CNIB
 

Visually-impaired Victorians need design change to life-threatening bike lanes++:

Support our BC Human Rights case to insist that the City change its ill-conceived, life-threatening design of floating bus stops, such as along Pandora Street, that require transit users to cross a separated bike lane to get on or off buses in Victoria, BC.
 
The blind/ visually impaired have already experienced several serious incidents in Victoria (ones we know of) while crossing bike lanes. Imagine the sudden whiz of a bike past you and your guide dog’s nose or tires screeching in front of you as you step out to cross a bike lane.
 
No one wants to see the inevitable–a crash causing bodily injuries or death as a result of the City not changing this dangerous inaccessible design. Imagine your sense of confidence shaken by uncertainty and fear, knowing you cannot hear oncoming bikes as you step out to cross a bike lane. It’s Russian Roulette.
 
People ask: What’s the difference between crossing a bike lane versus crossing a street as a blind or visually-impaired person? We cross city street intersections all the time by listening to traffic flow and pedestrian signals. Vehicle traffic on roads can be heard. Bikes, on the other hand, are silent, stealthily silent, so you cannot judge when it’s safe to cross a bike lane.
 
For more information on this initiative, please visit: https://www.gofundme.com/cfb-bike-lanes
 
 

In the News

 

How Running Can Help Protect Your Eyesight++:

Find out how many miles a week you should log to reap the benefits.
 
Your heart isn’t the only organ that can benefit from regular running: The more fit and active you are, the less likely you are to develop glaucoma, a serious eye disease that can damage your optic nerve and even lead to blindness, new research set to be published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise finds.
 
In the study researchers analyzed data from more than 9,500 people between ages 40 and 81 enrolled in a long-term study at the famous Cooper Clinic in Dallas. The researchers compared the subjects’ aerobic fitness (measured by treadmill tests) and weekly amount of exercise (reported by the subjects) to how many of them developed incident glaucoma during a nearly six-year follow-up period. The researchers specifically looked at incident glaucoma, the more common form of the condition, rather than traumatic glaucoma, which is caused by direct injury to the eye.
 
The researchers found that those who were the most active and the fittest had only half the risk of developing glaucoma as the least-active, less-fit group. Running 10 miles per week at a 10-minute mile pace would be enough to rank in the study’s fittest, most-active category.
 
This isn’t the first time scientists discovered a vision benefit to running.
This new research builds on a study published in 2009. In that study, which involved only runners, those with the highest mileage and best 10K times had the lowest rate of glaucoma, compared to lower-mileage and/or slower runners. The new study strengthens the pro-running evidence by including sedentary people as well as casual exercisers who are less active and fit than runners, and by showing that modest mileage appears to bring significant eye-health benefits.
 
So why might running lower your risk for glaucoma?
As the new study states, “intraocular pressure is the primary modifiable risk factor for glaucoma.” When pressure in your eye is too high, it can damage the optic nerve in your eye, potentially leading to glaucoma.
 
Other studies have found that a single workout reduces intraocular pressure, which the reduction is greater following more intense workouts, and that higher levels of fitness are associated with lower underlying intraocular pressure. Taken together, these findings suggest that exercise that’s frequent and intense enough to boost fitness, such as regular running, should lower intraocular pressure enough to make a significant difference.
 
And the glaucoma reduction might not be the only eye-related benefit to
running: Separate research by the 2009 study authors found that the more people ran, the less likely they were to develop cataracts during a six-year follow-up period.
 
Although few people probably take up running to help their eyes, you have to love research like this that shows just how profoundly regular running improves nearly all aspects of your health.
By Scott Douglas
 

On-line Training++:

Please find info below about some free online training courses coming in the next couple of months.  Explanations and descriptions are below.  Matt’s email is at the bottom of the message.
 
Hi everyone, first off, please share this with others, as I’ll explain later on in the message. Many of you may remember, or may have taken, the iPad training course I offered this past spring. I was really humbled and appreciative of all the positive feedback from that course, and I felt that the response to it was overwhelming.
 
I’m now excited to announce that I will be offering more free training courses for 2018-19 training season.
 
First off, I’ll be offering four major courses over the next year. They are as follows:
 
Replacing Your Traditional TV with Apple TV: four sessions, one session per week, beginning Tuesday, October 2, 2018
 
Living the Connected Digital Life: Four sessions, one session per week, beginning Tuesday, October 30, 2018
 
Learn Voiceover In and Out: eight sessions, two per week, beginning Tuesday, January 22, 2019
 
Learning Voiceover In and Out, Section B: Eight Sessions, two per week, beginning Tuesday, February 19, 2019
 
IPad for All Computing: 12 Sessions, two per week, beginning Tuesday, April 16, 2019
 
The courses which have two days per week will be held on Tuesdays and Thursdays. All courses will be held in the afternoon, with exact start times to be decided. Plan on somewhere around 2PM or 2:30 PM Eastern.
Sessions will last for two hours.
 
As with prior courses, each course is completely free and is available to everyone, sighted and non-sighted alike. As before, courses will be held in Zoom, with an accompanying set of materials, offered as iTunes U courses, with the exception of the Apple TV and Connected Digital Life courses, which will require only small handouts rather than complete iTunes U courses.
 
I’ll provide descriptions of each course below. What I’d love is if people would start sharing this with your friends, family, co-workers, etc, and on any other relevant lists you may belong to.
Additionally, please let me know which courses interest you.
 
The Apple TV course was sort of requested by several participants in this year’s iPad course. It will be designed to offer participants an overview of what the Apple TV can do and how to use it. We will then get into various options for making the Apple TV your complete living room device, cutting the cord, streaming, etc. what about local channels? How about sports? What does it cost? How many people can watch at the same time?
On and on. We’ll answer all the questions we can, with a particular emphasis on Voiceover use as well. You do not need to own an Apple TV to benefit from this course. Even if you are just mildly interested in it and want to explore what’s out there, we’d love for you to join.
 
The Connected Digital Life will explore in-depth how to make all your devices work for you no matter where you are. We will spend lots of time on all the iCloud features and services, such as iCloud Photo Library, iTunes in the CLoud, iCloud Drive, and many more. We’ll discuss iCloud Keychain for password and credit card autofill, Apple Pay, continuity, multiple devices together, HomeKit and home automation devices, and much more. Anyone with an iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, Apple TV, Apple Watch, HomePod, Mac, or any combination of these devices should benefit from this course.
 
The Voiceover In and Out course is something I believe many are looking for. You’ll notice I’m offering two sections. This is because I intentionally want to keep enrollment small and look at the students to best tailor the course to individual needs. This will be perfect for anyone who has never used an Apple device and wants to learn about it, or anyone who has just gotten their first Apple device. Additionally, those who have been using Apple products for years but want further Voiceover help will also benefit. Finally, if you struggle with certain gestures, fingering, or just want advance tips and tricks, this course is for you as well. Note that as of right now, this course will primarily focus on Apple iOS including iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch, TVOS, Watch OS, and HomePod. Though we wil indeed explore keyboard commands and Braille displays, our primary mode of using these devices will be gestures. My most recent certifications are on the iOS side of things, and that’s what I use, so I’d prefer to not do Mac OS for now.
 
Finally, for the iPad course. You’ll notice I’ve renamed it. You’ll also notice that it’s longer than the one we did this past spring – 12 sessions instead of 8. This is because I really want to go deeper. We will be spending minimal time on learning Voiceover. If you want that, choose both this iPad course as well as the Voiceover course. In this course, we’ll do what we did last time, except much more involved. Instead of just talking for a short time about Messages, we’ll practice sending and receiving messages, use screen effects and iMessage apps, attach photos, record audio messages, and more. Instead of just discussing the calendar, we’ll create test events, modify events, use features like travel time, shared calendars, and much more. We’ll actually create short movies in Apple Clips, view a Keynote presentation together, and we will spend one whole session on file management and two entire sessions on nothing but Pages.
 
This course is for everyone, though having an iPad is strongly suggested, though you will be able to complete most of the course on your phone. We will have a prerequisite this time though – a strong familiarity with Voiceover. If you do not feel comfortable with Voiceover but would like to take this course, just also take the Voiceover In and Out course, and you’ll be fine. Even if you took the 2018 iPad course, you may wish to take the 2019 one, as it will as I’ve stated, go much deeper.
 
Again, please contact me with any questions, and please let me know which courses you’d like to take, and please share. Even though some of these are quite a ways off in the calendar yet, please start letting me know what you’d like, because creating course materials and course structure will be much better the more time I have. Shortly I will respond to those who have actually chosen specific courses, and I’ll keep in touch with you from now through the start of the courses. Thanks again, and I look forward to hearing from you. Take care.
I can be reached at m.jvollbrecht@comcast.net
 

REMINDERS

 
Hi Everyone!  Becky from the office here.  Membership season is here!  Here are the important dates that are listed in the package.
 
Early Bird Draw – November 2, 2018
Chapter Rebate Deadline – December 7, 2018
All 2019 Memberships Due – December 28, 2018
White Cane Week Orders Due – January 4, 2019
WCW Insurance Requests Due – January 4, 2019
Enjoy the rest of your summer!
 
