All posts by Albert Ruel

About Albert Ruel

The Albert A. Ruel Road to Blindness A 21 year old man stood on the beach at the Sproat Lake Provincial Park with friends early in May of 1977, and upon gazing across the lake found the Gulf Oil sign missing from the dock-side filling station there. When this fact was shared with his companions they glanced at him with puzzled looks and said, “No Albert, the sign is still there”. That was the beginning of a road through confusion, anger, isolation, loneliness and discovery for me. It all began with a visit to a local Optometrist who could see that my vision wasn’t right, but that corrective lenses wouldn’t help. He then referred me to a General Practitioner, where I received a clean bill of health and an additional referral. This time to an Ophthalmologist. Immediately upon peering through the dilated pupils, Dr. McKerricher was able to see the problem, Retinal Vasculitis. Now, you would think that all would start to improve at this point, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. You see, CNIB, from 1918 until 1985 only served the needs of people who were “Legally Blind”, a level of vision loss I wouldn’t reach until November of 1979. The words of Dr. McKerricher still echo in my mind today, “Albert, I don’t know what has caused this and nothing we’ve tried is helping to stop it, and you’re not blind enough for me to refer you to CNIB”! In the middle of this transition from 20/20 vision to “Legally Blind” came the Motor Vehicle Branch and it’s rules of the road. On August 3, 1978 I drove a car for the last time as my vision had reached the level at which operating a motor vehicle became too dangerous, further intensifying feelings of fear, isolation and anger. Sadly, through this period the only available guidance and support was through family and friends, but not the experienced professionals I needed at the time. Although these support systems are critically important they can often be smothering and facilitating, rather than encouraging and supportive. With gratitude, and some trepidation I finally was able to access CNIB services in November of 1979, and the world opened up then. There I was able to meet other blind people and receive the daily living and mobility skills required to live independently in this sighted world. I learned elementary braille and began to discover technology as necessary tools of independence. Thankfully, in 1985 CNIB’s National Board altered the course of service to visually impaired Canadians forever. They added a third prong to their Mission Statement, “To promote sight enhancement services”. This opened the door to all Canadians who were beginning to lose sight, as well as those who had a fear of vision loss to access the full range of CNIB Support and Rehabilitation Services. So now, whether it’s someone’s Mother who is experiencing Macular Degeneration, or an Uncle experiencing the affects of Glaucoma, all have the ability to seek information, guidance and support as all involved deal with the fear and anxiety that accompanies such life altering experiences. With the help of professional Rehabilitation Workers and Employment Counselors I was able to continue traveling independently within my own community, and even more remarkably anywhere in the world I desired to go. I managed to attend College in Nanaimo and New Westminster, as well as traveling to the Mayo Clinic and to doctor’s appointments in Nanaimo and Vancouver without assistance. All of this while living with some usable vision, but not yet needing a white cane for travel. During the mid 1980’s I was a stay-at-home Dad and did all that was required of that challenging work, from changing diapers to preparing meals, and from cutting the grass to maintaining our home. I even took a woodworking course through Alberni’s Adult Education program and built and restored several pieces of furniture. Of course the 1958 Chevy Impala in the garage was my pride and joy, and I devised ways to do much of the work it required. I also joined and participated in many community activities, like the local Car Club, and a disability support group that catered to the needs of people with many different disabilities. Of course, continued participation in family life remained of critical importance through this period. In 1989 a secondary condition began to extinguish the vision that remained, which set into motion a new stream of professional rehabilitation services and supports. By the spring of 1990 Glaucoma had turned out the lights completely, and the darkness I had feared so desperately was upon me. Strangely though, I found this to be a great relief rather than the tragedy I had imagined it would be. Through several professional rehabilitation sessions, and by joining peer mentoring and advocacy groups I was able to come to terms with this strange feeling, and to learn additional skills and strategies for living with no visual cues of the world around me. This is also about the time that I decided to explore CNIB as an employer, and to see if I could provide the sort of guidance and support to others that had been my pleasure to receive. Those 14 years were a wonderful experience of ongoing discovery for me, as teaching may be the best way to solidify one’s own learning. In other words, those we assist through this transition in turn help us all as we develop best practices and improved service. Following a 14 year career with CNIB I also served the blind community as the first National Equality Director employed by the Alliance for Equality of Blind Canadians (AEBC), and as a Basic Computer Literacy Trainer with the Canadian Council of the Blind (CCB). Most recently I have enjoyed coordinating the CCB’s newly launched Get Together with Technology Program in Western Canada, which brings to the fore my passion for assistive technology and the power of peer mentoring. Without sight I have continued to travel far and wide, with trips to Conventions of and for the Blind in Anaheim California and Melbourne Australia, as well as to many events and activities in Toronto and Vancouver. Of course my work has taken me to many communities throughout Western Canada, and most particularly nearly all regions of BC and on Vancouver Island. None of which would have been possible without the services and support of organizations like CCB, AEBC and CNIB. For most people blindness generates a fear of extended movement, both within one’s home and community, but that doesn’t have to be the case. Independence comes from personal desire and increased skill. Many community organizations can assist with both through their mentoring and skill development programs. I remember always that life has little to do with what happens to me and 100% what I do about/with it. There is a quote I like to use from the National Federation of the Blind in the USA, “With adequate skill development and opportunity blindness can be reduced to the level of a nuisance”, and nothing could be closer to the truth. Helen Keller said many years ago, “There is nothing more tragic than someone who has sight, but no vision”. She also challenged the Lions Clubs of the world to become the “Knights of the Blind, and to take up the crusade against darkness”. I too joined a Lions Club in 1992 and continue to work on the crusade that Helen Keller began in the 1920-s.

Guest Post: Braille Literacy Canada Teleconference About Upcoming Braille Technology, March 3, 2018

Attend the upcoming Braille Literacy Canada teleconference, where you could learn more about up and coming braille technologies – directly from the people involved and companies themselves! Here are the bios for our three speakers:

 

Alex Tavares – The Read Read:

Alex  is the creator of the Read Read, the first device that allows visually impaired and blind children to learn and practice phonics and braille using the same best practice techniques used by specialists.

He is a recent graduate of Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education, where he earned a Master of Educational Technology, and piloted the Read Read at the nearby Perkins School for the Blind.

Alex has worked and volunteered as a literacy instructor for over fifteen years, and has had the pleasure of working with world leaders in tactile literacy and special education to realize his dream of accessible literacy for all.

 

Ed Rogers – Canute braille reader:

Bristol Braille Technology is a Social Enterprise working from the Bristol Hackspace. We’ve been building the Canute for six years. Some of the team are engineers, designers, others specialise in supporting accessible products. All of us are here to develop a radical technological solution to the problem of declining Braille illiteracy. Canute is the worldʼs first viable multi-line refreshable Braille e-reader; a ‘Kindle for blind people’. Available for a price comparable to a new iPhone or Perkins Brailler, Canute has been developed by Bristol Braille Technology with, by, and for the blind community.

 

Diane Bergeron – Orbit Braille Reader:

Diane is the Vice President, Engagement and International Affairs for the Canadian National Institute for the Blind (CNIB). Diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa as a young child, Bergeron was declared legally blind at the age of ten, later losing all her sight before turning 30. Much of Bergeron’s recent work at the CNIB has involved breaking barriers for persons with sight loss. Whether it’s ensuring equal voting rights for the visually-impaired or raising funds to bring electronic braille readers to a blind school in Rwanda, Diane believes that people should have equal opportunity and treatment. CNIB is the supplier of the Orbit braille reader in Canada, and Diane sits on the Transforming Braille Group, which is overseeing the development and distribution of the Orbit.

