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Welcome to AEBC!

We are delighted that you have decided to join the Alliance for Equality of Blind Canadians. You are joining a long line of committed advocates who have enabled our organization to achieve the objective of ensuring our right to have equal access to the benefits of society. Our website provides a wealth of information about us, our structure, and what has been accomplished by AEBC over the years. This page includes additional information that we feel might help you understand the resources available to you as a member of AEBC. Please read through this information at your leisure.

Committees

While not a requirement of membership, at some point we hope you might consider getting involved with our work as a volunteer by joining one of our committees. Vibrant, open, encouraging and social, our committees are where ideas are debated, decisions are made, actions are started and finished, and in general are the place to be. Every member is welcome, no matter their style. Some participate as listeners and observers, speaking up when they feel comfortable. Others jump in with both feet, getting actively engaged from the very first meeting. Getting started is easy. Learn about our current committees here, and then send an email to engagement at blindcanadians dot ca and tell us what interests you most. 

Member Communications

Getting in touch and staying in touch with our members is a top priority, and here are the ways that we do this:

  • At any time, you can send an email to our President Marcia Yale directly at president at blindcanadians dot ca or to our Board Secretary by emailing secretary at blindcanadians dot ca. You can also contact us using the Contact Form on the website. 

  • Groups.io Lists: We maintain communication lists using groups.io. Our two main lists are:

    • Announcement List. When you join AEBC, you will start receiving emails from our announcements list. This has all the important stuff, like board meetings, the annual general meeting and other items related to our organization or items that the President considers important. These announcements are mostly sent as a digest in our Monday Morsels unless there is a time-sensitive announcement.

    • Members Discussion List. After joining, you will receive an invitation to join the Members' Discussion List. This is often where members post something they find interesting, or if there is a debate about a particular issue , a thread is created.

For both of these lists, if you find that there are too many emails, you can set your groups.io account to daily or weekly digest. 

  • The Equalizer. This is our regular, public-facing newsletter which features timely news, advocacy items, and member articles. It is currently published monthly and distributed by email. 

  • Board Meetings. The AEBC National Board meets monthly. Some of these meetings are designated as "public" or "private with silent members". Watch for those dates because you will be invited to listen in by Zoom on regular board business, as well as hear news about advocacy, committees, chapters, and external representatives. At the end of the Public meetings, there is a Member Mashup, where you can ask the membership or any board member a question or initiate an item of concern. At the Private with Silent Members meetings, you can attend and listen in although questions from members are not taken at these meetings. For dates of upcoming meetings, visit the Events Page.

  • Annual General Meeting. Once per year, usually in late August or early September, we hold our annual general meeting. These meetings are always offered online by Zoom and in some cases we hold hybrid meetings where you can attend in person if you wish. At the AGM, we hear from our President with a recap of the year, vote on resolutions prepared by members, and elect members of the new board--three members one year, four members the subsequent year.

  • Social Activities. These are usually held by local AEBC chapters, and often for fundraising. Common events are trivia nights or other theme based activities. The BC Affiliate and the Halifax Chapter also hold online chats. These will be communicated via the Announcements List.

  • Friday Evening National Chat. Every Friday night, there is a completely open meeting of any member that would like to attend to discuss any topic. Sometimes a board member will attend to entertain questions about the board activities. Other times, our chats are fantastic social opportunities to connect with fellow members. Watch the Announcements emails for details on Friday chats. 

  • Chapter/Affiliate Meetings. Once per month, each has its own meeting. Recently these have been opened to any member, whether a member of a chapter/affiliate, or not. Each has its own board and business to discuss. Advocacy and social activities are often at the top of the list. Watch for the announcements list for the details on these.

  • Membership Committee. The Membership Committee always has an open ear so if you have a particular concern please send an email to engagement at blindcanadians dot ca

  • The AEBC Blog. Our online blog features articles by members, notices of upcoming tech trainings and events, and other items of interest. You'll also see these articles linked in The Equalizer and on social media, but you can also visit our website anytime to see what's new. As a Member, if you like to write, feel free to send us a story to include on our blog!