DON’T FORGET!
Donations Received in the office in 2018 are the only ones that can be receipted for 2018.  Remember to send those donations if for your receipts.
 
 
 
www.ccbnational.net                 1-877-304-0968
ccb@ccbnational.net

Let’s Get It Out There : Tele Town Hall Committee Consultations October 2016 to March 2018

Let’s Get It Out There

 

Tele Town Hall Committee Consultations

October 2016 to March 2018

Final Report

August 17, 2018

 

Introduction:

 

In 2016, a question was asked on the member discussion list hosted by the Alliance for Equality of Blind Canadians about the AEBC and the Canadian Council of the Blind merging. The resulting discussion from this simple enquiry resulted in a group of individuals looking for methods to improve relations between blindness, low vision and deafblind organizations in Canada. The goal of the “Let’s Get It Out There” project was to take a holistic view of issues around advocacy, respect and working more closely together. Although there have been previous efforts at coalition building, this was an opportunity through a Tele Town Hall consultation process to receive feedback and suggestions at a grass roots level.  See the Tele Town Hall Committee Mission Statement appended to this report.

 

In Canada, our history of people who are blind, partially sighted and deafblind working together is not that different from other countries. The main thing that makes Canada different is the small population spread over a vast distance that makes ongoing collaboration and communications difficult. When looking at advocacy, we have many different organizations and individuals working on issues sometimes together, but very often in isolation not knowing or trusting what each other is doing. Even today with more communications options available, because of accessibility issues of some current technology and the lack of assistive technology training, many times we are not aware of what each other are doing.

 

Although this discussion was meant to cover all ages, economics and other demographics, no effort was put into ensuring that all were adequately represented.  To recruit participants the communications avenues employed were through discussion mailing lists, Facebook Groups, Twitter feeds and newsletters known by the committee members and the organizations they interact with.  In short, we relied on word of mouth to promote the Tele Town Hall meetings, and by copying representatives of the blindness, low vision and deafblind organizations on our radar it was hoped that news of this initiative would be circulated to their respective networks.  It was noted that the first meeting had the largest number of participants, with numbers decreasing as we moved into the final two gatherings.

 

This report looks at the discussion that occurred during each of the town hall meetings and attempts to put forward some suggestions and challenges to individuals and organizations working in the sector and what that might look like. It should be noted that even though the role of service providers like CNIB was not the main goal of this discussion, it does factor into the ongoing relationships between people and organizations representing people who are blind, partially sighted and deafblind.

 

Premise:

 

It is understood that within the blind, low vision and deafblind community there exists a wide range of people whose experiences, thoughts and attitudes are affected by whether their vision loss is congenital/ Adventitious, their individual independent living goals/skills, interest levels in advocacy, participation goals, and community/family/social support systems.  It stands to reason then that we will have received a wide range of opinions about whether or not existing Canadian organizations ought to be amalgamated, whether the vision loss community should collaborate more closely, where the shortcomings are, how they can be solved and who should do the solving.  The clear message received asked that all those things that make us unique be considered by the organizations of and for the blind, partially sighted and deafblind as they develop services, programs and engage in advocacy.  It is the Tele Town Hall Committee’s opinion that no real concise direction was determined through it all, and that the suggestions found herein were gleaned out of the comments submitted and thoughts expressed by participants.

 

 

 

 

Tele Town Hall Meeting #1

 

October 2016: Let’s Get It Out There

The first Tele Town Hall meeting asked four questions.

  • Question 1: In order to ensure that people who are blind, partially sighted, or deaf-blind continue to have a strong voice in Canada, what do you think the national consumer movement should look like in the future?

Between the panelists and the participants on the phone many issues were noted as being important, namely that: means of engaging youth in advocacy and setting future directions remains important and as yet not well done; that technology has made a big difference in our lives, and that sorting out what the next burning issues are will be important to get done; a united voice is important so letting go of the past is crucial to ongoing collaboration and unity; it’s important to articulate on personal benefits derived from advocacy efforts as a means of increasing engagement; organizational independence is important, as is the demarcation of consumer verses service organizations for public understanding, and; it was noted that good collaboration is possible without the need for amalgamation.  Much discussion ensued related to funding the work of advocacy through strong mandate articulation, the sale of current consumables/services to members as a means of benefiting them now for advocacy benefits down the road.  It was noted that the two largest consumer groups in the USA work fairly well at the local level, and not always as well nationally.  It was suggested that better networking and mentoring programs are needed as a means of increasing youth engagement, as is the study of other successful movements like the “Women’s movement”.  It was suggested that research grants could be a means of funding advocacy efforts.  In order to give the blind, partially sighted and deafblind population a stronger voice suggestions were made around the creation of service organizations made up of primarily consumers of the service.

  • Question 2: Canada is a small country in population; however, it is geographically quite large. Would it be better in Canada to ensure that, on a national level, there is one organization of the blind, partially sighted and deafblind working on projects and advocacy to help strengthen community activities provincially and locally?

Between the panelists and participants the important ideas seemed to be that: funders appreciate strategic partnerships; that collaboration can happen without the need for amalgamation; that organizations need to strengthen their coalition building processes so that work can carry on despite personnel changes; that staff/volunteer time be allocated to developing joint position papers on issues related to vision impairment and rehabilitation, and; that all current organizations are meeting different needs for their constituents, a goal that any one organization would struggle to fulfill.  Participants agreed that the specializing of some organizations is helpful to the overall community provided collaboration works well, like having braille, dog guide and other specific organizations.  Respect for each other and the various skills we bring to the table individually and organizationally is important to maintain.  Some expressed distaste for conflict between organizations, especially between service and consumer organizations.  These distinctions can end up being clouded today when service organizations conduct work traditionally reserved for consumers, and when consumer organizations begin to deliver services to their members and other blindness, low vision and deafblind service consumers.  Some expressed that service organizations have no business doing advocacy, and would have no place being a part of any kind of coalition or network of consumer groups.  The issue of Canada’s dual language was raised as a high cost item for all organizations.  National organizations should work solely on national initiatives, and local organizations should focus on local issues.  Either way, information about who does what for whom is an important communications strategy for all involved to consider for the benefit of members, consumers and the general public.

  • Question 3: National, provincial, and local organizations have tried working in coalitions. Are you aware of any activities that these coalitions have done? Would you support a more formal working relationship between the existing national organizations of the blind?

Between the panelists and participants a range of opinions were expressed that included: coalitions can include cross disabilities, which can be a powerful statement to the general public; ground rules need to be negotiated early on how coalitions will be staff/funding resourced and populated; service providers can be invited under the understanding that consumers will speak on behalf of the members; formal working relationships and agreement to participate in a coalition on a specific issue works best to ensuring continued success even as representatives and personalities change; opportunities exist for coalitions to work on employment and other issues, and strategies to work toward them ought to be articulated and goals set for such coalitions to move forward; the DASM report (Developing Alternative Service Models) by BOOST written in the 1970’s is still a good model for consumer groups to work on in developing their strategies for future service delivery goals; conflicts should be worked out behind closed doors with unified fronts being exhibited in public, and; some believe that only organizations “of the blind, partially sighted and deafblind” should make up advocacy coalitions, and others indicated that issue by issue decisions can be made on such strategies, and that limiting membership in this way can leave a coalition without adequate resources to get the job done if some organizations are left out.

  • Question 4: Why do you think the blindness community is so fragmented in its approach to advocacy and community activities?

Between the panelists and participants it was noted that: when viewing advocacy on an issue by issue basis there is little in the way of fragmentation; the blind, partially sighted and deafblind community is broad raged in terms of degree of remaining vision, which leads to different accommodation needs that can often be viewed as fragmentation; where ever disagreement exists between individuals and/or organizations we might be better served by viewing that as a starting place to build consensus rather than separation; we can better utilize communications technology to bridge the geographic divides as we work toward finding common ground upon which to agree; blind, low vision and deafblind pride is something toward which we might try to move and to develop consensus, recognizing that those who identify as having low vision tend to resist the word blind; we might need a “blind revolution” in Canada, and that the National Accessibility Act is now before Parliament it presents a good opportunity for organizations to coalesce; the Consumer Access Group (CAG) seems to have failed to mount a sustained coalition, which appears to be an important thing to do according to some participant’s sentiments; some people believe that CNIB is one of the shackles holding back blind, partially sighted and deafblind consumers, and that Federal Government funds given to CNIB would be better spent on advocacy with the consumer groups; fragmentation, if it exists can be mitigated by using an inclusive cross-disability approach and networking with a variety of experts and those with the lived experience of vision loss; in Quebec there seems to be less fragmentation in the blind, partially sighted and deafblind consumer sector which is thought by some to be as a result of the Provincial Government being the rehab service provider, and that they don’t come to the table purporting to speak on behalf of their blind, partially sighted and deafblind citizens; egoism, lack of respect and unprofessional behaviour among some advocates reduces the whole community and ought not be tolerated; within the blind, partially sighted and deafblind community we must learn to be tolerant of the ranges of skills, vision acuity and levels of adjustment we’re all experiencing, and in order to be inclusive within our own community we should establish advocacy train the trainer sessions and adjustment to blindness, vision loss and deafblindness peer mentoring gatherings with a view to coaching consumers to become better service consumers; coalitions can be coalitions of three, which can then be built into larger forces for good and positive movement; some fragmentation exists due to services available for children and seniors, with a perceived gap for the working age group;

 

Tele Town Hall Meeting #2

 

March 4, 2017: Let’s Get It Out There

The second Tele Town Hall meeting asked four questions.

