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The Blind Canadians Blog

Bill C33 failing Canadians who are blind

How many times do Canadians have to request a secret vote? I have known for many years that the way Canada provides people who are blind to mark a ballot is not adequate. The fact that we can't see, should make it easy for government officials to understand that if we have a special template to put our ballot into, with tactile areas to place our X in, we can't see if the ballot moved, thereby making our ballot void. Why is it that our federal government will not bring a way of voting that allows for a private secret secure vote? I am deaf-blind. Please try to view this bill from the perspective of Canadians who wish to vote in secret and with dignity.

Technology is used extensively by both the government and candidates during the time leading up to the vote.

Proud to be Courageous, Brave and BLIND

Many people who are blind seem to reject the fact that they are courageous, or brave. They seem to think what they do, how they do it is the norm for them. If more people who are blind saw themselves as courageous or brave, maybe they would feel good and "proud" of themselves.

I recall the first time I decided to take public transit to meet a friend to stay over-night. I was nervous, but I also wanted to start being more independent.

I wondered what would happen if I got lost. I had difficulty hearing, but I had enough, back then to travel reasonably safely.

The first time we do something, that is going to be difficult, we are being brave. We forget that we did accomplish something that took effort to do for the first time.

Always Pround to be Blind/Deafblind

Who you are, includes everything about you, eye colour, height and disability you might have. But the fact my deafness and blindness are named disabilities makes these inconveniences seem more negative than they actually are. If someone is allergic to dust, that is not deemed to be a disability, yet it does cause significant problems yet an allergy to dust is no cause for discrimination. So, the label of disability is the problem, not the disability itself.

If you think about the fact that blindness is most commonly experienced by loss of sight over several years. The loss people experience is significant yet everyone seems to cope with the loss and use their creativity to continue to do things they liked to do before the loss. How people manage to adapt is cause for tremendous pride.

Proud to be blind

Is the idea of being proud of yourself new to you? How about being proud of the fact that you have a disability or that you can eat anything without getting sick?

I share with you that I am very proud of who I am, and that I am deaf-blind. The fact that I was born blind, and that I have never let that fact stop me from doing what I want, is a part of who I am, and who I intend to always be. It wasn't easy to learn to live with deafness, but I have succeeded very well. I am an active senior citizen that is proud of being one of few people who is totally blind and deaf. I can do several things well I know what it is to have patience and to persist. I have experienced many hard times and come away with more pride in myself. No one will ever take that from me.

Let's Get It Out There - Penny’s Impressions

On October 29th, I attended a town-hall meeting via streaming, that was called, “let’s get it out there”

I found the meeting to have been interesting. My impressions may not be the same as other people but I am sharing them. The objective of this meeting of people who are blind, was to see how we might work more closely together to achieve improvements to our lives in all aspects.

I understood that no one would speak as a representative, I note that the president of CFB, was basically allowed to repeat her email address @CFB, three times in a comment response to one question. She didn’t respond to the question except to say she would love to hear from people about any letters that CFB could write in support of advocacy efforts.

Being the Object of Prayer

If you’re blind, you’re no stranger to the experience of having a religious zealot approach you to tell you that they’re going to pray for you, and that God will listen to their prayers, and give you your sight back. Such encounters used to irritate the hell out of me, but no longer. As someone who starts off with a deep theoretical interest in religion and its expression, I’ve come to view these experiences as an opportunity for a little informal research, and scope for entertainment.

Membership Renewal & Toronto IDPwD Event

Dear Current and Former AEBC Members:

When I returned from working overseas in 2009, I went to the usual service providers to upgrade my mobility, computer and independent living skills, including employment agencies to get back into the Toronto work force. After experiencing barriers and marginalization, I wanted to join a group making changes for the better for our community. That is how I started coming to AEBC meetings five years ago.

Learning and working together with like-minded blind, deafblind and partially sighted grassroots activists help all of us to hone our knowledge and skills in speaking up at public meetings, speaking to our elected representatives, and speaking about issues concerning us.

Service tip: Say goodbye to the CNIB Library website

Hello Everyone,

In August the Accessible Information and Copyright Committee posted documents providing members with information about CELA and NNELS services.

We want to share one important update from the CELA September “OpenBook Newsletter”.

Read on!

Service tip: Say goodbye to the CNIB Library website

It’s time to update your bookmarks! If you are still using the CNIB Library website to access CELA services, please note that as of October 15, 2016 that site will no longer be active and all library services will be fully transitioned to the CELA website. Please make sure you update your bookmarks today to use celalibrary.ca instead of cniblibrary.ca. Your account number and password remain the same as for the CNIB Library.

Travelling as A Blind Uber Rider in Canada

For those who have been unsure about trying out Uber or how well it works. I want to assure you that it is a fantastic service. As a blind person, I don’t drive and therefore only have public transit, taxis and the good will of others as transport options. It is great to have other choices. Signing up was straight forward and like any other app. There is an Uber app for both iOS and Android. Both are accessible if not intuitive.

I have used Uber a dozen or so times this year. I can’t speak to guide dog access but I have had extremely excellent service every time.

There are 3 categories of Uber in Ottawa - , the city I live in:

  1. Uber X = standard Uber
  2. Uber XL = van

Apps and other resources to help students with course and assignment readings

Introduction

Back to school means lots of reading, as all students know! The purpose of this blog post is to provide you with info on programs, apps and resources that will enable you to do the reading you have to do for courses and assignments.

The list of resources, found below, is the result of the collective work of:

  • Kim Kilpatrick, GTT Coordinator
  • Rebecca Jackson, GTT, Summer Student Project
  • Albert Ruel, GTT Coordinator
  • Leo Bissonnette, AEBC National Board Member,

Our compiled list is not exhaustive.

