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Highlights of Recent AEBC Activities

  • AEBC Selects First National Equality Director

Albert Ruel of Victoria, British Columbia, has been hired as AEBC's first National Equality Director.

Albert was born in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, in 1956, and he began work with the MacMillan & Bloedel Plywood Plant in June 1973, following high school, moving to the Paper Mill in November 1974. In May 1977, he began losing his sight from Retinal Vasculitis, and became totally blind in March 1990 from glaucoma.

During the mid 1980s, Albert was a stay-at-home Dad and did all that is required of that challenging work. He took a woodworking course through Alberni's Adult Education program and built and restored several pieces of furniture. Of course, the 1958 Chevy Impala in the garage was his pride and joy, and he devised ways to do much of the work it required. He returned to his job at the Mill in 1985 and resigned in 1992 when he went to work for CNIB in Prince George, BC.

Albert also joined and participated in many community activities, including the local Car Club, and a disability support group that catered to the needs of people with many different disabilities.

"These past 14 years have been a wonderful experience of ongoing discovery for me," says Albert, "as teaching may be the best way to solidify one's own learning.

"For most people blindness generates a fear of extended movement, both within one's home and community, but that doesn't have to be the case. Independence comes from personal desire and increased skill. Remember, life is 10% what happens to you and 90% what you do about/with it."

Albert brings to the position his personal experience with losing vision as an adult, along with 14 years' work in the field.

"I am looking forward to having someone on board who has this much experience, whose job will partly be to bring new ideas, approaches and energy to the work of AEBC," said AEBC President John Rae upon announcing Albert's hiring.

  • 2007 Victoria Conference will Focus on Universal Design

AEBC's 2007 Conference and AGM will be held at the Harbour Towers Hotel, Victoria, during the Victoria Day long weekend, Thursday-Sunday, May 17-20, 2007. The theme of this year's Conference will be Universal Design, and an exciting program of workshops and activities is being planned. Mark your calendars and plan to attend! For more details, contact:

  • AEBC Returns to Winnipeg

AEBC is delighted to again have a chapter in Winnipeg. We welcome the new Chapter executive: Ruth Hogue, Shannon Hannah, Janet Hunt and Christine Ross and look forward to working with them over the months and years ahead.

  • AEBC Publishes Advocacy Manual

"Stand Up! Speak Out! An Advocacy Guide for Blind, Deaf-Blind and Partially Sighted Canadians" by Monika Penner, discusses various kinds of advocacy, provides examples of some past advocacy efforts, and discusses strategies that will assist AEBC to be more effective in our work.

To read the entire manual, visit: (opens in a new window)

  • AEBC Calls for a National Economic Strategy

On October 27, 2006, the AEBC presented a Brief to The Standing Committee on Human Resources, Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities, which was holding hearings on employment across Canada. AEBC's Brief stated in part:

"Over the past two decades, a wide range of employment-related and other programs for persons with disabilities has been carried on by various levels of government, private philanthropic associations and consumer organizations. While some individuals have benefited from these initiatives, taken together, statistics tell us the past efforts represent a failure--the unemployment rate for persons with various disabilities remains a national disgrace in a country as affluent as Canada.

"This stems in part from the nature of many of these initiatives, which have often focused only on employment. To make employment programs more effective, the Government of Canada must take the lead in forging a new National Economic Strategy, based on a more holistic approach, and the tenets of full inclusion and universal design. This Strategy must also address such areas as public transportation, training, access to information, safe and affordable housing, mobility training, and most importantly the historic levels of isolation, unemployment, under-employment, and poverty which remain the reality for so many Canadians with disabilities."

To read the full Brief, visit: (opens in a new window)

  • AEBC 2006 Scholarship Recipients

AEBC's Scholarship Program is an important part of our work. This year, the AEBC would like to congratulate the following recipients of our 2006 Scholarship awards and wish them every success in their futures: Laura Bulk, Victoria, BC; Jennifer Dillon, Toronto, ON; Danielle Laplante-Ip, Montreal, QC; and Jacob Vaynshteyn, Edmonton, AB.

  • Ontario Citizens Assembly

Ontario has appointed a Citizens Assembly to discuss alternatives to the current electoral process, and AEBC has submitted a Brief discussing a variety of access issues.

To read this brief, visit: (opens in a new window)