 

We will provide the following information for each device:

  • Background on the team developing the device
  • Physical description
  • Features and capabilities
  • Expected cost
  • Expected date that the device will be available for purchase in Canada

 

Additional information can be found at the following links:

Canute:

http://www.bristolbraille.co.uk/

 

The Read Read:

https://www.thereadread.com/

 

Orbit:

https://shop.cnib.ca/ProductDetail/tec9999999999_deposit-for-orbit-braille-reader-20

 

Other devices will be covered in a teleconference later this spring.

 

Date: Saturday, March 3rd, 2018

Time: 1:00-2:30 PM Eastern

 

Cost: The teleconference is free for BLC members as well as those who are members of organizations that are corporate members of BLC. cost for non-members

is $20.

 

To register: Send an email to info@blc-lbc.ca  by Wednesday, February 28th

 

We hope you can join us!

 

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GTT/NOVI Nanaimo Meeting Invitation, Low Cost Computer Access, February 24, 2018

Get Together with Technology (GTT) Nanaimo

 

Sponsored by the Canadian Council of the Blind (CCB)

Vancouver Island Regional Library (VIRL)

No Obstacles for the Vision Impaired (NOVI)

 

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

 

Theme: Nanaimo-made Low Cost Computer Access

Where:

Vancouver Island Regional Library, Nanaimo Downtown, 90 Commercial St

Date:

February 24, 2018

Time:

10:00 AM until approximately 12:00 Noon

 

First Hour:

Christopher Mutch and Rhonda Coughlin have developed computer access software for blind and low vision users that will provide voice feedback and allow for voice input to perform many tasks like email, document writing and more.  It is called, Access, and they are looking forward to the opportunity to showcase Access in action and to show off its capabilities to the GTT Nanaimo group on Saturday, February 24, 2018.

Second Hour:

Let’s talk about anything tech related you wish to talk about, and let’s see how well Donna Hudon’s OrCam is working for her.

 

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

 

 

GTT Chilliwack Meeting Invitation, Blindfold Games and Smart Phone Gestures, February 26, 2018

Canadian Council of the Blind (CCB)

 

Get Together With Technology (GTT) Chilliwack

 

You are invited to the next session of the Chilliwack GTT group, a group dedicated to the learning and sharing of information about assistive technology useful for those living with low vision, blindness or deaf-blindness.

 

Theme: Blindfold Games and Gestures

When: Monday February 26, 2018

1:30-3:30 p.m.

Where: Chilliwack Public Library, Community Room

45860 First Avenue, Chilliwack

 

First Hour: Ginny will demo some of the Blindfold Games and touch screen gestures needed to operate today’s smart phones and tablets.

Second Hour: Following a break we will open a Get Together with Technology (GTT) discussion about what devices we might be having trouble with, or those great new gadgets we’ve recently discovered that we might want to show-off.

 

For more information contact:

Ginny @ (604) 378-9676

 

CCB Backgrounder:

 

The CCB was founded in 1944 by a coalition of blind war veterans, schools of the blind and local chapters to create a national self-governing organization. The CCB was incorporated by Letters Patent on May 10, 1950 and is a registered charity under the provisions of the Income Tax Act (Canada).

The purpose of the CCB is to give people with vision loss a distinctive and unique perspective before governments.  CCB deals with the ongoing effects of vision loss by encouraging active living and rehabilitation through peer support and social and recreational activities.

CCB promotes measures to conserve sight, create a close relationship with the sighted community and provide employment opportunities.

 

The CCB recognizes that vision loss has no boundaries with respect to gender, income, ethnicity, culture, other disabilities or age.

The CCB understands in many instances vision loss is preventable and sometimes is symptomatic of other health issues.  For the 21st century, the CCB is committed to an integrated proactive health approach for early detection to improve the quality of life for all Canadians.

As the largest membership organization of the blind and partially sighted in Canada the CCB is the “Voice of the Blind™”.

 

 

CCB National Office

100-20 James Street Ottawa ON  K2P 0T6

Toll Free: 1-877-304-0968 Email: info@ccbnational.net URL: www.ccbnational.net

 

 

GTT Parksville Qualicum Beach Low Vision Support Group, Journalism, February 22, 2018

Parksville Qualicum Beach Low Vision Support Group

 

Sponsored by the Canadian Council of the Blind

And CNIB

 

You’re Invited to the next gathering of the PQB Low Vision Support Group on February 22, 2018, where we will hear from Karla Reinhard, the PQB News Journalist who writes the Senior’s Column.

 

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

 

Monthly low vision Support Gathering:

 

When:  Thursday, February 22, 2018, 1:30 until 3:00 PM

Where:  The Gardens, 650 Berwick Rd North, Qualicum Beach

 

Agenda:

  1. PQB News Columnist, Karla Reinhard lives in Qualicum Beach, where she explores seniors’ issues  and personalities in the area.  For story tips or questions.  She can be reached at KarlaInPQB@Gmail.com

Karla Reinhard, who’s recently written a Column for the PQB News titled “Put your focus on eye health”, will be available to speak to the PQB Low Vision Support Group on February 22nd and will be happy to talk about her writing experiences throughout the years. She started writing her current column with The PQB News last September and finds that it has been well received in our community. As she is an independent writer and not an employee of The PQB News, (which gladly accepts her articles and shares them with the people they serve), she cannot act as a representative of the newspaper.

She looks forward to meeting some of the residents at The Gardens, so they would have an opportunity to get to know her , and hopefully some of them would be interested in having her write their own personal stories to be shared with her readers. Karla’s writing passion is of a general nature, however she has found that her specialty seems to be biographies.

  1. Light refreshments provided.

 

To RSVP:

Please call Albert Ruel at 250-240-2343, or email at albert.GTT@CCBNational.net.

 

 

GTT Toronto Summary Notes, Accessible Gaming, February 15, 2018

Summary Notes

 

GTT Toronto Adaptive Technology User Group

February 15, 2018

 

An Initiative of the Canadian Council of the Blind

In Partnership with CNIB

 

The most recent meeting of the Get Together with Technology (GTT) Toronto Group was held on Thursday, February 15 at the CNIB Community Hub.

 

*Note: Reading Tip: These summary notes apply HTML headings to help navigate the document. With screen readers, you may press the H key to jump forward or Shift H to jump backward from heading to heading.

 

February 2018 Topic – Accessible Gaming:

 

GTT Toronto February 15, 2018 Meeting Summary Notes can be found at this link:

 

Summary Notes:

Ian opened the meeting. Tonight’s topic is accessible gaming. Our schedule of topics has slid, so let’s open things up for suggestions from the group. Topics raised included transit aps, Google Glass or low-vision and sight-enhancement aids, GPS solutions, the basics of assistive tech for new-comers to sight-loss, entertainment streaming, and lifestyle aps.

Jason introduced himself, as well as his fellow presenter Mike Feir, who joined us via Skype. Mike asserted that games offer an easy way to learn technology; “We learn best when we don’t realize we’re learning.” He’s interested in what visually impaired people can do to live richer, better lives.

Jason said that www.appleviz.com is a great place to look for accessible games to play on your phone. You’ll also find reviews and instructions. It’s a website run by volunteers, and it’s a place for visually impaired people to find important resources related to the iPhone.

Jason began with the simplest accessible games. You can still get braille or tactile versions of chess, monopoly and playing cards. 64 Ounce Games is a company that combines braille embossing, laser art and 3d printing to make packages to add on to existing games, to make them accessible. You have to buy the original game first, then 64 Ounce Games will sell you a package with braille cards or overlays to make them usable by blind people. You need some sighted help to put it all together. Prices are U.S. and range around $10 to $30. A member asked about an accessible chess game. A member said that www.blindmicemart.com has them, or Maxi Aids or the Braille Superstore in the U.S.

