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Talk to the President May 2012

Dear fellow AEBC members: 

I would like to start by thanking you for having reaffirmed me as your president for a second year.  I am grateful for your support and I hope that we can continue to work together to move our beloved AEBC in a direction that is beneficial to us all.  We have elected two new members to our board and we have bid goodbye to two other members.  I can assure you though that our two departing members will not be too far away from where the action is.  In my update for this month, I will do my best to summarize some of the highlights from our conference. 

 As always, I'll have a question for you at the end of my update and I look forward to receiving your continuing feedback.  Once again, thank you for reaffirming me as your president for a second year.  

In board news
We welcome Lui Greco as our new first VP. Lui is from New Brunswick and has replaced John Rae.  We thank John for his many years of service and commitment to our national board  and to the AEBC and be assured that John will not be too far away.

 We welcome Stephen Ricci as one of our new national directors.  Stephen hails from Toronto and has replaced Marc Workman.  We thank Marc for all of his work; especially so with matters pertaining to the CRTC and recently, for his masterful work with the Blind Canadians blogs.  Marc too will not be too far away as he will be continuing his tireless work with the above. 

Your treasurer Charles Bailey was re-elected for a new two year term.

So, here is your board for 2012.
President - Donna Jodhan
First vice president - Lui Greco
Second vice president - Rajesh Malik
Treasurer - Charles Bailey
Secretary - Cindy Ferguson
National director - Amal Haddad
National director - Stephen Ricci.

In next month's update, I hope to present you with a list of our priority committee members and hopefully you will be ready to join in the efforts to push our agenda along.

In other news
I will use this section to present you with some of the highlights from our AGM that was held over the weekend of May 25. 

Some of our illustrious past presidents gave speeches about when they were leaders of the AEBC; some in person and some via the MP3 root.
Richard Marion, John Rae, and Robin East presented live and Bob Fenton sent his speech along via the MP3 root.  We thank each of these committed and tireless gentlemen for all of their hard work over the years. 

The following resolutions were passed by the members:
2012-01: Discontinuing Production of the Canadian Blind Monitor
2012-02: 2012-2013 Priorities
2012-03: Membership Fees
2012-04: Promoting Awareness of Alternative Formats
2012-07: Strategic Planning
2012-08: 2013-2014 AGM Locations

Note:  The 2012-8 resolution came from the floor.  Resolution 2012-5 was ruled out of order as it was superseded by the passage of the 2012-1.  Resolution 2012-6 did not have a mover or seconder and was not discussed.

Your second VP Rajesh uncovered an exciting scholarship program that is being embarked upon by the AEBC in conjunction with a recent scholarship donor; Deborah Wilson of Ottawa.  Ms Wilson has offered to donate two $1,000.00 scholarships that we will be using to foster personal development scholarships.  For whereas we only had $1,000.00 to contribute towards our scholarships program, this year we will have a total of $5,000.00 to put towards this.  We thank Deborah Wilson, and T-Base Communications Inc for also contributing $2,000.00 towards our scholarships program.

 I would personally like to recognize the following award winners:
The AEBC volunteer of the year - Susan Pinder of Toronto.
The CCD award - Sharlyn Ayotte of Ottawa.

 The following were winners of the AEBC's 20th anniversary volunteer awards:
Ezra Chitayat - Montreal
Mark Workman - Edmonton
Christine Ross - Winnipeg
Judy Prociuk - Saskatoon
Carole Ross - Toronto
Peg Mercer - Vancouver
Shelleyann Morris - Ottawa
Charles Bailey - Fraser Valley
Brenda Cooke  - Saskatoon
Troy Knaufts - Halifax

The winner of the president's contest (a prize of $500) is no other than our very own Pippa Wrobel of the Montreal chapter.  Congrats to you Pippa!

 On behalf of the national board, I'd like to thank the following persons for their great contributions for having helped to make our AGM a success:
Denise Sanders - chair of the AGM committee
Irene Lambert - MC and member of the AGM committee
Sharlyn Ayotte - MC
Richard Marion - member of the AGM committee, chair of resolutions, on site technician, and master of everything
Robin East - chair of elections
Marc Workman - for having put together the resolutions
Mike Ciarcielo - for his technical assistance
Anthony Tibbs - for his off site technical support and other off site assistance.

 I would also like to thank Denise, Anthony, and Lois Benko our book keeper  for their great assistance with the president's contest. 
I will note here that this contest raised over $2,300.00!  Beyond expectations!

