blindness, Canadian Council of the Blind, Get Together with Technology, Low Vision

Canadian Blindness Advocacy: Tele Town Hall Meeting Featuring New Zealand and Australian Presenters, October 14, 2017

You’re Invited!

On October 14 2017, the Tele Town Hall organizing committee will continue its series of teleconference meetings as it hosts the third gathering, and the first of a series of 3 international presentations.  For the next three Tele Town Hall meetings we will be introducing speakers to you from such places as New Zealand, Australia, Europe, North America, and the Caribbean.

To capture the international focus of these upcoming Tele Town Hall gatherings we have titled the Series, “Advocacy Without Borders”.

Series Name: Advocacy Without Borders

Date: October 14th (CDN) October 15 (Downunder)

Times: 12:00 noonPacific

1:00 pm Mountain

2:00 pm Central

3:00 pm Eastern

4:00 pm Atlantic

4:30 in Newfoundland

Moderator: Anthony Tibbs .

Guest Speakers:

Ms. Martine Able-Williamson, Treasurer of the World Blind Union lives in New Zealand, and she brings to our Ttown Hall discussions a wealth of international experience. Ms. Able-Williamson’s outstanding knowledge of disability advocacy (not just blindness advocacy), is renowned by all those who know, and have worked with her. Martine understands the struggle of blind and disabled people to achieve full inclusion in society throughout the world. She has a significant, diverse network of contacts both in New Zealand and internationally. As one of New Zealand’s two delegates, Martine has worked hard to develop outstanding knowledge of the Asia Pacific Region of the World Blind Union, and beyond. As a result, she has learnt so much more about the differences in many different developed, and developing countries.

Frances (Fran) Cutler is a retired CBC journalist and Producer who has lived with low vision all her life due to Stargart’s Disease.  In retirement she lives in Australia for 6 months of their summer and Ottawa for 6 months of Canadian summer, therefore she receives blindness related rehabilitation and support services on both sides of the Pacific Ocean.

In 2013 Fran was appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada.  See more at:

https://kitchissippi.csom/2013/07/18/frances-cutler-appointed-to-the-order-of-canada/

This Tele Town Hall meeting is being jointly sponsored by the following:

The Tele Town Hall organizing committee

(Donna Jodhan, Robin East, Anthony Tibbs, Albert Ruel, Pat Seed, Louise Gillis, Paul Edwards, Jane Blaine, Melanie Marsden, Kim Kilpatrick, and Leo Bissonnette).

Organizations –

Canadian Council of the Blind (CCB)/Get together with technology (GTT), Citizens with Disabilities of Ontario (CWDO).

The objective of this Tele Town Hall meeting is to give participants an opportunity to hear how consumer advocacy and rehabilitation services are carried out in New Zealand and Austrailia, and to give them a chance to ask questions of our guest speakers.  Subsequent Tele Town Hall meetings will be similar in format to this one.

It is our hope that participants will be able to use the information presented to consider a possible platform for the development of our own made in Canada advocacy initiative.

This Tele Town Hall is not meant to be used as any sort of  decision making mechanism but rather as an open forum for constructive discussion.

If you wish to participate, please send an email to the committee at:

TeleTownHall1@Gmail.com

You will receive an email confirming your registration immediately,  then during the week of Oct 09 you will receive an email with details of the call in info along with the rules of engagement.

Registration will close at noon Eastern on Oct 12.

We will be posting additional announcements in the coming days.

We look forward to hearing from you.

Signed

Donna Jodhan, Robin East, Anthony Tibbs, Albert Ruel, Pat Seed, Louise Gillis, Paul Edwards, Jane Blaine, Melanie Marsden, Kim Kilpatrick, and Leo Bissonnette

 

 

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GTT Nanaimo Meeting Invitation, VIRL Library Discussion and Canadian Assistive Tech Demo, September 23, 2017

Get Together with Technology (GTT) Nanaimo

 

Sponsored by the Canadian Council of the Blind, Vancouver Island Regional Library and No Obstacles for the Vision Impaired (NOVI)

 

Please share this invitation widely to anyone you think will benefit from our collective knowledge.

 

Theme: VIRL discussion about NNELS, CELA and other Library services, followed by a Canadian Assistive Technology Equipment Demonstration and hands on trial.

 

Where:

Vancouver Island Regional Library, Nanaimo Downtown, 90 Commercial St

Date:

September 23, 2017

Time:

10:00 AM until approximately 12:00 Noon

 

First Hour: Jason Cuffler and Emily Matthews will tell us about VIRL’s new 50 Daisy Book on-site collection, NNELS, the Library web site and other VIRL services for blind and low vision readers.

