Vision Month Gala 2022

CCB’s Gala celebration of Vision Health Month 2022. The Gala took place on Tuesday, May 17 at Christ Church Cathedral in the Great Hall, located at 414 Sparks Street in Ottawa, Ontario.

Megan Laurence to Sing “O Canada
Jim Tokos, National President, CCB, Delivers Welcome
Presentation of the 2022 White Cane Week Person of the Year Award (Luna Bengio)
Presentations of 1st 2022 President’s Awards (Balance for Blind Adults – Dr. Deborah Gold)
Presentations of 2nd 2022 President’s Awards (Dr. Keith Gordon)
Honoring the Algonquin Anishinabe Nation, First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples
Remembering Richart Bocxe (1949-2021)
CCB Stand with Ukraine
Carol Hughes – Member of Parliament & Olha Sotska – Ukraine Parliamentary Internship
Toast to the Queen
Ric Watson – Ottawa Mission Food Service Training Program Chef
Grace
David Errington, President and CEO, AMI
Michael Baillargeon, Canadian Council of the Blind
Jutta Treviranus, Founder, Inclusive Design Research Centre at OCAD University
Doug Earle, Presidnet and CEO, Fighting Blindness Canada
Catherine Langlois, VIA Rail Canada
Alfred MAcLeod, Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat – Introducing Key Note Speaker
Luna Bengio, Office of Pulbic Service Accessibility, Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat – Keynote Speaker

National AccessAbility Week

May 29 – June 4, 2022

Imagine a Canada where no one is left out. A Canada that does not just accommodate disability, but one that is disability inclusive from the start. That is the Canada we are creating – for everyone.

The NAAW webpage is available here: https://www.canada.ca/en/employment-social-development/campaigns/national-accessability-week.html

NAAW remains a valuable platform to engage with Canadians to bring national attention to the importance of accessibility and inclusion, and to celebrate the contributions of individuals, communities and workplaces that are actively removing barriers to accessibility across the country.

You can follow and share posts from @AccessibleGC on Twitter and from Accessible Canada on Facebook. Feel free to also use the hashtags #NAAW2022 and #InclusiveFromTheStart when referencing NAAW in social media posts.

In addition, we are looking forward to seeing you at the Government of Canada’s first annual Canadian Congress on Disability Inclusion which will be taking place on May 26 and May 27, 2022. If you have not already registered, please check out the Canadian Congress on Disability Inclusion website to register and follow #InnovatingTogether on social media for updates.

Vision Month Summit 2022


The Vision Health Month Summit took place on Monday, May 16 from 4:00 to 5:45 pm at Christ Church Cathedral in the Great Hall, located at 414 Sparks Street in Ottawa, Ontario.

TOPIC: Preventable Blindness Through a National Vision Health Strategy
SPEAKERS: Carol Hughes, MP, Algoma—Manitoulin—Kapuskasing, Ontario, Assistant Deputy Speaker and Deputy Chair of Committees of the Whole;
Dr. Keith Gordon, Senior Research Officer, Canadian Council of the Blind;
Dr. Chad Andrews, Director of Research and Policy, College of Optometrists of Ontario;
Doug Earle, President and CEO, Fighting Blindness Canada.
DATE: Monday, May 16, 2022
TIME: 4:00-5:45 pm EST

The Summit featured expert discussion to achieving the vision health community’s calls for:

  • A National Vision Health Strategy that stresses prevention, research, treatment, and rehabilitation of vision loss, the implementation of which requires a coordinated effort on the part of federal, provincial, and territorial governments.
  • It also stresses that Health Canada establish a Vision Health Desk within the Public Health Agency to clearly focus government efforts on the prevention, research, treatment, and rehabilitation of vision loss.
  • Finally, it stresses the need for increased Vision Health Research Funding, which is presently woefully inadequate. Canada must invest to find treatments for blinding eye diseases and life-changing technologies for people currently living with vision loss.

April 27, International Guide Dog Day

Leslie Yee and Guide Dog Akira.

The Joys of a Guide Dog
By Leslie Yee

A young boy around the age of eight, once asked me, “if I could have all my sight back, would I want it.”  At first, I was a little taken back. What a question and it made me really think.

I am really comfortable with my vision. I feel I do not miss anything and most importantly I would not have the company and companionship of my Guide Dog, Akira.

