Barrier Free Canda Seeking Directors For Its Board

Deadline to Apply: July 17th 2020

Barrier Free Canada/ Sans Barriere Canada logo

If you are interested in helping to ensure that Bill C-81 lives up to its promises and that we are true to our commitment to create an accessible Canada, then please read on! BFC-CSB needs to hear from you! We are seeking board members!

Barrier-Free Canada/Canada Sans Barrieres (BFC/CSB) advocates to the Canadian Parliament to enact a strong and effective Canadians with Disabilities Act (CDA) to achieve a Barrier-Free Canada for all persons with disabilities. To this end, BFC/CSB is seeking Directors for its Board who have the skills, knowledge and abilities to work as part of a non-partisan team toward and through the next stage of the ACA’s development into a meaningful and progressive piece of Human Rights legislation.

BFC has proudly achieved its earlier mission to collaborate with others to ensure the safe passage of Bill C-81. On May 1, 2019, Barrier-Free Canada presented on behalf of Canadians with Disabilities to the Senate Standing Committee, and we were part of Minister Qualtrough’s Parliament Hill public celebration on June 20, 2019, as well as being in-person witness to the Royal Assent ceremonies when Bill C-81 was acclaimed on June 21, 2019.

BFC’s ongoing mission is to work with the Canadian Government and other stakeholders to ensure that the ACA Framework legislation continues to develop into the dynamic, inclusive, and fair support system all Canadians need in this “Just Society”.

Position

Director (BFC Board of Directors)

Authority

Directors will carry out tasks and assignments which they agree to accept and/or that are delegated by the Board.

Responsibility

Report to the Board of Directors, Directors will assume responsibilities which they agree to accept and/or that are delegated by the Board.

Qualifications and Skills

To be eligible for election to the Board of Directors, an individual must:

  • Be at least 18 years of age;
  • Not have been declared incapable by a Court in Canada or elsewhere; and
  • Not have the status of a bankrupt.

Members of the Board may, but are not required to be, representatives of member organizations.

Members of the Board may, but are not required to, have a disability.

Board members must:

  • have a demonstrable commitment to the purpose, mission, and values of BFC;
  • be able to dedicate 1-2 hours per week (on average) to board work over the course of your term;
  • have regular access to a computer with an Internet connection and e-mail, and possess basic computer skills to use typical office applications (e-mail, Microsoft Word, etc.) for day-to-day administrative tasks;

Have the ability to:

  • think independently and critically (including using research data, asking questions, challenging unsubstantiated information)
  • use logic and reasoning to identify issues as well as the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions, or approaches to problems
  • be objective at all times about what is best for the whole of the organization and the community of Canadians with disabilities rather than what is best for a particular constituency
  • understand the need to base decisions on what is good for the organization, and accept accountability for group decisions so that the Board of Directors speaks with one voice;

Nomination, Election, and Term of Service

Prior to each meeting of members, the Board appoints a Nominations Committee (comprised of the President and at least two others) which will prepare a list of candidates for nomination. In assessing a particular nominee for consideration, the Nominations Committee may consider, among other demographic factors, his or her education, experience, and accomplishments; attendance, preparation, and active participation at past board meetings and general membership meetings; availability and commitment for the proposed term of office; and past performance reviews and assessments.

Except where an election is held to fill the unexpired portion of a term, newly elected directors shall be elected for two-year (2) terms.

General Duties

Directors are expected to:

  • Gain a good working knowledge of BFC-CSB’s mandate, mission, bylaws and operating procedures;
  • Hold basic knowledge of standard legislation to support people with disabilities. This includes the Accessible Canada Act (Bill C-81), Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 2.0), the Canadian Human Rights Act, the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, and basic Universal Design theory;
  • Prepare for all meetings and conference calls in advance and actively participate in all of them;
  • Attend at least 75% of board meetings, which are typically held on a monthly basis by teleconference;
  • Participate in email discussions which take place between formal meetings;
  • If they are a representative of an organization, keep their organization informed about BFC’s activities and act as an information conduit for the exchange of relevant news and information between the organizations;
  • To the extent that they may be a member of, or otherwise connected to, a particular disability community, they should use their best efforts to facilitate open information-sharing with those communities;
  • Represent positively the interests of Barrier Free Canada in all interactions and communications with third parties. Directors may attend external meetings in a representative capacity, and will in that context be an ambassador for BFC;

Serve as a role model by:

  • assisting People with Disabilities in advocating for their rights, directly or indirectly. We believe that sharing resources and embracing educational opportunities will assist individuals in gaining a stronger sense of empowerment and strength to face barriers;
  • taking all available opportunities to share the vision, mission and values of the organization and promote BFC-CSB’s webpage, Facebook and other social media channels;
  • Maintain confidentiality and respect privacy rights as appropriate.

