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History & Achievements

By the Numbers Since 1992

  • 99 Scholarships awarded to date

  • 28 Government submissions

  • 34 Letter writing campaigns

  • 23 Meetings with federal and city officials

  • 15 Appearances at public hearings and standing committees

  • 26 Research briefs and position papers

  • 400,000 Awareness brochures distributed nationwide

Recent Achievements

2024:

 

  • BC Emergency Preparedness Project

  • Submission on ASC Standard on Accessible Emergency Measures

  • Submission on Accessibility Standard for Information and Communication Technology (ICT)

  • Submission on Standard for Plain Language

  • Representation as Session Chair at Rick Hansen Foundation Building Beyond Conference

  • CAG Position Statements – Multi-Use Pathways

  • Scholarships awarded: TBD

 

2023:

  • Pandora Project / Triple Vision Podcast

  • Banking Project

  • Returning to Normal Life After COVID-19 (Toronto)

  • New website launched

  • Human Rights Appeal regarding inaccessible government website

  • ESDC Capacity-Building Grant

  • Submission on ASC Built Environment Standard

  • Submission on ASC Employment Standard

  • Represented on the Technical Subcommittee working on the next revision of the Rick Hansen Professional Handbook

  • Submission on the Canada Disability Benefit Act (Bill C22); appearance before the SOCI Committee.

  • Meetings with diabetes-related device manufacturers

  • Promotion of ScriptTalk to Health Canada and to the National Association of Pharmacy Regulatory Authorities

AEBC's Early History of Advocacy chart from years 1992 to 2008 listing same information as shown in text.
  • Submission to major appliance manufacturers including LG, Keurig and Samsung regarding accessible appliances

  • Rice for Haiti Fundraiser

  • CAG Position Statements – Accessible Pedestrian Signals (revised), Accessible Roundabouts, Tactile Walking Surface Indicators (revised)

  • Scholarships awarded: 5 scholarship award recipients

 

2022:

  • 30th Anniversary

  • Submission and meeting with the Director General of the Medical Devices Directorate at Health Canada and Executive Director of the Bureau of Evaluation in the Medical Devices Directorate at Health Canada

  • Participation and input on toolkit developed through the Disability Confidence In Finance project, led by the Canadian Council on Rehabilitation and Work

  • $2,700 donation made to the Ukrainian Unity Fund through the World Blind Union

  • Letter campaign to Canadian major banks. Led to meeting with the Head of Accessibility at Scotiabank which resulted in Scotiabank undertaking two of the issues included in our letter—the issue of provision of alternate formats and the need for tactile means of identifying bank cards

  • Consumer Access Group Position Papers: Accessible Elections (revised), Accessible Payment Terminals (revised), Accessible Prescription Medication Information (revised), E-Scooters, Requirements of Sound Added to Quiet Vehicles (revised)

  • Scholarships awarded: 5 scholarship award recipients

AEBC By the Numbers repeating same information as text on this page.

Historical Timeline

1992 – Paul and Mary Ellen Gabias founded the National Federation of the Blind: Advocates for Equality (NFB:AE), which was modeled after the National Federation of the Blind in the US. A few months later, NFB:AE acquires Canadian charitable status.

 

1993 – NFB:AE begins publishing its own national magazine, the Canadian Monitor, later renamed The Canadian Blind Monitor, devoted to issues, concerns and achievements of persons who are blind, deaf-blind and partially sighted. The magazine was produced in Braille, print, on audiocassette and electronically. Twenty-one issues of the magazine were produced until January 2006.

 

1997 – The Blind Children and Youth Parent’s Association is established as a division of the organization. From 1997 to 2000, we supported the parents of blind children to attend conferences in the United States and England, so they could learn of developments in those countries for young blind persons.

 

1997 – Member Chris Stark is instrumental in making bank machines accessible. The first accessible bank machine was installed by Royal Bank in October 1997.

 

1998 – First Canadian conference of NFB:AE held in Vancouver. This important milestone brought together blind adults and parents of blind children to work on common issues. Since then, many more national conferences and annual general meetings have been held in various locations including Victoria, Vancouver, Kelowna, Saskatoon, Montreal, Toronto, Ottawa, and Halifax.

 

1998 - The organization establishes an annual Scholarship Program, offering financial awards of $1,500 annually to three to five outstanding Canadian students who are blind, deaf-blind or partially sighted. Since 1998, we have given out 99 scholarship awards.

 

1999 - A push towards a more Canadian philosophy and structure causes a split within the membership forming a new organization, the Canadian Federation of the Blind (CFB).

 

2000 – The organization advocates for Canadian banks and corporations to produce bank statements, telephone bills, restaurant menus, etc. in braille and alternate formats.

 

2000 – We are successful in having the levy on audio cassettes rebated to blind, deafblind and partially sighted individuals.

 

2001 – We become part of a joint committee developing a Canadian position for international standards for audible traffic signals.

 

2001 – We are successful in gaining government support for development of a national photo identification card.

