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Talk to the President July Edition

Dear fellow AEBC members:

Ah yes and alas!  July is now in the books and I hope that everyone had an enjoyable one.  It has been a somewhat mixed bag for your board for this past month and I would again like to thank those of you who took the time to provide us with your feedback.  Please keep it coming to us at
I'll have a question for you at the end of my update but in the meantime, here is a quote for you.
"None of us is defined by our circumstances, nor are we defined by how other people perceive us. It is up to each one of us to define ourselves, and that is a life's work. Each of us has the ability to lead a dynamic life by pursuing our unique goals and dreams. There are no limits to what you can do."
Stedman Graham

In board news

It is with deep regret and sadness that I accept the resignation of our esteemed national Secretary Cindy Ferguson.  Cindy has tendered her resignation due to personal reasons and it is my sincere hope that she will return to us in the not too distant future after her circumstances have improved.  Thank you Cindy for all of your hard work and commitment and on behalf of the AEBC, I wish you a speedy resolution.
Cindy's replacement as library rep is our treasurer Charles Bailey and her replacement to the coalition is our second VP Rajesh Malik.
The steering committee for strategic planning had its first meeting in early July and plans are well on the way for a drive to include membership input to this initiative.  The following are some comments from this committee headed by your first VP Lui Greco.
We will be inviting expressions of interest from members early to mid
August.  These people will help lead the strategic planning work.  A brief survey will be circulated and responses will be reviewed by the board.  This is going to take considerable work and as such, the associated commitment will be quite involved.
A team of board members including Lui Greco your first VP, Charles Bailey your treasurer, Amal Haddad your national director, and members Tyler Moore and Marc Workman have been working feverishly to put together a proposal for the HRSDC call for proposals (the SDPP call for proposals).  Here is an update.
AEBC will be preparing a submission for HRSDC funding.  The proposal will target governments objectives around increasing awareness and opportunities for persons with disabilities.  If successful, the project will last approximately two years.  At time of writing, ideas are still percolating so specifics are unfortunately unavailable at this time.  However, a summary of the completed submission should be available for sharing in the next update.
The AGM committee has also started its task of putting together next year's AGM and our esteemed Denise Sanders has once again joined this committee.  I personally thank Denise for her continuing commitment and tireless efforts towards AGM planning plus so much more.  Your national director Stephen Ricci is also a part of this dynamic committee.
Your second VP Rajesh Malik is working with his scholarship committee to choose a worthy applicant for the T-Base scholarship award.  This committee has just chosen three worthy applicants and will be submitting their choices to T-Base Communications very shortly.
We thank T-Base Communications for their continuing commitment to the awarding of scholarships to worthy Blind and partially sighted persons.
In addition, Rajesh and I are working on the development of our personal development program and we again thank Deborah Wilson for her two thousand dollars contribution to this program.  Ms Wilson has graciously contributed the sum of two thousand dollars for each of the next five years.  We thank her for this generous contribution.
I am pleased to tell you that an announcement of the Deborah Wilson scholarships has been posted to our website and sent out to universities across Canada.  I thank Rajesh and his hard working committee for all of their diligence.

In other news

The AEBC has consented to lend its support to the latest call from the CNIB for its library initiative.  You can read more on our letter of support on our website.
Last month, I introduced our building awareness program through mutual link exchanges page at

I am pleased to announce that for the month of July, we managed to create a link exchange with Media Access Canada.  Since launching this program last month, we have posted link exchanges for:  CCD, MAB-MacKay, and now Media Access Canada.  Pasted below is a copy of the invitation that was sent out to other companies and it is hoped that with time this program will attract others.  I'd like to coin this program as the "link exchange; the website to website program."  Here now is the text of the invitation and it has also been posted to our website.
The Alliance for Equality of Blind Canadians (AEBC) is pleased to announce its link exchange and website to website program.
This program involves working with other organizations to foster link exchanges and to develop and collaborate on projects of mutual interest.
The AEBC is strongly committed to collaborating with those organizations that are interested in such things as:

  • Helping to create more awareness about issues and concerns of Blind Canadians
  • Working with Blind Canadians to improve services and products for Blind Canadians
  • Helping to educate Canadians about blindness
  • Working with Blind Canadians to gain equal access to such things as information, education, health care, fitness and sports, and other related areas.