To Cindy Ferguson our national secretary for her tireless efforts at taking minutes throughout the AGM.
To our sponsors, Accessible Media Inc, Air Canada, and T-Base Communications.
To those who donated door prizes; Frontier Computing and the Vision Aids store of Toronto.
To all of our vendors. 
To everyone else and those that I have missed.
Finally, a huge bouquet of thanks to our Kelowna chapter; Lisa Neufeld, Ryan Jopling, and Jeff Gartrell for all of their hard work. 

In chapter news
A chapter presidents tele conference is planned for mid June and we are hoping to resume our work by the four committees that were outlined previously. 

Members of the month
I'd like to start by thanking Margaret Thompson from Newfoundland for having taken the time and effort to travel all the way from one end of the country to the other to attend our AGM in Kelowna.  Thank you Margaret!

For this month, our very own Melanie Moore has hit the big times!  She has gained stardom on a CBC interview that she participated in earlier this month on the topic of parenting with a disability.  You can see more of her as follows:
Melanie Moore on parenting with a disability

Melanie is a star and below you will find a reprint of a Globe article that appeared on May 28.  Coincidentally enough, I believe that this was also her birthday!  Happy belated birthday Melanie!
Caption under picture in paper reads:
Melanie Moore of Hamilton with her husband, Brian.  They are raising three children, including Graham, 5.

Interview with Melanie is the same text in paper and on net.  Here is net:

 Many of the barriers that prevent disabled people from working to their potential are frustratingly persistent. Melanie Moore lost her sight at birth and went on to earn a degree in social work from Carleton University. Since entering the work force 13 years ago, Ms. Moore has spent roughly one of every two years unemployed. Unable to find an employer willing to hire her near her home in Hamilton, she commutes four and a half hours daily to a job at the Centre for Independent Living in Toronto. She’s covering a maternity leave, however, and expects to be unemployed again in September. She will continue to look for a new job, but many people with disabilities do not or cannot. Work-force participation rates are about 25 per cent lower among the 14 per cent of Canadians who identify as having a disability.

 “The prospects for work aren’t good. When I think about this contract ending, my stomach turns,” Ms. Moore said.
Many of the jobs she would like require a driver’s license, which she says is unfair. Those employers won’t even look at her application, she said. It’s just one example of a barrier that disabled people face that could be tackled with a more imaginative approach, she said.

 “It’s so frustrating,” she said. “And it’s not unusual. It’s a chronic problem and it’s not well understood.”

Commitment of the month
For the month of June, I'd like to propose the following commitment:
Join hands for equal access to information. 
We may want to start a bigger push towards advocating for equal access to information.  Information that is contained on websites on the Internet.  Information that we can access independently and with minimal sighted assistance.  Equal access to information that everyone else has access to and information that is vital in our daily lives to help us make decisions on such topics as:  Our health, safety and security, financial requirements, social services, plus more.

Letters and press releases posted to our website
Some useful info has been posted to our banks issue page titled ('Requesting Accessible Information From Your Bank: Who To Call').

 A third call has gone out to over 100 special needs offices across the country to announce the T-Base scholarship.  This $2,000.00 scholarship is opened to post secondary students who are blind, partially sighted, and deaf/blind.  The closing date for applicants to submit their applications is June 30 2012.  This scholarship is for the academic year 2012/2013. 


Question of the month
Well, here is my question of the month. 
How beneficial do you think it would be for us to develop some sort of awareness program to help the medical community become more aware of our needs and to better understand them?
Send me your feedback and let's come up with some ideas to help our health care professionals work better with us.
Please send your feedback to

That's it for me for this month.  I wish you a jolly month of June. 

Donna J
Your National President



This blog is curated by the AEBC, but welcomes contributions from members and non-members alike. The thoughts, views, and opinions expressed in the Blind Canadians Blog are those of the contributing authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the AEBC, its members, or any of its donors and partners.


Warmest regards and congratulations to my dear friends President Donna, and to Denise Sanders, on the obviously successful 2012 AGM. I'd like to echo your expression of gratitude to parting directors, especially the illustrious and redoubtable Penguin, John Rae - who brought limitless energy, humour and feist to his terms in office and was a joy to work with over the many years of the Canadian Blind Monitor. With creative inputs from places as far flung as southwest Saskatchewan, Toronto, Kelowna and Vancouver Island, I believe CBM contributed to the evolution and growth of AEBC, and I feel huge gratitude to Sara, Brenda, Anthony and many other folks I enjoyed working with on the periodical over a couple of decades. Fondest wishes to you all going forward.