Jason continued on to talk about PC games. Accessible computer games are quite new. Until very recently, there was nothing truly rich and engaging. Now, you’re starting to see game developers giving it some energy. This is partly an awareness issue, partly a computing power issue, and partly a new recognition of the great things you can do with audio. www.audiogames.net is a site that specializes in games for blind people that are computer or phone-based. Unfortunately there aren’t a lot of Android games. This site has reviews, forums and information. Jason introduced a game called A Heroes Call. The founders are gamers and programmers who used to be sighted, and began a campaign on Kickstarter to develop games for the blind. They’ve gotten a lot of attention in sighted gaming circles as well, because their Kickstarter campaign was so successful. The game uses voice actors, symphonic music, and is extremely professional. It’s widely available. It’s currently exclusively audio at the moment, but the creators are planning to add graphics. Although it’s only audio, sighted people are playing it because it’s so rich. It’s $20 to buy, which Jason calls a bargain considering the quality. The game is only available on Windows right now.

Jason ran a demonstration of Heroes Call. He said that if you’re not using a screen-reader, it has its own built-in audio. Using a combination of its own audio and the screen-reader, the game invites you to answer questions establishing your character, as most role-playing games will do. The game initially gives you tutorial information. You really want to have headphones, because the audio feedback is directional. Jason and Mike concluded that this is the current pinnacle of audio games. It’s hard to make a living making these games, and they’re not exactly coming out all the time, or being updated.

Mike pointed out Code7 as another PC game that’s quite good. Mike said that he does a segment on Kelly and Company on AMI every Thursday from 4:15 to 4:30, on audio entertainment, including gaming.

A member asked about games that don’t require keyboard input. Jason answered that the Amazon Echo has some games available that work based on speech. Yes Sire and Captain Stalwart are two, and there’re lots of trivia games. The best way to find them is to go into your Amazon Echo ap, double tap on skills, and sort by category for games. Being an audio product, all the Echo games are accessible. An Echo dot is about $60, and the ap comes with it. The Google Home has a few games but not many.

A member asked for blogs or podcasts with content about blind-friendly games. There are YouTube channels devoted to this topic. Some examples are:

Liam Erven’s Youtube channel

Playing Killer Instinct as a blind person on XBox

Jason then began to talk about XBox. It’s a game console that attaches to a computer or TV, for the purpose of playing games. Now, game consoles allow you to do other things too, like watch movies, or communicate with other gamers. Recently, Microsoft has become extremely active around accessibility. They have put Narrator, their text-to-speech solution, on the XBox. To activate Narrator on a game controller, hold down the top middle button (also called the Guide or Xbox button) until the controller vibrates, then press the menu button which is the right hand button below the guide button. You can also plug a keyboard into the USB port on the Xbox, then press Windows+Enter to activate Narrator.

Narrator allows you to navigate through the system, but it doesn’t mean the games themselves will be accessible. This next step has to be up to the game developers. Currently, there are some mainstream games that have enough audio cues in them already, that they’re playable by blind people. In these games, your character and your opponent are on opposite sides of the screen, and opposite sides of stereo headphones. Blind players have been able to win in gaming tournaments against sighted competitors. Blind gamers have become much more vocal. They’ve begun attending gaming conventions and encouraging game developers to make their games accessible. You’re starting to see developers adding audio cues as an extra layer you can enable if you want to.

With the XBox, in Windows, there’s an XBox ap that allows you to stream to your monitor. You might want to do this because it allows you to use optical character recognition features in your text-to-speech software to read menus that aren’t readily accessible. Both Jaws and NVDA have optical character recognition functions that allow you to pull information off your monitor.

Narrator allows you to change the voice or the speed. Jason did a demonstration of interacting with the XBox using Narrator. When you start dealing with mainstream games, you realize how big they are. Killer Instinct  is 47 gig. If you want more space, you can plug USB drives into its ports. It’s USB3 so it shouldn’t slow things down much. When playing, you can choose to have the music track turned down in order to hear the voice and audio cues more clearly. It’s not completely simple to get it going, but it’s totally doable. It’s not all about direct violence. There’s another game called Madden NFL18. It’s a football game that already had a lot of verbal commentary. Someone got motivated to add accessibility cues to it. If you do a search for Madden NFL18 accessibility, you’ll find a Readit post talking about how to play the game as a blind person.

Playing in the Dark is a Europe-based multi-player racing game that’s free. Heroes Call developers and XBox people are talking, so there may be some movement toward each other.

Another dimension of accessible games are smaller-scale games for your phone. A company called Blindfold Games has about 80 phone-based games that are less complex. They include word games, music games, puzzles, and pinball etc. Another popular one is called Diceworld. It’s an ap with about 6 dice-based games. There are accessible versions of chess, sudoku, and word games. Many are free, and most are $5 or less.

Looking around on www.audiogames.net would be the way to find accessible PC games. RS Games is usable on PC or phone, it’s free, and has some conventional games like Monopoly. These can be multi-player, so that you can play with others on-line.

 

Upcoming Meetings:

  • Next Meeting: Thursday, March 13 at 6pm
  • Location: CNIB Community Hub space at 1525 Yonge Street, just 1 block north of St Clair on the east side of Yonge, just south of Heath.
  • Meetings are held on the third Thursday of the month at 6pm.

 

GTT Toronto Adaptive Technology User Group Overview:

  • GTT Toronto is a chapter of the Canadian Council of the Blind (CCB).
  • GTT Toronto promotes a self-help learning experience by holding monthly meetings to assist participants with assistive technology.
  • Each meeting consists of a feature technology topic, questions and answers about technology, and one-on-one training where possible.
  • Participants are encouraged to come to each meeting even if they are not interested in the feature topic because questions on any technology are welcome. The more participants the better able we will be equipped with the talent and experience to help each other.
  • There are GTT groups across Canada as well as a national GTT monthly toll free teleconference. You may subscribe to the National GTT blog to get email notices of teleconferences and notes from other GTT chapters. Visit:

http://www.gttprogram.wordpress.com/

There is a form at the bottom of that web page to enter your email.

 

GTT Toronto Summary Notes, Android Phones and Tablets, January 18, 2018

Summary Notes

 

GTT Toronto Adaptive Technology User Group

January 18, 2018

 

An Initiative of the Canadian Council of the Blind

In Partnership with CNIB

 

The most recent meeting of the Get Together with Technology (GTT) Toronto Group was held on Thursday, January 18 at the CNIB Community Hub.

 

*Note: Reading Tip: These summary notes apply HTML headings to help navigate the document. With screen readers, you may press the H key to jump forward or Shift H to jump backward from heading to heading.

 

January 2018 Topic: Android Phones and Tablets:

 

GTT Toronto January 18, 2018 Meeting Summary Notes can be found at this link:

 

Summary Notes:

Ian opened the meeting. He introduced Shane to talk about Android.

Shane began his talk by discussing the difference between Android and Apple. He disclosed that he typically uses Apple, but trains on Android. The Pixel is his favourite Android phone. He had one, which he passed around. He asked around the room, and only one out of a dozen people are regularly using Android with accessibility.

