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Resolutions Passed By The National Federation of The Blind: Advocates For Equality At The February 1998 Convention

RESOLUTION 9801

WHEREAS the National Federation of the Blind: Advocates for Equality supports Braille literacy for all blind people, but especially for blind children, and

WHEREAS the quantity and quality of Braille literacy services offered to blind children varies greatly from one part of Canada to another, and from school district to school district within each province, and

WHEREAS it is essential that uniformly high standards for Braille literacy be mandated throughout the country, now therefore

BE IT RESOLVED by the National Federation of the Blind: Advocates for Equality, in convention assembled in the City of Vancouver, British Columbia, this 27th day of February, 1998, that this organization draft language and support its inclusion in the Education Acts of every province which would do the following:

establish standards of Braille proficiency for blind students;

mandate that each blind or visually impaired student will be individually assessed based on those standards and appropriate educational services be provided based on the results of that assessment;

require the certification of teachers of the visually impaired which includes proof of literary Braille competency;

require that those providing text books and other materials for use by Canadian School Districts make those materials available in a computer accessible format suitable for Braille reproduction.

RESOLUTION 9802

WHEREAS one cornerstone of Canadian society is a safety net designed to help those in need, and

WHEREAS truly helping those in need means creating a foundation for people to help themselves out of need, and

WHEREAS access to the safety net for blind people is unnecessarily complex, and

WHEREAS blindness, unlike any other disability, can be accurately medically defined which can eliminate the need for extensive and cumbersome paperwork demonstrating disability, a method which puts the emphasis on inability rather than potential, and

WHEREAS the goal of helping people out of need is thwarted by the severe work disincentives in current law, and

WHEREAS improved work incentives should be made part of provincial welfare and Canada Pension Plan, and

WHEREAS nationalizing and standardizing welfare could achieve these goals most quickly, and progressive provincial legislative assemblies could readily adapt progressive measures which could be used as a model for future federal initiatives, now therefore

BE IT RESOLVED that we call upon the parliament of Canada and legislative assemblies to adopt the medical definition of blindness for establishing the eligibility of blind persons for welfare and Canada Pension, and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED we call upon all levels of government to eliminate work disincentives for the blind in welfare and pension programs as one way to help reduce the 90 percent unemployment rate of the blind.

@BODY TEXT BOL = RESOLUTION 9803

WHEREAS unemployment among blind Canadians of working age is close to 90 percent, a statistic that would set any other class of persons into revolt, and

WHEREAS study of the deplorable situation is obviously in order, and

WHEREAS provincial agencies charged with the responsibility of providing vocational rehabilitation services are supposed to assist blind people in finding jobs, and

WHEREAS with a 90 percent unemployment rate, it appears that agency effort and money are devoted to every disability except blindness, now therefore

BE IT RESOLVED by the National Federation of the Blind: Advocates for Equality, in convention assembled in the City of Vancouver, British Columbia, this 27h day of February, 1998, that we call upon every rehabilitation service annually to publish a list of job titles (without names attached) along with brief job descriptions of the jobs blind persons acquired during the most recent year.

RESOLUTION 9804

WHEREAS the 1998 BC Transit Bus Pass for blind individuals contains name, complete address and other personal information on the front of the pass, thereby placing an already vulnerable population at greater risk, and

WHEREAS the BC Transit Bus Pass for blind individuals is subsidized from public funds, and the verification of legally blind status is obtainable from one's own physician, and

WHEREAS , unless there is a compelling reason to do otherwise, blind persons should receive publicly funded services in the same manner and from the same sources as other citizens, now therefore,

BE IT RESOLVED by the National Federation of the Blind: Advocates for Equality, in convention assembled in the City of Vancouver, British Columbia, this 28th day of February, 1998, that we recommend that

BC Transit Bus Passes issued from this date forward have no identifying information on the pass other than photo identification, the person's city of residence, and the person's province of residence, and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the NFB:AE recommends that BC Transit accept a doctor's verification of legal blindness as another acceptable means of establishing entitlement to a BC Transit Bus Pass, and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that blind individuals be given the option of obtaining their bus pass at any location where BC Transit yearly bus passes are issued.

