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Updated May 14 - Celebrating our Past, Determining Our Future: 2012 Annual General Meeting

MEMORANDUM  

 

Date:             May 14, 2012

 

To:      Members of Alliance for Equality of Blind Canadians / L'Alliance pour l'égalité des personnes aveugles du Canada

 

From:            Cindy Ferguson, Secretary, AEBC

 

Subject:         Third Call - 2012 Annual General Meeting

 

Enclosed is the “third edition” of the call to the 2012 annual general meeting.  Changes in this edition include:

 

  • The addition of a note, below, from Donna Jodhan regarding the announcement of her resignation that was in the second edition of the call;
  • Minor corrections to the draft 2011 annual general meeting minutes (adding Peter Payan's last name to the roll call);
  • The addition of Penny Leclair's announcement of her candidacy for the position of Director;
  • The addition of the following draft resolutions:
    • 2012-05 (Funding for the Canadian Blind Monitor)
    • 2012-06 (To Modernize the Membership Fee Structure)
    • 2012-07 (Strategic Planning)

 

Nominations for the positions of President (currently Donna Jodhan), First Vice-President (currently John Rae), Treasurer (currently Charles Bailey), and Director (currently Marc Workman) will remain open until the time of the elections. 

 

 

Notice form Donna Jodhan AEBC President:

 

Dear fellow AEBC members:

 

In the second call to the AGM, I announced that I would be stepping down as your President prior to the elections in Kelowna.  However, I did not indicate my reasons for doing so.  Many have asked me to reconsider my decision and I feel that I must explain myself and allow you, the members, to decide my future and the direction in which you wish this organization to go.

 

Over the past year, I have made decisions that I know not everyone agrees with.  There has been outcry over the board's decision to stop publishing the Canadian Blind Monitor.  Some people have been concerned over our relationship and collaboration with the CNIB and other organizations.  It has been said that because of my involvement with the lawsuit against the Government of Canada about their inaccessible websites, that I am not an appropriate leader, or that I am a liability to the organization because of it.

 

I do not believe any of this to be  true.  I feel that AEBC has grown stronger over the past year and that it is moving in a positive direction for the future.  However, I am uncomfortable standing as your President if you are not comfortable with the direction in which  I am taking this organization. 

 

You will have the chance  in Kelowna to either reaffirm your trust in me and in my views, or elect someone else to take my place.  I serve as President at the will of the membership and if the members decide that I am not representing your interests then I would like  to give you the opportunity to speak your mind. 

 

If I am nominated for President I will accept the nomination.  The rest is in the hands of you the members.

 

Yours sincerely,

Donna J Jodhan

National president Alliance for Equality of Blind Canadians

 


MEMORANDUM  

 

Date:             April 30, 2012

 

To:      Members of Alliance for Equality of Blind Canadians / L'Alliance pour l'égalité des personnes aveugles du Canada

 

From:            Cindy Ferguson, Secretary, AEBC

 

Subject:         Second Call - 2012 Annual General Meeting

 

Enclosed is the “second edition” of the call to the 2012 annual general meeting.  Changes in this edition include:

 

The addition of a note, below, from Donna Jodhan announcing her resignation as President;

Minor corrections to the draft 2011 annual general meeting minutes (with respect to the roll call and the mover of an amendment to resolution 2011-03);

The addition of Charles Bailey’s announcement of his candidacy for the position of 1st Vice-President;

A revision to the priorities identified in Resolution 2012-02; and,

The addition of draft Resolution 2012-04

 

Nominations for the positions of President (currently Donna Jodhan), First Vice-President (currently John Rae), Treasurer (currently Charles Bailey), and Director-2 years (currently Marc Workman) will remain open until the time of the elections.  If a member intends to be nominated for a position and wishes to submit a platform to be included in the third and final edition of the AGM call, they may send that to Cindy Ferguson (cferguson@blindcanadians.ca).  A “third edition” of the call, including any further resolutions and nominations received, will be distributed approximately 1 week prior to the conference.