Second Hour: Steve Barclay will give us a demo of the assistive technology carried by Canadian Assistive Technologies.

 

Note:

This meeting might be followed by a walk to a local downtown restaurant for lunch and further discussion with those who can attend.

 

To RSVP, or for more information:

Contact Albert Ruel at 250-240-2343, or GTTWest@CCBNational.net.

 

Backgrounder

 

NOVI Social and Recreational Organization, and the Get Together with Technology group come together to serve the peer mentoring, assistive technology and daily living skills development needs of Nanaimo and area residents.

 

Since 2001 the Nanaimo Organization of the Vision Impaired (NOVI) has served the social and recreational needs of Nanaimo residents, and recently this group altered its name to better reflect the dynamic nature of their brand of mutual support and forward thinking ideas and activities.  It is now known as “No Obstacles for the Vision Impaired” (NOVI), and meets on the first Tuesday of each month at the 710 Club from 1:30 until 3:30 PM.

 

Since 2013 Get Together with Technology (GTT), a program of the Canadian Council of the Blind, has been meeting monthly in Nanaimo to provide opportunities for blind and partially sighted residents to learn more about the assistive technology so prevalent in our lives as we attempt to level the playing field in education, social interaction, recreation and independent living.

 

These two groups have embarked on an amalgamation of their efforts while expanding their support to the blind, deaf-blind and partially sighted residents of the Nanaimo and Parksville areas.  In order to facilitate this collaboration GTT has moved its meetings to align with the Tuesday NOVI gatherings so the two organizations can consolidate their human resources that more and better support may be delivered.

 

  • 1st Tuesday from 1:30 until 3:30 PM, NOVI Social/recreational gathering in Nanaimo lead by Henk Pauelsen.

 

Forth Saturday from 10:00 AM until 12 Noon, GTT Nanaimo and NOVI members will meet at the Vancouver Island Regional Library, Nanaimo Downtown Branch, 90 Commercial Street to discuss access to information issues, assistive technology and anything pertaining to living with, and adjusting to vision loss.  VIRL staff also participate in these Saturday morning meetings to provide information about services and supports available through the Public Library system.

 

NOVI and GTT will retain their independent organizational structures and membership dues, however will work in collaboration on local social activities, learning independence skills and peer mentoring endeavours.

 

For more information please contact:

 

NOVI:

Henk Pauelsen at 250-586-6285 or NOVI-Group@Shaw.ca

Living Without Looking/Independent Living Skills:

Donna Hudon at 250-618-0010 or IAmDonnaHudon@Gmail.com

GTT:

Albert Ruel at 250-240-2343 or GTTWest@CCBNational.nett

 

 

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blindness, Get Together with Technology, Independence

Blind News Victoria Fall 2017, a Publication of the Pacific Training Centre for the Blind

Blind News Victoria

 

A publication of the Pacific Training Centre for the Blind

 

 

Fall 2017

 

After two months of sun and relaxation, its back to school for the Pacific Training Centre students.  Classes will commence the week of Monday September 11, with classes on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.  .  All returning students will be contacted prior to their first class.  We are looking forward to an exciting year and will be expanding our program to serve students from outside the Victoria area.  We also hope to take on one more staff person to help us meet the growing demand for blindness skills training.

 

Please consider becoming a member of the Pacific Training Centre for the Blind Society.  Membership is only $5 per year.  The greater the membership, the more successful the Society will be in acquiring grants from the government which are essential to us carrying on the vital work of the PTCB.

 

To join call Elizabeth at 250-580-4910 or email

info@pacifictrainingcentre.ca

 

 

Mark Your Calendar

 

PTCB Annual General Meeting

Tuesday September 19 at 4:00

Disability Resource Centre Board Room – 817a Fort St.

The meeting is open to all PTCB current and perspective members and there will be a phone in option for those who cannot attend in person.  The meeting will be followed by pizza and refreshments.  Please RSVP if you plan to attend in person or need the conference call details.

 

RSVP 250-580-4910 or

info@pacifictrainingcentre.ca

 

 

***

Get Together with Technology (GTT)

 

Date: September 6, 2017

Time: 1:00 PM to 3:30 PM

Where: Community Room, GVPL, Main Branch 735 Broughton St

 

First Hour: Presentation from Heidi Likenby, Heidi works with the Public Service Agency in BC Government Digital Experience.  She is currently working on a project to bring disability awareness and accessibility to the IT forefront throughout government.  She is an accessibility advocate and is very interested in finding out more about GTT and also having the chance to meet some of the members, see first hand how they use assistive technology and hear their points of view on web design and accessibility.

