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National Meeting in Montreal - 2010 AGM/Conference Report

Editor's Note: Marc Workman has served on AEBC's National Board and is currently the President of the Edmonton Chapter.

The Hotel Espresso in the heart of downtown Montreal was the setting for the 2010 AEBC Conference/Annual General Meeting. The weekend kicked off on Friday evening with a thoughtful and impassioned keynote address by Anna MacQuarrie, Director of Government Relations and Strategic Initiatives with the Canadian Association for Community Living. The topic of her address was the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (adopted by Canada on March 11, 2010).

Throughout the weekend, people visited exhibits and participated in engaging workshops on human rights, using the media, technology, and access to library services. The usual AGM business was conducted. President Robin East welcomed everyone and gave his report, elections were held, door prizes were distributed, and all were able to enjoy the great food and hospitality offered by the Montreal Chapter.

At this year’s Conference, four positions on the National Board were up for election--President, 1st Vice President, Treasurer and Director without Portfolio. Robin East and John Rae were re-elected as President and 1st Vice President respectively. Anthony Tibbs moved from the position of Treasurer to Director without Portfolio, and Nancy Riley joined the National Board as Treasurer.

Denise Sanders, a long-time Director, stepped down from the Board. She has done a tremendous amount of work for the AEBC over the years, and her presence on the National Board will be missed. Fortunately, Denise will continue to advocate locally in the Kelowna Chapter, provincially in the British Columbia Affiliate, and nationally on various committees.

Several important resolutions were debated and passed this year. Among them is a resolution endorsing AEBC’s participation in a coalition of national organizations representing blind, deaf-blind and partially sighted rights holders, and another that established three priority issues for the National Board (in order: website accessibility, access to library services, and access to point-of-sale devices and household products). Participants on these committees are welcome at any time.

Every year, each member organization of the Council of Canadians with Disabilities (CCD) can nominate one individual to receive the Annual CCD Award. The AEBC names the winner of the CCD Award at each year’s AGM, and this year the award was given to long-time advocate Irene Lambert. Irene has worked tirelessly at the local level as the President of the Montreal Chapter and nationally as a Director on the AEBC Board. The recognition of her contribution to improving the lives of blind, deaf-blind and partially sighted Canadians was well deserved.

AEBC also recognizes the member who has made the most significant volunteer contribution during the previous calendar year. This year’s winner of the Volunteer of the Year Award was Richard Quan, former Director on the National Board and current President of the Toronto Chapter. Richard has been a tremendous leader in the Toronto Chapter and has turned it into one of the AEBC’s most active Chapters. It is only through the hard work and determination of our members that the AEBC succeeds in promoting the rights and responsibilities of blind, deaf-blind and partially sighted Canadians.

Many parts of this year’s Conference were recorded including the keynote address, the President’s Report, elections, resolutions, and several workshops. If you would like to receive a CD containing the recordings from the 2010 AGM, simply make a request via AEBC’s toll-free number or email address at the front of this publication.