 

Notice form Donna Jodhan AEBC President:

 

Dear fellow AEBC members:

 

I write to inform you that after much soul searching and consideration, I have decided to step down as your president and this will become effective just before the election takes place at the AGM in Kelowna.  I would like to thank those of you who helped to make my year a productive and exciting one and I am grateful to have had this experience to be of service to this esteemed organization. I wish each and every one of you the best of luck in your future endeavours.

 

Yours sincerely,

Donna J Jodhan

National president Alliance for Equality of Blind Canadians

 

MEMORANDUM  

 

Date:             April 05, 2012

 

To:      Members of Alliance for Equality of Blind Canadians / L'Alliance pour l'égalité des personnes aveugles du Canada

 

From:            Cindy Ferguson, Secretary, AEBC

 

Subject:         Celebrating our Past, Determining Our Future : 2012 Annual General Meeting

 

The 2012 Annual General Meeting of the Alliance for Equality of Blind Canadians/L'Alliance pour l'égalité des personnes aveugles du Canada, with the theme "Celebrating our Past, Determining Our Future ", will take place from Friday, May 25 to Sunday, May 27, 2012 at the Prestige Hotel, 1675 Abbott St., Kelowna, BC.

Phone: 1-250-860-7900

There will be a hospitality suite for members to register, meet old friends and make new ones, on the evenings of Friday, May 25 and Saturday, May 26. The room is still to be announced, so please check with the front desk for the actual room number.

The registration fee of $50.00 includes 2 continental breakfasts, 3 coffee breaks, and lunch on Saturday.

All hotel bookings must be made with the hotel directly. Reduced-rate conference rooms are available for $129.00 plus taxes per night.

We have scheduled discussion of priority issues and workshops on employment and self advocacy. The rest of the weekend is devoted to the annual general business of AEBC. On Saturday evening a boat cruise on the Okanagan Lake is planned. 

The weekend's agenda will also include a President's Report, the 2011 financial audit, the appointment of auditors for 2012, and discussion of the 2013 Conference

site.  Elections for First Vice President, Treasurer and Director without Portfolio, all two year terms, will be held.

Any member who cannot attend the AGM may still run for any office. However, we must be clear that you wish to run and for which office(s).  Please send a note to Cindy Ferguson via email at cferguson@blindcanadians.ca or leave a message at 1-800-561-4774 indicating your interest in standing, and for which office. You will be responsible for finding your own nominator.

 Platforms of candidates will be included in the next notice.

 

A draft agenda is attached as Schedule "A" to this notice. Members are invited to raise and submit any other items of business that may be considered at an Annual General Meeting of the AEBC as prescribed in the AEBC's bylaws.

A copy of the Minutes from the 2011 annual general meeting is attached as Schedule "B".

New policies adopted by the Board during the past year, as well as any bylaw amendments and resolutions put forward by the membership, will be presented for ratification during the business meeting on Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning. A list of resolutions and bylaw amendments received to date, is attached as Schedule "C".

The bylaws provide that members may vote by proxy in elections and on any matters of organizational policy.  A proxy form is attached as Schedule "D" to this notice.  Anyone wishing to vote by proxy should complete the attached form and return it, to arrive not later than May 11, 2012, from your home e-mail to cferguson@blindcanadians.ca  or by regular post to PO Box 20262, RPO Town Centre, Kelowna, BC  V1Y 9H2.  This deadline is set forth in the AEBC bylaws, and proxy forms received after May 11, 2012 cannot be accepted under any circumstances.

 

Candidate biographies are attached as “Schedule E”.

We are once again planning to stream parts of the conference over the web, for members unable to attend the AGM who would like to listen in.  You will need Windows Media Player, WinAmp, or another program capable of playing streamed MP3 files, installed on your computer.  Please check the Blind Canadians home page for more details on what you need and how you can listen in.

We look forward to seeing you at our upcoming Conference and AGM in Kelowna.

