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Board & Board Bios

2010-11 Board of Directors

President: Robin East, Saskatchewan

Robin East has a Bachelor's degree in Social Work, a Certificate in Rehabilitation Work, and has completed the Assistive Technology Applications Certificate Program through the Center on Disabilities at the California State University. Robin works with the Canada Revenue Agency as a Senior Computer Analyst with the Adaptive Technology Program. He volunteers with many community organizations, one role being Chair of the National Coalition of Blind, Deaf-Blind and Partially Sighted Rights Holder Organizations of Canada (CBRC). Robin believes that "a Rights Holder is like a catalyst that mixes with an ally and inspires empowerment."

1st Vice President: John Rae, Ontario

John retired after a 23-year career in the Ontario Public Service. Over the years, he has served on the boards of many human rights and disability rights organizations. Currently, he represents the AEBC on CCD's (Council of Canadians with Disabilities) National Council, is a member of the Board of ARCH Disability Law Centre, and an active member of the AODA (Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act) Alliance, and the ODSP (Ontario Disability Support Program) Action Coalition. He received the Individual Human Rights Award from the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU) and the AEBC's CCD Award. He is interested in history, world travel, live theatre and music.

2nd Vice President: Donna J. Jodhan, Ontario

Most of Ms. Jodhan’s education is in business management. She has worked in the field of internet technology and is one of the first blind persons to obtain certificates in Microsoft systems engineering and Novelle network administration. She is the owner of Sterling Creations, a company offering services in writing, research, accessibility consulting, translation, and transcription services to governmental departments, companies and individuals. When she is not working, she volunteers on the boards of Citizens With Disabilities of Ontario (CWDO) and Canadian Blind Sports. Ice-skating, playing chess, reading, playing electronic keyboard and cooking are a few things Donna enjoys in her down time.

Secretary: Ashley Shaw, Ontario

Ashley Shaw is currently working on the final requirements of an undergraduate degree in sociology and women's studies at Wilfrid Laurier University. At the graduate level she hopes to study the effects of accessible information technology on education systems. She is also interested in critical disability theory, universal design, and the accessibility of mainstream electronic texts. Ashley enjoys choral music, reading, having coffee with friends and watching Jeopardy.

Director Without Portfolio: Anthony Tibbs, Saskatchewan

Anthony Tibbs, having earned his Bachelor of Commerce and Civil and Common Law degrees, is currently working in articles at Merchant Law Group LLP's Regina office. A former AEBC scholarship recipient, Anthony has been involved in advocacy work for students and people with disabilities since 2002. Having joined AEBC in 2005 as part of the Ottawa Chapter, Anthony has served on the AEBC National Board since 2006.

Director Without Portfolio: Charles Bailey, British Columbia

Charles Bailey graduated from the University of British Columbia with a degree in Psychology. He worked for the CNIB in Prince George, Kelowna, Abbotsford and Vancouver in management, fundraising, and in direct service provision. His career was cut short after a serious accident in 2003. Charles became involved with the AEBC in 2007 and in 2008 established the Fraser Valley Chapter. He is also the President of the AEBC’s BC Affiliate. Charles is married to Laura, and they have one daughter, Robyn. He enjoys reading, a little cooking, and puttering around in his workshop.

Treasurer: Brian Moore, Ontario

For further information on AEBC's Officers, please visit: http://www.blindcanadians.ca.

Our Rights, Our Future: A Rights-Holder Perspective

Editor's Note: The following are notes for the President's Report delivered by Robin at the opening of AEBC's 2010 Conference and Annual General Meeting (AGM) in Montreal, Quebec.

I would like to welcome all of you to our Conference and AGM in Montreal. I am sure you will enjoy your visit here. I hope you meet some old friends and get acquainted with some new folks from across the country. Please join me in thanking the organizing committee--Anthony Tibbs, Marc Workman, Natalie Martiniello, Heather Rupert, Rosie Arcuri, Ezra Chitayat, Paulo Monteagudo--and the rest of the Montreal Chapter for working hundreds of hours to make this weekend a success.

I would also like to thank the 2009-10 Board of Directors for their commitment of valuable time and hard work to the AEBC. Each National Board member devotes many hours each week to promote the goals and objectives of our organization. Denise Sanders is leaving the Board after serving four terms, two each as Treasurer and Director Without Portfolio. She plans to stay involved on the Communications Working Group and will continue to participate with the Kelowna Chapter.

Welcome to all the new members who have joined AEBC during the past year.

To all the Chapters, I thank Executive members for their commitment to the work of AEBC. Also, I would like to thank the Affiliate for all its hard work in British Columbia. Further thanks go out to our National Committees, including scholarship, finance/fundraising, human resources, membership and policy development, and their many working groups.

I am pleased to report that, for the 2009-10 academic year, AEBC awarded three scholarships and two bursaries: The AEBC Rick Oakes Scholarship for the Arts to Mr. Allan Angus; The AEBC National Achievement Scholarship to Mr. Anthony Tibbs; The Alan H. Neville Memorial Scholarship to Ms. Helen McFadyen; The Reverend Leslie Ball Bursary for the Performing Arts to Mr. Koceïla Louali; and The Reverend Leslie Ball Bursary for Vocational Training and Trades to Ms. Stephanie Berry. Congratulations to the winners. We wish them all the best in their studies and future plans.

AEBC has been very active during the past year. Discussions have taken place over the past several months between representatives of consumer organizations of blind Canadians, CNIB, the Learning Disabilities Association of Canada and the Council of Canadians with Disabilities. These discussions have been aimed at drafting recommendations on how a new network hub responsible for coordinating access to library services for print disabled Canadians should be designed and operated. Final recommendations were submitted to Library and Archives Canada (LAC), which is drafting a proposal to be sent to Cabinet. There will be future opportunities for AEBC and individual members to have further input into this process.

AEBC’s National Board of Directors has approved these recommendations with one exception: we have a membership resolution in place stating that any entity like the one being proposed be government run and operated. This resolution prevents the AEBC from endorsing that particular recommendation; however, the Board supports the remaining recommendations.

AEBC has also been meeting with other national rights-holder organizations and CNIB to attempt to form a national coalition that will work collaboratively on common issues. The main purpose of these meetings was to build on some of the momentum established over the last several months as these and other disability groups worked on the library issue.

