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The Equalizer: January 2024






New Year’s Message From Your President


2024! Sounds so odd that we have come so far! When you were young, did you ever play the game, “where will I be when I’m …”? Fill in the numbers 10, 20, 30, etc. And then, as you grew older, did you ever think about those childhood musings?


For me, 2024 brings reflection on life, organization, and the future, if one can reflect on that! My reflections on life make me wonder how it is that I have been on this earth for this many years—not telling, but this will be a milestone year! For our organization, I reflect on the hopes we all had for our thirtieth year in 2022 and how wonderful it turned out. Now we are in the midst of a year of change—new staff, new ideas, new roles, and responsibilities. Where will these changes take us? The sky is the limit, I truly believe.


Here's to a happy and wonderful New Year, full of life, love, and laughter. For all of us!


Marcia Yale, National President




From our BC Affiliate: It’s time for our annual Trivia Event. Save the Date!

The theme this year is “Love is in the Air!” Join us for an afternoon of fun and prizes!


·      When: Saturday, April 13, 2024

·      2:30 PM Pacific Time: Zoom Room opens

·      3:00 PM Pacific Time: Trivia starts

·      Tickets on sale starting February 26, 2024

·      Pricing $30 starts February 26 and sales end April 10 (no additional fees)  

·      Participants from anywhere in Canada and the US welcome


All proceeds will support the AEBC BC Affiliate Scholarship Fund. For further information/assistance or if you wish to provide a list of up to eight people to make a team, contact Chantal Oakes at We recognize and thank the Vancouver Renfrew Lions Club for their generous sponsorship and for their support during the event.


Advocacy News from the BC Affiliate


During October and November, several AEBC BC Affiliate members participated in the TransLink Floating Bus Stop pilots being conducted in five municipalities: Kelowna, Vancouver, Nanaimo, Saanich and North Vancouver. Although many way-finding treatments were present and some were quite effective, there was still nothing demonstrated that would enable a blind person to cross the bike lane independently. We still can’t hear or see the approaching cyclists and there is nothing to compel them to stop. Municipal staff reported that they indeed didn’t stop, rather cyclists were observed swerving around sighted pedestrians in the crosswalk. We’re now awaiting how the consultants will report the pilot findings in the New Year, and whether the fundamental problem will be acknowledged.


In December, sixteen members of the BC Affiliate participated in a Zoom call to discuss the Canada Disability Benefit and provide feedback regarding the regulations. Linda Bartram has compiled the feedback and will submit it on behalf of the AEBC BC Affiliate using the Word version of the feedback tool.





What is ableism?

Recently, a question on our member email forum on the different terms people use such as person with a disability versus disabled versus differently abled sparked a discussion on the term ableism and what that word actually means.


We came across an excellent article called Ableism 101 that we thought we would share. Check it out here at this link: 


TransLink Vancouver is Canada’s first transit system to feature braille signage at all bus stops


TransLink is now the first transit system in Canada with braille signage on every bus stop to improve transit information available to customers who are blind or partially sighted. This signage has been installed at more than 8,400 bus stops throughout Metro Vancouver.


Each braille and tactile bus stop sign contains:


·  Information written in both Unified English Braille and raised tactile letters

·  Bus stop ID numbers

·  Bus routes serving that bus stop

·  Bay or bus stop indicators

·  Customer Information phone number


In addition to the braille and tactile signage, tactile walking surface indicators have been installed at every bus stop located on property that TransLink owns. These raised surface indicators are mounted on the ground to help customers who are blind or partially sighted know they are near a bus stop while helping direct them to the front door of the bus.