To contact us:

Please send an email to [email protected].
Put the words “Director Posting” in the subject line.
And please include a description of why you would like to be considered for membership to our board.
Please include a phone number where you can be reached.
All emails will be responded to.

New Accessible Transportation for Persons with Disabilities Regulations now in force

https://www.canada.ca/en/transportation-agency/news/2020/06/new-accessible-transportation-for-persons-with-disabilities-regulations-now-in-force.html

Starting today, persons with disabilities have new protections under the Canadian Transportation Agency’s (CTA) Accessible Transportation for Persons with Disabilities Regulations (ATPDR).

The ATPDR require transportation service providers to:

  • ensure that aircraft, trains, ferries, buses and terminals (such as airports) are accessible by complying with specific technical requirements;
  • meet communication needs of travellers with disabilities;
  • provide accessible services; and
  • make border and security screening more accessible.

https://otc-cta.gc.ca/eng/accessible-transportation-persons-disabilities-regulations

People boarding an airplane.

Job Posting from the WBU

World Blind Union
Union Mondiale Des Aveugles
Union Mundial de Ciegos
Logo
Blue wave used in WBU logo

Dear Members,

The World Blind Union is seeking a Consultant for data analysis and reporting on Covid-19 survey. Deadline for applications is Monday, 15 June 2020.

Please note that the duration of the consultancy is 30 days, beginning 29 June to 29 July 2020.

To apply: Send your CV, Pro Forma Invoice (Quotation) to: [email protected] indicating in the subject line “WBU COVID-19 Survey Consultancy”

Attached is the Detailed Terms of Reference for the consultancy.

Regards,
Terry Mutuku

Communications and Strategic Development Officer
World Blind Union
1929 Bayview Ave
Toronto Ontario, Canada M4G 3E8
Tel: 1-416-486-9698
Fax: 1-416-486-8107
Email: [email protected]

Website: www.wbu.ngo , www.worldblindunion.org
Twitter:@blindunion
Facebook: BlindUnion

‘Changing What It Means to be Blind’

BALANCE presents 3 audio plays

Three silouettes against a red stage curtain.

BALANCE is excited to announce that we have created a unique partnership with Toronto-based Common Boots Theatre to be able to bring 3 play readings exclusively to people who are blind and their family members, via Zoom technology. The series will provide performances of 3 plays, exclusively to our community (in the city and beyond) of people who are blind or living with sight loss, and fully accessible through the reading of the stage directions. These are not radio plays, but will be readings of theatre plays that have previously been performed on stage. Note: permission for these special audio performances has been obtained from ACTRA (the union representing actors) and each of the playwrights.

We at BALANCE truly hope that Canadians who are blind will embrace this specially commissioned audio drama series, and register early for each of these performances. (Note, you do not need to be a client of BALANCE to register but this IS a specially accessible opportunity for people who are blind or living with sight loss, and those with whom they may be in quarantine at this time). Tell your friends! There are lots of seats at these virtual performances, and they are exclusively being provided as a recognition of the additional isolation imposed on people who are blind during the pandemic.

Schedule with registration links for each play:

June 16, 5 PM: The Public Servant written by Jennifer Brewin, Haley McGee, Sarah McVie and Amy Rutherford
Register here

About The Public Servant:
Given the current high level of engagement between the public and our elected representatives and government staffers due to COVID-19, it seemed entirely appropriate that BALANCE request this special performance.

About the play:
Step inside the halls of power as Madge, a young, idealistic and enthusiastic civil servant, gets ready to write her first official memo. The only thing standing in her way are endless revisions, an impossible deadline, funding cutbacks and the ever-shifting world of government protocol. This hard-hitting and hilarious play asks: doesn’t a successful society – one that is engaged, working, healthy and educated – require a successful civil service?

June 23, 7 PM: Eurydice by Sarah Ruhl
Register here

About the play:
Sarah Ruhl reimagines the classic myth of Orpheus through the eyes of its heroine. Dying too young on her wedding day, Eurydice must journey to the underworld, where she reunites with her father and struggles to remember her lost love. With contemporary characters and ingenious plot twists, the play is a fresh look at a timeless love story.

July 7, 7 PM: Surprise Night!
Register here for surprise play.

After the presentation of Eurydice on June 23, we will announce the 3rd play (maybe before!) We just need a little more time to find just the right thing for our community on that evening. So stay tuned, and watch this space for more info (or register for the wonderful play Eurydice, and find out on that night what is coming on July 7 at 7!) We hope your curiosity will have you signing up right away!

Note: These performances will be provided via Zoom technology. An email address is required in order to receive the Zoom invite, but if you do not have a computer, you will be able to use a phone to dial in to listen to the performance.

