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Highlights of Recent NFB:AE Activities

  • Members Vote for New Name

At our Special Membership Meeting held in Toronto on October 16, 2004, NFB:AE members voted to change the name of our organization to Alliance for Equality of Blind Canadians/L'Alliance pour l'Egalite des Personnes Aveugles du Canada. Industry Canada must still approve this change. We hope to introduce the new name in early 2005. Stay tuned for details.

Photo: NFB:AE board of directors, posing for a photo in Toronto. From left to right: Penny Leclair, John Rae, Rick Oakes, Marcia Cummings, Paul Thiele, Denise Sanders and Robin East.

  • NFB:AE Participates in CAB Consultations

In response to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission's (CRTC) requirement that specialty channels develop a plan to better reflect Canada's diversity, including the presence of persons with disabilities, the Canadian Association of Broadcasters (CAB) convened two focus groups involving a range of organizations, including the two groups that were noted in the CRTC's decision--Don Peuramaki of Fireweed Productions and the NFB:AE. The discussions went well beyond on-air presence, and included such other issues as depiction, employment, and the importance of having persons with disabilities involved directly in determining stories that ultimately are aired. The CAB's action plan has been filed with the CRTC, and can be obtained from the CAB's website or by contacting Monique Henri at:

  • DPI World Summit: Diversity Within

Participation in the Disabled Peoples' International World Summit, which brought together representatives from 107 nations, provided an opportunity to hear progress towards the proposed UN Convention on the Rights of Persons With Disabilities, and to meet individuals from other countries. This will assist with the Canadian Blind Monitor issue on the condition of persons who are blind around the world, scheduled for publication in late 2005.

  • NFB:AE Protests OHRC Cutbacks

The NFB:AE has written to the Attorney General for Ontario and the Chief Commissioner of the Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) to protest planned cutbacks of in-take staff at the OHRC, a move the NFB:AE believes will only make it harder for Ontario's most disadvantaged residents, persons with disabilities and persons whose first language is neither English nor French, to file complaints. For further details, contact our National Office.

  • NFB:AE Participates in Breaking Down Barriers Conference

Participation in the 2nd Breaking Down Barriers Conference, sponsored by Canada-Wide Accessibility for Post-Secondary Students (CanWAPSS), provided the NFB:AE with an opportunity to speak on education issues and the importance of younger people joining the disability rights movement to a largely student audience.

  • NFB:AE Meets with Elections Canada

The NFB:AE met with Elections Canada to discuss removing barriers and improving access to the electoral process so that blind, deaf-blind and partially sighted electors may vote more independently in federal elections. Issues discussed included improvements to the existing template, making their website more user friendly, braille lists of candidates and online voting.

"We were impressed with the planning for change that they have already been considering," said Penny Leclair and Irene Lambert. "The great unknown is how much time they will have to implement any changes before another election is called, and it seems apparent that the Election Act will have to be amended sometime soon."

  • CIBC Credit Card Statements Now Available in Braille

As a result of efforts begun by the NFB:AE, CIBC credit card statements can now be obtained in braille. If you are a customer and wish to take advantage of this new service, contact their toll-free number 1-800-465-4653.