These changes are the result of robust engagement with Access Transit's Users' Advisory Committee, the Canadian National Institute for the Blind, and many other regional stakeholders. Volunteer members from AEBC's BC Affiliate participated in the engagement process. Read more at this link:,bus%20stops%20throughout%20Metro%20Vancouver 


Techy Tip from a Techy Dinosaur by Linda Bartram


I came to screen reader technology later in life and profess to have average technology skills, but yesterday I was amazed to learn that I knew something that both a techy wiz peer and a Microsoft technician did not!! So I’m sharing this tip upon the urging of that techy wiz. Have you ever clicked on a link that your screen reader announces, only to find that nothing happened? I learned several years ago (heaven knows from who) that just because my JAWS said it was a link, the curser was not always in the correct place to activate the link. So here’s the trick:


Right arrow once until your screen reader announces the first letter in the web address or title associated with the link, then press enter. It's as simple as that!! Sometimes us techy dinosaurs know more than we think! Send your simple tech tips to:  There’s probably someone out there who will learn a thing or two.


Moving Forward: Video Replay

The 7th Annual International Day of Persons with Disabilities Event produced by the Alliance for Equality of Blind Canadians and partners took place on December 9, 2023. The virtual event was broadcast live by Accessible Media Inc. with co-host Joeita Gupta. The event’s goal this year was to share messages to motivate, empower and thrive in this new world, and featured keynote Janet Rodriguez and guest speaker, Maria Bangash, as well as an Inspire Me! panel.

If you missed the event, you can watch the video replay at this link:


Perhaps Someone is Finally Listening! by Linda Bartram

Last week I attended a “field trip” to a reconstructed intersection in Victoria to see if members of the Victoria Accessibility Advisory Committee (AAC) and city staff (there turned out to be six who attended on the day) could figure out how to make this challenging intersection accessible for persons who are blind and those who use wheelchairs. At a previous AAC meeting, the staff had reported that they were scratching their heads over this and we suggested that we might all visit the intersection and put our collective heads together to find a solution. The two streets do not meet at a right angle and they are skewed, requiring the crosswalk to take off at a 45 degree angle from the curb.


World Braille Days 2024

AEBC is thrilled to be one of the sponsors for the upcoming World Braille days presentations held throughout the month of January. Check out our latest post with all the details!




Here are some of the advocacy initiatives that AEBC volunteers have been working on:


Accessibility Standards Canada: Draft Standards

We are currently finalizing our submission to Accessible Standards Canada on a standard for emergency measures and the latest draft on a standard for Information and Communication Technology. If any member would like to join the working group involved in creating a submission, please reach out to 


Canadian Transportation Agency – bi-annual meeting coming up on January 24th. Our representative will be there to make sure our voice is heard!




The following is a list of public consultations or petitions currently open for submission. Make sure your voice is heard!


Canada Disability Benefit Act – Public Consultation

Deadline extended! January 4, 2024

The engagement tool is accessible and available in American Sign Language and Langue des signes québécoise. By request, it is available in Word, large print, braille, MP3 (audio), e-text and DAISY formats. Should you have any questions, contact the Office for Disability Issues at


Accessibility Standards Canada: Standard on emergency measures: Public Review

Deadline extended to: January 17, 2024


Accessibility Standards Canada: Standard on Information and Communication Technology (ICT): Public Review

Deadline: February 5, 2024


Petition requesting that the government provide an emergency benefit to people with disabilities while the new Canada Disability Benefit is being created. 

Deadline: February 1, 2024

Accessible Canada — Accessible World Conference

Inclusive Design Research Centre is excited to announce the upcoming Accessible Canada — Accessible World Conference, an international event dedicated to advancing accessibility and inclusive design across various domains such as standards, policy and journalism.


Date: May 27–28, 2024

Location: Concordia University, Montreal, 1450 Rue Guy, 9th floor, and online


In today's rapidly evolving world, accessibility barriers continue to be diverse and complex, with new challenges emerging at an exponential rate.

-       How do we support inclusive decision-making?

-       How can we develop accessibility standards that are responsive, inclusive, and effective?

-       How can we promote the inclusion of people with disabilities in media production, representation, and consumption? 