A note from Common Boots Theatre: These readings are being given as a way to support the blind and low vision community, during a difficult time which has had a significant impact on people without sight. Permission to read for the blind and low vision community has been given generously by the playwrights themselves as well as in compliance with ACTRA Covid Response Initiative and the actors are donating their time. Please register if you are a member of the community of persons who are blind or living with sight loss.*

*The community is defined as those who are blind or have low vision, their immediate support network and staff who support them.

Prime Minister Announces Supports for Canadians with Disabilities

The Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced support to help Canadians with disabilities deal with extra expenses during the pandemic.

This support includes a special one-time, tax-free payment to individuals who are certifcateholders of the Disability Tax Credit as of June 1, 2020, as follows:
– $600 for Canadians with a valid Disability Tax Credit certificate.
– $300 for Canadians with a valid Disability Tax Credit certificate and who are eligible for the Old Age Security (OAS) pension.
– $100 for Canadians with a valid Disability Tax Credit certificate and who are eligible for the OAS pension and the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS).

There are also supports to do with employment as those with disabilities are also at higher risk of job loss during economic downturns.
– Creation of a National workplace Accessibility Stream through the Opportunities Fund for Persons with Disabilities.
– Invest $1.18 million in five new projects across the country through the Accessible Technology Program.

To read the full statement can be read here :
https://pm.gc.ca/en/news/news-releases/2020/06/05/prime-minister-announces-supports-canadians-disabilities-address

COVID-19 Survey Results

We Have Heard Your Voices

Cover of the COVID-19 Impact Survery Report - The Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on canadians who are blind, deaf-blind, and partially-sighted.

As you may be aware, the Canadian Council of the Blind (CCB) conducted a survey over the period April 7 to April 14 to determine the impact that the COVID-19 pandemic was having on Canadians who are blind, deaf-blind or partially sighted. The objective of the survey was to provide recommendations to the federal, provincial and municipal governments in order to assist them in creating policies to support those living with disabilities during this time of COVID–19.

In the short time the survey was open responses were received from 572 members of the vision loss community and yes we have heard your voices. We were delighted and a little overwhelmed with the thorough, thoughtful and heart felt emotion projected in your responses. The robustness of this sample means that our survey will be considered to be truly reflective of the concerns of our community at this time.

On behalf of the CCB, I would like to thank those who participated in the survey, for providing us with your concerns and insights and for enabling us to assemble a number of substantial recommendations for government. Without your quick response, this report would not have happened within the short timeframe essential to make our recommendations meaningful. These recommendations are included in the full report available at the link below. The report is fully accessible, and after reviewing it you may comment on its results, by emailing; [email protected]

Once again, on behalf of CCB, I would like to thank you for participating. Please stay safe and healthy. Do your best to follow local COVID-19 guidelines and shelter in place to the extent possible.

Louise Gillis Signature

Louise Gillis
National President,
Canadian Council of the Blind

Download the Survey Report in Word Below

Download the Survey Report in PDF Below

WBU statement on World Book Day

World Blind Union Logo

On Thursday April 23rd 2020, the World Blind Union joins UNESCO (The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) and the rest of the world to observe World Book and Copyright Day, also known as International Day of the Book or World Book Day. The focus this year is “Books: A Window into the World during Covid-19”.

According to the United Nations, “Now more than ever, at a time when globally most schools are closed and people are having to limit time spent out of their homes, the power of books can be leveraged to combat isolation, to reinforce ties between people, and to expand our horizons, while stimulating our minds and creativity”.

The World Blind Union takes this opportunity to commend all persons and organizations who have made reading materials freely available electronically and would like to encourage more of this globally. This is of great benefit to persons with disabilities, especially blind and partially sighted persons and otherwise print disabled. If properly done, it will provide them access to variety and more current reading material. Also, this can greatly reduce the likelihood of them halting their studies because of limited or no access to information and will create avenues to keep them meaningfully occupied in order to decrease the possible psychological impact of Covid-19.

However, we are calling on governments, educational institutions, service providers and other stakeholders, to ensure that the material made available electronically such as books, Covid-19 related and other information, and online schooling are fully accessible to all. Parents, guardians and teachers who are blind or partially sighted need to have fully accessible information and material so that they can provide adequate support to their children and students. As well, students who are blind, partially sighted or otherwise print disabled must have fully accessible information and material to allow them an equal opportunity for learning alongside sighted peers at their level.

As the world develops strategies to cope with the effects of this pandemic and to eventually eradicate it, WBU will continue to advocate on behalf of our members for inclusive response. Our aim is to ensure that persons with disabilities, especially those who are blind, partially sighted and otherwise print disabled are not deprived of their rights enshrined in the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities  (CRPD) and the Marrakesh Treaty; and that they remain on governments’ agenda as they continue to strive to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

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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