 

2nd Hour: Steve Barclay, Canadian Assistive Technologies will provide a demonstration of what’s new in low vision and blindness tech, and offer a hands-on opportunity to those in attendance.

 

Contact Albert Ruel for more information or to receive future notices.

Phone: 250-240-2343,

Email: GTT.Victoria@Gmail.com

 

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VocalEye at the Belfry Theatre this fall

  1. The Children’s Republic

Sunday October 1 at 2 p.m.

  1. Onegin

Sunday, October 29 at 2 p.m.

 

Belfry Theatre, 1291 Gladstone Ave., Victoria

 

This year, the Belfry is offering an annual subscription to VocalEye patrons.  This subscription includes tickets to the VocalEye performances for each of their four main productions.  A subscription costs $98.68 including tax ($24.67 per show).  Single tickets are also available for $30.98 including tax.  There is no special rate for companions this year.

 

To purchase a single ticket or annual subscription call the Belfry box office:

250-385-6815

 

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VIP Singers first practice

Monday September 18, 10 – 12

The VIP Singers is a group of blind and sighted singers and musicians who meet once a week to learn the words and harmonies (by ear) for original arrangements of popular songs and old time favourites.  Anyone who likes to sing is welcome.  The VIP Singers perform gigs at seniors’ homes and hospitals.  Practices are on Mondays from 10 – 12 at the James Bay New Horizons, 234 Menzies St.

 

New members are always welcome.  No previous choir experience is required.  If you like to sing, please join us.  For more information call Marcelina 250-516- 0584.

 

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Victoria Community Report on AMI Audio

September 21 6:00 a.m. (repeated at 8 a.m.)

Linda Bartram has been contracted by AMI Audio as a Community Reporter for Victoria and Vancouver Island.  Her interview can be heard on Live from Studio Five every fourth Thursday morning at 6:00 a.m. (repeated at 8 a.m.).  She will be featuring cultural events and activities of interest to persons who are blind.  AMI Audio can be found at 889 on your television or on line at

ami.ca/report-pacific

 

 

About the Pacific Training Centre for the Blind

 

The Pacific Training Centre for the Blind (PTCB) is a Canadian grassroots nonprofit charitable service organization founded and run by blind people.  Its training fosters independence, where blind people empower blind people to be employed, independent and free.

 

The Blind People in Charge Program, provided by the Pacific Training Centre for the Blind, is the only program of its kind in Western Canada that offers regular, intensive rehabilitation to people who are blind or who are losing their vision; it is also the only program that uses an empowering, problem-solving model of instruction, where blind people are the teachers, planners, directors and administrators.

 

The program involves a collaborative, positive, and empowering approach to blindness, where blind people learn from and teach each other in a supportive, can-do atmosphere. Instructors and mentors teach the skills of independence such as Braille, adaptive technology, cane travel, cooking and other life skills, and develop strategies for coping with blindness and vision loss in a sighted world.

 

The Blind People in Charge Program held at the Victoria Disability Resource Centre 817a Fort St., runs two days a week from 10:00 – 4:00 and participants are encouraged to attend as full time students (12 hours a week).  Drop in students are also considered.  Teaching takes place in group and one-on-one sessions and participants progress at their own pace.  Past participants have ranged in age from 24 – 88.  Anyone over 18 who is blind or is experiencing significant vision loss may apply including those who are experiencing other challenges.  There is no charge to students; however donations are always welcome.  For more information, or to participate in our program, please contact us.

 

Phone: 250-580-4910

Email:  info@pacifictrainingcentre.ca

 

 

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assistive technology, blindness, Canadian Council of the Blind, Deaf-blind, Get Together with Technology, Low Vision

Used Blindness Assistive Devices Wanted for Recycling Initiative

Used Assistive Devices Wanted!

 

Do you, or someone you know have a used VR Stream, a talking blood glucose monitor or a magnifier you’re no longer using, and if so are you willing to make it available for others to enjoy going forward?  The above are simply examples of devices that might do well to be recycled.

 

Some GTT members across the country are seeking donations of such devices, or at least a very low price for the re-purposing of your previously enjoyed assistive tech, so please let us know what is gathering dust in a drawer somewhere, and we’ll help you put it back into circulation.

 

If you have some devices available for this re-purposing initiative please let Albert Ruel know, along with the condition of said equipment and how you wish to see it re-enter circulation.  I will endeavour to put donors and recipients together for such an exchange, or facilitate the exchange as might best suit the participants.

