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President's Report - September 5, 2013

Hello, AEBC!

If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader. -- John Quincy Adams

Summer has come and gone. Fall is upon us. The children return to school; we return from vacations; and it's time to get back to the serious work ahead of us.

If you, your chapter, or your committee has a news item or announcement or resource of interest, please send it to me ( for inclusion in my next report.

A. Announcements and Reminders

1. The Announcement List

At the conference, Resolution 2013-13 was adopted which states:

Be it resolved that the AEBC establish a general announcement listserv, that all members (including new members) with an e-mail address will be, by default, subscribed to, and that will be used to announce any new content on the web site and to distribute any information of relevance to the membership at large.

And be it further resolved that, with respect to those members who have provided an e-mail address to the AEBC, this Announcement Listserv be considered by AEBC to be the official mechanism for communicating with members;

And be it further resolved that, with respect to those members who do not have an email address, that the Board investigate a phone-line system where members can call in to get information by Interactive Voice Response System (IVR)

In practical terms, this means that, going forward, e-mail is the primary medium for communications between AEBC and its members. Those who do not have e-mail will not, as a rule, receive correspondence or communication from AEBC and should remain in touch with their local chapter to learn of the latest happenings. We are investigating the possibility of a "phone-in" option to obtain, at a minimum, critical items from these reports, per the above resolution, but there are costs associated with that which may make it uneconomical.

In early August, this announcement list was established. If you are an Active or Lifetime member you are automatically subscribed using the e-mail address on your user profile. You can update this by logging into the web site and updating your user profile. Within a few hours you should receive confirmation of the change. This is an automatic process.

If you do not wish to receive such announcements at all, please contact Dar and let her know. Note that this will exclude you from receiving all correspondence including announcements of upcoming AGMs.

The traffic on this list will be fairly minimal, limited to:

  • President's Reports;
  • Items that are time-sensitive and need to reach the membership more quickly than they might otherwise come to your attention; and,
  • Starting this week, weekly summaries of new content added to the web site (announcements, media articles, bulletin board items, press releases, and so on).

If you are currently set up to receive immediate or daily notifications of new content, you will continue to receive those notifications. You can also follow us on Twitter (@blindcanadians) or "Like" our Facebook page to stay immediately up-to-date.

2. Swap Shop (For Sale and Wanted)

  • Hilda Fair has a "mini pick brailler" for sale. "I purchased this a little while ago when visiting in England and don't use it any more. It has 7 keys, but you have to roll the paper up manually. Has it s own leather like carrying case. Weighs only 3 pounds. Measurements are 9 inches wide by 7 inches deep and stand about 1.5 inches high. Widest paper it will take is 6.5 inches. I used it to take minutes for a committee I sat on. Works great. Asking $200." Email:

3. Community Announcements

B. Priority Issue Updates

1. Braille Camp (Donna Jodhan)

AEBC has committed to raising a total of $15,000 toward the operation of the 2014 Braille summer camp. We have already raised $6,000 through private contributions, and Donna Jodhan is in the process of approaching other funders and philanthropists to secure additional funding.

The steering committee for this initiative will be meeting again in September.

2. Accessible Point-of-Sale (Darlene Wournell)

As of August 2013: This committee is in the process of re-organizing itself and determining its game plan for the 2013-2014 year. Thanks to the members who have come forward and volunteered to help with the initiative. We look forward to hearing more about the committee's plan in the coming weeks!

3. Accessible Websites (Darlene Wournell)

As of June 2013: This committee is in the process of re-organizing itself and determining its game plan for the 2013-2014 year.

4. CRTC (Internet, TV, Phone) (Anthony Tibbs, Lui Greco, Sharlyn Ayotte)

C. Committee News

1. Accessibility in Procurement (Sharlyn Ayotte)

As of June 2013: Sharlyn and Robin continue to work on the issue of ensuring that, when government tenders and requests for proposals are issued, and purchase decisions are made, accessibility is a decision-making factor that is considered.

2. AGM & Conference (Stephen Ricci)

As of June 2013: The 2014 conference will be held April 25-27, 2014 in Ottawa at the Extended Stay Hotel. Details to follow!

3. Bylaws & Governance (Anthony Tibbs)

As of August 2013: Our new bylaws are now posted on the web site (at, and the resolutions from the 2013 AGM have been uploaded as well (see

We are now operating under the new bylaws.

4. Communications (Sharlyn Ayotte)

5. Library (Sharlyn Ayotte)

As of July 2013: The AEBC library committee is in the process of drafting a letter and position in response to the multiple streams of accessible library services that appear to be developing in Canada (CNIB vs. the public libraries).

6. Strategic Planning

A series of strategic planning consultation sessions will be taking place over the next few months. Two such sessions have already occurred. The first, held on August 17th, 2013, was intended to allow those who were not at the conference the opportunity to answer the four questions posed at the conference, and was attended by nine members. The second was intended to gather members' views about where AEBC ought to be positioned in the next five years, and was attended by 10 members. Another "visioning" session will take place in a week or two, and I encourage everyone who can attend, and who has not already participated in this process, to attend.

This process would work much better and be far more representative of your views if more than 5% of the membership took a part in defining the future of the organization!

These will be held by telephone, and will be an opportunity for you to come by and express your views about where AEBC is at, where it should be going, and how we plan to get there.

Further information on the upcoming sessions will be forthcoming. Some changes to the original schedule will be taking place, but this information is being finalized this week. A separate announcement will follow.

D. Chapter News

1. Halifax

The Halifax chapter is in the process of setting up a scholarship/bursary program of their own, separate and apart from those given out by national. Details to come!

E. In The News

F. Thought-Provokers

Each month, I will propose a question or discussion point or two for consideration. Chapters might use these as springboards for discussions at their meetings. You might be inspired to write a blog post in response to the question. You might simply come to the AEBC web site and comment on the blog (president's report) to start a discussion amongst members. Either way, I will share some of the responses that this generates next month.

September's Question: What factors do you believe are the most important, or determinants, to the success or failure of people who are blind or partially-sighted in gaining employment?


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