Cindy Ferguson, National Secretary

 

SCHEDULE A: AEBC 2010 CONFERENCE AND AGM AGENDA

Friday, May 25, 2012

2:00pm - 6:00pm  Exhibitors

4:00pm - 5:00pm  Tech presentations

6:00  - dinner in the hotel restaurant

7:30 pm Welcome by MC Sharlyn Ayotte,

Sharlyn to present on consumer engagement

Draw for iPad (donated by Sharlyn Ayotte)

7:50 pm – Presentation from Past Presidents – Bob Fenton, Richard Marion, Gord Dingle, John Rae, Robin East (introduced by Irene Lambert)

8:30 pm – President’s Report from Donna Jodhan

8:45 pm -  Presentation of Volunteer of the Year and CCD Awards by Donna Jodhan (Irene Lambert and Denise Sanders to Present 20th Anniversary certificate)

9:00 pm  - Cutting of Anniversary Cake

9:30 pm  - Hospitality Suite Open

Saturday, May 26, 2012

9:00 am - Call to Order

9:15 am - Approval of 2012 Agenda, Approval of 2011 AGM Minutes

9:20 am – AMI presentation by David Errington or Peter Burke

9:50 am -  Priorities Updates

Richard Marion for Library services

Cindy Ferguson for Accessible Websites

Amal Haddad for Point of Sale

John Rae for CRTC

10:10 am – introduction to strategy session by Rajesh Malik

10:20 am - Coffee Break

10:40 am - Breakout Groups to discuss priority issues and develop concrete plans

(committee chairs to facilitate)

11:55 am  - First Round of Nominations for the Board

12:00 Lunch provided

1:15 pm - 2:30pm Workshop Sessions

a. Employability, an online national course – an informative Presentation from Anu Pala from Neil Squire Society (they use technology, knowledge and passion to empower Canadians with physical disabilities)  Marc Workman to facilitate

 

b. Assertive training – role play scenarios to improve self advocacy skills for various situations (Richard Marion to facilitate, Rajesh Malik and Amal Haddad to assist)

 

2:30 pm  - Treasurer’s Report, Appointment of  Auditor

for next year

2:45 pm - Break

3:05 pm - Candidates forum  (Robin East)

3:15 pm  - Resolutions  (Chair, Brian Moore)

4:30 pm – Adjournment for the Day

5:30 pm - Boat Cruise and Dinner

9:00pm Hospitality Suite Open (Sponsored by AMI)

Sunday, May 27, 2012

9:00  am  - Call to order, Election of Board  (Robin East)

10:00 am  - Break

10:20 am:  - Resolutions (Chair, Brian Moore)

Discussion of 2013 Membership Meeting

Denise to draw winner of $500.00 (donated by Jodhan family)

12:00 – Adjournment

 

 

We gratefully extend our appreciation to our 2012 AGM Sponsors:

Air Canada - for providing the AEBC with two economy class tickets to bring two of our past presidents to Kelowna.  John Rae and Robin East will be the lucky ones to fly via Air Canada.

 

RBC Dominion Securities - Richard Papadina for providing the sum of $250 to be used as part of the 20th Anniversary volunteers awards.

 

T-Base Communications Inc - for a generous donation of $2,000.00 with special thanks to Jeff Potts.

 

Sharlyn Ayotte - for her contribution of an IPad to be won by any lucky participant registering for the AGM. 

 

Accessible Media Inc - for their very generous donation of $5,000.00 with special thanks to Peter Burke.  This year, Accessible Media Inc will also be sponsoring the hospitality suite.

 

Vision Aid Canada - for their donation of a door prize of a large print remote with special thanks to Miriam and Bob Gindi.

 

 

SCHEDULE B: 2011 ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING MINUTES

The 2011 annual general meeting minutes will be posted once they have been approved by the membership.

 

Schedule C: Proposed Resolutions and Bylaw Amendments

 

 

Resolution 2012-01: Discontinuing Production of the Canadian Blind Monitor

 

Whereas Resolution 2010-12 states, in part:

 

"Therefore, be it resolved that AEBC maintain the funds and the resources to continue to produce at least one issue of the Canadian Blind Monitor (CBM) per year for the next four years."