Shane said what he likes best about Android is the Google Assistant. He finds the voice dictation interface better than Apple. Android is partially open-source, which is one advantage over Apple. Apple tends to be more stable and refined, but Android is catching up quickly. Apple accessibility is still preferable, but Talkback is getting better. The navigation is a bit awkward. A member contributed that getting a Google phone is a good idea because you’ll get updates quicker, this includes the Pixel and the Nexis. Other companies will take longer to push out the updates by a few weeks or so. Another member said he thought that lately, updates are more cosmetic then substantive. Members agreed that the Nexis isn’t in production any more, and that the Pixel is among the most expensive. The Motorola phones are cheaper but still good. Lower-end phones like HTC or OnePlus do work from an accessibility standpoint. Always try to test a phone before you buy it, because you can find a situation where a phone manufacturer has tinkered with something basic like the home screen, and disrupted the accessibility functions.

Talkback, the Android accessibility platform, works in similar ways to Apple’s VoiceOver. The swiping gestures are the same, and Apple rotor functions are accessed by swiping up or down.

There are three types of gestures, back and forth, up and down, and diagonal. If you want the first item on a page, swipe up then down without removing your finger from the screen. There are lists of Android commands available.

There are no screen dot protectors for Android because there are hundreds of different models of phone.

You can set up Google Assistant to respond by voice, by saying “ok Google.” Everyone who had an opinion, agreed that Google’s voice recognition and web searches are much more efficient than Siri. This is particularly relevant for someone with difficulties using a keyboard or making gestures. Siri will display web results, but Google will dictate the information. Another advantage is that Google works off-line.

Jason raised the issue of the Doro phone. It’s an Android phone being marketed by Bell. It has a software overlay that turns it into a much more menu-driven interface. It greatly simplifies the learning curve. The problem is that the company who designed the software is now out of business. This means there will be no updates to the software. It’s worth considering if you’re looking for something simple. It’s particularly useful for seniors. Shane said he has a Doro phone available for later testing if anyone’s interested. Jason said that he’s heard from bell, that they’re not concerned with Claria, the software company being out of business. As far as Bell is concerned, the phone does what they say it will. It’s also true that no matter what phone you have, you’ll probably upgrade it in a few years anyway. It costs about $300 off contract. Blindshell and a few others are similar, but they’re only available in Europe.

Samsung phones have their own built-in voice Assistant, which doesn’t do quite as much as Talkback. It’s good for people transitioning from Apple, because the gestures are more similar to Apple gestures. Voice Assistant also has trouble working with Firefox.

Lazarillo GPS for the Blind, is a GPS ap that’s quite similar to BlindSquare, and works on Android. The difference is it doesn’t support beacons, but it’s free. Nearby Explorer is a paid ap that allows you to download maps, so you can use it without data.

Other aps for Android include Spotify, Youtube, Google Sheets, which is a spreadsheet ap, and many others, which can run on both Android and Apple.

Iris Vision is a pair of Samsung goggles that low-vision people can use to magnify things or bring things like signs closer. It’s a much cheaper option than something like E-Sight. It uses the Android phone as its basis. Because Android is open-source, it’s more adaptable for innovation. Developers will often start with Android for this reason. Apple has a lot of restrictions on what you can do with their hardware.

Be My Eyes, and KNFB Reader are available on Android. The Seeing AI people say that it will eventually be available on Android, but they won’t say when.

A member clarified that Android is the name of the operating system, equal to Apple IOS. As software, it can run on any phone that isn’t an Apple. It’s the phone equivalent of Windows; it can run on many platforms.

Another advantage of Android is that, as well as the phones being cheaper, they’re also more flexible in terms of replacing batteries, having an SD card etc.. It gives you more choice about your hardware.

As a trainer, Shane approaches clients with the question, “What problems do you have that technology can solve?” Google Assistant can often offer solutions.

You can do wireless file transfers to Android phones, mediated by various aps. With Apple phones, you’re restricted to using iTunes.

You can swap sim cards between Apple and Android phones.

The topic was raised of the difference between Seeing AI, and Be My Eyes. Be My Eyes puts you in touch with a real person who will look through your camera and give you information. Seeing AI uses optical character recognition to give you text to speech. Be My Eyes works on both platforms; Seeing AI is only available on Apple.

A few years ago, Apple was way out in front where accessibility is concerned, but that’s not true any more. The playing field is much closer to level now. In general though, Android does require more tinkering or configuring to make it work the way you want it to. The National Braille Press has a very good book on Android.

Out of the box, with many Android phones, you can turn the phone on, hold two fingers on the screen for about five seconds, and Talkback will turn on.

A member contributed that, world-wide, 85% of all phones are Android.

www.inclusiveandroid.com is all about Android accessibility. It’s a good resource for researching models of phones.

Another advantage of Android is that you can keep an older operating system and just update aps as you go. Apple aps will almost always say you have to have the latest version of the OS.

 

Upcoming Meetings:

  • Next Meeting: Thursday, February 13 at 6pm
  • Location: CNIB Community Hub space at 1525 Yonge Street, just 1 block north of St Clair on the east side of Yonge, just south of Heath.
  • Meetings are held on the third Thursday of the month at 6pm.

 

GTT Toronto Adaptive Technology User Group Overview:

  • GTT Toronto is a chapter of the Canadian Council of the Blind (CCB).
  • GTT Toronto promotes a self-help learning experience by holding monthly meetings to assist participants with assistive technology.
  • Each meeting consists of a feature technology topic, questions and answers about technology, and one-on-one training where possible.
  • Participants are encouraged to come to each meeting even if they are not interested in the feature topic because questions on any technology are welcome. The more participants the better able we will be equipped with the talent and experience to help each other.
  • There are GTT groups across Canada as well as a national GTT monthly toll free teleconference. You may subscribe to the National GTT blog to get email notices of teleconferences and notes from other GTT chapters. Visit:

http://www.gttprogram.wordpress.com/

There is a form at the bottom of that web page to enter your email.

 

GTT Edmonton Summary Notes, Edmonton Public Library and iPhone Basics, February 12, 2018

Summary Notes

GTT Edmonton Meeting February 12, 2018

 

The most recent meeting of the Get Together with Technology (GTT) Edmonton Chapter was held February 12at 7pm at Ascension Lutheran Church 8405 83 Street in Edmonton.

18 people attended.

Reading Tip: These summary notes apply HTML headings to help navigate the document. With screen readers, you may press the H key to jump forward or Shift H to jump backward from heading to heading.

 

February Topics –Edmonton Public Library, IPhone Basics

 

Edmonton Public Library

Lorne covered free online options for how blind and low vision Edmontonians can get two kinds of books, human narrated, also known as regular audio books, as well as eBooks, which can be read out loud using Text to Speech and/or Braille.

 

First, everything starts with a free Edmonton Public Library (EPL) card, you can go to any EPL branch to sign up for one. If you have trouble getting out to a branch, or if you have questions, visit the following webpage that details all of EPL’s epl2you assistive services:

https://www.epl.ca/epl2you/

There is contact info on that page for EPL’s CELA coordinator, Connie Hargreaves, to talk to if you have further questions.

your card will have a 14-digit barcode which is your EPL account number, and a 4-digit pin which is your password. you can use this to log in for the following services available to all Edmontonians through EPL, not just those with blindness/low vision.

 

EPL offers a number of places to get both protected Audio and protected eBooks, and most of them have 2 ways to consume their content. you can either log into them through a web browser on your computer or laptop or download an app to your apple or Android device. For eBooks, the most accessible way to read them is to download the book to your computer and use a program called Adobe Digital Editions to open the eBooks. You would then use your screen reader or screen magnifier to read the book.