Everyone seemed to agree that the working relationship was positive and productive, but if it is to continue operating as anything more than an ad hoc coalition, we needed to determine and clearly articulate the structure, roles and operations of the coalition and its various member organizations. In May, the groups met for two days in Toronto, and developed terms of reference for the Coalition. Each participating organization is to discuss the outcome of these meetings, and indicate its participation in the coalition. It is expected the groups will not meet again until the fall of 2010, and in the meantime work is to begin on access to PIN-and-card and point-of-sale devices.

A resolution will be introduced to you, the members, at this Conference to endorse AEBC's participation in this coalition.

Over the past year, the AEBC National Board has been engaged in a comprehensive review of our activities. Our goal has been to determine those areas where we are most effective, and those in which our performance or effectiveness could be improved. Discussion of this review will take place at this Conference.

We also need to work on our communications strategy. The present redesign of the national website will go a long way toward addressing this concern, by collecting information on each “issue” (elections, quiet cars, education, etc.) into a central location; however, our internal communications (among Chapters, members and the National Board) also needs an overhaul. This Conference will give you the opportunity, as members, to participate in determining how AEBC will go about communicating our future activities to you. The final plan will need "buy-in" from all levels of the organization--Chapters, committees and the National Board--to be successful.

Several years ago, Donna Jodhan, our 2nd Vice President, launched a Charter case in which she is challenging the Canadian government over inaccessible websites and unequal access to information. Donna, with her lawyers and supporters, including AEBC, has been fighting to force the federal government to make its websites and information accessible and usable. Unfortunately, to date, the Canadian government has ignored all requests to settle this ongoing action. Donna's case, on behalf of all Blind Canadians, will be heard in federal court on September 21-23, 2010. The AEBC fully supports this landmark access case, and we urge members of our community to come out and show their support. (Editor’s Note: Please see “Challenging the System” elsewhere in these pages for further details and an update on the case.)

AEBC continues to submit briefs and make presentations on issues of concern. More and more, we are being recognized by all levels of government as the real voice of Canadians with significant vision impairment.

Our activities over the past year (2009-10) have included: meeting with representatives from the Office of Disability Issues re a national ID card; hosting Michel Grenier, Director of Library and Archives Canada (LAC) at our November Board meeting; making a presentation to the review of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA); a presentation on poverty to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development (HRSD); presenting Webzine on the AODA and the Accessibility Standards development process for Citizens With Disabilities-Ontario (CWDO); a presentation to the Standing Committee on Social Policy for Bill 152, an act respecting a long-term strategy to reduce poverty in Ontario; meeting with HRSD Canada Special Advisor to Minister to discuss funding, hybrid cars, electronic voting, library issues etc.; participating in Canada Transportation Agency Advisory Committee meetings; Speaking on advocacy and facilitating a workshop at the annual Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) Action Coalition Conference, entitled Leading the Way: Developing a Poverty Reduction Strategy for People with Disabilities; speaking on a panel at Sick and Tired of Being Sick and Tired: Taking Action on Poverty, Poor Health and Bad Jobs, sponsored by the Toronto Social Planning Council; and attending the Saskatchewan Legislative Assembly on the introduction of the Blind Voters Rights Bill.

Briefs and position papers we have submitted include: Electoral Accessibility: A Key to Equality, to the Standing Committee on the Legislative Assembly of Ontario; Status of the AODA; Copyright Consultation; National Economic Strategy, to the Standing Committee on Finance; Review of the Municipal Elections Act, to the Ontario Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing; Bill 152, an act respecting a long-term strategy to reduce poverty in Ontario, to the Standing Committee on Social Policy; and Information and Communication Accessibility Standard (ICAS), to the Ontario Ministry of Community and Social Services.

More details on our activities can be found by visiting our website: http://www.blindcanadians.ca (Editor’s Note: Also see “Headlines & Highlights” in these pages for updated information).

Finally, some AEBC members believe our organization would be more successful if we concentrated our efforts on fewer issues. This is an understandable view but potentially problematic, due to the vast number of other barriers blind Canadians continue to face daily. We, as a national organization and the voice of the blind, cannot ignore these issues. However, I believe that becoming more focused on a few issues can be achieved, as long as we still recognize there are many issues related to blindness that need to be addressed, albeit at a lower priority.

Over the past few months, the AEBC Board has been discussing the idea of trying to find three to five "issues" that we, as an organization, can prioritize so that our actions are focused and more effective. A large list of issues that matter to blind, deaf-blind and partially sighted members was drawn up primarily from the brainstorming session at the face-to-face Board meeting that took place in Toronto. We started out with a list of more than 20 items, which we then proceeded to merge and eliminate, combine and rewrite. We also recently conducted a poll among the membership to ascertain which issues you consider the most important. The results will help guide the discussions at this year's Conference.

The outcome of these discussions, in many ways, will be a difficult task for each of you to consider. The issues are all very important, and it will be hard to choose a few that deserve to have a higher priority than others. However, we need to face the question of whether we can achieve more by becoming focused.

An AEBC member is a rights-holder who inspires empowerment and addresses our rights for the future.

Each member of this organization needs to advocate and be part of the common voice of the blind. We, as a community, need to work together, speak out, and take action. We must work in our local Chapters, through our National Committee's, and as a national voice to ensure our rights are entrenched. Our advocacy must become focused, and yet we must continue to address the wide range of barriers we face.

Our rights and our future are in your hands.

2009-10 AEBC Board of Directors

President: Robin East, Saskatchewan

Robin, involved in advocacy since the early 80s, earned a Bachelor's degree in Social Work, as well as certificates in Rehabilitation and Assistive Technology Applications. He is currently a Computer Analyst with the Canada Revenue Agency. Among his numerous volunteer commitments is his position on the Council of Canadians with Disabilities' National Council.

1st Vice President: John Rae, Ontario

John is a retired Program Officer from the Accessibility Directorate of Ontario. Over the years, he has served on the boards of many human rights and disability rights organizations. Currently, he is also 1st Vice Chair of the Council of Canadians with Disabilities, and a member of the Steering Committee of the Ontario Coalition for Social Justice. He received the Individual Human Rights Award from the Ontario Public Service Employees Union and the AEBC's Council of Canadians with Disabilities Award.

