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The Blind Canadians Blog

Over The Rainbow Bridge - A Celebration of life for Nayttor Tayttor (November 22, 2002 - August 21, 2015)

This was written by Nate and Louise Johnson.

I was born on November 22, 2002 at GDB California Campus. I joined my puppy family in February of 2003, and enjoyed my time there. I was very well loved and learned a lot with my puppy family.

I arrived back at GDB's California Campus for my formal training in February 2004. My trainer was Darren Walsh who was an apprentice at that time. I learned slowly, but I never forgot what I learned. My training at GDB was longer than other guides. I became ready for class when I understood what was required of me, as a guide dog.

The first time I was partnered in class, it didn’t work out for the two of us. I went back to the kennels to wait for my perfect match.

Back to School? Access thousands of accessible books through Bookshare!

Students who are blind, deaf-blind or partially sighted often require access to material in alternative, accessible formats. There are many resources available out there, and the AEBC, including its Access to Information Committee, is on a mission to spread the word about some of them!

This blog post will tell you a bit about Bookshare, a provider of accessible online formats for thousands of books.

Federal Legislation to Implement UN Disability Rights Convention: Nothing About Us Without Us (CCD press release)

The Council of Canadians with Disabilities has released the below press release, calling on the government to fully implement the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). Canada is a signatory to the same, but that has not removed the barriers that Canadains with disabilities face (or prevented the introduction of new ones!).

September 9, 2015 -- Building on the ratification of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), supported by all political parties and jurisdictions, and given that Canadians with disabilities continue to experience barriers and discrimination, the Government of Canada must take new and concrete action to implement the CRPD.

Disabling Poverty, Enabling Citizenship - CCD press release on a refundable disability tax credit

The below media release from the Council of Canadians with Disabilities (CCD) calls for change in the way the Disability Tax Credit is handled, making it refundable and reimbursable.

September 1, 2015 - The Council of Canadians with Disabilities (CCD) urges all federal political parties to promise Canadians with disabilities, who as a group are among the poorest Canadians, to reform the Disability Tax Credit (DTC), making it refundable. A refundable DTC would give $2,000 to all eligible tax filers, whether or not they owe income tax.

Doing Advocacy Through Social Media - Facebook Session - Follow-up and notes

On June 23rd, 2015, I had the pleasure of conducting a workshop on how to use Facebook to post and read statuses, including those with hashtags. If you have any questions following this workshop, please feel free to leave a comment here.

A document has been produced containing detailed notes from the workshop. While these notes are detailed, they do not necessarily cover all topics discussed.

Last Day of Campaign... (#IAmYourCustomer)

As we move into the last day of the campaign, you still have time to do your part and make a difference.

It is time to get involved and change the story about who we are. If you do not want others advocating on our behalf then it is up to all of us to advocate on matters of importance, such as access to vital information to support decision making.

Go to our home page and you will find supporting documentation there for the 'I Am Your Customer' and join us in making good things happen:

#IAmYourCustomer Accessible Contact Information

Accessible communication is critical to enabling independence, and full participation in life.

Join Us for a Workshop on Doing Advocacy through Social Media! (June 23, 2015)

Social media is a powerful tool – It provides individuals just like you with a platform to share your views and your voice with millions of readers instantaneously. Suddenly, we are all connected with just the click of a button. The possibilities for advocacy and public education efforts are endless! But how can we use social media platforms responsibly, appropriately, and independently? How can we use social media to educate through positive and important dialogue?

Rocking in the Digital Age! (#IAmYourCustomer)

First, please forgive me for not being more present on our members list over the last month. Following our AGM, our agendas were very full with deadlines on strategic planning, consultations, presentations, interviews, meetings, and recovering from the hectic pace that is a hallmark of a really good conference. Halifax was a terrific venue and the hospitality of our Maritime friends made it a truly enjoyable and memorable event!

It would appear that my time working on issues and opportunities has turned into mostly a full time job. I am sure glad that I retired to enjoy my seniority!

I See Books Differently (#IAmYourCustomer)

I remember my very first online shopping experience in 2005. I was exploring the choices available in the digital world for books. Although downloads of audio books had already become available, I was shopping for reading materials on CD from commercial booksellers, as I wanted to share the joy of listening with my brother Peter, who was at that time loosing his fight with cancer.

My first stop was at a well known online book store, where I added almost $300 worth of audio books to my shopping cart.

Seeing ourselves as "customers" (#IAmYourCustomer)

Sometimes sitting around a kitchen table produces amazing results. This is exactly what happened one day recently when AEBC members Sharlyn and Deanna got together around Sharlyn's kitchen table - the new AEBC's "I Am Your Customer" campaign was the result.

We have come to see ourselves as "consumers," and this is a positive development, as a growing number of us now have developed heightened expectations of the extent and quality of services that are available to us.