Here is the list of places to get audio books through the EPL:

https://www.epl.ca/resources-types/audiobooks/

and here is EPL’s list of places to get eBooks:

https://www.epl.ca/resources-types/ebooks-resource/

 

For Edmontonians who self identify as having a print disability, (i.e. Blind, Low Vision, Learning disability, etc.) you can sign up for more exclusive libraries that offer more than 750,000 unprotected books in a variety of formats.

This gives you access to the Centre for Equitable Library Access (CELA), and the National Network for Equitable Library Service (NNELS). You can sign up yourself for either of those by visiting the first link for the EPL2You website, or by going to an EPL branch.

through CELA, you can also sign up for Bookshare, on online library that has over 350,000 eBooks.

 

In addition to all of the above, there are many online places to get free audio and eBooks. Two  of these are Project Gutenberg,

https://www.gutenberg.org/

which has thousands of older eBooks which are public domain, and a similar resource for audio books is Librivox,

https://librivox.org/

 

Lorne Also discussed some of the computer software, mobile apps and hardware devices that you can use to play books from the above places:

  • Built in or third-party Screen Readers and Screen Magnifiers will allow you to read protected eBooks using Adobe Digital Editions.
  • Specialized apps like QRead, Dolphin Easy Reader, and Voice Dream Reader can read books out loud and have direct access to many online libraries such as CELA and Bookshare.
  • Specialized devices like the Victor Reader Stream/Stratus, Plextalk desktop and pocket, etc., can play the audio and eBooks out loud, and most can connect through WIFI to download the books from CELA and Bookshare without using a computer.
  • There are many other accessible online places to get audio and eBooks, such as Audible or Kindle, however those services are for the most part not free. The above options will work for residents of Edmonton, however many will also be available to most Canadians via your local public library, depending on which services they have subscribed to

 

Windows 10 Training

Russell provided One on One Training in Windows 10 with JAWS

 

Gerry – iPhone Accessibility Primer

Gerry demonstrated to a small subgroup the basic gestures to navigate iPhone apps using the built-in VoiceOver screen reader. The following table lists only 12 gestures that allow you to do almost everything on an iPhone without being able to see the screen.

Use this Gesture To DO This
Single finger touch Select the item under your finger. VoiceOver will announce it.
Single finger double tap anywhere on the screen Activate the selected item
Single finger flick left or right. Move to previous/next item.
Single finger flick up or down Move to previous/next item using rotor setting.
Two finger rotate left or right. Select previous/next rotor setting.
Two finger double tap Start and stop the current action such as answering or hanging up a phone call, playing/pausing music, or video, sstart and stop the timer etc.
Two finger flick up Read page starting at the top.
Two finger flick down Start reading at selected item to end of screen.
Three finger flick left Scroll right one page.
Three finger flick right Scroll left one page.
Three finger flick down Scroll up one page.
Three finger flick up Scroll down one page.

 

Under Settings/General/Accessibility/VoiceOver there is a gesture practice screen. Perform any gesture on this practice screen and VoiceOver will confirm your gesture and explain what it does. Double tap the Done button in the top right of the practice screen to close it.

 

Note that these gestures work only when VoiceOver is turned on. Sighted people who might share your phone use different gestures. The phone will not respond to the gestures sighted people are accustomed to unless you turn off VoiceOver.

 

Next Meeting (Monday March 12 at 7pm)

  • No topic has been set for this meeting yet.
  • As always, for help with technology bring your devices and/or questions to the meeting.

 

Meeting Location and Logistics

  • Ascension Lutheran Church 8405 – 83 Street NW, Edmonton.
  • We meet in the basement hall. There is elevator access.
  • Enter the church from the back door. There is parking at the back and drop off space for taxis, DATS.
  • Meetings are every second Monday of the month at 7pm.
  • If you have someone helping you your assistant is welcome to remain for the meeting.

 

GTT Edmonton Overview

  • GTT Edmonton is a chapter of the Canadian Council of the Blind (CCB).
  • GTT Edmonton promotes a self-help learning experience by holding monthly meetings to assist participants with assistive technology.
  • Each meeting consists of a feature technology topic, questions and answers about technology, and one-on-one training where possible.
  • Participants are encouraged to come to each meeting even if they are not interested in the feature topic because questions on any technology are welcome. The more participants the better able we will be equipped with the talent and experience to help each other.
  • There are GTT groups across Canada as well as a national GTT monthly toll free teleconference. You may subscribe to the National GTT blog to get email notices of teleconferences and notes from other GTT chapters. Visit:

http://www.gttprogram.wordpress.com/

There is a form at the bottom of that web page to enter your email.

 

National GTT Email Support List

CCB sponsors a GTT email support list to provide help and support with technology for blind and low vision Canadians.  To subscribe to the email list, send an empty email to:

GTTsupport+subscribe@groups.io

 

[End of Document]

 

 

Town Hall: 2nd Weekly Announcement, Have Your Say, Tele Town Hall, March 10, 2018

It’s time to have your say

On March 10, 2018 the Tele Town Hall organizing team will be hosting its fifth and final Tele Town Hall. Like the previous four; this will be open to participants across Canada.

 

Date and start times across Canada

Date: March 10, 2018

 

Times: 10:00 am Pacific

11:00 am Mountain

Noon Central

1:00 pm Eastern

2:00 pm Atlantic

2:30 in Newfoundland

 

This meeting will last no longer than two hours.

Moderator: Jane Blaine.

 

 

 

Introduction:

In the summer of 2016, we the Tele Town Hall organizing team embarked on a journey to facilitate a number of Tele Town Halls across Canada with the mission to give participants an opportunity to share their views on a variety of topics related to the current state of blindness rehabilitation and consumerism in Canada.

 

As a non-biased team, we felt strongly that we were in a position to facilitate these Town Halls and at the end of it all to present a report to participants and other stakeholders.

 

Let’s get it out there

Our first two Tele Town Halls held at the end of October 2016 and in early March 2017 invited participants to share their views on the following:

* The present state of the consumer movement in Canada

* What if anything should we be doing to affect change

* What would be a logical and reasonable path to pursue if change was desired?

* Who could be involved?

* How could this be accomplished and

* What mechanisms could be used in order to accomplish this?

 

Advocacy without borders

Our third Tele Town Hall held in October 2017 gave participants an opportunity to hear about how rehabilitation services and consumer movements operate in New Zealand and Australia thanks to two guest speakers who shared their views with us.

They were Martine Abel Williamson; treasurer of the World Blind Union and well known advocate from New Zealand and Fran Cutler; a well-known advocate who works both in Australia and Canada splitting her time equally between both countries.

 

Our fourth Tele Town Hall held in November 2017 gave participants an opportunity to hear from guest speakers from the United States.  In similar fashion to our third Tele Town Hall; we featured high profile speakers who shared their views on the state of rehabilitation services and consumer movements in the United States.

They were Mitch Pomerantz; A past president of the American Council of the Blind and an active advocate in the development of the Americans with disabilities Act, and John Panarese; a well-known trainer in Apple products and an active advocate in helping others to gain equal access to training opportunities.

 

Now it is time to have your final say in this series

The fifth and final Tele Town Hall will give participants an opportunity to have their say and in so doing to help shape the future of our consumer advocacy movement in Canada.  Based on comments and suggestions garnered from previous Tele Town Halls, many participants do not believe that living with the status quo is a viable option.  Accordingly, we would like to preface the discussions of this final Tele Town Hall with a list of questions meant to help you formulate some thoughts before attending.  Also, reading the notes taken during the previous 4 Tele Town Hall meetings might help us all chart a path, and those links are found below our list of “thought provoking” questions.

 

Question one:

How well do current blindness/low vision rehabilitation service organizations in Canada serve your needs, or how do they not serve your needs as the case may be?

