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Highlights of Recent AEBC Activities

  • New Name, Logo and Image

The most important highlight is our new name, Alliance for Equality of Blind Canadians/L'Alliance pour l'galit des Personnes Aveugles du Canada, new look logo and new, fully accessible website: http://www.blindcanadians.ca

See elsewhere in this issue for further details of this exciting change.

  • Assistive Devices Report Key findings from our report on assistive devices across Canada are: 66% of survey participants are unable to acquire all the devices they need, and even 56% living in provinces that have assistive devices programs are unable to acquire all the devices they need; over 88% of survey participants indicated that special devices were essential for accessing information, yet over 76% indicated they needed more devices to access the information needed; existing programs are not adequate; and deaf-blind Canadians have the greatest unmet needs.

Copies of the full report can be obtained from our National Office or found on our website at: http://www.blindcanadians.ca/reports/index.php?ReportID=26

Copies of the report summary may also be obtained from National Office or viewed on our website at: http://www.blindcanadians.ca/reports/index.php?ReportID=27

  • Collective Action Restores Talking Book Library Hours

In January of 2005, representatives from our Victoria Chapter, the Canadian National Institute for the Blind (CNIB) and the Canadian Federation of the Blind (CFB) joined forces with Talking Book Club members to persuade the Greater Victoria Public Library Board to reverse their decision to cut the Talking Book Library hours.

Jerry Chodeckt (one of our new members) led the campaign, and as a result of our combined efforts the Library Board has reversed its decision and has also agreed to consult with the blind community regarding any future service changes.

  • Saskatoon Chapter Surveys Banks on Accessibility Issues

Our Saskatoon Chapter is surveying Canada's major banks and some credit unions, requesting current information on various banking services, including automated teller machines with speech; accessible, secure online and telephone banking; documentation in braille, large print and electronic text files for credit card and bank statements, mortgage and all other financial agreements, contracts and correspondence, and other publications and circulars to customers.

  • Central Okanagan Chapter Announces Essay Contest Winners

The Central Okanagan Chapter conducted an essay contest with students at Okanagan University College, asking students to write an essay of up to 1,000 words on what they think it would be like to wake up blind one morning. Entries are posted on our website at: http://www.blindcanadians.ca/resources

The Chapter has awarded prizes to Shannon Romano and Sarah Cooper, whose entries may be found respectively at: http://www.blindcanadians.ca/resources/essays/differentkind.php and http://www.blindcanadians.ca/resources/essays/wereblind.php

  • ACAT Meeting

At the November meeting of the Minister of Transport's Advisory Committee on Accessible Transportation (ACAT), recommendations adopted included:

That the Minister undertake a review of the Canadian Transportation Agency's process to ensure protection of all disabled persons and seniors travelling within Canada, entering Canada and travelling outside Canada;

That the Minister indicate that the department is ready to discuss movement away from voluntary Codes of Practice and pursue regulation of accessibility;

That the findings of the Service Animal Workshop be used to develop a standard of service for travellers with service animals;

That the visibility of disability awareness training be raised; and

That the Minister encourage recurrent training in all modes in the federal transportation network.

The Committee is at a very crucial turning point, and it is up to the Minister to determine if it is valid and therefore if he is willing to give support for the work being done.

  • Access 2 Entertainment Card

The Motion Picture Theatre Associations of Canada and the National Advisory Committee of Disability Organizations have developed a program that will provide discounted admission to a support person accompanying a person with a disability to member movie theatres across Canada.

Applications for an Access 2 Entertainment card can be found at http://www.Access2.ca or a request for an application can be mailed to: Access 2 Entertainment, 90 Eglinton Ave. E., Suite 208, Toronto, Ont., M4P 2Y3.

  • Presentation at National Education Association of Disabled Students (NEADS) Right On! Conference 2004

The Access to Accessible Materials for Print Disabled Students seminar included discussion on different types of alternative formats, the ways in which books are transcribed, where electronic books can be obtained, pros and cons of scanning material, negative attitudes about alternative formats and the coordination of transcription services.

Terri Hulett discussed current post-secondary human rights cases that have gone to the Supreme Court of Canada and the need for increased advocacy support by/for post-secondary students who have a print disability.

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