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Highlights of Recent NFB:AE Activities

  • Two New Chapters

On May 14, 2004, a follow-up meeting took place in Ottawa, and the members present voted to form the Ottawa-Gatineau Chapter. Melanie Marsden was elected President, and members voted to invite the organization to hold its 2005 Conference and AGM in our nation's capital.

On July 3, 2004, an information meeting took place in the town of Collingwood, Ontario. After questions were asked and local issues discussed, the members present voted to form the Collingwood Chapter, and Devon Wilkins was elected President.

We are delighted to welcome both to our growing organization.

  • Wedding Bells

On July 24, NFB:AE's Public Information Coordinator Geoff Fierce, and Marlene Diehl were married in Winnipeg, and on August 14 NFB:AE's Administrative Assistant, Monika Penner, and Chris Johnson were married in Kelowna. All of us want to wish both couples a long and successful life together.

  • Federal Election

The NFB:AE and its members were active in the recent federal election. Activities included work on a braille template for ballots spearheaded by our Kelowna Chapter, a letter to the editor of several newspapers raising the fact that disability issues were largely being ignored again, an unsuccessful attempt to get a disability-related question included in the federal leaders' television debate, and the Board has approved the establishment of an Elections Committee to continue work on election issues.

  • United Nations Convention

The NFB:AE participated in a meeting and subsequent teleconferences to discuss with the Government of Canada the progress of the draft proposed United Nations (UN) Convention on the Rights of Persons With Disabilities. Some nations hope the Convention will be ready for adoption by the UN in the fall of 2005.

  • Council of Canadians with Disabilities (CCD)

During this year's CCD AGM and National Council meetings, considerable sharing took place on each organization's current activities, strengths and challenges. A spirited Candidates Forum on disability issues, involving representatives from the Liberal, Conservative and NDP, took place and Marie White of Newfoundland was re-elected National Chair.

  • Letter to Ontario Premier and Others re: Proposed delisting of Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP) Coverage for Eye Exams

At the Cost of Blindness Symposium in January, the importance of individuals getting regular eye examinations was one of many issues that was raised. When the Ontario Government delisted coverage for eye examinations under OHIP, the NFB:AE wrote the Minister of Health opposing this move.

  • Assistive Devices

Rachel Jeffrey was hired this summer to research Assistive Devices programs across Canada. She conducted a survey to determine priorities for access to assistive devices among blind persons, and investigated the various assistive devices programs that currently exist. A Report is being prepared, and the NFB:AE's Assistive Devices Committee will develop a strategy to promote the increased availability of funding for assistive devices all across Canada.

  • Minister of Transport's Advisory Committee on Accessible Transportation (ACAT)

At the May 5-7, 2004, meeting many recommendations were adopted. They included: That the Minister ask the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA) to include ACAT consumer members in the review of their sensitivity awareness training materials, and include persons with disabilities in the delivery of their training programs; that a consumer organization of the deaf-blind be invited to join ACAT; that the Minister ensures that automated kiosks are accessible to all travelers; and that an opportunity be arranged for some ACAT consumer members to meet Air Transport Association of Canada (ATAC) member companies to discuss their training programs and disability issues.