This conference aims to address these and other critical questions and foster a collaborative community of practice to advance accessibility and inclusion.


At Accessible Canada — Accessible World, we believe in the power of collaboration and knowledge-sharing to drive meaningful change. Your participation is invaluable in guiding the global accessibility agenda toward a future where Canada and the world are more accessible and inclusive for everyone. We invite you to join us in co-creating resources and sharing knowledge and lessons learned in advancing accessibility and inclusion. To involve you in the process as early as possible, we encourage you to complete our community survey, which will help us guide topics and programming for the event.


Save the date and mark your calendars! For updates and further information, please visit our conference website at Accessible Canada – Accessible World


CRA Accessibility Progress Report

The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) has published the 2023 Accessibility Progress Report, detailing our efforts over the past year to deliver on our 2023-2025 Accessibility Plan.


Since publishing the plan, we:

  • have completed 14% (6 of 42) of the action items outlined in the plan

  • expect to complete 60% (25 of 42) of the action items as originally planned

  • have experienced delays with 26% (11 of 42) of the items; but we expect to complete them during the plan’s three-year period


As we work towards improving accessibility in all that we do, we will continue to consult those with lived experience, including:

  • members of the public with disabilities

  • CRA employees with disabilities

  • non-profit organizations that help persons with disabilities to access our programs and services

  • the CRA Persons with Disabilities Network


Through these efforts, we have received both insight on the accessibility barriers across our operations from those with first-hand experiences and suggestions on how to eliminate the barriers.


Although we are pleased with the progress that we have made in the first year of carrying out our accessibility plan, we recognize that there is still work to be done. We invite you to read the 2023 Accessibility Progress Report, and to share any feedback that you have through our ongoing consultations or through our accessibility feedback process.



January 4th 2024 World Braille Day


January – Accessible Libraries, AEBC, AERO, BLC, CCB, CELA, CNIB Foundation, NNELS, and PRCVI – World Braille Days 2024

These collaborative partners are pleased to present a celebration of World Braille Day for the month of January. Watch this page for updates about the planned activities.


February 1 2024 National White Cane Week















Catch up on all the latest Triple Vision podcasts.



National Public Chats: Join us every Friday at 4pm Pacific, 5pm Mountain, 7pm Eastern


BC Affiliate Public Chats: Join us Thursday Nights at 8 PM Pacific


Halifax Mid-Week Meltdown: The Halifax Chapter hosts a monthly "Mid-Week Meltdown" on the first Wednesday of every month at 8 p.m. Atlantic


AEBC National Board meeting dates 2024:

January 29, 2024: Public Board meeting

March 11, 2024: Private Board meeting

April 15, 2024: Private board meeting with silent members

May 27, 2024: Public Board Meeting

June 17, 2024: Private Board Meeting

July 22, 2024: Public Board Meeting

August 2024: no meeting, possibly Board opportunity session


All meetings begin at 4 PM Pacific 7 PM Eastern






The Alliance for Equality of Blind Canadians (AEBC) is a national charitable organization committed to empowering blind, partially sighted, and deafblind Canadians to lead a life filled with opportunity, inclusivity, and equality. We advocate, support, and strive to make the world a better place for everyone, regardless of their visual abilities. Together, we can create a brighter and more accessible future for all.


Visit our website at and follow us on social media:


Mastodon:  @blindcanadians

YouTube:  @blindcanadians 


The Equalizer committee is committed to bringing you timely and informative news from the organization. We appreciate your feedback on our newsletter or submissions for consideration. Contact us at 


If you are interested in becoming more involved in our advocacy work or joining any of our working committees, please reach out to


If you’re not already a Member and would like support us as a Member or Donor,


Our Partners & Sponsors:


Alliance for Equality of Blind Canadians

PO Box 20262 RPO Town Centre

Kelowna, BC V1Y 9H21-800-561-4774


Copyright (c) 2023 Alliance for Equality of Blind Canadians


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