 

2001 – Application made to Court Challenges Program for constitutional challenge of Section 32 of the Copyright Act to require publishers to increase access to published materials in alternative formats.

 

2001 – Member Irene Lambert appears before the CRTC on behalf of NFB:AE to advocate for increased descriptive video programming on CTV and Global TV Stations.

 

2004 – Members vote to change to a new name - Alliance for Equality of Blind Canadians / L'Alliance pour L’égalité des Personnes Aveugles du Canada.

 

2004 – Caregiver Package created to present at senior care facilities.

 

2004 – The Mentorship Program is established. Handbook, handouts, online reading lists, and a formal mentor matching program is offered over the next two years. In 2006, the program transitions from formal mentoring to informal mentoring by creating a national database of members with various skills to connect them with members requesting information and resources.

 

2004 – Vancouver Chapter establishes a self-defence program for persons who are blind or partially sighted.

 

2004 – Member discussion group is established linking blind, deafblind and partially sighted individuals from coast to coast, and even globally. This online discussion group provides the opportunity to communicate, support each other, participate in issue-oriented discussions, and to share information.

 

2004 – AEBC establishes thirteen national committees with distinctive terms of reference for each. In 2005 and 2006 some committees are consolidated. Today, we have nine national committees.

 

2005 – AEBC publishes an important paper on the future of library services for Canadians who are blind, deafblind and partially sighted, which is still used to influence future policy direction.

 

2006 – An Advocacy Guide is created for members.

 

2006 - Volunteer of the Year Program is established. The first award recipient is Mike Hambly from Alberta.

 

2006 – AEBC advocates for accessible elections at all levels of government.

 

2006 – Member Donna Jodhan launches a charter challenge court case highlighting the inaccessibility of government web sites. Many AEBC members and supporters attend the hearings and continue to provide assistance throughout a four-year period, until the judge releases his favourable decision, ensuring that the government complies in making a specific number of their websites accessible. We continue to monitor this issue to the present day.

 

2007 – Member Michael Yale introduces AEBC’s first advocacy efforts to develop a comprehensive poverty reduction strategy at all levels of government for people who are blind, deafblind or partially sighted.

 

2007 – AEBC publishes a position paper on the dangers of the hybrid electric car—perspectives and issues on the development of the quiet hybrid automobile which is distributed extensively to government, insurance companies and other organizations.

 

2007 – AEBC expands to include local chapters in ten cities in six provinces, BC, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec. Today there is one provincial Affiliate in BC and three city Chapters in Ottawa-Gatineau, Toronto, and Halifax.

 

2007 – Several advocacy initiatives happen this year including: initial discussions begin around universal accessible design; the concept of a National Disability Act is introduced by our CCD representative, Pat Danforth; B.C.’s new Disability Strategy including a network of integrated services and personal supports is presented; and AEBC encourages cable providers to include access to description services on their remote controls.

 

2007 - AEBC receives funding by the BC government for a new service delivery model for a low-tech assistive devices program.

 

2008 - AEBC publishes a position paper on the dangers of quiet hybrid and electric cars which is distributed extensively to government, insurance companies and other organizations.

 

2018 – First issue of The Equalizer is published and distributed electronically.

 

2018 - The podcast Executive Update is launched and hosted by David Best. In 2019, the podcast is renamed Walking the Talk and hosted by Devon Wilkins.

 

2021 - The Pandora Project Triple Vision podcast is launched which tells personal stories through the lived experiences of blind, deafblind and partially sighted members dealing with barriers such as library service, schools for the blind and mainstream education, eugenics and disability, employment, and the Accessible Canada Act.

 

2022 – AEBC celebrates its 30-year anniversary.

 

2023 – AEBC redesigns and launches a new website.

 

2023 – BC Affiliate receives a project grant to develop a BC Emergency Preparedness program.

 

2023 – AEBC receives a three-year sustainability grant from the Government of Canada and hires Lee Pigeau as Executive Director.

Our Past Presidents

  1. Paul Gabias (1992-1998)

  2. Richard Marion (1998-1999)

  3. Robert Fenton (1999-2001)

  4. Gord Dingle (2001-2002)

  5. John Rae (2002-2007)

  6. Robin East (2007-2011)

  7. Donna Jodhan (2011-2013)

  8. Anthony Tibbs (2013-2015)

  9. Dar Wournell (2015-2017)

  10. Peter Field (2017-2018)

  11. Chantal Oakes (2018-2020)

  12. Marcia Yale (2020-present)

Member Linda Bartram and other members of the Victoria Accessibility Advisory Committee assessing the accessibility of the Crystal Pool facility in Victoria, BC. There are two white cane and two wheelchair users, along with Victoria EDI office staff, sporting red hoodies which say “National AccessAbility Awareness Week, Nothing About Us Without Us, City of Victoria Accessibility Advisory Committee." Everyone pictured here with visible and invisible disabilities is working in some capacity.
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