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Talk to the President - July 2011

Hello AEBC Members:

I hope that all is well in your neck of the woods and that July has been an enjoyable month for you. I thank those of you who took the time to respond to my previous email and I'll have another ponderous question for you at the end of my email and I look forward to your considered feedback.

Remember now, your opinions are extremely important to me and it is only through you that I will be able to steer our ship in and out of these rough seas.

So, here is my monthly update and please if you can, take a moment to read and give some comments to my question at the end of this email.

July has been somewhat of a relatively quiet one for us all; this after a relatively busy June where two members of your board attended important meetings on behalf of the AEBC.

First up, Marc attended a BCE meeting in Toronto in mid-June. This was a meeting initiated by BCE and attended by other stakeholders in addition to the AEBC and over the course of the next 12 to 18 months, several meetings are expected to be held and the objective for these meetings will be to find ways to develop and improve BCE services to disabled Canadians.

On June 30, both Marc and John attended a teleconference meeting to discuss DV based matters and requirements within the CRTC arena. This was a meeting that included members of the DV working group. Marc and John are expecting to continue their tremendous efforts to advocate heavily for more DV content on behalf of blind, partially sighted, and deaf/blind Canadians.

It appears that activity on the library scene may be about to resume. On July 25, I circulated an email to our list in which someone was kind enough to share a response that they received from Minister Dian Finley. This person had written to the Federal Government last year to express their concern over the state of affairs of library services to the print disabled in Canada. I hope that you would have a moment to read the email that I circulated and that you would feel motivated to express your opinions to the appropriate persons within our governmental system.

Another email to this effect was also circulated on our members list and on other lists by others - and remember now - whether you know it or not, yours is the voice that will help to capture the appropriate person's attention. You may feel that at times, it is not worth the energy and heartache but it is!

For you and for each other and for our kids!

As mentioned in my previous monthly update, I am committed to finding a way for our members to express themselves directly to the CNIB re library services and to this end, a small group of dedicated committee members have been hard at work putting together a plan for this to happen. I am hoping to have something more concrete to report in my next monthly update to you.

There is not much to report on activity for the priority committees for July but it is expected that full activity will resume after the summer.

These committees are:  Library, point of sale and household products, and website accessibility.

The coalition is hoping to resume its activities sometime in September but we are not sure when the next face to face meeting will take place.

It is felt that at this time, teleconference calls would be more appropriate.

In July, the AEBC, CCD, and CNIB filed intervention documents in support of our charter challenge court case. This was a tremendous boost to our efforts. ARCH is representing the AEBC and John and Cindy are the AEBC's reps working with ARCH. We are still awaiting a court date and it is expected that it will be some time in the fall. Hopefully, we will be able to see as many of you possible coming out to court to support us.

Things are starting to move forward on the possible formation of a Hamilton Chapter. On July 09, there was a preliminary meeting held at the home of Melanie and Brian Moore and they were joined by others. The meeting went well and in September this group will be visiting other nearby cities to drum up support for the launching of a Hamilton chapter.

One of the important things to have come out of this meeting is that the Hamilton would seek to position itself as one that would advocate first and foremost for accessibility and technology; a terrific way to position itself within our family of chapters.

Good luck Melanie and Brian!

The Ottawa folks are hoping to hold their first meeting in support of resurrecting their chapter and if all goes well here we should see some results sometime in the early fall. It would be just great if Ottawa can rejoin our family and even more so that they in our Capital.

That's it from me for this month but before I leave you, here is my question for July.

Do you believe that we can use Human Rights complaints to push our advocacy efforts ahead? If so, then should the AEBC take the time to form a special committee to get more involved? One that would be made up of not just board members but AEBC members as a whole and other non-members whose expertise would be most welcomed?

Send me your feedback and let me know your thoughts. Tell me what is on your mind and if you have a question for me then please do not hesitate to share it.

Until next month; I wish you a terrific August and for those of you with an August 01 holiday I wish you a relaxing upcoming holiday weekend.

Donna Jodhan

Your National President


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