  • Question 1: How should service and advocacy organizations be transparent and accountable to the community?

Between the panelists and participants it was thought that: more open decision making and communications processes between organizations and with members would move us toward more accountability and transparency; there’s a perception that some organizations work at cross purposes, which might be mitigated through a conscious effort to build trust; that accountability means someone, organization or individual, should take the lead role in setting goals through consensus building; some existing organizational structures may be transformed into coalition style advocacy efforts, and some may need to be dissolved; some believe that CNIB isn’t serving the blind, partially sighted and deafblind in ways that is perceived by the general public, funders and government decision makers; there is a lack of separation between what the consumer movement and the CNIB do on behalf of the blind, partially sighted and deafblind in Canada in terms of advocacy; it was suggested that CNIB be broken up into provincial self-governing blindness , low vision and deafblindness rehab organizations, then establish Boards of Directors consisting of consumer group members elected by their members leading to accountable, effective, progressive service delivery; consumer organizations should meet annually to share advocacy goals and determine which organization will work on which priority; with increased reporting to the consumer movement on government grants and funding as to services delivered and outcomes achieved, more and better accountability to the end user can be achieved; a “Watch-Dog” organization should be established that would deliver an annual report card on service and consumer organizations based on three criteria, Tell us what you’re going to do, Tell us about it as you do it and Tell us how you did at the end, and; CNIB appears to be more concerned with its continued relevance, funding, and identity rather than the needs of blind, partially sighted and deafblind consumers, and that consumer groups taking matters into their own hands is seen as a threat.

  • Question 2: How do we engage individuals and the blindness community concerning our needs and rights in the broader Canadian society?

Between the panelists and participants it was thought that: individuals who want a better way must take responsibility to work toward it; consumer organizations only work if there’s a community that comprises it; cross organizational collaboration is essential; small incremental gains should be celebrated if it moves toward the greater good; for increased engagement and participation all forms of communications should be used, telephone, face-to-face and written participation; to engage youth in advocacy different forms of communication need to be employed, that there be a set of concrete actions with immediate results for them to stay engaged, those who didn’t attend “schools for the blind” may not be well connected in the blind, partially sighted or deafblind communities, and may not want to be outside of sporting and similar activities; organizations who are successful in engaging youth ought to be sought out for advice; some of today’s youth have multiple disabilities which makes advanced advocacy more difficult; we need to engage them In activities that will build their skills sets and resumes; older citizens who lose sight are also without a blind community to identify with, and they too must be engaged in ways that bring them into the fold rather than alienate them; engaging with cross disability organizations is a great way to take our message to the masses; we need a more unified message from the consumer movement to take to CNIB so as to articulate the blind, partially sighted and deafblind community’s real needs; one size does not fit all, and that organizations have to remain conscious of varying needs, skills and abilities of individuals, and to articulate that clearly to the general public, funders and government decision makers;

  • Question 3: What specific actions can individuals and organizations take to promote transparency, integrity, accountability, and respect?

Between panelists and participants it was thought that: we all must be clear when doing self-advocacy that it is our opinion and not necessarily the needs of the community; As both organizations and individuals, we need to act and be transparent with what we do for the different segments of our community, deafblind, multi-disabled and/or LGBTQ; we must refrain from judging others and to offer understanding and support for our differences, preferences and independence goals; assumptions can lead to fragmentation, conflict and general misunderstanding, as might be some of the comments shared regarding youth through these meetings with no known youth attending to speak on their own behalf; silos are believed to exist in the community, which leads to closed communications, lack of trust between organizations and to confusing messaging broadcast to the general public; more research is needed to establish the real needs of blind, partially sighted and deafblind consumers so that an information hub can be developed; we should lead by example  to promote trust, integrity and respect by demonstrating the same; we should “Be as wise as serpents, but as gentle as doves”: On a personal level, be respectful of others – but analyse the situation and have an understanding of the landscape as not everything is as it appears to be, particularly where individual and organizational power imbalances exist; the blind, partially sighted and deafblind community might do well to select a national awareness day aimed at promoting the abilities and needs of those living with blindness, vision loss and deafblindness; we should be respectful of others without playing into stereotypes of those “nice polite blind people”, other advocacy endeavours don’t always play by nice rules; the more experienced advocates might want to be less intimidating when working with the less experienced among us, and to seek such opportunities to coach and mentor, and; we should individually and organizationally express appreciation when decisions are made and action taken that supports growth, forward movement and the achievement of our goals for independence, inclusion and autonomy.

  • Question 4: What should be included in rules of engagement that would govern ongoing collaboration in the blindness community?

Between the panelists and participants it was thought that: little steps build trust for bigger steps, and that we should individually and organizationally focus on the message trying to look past “delivery style” and personal flair – all collaboration efforts should begin with a reminder of the importance of focusing on the content and not the messenger or delivery; we should want to, and demand to be part of the decision making process where consumable services are debated and established; when we recruit for work on an advocacy initiative we must ensure that we’ve brought to play all the experts and relevant information with which to make the best decisions and action plans; the establishment of best practices communications is a great way to share results, policies and strategies; rules for engagement with service providers is different than within the consumer movement; the consumer movement needs to support each other with letters of support when goals are achieved and the community’s agenda is advanced by any organization, and; coalition efforts ought to be established on a case by case basis rather than expecting them to survive across several differing initiatives.

 

Tele Town Hall Meeting #3

 

October 14, 2017: Advocacy without Borders

The third Tele Town Hall meeting asked presenters to tell us about the consumer and rehabilitation services systems in their countries.

Martine Abel-Williamson talked about the importance of differentiating our access needs from the needs of people with physical disabilities.  NZ has one service provider and people are served in their homes primarily.  NZ got its first blindness org in 1945 about when the CCB was started in Canada, and shortly after the NFB was started in the USA.  It’s when blind people started to want autonomy and independence.  Martine talked about the need for local and international collaboration as well, and the importance of having a good peer mentoring strategy and a legal aid program to assist persons with disabilities when their rights are violated or ignored.

Fran Cutler talked about what’s available in Australia, starting out with the need for a really good website targeted to each region of the country as the basis for good advocacy, information sharing and dissemination.  The use of all the social media channels today has also become most important for keeping people informed and moving them to action when needed.  She talked about the post cards used to alert people to hazards left on sidewalks that have the organization’s name and contact info on it.  Most rehab services are office based in Australia as 2/3 of the population lives in 5 major Cities.  Consumers in Australia are often asked to consult on matters of public access, and because voting is compulsory they are working hard at ensuring an inclusive and cost effective voting system.  Guide Dogs Australia uses a billboard showing 30 people using white canes with one dog guide user, with the slogan that says, we train 30 blind people to move around independently with a cane for every Guide Dog user.  Theirs is a home based rehab service model.  Fran also indicated that the Australian organizations she spoke of seem to have carved out their own specialties, with one focussing mostly on advocacy, two on rehab services and another on public awareness and education.  She didn’t say a lot about collaboration, animosity or political disagreements.

The need to consider services and advocacy from the indigenous person’s perspective was raised, where some collaboration work is being done internationally, in New Zealand, but not in Australia or Canada.  Both speakers indicated that some advocacy has worked in educating decision makers and that much more needs to be done in order to achieve some degree of consistency.  Technology support is another area where consistency isn’t always apparent.  When government seeks advice on issues of blindness it appears that the higher profile organizations are called upon.  New Zealand appears to have something similar to Canada’s Consumer Access Group that functions reasonably well.  In terms of learning from each other what works in the advocacy arena, both presenters suggested that we don’t give up trying to find reasons to work together to advance our agenda.

 

Tele Town Hall Meeting #4

 

November 18, 2017: Advocacy without Borders. The forth Tele Town Hall meeting asked presenters to tell us about the consumer and rehabilitation services systems in their countries.

 

Mitch Pomarance gave us an overview of the American system of Federal and State funding of rehab services, which in California used to include everyone who lost sight, and more recently has been curtailed to focus on the working age population.  Due to funding pressures, there appears to be some friction in the USA between the Independent Living movement and the blindness specific service and advocacy areas regarding who’s best equipped to deliver good independence skills to the blind population.  Mitch talked about a time about 20 years ago when the two large consumer organizations in California worked together to advocate for a separate rehab organization for the blind, and that even though they didn’t get the organization, they did get a separate division within the State Rehabilitation Agency for persons with disabilities.  California has established a 13-member advisory body that meets quarterly to advise the Rehab Agency on matters of importance to the blind community which is made up of people from the two consumer organizations, service providers, consumers and others.  Mitch indicated that the collaborative framework has worked well and is worth spending energy on.