 

Question two:

How well do current blindness/low vision advocacy/social/support organizations in Canada serve your needs, or how are they not serving your needs as the case may be?  IE, are you personally happy with the existing consumer advocacy and support movements in Canada?

 

Question three:

If not, what will make them more responsive to blind Canadians needs, and flexible enough to move with emerging societal demands?

 

Question four:

What strategies are required if we’re to strengthen the voice of blind Canadians with Governments, employers and communities?  IE, do blind Canadians need one single strong voice in order to advance our needs?

 

Question five:

What strategies can blind Canadians employ to amplify their voices in order to be better heard within Canadian organizations “of” and “for” the blind?  IE, do blind Canadians want to be more involved in driving the organizations that provide rehabilitation services in Canada?

 

All Four Sets of Tele Town Hall Notes can be downloaded from:

  1. October 29, 2016.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/9s1bf11aa9rkmjn/2016Oct29%20Tele%20Town%20Hall%20Meeting%20Notes%20Final%20.docx?dl=1

  1. March 4, 2017.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/puu8i9zwufmb8zq/2017Mar04%20Tele%20Town%20Hall%20Meeting%20Notes%20Final.docx?dl=1

  1. October 14, 2017.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/lqj3c5ni68k10u1/2017Oct14%20Tele%20Town%20Hall%20Meeting%20Notes%20Final.docx?dl=1

  1. November 18, 2017.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/niljvn76srrpvp1/2017Nov18%20Tele%20Town%20Hall%20Meeting%20Notes%20Final.docx?dl=1

 

To register as a participant please email

TeleTownHall1@Gmail.com

And you will receive an acknowledgment of your email.

An electronic copy of the rules of engagement will be sent to you during the week of March 04.

We thank you!

 

Signed

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

 

GTT New Westminster and Vancouver Meeting Invitations, Bluetooth Keyboards for Smart Phones and Tablets, February 20 and March 3, 2018

Get Together With Technology (GTT) New Westminster/Vancouver!

Sponsored by the Canadian Council of the Blind

in partnership with

Blind Beginnings

And

Vancouver Community College

 

People who are blind or partially sighted of all ages are invited to “Save the Dates” for these two January sessions of the GTT Vancouver and New Westminster meetings where the Amazon Echo and Google Home smart speakers will be demonstrated and discussed.

 

February/March 2018 Theme: Bluetooth Keyboards

Some folks struggle to operate their device, or to type on the touch screens of smart phones and tablets, so on February 20 in New West and March 3 in Vancouver John Ogilvie and the GTT team will demonstrate Bluetooth keyboards as an option for efficiency and productivity using your smart phone or tablet.

 

Who Should Attend?

  • People who would like to know about the different styles and types of Bluetooth keyboards;
  • People who want to know what is involved in selecting and using a Bluetooth keyboard;
  • People interested in learning about how to connect/pare and disconnect/unpare a Bluetooth keyboard;
  • People who want to know what devices lend themselves to the use of a Bluetooth keybord;
  • People who want peer assistance with other assistive technology.

 

GTT New Westminster:

Date & Time: Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Where: Blind Beginnings Office, 227 6th Street, New Westminster

 

GTT Vancouver:

Date and Time: Saturday, March 3, 2018 from 10AM to 12Noon

Where: Vancouver Community College, Broadway campus – Room 2501 Building A 1155 East Broadway

 

Hour one:

A discussion and demonstration of Bluetooth keyboards used with iPhone/iPad/iPods by John Ogilvie, Matt Alvernez and Monty Lilburn.  If you have a Bluetooth keyboard that hasn’t been used yet, bring it along for help and support.

 

Hour two:

The second half of the meeting will include an opportunity to seek tech advice from those with more knowledge.  Please bring the device you want assistance with.

 

For more information contact either Shawn Marsolais or Albert Ruel:

shawn@blindbeginnings.ca or 604-434-7243.

Albert.GTT@CCBNational.net or 250-240-2343

 

What is GTT?

 

An opportunity for individuals who are blind or partially sighted to get together and

  • Share how they are using assistive technology for work, school, and in their daily lives
  • Learn from others who are using different assistive technology
  • Request information on new technology
  • Mentor and support each other

 

You’re invited, and encouraged to circulate this invitation widely to your circle of friends, colleagues and family who have an interest in peer support in the area of assistive technology.

 

For more information about GTT contact:

Shawn Marsolais                  Albert Ruel

Shawn@BlindBeginnings.ca         Albert.GTT@CCBNational.net

604-434-7243                        1-877-304-0968 Ext. 550

 

 

CCB Newsletters: Visions, February 2018 Canadian Council of the Blind National Newsletter

 

 

 

 

VISIONS

Canadian Council of the Blind Newsletter

 

 

 

 

February 2018

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“A lack of sight is not a lack of vision”

Photo by Tai Jyun Chang on Unsplash

Announcements

 

 

 

President’s Message++

As you receive this message everyone will be busy working on White Cane Week events. The fact we live in Canada with very changeable weather it is difficult for some events to take place on their scheduled day so please don’t let that deter you. This is one week that we place emphasis on our “ABILITIES not disabilities” which we live with all year and so should our events.

 

As persons living with vision loss we are capable of great accomplishments. Some of us are not as able as others, and that is when we can offer support and guidance to assist those in need in reaching their goals. Programs such as GTT and CCB Health & Fitness are great examples of this type of peer support and mentoring, while at the same time learning new technology, exercise, eating better and therefore leading a much happier life. When the community sees people with vision loss becoming more active it often encourages them to improve their lifestyle.

 

CCB is very active with many other organizations across Canada and internationally as I have mentioned before. We will continue working with these groups for some time well into the future.

One of the major undertakings for this year will be to ensure our By Laws are in compliance with the Canada Not for Profit Act. Our committee will be busy reviewing and getting the changes made as needed with input from the membership.

As we begin this New Year we will work together in a positive way to make Canada a more accessible country for everyone. In August the IFA 14th Global Convention on Ageing will be held in Canada. CCB will be presenting a paper on Eye Health and the importance of eye exams/care which is an important example of working with other groups to improve care and prevent illness – all part of our mandate.

 

Enjoy the many articles of interest in this edition of the CCB Newsletter.

Louise Gillis, National President

 

The New Newsletter++

Welcome to VISIONS our exciting new newsletter.  I’m sure you’ve noticed this has a very different layout to what we were doing before.  We are now accepting pictures with your article submissions.  Not all pictures will be published in the newsletter, but they are very welcome.  If you do submit pictures, please let us know who is in them so we can have accurate alt text and captions.  The headings in word will be done the same as they have been recently to make everything as readable as possible.  Word and pdf versions will be emailed out and on our website.  Thank you all for your help as we move forward with this beautiful new format.

 

It’s time to have your say++

On March 10, 2018 the Tele Town Hall organizing team will be hosting its fifth and final Tele Town Hall. Like the previous four; this will be open to participants across Canada.

 

 

Date and start times across Canada

Date: March 10, 2018

 

Times: 10:00 am Pacific

11:00 am Mountain

Noon Central

1:00 pm Eastern

2:00 pm Atlantic

2:30 in Newfoundland

This meeting will last no longer than two hours.

Moderator: Jane Blaine.

 

Introduction:

In the summer of 2016, we the Tele Town Hall organizing team embarked on a journey to facilitate a number of Tele Town Halls across Canada with the mission to give participants an opportunity to share their views on a variety of topics related to the current state of blindness rehabilitation and consumerism in Canada.

As a non-biased team, we felt strongly that we were in a position to facilitate these Town Halls and at the end of it all to present a report to participants and other stakeholders.

