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Meet Phil Wiseman and Hart

Editor's Note: OCTOBER 8, 2003 *Image: Phil Wiseman and his guide dog, Hart This article was originally published on the Ontario Ministry of Municipal Affairs employee intranet website.

There is a new face in the Technology and Business Solutions Branch who has some big responsibilities ahead of him. Hart, a black Labrador, is the new guide dog for Phil Wiseman, project leader of System Development Services.

Born with a hereditary eye disease, Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP), and legally blind since 1987, Phil applied for his first guide dog in September 2002 after finding it increasingly difficult to get around with only a cane. Guide dogs help their owners move safely around cars, people, curbs and other obstacles and go through an intense training program.

Phil was born in Montreal and graduated from McGill University in 1978 with a Bachelor of Science degree majoring in climatology. At the Ministry of Housing since 1986, Phil's expertise with the Ministry's old financial system (OFIS) was invaluable in facilitating the transition to CFIS. Phil now works with the Oracle-based technology using various tools and specializing as a discoverer administrator. His experience in understanding the Discoverer product has proven to be useful for colleagues and staff alike. He is able to do his job using special computer programs such as screen magnification software that blows up the entire screen on a monitor until it is large enough to see.

"I feel privileged and honoured to work with knowledgeable individuals in the ministry who have various levels of expertise in their disciplines. It is especially gratifying to me that these people are as accommodating as they are, accept and respect me for who I am and what I am able to contribute to the ministry."

With the advancement of technology and a greater dependence on the internet for information and resources, the Ontario government has taken steps to ensure that information located on their websites is accessible to individuals with disabilities. The passage of the Ontario Disabilities Act 2001 made it mandatory for all of the Government's websites to be accessible to individuals with disabilities.

Phil is an avid sports fan and likes to read mysteries, play cribbage, listen to music and play the guitar. He and his wife Rachel have been married for 20 years. They have two dogs, Hart, and a 10 pound Pom-Chi named Lucky. Phil also enjoys volunteering his time working with a consumer group that helps the blind and vision-impaired community.

TEXT BOX: The NFB:AE Mentorship Program offers an exciting opportunity for children, youth and adults experiencing partial or total vision loss to connect with experienced blind, deaf-blind and partially sighted role models, in order to share experiences, ideas, and strategies. For more information, contact the national office at 1 800 561 4774 email or visit our website