 

Be it resolved that the AEBC rescind Resolution 2010-12.

 

And be it further resolve that the AEBC stop funding the production of the Canadian Blind Monitor.

 
 

Resolution 2012-02: Reestablishing AEBC Priorities

 

Whereas Resolution 2010-08 states, in part:

 

"Therefore, be it resolved that, in conjunction with Resolution 2010-07, the following three priorities be established for the National Board:

 

1. access to websites,

2. access to library services, and

3. access to point-of-sale devices and household products.

 

And be it further resolved that these three priorities remain the focus of the National Board until otherwise decided upon by the membership of the AEBC."; and

 

Whereas the National Board of the AEBC wishes to recommend the establishment of a new set of priorities.

 

Therefore, be it resolved that the following issues be established as priorities for the AEBC:

 

1. access to websites,

2. access to print materials,

3. access to point-of-sale devices, and

4. access to telecommunications and broadcasting products and services.

 

And be it further resolved that these priorities remain the focus of the AEBC until otherwise decided upon by the membership of the AEBC.

 

Resolution 2012-03:  Membership Fees

 

Whereas the Alliance for Equality of Blind Canadians (AEBC) was established twenty years ago, in 1992; and

 

Whereas the annual dues were established at that time at $5.00, and

 

Whereas the cost of operating the AEBC has, like all other costs, increased steadily,

 

Therefore, be it resolved that effective January 1st, 2013, the annual dues for membership in the AEBC, shall be set at $10.00. 

 
 

Resolution 2012-04: Promoting Awareness of Alternative Formats

 

Whereas access to information in usable formats by blind, deafblind and partially sighted individuals is essential to fostering the full and active participation and engagement in all aspects of our personal and public lives;

 

Whereas publically regulated organizations such as Financial Institutions and Telecommunications companies etc., have an obligation to make information available and accessible to serve the needs of their clients and constituents in required formats;

 

Whereas publically funded organizations such as Federal, Provincial and Municipal Governments have an obligation to make information available and accessible to serve the needs of their clients and constituents in required formats;

 

Be it resolved that AEBC encourage all publically regulated and publically funded organizations to:

 

a)    Notify their clients and constituents through channels, to inform people of their right to ask and receive information in accessible formats (audio, braille, large print, eText, and accessible PDF) prominently through each channel; and

b)    Use other measures such as newsletters, public service announcements, website Q&As  and other measures designed to reach people with print disabilities and evaluate the effectiveness of each initiative.

 

Resolution 2012-05: Funding the Canadian Blind Monitor

 

Whereas at AEBC's 2011 Conference, AEBC's membership enthusiastically endorsed Resolution 2010-12, "CBM Funding," which recognized the importance of having a vehicle for public education, and which mandated that "AEBC maintain the funds and the resources to continue to produce at least one issue of the Canadian Blind Monitor (CBM) per year for the next four years";

 

And whereas, at its meeting on September 12, 2011, the AEBC Board voted : that the CBM, as it is currently understood, no longer be printed and distributed by the AEBC;

 

Now, therefore, be it resolved that the members of the Alliance for Equality of Blind Canadians reaffirms Resolution 2010-12, and directs the Board to assign sufficient funds to enable the publication of at least one issue of the Canadian Blind Monitor in all previous formats - print, audio, electronic and on the AEBC website as was mandated by Resolution 2010-12.

 

 

Resolution 2012-06: To Modernize the Membership Fee Structure

 

Whereas the AEBC's overall net worth and revenue have declined for the past several years, and continue to decline at an unsustainable rate;

 

Whereas board members, including our illustrious most recent President, have begun to openly question whether the AEBC has a long-term future;

 

Whereas, vital services such as the Canadian Blind Monitor have been cut due to lack of funds;

 

Whereas, typical membership fees for other member-driven organizations are exponentially higher than the membership fees of the AEBC;

 

Therefore, be it resolved that the AEBC National board modify its membership structure so that the cost of an annual membership is $40 per member;

 

Be it further resolved that the National board give a discount as follows:

 

1. $20 for any member who can present valid proof of enrollment (full or part-time) at a public educational institution, and

2. $20 per member for any group of members living at the same mailing address and sharing an e-mail address, and;

 

Be it further resolved that this resolution shall in no way affect the status of any membership for which monies have already been paid such as:

 

1. members in good standing who have paid for future years and

2. lifetime members in good standing, and;

 

Be it further resolved that this membership fee structure remain in place for a maximum of five (5) years.