2nd Vice President: Donna J. Jodhan, Ontario

Donna's educational background is predominantly in business management, and for the past 15 years she has been owner and President of Sterling Creations. She has succeeded in winning three human rights and charter challenges, and she writes editorials and blogs for several online sources. When she is not working or doing advocacy, she enjoys ice skating, playing chess, reading, playing electronic keyboard, and cooking.

Treasurer: Anthony Tibbs, Quebec

Having already earned a Bachelor of Commerce, Anthony is currently studying Law. During his undergraduate career, he advocated for the creation of a student-run service for learners with disabilities and assisted with its operations. A former AEBC scholarship recipient, he now sits on the Finance/Fundraising Committee, and assists the Education Committee and youth membership development projects.

Secretary: Marc Workman, Alberta

Marc received a Master of Arts in Political Science and is now working towards a PhD in philosophy. He helped establish the Campus Association of Disability Issues and has served it as Vice President External. Marc has also served as Vice President of AEBC's Edmonton Chapter, and is now its President.

Director Without Portfolio: Denise Sanders, British Columbia

Denise joined our organization in 1996, and has served as President of the Central Okanagan Chapter. With a background in business and organizational administration, she developed an AEBC policy manual and an information package for Chapters. Currently, she co-chairs the Human Resources Committee and participates on the Finance/Fundraising Committee. Denise received the AEBC 2005 Council of Canadians with Disabilities Award.

Director Without Portfolio: Charles Bailey, British Columbia

Charles graduated from the University of British Columbia in 1979, with a degree in Psychology. Over the next 25 years or so, he worked for the CNIB in Prince George, Kelowna, Abbotsford and Vancouver. He held positions in management, fundraising, and in direct service provision. His career was cut short after a serious accident in 2003. Charles became involved with the AEBC in 2007, and in April of 2008 established the Fraser Valley Chapter.

For further information on AEBC's Officers, please visit www.blindcanadians.ca/contact_us/ Follow the links and select a Director's name.

2007-08 AEBC Board of Directors

President: Robin East, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan; email: robin.east@shaw.ca

1st Vice President: John Rae, Toronto, Ontario; email: rae@blindcanadians.ca

2nd Vice President: Richard Quan, Toronto, Ontario; email: quan@blindcanadians.ca

Treasurer: Anthony Tibbs, Montreal, Quebec; email: tibbs@blindcanadians.ca

Secretary: Marcia Cummings, Toronto, Ontario; email: cummings@blindcanadians.ca

Director Without Portfolio: Denise Sanders, Kelowna, British Columbia; email: dsand@shaw.ca

Director Without Portfolio: Devon Wilkins, Collingwood, Ontario; email: wilkins@blindcanadians.ca

2006-07 AEBC Board of Directors

President: John Rae, Toronto, Ontario; email: rae@blindcanadians.ca

1st Vice President: Robin East, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan; email: robin. east@shaw.ca

2nd Vice President: Rick Oakes, Kelowna, British Columbia; email: oakes@blindcanadians.ca

Treasurer: Anthony Tibbs, Montreal, Quebec; email: tibbs@blindcanadians.ca

Secretary: Marcia Cummings, Toronto, Ontario; email: cummings@blindcanadians.ca

Director Without Portfolio: Devon Wilkins, Collingwood, Ontario; email: wilkins@blindcanadians.ca

Director Without Portfolio: Denise Sanders, Kelowna, British Columbia; email: sanders@blindcanadians.ca

Alliance For Equality of Blind Canadians' Inaugural Conference

From Thursday, April 28 to Sunday, May 1, 2005, the Ottawa chapter of the Alliance for Equality of Blind Canadians (AEBC) was thrilled to welcome people and many canine partners to our inaugural conference under the name of AEBC.

The conference took place at the Aristocrats suites hotel in downtown Ottawa. A week prior to the conference, I conducted a disability awareness seminar for hotel staff. The seminar was well attended and the staff was wonderfully helpful throughout our stay.

On Thursday evening registration took place, and the Ottawa chapter hosted a "meet and greet", complete with food and a welcome cake.

Also on Thursday afternoon and Friday morning, the vendors were set up with their displays. Many companies were represented and the area was very popular. We thank Humanware for donating a daisy player as a prize.

On Friday morning we started bright and early with the president's message delivered by our fearless leader, John Rae. Next we had a panel discussion about future directions for people with disabilities. Panelists included Traci Walters from the Canadian Association of Independent Living Centres (CAILC), Helen Simson from the Canadian National Institute for the blind (CNIB), and Marie White from the Council of Canadians with Disabilities (CCD). Their discussion left us with much to ponder over lunch.

Friday afternoon consisted of two sets of three workshops. Workshops were popular and well attended. Themes included future of employment, future of travel and transportation, Working with the Media, Duty to Accommodate, Future of Technology, and Future of Library Services/Access to Information. Thanks to everyone who led a workshop.

Saturday morning was spent in various discussions, including the future of AEBC and where we might want to focus our efforts in upcoming years. The afternoon was spent debating resolutions and other business matters. For a complete list of resolutions, please visit our website at:

http://www.blindcanadians.ca

A candidates' forum for those running for election to the AEBC Board of Directors also took place Saturday afternoon, and elections were held Sunday morning.

John Rae was re-elected as President, Rick Oakes was elected as Second Vice President, Marcia Cummings was acclaimed as Secretary, and Devon Wilkins was elected as Director without Portfolio. Congratulations to everyone who ran for board positions. No, we were not bored with the board elections!

After elections, more resolutions were debated. The meeting adjourned around lunchtime and Chapter presidents held a meeting, as did the new and old boards.

But the conference was not all business. We had a lot of fun socializing too.

There were over 15 guide dogs at the conference. I am not sure what they debated while lying under the tables in the conference room.

I shared a room in the hotel with two other women and our three guide dogs. At night when the harnesses were off, two of these guides wrestled and wrestled and ran around like fools. My golden retriever rolls her eyes and says that wasn't her! But I know differently. I don't have pictures to prove it though.

The other canine resident of our room went and hid in the closet during this wild canine party. So our room contained at least two party animals.

