In celebration of World Braille Day, Braille Literacy Canada (BLC), the Canadian Council of the Blind (CCB), the Centre for Equitable Library Access (CELA), the Canadian Federation of the Blind (CFB), the National Network for Equitable Library Service (NNELS), and Vision Impaired Resource Network (VIRN) are organizing an online event on Monday, January 4, 2021.
This celebration of braille literacy is open to people of all ages who are curious about braille, either practically, professionally, or somewhere in between! Target audiences include new braille readers, users, library staff, and educators. The celebration will be conducted virtually on Zoom.
Please find below (in both word and PDF formats) a letter signed by the Canadian Council of the Blind, Fighting Blindness Canada and The International Federation on Ageing requesting priority access to vaccinations for those amongst us living with vision loss. The letter (30 letters in all) was sent to Prime Minister Trudeau, Minister of Health Hajdu, Minister for HRSDC Carla Qualtrough and personally addressed to all Provincial and Territorial Premiers and Ministers of Health. This letter is also appearing on Page 3 in todays, Wednesday, December 16th, Hill Times. Putting our request for immediate action in the hands of every Federal, Provincial and Territorial member and over 22, 000 other politically active and motivated recipients of the paper.
Please contact your local member of parliament (MP) and provincial and territorial members (MPP), requesting they support this important initiative.
November 28, 2020 – Ottawa, ON – Health Canada
Drug shortages remain a global challenge and COVID-19 has increased demand for certain drugs, adding to the complexity of ensuring drug supply where it is needed. The Government of Canada remains steadfast in its efforts to ensure Canadians have access to the medications they need, when they need them.
Canada is a small market, representing 2% of global drug sales, that sources 68% of its drugs internationally. The need for vigilance in maintaining the national drug supply continues.
In 2017, the Government of Canada added requirements for manufacturers to report drug shortages publicly. Today, the Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Health, announces new measures to protect Canada’s drug supply from bulk importations that could worsen drug shortages in Canada.
Starting November 27, certain drugs intended for the Canadian market are prohibited from being distributed for consumption outside of Canada if that sale would cause or worsen a drug shortage. Companies will now also be required to provide information to assess existing or potential shortages, when requested, and within 24 hours if there is a serious or imminent health risk.
Request for Espressions of Interest for Developing an Accessible Online Platform
Closing Date and Time: 8th December 2020 at 23:59 EST
The World Blind Union (WBU) has recently secured funding to develop an accessible, online knowledge and learning platform for its members and is now inviting interested ICT companies and service providers to submit their Expression of Interest (EOI) to support in the delivery of this exciting initiative.
- About the World Blind Union
The WBU is the leading global voice for an estimated 253 million blind and partially sighted persons worldwide. Our members consist of over 250 organizations in more than 190 countries.
Our work is driven by our vision of a world in which we, as blind and partially sighted persons, can participate fully in any aspect of life we choose. We advocate for equal opportunities, and the protection and promotion of the fundamental human rights of all.
- Project background
The availability of a one-stop platform where disability advocates from anywhere in the world can easily retrieve useful information and interact with peers is limited to non-existent at present, and yet the potential benefits are plenty. The WBU therefore seeks to offer its national and regional members access to an accessible, interactive online platform filled with rights-based tools and resources that can support them in their advocacy work, and help ensure our voices are heard. The platform, which will be trilingual (spanish, French and English), will serve as both a repository of digital content as well as a space for exchange between disability advocates. It will look to complement, rather than duplicate, existing learning and training platforms that are available to our members.
An end user consultation is currently underway to finalise the required functionality and usability specifications for the platform, which will be structured around the following three proposed core features:
3. Services Required
For this initiative, the WBU is looking to find a suitably qualified contractor to lead the platform design and build workstream, in accordance with the required specifications. The final deliverable should be guided by the principles of Universal Design for which, the contractor will be required to engage with a diverse range of WBU end users throughout the development process. The final product must also aim for the highest level of accessibility possible, successfully meeting at least WCAG (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines) 2.1 Level AA standards. During the assignment, the contracor will be expected to work collaboratively with the WBU project team, providing innovative and constructive advice, options and solutions that ensure a high quality product is achieved.
4. Eligitility Criteria
In order to progress to the next stage of the tendering process, suppliers must domonstrate that they have met the following requirements:
– Evidenced capability to deliver the assignment.