John Panarese talked about how different rehab outcomes exist in the 50 States of the Union.  It seems that despite having two large and powerful consumer advocacy organizations in the USA they still end up with differences in how rehab services are delivered from State to State.  John has noticed too that despite the two large consumer organizations there are a lot of individuals who don’t know how to advocate for themselves.  It was also stated that consumers need to learn how to articulate their needs, strategize on how to best achieve them and insist that the rehab organization provide that which is needed and not that which is convenient to the service provider.  John emphasized the need/desire for one over-arching consumer organization that could represent blind persons so that consistency might be achieved, and politics reduced.  He expressed the importance of educating the consumer to their rights, responsibilities and the need for them to take charge of their lives and the path of travel.

Questions around the working relationship between the two consumer groups indicated that although it works well sometimes, trust and power struggles usually cause collaborations to falter.  Clarification was given to the role of the ADA in the USA.  It only covers matters of access and accommodation, and doesn’t touch areas related to rehabilitation.  As in Canada, the access needs of physically disabled citizens enjoys a higher priority than do blindness related issues.  The consumer groups in the USA are structured with Divisions dealing with separate issues like, deafblind, employment, dog guides, LGBTQ, lawyers, teachers, children etc.  On the question of consumer groups working together Mitch indicated that the NFB and the ACB will amalgamate shortly after the Democratic and Republican Parties join forces.  Everybody has their own philosophy, goals and desires and the best we can do is to learn how to work together with respect and understanding.  The question of attitudes about blindness among the general public was discussed, and despite much effort being spent on this issue by both consumer organizations in the USA, there is still a long way to go.  Blindness is still one of the top three feared disabilities and little has changed in that regard over the years.

 

Tele Town Hall Meeting #5

 

March 10, 2018: Have Your Final Say

The fifth Tele Town Hall meeting asked five questions.

  • How well do current blindness/low vision rehabilitation services organizations in Canada serve your needs? Or do they not serve your needs as the case may be?  (I.E. Are your personally happy with existing Canadian blindness rehabilitation services?)

Participants indicated that: low vision issues are not well understood by the general public and that service organizations could do a better job of disseminating information about the difference between blind and low vision; The geography of Canada is such that in rural areas little in the way of rehab service is available or delivered making independence more difficult to achieve; Given the constant change to the assistive technology in our lives it has created a need for more and ongoing training, and there is not enough mobility training available to blind, partially sighted and deafblind Canadians; The monopoly in the Canadian Rehabilitation Services sector needs to change so that competition can start to drive innovation, and that entrepreneurial opportunities for blind, partially sighted and deafblind citizens ought to be made available in this regard through open tendering of those available funding dollars; In Quebec where the province funds rehabilitation there appears to be a hierarchy of service availability with blindness services like Orientation and Mobility falling behind other services; The pan-disability employment services currently operating in BC means that staff there no little about blindness, low vision or deafblindness, and the CNIB and our consumer organizations have not done well to educate them, leading to a less than helpful level of service to the end consumer; The ongoing upgrading needed to our assistive technology and the training required in order to stay abreast of it is lacking, as is the funding necessary to keep up with these constant changes; With CNIB moving to a provincially funded Rehabilitation Organization model perhaps increased opportunities will be generated for entrepreneurs to enter the sector, and; In Nova Scotia blindness rehabilitation has been funded by the province for about 2 years, and so far no increase or improvement has been noticed.

  • How well do blindness/low vision advocacy support organizations in Canada serve your needs?  How are they not serving your needs as the case may be?  (I.E Are you personally happy with the existing consumer advocacy and support movements in Canada)?

Participants indicated that: we need unity with autonomy, unity with diversity rather than amalgamation of the consumer movement; we don’t always work well together in some pockets of the country, and in others it works a little better; the consumer movement in Quebec isn’t as strong because all rehabilitation services are provincially funded, and that as similar strategies are employed in other parts of Canada similar things might start to happen, and hopefully we can learn from each other; the CAG initiative has worked to some degree, however because it is financially dependent on CNIB there has been some reluctance to criticize them for fear of losing that funding and administrative support; among the post-secondary student population there is little connection to the existing consumer organizations which is leaving them disconnected and unaffiliated; the older adult who lost sight after a lifetime of vision are not well represented in the consumer movement, as well as those who live with low vision, and that our consumer organizations need to broaden their programs and recruiting efforts to engage those two groups more effectively; consumers from foreign backgrounds are not well assimilated into the blindness, low vision and deafblindness consumer movements or in society generally, so more needs to be done to ensure that all are included; the changes to the role of the service provider whereby they are taking on a larger advocacy role is causing a scary future for the consumer movement in Canada, so where we can we must find ways to unify or run the risk of losing our identity; there is a lack of accountability and transparency at the national level in the consumer organizations that isn’t so prevalent provincially and locally; too many consumer organizations have not done and are not doing enough succession planning to replace the few people who seem to do most of the advocacy work, which has led to the closure of one BC organization so far, and; the CNIB is the “go-to” organization for most governments, the media and the general public like it or not, so consumer organizations are wise to work with them if we’re to succeed.

  • If not, what will make them more responsive to the needs of blind, low vision, and deafblind Canadians and make agencies flexible enough to move the with the merging societal demand?  If we don’t think that rehabilitation and advocacy organizations are filling our needs, what sorts of things will make it better?  What sorts of things will make them more ready to shift with the times?

Participants indicated that: in the consumer movement we are the blind speaking for ourselves and not like the CNIB which speaks on our behalf, and if some of their clients want to be involved in advocacy they should join one of the groups and encourage the CNIB to be a better rehabilitation organization; there is a need for more mentorship programs for students coming out of secondary and post-secondary schools and wanting to join or re-join the work force; when working toward more and better mentorship programs we need more consideration given to the diversity within our community related to age, degree of vision loss, education, skills, culture, language and independence goals; our consumer organizations ought to appoint annually a consumer advocacy coordinator to whom the members can upload issues, and from whom they may determine what successes have been achieved, and that this person from each organization meet as a group periodically to establish priorities for the group to work on; the large dog guide schools often provide advocacy support on issues, and so to should the CNIB if they have the funds to do so, and the consumer organizations should be able and willing to work with them to advance the cause; we need more work done by organizations like the Consumer Access Group, and we need to encourage and educate each other on strategies of individual advocacy so that we can do more for ourselves, and by extension more for the entire community, and; we need to work out who has the skills, knowledge and ability to move issues forward, and work together to support each other toward resolution for the benefit of the community.

  • What strategies are required if we are to strengthen the voice of blind Canadians with government, communities, employers, (i.e. do blind Canadians need one single strong voice in order to advance our needs?)

Participants indicated that: although it might be difficult to bring the consumer organizations together to speak from one voice, we need to find some avenues where that can happen on an issue by issue basis, like public and government education around the abilities of blind, partially sighted and deafblind people and their needs in terms of rehabilitation if we’re to improve employment and societal inclusion deficits; we need to have the resources, time and energy in order to carry the torch of advocacy, and where that is found we need to gather behind it and work at moving the community forward, and that’s how the CNIB and CCD have gotten to “top-of-mind” today; we need a diverse, multi-skilled national consumer advocacy group that will focus on blindness, low vision and deafblindness issues, as well as age related and cultural issues; we need to recruit more worker bees to help carry the load; we need to work in the cross disability arena as a means of getting our priorities in front of a larger segment of the general public and decision makers; those of us with the lived experience of blindness, low vision or deafblindness are best situated to speak on our behalf rather than having someone else speak for us, and; technology is so important today in leveling the playing field, and there’s not enough understanding about the difference it can make, nor is there enough training in its use.

  • What strategies can blind Canadians employ to amplify their voices in order to be better heard within Canadian organizations of an organizations for the blind?  (I.E. do blind Canadians want to be more involved in driving the organizations that provide rehabilitation services in Canada?)

Participants indicated that: the CNIB National and Division Boards are mostly made up of sighted business people for purposes of fundraising and that staff make all the service, budget and strategic decisions, and that’s very dysfunctional. Their boards need to be reduced to about 12 members and that all seats be taken up by blind, partially sighted or deafblind Canadians; we must speak out when we see organizations intensifying the fear of blindness through their fundraising and other messaging; we need to be seen, we need to be persistent and we need to get and stay involved in order to move our agenda forward, let’s be the squeaky wheel; in order to acquire the technology and training that will allow us to participate in Canadian society we need funding, and that funding will only happen when the decision makers understand how important basic participation is to the eventual success of each of us; in order to seek the support of the public in our organizations we need to put forward a positive reflection of blindness, low vision and deafblindness, not a pitiful one; in acknowledging the hard work and dedication of those who have done the work to date, and in acknowledging that we who have the lived experience are key to telling the story and raising expectations, we must keep in mind the importance of bringing with us those allies who can help to elevate our issues and support our efforts; technology has connected us, and it disconnects us, it’s a friend and a foe due to its constant changing nature, it helps bring young people together and it keeps seniors from fully participating and it’s not going to go away so let’s find out how to make it work for us; fundraising works when it pulls at heart strings rather than at success stories so we’ll likely continue to see that style of letter coming from the CNIB, and we have to remember that many who are starting on their vision loss journey can identify with the sentiments expressed in heart-string fundraising, and; if we’re to engage young blind, partially sighted and deafblind Canadians we will want to ensure we’re communicating through all forms of social media.