  • Social Media. If you are on any of the social media channels we use, please remember to follow us and like our posts! This enables us to reach more people. And be sure to check out some of our past content, in particular we have some excellent training videos on YouTube. Here are our profile links:

Follow us on Facebook

Follow us on Twitter/X

Check us out on YouTube

Follow us on Mastodon

Follow us on LinkedIn

 

Perks of Membership

As an AEBC Member, you will benefit from the following perks:

  • Braille Literacy Canada - AEBC is a corporate member of BLC and you will automatically receive news and information from that organization which we share through our Announcements List.

  • AIRA - Aira connects blind and partially sighted individuals with certified Visual Interpreters, using a 24/7, globally accessible on-demand platform using a mobile app. AEBC members can benefit from discounted plans with Aira. In order to access a discounted plan, contact AIRA's Customer Support team directly, either by calling them toll-free at1-800-835-1934 or by email at support@aira.io. Be sure to mention that you are an AEBC Member.

The Nuts & Bolts of AEBC

Like most member organizations, AEBC is member-focussed and member-run. Here is a description of how we are structured and how a member organization works:

 

Membership

Members have the final authority on all matters of policy. At the Annual General Meeting, active members (those who are up to date with their dues) have the following rights and privileges:

  • moving and seconding motions;

  • speaking from the floor; 

  • casting votes in person, by proxy or electronically; and

  • being elected to office (see chapter and National bylaws for current details).

All Members are expected to abide by the AEBC Code of Conduct. ​

 

National Board Of Directors

The National Board of Directors is the governing body of the corporation and is elected by the members at the Annual General Meeting. The Board's role is to oversee the management of AEBC on behalf of the members. The National Board acts and makes decisions based on the National Bylaws, and resolutions and policies that have been approved by the membership.

 

The National Board meets once a month with some exceptions. Members are invited to attend at some of the meetings. The minutes from meetings are shared with the members. 

The National Board consists of seven members:

The President, First Vice President, and Second Vice President must be blind, deafblind or partially sighted. As of February 26, 2024, a sighted member who has contact in or knowledge of the blind community may fill one of the other positions: Treasurer, Secretary, and two Directors at-large. Four of the members are assigned mandates.

Currently these are: Advocacy, Membership, External Relations, and Chapters.

 

Chapters

We currently have three Chapters and one Affiliate. They are; Halifax, Ottawa-Gatineau, and Toronto.

The BC Affiliate encompasses all members in the province of BC, rather than simply those in a particular region.

Members can also choose to be members-at-large.

 

Active AEBC members may join any chapter/affiliate at no additional charge. All active AEBC members residing in British Columbia automatically become BC Affiliate members. 

 

The responsibility of Chapters and Affiliates is to promote the goals and objectives of the AEBC at a local or provincial level.

 

Committees

Several standing committees of the Board have been formed to work on the following tasks:

  • Advocacy and Outreach

  • Communications

  • Fundraising 

  • Bylaws and Governance 

  • Information and Technology 

  • Membership, Recruitment and Retention 

  • Scholarship

  • Equalizer

 

External Representatives 

The National Board appoints external representatives who represent AEBC on the following external bodies:

  • Accessible Media Inc. (AMI)

  • Allyant (formerly T-Base Communications)

  • Braille Literacy Canada (BLC)

  • Canadian Human Rights Commission (CHRC)

  • Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC)

  • Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA)

  • Consumer Access Group (CAG)

  • The National Disability Network. formerly Pan Canada Disability Coalition

 

If you would like to know more about any of these organizations or you would like to act as an AEBC volunteer representative, send an email to engagement at blindcanadians dot ca

The ABC's of AEBC

On a final note, be sure to read through OUR BLOG for some wonderful articles by members as well as this fun rap that describes ALL THAT WE DO AT AEBC!

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