Let’s get it out there

Our first two Tele Town Halls held at the end of October 2016 and in early March 2017 invited participants to share their views on the following:

* The present state of the consumer movement in Canada

* What if anything should we be doing to affect change

* What would be a logical and reasonable path to pursue if change was desired?

* Who could be involved?

* How could this be accomplished and

* What mechanisms could be used in order to accomplish this?

 

 

Advocacy without borders

Our third Tele Town Hall held in October 2017 gave participants an opportunity to hear about how rehabilitation services and consumer movements operate in New Zealand and Australia thanks to two guest speakers who shared their views with us.

They were Martine Abel Williamson; treasurer of the World Blind Union and well known advocate from New Zealand and Fran Cutler; a well-known advocate who works both in Australia and Canada splitting her time equally between both countries.

Our fourth Tele Town Hall held in November 2017 gave participants an opportunity to hear from guest speakers from the United States.  In similar fashion to our third Tele Town Hall; we featured high profile speakers who shared their views on the state of rehabilitation services and consumer movements in the United States.

They were Mitch Pomerantz; A past president of the American Council of the Blind and an active advocate in the development of the Americans with disabilities Act, and John Panarese; a well-known trainer in Apple products and an active advocate in helping others to gain equal access to training opportunities.

 

 

Now it is time to have your final say in this series

The fifth and final Tele Town Hall will give participants an opportunity to have their say and in so doing to help shape the future of our consumer advocacy movement in Canada.  Based on comments and suggestions garnered from previous Tele Town Halls, many participants do not believe that living with the status quo is a viable option.  Accordingly, we would like to preface the discussions of this final Tele Town Hall with a list of questions meant to help you formulate some thoughts before attending.  Also, reading the notes taken during the previous 4 Tele Town Hall meetings might help us all chart a path, and those links are found below our list of “thought provoking” questions.

 

 

 

 

Question one:

How well do current blindness/low vision rehabilitation service organizations in Canada serve your needs, or how do they not serve your needs as the case may be?

Question two:

How well do current blindness/low vision advocacy/social/support organizations in Canada serve your needs, or how are they not serving your needs as the case may be?  IE, are you personally happy with the existing consumer advocacy and support movements in Canada?

Question three:

If not, what will make them more responsive to blind Canadians needs, and flexible enough to move with emerging societal demands

Question four:

What strategies are required if we’re to strengthen the voice of blind Canadians with Governments, employers and communities?  IE, do blind Canadians need one single strong voice in order to advance our needs?

Question five:

What strategies can blind Canadians employ to amplify their voices in order to be better heard within Canadian organizations “of” and “for” the blind?  IE, do blind Canadians want to be more involved in driving the organizations that provide rehabilitation services in Canada?

 

All Four Sets of Tele Town Hall Notes can be downloaded from:

October 29, 2016, download here.

March 4, 2017, download here.

October 14, 2017, download here.

November 18, 2017, download here.

 

To register as a participant please email

TeleTownHall1@Gmail.com

And you will receive an acknowledgment of your email.

An electronic copy of the rules of engagement will be sent to you during the week of March 04.

We thank you!

 

Signed

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

 

White Cane Week++

Get ready for another fun and exciting awareness week from February 4 to 10. Events include our annual AMI Canadian Vision Impaired Curling Championship and countless local activities. Please visit the CCB website to keep yourself updated on the many exciting events that will be taking place this year across the country. And stay tuned for reports on events in upcoming newsletters!

 

 

CCB Celebrates its 15th Annual White Cane Week++

This year marks the CCB’s 15th annual celebration of White Cane Week (WCW). Each year, during the first full week of February, the Council recognizes the ability of Canadians who are blind or have low vision through a week long, national celebration. This celebration, WCW, aims to bring awareness and an appreciation to issues of accessibility, health and inclusion.

Across Canada, there are WCW initiatives on both the local, provincial and national levels. CCB Divisions and Chapters plan, promote and deliver WCW event activities within their communities.  There are sports competitions, hands-on demonstrations, open houses, an Expo and tours, amongst other events, taking place to promote and raise awareness of the White Cane as a symbol of “ability not disability”. Each event is unique to the chapter and community where it is being held. Each is built around a framework of promoting chapter activities, membership, and to raise awareness of the chapter, the CCB and its programs within these local communities.

 

 

 

Some White Cane Week Highlights: February 4-10, 2018

 

CCB Toronto Visionaries Chapter Holds 3rd Annual ‘Experience’ Expo:

This year’s, ‘Experience’ Expo is being held, from 10am to 4pm, on Saturday February 3, at the Miles Nadal Jewish Community Centre, at Bloor and Spadina, in downtown Toronto. Improving on last year’s event, ‘Experience’ Expo 2018 is already an incredible success, with sold out floor space and a 35% increase in exhibitors.

 

‘Experience’ Expo is in its third year and is Canada’s only expo dedicated to the blind and those with vision loss.  A hands-on, interactive exposition in which exhibitors share their ‘experience’, providing creative, adoptive solutions to all aspects of life with vision loss. Through interactive demonstrations and activities, visitors can ‘experience’ new ways to overcome barriers, gain independence and live a full rich life. So come out to ‘Experience’ Expo and explore the possibilities.

Please visit our website at http://www.ccbtorontovisionaries.ca/WCW.php

CCB’s AMI Canadian Vision Impaired Curling Championship; (CVICC)

This National Championship takes place each year in Ottawa, at the historic Ottawa Curling Club. The curling event brings together teams, from coast to coast, for the 5 day, tournament.  The CVICC runs Monday through Friday of WCW.  The Championship final will take place at 1:00pm, Friday February 9th followed by closing ceremonies by way of the CVICC Awards Banquet that evening. Here participating curlers are recognized, as champions, as all-stars and are rewarded with their hard fought and well-earned medals.

3 Brian Lechelt from Team Canada (Kelowna) throws his rock while Team Ontario watches

CCB 2018 Person of the Year Award Recipient:

The Canadian Council of the Blind is extremely pleased to announce its 2018 Person of the Year is the Honourable Dr. Asha Seth. The retired Senator, Dr. Seth will receive her Award on Friday, February 9th at the Councils award dinner at the Ottawa Curling Club.

 

The honourable Dr. Seth is a visionary leader, trail blazing a path for many to emulate. Through it all, it is her commitment to helping others that shines brightest among her accomplishments. Please refer to the full story in White Cane Magazine available, in digital form, on the CCB website at www.ccbnational.net

CCB 2018 President’s Award Recipient:

The Canadian Council of the Blind’s President’s award is given annually to an individual or organization that, in their work or service, with or for the blind and partially sighted, have made a real; difference in improving the quality of life of our community in Canada.

 

This year’s recipient is the International Federation on Ageing (IFA) in recognition of its hard work on behalf of patient advocacy.  Dr. Jane Barratt, Secretary General of the IFA, will attend the awards dinner, at the Ottawa Curling Club, on Friday February 9th and receive the President’s Award, on behalf of the Federation. The full story can be found in White Cane Magazine available, in digital form, on the CCB website at www.ccbnational.net

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

GTT Prince Edward Island Meeting Invitation, General Discussion and Brainstorming Session, February 28, 2018++

 

 

 

You are invited!  Blind and low vision GTT participants meet monthly to learn about and share their experiences using assistive technologies in their daily lives at home, school, or at work.

 

Agenda for the first Prince Edward Island Conference Call GTT Meeting:

Date: Wednesday, February 28, 2018 from 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm, Prince Edward Island Time.

Location: CCB Toll Free Conference Number.

