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The Canadian Braille Authority

The Canadian Braille Authority, (CBA) is a national organization whose primary goal is to promote braille in Canada. Why is this important? Simply put, there is a myth floating around North America and elsewhere that braille is becoming obsolete. Nothing could be further from the truth, but this myth has received shocking consideration from vocational rehabilitation specialists and educators. No one would ever think of denying sighted people access to print which is their literacy medium, but some people think that because braille is bulky and costly to produce blind people should listen to books and computers rather than reading books or using braille displays. What a ridiculous argument!

The CBA has done some excellent work, largely due to the support of grants from the Braille Literacy Foundation. Work in progress includes: a project working on standards and norms across Canada for the production of tactile products, research regarding the use of braille among blind children, the development of braille standards for professional teachers of braille and more. The CBA also sends representatives to the international committees working on the new Unified Braille Code and to the French Braille Forum.

There is a lot of work that still needs to be done. We need legislation in Canada to protect the rights of blind children and adults to braille literacy. The CBA is working on this, too.

What can you do to help? It is my strong belief that the blind community across Canada, whether braille users or not, needs to support the organization by taking out annual memberships at a cost of $20 per year. As a member of CBA, you will receive at least two newsletters per year, and you will be able to volunteer for committee work that interests you. The CBA also has publications for sale that you can promote in your community.

For more information or a membership application, please E-mail Reta Irwin at: irwinr@east.cnib.ca or write to: The Canadian Braille Authority c/o Reta Irwin 1929 Bayview Avenue,

Toronto, Ontario M4G 3E8

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