Akira is my first guide and it has so far been quite an adventure. He is strong, an 85-pound yellow male, intelligent and often looks at me as if to say, “the door is right here” see, {nose point}, see {nose point}, patient, very playful and is better than an alarm clock. Especially when it is dinner time.

He is now five and a half years old, and still, he will practically stand on his head just to get a kibble treat. This does make him very playful and willing to learn new and fun tricks for playtime.

Have we made mistakes? You bet.  As a new handler I am constantly learning from Akira himself, and by asking other Handlers how they might react to certain situations. So together we then tackle our problems, our  difficult situations and try again, accompanied by a lot of kibble treats.

 Akira is from Guide dogs for the Blind in the United States. It was a wonderful experience going there and getting the training I needed, meeting Akira and then learning to bond and work with him. The school did tell us all that once you have a Guide dog, you are now ambassadors for all guide dogs and handlers. They were right. Both of us receive a lot of attention. We are asked many questions, and I am given general comments on how lovely Akira is. We don’t mind though; Akira is amazing and I am happy and proud to talk about him. Not only do I feel stronger with him, he is a part of me. I am very proud and confident of him when we are out and I have confidence in the training he has received from his school.

So, if I could get all of my vision back, would I want it? I don’t think so, at least not right now. I love my Guide Dog partner and together we make a great team.

WBU Stands United with Ukraine and is Taking Action to Help

A Ukrainian flag back lit by the sun.

Dear members and colleagues,

Like nearly all governments, organizations, and concerned individuals around the world, the WBU condemns in the strongest possible terms the Russian invasion of Ukraine. This pointless war will cause tremendous suffering for people all over the world, particularly for those in Ukraine, and especially for Ukrainians who are blind or partially sighted. 

War and disability are tragically linked together. This war will inevitably result in people acquiring impairments that lead to disability. How many people with disabilities will this war create? How many lives will be forever transformed due to the suffering of needless injuries? 

And not only does war cause disability, but people with disabilities always suffer more during times of emergency and conflict. Today in Ukraine and surrounding countries, those who are blind or partially sighted are experiencing unimaginable challenges, challenges that are intensified by barriers to transportation, communication, and access to information. 

The WBU calls on all governments and aid organizations involved in relief efforts to develop a disability inclusive strategy to ensure Ukrainians who are blind or partially sighted are not forgotten. We are working with our partners in the region to support all those involved in the relief efforts. 

Since the start of the invasion, the WBU has been in touch with blindness organizations and blind individuals and has been exploring options to provide support to people who are blind or partially sighted in Ukraine and surrounding countries. 

In the short term, the WBU has established the Ukrainian Unity Fund. Through this fund, the WBU will collect donations and work with partners such as the European Blind Union to direct resources where they are most needed. For any individual or organization wishing to provide financial support, please contact our office at [email protected]. Donations to the Ukrainian Unity Fund can be made via credit card, wire transfer, or PayPal. 

In the medium and longer term, the WBU will work with partners to identify needs and provide appropriate supports. This conflict will no doubt have a negative impact on Ukrainians who are blind or partially sighted for years to come. We can expect significant needs in areas like access to assistive technology, blindness skills training, and of course mental health supports. In the coming months, the WBU will be forming partnerships to address these and other needs that will arise. 

If you’re looking for ways to help, please consider donating to the Ukrainian Unity Fund. Every dollar raised will go directly to supporting relief efforts and helping blind and partially sighted Ukrainians get back on their feet after the crisis is over. 

Contact: 

Martine Abel-Williamson 
President, WBU
+64 21 411 042
[email protected]

Marc Workman 
Chief Executive Officer, WBU
+1 (780) 721-7040
[email protected]

ADP Survey Report Findings and Recommendations

The shape of the province of Ontario with ADP written on it.

An Important Message from Your ADP Reform Working Group

Thank you for your participation and support in our efforts to reform Ontario’s Assistive Device Program (ADP). The ADP Reform Working Group is please to provide you with our “Survey Report Reforming Ontario’s Assitvie Device Program” authored by Dr. Keith Gordon, CCB’s Senior Research Officer and the study’s Principal Investigator. We invite you to take the time to review the Report’s findings and recommendations.

