VISIONS – November
Accessibility of Diabetes Care: Virtual Panel Discussion
In recognition of Diabetes Awareness Month in November, CNIB is hosting a virtual discussion panel to bring together diverse perspectives on the barriers to accessible diabetes care for Canadians living with sight loss.
We will hear from representatives from the manufacturer industry, the medical community, and those with lived experience and diabetes about how we can collaborate on solutions so that everyone can safely and independently manage their diabetes.
Date: Monday 7 November
Time: 11am Pacific, 2pm Eastern, 3pm Atlantic
Location: Virtual – Zoom.
Registration is required. To register, please complete our registration form.
For more information, please contact Kat Hamilton, Senior Manager, Advocacy and Public Education at [email protected].
COVID-19 Resource Hub
Alan Low and Gail Attara , along with their respective teams, have created a COVID-19 Resource Hub. Everything you need to know about COVID-19, including information on symptoms, prevention, testing, treatments, and variants is available in one place at www.badgut.org/covid-19.
The site includes active links to each province and territory so you can quickly learn your eligibility for vaccines, testing, and medications, as well as the availability of services in your area, no matter whether you have a gastrointestinal condition or not.
This will be of particulare value for those who are immunocompromised.
VISIONS – October
Call for Volunteers
The Council of Canadians with Disabilities are looking for 15 volunteers to partake in a research project to inform accessibility standards for heritage buildings under Federal jurisdiction in Canada.
An honorarium will be provided to those who become part of the working group.
For further information and registration, please see the following document.
Registration closes September 15, 2022.
The Passing of Queen Elizabeth II
It is with sadness that we acknowledge the passing of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, at the age of 96.
The Canadian Council of the Blind join people around the world in mourning this significant loss. Queen Elizabeth II has been an important figurehead for the UK and Commonwealth during times of enormous social change.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced, “It was with the heaviest of hearts that we learned of the passing of Canada’s longest-reigning Sovereign, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. She was a constant presence in our lives – and her service to Canadians will forever remain an important part of our country’s history.”
With respect we will be closed for the National Holiday on Monday September 19th, for the Queen’s funeral.
VISIONS – September
Reforming Ontario’s Assistive Devices Program: February 2022
“The primary goal of the survey, outlined in Assistive Devices Report, was the development of a rigorous and patient-centered evidence-base from which we made recommendations to ADP governing bodies that are informed, substantive, and reflective of the needs of Ontarians living with vision loss.”
Dr. Keith Gordon Ph.D. M.Sc. (Epid.)
Senior Research Officer
Canadian Council of the Blind
CAG Position Statement on Accessible Elections
Revised: July 28 2022
The Consumer Access Group (CAG) believes that all Canadians have the right to vote independently and privately, and this right is enshrined in human rights legislation. Canada’s current electoral process poses significant barriers to voters who are blind, deafblind or partially sighted due to a lack of:
- accessible and private options for independent voting; and
- awareness among elections officials about how to accommodate voters who are blind, deafblind or partially sighted.
According to Statistics Canada’s 2017 Canadian Survey on Disability, 1.5 million Canadians self-identify as having a “seeing disability”. Following the 2019 general election, CNIB surveyed Canadians who are blind or partially sighted about their voting experiences. According to the survey results, only 69 percent of Canadians with total sight loss felt that their vote was secret, compared to 94 percent of voters with mild sight loss. In addition, only 17.6 percent of voters with total sight loss reported being able to vote with independence and privacy, compared to 70 percent of voters with mild sight loss. This data indicates that, while some voters with mild sight loss can vote with independence and privacy within the current system, most voters with total sight loss are not able to vote with independence and privacy.
In Canada, elections are held at all levels of government, including federal, provincial and territorial, and municipal. Elections are also held for self governing First Nations across the country. Each level of government has an independent, non-partisan agency that is responsible for administering elections and providing support and accommodations to electors, including those with disabilities. At the federal level, elections are governed by the Canada Elections Act and are administered by Elections Canada. At the provincial and territorial level, elections are administered by independent provincial or territorial election commissions, such as Elections Ontario and Elections Alberta. At the municipal level, elections are administered by the municipal government.
Due to this wide variation in election administration, there are no standardized supports and accommodations for people with disabilities across all levels of government. As a result, Canadians who are blind, deafblind or partially sighted face significant barriers to independent and private voting, such as the exclusive use of a pencil to mark a paper ballot which requires a blind, deafblind or partially sighted voter to have someone with sight help them complete their ballot.
Low and high technology solutions can remove barriers to voting for people who are blind or partially sighted. While some Canadians have been permitted to use accessibility apps on their personal devices to vote, there are no official policies and procedures in place to ensure that all voters have access to this accommodation.
In order to ensure independence and privacy for voters who are blind, deafblind or partially sighted, election administrators must:
- Permit voters who are blind, deafblind or partially sighted to use their preferred magnifying device behind the voting screen, including magnifier applications on a smart phone.
- Permit voters who are blind, deafblind or partially sighted to use smart phone applications that will allow them to read independently or connect to a sighted operator to assist with the marking and confirmation of their choice.
- Provide electronic voting machines that allow voters with disabilities to vote independently. These can be enhanced with various accessibility features, such as audio output, color contrast, large screen display, or a sip and puff device.
- Offer telephone and online voting options. Telephone voting is being used successfully in other countries, such as Australia, as well as within Canada, most recently in the 2020 British Columbia provincial election.
- Ensure that ballots adhere to guidelines such as those outlined in Clear Print Guidelines, including use of large print, clear font, and high contrast between text and background.
- Ensure availability of braille and large print candidate lists and braille and tactile overlay templates for ballots.
- Ensure that voter information cards and other print mailings adhere to guidelines such as those outlined in Clear Print Guidelines, are available in alternate formats upon request and can be identified by touch.
- Provide comprehensive training to elections staff to ensure that voters who are blind, deafblind or partially sighted have the support to vote with independence and privacy.
- Ensure that voting locations adhere to guidelines such as those outlined in Clearing Our Path, including high-contrast, large-print signage and being accessible by public transit.
- Ensure that elections websites adhere to the latest version of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (as of June 2022 this is WCAG 2.0).
- Provide funded access for qualified ASL/LSQ interpreters and Intervenor services.
Review Date: June 2023
Alliance for Equality of Blind Canadians(AEBC)
Canadian Council of the Blind (CCB)
Canadian National Institute for the Blind (CNIB)
the Consumer Access group
The Consumer Access Group (CAG) is a coalition of blindness related not for profit organizations. Each partner contributes their expertise to developing position statements on blindness related concerns. These statements enable organizations and individuals to advocate with a common voice on blindness-related issues, increasing the capacity of each to more effectively promote social inclusion for Canadians who are blind, deafblind and partially sighted.