RESOLUTION 9805

WHEREAS the Bank of Canada has initiated a consultation on the future design of bank notes in order to make them readily identifiable by blind persons, and

WHEREAS most blind Canadians do not need or wish to carry an electronic device in order to read their money, and

WHEREAS there are easier and more practical options available for identifying bank notes now, therefore

BE IT RESOLVED by the NFB:AE in convention assembled in the City of Vancouver, British Columbia, this 28th day of February, 1998, that the NFB:AE opposes electronic bank note readers in favour of alternatives that do not require such devices.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the NFB:AE will constitute a committee to draft a submission on accessible bank notes to be submitted to the Bank of Canada.

RESOLUTION 9806

WHEREAS every blind child in Canada must be taught to travel around the world safely as a blind person, and

WHEREAS without this training, each blind child is at risk of not being able to travel safely and also becoming part of the 90 percent unemployment rate among adult blind Canadians, and

WHEREAS every provincial government must take the responsibility of guaranteeing adequate orientation and mobility services to each and every blind child in their province, now therefore

BE IT RESOLVED by the National Federation of the Blind: Advocates for Equality, in convention assembled in the City of Vancouver, British Columbia, this 27th day of February, 1998, that we insistently demand every provincial government guarantee adequate orientation and mobility to each and every blind child in Canada.

RESOLUTION 9808

WHEREAS of the approximately 90,000 legally blind persons in Canada about 70 percent are aged 60 years or over; and

WHEREAS this percentage is increasing each year, and

WHEREAS the NFB:AE seeks to represent blind Canadians of all age groups; and

WHEREAS the membership of the NFB:AE is heavily weighted in the under 60 age group; and

WHEREAS , the needs and aspirations of the senior blind would be best served if more seniors became members of the NFB:AE, now therefore

BE IT RESOLVED by the National Federation of the Blind: Advocates for Equality, in convention assembled in the City of Vancouver, British Columbia, this 27th day of February, 1998, that the Board of Directors set up a study group or committee to determine how the NFB:AE might broaden its membership base so as to include more senior blind members; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the findings of the study group and the results of any action taken be reported at the next annual convention of the NFB:AE.

RESOLUTION 9809

WHEREAS The National Federation of the Blind: Advocates for Equality (NFB:AE) is Canada's largest advocacy and consumer organization of blind and visually impaired persons, and

WHEREAS many of our members are users of the Crane Library and Resource Centre at the University of British Columbia, either as students in attendance there, as distance users attending other educational institutions or as lifetime users of the collection and materials in alternate formats via community libraries or service agencies, and

WHEREAS we are aware of the pioneering and unique support services developed at Crane which have placed the University of British Columbia at the forefront of accommodations for persons needing alternatives to print and which have earned for Crane broad international recognition as a true Centre of Excellence, and which is attracting students and visitors from other countries, and

WHEREAS we have learned with shock and great dismay that the position of Director of the Crane Resource Centre and Library, held since 1968 by Paul E. Thiele, will be abandoned effective March 1, 1998 and Mr. Thiele is to be reassigned to the lower rank of Advisor in the UBC Disability Resource Centre, now therefore

BE IT RESOLVE D by the National Federation of the Blind Advocates for Equality in convention assembled, this 28th day of February, 1998, in the city of Vancouver, British Columbia, that this organization decries this most ill timed and ill-advised decision which sends a very negative message to the disabled community in general and the visually impaired population in particular; and that we ask the President of the University, Dr. Martha Piper and the Board of Governors to reverse this decision and to reinstate Mr. Thiele immediately in the

Position of Director, Crane Library and Resource Centre because we feel that Crane must continue to have strong, experienced and respected leadership in order to fulfil its mandate and to continue its strategic development and planned growth. We ask further that Crane should continue to maintain a separate and distinct role and function from the UBC

Disability Resource Centre;

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that if the University does not respond favourably to our request, we will take this issue to the media.

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