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Talk to the President - August 2011


August 31, 2011

Dear fellow AEBC members:

I hope that this email finds you all well and I also hope that you have managed to enjoy this very warm and humid summer.

Well, August is almost at an end and soon fall will be here. Another month has come and gone and I would like to take a few minutes of your time to tell you a bit about what your national board has been up to for the month of August.

First, I'd like to thank those of you who took the time to respond to me last month and I hope that you would take a few minutes to respond to my question at the end of this email. Remember now that it is only through you and with you that we will succeed. Here is a quote which I hope will encourage you to keep on striving.

"When we strive to become better than we are, everything around us becomes better too." Paulo Coelho

The month of August has been a very busy one for your national board. First up, John and Marc were interviewed for an upcoming piece in the Vision magazine; A Montreal based edition and they were interviewed on access to described video and cell phones. These two gentlemen were also kept busy attending various CRTC meetings and working group teleconferences on described video awareness.

On August 23, I along with John and Marc met with the folks from the Access Media channel to discuss various issues that included working together to promote each other's awareness and interests. John and I attended in person in Toronto and Marc joined us via Skype from Edmonton.

Your second vice president Rajesh Malik was not to be outdone! He has been kept fairly busy for most of the summer with preparing and posting the announcement for this year's AEBC scholarships. This announcement was posted sometime in June on our website. In addition, Rajesh has been working with the folks at T-Base communications on a project that would see this Ottawa based company making additional scholarships available to applicants for next year.

The point of sale and household products committee also made some noise this past month. In July, they wrote a letter to the folks at McDonald's Canada to express their concern over an announced initiative that would see the company replacing cashiers with touch screens. McDonald's responded via phone in mid-August to let us know that at the present time, they do not have any plans to bring this initiative to Canada. I am in the process of requesting a written confirmation from them.

On the library front, I promised you last month to have something to announce and here it is.

For the past two months, a joint AEBC CWDO committee has been working to plan and execute a town hall style meeting and this will take place on October 29 2011. For those of you who are unaware with the initials CWDO, this stands for Citizens with Disabilities of Ontario. Thanks to the hard work of this committee, we are offering you the opportunity to have your voices heard in a meeting that will see John Rafferty of the CNIB answer all of your questions and respond to your comments. I am only too aware of the passion and concerns that we hold towards this very important subject and it is my hope that we can take advantage of this chance to have our voices heard. Remember now, it is you who will ultimately be responsible for any type of positive change and we are all depending on you and each other to speak up. 

Here are just a few details and I will paste the invitation below. 

Time:  1:00 pm.

Location:  Offices of Center for Independent Living

Address:  365 Bloor Street East, suite 902, closest subway is at Bloor and Sherbourne.

There will be two one hour sessions. The first will commence at 1:00 pm Eastern Standard Time and will be for those attending in person and for those who choose to phone in.

The second will commence at 2:15 pm and will be for those who choose to attend via the CWDO's conferencing system.

Your moderators for this meeting will be Jane Blaine of the Canadian Blind Sports Association and Anthony Tibbs of the AEBC.

I would personally like to thank the following persons for their hard work and commitment to this project:

Melanie Moore (AEBC member and board member of CWDO)

Pat Seed (Chair of CWDO)

Jane Blaine (Executive Director of the Canadian Blind Sports Association)

Cindy Ferguson (National secretary AEBC)

Richard Marion (AEBC member)

Anthony Tibbs (AEBC member)

Terry Green (CWDO board member)

John Rae (National first VP AEBC)

Charles Bailey (National treasurer AEBC).

Special mention of thanks to Brian Moore for kindly offering to produce Braille documents upon request.

A copy of the invitation will be posted to the following websites:  AEBC, CWDO, Canadian Blind Sports, Guide Dog Users of Canada, and the CNIB. We will also be posting to the various members lists on a biweekly basis throughout September and encourage you to spread the word. If I have left out anyone then please let me know.

The invitation follows.


You are cordially invited to a Town Hall Meeting

With John Rafferty, CEO of the CNIB

Topic:  Library Services in Canada

Purpose:  to ask questions of, and provide input to, the CNIB on:

How best to move forward on issues pertaining to the future of library services for blind, partially sighted, and deaf/blind Canadians.

When: October 29 2011

Time: 1:00 pm Eastern Standard Time or 10:00 am Pacific Time


365 Bloor Street East, Suite 902


The closest subway is at Bloor and Sherbourne

How Can I Participate?

  • By teleconference
  • By phoning in
  • In Person:

Please RSVP to no later than October 01 Indicating your name, email address, and preferred format for background documents (MS word, text, or Braille)

Please also let us know how you would prefer to access the meeting so that we can send you the relevant Internet access instructions if you choose to attend via our conferencing system on the Internet, or the phone in number if you choose to attend via phone.

There will be two sessions held on this date.

Session one will be for those who wish to attend in person and for those who prefer to phone in. 

This session will commence at 1:00 pm Eastern Standard Time.

Session two will be for those who wish to access the meeting via the Internet and this session will commence at 2:15 pm Eastern Standard time.

We would need to be able to determine the number of participants and their preferences so that we can make adequate arrangements to accommodate everyone.

If you have any questions or concerns then please send your queries to Melanie Moore at Melanie.moore@cilt.caor to me at

Thank you!

So it is all up to you now to make something happen! In the words of the late Jack Layton:  "Dream a dream that lasts longer than a lifetime."

I have news on the coalition front. We have a teleconference scheduled for Sep 14 and part of the AEBC's objective would be to help push important items of interest along. We will be revisiting present initiatives and we will determine if any new ones should be added. At the present time, your reps to the coalition are Richard Marion and me. 

On another sort of related front:  The CNIB has invited a group of organizations and individuals to a meeting in Toronto on Oct 15/16. They are calling this the friends of the CNIB meeting and your rep to this meeting will be Richard Marion. I note here that the CNIB will be incurring all expenses for everyone. Our objective here will be to discover what the CNIB has in mind with regard to advocacy. We await their agenda.

I have organized a teleconference for our chapter presidents which will take place on Sep 28. 

The agenda thus far includes the generation of ideas to raise funds, the creation of more awareness of the AEBC, chapter presidents to maybe play a role as advisers, and finding ways for candidates to interact more closely with members at future AGMs. We will also be hoping to confirm which chapter would be hosting the 2013 AGM.

There is movement on the court case of Jodhan versus the Canadian government. A hearing date has been set for Nov 15/16 and the hearing will be held at 180 Queen street West 7th floor in Toronto. Starting time for both days will be 9:30 am. John and Cindy are your AEBC reps to this hearing and you would be proud to learn that in August, the AEBC was the only organization to have been granted intervener's status in this case. 2 other organizations applied but they were declined. They were the CCD and the CNIB.

So there you have it; my news update for August but before I leave you, here is my question of the month:

Are you satisfied that web-based courses are accessible enough to the blind and partially sighted? If not, then what can we as an organization do to help improve accessibility?

Send me your thoughts and comments on this plus anything else. Tell me what's on your mind for this month.

With very best wishes for a long holiday weekend and rest of summer 2011,

Donna Jodhan

Your National President


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