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2002-11: Poverty Issues

Whereas: despite enormous technological advances which have opened doors to employment and opportunity to many blind, deaf-blind and partially-sighted Canadians, such technologies are often not available to all blind Canadians; and

Whereas: the unemployment rate among blind Canadians remains many times the national average for Canadians of working age, (statistics vary, often above 75%); and

Whereas: due to lack of opportunity generally, far too many blind Canadians are forced to live at or below the poverty line without much hope of improving their status and

Whereas: many blind seniors are forced to live in the most dire state of poverty; and

Whereas: social assistance rates for blind people of all ages are appalling, in some provinces frozen for years, and often not linked to cost of living or inflationary increasers; and

Whereas: recent email discussions related to poverty issues on the NFB:AE list led to the Board of the NFB:AE appointing a subcommittee on poverty to make a preliminary report, the findings from this report have led to this resolution:

Be it resolved by the membership of the NFB:AE that:

  1. The membership of the NFB:AE establishes poverty concerns and the reduction of poverty among blind, deaf-blind and partially-sighted Canadians as one of the primary issue and focus of our organization.
  2. That the Board of the NFB:AE be instructed to appoint a subcommittee on poverty to be made up of interested members and non-members, which shall report and take direction through a named Board member acting as liaison with the subcommittee.
  3. That the subcommittee begin its efforts by studying the many emails collected on the topic of poverty, many of which recommend specific areas for attention, through letter-writing, media releases, and other similar means.
  4. That the subcommittee make regular reports to the NFB:AE Board, post quarterly reports to the membership, and make a presentation at the 2003 NFB:AE conference in Montreal on its efforts, findings and results to date.