 

If you have something you wish to make available, if you’re in need of something, or if you merely want to know more please contact Albert at 250-240-2343 or by email at:

 

Albert.GTT@CCBNational.net

 

Thx, Albert

 

Albert A. Ruel, GTT Coordinator

Canadian Council of the Blind (CCB)

Get Together with Technology Program (GTT)

 

Toll Free: 1-877-304-0968 Ext. 550

iPhone: 250-240-2343

Email: albert.GTT@CCBNational.net

GTT Blog: https://gttprogram.wordpress.com/

URL: http://ccbnational.net/fresco/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ccbnational

Facebook Group: https://m.facebook.com/groups/414313508657159?refid=27

Twitter: @GTTWest @GTTProgram @CCBNational

 

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Canadian Coalition of Guide and Service Dog Handlers

Canadian Coalition of Guide and Service Dog Handlers

 

The Canadian General Standards Board has drafted a set of standards which, if implemented, would impose conditions on the training and use of service dogs.  The standards have included guide dogs which are dogs for the blind and visually-impaired, and are therefore, in practice, not service dogs (although they are considered service dogs for human rights purposes).  Further, the content of the draft standards is inconsistent with the use and training of guide dogs.  Many Canadians get their guide dogs from the United States.  The American schools, along with many Canadian schools, find these standards at odds with best practices for training and use of guide dogs, and may have difficulty accepting Canadian applicants.  This would force Canadians to apply to the very few extant Canadian schools, which already have long waiting lists.  The increased demand would vastly lengthen these wait times.  For the foregoing reasons, it is of the utmost importance that these draft standards not be implemented.

 

Most Seeing Eye graduates found out about these standards in a letter from the school on June 27, 2017.  Having received the letter, Seeing Eye graduates decided that immediate and drastic action needed to be taken.  Yvonne Peters and Tom Dekker got the ball rolling on the Seeing Eye Graduates Network on Facebook very shortly thereafter.  Then, thanks to Albert Ruel of the Canadian Council of the Blind, whom we only contacted on July 1, and the power of social media and email, we had a teleconference with over 30 participants on Wednesday, July 5, from which the Service Dogs Standard mailing list was created, thanks to Brian Moore.

 

Following another teleconference which took place on July 13, and which included two members of the standards committee, we had our “Next Steps” teleconference on July 22, out of which came the blog, Facebook page and Twitter Hashtag #hooh.  To date, the Facebook page has had over 4000 viewers, with close to a thousand who engaged by liking, sharing and commenting.

 

The people on the list-serve formed an ad-hoc group which became known as the Canadian Coalition of Guide and Service Dog Handlers.  There is no president and no Board of Directors.  We make our decisions by consensus.

 

The committee who developed the draft standards is expected to meet again in September. Hopefully, someone from the coalition will be allowed to present our concerns to the committee at that time.  In the meantime, individual members of the coalition are writing to our members of parliament as well as to any other relevant politicians, such as the Minister for Sport and Persons with Disabilities, and the Minister of Public Services and Procurement, who is responsible for the department that prepared the draft standards.

 

The Department of Veterans’ Affairs spearheaded and provided funding for the creation of the standards for the purpose of having a national standard for the training and handling of PTSD dogs.  At some point, all service dogs, including the subset of guide dogs, were included.  For that reason, we are also hoping to engage with the Minister of Veterans’ Affairs.

 

Members of the coalition are also working at the provincial level to encourage provincial human rights commissions to exert pressure on the federal government to drop the draft standards.

 

Recently, Yvonne Peters facilitated a teleconference with a lawyer to explore our legal options.  Further, on September 8, 2017, we will be participating in a teleconference with the Canadian Human Rights Commission.

 

We invite you to check out our blog at HandsOffOurHarnesses.wordpress.com.  Find us on Facebook by doing a search for hands off our harnesses, and on Twitter at #hooh.

 

A website will be up and running soon.

 

Stay tuned!

 

 

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Access Day at the Parksville BeachFest Sand Sculpting Competition and Exhibition, August 20, 2017 from 5:00 until 7:00 PM

BeachFest Access Day 2017

 

Access Oceanside Association (AOA) has been advocating for an Access Day at the Parksville BeachFest Sand Sculpting Competition and Exhibition.  That “Access Day” will be on Sunday, August 20 from 5-7pm.  They will open one sculpture for those with visual impairments to touch.

 

Please spread the word through your contacts.

 

BeachFest Access Day 2017

 

Access Oceanside Association (AOA) has been advocating for an Access Day at the Parksville BeachFest Sand Sculpting Competition and Exhibition.  That “Access Day” will be on Sunday, August 20 from 5-7pm.  They will open one sculpture for those with visual impairments to touch.

 

Please spread the word through your contacts.

 

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