We had two optional dinners, which many of us attended. One was at a local Mexican restaurant where over twenty of us went to eat. The other was in the restaurant at the hotel.

The socializing did not end there though. There seemed to be at least two party rooms on my floor alone and the amount of coffee made and consumed would make your head spin and your heart race!

One delegate attending the conference suggested that we sing the resolutions being debated to make things a little livelier. Maybe we will form the AEBC choir in the next year or so to accommodate this wish at the next conference?

The weather was generally good and the company was wonderful. Some people said they did not want to leave. We in Ottawa thank everyone who attended and hope that you visit us again very soon.

2005-06 AEBC BOARD OF DIRECTORS

President: John Rae, Toronto, Ontario; email: rae@blindcanadians.ca

1st Vice President: Penny Leclair, Ottawa, Ontario; email:

leclair@blindcanadians.ca

2nd Vice President: Rick Oakes, Kelowna, British Columbia; email:

oakes@blindcanadians.ca

Treasurer: Denise Sanders, Kelowna, British Columbia; email:

sanders@blindcanadians.ca

Secretary: Marcia Cummings, Toronto, Ontario; email:

cummings@blindcanadians.ca

Director Without Portfolio: Robin East, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan; email:

east@blindcanadians.ca

Director Without Portfolio: Devon Wilkins, Collingwood, Ontario; email:

wilkins@blindcanadians.ca

2004-05 NFB:AE Board of Directors

President: John Rae

John Rae works as a Program Officer in the Accessibility Directorate of the Ontario Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration in Toronto. During his 24-year career in the Ontario Public Service, he was a Consultant with the Centre for Disability and Work and later an Education Officer with the former Employment Equity Commission.

John Rae has been a board member of many human and disability rights organizations. He has been President of PAL Reading Service, the Canadian Legal Advocacy, Information and Research Association of the Disabled(CLAIR), the Blind Organization of Ontario with Self-Help Tactics (BOOST), the Don Vale Community Centre, and Co-chaired the Coalition on Human Rights for the Handicapped, which secured the first human rights coverage for persons with disabilities in Ontario. He now represents the NFB:AE on the National Council of the Council of Canadians With Disabilities (CCD).

In April of 2000, he received the Individual Human Rights Award from the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU), and currently serves on several Committees within the Canadian Labour movement across Canada.

In June, 2004, he was elected to the Board of the Canadian Centre on Disability Studies, where he plans to bring his views on consumer involvement in all new research to the work of the Centre.

Contact John Rae via email: rae@nfbae.ca

First Vice President: Penny Leclair

In 1952, Penny began life fighting for survival as an identical twin born three months premature in Windsor, Ontario. Since then, Penny has fought to survive and participate in Canadian life.

Penny attended regular kindergarten in her community after convincing her parents and the teacher that she could join the class and do what other students did. She Attended the Jericho Hill School for the Blind in Vancouver, where she graduated grade ten, and attended Killarney Senior secondary School in Vancouver for grades 11 and 12.

Penny married shortly after high school and has one son who lives in Vancouver.

In 1984, Penny graduated from the British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT) with a diploma in Business Administration. She was the first deaf-blind person to attend BCIT. Due to significant hearing loss after graduating, Penny found it difficult to secure paid employment, but her volunteer work utilizes this education.

Penny has served on national, provincial and district committees and advisory boards of the Canadian National Institute for the Blind (CNIB) with an interest in improving client services.

Penny moved to Ottawa in 1997 due to her husband finding work there, and was an active member of the community during the seven years she lived there. This experience gives Penny a true appreciation of how different life is for a person who is deaf-blind, partially sighted and blind in eastern and western Canada.

Penny served as a motivational speaker of the Ottawa United Way/centraide speaker's bureau, where she often spoke to the members of the campaign cabinet during training sessions and motivational sessions. In 1998, she received the Ottawa United Way/Centraide Community builder award.

The Mayor of Ottawa appointed Penny to the accessibility advisory committee of the city of Ottawa in 2001 as one of 13 members. During her two years of service, she chaired the accessible pedestrian signals subcommittee and led the way for developing the alternative format policy of the city of Ottawa.

From 2000 to 2003, Penny attended Algonquin College in Ottawa, where she was enrolled in the Massage Therapy Program. She was the first student who is deaf-blind to attend this college.

In September, 2003, Penny was honoured with the Peggy Allan Memorial Award, presented annually to an Ottawa citizen who has done outstanding work to improve accessibility for other Ottawa citizens who are disabled. She was also the recipient of the 2004 NFB:AE/CCD Award.

Penny has been active with the Ontarians with Disabilities Act (ODA) committee, and has made various presentations in support of a strong ODA that will bring down barriers for disabled Ontarians.

Penny is a current member of the Canadian Society of the Deaf-blind (CNSDB), serves on the Guide Dog Users of Canada (GDUC) Board of Directors where she is the chair person of the GDUC Wellness Fund for guide dogs, a member of the board of directors of Advocates for Sight Impaired consumers (ASIC), and a member of the British Columbia Association of the Deaf-blind.

Through working with the NFB:AE board of directors, Penny hopes to help members to support one another to bring down personal barriers so that all people who are blind, partially sighted and deaf-blind will have more access to their communities in the future.

Penny lives in Ottawa and can be reached via email: leclair@nfbae.ca

Second Vice President: Paul E. Thiele

Paul Thiele was born in Poland and grew up in Germany. He was born totally blind due to congenital cataracts, regained 10% eyesight after a series of operations, and came to Canada in 1958.

Paul Thiele holds a B.A. in Sociology and Literature and an M.A. in Comparative Literature from the University of British Columbia (UBC).

Paul Thiele was Founder and Director of the Crane Library and Resource Centre at UBC. Prior to taking early retirement, he was Senior Client Advisor, Crane Library and UBC Disability Resource Centre, and he has also taught courses in Special Education and Library Science.

His many involvements include the B.C. Premier's Advisory Committee for Persons with Disabilities, UNESCO mission to Kenya and Eastern Africa to establish post-secondary student support systems for blind and vision-impaired students in Eastern Africa, founding member of the International Federation of Library Association's Committee on Services and Technical Supports for the Blind, 1981 International Year of Disabled Persons federal and provincial Organizing committees, and he is past Chair of the National Board of Directors of VOICEPRINT/National Broadcast Reading Service.