AEBC/CCB Joint National Conference Call: NNELS Detailed Notes, July 27, 2016

August 31, 2016

(The following are detailed notes from the CCB and AEBC National Call which took place on July 27, 2016)

Dear program supporters,

On July 27, 2016, we held the national conference call regarding library services. The national conference call was sponsored by the Canadian Council of the Blind’s Get Together with Technology Program (GTT) and AEBC’s Accessible Information and Copyright Committee

The topic of the call was “Canadian Library Services: Who provides it, what do they provide, how does it work and what does the future look like?” Mr. Leo Bissonnette, AEBC National Board Member, and Mr.

AEBC/CCB National Conference Call: CELA Detailed Notes, July 27, 2016

August 31, 2016

(The following are detailed notes from the CCB and AEBC National Call which took place on July 27, 2016)

Dear program supporters,

On July 27, 2016, we held the national conference call regarding library services.

Imagine

It was a warm and sunny spring day in June 2016 in Ottawa as I made my way to the centre Block on Parliament Hill high above the Ottawa River. Crowned by The Peace Tower, it is gothic revival architecture that both memorializes our past as a young and evolving parliamentary democracy and marks our path to a modern digital future with the means to enable all of us.

The sound of voices in the cavernous Centre Block Rotunda makes me feel so small, yet still significant… simply because I am there and open to all that unites us to each other.

Human rights vs accessibility legislation: One does not equal the other

While the aims of human rights legislation such as Ontario's Human Rights Code may seem to be aligned with those of accessibility-specific legislation such as the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, the reality is that these are two very different schemes. While a violation of one may well be a violation of the other, this does not necessarily mean that complaints under both can be addressed together, or that the Human Rights Tribunal will give any credence to violations of the AODA.

A recently reported case from the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario (Clipperton-Boyer v McDonalds Restaurants of Canada Limited, 2016 HRTO 967 (CanLII)) makes two points that advocates must bear in mind when pursuing matters through the Tribunal.

Notes from June 13 meeting of the Ottawa Gatineau chapter of AEBC

On June 13 members of the community of people who are blind, deafblind, and partially sighted met to hear from OC Transpo about the Light Rapid Transit System that is being created in the city of Ottawa. The notes follow, they are prepared by staff who presented during this meeting. Recap of Questions and Answers

Q1. What is it going to be like to travel on the new O-Train Confederation Line?

The O-Train Confederation Line is a fully-electric light rail transit system, also called an LRT. It extends 12.5 kilometres from Tunney’s Pasture Station to Blair Station, and includes a 2.5 kilometre tunnel through the downtown core. There are 13 stations on the Confederation Line – nine above-ground stations and four underground stations.

Resources for Free & Low-Cost Accessibility Solutions: PC, iPhone/iPad, MAC and Android

During the 2016 AEBC National conference, the Access to Information and Copyright committee held a panel presentation about free and inexpensive accessibility software and built-in accessibility solutions based on universal design.

Below, you will find a list of compiled resources that may be of interest to those who would like to learn more about the solutions that were discussed. This is by no means an exhaustive or complete list, but we thank all those who submitted resources and hope that this list is helpful.

The Power of Access & Choice: Braille in the 21st century

NOTE: Are you a braille user, blindness professional, braille transcriber or parent of a braille reader? Want to stay informed about the exciting braille developments described below and more? Check out Braille Literacy Canada.

Nowhere in history is there an invention as pervasive and influential as the printed word. Print is everywhere, yet we often take its power for granted.

In school, learning to read and write is the backbone for later success, inclusion and societal participation. Arguably, the most liberating aspect of the modern age is the power of choice: we can often choose to access information electronically or in print, depending on what is most ideal for the situation at hand. But what about those who do not read print?

Non-Consensual Touching Seems to Depend On Who's Being Touched

I place the highest value on the impulse to help. One of my favourite things about my neighbourhood is that people ask me if I need help all the time. It never ever irritates me; it makes me happy. 19 times out of 20 I don’t, and I decline with a friendly word of thanks. In many other parts of the city however, I’m regularly physically accosted by well-meaning busybodies who haven’t learned to use their words. It’s not just me of course; most other blind people I know have the same problem. There’s a depressing distance between the good intentions of strangers who grab me on the street or in the subway, assuming I need help when I don’t, and the anger I often feel at being touched without consent.

People want to help. People want to make my unimaginable life a little easier.

Live Audio Description: What's Really Going On

I feel very fortunate to have the luxury of being an audio description snob. Now, if a movie or TV show doesn’t offer AD, I think three times about whether I want to bother with it. But audio description isn’t just for the movie theater or TV anymore. Increasingly, it’s becoming possible for blind and visually impaired people do access description for a wider range of cultural experiences like stage productions, art and museum exhibits, and sporting events. Recently, I had the chance to experience some live audio description that expanded my perception of my home city.

I like living in a city, especially one as diverse as Toronto. That said, I think of my affection mostly in practical terms: where can I go? What can I do? Who can I meet?

AEBC Telecommunications (CRTC) Committee Review of Bell's DORO 824C Cellular Phone

The AEBC Telecommunications (CRTC) Committee is pleased to share a detailed review of the DORO 824C Bell phone carried out by Ronald Pelletier, an active member in the Greater Montreal Chapter.

Ron’s report is detailed and offers an important perspective.

The phone is still under development and will no doubt add features and improvements.

Bell’s willingness to work with us by providing a phone for an extensive evaluation underlines Bell’s commitment to accessibility.

I urge members to read Ron’s evaluation, below.

I thank Ron for his detailed work on this project.

Leo A. Bissonnette, Ph.D.


DORO 824C FROM BELL (Evaluated by Ron Pelletier)

NOTE: This evaluation was made from the perspective of a totally blind person.

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