We believe that the first step would be to initiate a link exchange program and to this end we can start by exchanging links; posting relevant information about each other's organizations and each other's mission statements on our respective websites.  The AEBC believes that this will be an excellent way for all organizations involved to showcase what they do, how they do it, and show it off to the rest of the world.
If interested, please send your response to me at  Let us start to build a stronger and more united community; working together and committed together.
Yours sincerely,
Donna J. Jodhan
National President Alliance for Equality of Blind Canadians
You can read more about our affiliates at
On July 5, Marc Workman joined a conference call to discuss Canada's
participation at the 24th meeting of the Standing Committee on Copyright and
Related Rights of the World Intellectual Property Organization. Marc urged the government representatives to do more to further the efforts to create an
international instrument to facilitate the cross-border sharing of accessible format materials. To learn more about this initiative, you can contact Marc at
Accessible Media Inc  is beginning its next major project on Described Video, that of the development of industry wide best practices.  The AEBC has been asked to participate and Marc Workman has kindly agreed to be our rep at this table.  We thank Marc for his willingness to be our rep.

In chapter news

Due to summer holidays, the good folks in Ottawa have had to postpone their gathering from July 13 to a date to be announced; hopefully some time in the early fall.  Here's hoping that at that time, Ottawa members will be ready and able to answer the call.
The Toronto chapter held a barbecue for their members on July 21 and a huge bouquet of thanks go out to Reg and Cathy Sullivan for having been such generous hosts.
Well, it is time to sing happy birthday to one of our chapters; yes!  It is none other than our own esteemed Brantford chapter that turns five years on August 04!  Let us not forget that it was this chapter that hosted the 2011 AGM and pulled it off in grand style!  Congratulations to you president Bob and his chapter!  Well done!
Commencing in early August, your second VP Rajesh Malik and your national director Amal Haddad will be starting their tele visits to chapter presidents.  These visits are intended to enhance communications between your national board and chapters.  We look forward to learning more about what our chapters are doing and what they are thinking and to sharing these communications with our members.

Members of the month

I would like to thank those members who took the time to provide their feedback on the question about who should be providing rehab services in Canada. If anyone would like to help write a positional paper then please do not hesitate to let us know and we can put something together for posting to our website.
You can send your feedback to

On the minds of our members

In an attempt to motivate our members to let us know what's on their minds, I am introducing a new section to my monthly update and I invite any member to send me their thoughts about anything.  It may be a good way for you to share your thoughts/insights with  the rest of us.  Just send along to us at  No personal attacks or personal criticisms; just your thoughts on issues that are important to you and near and dear to your heart.
This month, Bev Milligan shares the following with us and I thank Bev for sending along to me.  Bev is the president and CEO of Media Access Canada.
CRTC captioning policy sets a precedent for things  to come for descriptive video
In a recent decision,( ), the CRTC set a world precedent by establishing mandatory quality standards for closed captioning.  To achieve this goal, it took over 18 years of advocacy by the deaf and hard of hearing community.  These activities included funding empirical research to prove there was a need for standards, lobbying the CRTC and other government departments and working in partnership with others.
This precedent will have an impact on the implementation of descriptive video in Canadian broadcasting as the barrier for convincing the commission of the need for qualitative accessibility has been removed.  As the hours of descriptive video increases on convention television, we hope the broadcast industry will ensure to volunteer a level of quality such that there is no need to have government impose similar standards for description.

Commitment of the month

My commitment for this month is the same as for last month.  Just enjoy the summer and rest, relax, and kick back

Letters and press releases posted to our website

The AEBC has written a letter ofsupport for the plan outlined in "Reading Re-Imagined: A National Digital HUB to support service delivery to Canadians with print disabilities" and it has been posted to our website.
An announcement of the Deborah Wilson scholarships has also been posted to our website.

Question of the month

My question for this month is as follows.
How much importance do you place on Braille literacy?  Do you think that Braille should continue to be taught to Blind persons?
Should it only be taught to those who are unable to read large print?  Or to all those who would like to learn it?
That's it for me for this month and I wish you a great August.

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.


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