Paul Thiele is currently enrolled in Computer Studies at Vancouver Community College, and is establishing a private consulting/advisory/case management company for blind, vision-impaired and physically disabled persons.

He was recently appointed to the Canadian Network for Cultural Exchange (CNICE) Advisory Panel--a project spearheaded by the Adaptive Technology Resource Centre, University of Toronto, whose purpose "is to ensure that Canadian cultural content online and the tools to participate in creating this content are accessible to everyone in Canada, including persons with disabilities."

Contact Paul Thiele via email: thiele@nfbae.ca

Treasurer: Denise Sanders

Denise Sanders' career background has included Administrative Facilitator with the Elizabeth Fry Society in Kelowna, owner of a telephone answering service and administrative positions with various organizations.

In 1996, she joined the NFB:AE and has been President of the Kelowna Chapter for the past five years. She was elected to her second term as National Treasurer at the 2004 annual general meeting.

Contact Denise Sanders via email: sanders@nfbae.ca

Secretary: Marcia Cummings

Marcia Cummings was born and raised in North York, now part of the mega city of Toronto.

After attending nursery school and kindergarten in her own neighbourhood, she spent three years at the Ontario School for the Blind (since renamed the W. Ross Macdonald School). However, to her great delight, her parents were approached during the third year with an offer of schooling for her back home in North York. They gladly agreed, and she finished elementary, junior high and high school there.

After high school, she attended Trebas Institute of Recording Arts, but was unable to break into the music industry, and therefore sought a job elsewhere.

Marcia became the first blind Customer Service Representative at Rogers Cable TV-Toronto, and has assisted in training other successful candidates over the past 17 years.

Marcia is active in the Ontarians with Disabilities Act (ODA) Committee, and has attended all candidates' meetings, committee hearings and other events on their behalf. She is very interested in increasing public education about people with disabilities and their right to respect and dignity. She is also the NFB:AE representative to both the Minister of Transportation's Advisory Committee on Accessible Transportation and the Canadian Transportation Agency's Advisory Committee.

Contact Marcia Cummings via email: cummings@nfbae.ca

Director Without Portfolio: Robin East

Robin East has a Bachelor's Degree in Social Work and a Certificate In Rehabilitation. He has worked as a Teacher Associate, a Behavioural Therapist, and finally an Officer with the Federal Public Service.

At the age of 43 Robin and his wife, Verlina, try to keep up with their three children ages 15, 13 and 10. Add to this volunteer work with the Community, the Union, the Province of Saskatchewan and the NFB:AE, and there isn't much time left in his schedule.

Robin's volunteer activities include: Chairing a Human Rights committee in Saskatoon; representing Equity groups for the Prairies through his union, the Public service Alliance of Canada (PSAC); Representative for Persons with Disabilities on a Human Rights committee for the Saskatchewan Federation of Labour; member of the Ministers' Council for the Office of Disability Issues for the Province of Saskatchewan; President of his Community Association in the City of Saskatoon; and President of the Saskatoon Chapter of the NFB:AE.

Robin has recently stepped down from his voluntary position as ACCESS Representative for Persons with Disabilities for the PSAC at the National level. He informed his alternate that he would step down prior to the ACCESS conference so that the Alternate could gain some experience at the National level. He believes strongly in "successor" planning so information and experiences can be shared and not hoarded.

"An advocate is like a catalyst that mixes with an ally and inspires empowerment" is a favourite phrase of Robins. He believes in working with ally's to overcome barriers and address common issues. He has been involved in advocacy since the early 80's and continues to be a strong leader in whatever role he takes.

Contact Robin East via email: east@nfbae.ca

Director Without Portfolio: Rick Oakes

Rick Oakes was born in Kelowna, B.C. in 1951. Vision-impaired since birth, Rick lost the remainder of his sight in his mid thirties.

Graduating from high school in 1969, he proceeded to relocate to Vancouver and work for Cater Plan, a division of CNIB.

In 1973, he entered the music industry retailing and wholesaling electronic keyboards throughout the four Western provinces. While working in the music industry, he lived in Prince George, Vancouver, Victoria, Nanaimo and Calgary.

While in Calgary, Oakes' career was highlighted when he was hired by the Calgary Flames hockey team to be the organist at home games. He received a letter of reprimand from the National Hockey League when he played the song "Three Blind Mice" when the officials skated onto the ice at the beginning of a game.

Oakes left the music industry in 1986 due to health issues; at that time he was the sales manager for retail and wholesale distribution for Western Canada.

Rick Oakes accepted a position with the CNIB as district manager for Vancouver, the Lower Mainland and the South Coast in 1991. However, he again had to leave his work in 1993 due to health reasons.

In 1994, Rick, his wife Chantal and their two little girls relocated to Kelowna. Rick and Chantal joined the NFB:AE in 1994 and watched the group go through the initial growing pains.

Rick has served on various boards of non-profit service clubs, including President of the Western Association of the Visually Handicapped in the mid 1980's.

Contact Rick Oakes via email: oakes@nfbae.ca

2003-04 NFB:AE Board of Directors

President: John Rae

John Rae is a Program Officer in the Accessibility Directorate of the Ontario Ministry of Citizenship in Toronto. During his 23-year career in theOntario Public Service, he was a Consultant with the Centre for Disability and Work and later an Education Officer with the former Employment EquityCommission.

John Rae has been a Board Member of many human and disability rights organisations. He has been President of PAL Reading Service, the Canadian Legal Advocacy, Information and Research Association of the Disabled(CLAIR), the Blind Organization of Ontario with Self- Help Tactics, (BOOST)and the Don Vale Community Centre. He also spent two years on the Board of BALANCE, which he has supported since its earliest days, and Co-chaired the Coalition on Human Rights for the Handicapped, which obtained the first human rights coverage for persons with disabilities in Ontario.

In April 2000, he received the Individual Human Rights Award from the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU), and currently serves on several Committees within the Canadian Labour movement at the provincial and national levels.

John Rae is a world traveler, who is interested in many kinds of music, history, reading and writing.