Greyhound Bus Online Ticket Purchase (#IAmYourCustomer)

Recently I attempted to purchase a Greyhound ticket for a trip I was planning. I appreciated the fact that it could be done online using my credit card, then printed and stowed away in my suitcase for convenience. What a wonderful way to ensure that they’ll have a seat for me when I arrive at the bus depot, and for me to be organized so as to reduce my stress levels during the trip.

I was planning to take this trip without a sighted guide, and as I’m totally blind it was important to me to have all my ducks in a row. Sadly, my repeated attempts to complete the transaction on my Windows 8.1 PC computer or my iPhone 6 failed. Some of the fields wouldn’t allow me to access them with the help of the screen reading technology I use to access both of the above noted online devices.

My cell phone bill in braille ... or not. (#IAmYourCustomer)

My journey started when I purchased my very first iPhone in May of 2012 after putting my old Nokia 6682 to rest. I spent two hours in the local Roger's store, playing around with mobile phones to see what would suit my needs as someone who is totally blind. The 4S was the newest mobile phone that I wanted so bad; it felt great holding a 'somewhat' accessible device in my hand that was further advanced than my Nokia. Sold!

The Customer Service Representative was great. He set up my phone, transferring my contacts to my new iPhone and making sure that Voiceover and Siri was turned on. I think I taught the Customer Representative a lot that day using Voiceover with an iPhone.

I walked out of Roger's very excited - almost like a child in a candy store.

Even after Fretz v BDO Canada LLP, people with disabilities retain the right to request accommodations that meet their needs

A decision a few months back of the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario (“HRTO”), Fretz v BDO Canada LLP, 2014 HRTO 1288, has attracted the attention of employer-focused law firms and commentators, while also raising eyebrows within organizations supporting persons with disabilities.

Election accessibility (town hall report): What to expect in the 2015 federal elections

On Saturday, February 28th, 2015, AMI, Elections Canada, and AEBC presented a town hall discussion on the accessibility of federal elections. We were joined by Marc Mayrand, Chief Electoral Officer of Canada, who is ultimately responsible to parliament for the operation of the Elections Canada regime.

The purpose of this discussion was primarily to gain an understanding of the issues that continue to face our community, and to gain an understanding of the problem from Elections Canada's perspective. There were more than 50 participants registered for the call, and AEBC was certainly well represented with many of our members having an opportunity to speak and share their point of view.

Disability Alliance BC seeks nominations for "Outstanding Employer of the Year Award" - Deadline Feb 27!

Nominations are now open for Disability Alliance BC’s (DABC) 2015 annual Outstanding Employer of the Year Award. This is their second annual Award. Last year’s winners were Starbucks (1500 West 2nd) and the Progressive Intercultural Community Services Society (PICS).

If you know of an employer who goes that extra mile to ensure people with disabilities are gainfully employed, please consider making a nomination.

This Award recognizes a BC employer who has demonstrated excellence in the hiring and employing of people with disabilities.

Making tax time accessible to all Canadians!

This article has been posted for the benefit of the community on behalf of the Canada Revenue Agency. Please contact CRA for further information.

Canadians with disabilities and those who live with them know that, over a lifetime, the costs of overcoming barriers can really add up. That’s why the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) offers credits and benefits for Canadians with disabilities and their caregivers to help offset these costs—from childhood through the school years to the workforce to retirement.

Now Imagine the Blind Business Owner...

As a founder, and now retired entrepreneur, I know all too well that growth potential for business depends on the availability of accessible information regarding regulatory and policy changes, and also may be the difference between success and failure. In the beginning, as a person who is blind, the journey of starting and growing a business was a daunting task filled with pitfalls and many information challenges. I encountered more than my fair share of people who could not believe that a blind woman could succeed. I was troubled by the attitude of many people with respect to their consistent belief that blindness prevented me from being successful, which created needless attitudinal barriers.

World Braille Day 2015 -- In honour of the dots!

This day (January 4th) marks the birthday of one Louis Braille who, in 1824, at the age of 15, devised the tactile code now known as braille, used by those who are blind to read and write in much the same way as the sighted use print and handwriting.

  • Braille is critical for students who are learning to read and write and who will not otherwise gain the same appreciation for spelling, grammar, and punctuation.
  • Braille is critical for those who work: research has shown that among those who are blind, the vast majority of those who are employed are also braille users.

Braille Literacy Canada's "The Big Brailler Bounce Initiative"

Braille Literacy Canada has set out to uncover all the missing and disused Perkins braillers, with a view to re-homing them to new owners who need them.

  • If you have a Perkins braille under your bed or in storage somewhere that you are not using, donate it and give it a new life! If it needs repair or servicing, BLC will see that that is taken care of before it is re-homed.
  • If you need a brailler or know someone who does, you can add your name to the list of those wanting braillers and one will be sent your way when it becomes available.

In either case, e-mail Jen Goulden ( for assistance.

For more information, see


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