As the working group has stated throughout this initiative this Report was commissioned to provide Ontario’s vision loss community with the opportunity and tools necessary to enhance its efforts to reform the ADP, making it relevant to the community. To that end, we believe we achieved the survey’s primary goal, as outlined in the report’s introduction, having developed a rigorous and client-centred evidence base from which we are making recommendations to ADP governing bodies that are informative, substantive, and reflective of the needs of ontarians living with vision loss.

Your ADP Reform Working Group

The ADP Reform Working Group is led by the Alliance for Equality of Blind Canadians (AEBC) Toronto Chapter and includes the Canadian Council of the Blind’s Toronto Visionaries Chapter, the CNIB Foundation, BALANCE for Blind Adults, Fighting Blindness Canada (FBC), the FBC Young Leaders Program, the CCB’s Get Together with Technology (GTT) Program, and the Inclusive Design Research Centre (IDRC) and OCAD University.

Logos: AEC, Balance for Blind Adults CCB, CNIB, FBC, OCADU.

THE PREVENTABLE VISION LOSS AND BLINDNESS SUMMIT

White Cane Week 2022 Logo

Watch The Event

White Cane Week’s Summit will be an in-depth discussion by leading experts in eye health, ophthalmology and optometry on just what is preventable vision loss and blindness. The discussion will also look at the main causes of vision loss and blindness and the burden it places on Canada’s health system. The panel will discuss where we need to go in considering the state of vision health in Canada, focusing on the following issues: the inescapable reality of unmet need; eliminating the COVID-19 backlog; and a call for comprehensive eye examinations for those most vulnerable, our children and an ever increasing, aging population.

TOPIC: Preventable Vision Loss and Blindness

KEYNOTE SPEAKER: Dr. Diane Van Staden (1)

SPEAKERS: Dr. Marko Popovic (2), Doug Earle (3), Dr. Keith Gordon (4)

DATE: Tuesday, February 22, 2022

TIME: 4:00-5:30 p.m. EST

Watch The Event

 (1) Dr. Diane Van Staden is an Optometrist, a public health professional and the optometry academic leader at the University of Kwazulu-Natal in Durban, South Africa. She enjoys an extensive background in public health and development within the field of global eye health and her research interests include a comparison of eye health in various global regions. It is in this context that she was the author of a study published in March 2020 in the Canadian Journal of Public Health, entitled: “The Universal Eye Health Imperative for Canada: An Inescapable Reality of Unmet Need”.

 (2) Dr. Marko M. Popovic MD MPH (C), Department of Ophthalmology and Vision Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto.

 (3) Doug Earle President and CEO, Fighting Blindness Canada.

 (4) Dr. Keith Gordon Senior Research Officer, Canadian Council of the Blind.

Statement on Open Letter from Senators to Fast Track a Canad Disability Benefit

Article by Disability Without Poverty

Disabled Canadians applaud Senate support for the Canada Disability Benefit

(Toronto) – 43 members of the Senate of Canada voiced their support for a Canada Disability Benefit through an open letter on January 17, 2022. This is on the heels of an e-petition promoted by Disability Without Poverty that received 17,874 signatures from across the country.

“We hope that these demonstrations of resounding confidence will ensure that fast action is taken to make the Canada Disability Benefit a reality. The momentum to do the right thing is growing. A recent Angus Reid survey proved that Canadians want fast action. Our open letter signed by 200 prominent Canadians including former Lieutenant governor david Onley and artist Christa Coutu also echoed the call to fast track the benefit and ensure that it is jointly designed with people with disabilities. And now, 43 senators are joining our voices,” states Rabia Khedr, National Director of Disability Without Poverty.

“This guaranteed livable income will be an important step in providing people with disabilities the independence, autonomy and dignity they deserve. The COVID-19 pandemic has further deepened the financial difficulty of people with disabilities who were already struggling to afford their essential needs. Immediate action is necessary to prevent even more lives being needlessly lost to poverty,” states Michelle Hewitt, Disability Without Poverty Co-Chair.

ABOUT DISABILITY WITHOUT POVERTY

Disability without Poverty (DWP) is a grassroots disability-led movement formed to ensure disabled people are involved in the design of a Canadian Disability Benefit. DWP is staffed and directed by disabled people. Members of the Disability without Poverty movement include disabled people, their families, friends, service providers, and allies.

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