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2001-13: Principles to Follow When Advocating on Issues AND Supporting Programs

Whereas, resolution 99-02: NFB:AE Philosophy sets forth an over all philosophical direction for the organization; and
whereas, a set of guiding principles will provide direction on how people who are blind, vision impaired and deaf-blind should be included and be able to participate in Canadian society; and
whereas, following specific principles in dealing with advocating on issues and supporting programs and projects for people who are blind, vision impaired and deaf-blind ensures the NFB:AE is consistent in its activities;

Now, therefore, be it resolved that the NFB: AE adopt the following sixteen principles for use in determining how to proceed on an issue related to blindness, vision impairment and deaf-blindness and for consideration on whether or not to support a program or project being delivered to people who are blind, vision impaired and deaf-blind:
 

1. The Principle of Rights and Responsibilities
People who are blind, vision impaired and deaf-blind have the same rights and the same responsibilities as other Canadians. They are entitled, as others are, to the equal protection and the equal benefit of the law and require measures for achieving equality, consistent with the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, provincial and federal human rights legislation and international human rights covenants.

2. The Equality Principle
People who are blind, vision impaired and deaf-blind have the right to goods and services which will give them equality of opportunity and outcome (accommodation).
 

3. The Respect Principle
People who are blind, vision impaired and deaf-blind have the right to have their abilities, right of choice and dignity respected in all stages of their lives.

4. The Inclusion Principle
Canadian society including Government must be committed to an inclusive way of thinking and acting that allows every person who is blind, vision impaired or deaf-blind to feel accepted, valued and safe. Canadian communities must be inclusive consciously evolving to meet the changing needs of Canadians including people who are blind, vision impaired and deaf-blind. Through recognition and support, Canada through its Governments must strive to provide meaningful involvement and equal access to the benefits of citizenship.

5. The Access Principle
People who are blind, vision impaired and deaf-blind have a right to places, events, services and functions that are generally available in the community.
 

6. The Empowerment Principle
People who are blind, vision impaired and deaf-blind have a right to the means to maximize their independence and enhance their well-being.

7. The Universal Design Principle
People who are blind, vision impaired and deaf-blind have a right to expect that infrastructures be designed to meet the needs of Canada's population made up of persons spanning the full range of functional abilities rather than of a prototypical average person or norm. People who are blind, vision impaired and deaf-blind have a right to environments and information that meet the needs of the range of the population to the greatest extent possible.

8. The Principle of Self Determination
People who are blind, vision impaired and deaf-blind have the right to participate in decision-making regarding the design, organization and operation of programs providing goods and services that affect them.

9. The Freedom Principle
People who are blind, vision impaired and deaf-blind have the right to the least restrictive environment possible.

10. The Principle of Social and Economic Integration
People who are blind, vision impaired and deaf-blind have the right to services and programs that support integrating those who are blind, vision impaired and deaf-blind into existing social and economic structures rather than segregating such persons into parallel environments.

11. The Participation Principle
People who are blind, vision impaired and deaf-blind have the right to participate and be invited to participate in all aspects of the economic, social and cultural life of Canada.

12. The Principle of Early Integration into Family and Home Community
Children, youth and adults who are blind, vision impaired and deaf-blind have the right to programs and services that ensure early and lasting integration into society and avoid forcing individuals to leave their families and home communities.

13. The Principle of Flexible Service Delivery
People who are blind, vision impaired and deaf-blind have the right to programs and services that are flexible enough to accommodate individualized service delivery including options for self and family managed service delivery.

14. The Systemic Responsibility Principle
The responsibility to include and ensure accessibility for people experiencing blindness, vision impairment and deaf-blindness to general systems of society (including education, employment, housing, transportation, communications, market and infrastructure) rests with the public and private organizations which operate these systems.

15. The Awareness Principle
The National Federation of the Blind: Advocates for equality practice constant awareness activities and promote awareness of issues involving people who are blind, vision impaired and deaf-blind. Canadian society must demonstrate a commitment and action to raise public awareness that minimizes environmental barriers, removes systemic barriers and remedies social attitudes evolving from ignorance, indifference and fear, presently impeding the full inclusion and participation of people who are blind, vision impaired and deaf-blind.

16. The Prevention Principle
Society has an obligation to ensure that effective measures will be developed to prevent the occurrence of the handicaps that result when environments fail to accommodate impairments and disabilities.