 

Conclusions:

 

The Tele Town Hall Committee through a series of conference call meetings since the first such gathering in October 2016 has attempted to foster a system based on both individual and organizational mutual respect, and the goal to seek opportunities to foster the dream of achieving excellence within the consumer and vision rehabilitation fields in Canada.  The motto, “Nothing about us without us” rang true and strong throughout the initial three open discussion gatherings, and from the presenters recruited to show us how things are done in Australia/New Zealand and in the USA during the “Advocacy Without Borders” segment of the Tele Town Hall meetings.  These premises will be woven throughout the comments that conclude this final report.

 

Rehabilitation Services:

 

CNIB is often believed to be one of the barriers keeping blind, partially sighted and deafblind Canadians from achieving forward movement in terms of inclusion, Human Rights and true independence, and if those barriers are to be clearly articulated and worked on the consumer movement must come together to set goals, strategies’ and timelines aimed at affecting some of the changes we might wish to see.

 

Decisions based on science, not myth:

 

Participants were unified in the belief that we must ensure the best information is gathered/researched and subject matter experts recruited regarding advocacy issues being worked on, and for decisions being made that concern the blind and low vision community.  No one thought it a good idea to operate on assumptions, stories or long held myths and beliefs if we’re to improve consumerism and/or the blindness, vision loss or deafblindness rehabilitation system in Canada.

 

Hear the message, not the messenger:

 

It was also noted on several occasions that when debating/discussing issues it is the desire of participants that we will individually and organizationally stay focussed on the message and not the messenger when offering our input, criticism and suggestions, and that it is equally important to hear only the message when receiving input from others.  It is our responsibility to deliver respectful messaging, and to receive it in ways that foster cooperation, mutual understanding and respect.  To agree is not always necessary or required for the community’s agenda to be moved to a better place.

 

Sharing information:

 

Several participants during the different segments of the series asked that we continue seeking new ways to set-up systems for the ongoing sharing of individual and organizational points of view, which already exists by email and periodic conference calls.  To engage youth the consumer organizations ought to study the best ways to achieve participation, and to start by gaging the level of interest and the types of issues most important to that community

 

Engaging youth:

 

Engaging youth in the consumer advocacy movement was discussed with only a very small number of them participating in the Tele Town Hall meetings, so anything coming out of these meetings is conjecture and not based on their meaningful input.  A study needs to be undertaken to determine how they might be invited to participate in continuing to build toward our collective future.

 

Engaging seniors:

 

Older citizens who lose sight are often without a blind, partially sighted or deafblind community to identify with in the same way younger people are if they’ve attended a “school for the blind”, and they too must be engaged by the consumer sector in ways that bring them into the fold and utilizes their experience and knowledge rather than alienate them.

 

Leadership growth and technology:

 

Succession planning is a major issue within the consumer organizations of people who are blind, partially sighted and deafblind. As we become more technically dominated, it is even more important to identify potential upcoming leaders and show them the value of collective action within one of the consumer organizations. Today, many young people see social media as the way to invoke social change. We need to work with them to show them that social media is only one tool in the toolbox that they can use to make change happen

 

Unity where we can:

 

One thing that was learned through this process is that a lack of unity within the population of people who are blind, partially sighted and/or deaf blind is a common issue in many different countries. Because of our different life experiences and the fact that blindness itself can’t be a unifying factor as with other societal issues, we need to look at where we can be successful as a larger group and work towards a common front on those specific issues so government and other organizations will listen to us as consumers instead of utilizing the conquer and divide strategy that has been used all too often in the past.  For unity to work, each of us must be respectful and non-judgmental about the differing skill levels and needs of others, whether it be due to age, degree of vision loss, type of vision loss, time of life when vision loss occurred, culture, and independence goals desired.

 

Public/Government education:

 

Participants expressed multiple times how important it is to educate funders, the general public, government decision makers and the blind, partially sighted and deafblind community about the difference between a consumer organization and a rehabilitation service provider.

 

Celebrate victories:

 

Too often we hear sentiments that we’ve failed if we’ve only achieved part of our advocacy goal, and that’s hurting the community.  Participants expressed a desire to celebrate some small victories along the way as a means of keeping the energy levels up, and from which to springboard to the next success story.

 

 

 

Strategic partnerships:

 

In this day and age, governments, funders and most of the blind, partially sighted and deafblind community appreciate strategic partnerships on important issues, and that came through in comments delivered by Tele Town Hall participants.  As well, it was reflected in some of the comments that more cross disability collaboration is needed in order to have our needs heard and recognized more broadly by governments, funders and the general public.

 

Blindness awareness:

 

September is often used as an opportunity to promote blindness, vision loss and deafblindness prevention work, CNIB uses May for Vision Awareness Month and the CCB uses the first week in February to promote White Cane Week.  It was suggested that the community of blind, partially sighted and deafblind consumers and consumer groups focus on one annual day/weekend/week to promote awareness of our abilities and needs.

 

Consensus building:

 

The message that participants desire to see multiple Canadian consumer organizations joining together to establish an arms-length advocacy coalition aimed at pursuing issues of common concern/importance was heard often and loudly.  We also often heard the belief that building consensus is a key to success when organizations undertake to work on an issue together.

 

Coalition strategies:

 

Currently, The Consumer Access Group (CAG), is the only active national forum where various blindness, low vision and deafblindness organizations gather on a regular bases to share information and potentially develop strategies for working on issues of common concern. The CAG has done some work at developing position papers on some issues of general concern (See above link). However, there has not been the efforts necessary to ensure there is broad knowledge of this work even within the population of people who are blind, partially sighted or Deafblind.

 

Success stories exist:

 

In order for CAG to be truly effective, a method of broader input into the activities of the coalition could be developed that might look similar to how the Hands Off Our Harnesses Coalition of Guide and Service Dogs is operating. IN this case, there is a social media presence, a discussion list for interested parties and a few people carrying out the detailed work of the coalition. CAG may want to focus on a couple of specific activities and work towards a broader decision making structure that is effective and inclusive and efficient.

 

Questions of the Blind, partially sighted and deafblind sector regarding Next Steps:

 

Given the above introduction, comments and conclusions your committee would like to offer a challenge to the leaders of all blindness, low vision and deafblind consumer organizations in Canada to come together to answer a few simple questions, and to begin the work of coalition and consensus building with the view to constructing a road to that better day we all seek.

 

Although the work of this Committee has concluded, it is our fervent dream that the current and future leaders in the Canadian consumer movement will take up the challenges issued in these pages, and that one day blind, partially sighted and deafblind Canadians will have a meaningful seat at the decision making tables related to our participation in community life, that all will offer us the respect we deserve for our abilities, dreams and goals, and that we will truly speak for ourselves to ears that know it is the only way forward.

 

  1. The Tele Town Hall Committee challenges each and every blind, partially sighted and deafblind Canadian to share this report to the staff, volunteers and members of organizations who serve and support your needs, rights and responsibilities. Think about it. To gain an edge, the evil one needs only to get able men and women to see themselves as neutrals. Make sure that this will never be the case with you!”  “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men [and women] to do nothing.” –Edmund Burke.
  2. The Tele Town Hall Committee challenges the blind, partially sighted and deafblind consumer sector to begin working toward the day when rehabilitation service providers are no longer at the Government table deciding our fate or speaking on our behalf. We must embrace the motto, “What’s about us is up to us”.
  3. The Tele Town Hall Committee challenges all Canadian consumer organizations to continue similar consultation efforts that lead to the compilation of the information in this report as a means of further engaging the blind, partially sighted and deafblind community toward increased involvement in their own future. “Nothing about us without us”.
  4. The Tele Town Hall Committee challenges the Board Chairs of every blindness, low vision and deafblind consumer organization in Canada to meet before the end of 2018 to begin the process of developing go-forward strategies to improve and strengthen the “voice of the blind” in Canada. “If we think we can or if we think we can’t, we’re right.” Henry Ford.

 

Respectfully submitted on August 17, 2018:

 

Donna Jodhan, Richard Marion and Albert Ruel, report authors on behalf of the entire Committee, 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

 

 

Mission Statement

 

Appendix A

 

Tele Town Hall Organizing Committee

Revised Sat 9/9/2017 1:11 PM

 

Nothing worthwhile in the world happens that doesn’t begin with a dream.

It is the mission of this Town Hall organizing Committee to provide an opportunity for people who are Blind, Partially Sighted and Deaf Blind In Canada to explore, together, options and opportunities that will make life better for All Canadians.

 

We, the Town Hall Organizing Committee, are a group of individuals, with a variety of affiliations and interests, who are committed to forwarding the betterment of the lives of blind, partially sighted and Deaf Blind Canadians by providing town halls at which information can be shared.

 

As Facilitators of these Town Halls, we have chosen speakers from all over the world who, themselves, are Blind, Partially Sighted, or Deaf Blind. They will explain the agencies and services in their part of the world, and how those who are Blind, Partially Sighted, and Deaf Blind obtain and receive services within their region.

 

They will also provide information about any peer interaction and peer support Best practices that they have experienced.

 

Each Town Hall will include time for participants to ask questions of the speakers.

 

It is our hope that, after consumers have had a chance to attend and participate in these town halls, they will be in a position to take what has been learned to develop some consensus about the future direction of services and activities for those who are blind, Partially Sighted and Deaf Blind in Canada.