 

 

 

Resolution 2012-07: Strategic Planning

 

Whereas the AEBC has been running a deficit budget over the past few years;

 

And whereas the AEBC has been forced to reduce or discontinue core services and programs as a result;

 

And whereas the AEBC membership and Board of Directors has tried but has been unable to identify a long-term strategic plan for the future of the organization,

 

Therefore be it resolved that the national board be directed to retain the services of a qualified strategic planning professional to assess the organization's strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats, and to develop short, medium and long-range plans to ensure the longevity and continuance of the AEBC no later than December 31, 2012;

 

And be it resolved that, as much as possible, this planning process be undertaken in collaboration with members from across the country,  be that by way of a representative from each chapter, online or telephone surveys of the membership, or similar processes that allow for some participation and input by members without incurring undue costs;

 

And be it further resolved that a minimum of $25,000 be allocated from the organization's existing funds to undertake this planning exercise, and that further and additional funding from outside sources be sought.

 

SCHEDULE D: PROXY FORM

This form should be completed and sent, to arrive not later than May 11, 2012, from your home email address to AEBC's National Secretary at cferguson@blindcanadians.ca or by regular post to PO Box 20262, RPO Town Centre Kelowna, B.C. V1Y 9H2.

I, (your name) ________________________ appoint ("the proxy holder"),

_________________________ to be my proxy at the 2012 Conference and Annual General Meeting of the Alliance for Equality of Blind Canadians from May 25 to 27, 2012, in Kelowna, British Columbia.  In doing so, I authorize the proxy holder to vote on my behalf on all matters on which proxy votes may be cast under the bylaws of the corporation.

I further warrant that:

A.   I have spoken to the proxy holder and have confirmed that the proxy holder is an active member of AEBC; and

B. The proxy holder will be attending the Conference and Annual General Meeting.

I reserve the right to cancel this proxy at any time prior to the end of the Annual General Meeting by expressing my intentions in writing to the Secretary of the Corporation.

Signature_________________________________________________

Date:   -----------------------------------------------------------

 

 

Schedule E:  Candidate Platforms

 

Lui Greco: Candidate for First Vice President

 

My name is Lui Greco.  I'd like to ask for your support when choosing the next AEBC board.  I have been a member of AEBC for several years having first heard of the organization through a good friend.  When I first visited the AEBC website some 4 or 5 years ago, my first thought was maybe I'm not the only person out there who believes that being blind doesn't mean I have to fore go my rights as a citizen in a free and democratic country.  I'm glad to see that after several years more people like myself are coming to the same realization and starting to advocate for themselves, either through this organization or on their own.

 

There are many reasons why I believe in AEBC and the work we are trying to do.  First amongst these is my sincere conviction that as a community of blind or visually impaired Canadians, our best chance for success is to work collaboratively.  What exactly does this mean?  We as persons living with vision loss all bring a breadth and depth of life experiences.  Few of us will ever always agree and we have differing ideas based on cultural and other unique characteristics.  Some of us are graduate students from world class institutions of higher learning while others amongst us have little or no formal education.  At the same time, many Canadians living with vision loss are disproportionately under employed, are living well below the poverty line and go without tools which have the potential to help us become better engaged citizens in our communities.  It's these differences which I believe make us a stronger organization.

 

There are many outstanding challenges facing those of us who are living with vision loss.  These range from access to employment, to a lack of consistent access to government supports across the country, challenges inherent with emerging technology and the unpleasant reality that despite the many successes over the past several generations much remains to be accomplished.  I am convinced that solutions to more fully include every one of us in all aspects of Canadian society do exist.  Some of the solutions are complicated and will take considerable effort while others are much more straightforward.