– Demonstrated experience in developing accessible, interactive onoine platforms which meet WCAG 2.1 Level AA standards or above.
– Documentary evidence of a commitment to equality and diversity.
5. Proposed Tendering Process and Timeframes
Stage 1 – This stage of the tendering process will include an evaluation of EOI submissions to determine which potential suppliers have the necessary capability and experience as well as desirable qualifications to provide the required service.
|EOI release date||24th November 2020|
|Deadline for receipt of EOI submissions||8th December 2020 at 23:59 EST|
Stage 2 – On completion of the initial end-user consultation, a formal request for proposals (RFP) containing the tender specification document will issued only to those suitably qualified suppliers that have been selected to participate in the subsequent procurement process.
|RFP release date (only to shortlisted suppliers)||14th December 2020|
|Deadline for receipt of RFP submissions||23rd December 2020 at 23:59 EST|
|Notification of award of contract||28th December 2020|
6. How to subit your EOI
Interested potential suppliers are requested to forward their expressions of interest in an accessible format, including the following documents:
– A detailed company profile, including any relevant supporting documents.
– A capability statement with evidence of relevant experience in the delivery of accessible, interactive online platforms.
– A customer reference list with contact details for least three referees.
– Any quality management, accessibility, environmental or other relevant certificates of accreditation your company holds.
– If applicable, a declaration of any actual or potential conflicts of interest.
The above documents should be sent with a covering letter by email to [email protected], with a copy to [email protected], no later than 23:59 EST 8th December. Please include ‘WBU Knowledge Learning Platform – WBU/KLP/EOI/01‘ in the subject line.
After receiving your EOI, a confirmation of receipt will be sent to you via email. Only qualified suppliers that have submitted all the required documents and demonstrated full eligibility with the requirements of this assignment will be invited to participate in the next steps of this tendering process.
Please note that the WBU reserves the right to accept or reject any EOI. Nothing in this EOI shall be taken to form a binding legal contract.
Braille is literacy. Braille signage, elevator buttons, restaurant menus, and other braille materials provide equal access to information and are essential for blind people to have and use. This is especially true during times of pandemic when access to information may be especially vital. Braille must continue to be available to those who need it. Braille users can sanitize and wash their hands before and after touching braille. Surfaces which have braille such as elevator panels, signs, room numbers, can and should be cleaned as other surfaces are, in accordance with public health recommendations.
View Point: The Importance of Genetic Testing
Thursday, September 10, 2020, 4 p.m. – 5:30 p.m. ET
Are you living with an inherited retinal disease (IRD)? Do you have questions about genetic testing and if its right for you? View Point returns this fall with an exciting, extended webinar all about genetic testing and its importance in the development of new treatments for blinding eye disease. Joining the webinar will be a genetic counsellor and a person living with an IRD to discuss how the process works, why it’s important, and where to access resources.
Featured speakers will include: Dr. Cynthia Qian, Assistant Professor, Ophthalmology at Université de Montréal & VP of the Canadian Retina Society, Dr. Jill Dolgin, Head of Patient Advocacy, AGTC, Jill Beis, Genetic Counsellor, Maritime Medical Genetics Services and Shari Shaw, Health Information Officer, Fighting Blindness Canada.
A Q&A period will be included. Please email your questions in advance to [email protected]
Young Leaders: Accessibility & Accommodations at School and Work
Thursday, September 17, 2020, 7 p.m. ET
Whether you’re starting a new job or entering post-secondary education, figuring out what accommodations are available can be complicated and confusing. What are your rights and responsibilities? What should your school or employer be providing to you? In this panel discussion, we will talk to Human Resource and accessibility professionals and young leaders to learn what to expect and how you can self-advocate in order to participate fully in school or the workplace.
A Q&A period will be included. Please email questions in advance to [email protected]
View Point: All your questions about AMD answered!
Monday, September 21, 2020, 10 a.m. ET
Are you or someone you know living with age-related macular degeneration (AMD)? Did you know AMD is the leading cause of vision loss in people over the age of 50, affecting approximately 1.4 million Canadians?
In this View Point webinar, retina specialist Dr. Deepa Yoganathan will devote the entire webinar to answering your questions about living with AMD, including how it might affect you, treatment options, and new research.
You will have the opportunity to ask your questions in the session, or you can send them in advance to [email protected]