 

It is at that point, that we, who are Blind, Partially Sighted and Deaf Blind in Canada, can all meet, together, to provide recommendations and design a process to affect Positive change in the wider community.

In Memory of Michelle Anfinson

Michelle Anfinson Memorium

In Memory of

Michelle Anfinson

 

http://leaderpost.remembering.ca/obituary/michelle-anfinson-1067603086/submit#guestbook

In the morning of August 10, 2018

Michelle Anfinson lost her fight with cancer, at the age of 46.

 

Our thoughts are with her family, Marv, Amanda, Stacey, Trevor, and the grandchildren.

 

Michelle was very active in the CCB Regina Chapter, the Saskatchewan Team for the CVICC, and in the Western Bonspiels.  She was always there to help out people in need at any point in time.

 

She will be greatly missed.

VISIONS Summer 2018

Visions Summer 2018 DIGITAL PDF | Visions Summer 2018 TEXT

Advertisment: Bell offers the Doro 824C and 824. These smartphones are designed with accessibility in mind. With your purchase of a Doro mobile device, you’ll also receive a free pair of AfterShokz Trekz Titanium headphones.
Click this message to learn more.
 

VISIONS

Canadian Council of the Blind Newsletter

 

Summer 2018

“A lack of sightis not a lack of vision”

 

President’s Message++

Welcome to summer! I hope all members are getting to spend some relaxing time with family and friends. Many places are experiencing extreme heat so remember to drink lots of fluids to keep yourself hydrated.
 
As President of the CCB, it is a pleasure to inform you, about the proposed Accessible Canada Act. We want to thank Minister Duncan for introducing the act, as well as Minister Qualtrough for the initial steps in the process. This Act has been through the first reading and tabled until fall sitting.
 
Thank you to all of you who attended the consultations held in your communities over the past two years. We as an organization have had representation in meetings with the Ministry of Disabilities, Sports and Science on this act as well. We are pleased with the bill once passed, and any amendments that may come, will ensure that our shared spaces will be more accessible to all, job opportunities will increase and transportation improved.
 
Please read the letter from Government of Canada below for further details.
 
Minister Duncan introduces the proposed Accessible Canada Act.
Most significant progress for people with disabilities in over 30 years
June 20, 2018
Gatineau, Quebec
Employment and Social Development Canada
 
Today, following the most inclusive and accessible consultation with Canadians with disabilities and with the disability community, the Honourable Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science and Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities, introduced the proposed Accessible Canada Act to Parliament. This historic legislation would enable the Government of Canada to take a proactive approach to end systemic discrimination of people with disabilities.
 
The goal of the legislation is to benefit all Canadians, especially Canadians with disabilities, through the progressive realization of a barrier-free Canada. The act would establish a model to eliminate accessibility barriers and lead to more consistent accessibility in areas under federal jurisdiction across Canada.
The bill outlines how the Government of Canada will require organizations under federal jurisdiction to identify, remove and prevent barriers to accessibility, including in: the built environment (buildings and public spaces); employment (job opportunities and employment policies and practices); information and communication technologies (digital content and technologies used to access it); the procurement of goods and services; the delivery of programs and services; and transportation (by air as well as by rail, ferry and bus carriers that operate across provincial, territorial or international borders).
The Government of Canada is providing funding of approximately $290 million over six years that will further the objectives of the new legislation.
 
The act would strengthen the existing rights and protections for people with disabilities, under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the Canadian Human Rights Act and Canada’s approval of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. It will do this through the development, implementation and enforcement of accessibility standards, as well as the monitoring of outcomes in priority areas. These requirements will be enforced by the new powers and enforcement measures needed to ensure compliance, and overall implementation will be monitored. No longer will Canadians with disabilities be expected to fix the system through human rights complaints, instead, new proactive compliance measures will ensure that organizations under federal jurisdiction are held accountable to ensuring accessible practices.
 
As the Government of Canada moves forward with the implementation of the proposed act, continued and meaningful participation by Canadians with disabilities will be crucial towards realizing a barrier-free Canada.
 
The Canadian Accessibility Standards Development Organization (CASDO) will be Canada’s first-ever standards development organization exclusively dedicated to accessibility issues and will be led by persons with disabilities.
 
In keeping with the objectives of the bill and respecting the Government’s approach to historic and modern treaties, we will also support the work of First Nations leaders and communities to improve accessibility on reserve.
 
While this legislation is a significant first step in ensuring a barrier-free Canada for all Canadians, the Government of Canada will work collaboratively with partners in both the public and private sectors to create opportunities for full participation by people with disabilities in their communities and workplaces, and to help change the way society thinks, talks and acts about disability and accessibility.
 
“Society benefits when all Canadians can fully participate. The proposed accessible Canada act represents the most important federal legislative advancement of disability rights in Canada in over 30 years. Thank you to the many community leaders and advocates who have worked for years and decades to make this happen. With the proposed act now in Parliament, we are one step closer to our goal: to have a truly inclusive and accessible Canada.”
– The Honourable Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science and Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities
 
“Today’s announcement marks a significant milestone in improving accessibility for all Canadians. As a life-long advocate for disability rights and a person living with a disability myself, I am proud to lead a portfolio tasked with enhancing accessibility in federal buildings and establishing an accessible procurement resource centre. This important work will help ensure the goods and services purchased and offered by the Government of Canada are more accessible for all Canadians.”
– The Honourable Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Public Services and Procurement
 
There will be some very interesting items in this newsletter for everyone to enjoy. Keep safe and enjoy the summer. If anyone is hiking, walking or doing other forms of physical activity over the summer you can submit your experiences to Ryan at CCB Health and Fitness at ccb.healthandfitness@gmail.com.
 
Happy summer
Louise Gillis, National President
Canadian Council of the Blind (CCB)
 
 
 

Announcements

Chapter News: CCB Access & Awareness NS Chapter++

Halifax, Nova Scotia
 
On Wednesday, June 6, our Chapter held its’ third annual “White Cane and Dog Guide Walk & Reception”.  While not as warm and humid as last year’s weather, this year was fairly cool and many chilly hands and paws arrived at City Hall following the walk through some of the main streets of downtown Halifax.
The purpose of the walk is to demonstrate to the public the independence, freedom, accessibility and inclusion that our white canes and dog guides provide to us during our daily activities and while travelling throughout our communities. Refreshments were provided following the walk at Halifax City Hall and music was provided by renowned Halifax musician, Maria Alley, whose dulcet tones were the perfect background to our reception. It was the perfect opportunity to reconnect with old friends and make new ones. A great time was had by all!
 
Submitted by Pat Gates, Chair, CCB Access & Awareness NS Chapter
 

Advocacy Alert++

Greyhound is turning off the ignition in Western Canada and leaving persons with disabilities on the recent announcement by Greyhound bus lines that they are closing their services to Western Canadians should be of concern to all Canadians and is most concerning to those of us who rely on that service for transportation to and from our daily activities.  This includes those of us who live with vision loss, those of us with various disabilities and those of us who cannot afford our own form of transportation. Reliable transportation is vital to our well-being, in getting from Point A to Point B, for medical appointments, for purchasing the necessities of life as well as for social activities and staying connected with family. We need to let our voices be heard on this issue so that governments will know just how vital this service is to us.
 
Your CCB National Advocacy Committee has this issue on its’ radar and will be discussing what we as blind, partially sighted and deaf/blind Canadians can do to ensure that this important item does not fall to the roadside – pardon the pun!
 
Pat Gates the side of the road, by Albert Ruel
 
 
This is not good news for persons with disabilities and those who opt to function without a Driver’s License.  Below are 3 articles related to the Greyhound Bus closure topic found on CBC News since September 2017.
 
I have been an intercity bus passenger, mostly on Vancouver Island and the BC Interior since August 3, 1978 when I had to relinquish my BC Driver’s License due to failing vision.  Other than periodic flights to some destinations, riding with others who happen to be heading my way, or sometimes recruiting people to facilitate my getting to a chosen destination, I have long relied on Greyhound to get there.  Yes, we have other options now on Vancouver Island, however neither of those other two options offer wheelchair accessible vehicles, nor their schedules often require me to spend additional nights in Hotels due to poor rural service.
 
I live in Parksville and when work keeps me in Victoria beyond 3:00 PM I am not able to get all the way home, necessitating a night in a Hotel.  Also, the earliest I can arrive in Victoria is 12:00 Noon because the first bus out of Parksville doesn’t leave until shortly after 9:00 AM.  I remember in the late 1970’s and throughout the 1980’s riding on Greyhound busses that were full or nearly full most of the time, and their schedules made sense.  I could leave for Victoria on the 6:30 or 7:00 AM bus, and I could leave Victoria on the 7:45 PM bus and get home to Parksville, and to Port Alberni where I lived then.
 
It’s been my experience that when Greyhound started to cut back on schedules years ago the ridership went down accordingly, to the point that they have become irrelevant to me and many passengers over time.  Also, the cost of a ticket has gone up to the point where many who live on limited incomes find it difficult to take the bus today.
 
I don’t know what the answer is, however it should be well understood that not everyone has a car in the driveway, and our ability to connect with family and our chosen communities has just been curtailed beyond reason for a country as rich and diverse as Canada.  I hope that Provincial and Federal Governments work with affected Canadians to work out solutions that will work for passengers, and that will allow Intercity and transit operators to provide transportation under profitable and sustainable models.
 