Contact John Rae via e-mail: thepenguin@rogers.com

First Vice President: Beryl Williams

Beryl Williams was born in England in 1939, and came to Canada in 1964, settling in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. She has experienced significant sight loss since her teen years. She was educated in a mainstream environment throughout her education, and trained as an early Childhood teacher and worked for five years in this capacity in the U.K.

Beryl Williams has three children, and four grandchildren. Since her husband's retirement, they have been returning to the U.K. for three months every winter and enjoy returning regularly to their roots with all its early memories, family and friends .

She considers herself very fortunate to have been introduced to computers and all the wonderful world of communication and information it avails.

She enjoys the spoken word and music from all available sources, and loves to cook and bake for friends and family. She also enjoys walking, swimming and cross country skiing.

Beryl Williams has a keen interest in social activism, along with a critical and enquiring interest in world politics and the social order.

Blindness has always been a significant factor in her life and that of her family, which has fueled a keen desire to seek solutions to blindness-related concerns and issues.

Contact Beryl Williams via e-mail: beryl@digimax.com

Second Vice President: Paul E. Thiele

Paul Thiele was born in Poland, and grew up in Germany. He was born totally blind due to congenital cataracts, regained 10% eyesight after a series of operations, and came to Canada in 1958.

Paul Thiele holds a BA. in Sociology and Literature and an M.A. in Comparative Literature from the University of B.C. Paul Thiele was Founder and Director of the Crane Library and ResourceCentre at the University of B.C. Prior to taking early retirement, he wasSenior Client Advisor, Crane Library and UBC Disability Resource Centre, and he has also taught courses in Special Education and Library Science.

His many involvements include the B.C. Premier's Advisory Committee for Persons with Disabilities, UNESCO mission to Kenya and Eastern Africa to establish post secondary student support systems for blind and vision-impaired students in Eastern Africa, founding member of the International Federation of Library Association's Committee on Services and Technical Supports for the Blind, 1981 International Year of Disabled Persons federal and provincial organizing committees, and he is currently Chair of the National Board of Directors, VOICEPRINT/National Broadcast Reading Service.

Paul Thiele is currently enrolled in Computer Studies at Vancouver Community College, and is establishing a private consulting / advisory / case management company for blind, vision-impaired and physically disabled persons.

He was recently appointed to the Canadian Network for Cultural Exchange (CNICE) Advisory Panel, - a project spear-headed by the Adaptive Technology Centre, University of Toronto, whose purpose "is to ensure that Canadian cultural content on-line and the tools to participate in creating this content are accessible to everyone in Canada, including persons with disabilities".

Contact Paul Thiele via e-mail: pthiele@shaw.ca

Treasurer: Denise Sanders

Denise Sanders has been employed with the C.O. Elizabeth Fry Society in Kelowna for six years as Administrative Facilitator. Her career background has included owner of a telephone answering service and administrative positions with various organizations.

In 1996, she joined the NFB:AE and has been President of the Kelowna Chapter for the past four years.

Contact Denise Sanders via e-mail: dsand@shaw.ca

Secretary: Marcia Cummings

Marcia Cummings was born and raised in North York, now part of the mega city of Toronto.

After attending nursery school and kindergarten in her own neighbourhood, she spent three years at the Ontario School for the Blind (since renamed the W. Ross Macdonald School). However, to her great delight, her parents were approached during the third year with an offer of schooling for her back home in North York. They gladly agreed, and she finished elementary, junior high and high school there.

After high school, she attended Trebas Institute of Recording Arts, but was unable to break into the music industry, and therefore sought a job elsewhere.

Marcia Cummings became the first blind Customer Service Representative at Rogers Cable TV-Toronto, and has assisted in training other successful candidates over the past sixteen years.

Marcia Cummings is active in the Ontarians with Disabilities Act (ODA) Committee, and has attended all-candidates' meetings, committee hearings and other events on their behalf. She is very interested in increasing public education about people with disabilities and their right to respect and dignity.

Contact Marcia Cummings via e-mail: the_cats_meow@rogers.com

Director Without Portfolio: Brian Moore

Brian Moore was born in Montreal. He obtained a B.S.W. from the University of Calgary, and worked as a social worker for several years before changing careers in 1996.

Brian Moore is now a Technical Support Consultant, with Frontier Computing in Toronto, and describes himself as a "computer nerd."

Brian Moore is currently Chair of Balance, a life skills program for adults who are blind in Toronto. He is recently married, obtained a dog guide named Theo and loves history and reading.

Contact Brian Moore via e-mail: admin@screenreview.org

Director Without Portfolio: Linda Bartram

Linda Bartram is married with two boys in their late teens. She has a background in physiotherapy, having worked both in England and Victoria, BC.

More recently she completed a Certificate in Gerontology and is working part-time for the Vancouver Island Health Authority. She also has a Fitness Instructors certificate and has been trained as a peer counselor.

Linda Bartram has held many volunteer positions and served on several boards, both at her Church and at the CNIB. She founded the Visually Impaired Parents' Support group and is one of the co-founders of the Retinitis Pigmentosa Resource Network.

She coordinates the CNIB Info Line in Victoria. She also loves to travel, garden and pursue other outdoor recreational activities, and of course, her guide dog, Kirsty.

Contact Linda Bartram via e-mail: labartram@shaw.ca

2002-03 NFB:AE Board of Directors

PRESIDENT: JOHN RAE

John Rae is a Program Officer in the Accessibility Directorate of the Ontario Ministry of Citizenship in Toronto. During his 22-year career in the Ontario Public Service, he held the position of Consultant with the Centre for Disability and Work and later was an Education Officer with the former Employment Equity Commission.

John Rae has been a Board Member of many community and human rights organisations, including two recent years with BALANCE, a life skills program for blind adults in Toronto, which he has supported since its earliest days. He has also been President of several organisations, including PAL Reading Service, the Canadian Legal Advocacy, Information and Research Association of the Disabled (CLAIR), the Blind Organization of Ontario with Self- Help Tactics, (BOOST) and the Don Vale Community Centre. He also co-chaired the Coalition on Human Rights for the Handicapped, which obtained the first human rights coverage for persons with disabilities in Ontario.