 

Technology has opened many doors for Canadians who are living with vision loss.  Yet, despite well established guidelines, governments, banks, telephone companies and a host of other businesses still choose not to incorporate adequate accessibility into their products or websites.  This is undoubtedly the biggest frustration facing all of us.

 

This organization has had many successes over the past several years.  Our presence at CRTC hearings, discussions with major public companies such as Bell Canada are only a small example.

 

Why do I want to participate on the AEBC board?  Well, because for me, it's not enough to let other people do the heavy lifting.  I believe its important for those who can contribute their time, knowledge and experience to do so.  Thus, I would be pleased to represent you on the AEBC board as we move the blindness agenda forward.

 

Lui Greco

Fredericton, New Brunswick Canada

PH: (506) 474-0298

skype: lui.greco

 

 

 

Charles Bailey: Candidate for First Vice President

 

My name is Charles Bailey, and I am running for the position of First vice President of the AEBC. 

 

I graduated from the University of British Columbia in 1979, with a BA, majoring in Psychology.  I then worked for nearly twenty-five years with the CNIB, in a variety of positions, throughout the province of British Columbia.  I was forced to take an early retirement in 2003, when a serious accident severely restricted my mobility, among other things. 

 

I joined the AEBC in 2008.  In 2009, I was elected to the position of Director At Large, and in 2011, I agreed to fill in as Treasurer when the elected Treasurer was unable to complete his term.  

 

I have enjoyed my time in both positions, and have learned much about the history and workings of the AEBC.  I helped establish the Fraser Valley Chapter, and am currently the President of the B.C. Affiliate.  I have been a member of the Point of Sale Committee, the Library Committee, and, rather sadly, the National ID Card committee.  

 

Way back in Prince George, in 1980 or so, I joined a Lions Club, and 30 years later, they made me a Life Member.  I am currently in the Abbotsford Lions Club.  For relaxation, I enjoy reading, and while some people like to surf the web, I prefer instead to occasionally dip my baby toe in.    Since retirement, I have learned something about cooking, but that’s more a matter of survival than relaxation. 

 

I am announcing at this time, my intention to seek the position of First vice President, at the AGM in Kelowna.  I have been involved  with several of the issues that the AEBC has tackled throughout the years, and I think I can help determine the direction the organization takes from here.  I believe the AEBC needs to increase its membership substantially, but I think in order to accomplish this, we will have to have a limited and  specific number of issues it wishes to tackle, and from a national perspective at least, try to make some real headway in these areas.  I think my experiences learned through working as a service provider, and my further experiences gained as a member of this organization, make me qualified to help lead it for the next few years.

 

Submitted by

 

Charles Bailey

 

 

Penny Leclair: Candidate for Director

 

At the 2012 AEBC conference and AGM, Penny Leclair, resident of Ottawa, asks for your vote as AEBC director without portfolio for a two year term. I am totally blind and, without devices of cochlear implants, totally deaf. I have worked in the advocacy arena all my life. I served on the AEBC board several years ago, as first vice president for 2 years. I have a diploma in business management. I am a member of the programs and services committee of the national CNIB council. I chair the city of Ottawa accessibility Advisory Committee, and I am vice president of GDUC. I don't have personal commitments, my agenda is pretty opened to volunteer work.

 

I know our needs are often over looked, so I expect we will always have to voice our concerns and stand up for our rights. AEBC is where the action can be.

 

Over the last few years I have noticed that groups of people who are blind have managed to work more closely together. I have been a member of the new coalition of rights holders of blind consumers, which I find to have been an important step forward for our community.

 

I bring experience, knowledge time and energy to this position.

 

You don't have to like me, to vote for me! Do I bring value to AEBC as a member of its board? That's the question.

 

Penny

"Disability is not a point of individual or social tragedy but a natural and necessary part of human diversity. The tragedy of disability is not our minds and bodies but oppression, exclusion and marginalization"

 

 

 

**END OF DOCUMENT**