Greyhound to end all bus routes in Western Canada except 1 in B.C.
CBC News, the Canadian Press Posted: Jul 09, 2018 2:40 PM ET
https://www.cbc.ca/news/business/greyhound-cancellations-albertamanitoba-saskatchewan-british-columbia-1.4739459
 
‘It’s very disappointing’: Greyhound opts to cut some rural B.C. Interior stops.
Courtney Dickson CBC News Posted: Feb 23, 2018 4:14 PM PT
https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/greyhound-southern-interior-1.4549732
 
Goodbye Greyhound? The thread stitching together Canada’s North wears thin.
Yvette Brend CBC News: Posted: Sep 01, 2017
https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/greyhound-bus-canada-transit-northern-routes-health-bc-1.4270314
 

CCB Chatham-Kent Chapter, in the News++

The new Chatham-Kent chapter of the Canadian Council of the Blind is getting out in the community to let people know what they have to offer for folks who have visual impairments. The group set up a booth recently at Retrofest in Chatham and welcome new members to meetings the first Monday of each month.
 
Run by co-chairs Dave Maxwell and David Lachance, the local chapter meets the first Monday of every month from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the United Way office on 425 Grand Ave. W. in Chatham.
 
Based on a belief in ability, not disability, the local CCB chapter offers a variety of social and recreational activities based on the interest of its members.
 
The organization also works to improve the quality of life for persons with vision loss through awareness, peer mentoring, socializing, sports, advocacy, health promotion and illness prevention.
 
Locally, the chapter offers a Getting Together with Technology session the second Wednesday of each month at the United Way office from 1:30 p.m. to 3 p.m. The sessions help the blind and people with low vision explore access to new devices such as phones, e-readers, computer software and digital recorders with help from Matt Dierckens, a certified technology instructor.
 
“Our most important focus is the social aspect within the chapter, meaning we are there for support, social gatherings, and just all around socializing within the Chatham-Kent region,” chapter chair Dave Maxwell said in a release. “This may include field trips, barbecues, and our meetings to discuss multiple subjects. The CCB Chatham-Kent chapter is a great place for all those that may be dealing with vision loss or have been visually impaired or blind their whole life, and are looking to get out and meet some new great friends that share the same experiences in life.”
 
The local CCB chapter has a Facebook page under CCB – Chatham-Kent or for questions about the group or becoming a member, contact Maxwell by phone at 519-674-0141 or by e-mail at dmaxwell53@gmail.com.
 

Bowling++

If you enjoy Lawn Bowling and want to know more about Blind Bowls Association of Canada, go to:  www.bbacan.ca
 

A Message from Coach Nitro++

Just wanted to touch base to let you know that our very own British Columbia Blind Golfer from Langley, B.C.  George Thirkill Won the Overall championship at the Western Canadian Blind Golf Championships in Winnipeg last week July 9th to 12th. There were 21 players from all over Canada.  The championship consisted of 2 rounds Stableford matches with 4 divisions. B1 –B2 – B3 & Seniors. The weather was some sun with winds on both days and some rain. The course was very challenging for a Blind golfer but they managed to get some assistance from their guides on some of the tricky holes.  By the way, I was George’s Coach and guide.   George shot a 91 on the first day and a score of 85 on the second day, due to some excellent putting to win by 2 strokes.  The junior winner B3 Keifer Jones 24yrs old from Calgary shot a 75 & 76 to take the Junior division. Keifer is the top blind golfer in the world.  George represents Blind Golf British Columbia and at age 79 is the Top senior golfer in the world.  George along with our other top golfer from British Columbia Darren Douma (member of CCB VIBE Creston Chapter) from Creston, B.C will be heading to Rome, Italy this year to compete in the World Blind matches and Team play competition representing Canada.
 
Gerry Nelson, President of Blind Golf Canada said we are always looking for people that are visually impaired or Blind or Disabled to come out and learn how to golf.  We have a Blind Training facility at the National Golf Academy in Langley at the Tall Timbers Golf Course and can be reached at Nitrogolf@shaw.ca.  There is No Cost for the blind or disabled.
Thank you,
Coach Nitro
 

CCB Membership Reminder++

On behalf of the CCB National Membership committee we would like to remind all chapters to make sure they have updated CCB national office of any Chapter member changes in Address’s, emails and phone numbers.
Please send in the changes so that it can be updated in the system.
 
This will ensure that all CCB chapter members are receiving all the newsletters and information send out from the National office.
 
Thank you,
CCB National Membership Committee.
 

CCB Membership Season++

Hi Everyone!  Becky from the office here.  I thought I would give you the heads up about the upcoming Membership Season dates.  Membership packages will be sent out by the end of August, so Chapter Contacts should be watching for them.  Here are the other dates that are listed in the package.
Early Bird Draw – November 2, 2018
Chapter Rebate Deadline – December 7, 2018
All 2019 Memberships Due – December 28, 2018
White Cane Week Orders Due – January 4, 2019
WCW Insurance Requests Due – January 4, 2019
Enjoy the rest of your summer!
 
 
 

Congratulations and Happy Birthday!++

HARRY  ARPANE, a member of the CCB Windsor/Essex Low Vision Social and Support Group, WILL  CELEBRATE  HIS  100TH  BIRTHDAY  ON  JULY  22ND.  2018. Happy Birthday!
Submitted by Helen Medel – President, CCB Windsor/Essex Low Vision Social and Support Group
 
 

Braille Literacy Canada Honours Darleen Bogart with the BLC President’s Award++

(OTTAWA, ON, June 5, 2018) — Outgoing president Jen Goulden presented the Braille Literacy Canada President’s Award to Darleen Bogart at the BLC Annual General Meeting on May 26th, 2018. Established this year, the award acknowledges individuals who have made a significant contribution to braille literacy. Darleen Bogart is the first recipient of this award.
 
Darleen was instrumental in the founding of Braille Literacy Canada (then known as the Canadian Braille Authority) and served as its first president. She is also the longest-standing member of the board of the Braille Authority of North America (BANA) and she represented Canada on the International Council on English Braille (ICEB) from its founding in 1991 until 2012.
 
Darleen played an active role in the development of Unified English Braille (UEB) and has served on numerous braille-related committees and initiatives, both in Canada and around the world. Darleen received the BANA Braille Excellence Award in 2015 and was appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada in June of 2017 to honour her many years of continued leadership and dedication to the braille community.
While her list of accomplishments is lengthy, her most enduring contribution to braille is her unswerving dedication to both the code and to braille readers. Braille Literacy Canada applauds Darleen Bogart for her outstanding contribution to braille both in Canada and internationally.
 

Assistive Technology

 

Get Together with Technology Update++

GTT continues to thrive and grow. New groups are starting up across the country and more blind and vision impaired people are learning how to use technology and discover new devices to support their independence.
 
For more information on GTT, or how to get involved, please contact Kim Kilpatrick at gtt@ccbnational.net
 

CCB Tech Articles: Donna’s Low Tech Tips, Talking

Thermometer++

Hi there!  It’s Donna and today I’d like to talk about the talking thermometer.
Meet the talking thermometer
There used to be a time when dreaming of having a talking thermometer was just that; just a dream!  No more!  This nifty device has been on the market now for several years and you can find them as either stand-alone units or folded into other gadgets.
 
As an example, you may find talking thermometers that also tell you the time.  Mine tells me the time as well as both the indoor and outdoor temperatures.  It tells the time on the hour.
 
Again, it is the best of both worlds.  The advantage of a stand-alone unit may be that there are no other add-ons to it; clock, alarm, time, and so on.  The advantage of having it as part of another gadget is that you get other things with it but if that main gadget breaks or stops working then there goes the thermometer along with it.
 
Almost all talking thermometers will give you the temperature in both Fahrenheit and Celsius versions.
 
So go out there and make friends with the talking thermometer.
 
Want some contact info?
Here are a few places for you to contact if you are interested to learn more.
 
CNIB – toll free = 1800 563 2642
Frontier Computing – toll free = 1-888-480-0000
Or visit http://www.futureaids.ca
You can also call them at 1-800-987-1231
 
There is also no harm in checking out http://www.independentlivingaids.com and http://www.maxiaids.com
 
 

Email Suggestions, Share from KeyWord, Find and replace, Insert a page break and much more.++

July 5, 2018 — HumanWare announces the immediate availability of BrailleNote Touch July update. Among many of the features and enhancements included in this free Update, users will immediately enjoy:
 
The ability to request for email suggestions, a more natural way to write your emails without having to remember the email address and a new efficient way to share your documents to the cloud.
 
The Touch July app updates are now available to download and brings incredible new features and enhancements.
 
 
 

In the News

 

How This Visually Impaired Runner and Guide Dog Find Their Way++

“Win, come. Come. Come close. Good girl,” said Ken Fernald, 52, as he called his guide dog, Winnie, while sitting on his deck in Binghamton, New York.
“She’s outside finding the flowers and biting them. I promised my wife I’d keep a close eye on her while I’m out here so [Winnie] doesn’t destroy all the flowers.”
 