In April 2000, John Rae received the Individual Human Rights Award from the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU).In March, 2001, he was elected to OPSEU's Provincial Human Rights Committee, and now serves on several other Committees within the Canadian Labour movement at the provincial and national levels.

Contact John Rae: E-mail: thepenguin@rogers.com

FIRST VICE PRESIDENT: BERYL WILLIAMS

Beryl Williams was born in England in 1939, and came to Canada in 1964, settling in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. She has experienced significant sight loss since her teen years. She was educated in a mainstream environment throughout her education, and trained as an early childhood teacher and worked for five years in this capacity in the U.K.

Beryl Williams has three children, and three grandchildren. Since her husband's retirement, they have been returning to the U.K. for three months every winter and enjoy returning regularly to their roots with all its early memories, family and friends .

She considers herself very fortunate to have been introduced to computers and all the wonderful world of communication and information it avails. She enjoys the spoken word and music from all available sources, and loves to cook and bake for friends and family. She also enjoys walking, swimming and cross country skiing. Beryl Williams has a keen interest in social activism, along with a critical and enquiring interest in world politics and the social order.

Blindness has always been a significant factor in her life and that of her family, which has fueled a keen desire to seek solutions to blindness-related concerns and issues.

Contact Beryl Williams: E-mail: beryl@digimax.com

SECOND VICE PRESIDENT: PAUL E. THIELE

Paul Thiele was born in Poland, and grew up in Germany. He was born totally blind due to congenital cataracts, regained 10% eyesight after a series of operations in Germany, and came to Canada in 1958.

Paul Thiele holds a BA. in Sociology and Literature and an M.A. in Comparative Literature from the University of B.C.

Paul Thiele was Founder and Director of the Crane Library and Resource Centre at the University of B.C. and prior to taking early retirement was Senior Client Advisor, Crane Library and UBC Disability Resource Centre. While at UBC, he also taught courses in Special Education and Library Science.

His many involvements include the B.C. Premier's Advisory Committee for Persons with Disabilities, UNESCO mission to Kenya and Eastern Africa to establish post secondary student support systems for blind and vision-impaired students in Eastern Africa, founding member of the International Federation of Library Association's Committee on Services and Technical Supports for the Blind, 1981 International Year of Disabled Persons federal and provincial organizing committees, and he is currently Chair of the National Board of Directors, VOICEPRINT/National Broadcast Reading Service.

Paul Thiele is currently enrolled in Computer Studies at Vancouver Community College, and is establishing a private consulting/advisory/case management company for blind, vision-impaired and physically disabled persons.

Contact Paul Thiele: E-mail: pthiele@shaw.ca

TREASURER DENISE SANDERS

Denise Sanders has been employed with the Elizabeth Fry Society in Kelowna for the past six years as Administrative Facilitator. Her career background has included owner of a telephone answering service and administrative positions with various organizations.

In 1996, she joined the NFB:AE and has been President of the Kelowna Chapter for the past four years.

Contact Denise Sanders: E-mail: dsand@silk.net

SECRETARY: MARCIA CUMMINGS

Marcia Cummings was born and raised in North York, now part of the mega city of Toronto. After attending nursery school and kindergarten in her own neighborhood, she spent three years at the Ontario School for the Blind (since renamed the W. Ross Macdonald School). However, to her great delight, her parents were approached during the third year with an offer of schooling for her back home in North York. They gladly agreed, and she finished elementary, junior high and high school there. After high school, she attended Trebas Institute of Recording Arts, but was unable to break into the music industry, and therefore sought a job elsewhere.

Marcia Cummings became the first blind Customer Service Representative at Rogers Cable TV-Toronto, and has assisted in training other successful candidates over the past fifteen years.

Marcia Cummings is active in the Ontarians with Disabilities Act (ODA) Committee, and has attended all-candidates' meetings, committee hearings and other events on their behalf. She is very interested in increasing public education about people with disabilities and their right to respect and dignity.

Contact Marcia Cummings:

E-mail:the_cats_meow@rogers.com

DIRECTOR AT LARGE: DIANE DOBSON

Born & raised in BC. Diane Dobson attended UBC where she was a fine arts major. She worked as a graphic artist untill she had a stroke at AGE 45 that left her a wheelchair user [hemmi-plegic]. When she lived on the lower mainland, she helped form an access group called it Access Awareness which worked very hard to make the lower mainland fully accessible. She joined the transit commission to fight for full accessibility.

Through the BCPA Diane Dobson learned how to fight for access using the Human rights commission and enjoyed winning battles for herself and others.

About 10 years later she lost her vision through diabetes and still enjoys the fight. Without a commission, winning will be next to impossible! Diane Dobson serves on two other boards for persons with disabilities, and two access committees in her area Esquimalt, Victoria. Her latest project is to make the local recreation center completely accessible for persons with all types of disabilities.

Contact Diane Dobson: E-mail: dobson@islandnet.com

DIRECTOR AT LARGE: SARA BENNETT

Sara Bennett is a University of Guelph graduate with subsequent training as a rehabilitation teacher of the blind from Mohawk College. She has worked at a distress line, as a transportation co-ordinator, Braille tutor and speaker.

She currently serves on the NFB:AE's Publications committee. She is also on the board of the Ontario chapter of the Association for Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired (AER). Sara writes blindness-related articles.

Contact Sara Bennett: E-mail: saralb@sympatico.ca

Board Members 2001

President: Gord Dingle

Gord Dingle graduated from the University of Western Ontario with a background in Sociology and Communications. Gord's activities and interests are varied. Currently, Gord is President of the National Federation of the Blind: Advocates for Equality, and a member of the Board of Directors of the Ontario Division of the Canadian Council of the Blind (CCB). He is also one of Canada's four Delegates to the World Blind Union, and a Member of its North American Caribbean Region. In addition he serves on several local and regional Committees in Sarnia, Ontario.

Gord's career path has included employment with the CNIB, CCB National and self- employment, and even a term as a Town Councilor in the Town of Port Elgin, Ontario. Presently, he is under contract as Coordinator of Activities and Operations of the Sarnia Lambton White Cane Center, a storefront operation serving as an information, resource and referral facility. "The Center exemplifies what consumers can do for themselves in the community."

Contact Gord Dingle at: 1472 Baxter Avenue, Sarnia, ON N7V 3N1 Home phone: (519)- 332-3670 Work phone: (519)-- 337 3606 E-mail: gdingle@ebtech.net

First Vice-President: Ross Eadie

Ross Eadie is currently running his own business called Info Equity Inc., which produces accessible documents, trains people who are blind to use computers, provides accessibility consultations on the built environment, and provides computer consultations to the general public.

Ross's past work experience has included being a financial manager, caretaker, painter, 7 Eleven clerk, a McDonalds manager at 17 years old, and a building maintenance worker at 14 years old. Since losing his eyesight in 1984, Ross has graduated with honors from college with a Diploma in Business Administration. He worked as the financial manager/computer coordinator for the Independent Living Resource Center (ILRC) in Winnipeg, where he became involved with the disability rights consumer movement. He has sat on and held officer positions on many committees and organizations since 1990. Acting chairperson and member of the City of Winnipeg's Access Advisory Committee was one of his major commitments in the 1990s.

Ross is a political activist who has run and almost became a City of Winnipeg Councilor and Member of the Legislative Assembly of Manitoba for the NDP.

Contact Ross Eadie at: 90 Rupertsland Blvd., Winnipeg, MB R2V 0E6

Phone: (204)-339-5707

E-mail: ross@infoequity.mb.ca

Second Vice-President: Richard Marion

Richard Marion is currently employed in finance and administration in his family's commercial trucking and construction company, R. Marion & Sons Trucking Ltd. in Vancouver, British Columbia.

In 1993 Richard graduated from Douglas College with a degree in Business Administration. Richard was one of the first participants in the teen computer camp program SCORE. He was appointed to a BC government committee that worked on issues dealing with Building Accessibility for persons with disabilities. Other previous involvements include memberships on the boards of the Canadian Council of the Blind BC/Yukon Division and BC Coalition of People with Disabilities. Richard also held the positions of advisory board member for the Lower Mainland district of the Canadian National Institute for the Blind, Vice-President External of the Douglas College Students Society, and president of the BC Educational Association of Disabled Students. Most recently, Richard was the President of the National Federation of the Blind: Advocates for Equality.

Contact Richard Marion at: #304 - 515 Whiting Way, Coquitlam, BC V3J 7W9

Home Phone: (604)-936-4698

Work: (604)-942-8227

Fax: (604)-299 8315

E-mail: rmarion@telus.net

Treasurer: John Rae

John Rae is a Program Officer in the Equal Opportunity and Disability Partnerships unit of the Ontario Ministry of Citizenship in Toronto. During Johns 21-year career in the Ontario Public Service, he held the position of Education Officer with the former Employment Equity Commission and was a Consultant with the Center for Disability and Work.

John has been a Board Member of many community and human rights organizations, and has been President of several organizations, including PAL Reading Service, the Canadian Legal Advocacy, Information and Research Association of the Disabled (CLAIR), the Blind Organization of Ontario with Self-Help Tactics, (BOOST) and the Don Vale Community Centre. He also co-chaired the Coalition on Human Rights for the Handicapped, which obtained the first human rights coverage for persons with disabilities in Ontario.

In April 2000, John received the Individual Human Rights Award from the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU). In June 2000, John was elected to the Board of Directors of BALANCE, a life skills program for blind adults in Toronto, which he has supported since its earliest days.

In March, 2001, John was elected to OPSEU's Provincial Human Rights Committee, and he now serves on several other Committees within the Canadian labour movement.

Contact John Rae at: #304 - 192 Jarvis Street, Toronto, ON M5B 2J9

Home Phone:(416)-941-1547

Work phone: (416)-325-6253

Fax: (416)-326-9725

E-mail: penguin1002@yahoo.com

Secretary: Michael Yale

Mike Yale was born in the U.S. but has been a Canadian citizen since 1975. He has worked in the human rights and disability rights movements since attending University in Berkeley, California, in 1961. After coming to Canada in the late 1960's, Mike attended Osgoode Hall Law School, but decided to serve as a community worker in Toronto.

Mike co-founded the Blind Organization of Ontario With Self-Help Tactics (BOOST) in 1975, and served as its first President. Mike has held a number of positions on community boards and committees, and was employed by both the Canadian and Ontario Human Rights Commissions, as an investigator, and worked as an appeals officer with the Ontario Information and Privacy Commission.

Mike continues to push hard for consumer control of agencies and services, and remains committed to the rights of all so-called disadvantaged people.

Contact Michael Yale at: 27 Cann St., Huntsville, ON P1H 1K7

Phone: (705)-789-1546

E-mail: doreen@accglobal.net

Director: Irene Lambert

Irene Lambert is a senior, Mother, community activist and advocate for equality. Presently, she is a member of the board of directors of the National Federation of the Blind: Advocates for Equality, President of the Low Vision Self-Help Association and President of the Montreal Association for the Blind's Users' Committee.

She is a competitive blind lawn bowler and past president of the Quebec Blind Lawn Bowling association. Public speaking engagements on Adjustment to Blindness, Equal Access and Equal Rights are frequently a part of her agenda. Among her numerous past involvements are participation in the development of Law IX, in Quebec, (An act to ensure rights for persons with disabilities), and her trip to China to study the education of the blind.

Irene is a graduate of Lindsay Hopkins Technical School, Miami, Florida, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pa., and has done graduate studies at Concordia University, Montreal. Besides her membership with NFBAE, she also is a member of ACB, RAAMM, and AER.

Contact Irene Lambert at: 330 - 5 Somervale Gardens, Pointe Claire, QU H9R

Phone: (514)-630-6978

E-mail: ilambert@autoroute.net

Director: Corry Stuive

Corry Stuive is the owner of Majestic Sound, a recording studio in Victoria, BC. Corry's media background includes employment at CFRN and QCTV in Edmonton, and has done a great deal of work with the National Broadcast Reading Service (VoicePrint) as a volunteer and staff member.

Corry is the former National Executive Director of the Canadian Council of the Blind, based in Ottawa. He has been involved with NFB:AE for the past 5 years.

Contact Corry at: #11 - 616 Hillside Avenue, Victoria, BC V8T 1Z2

Phone: (250)--383-6433

E-mail: corry@majesticsound.ca

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