Fernald has been legally blind since he was 8 years old, but he has also been active for most of his life. For many years, he enjoyed road cycling until his vision slowly deteriorated, so he had to adjust by riding with others and avoiding the main roads. Later, the list of safety issues grew, and Fernald switched from biking to running about 12 years ago.
 
As his vision worsened, he transitioned from running solo, to running alongside someone, to then being physically tethered to another runner.
Fernald could manage training on a track fairly well, but he grew tired of running in loops. So he did what he had to do: train a guide dog.
 
That’s how Fernald came upon Winnie, a 2-and-a-half-year-old yellow lab. The two were paired in the Guiding Eyes for the Blind program, a guide dog nonprofit based out of New York.
Winnie was specifically trained to be a runner, and Fernald said Guiding Eyes is the only guide dog school that offers a program for dogs and owners who want to run together. The cost of breeding, training, and matching a guide dog with their owner equates to $50,000, which is all funded through donations at no cost to people with visual disabilities.
 
Fernald lived at the school for three weeks so the Guiding Eyes team could teach the duo how to live and work together. Fernald and Winnie finally graduated from the program in October last year.
 
Not every dog is cut out to be a running guide dog, but if there’s one quality Winnie has, its drive.
 
“[Winnie] is just an exceptional dog,” Fernald told Runner’s World over the phone. “Very bright and very energetic. She basically does everything a guide dog does in a working environment, but just does it a lot faster.”
 
Fernald currently serves as the CEO of the Association for Vision Rehabilitation and Employment (AVRE). Even during his long, back-to-back board and committee meetings, Winnie rests by his side. During breaks, Fernald will take her to an unused office space and throw a ball with her for 30 minutes a day, just to keep her active.
 
“She’s very competitive,” Fernald said. “If there’s someone in front of us, she wants to pass them. If we’re walking with another guide dog, God forbid, she wants to be the first dog.”
 
Fernald and Winnie ran part of the Binghamton Bridge Run Half Marathon on May 6. It was Fernald’s fifth time running the race, but the duo’s first chance running an event together. For the first 10 miles, Fernald ran alongside his future daughter-in-law, Carly (who will marry his son, Michael, in July). When he reached the crest of a hill, close to the 10-mile marker, Winnie was at the top waiting for him with his wife.
“You have to put yourself out there and take the risk. Don’t be afraid.”
It was Winnie’s first event, so amid all the crowd excitement, she took off, Fernald almost unable to keep up with her (though eventually they slowed into a comfortable pace). As they neared the finish line, Winnie sensed the communal adrenaline and picked up speed. Fernald, Carly, and Winnie completed the race in 2:14:07.
 
Fernald said many people have misconceptions about those with impaired vision, one of which being that guide dogs always know how to get to their destination, and the owner is just along for the ride. Fernald clarified that he knows where he’s going, knows when it’s safe to cross the street, and so forth, but Winnie is the one who guides him around people and obstacles to get there safely.
 
Next on Fernald’s list is to do part of a 10-miler or another half with Winnie in the fall. He’s completed the Army Ten Miler several times over the years, but because of the swell of participants (last year saw almost 26,000 runners), Fernald’s not sure Winnie would be able to handle the crowd. In the meantime, the two pals are just going to keep running.
Visually impaired or not, runner or not, Fernald just wants people to pursue a healthy lifestyle.
 
“If someone is visually impaired specifically, and they want to become active, it can be challenging,” Fernald said. “You just can’t curl up on a couch and fear life. You have to put yourself out there and take the risk.
Don’t be afraid.”
By McGee Nall
 

Blind community says bike lanes put their lives at risk. Visually impaired Victorians say the City knew of problems, built bike lanes anyway ++

Members of Victoria’s visually-impaired community have come forward with safety concerns about the Pandora bike lanes.
The biggest problem surrounds the bus stops along Pandora Avenue, which are stationed on meridians across from the bike lanes. While raised crosswalks are in place, there is no way for those with visual impairment to know when they can cross.
 
“I was standing on the bus stop island, waiting and waiting and thought ‘OK, it must be alright to go’ and I stepped out and a bike passed right in front of me,” said Linda Bartram, chair of the City of Victoria’s Accessibility Working Group, a volunteer group that aims to make policies, services, infrastructure and facilities more accessible.
 
“I don’t hear the bikes until they’re literally in front of me.”
Bartram, who is visually impaired, was using the crosswalk as part of a demonstration to Brad Dellebuur, manager of transportation and infrastructure design at the City of Victoria. During the demonstration, Bartram and a partially sighted friend tried crossing both directions, and used both a guide dog and a white cane to test how people would react. Bartram said with her dog, she waited long enough that she could hear her bus passing.
 
“If I had actually wanted to catch it, I would have missed it,” she said.
When she used her cane, she eventually heard a cyclist joke that they were “at a standoff,” because he had stopped but didn’t know to tell her to go.
Bartram said the demonstration came into fruition after the lanes were already being constructed, because the Accessibility Working Group wasn’t formed until after planning decisions for the Pandora bike lanes had been made.
“We were only asked to comment on the bike lane accessibility to the bus stops, and as a blind person I couldn’t ascertain that it would be in the middle of the road,” she said. “We’ve been told it’s too late to do much about it in terms of changing things; but obviously this group feels something does need to be done.”
 
Brad Dellabuur said that after he saw the demonstration, he realized there was a problem. “We came to the conclusion that we need to put some additional markings, which we’ve incorporated in Fort Street at mid-block crosswalks,” he said. “It’s just some additional information for cyclists that there is a legal requirement to stop.”
 
The additional “crossing ahead” signs are intended to warn cyclists that pedestrians may be ahead, and while they have been incorporated onto Fort Street, they have yet to be placed on Pandora Avenue.
 
Bartram said the additional signage would help, but that an ideal solution would be some kind of auditory signal that the visually impaired could use.
 
The difficulty spurred the Canadian Federation of the Blind to come forward with a complaint against the City with the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal. Oriano Belusic, vice-president of the federation, said the City’s actions have put blind peoples’ lives in danger. “It’s like playing Russian roulette,” Belusic said. “Without eye contact, you really don’t know if you’re gonna get whacked by a bike.” Belusic said his friend had his cane run over several times, and that he had personally encountered many near-misses.
“If you have a close call experience with a guide dog it could easily ruin their confidence to work, if they survive.”
 
In their claim, the Canadian Federation of the Blind is asking that the city tear up the floating bus islands, and allow busses to pick up riders from the safety of the sidewalk, noting that more signage does not do enough.
“In order for it to be safe, both parties need to be active in that safety,” Belusic said. “If I put my safety solely in the cyclist’s hands, that’s not good enough, it puts my life and my dog’s life at risk.”
 
By NICOLE CRESCENZI
 
 
 
www.ccbnational.net
1-877-304-0968
ccb@ccbnational.net

Minister Duncan introduces the proposed Accessible Canada Act

Today, following the most inclusive and accessible consultation with Canadians with disabilities and with the disability community, the Honourable Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science and Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities, introduced the proposed Accessible Canada Act to Parliament. This historic legislation would enable the Government of Canada to take a proactive approach to end systemic discrimination of people with disabilities.

The goal of the legislation is to benefit all Canadians, especially Canadians with disabilities, through the progressive realization of a barrier-free Canada. The act would establish a model to eliminate accessibility barriers and lead to more consistent accessibility in areas under federal jurisdiction across Canada.

The bill outlines how the Government of Canada will require organizations under federal jurisdiction to identify, remove and prevent barriers to accessibility, including in:

  • the built environment (buildings and public spaces);
  • employment (job opportunities and employment policies and practices);
  • information and communication technologies (digital content and technologies used to access it);
  • the procurement of goods and services;
  • the delivery of programs and services; and
  • transportation (by air as well as by rail, ferry and bus carriers that operate across provincial, territorial or international borders).

The Government of Canada is providing funding of approximately $290 million over six years that will further the objectives of the new legislation.

The act would strengthen the existing rights and protections for people with disabilities, under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the Canadian Human Rights Act and Canada’s approval of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. It will do this through the development, implementation and enforcement of accessibility standards, as well as the monitoring of outcomes in priority areas. These requirements will be enforced by the new powers and enforcement measures needed to ensure compliance, and overall implementation will be monitored. No longer will Canadians with disabilities be expected to fix the system through human rights complaints, instead, new proactive compliance measures will ensure that organizations under federal jurisdiction are held accountable to ensuring accessible practices.

As the Government of Canada moves forward with the implementation of the proposed act, continued and meaningful participation by Canadians with disabilities will be crucial towards realizing a barrier-free Canada.

The Canadian Accessibility Standards Development Organization (CASDO) will be Canada’s first-ever standards development organization exclusively dedicated to accessibility issues and will be led by persons with disabilities.

In keeping with the objectives of the bill and respecting the Government’s approach to historic and modern treaties, we will also support the work of First Nations leaders and communities to improve accessibility on reserve.

While this legislation is a significant first step in ensuring a barrier-free Canada for all Canadians, the Government of Canada will work collaboratively with partners in both the public and private sectors to create opportunities for full participation by people with disabilities in their communities and workplaces, and to help change the way society thinks, talks and acts about disability and accessibility.

Read more on the Government of Canada Website