Call-in Information:

1-866-740-1260

Passcode is 5670311#

Smart Phone users can tap on the below number to have the passcode dialed automatically following the toll free number:

1-866-740-1260, 5670311#

 

Theme: •Brainstorming for the first, and future meetings of GTT and the CCB Assistive Technology Program on Prince Edward Island.

  • Albert Ruel and Sandra Poirier will lead a brainstorming session regarding future content and format for GTT Newfoundland meetings

 

Some are curious about the kinds of topics or technologies that may be discussed in future meetings. Here are a few potential topics:

  1. Talking books, talking book machines and accessible Libraries: How do I get started; where do I ask my questions; what do I do to find books I will like?
  2. What types of magnification technology will help me access vital text in my home?
  3. How can we who are living with Low and no vision get access to vital information?
  4. Smart phones, which one is best, how much are they and who will help me learn how to use one?
  5. Is a computer actually needed in my life, and if so who’s going to help me pick one out or learn how to use it?
  6. Is the internet a safe place to get information I need?
  7. Hey Google, Alexa, what are these smart speakers we keep hearing about, is that something I need or want?

 

 

 

 

Who Should Attend:

Any blind or low vision person who is interested in learning how assistive technologies can help them lead more independent lives.

  • Anyone interested in contributing to the future of the Prince Edward Island GTT group by sharing ideas for future meetings to discuss other blind or low vision assistive devices.

 

For More Information contact:

Sandra Poirier : SandraPoirier@EastLink.ca or Albert Ruel Albert.GTT@CCBNational.net

 

 

 

 

 

Inclusion – There’s an App for That!

New Technology Improves Interior Navigation for Everyone++

 

Vancouver, BC, February 9, 2018.

 

As part of CCB White Cane Week and in collaboration with the Vancouver Central Library, Right-Hear Accessible Solutions from Israel and Canadian Assistive Technology, the CCB and Gateway Navigation CCC Limited are pleased to present the first indoor audio navigation experience of its kind in Canada. Corry Stuive, representing the CCB and advisor for the Beacon Navigation Project, explains, “Accessibility and inclusion is not just about putting braille on signs, but giving the blind the equal opportunity to hear the information in the same way a sighted person can read them.  This technology creates real inclusion and independence.”

 

Steve Barclay, President, Canadian Assistive Technology, describes how the BLE (Bluetooth low energy) beacon was deployed at the Vancouver Central Library, “We placed nine of these beacons at decision-making points such as entrances, stairs and elevators around the Vancouver Central Library.  This created nine accessibility zones that provide orientation information. The technology builds an audio road map that any individual with a smartphone and the free Right-Hear app can use to orientate themselves to their immediate surroundings and assist them in navigating the indoor venue independently.  The service can be accessed in multiple languages.” Right-Hear

 

Jim Taggart, Director of Gateway and advocate for social sustainability within the architectural profession, summarizes the Project’s focus, “We are dedicated to improving the accessibility of interior spaces for members of the blind and visually impaired community in Canada. Just as smart phone-based GPS has made exterior navigation easier for everyone, so Gateway imagines a wireless, technology-based network that will make complex buildings, such as airports, transit hubs, shopping malls and public buildings accessible to all those who cannot read signage or interpret other wayfinding cues.”

 

Mike May, recently appointed Executive Director at Envision, Inc., will be adding his vast experience and knowledge to the panel to discuss the importance of creating accessible and inclusive smart cities. The American Foundation for the Blind recognizes Mike’s past and current contributions as a pioneer and leader in the accessible technology sector.  Mike describes one of his current projects at Envision, Inc., “One of the many exciting projects being undertaken by Envision is using proximity beacons to create smart and accessible bus stops. This will help to connect people with real-time digital technology supported by location based services that will assist all commuters, including blind or visually impaired to travel safely and independently.”

David Brun, Founder Gateway Navigation CCC Limited, reflects, “Working in banking for twenty-years and a life time adjusting to sight loss has reinforced to me the importance of accessibility, inclusion, training and employment so that visually impaired people can fully engage in our society.  That has become both Gateway’s mission and its passion.  Over the last several years, Gateway has participated in discussions with many individuals and organizations to implement the proximity beacon technology into public buildings and spaces in Canada.  We are extremely excited to be launching the Beacon Navigation Project in Vancouver and are committed to promoting accessibility, inclusion, training and employment for blind and disabled people.” For more information visit www.gnc3.com

Contacts:

Beacon Navigation Project

Email: partners@gnc3.com

Website: www.gnc3.com

 

Albert Ruel, CCB

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

 

David Brun, Gateway Navigation CCC Limited

Tel: 604-499-4818.

 

 

CCB Access & Awareness NS Chapter – Three Members Receive Nova Scotia Human Rights Awards++

On December 8, 2017, Access & Awareness NS Chapter members, Barry Abbott, Barbara Legay (posthumously) and Chapter Chair Pat Gates, who were three members of a group of approximately 20 people with disabilities, were presented with Nova Scotia Human Rights Awards at a celebration held in Halifax. They were part of a group called the “Bill 59 Community Alliance” which worked closely with the provincial government to bring about accessibility legislation for all Nova Scotians. Bill 59: “An Accessibility Act” was proclaimed in September 2017 after several months of hard work by all involved. Nova Scotia is proud to be the third province in Canada to have accessibility legislation and our Chapter is proud to have three of our members play a role in bringing this legislation to our province.

Submitted by James Hubley, Access & Awareness NS Chapter

 

 

 

Seeking members for the CCB Mysteries chapter++

How would you like to be a part of a brand new chapter whose mission is to plan dinner mystery evenings where audiences get to help catch the killer and pronounce sentence as well?

Affordable, filled with excitement and fun and you never know what comes next? Please read on.

We invite persons from coast to coast to join!  We plan to hold these events in cities across Canada and here is where you can be a part of the action!

 

Our first event is taking place in Toronto on February 23 and doors open at 5:45 pm.

A dinner, game show, mystery, and o yes!  door prizes!

 

Want more info? Email info@sterlingcreations.ca or call 416 491 7711.

 

Advocacy News++

The CCB National Advocacy Committee has taken on the project of promoting the use of Script Talk by both our members and pharmacists across Canada. We hope that our advocacy work will ultimately result in all pharmacies adopting a uniform, accessible and equitable system across the country.

 

An important step in this process is to learn information about the pharmacies you are using in your home area. With this information we will then contact the major chains to provide information on Script Talk and to work towards the adoption of the Script Talk system.

 

Please send your information to:

Advocacy@ccbnational.net

Submitted by Pat Gates, Chair, CCB National Advocacy Committee

 

 

 

 

 

Helpful Info from the CCB National Advocacy Committee++

The CCB National Advocacy Committee, at the request of a CCB member, undertook to write to the Federal Government Minister responsible for passports regarding a concern about accessibility at a Federal service location in the member’s area. While renewing his passport, he noted that a blind person or someone with low vision would not know when their number was shown on the screen and therefore might miss their turn at the service desk.  There was no audio announcement of numbers for those waiting in the queue. We asked the Minister what could be done at any Federal service location to make it accessible.

 

The response from the Minister’s Office stated that any Canadian requiring adaptive services at a passport office should make themselves known to a representative in that office immediately upon arrival and let them know that they require personalized assistance. Persons requiring adaptive service would be given comprehensive, personalized assistance in order to remove any barriers.

Submitted by Pat Gates, Chair

On behalf of the CCB National Advocacy Committee

 

Chapter News++

The CCB CK (Chatham-Kent, ON) Chapter held a successful trivia/potluck day on January 27th. Also, the chapter now offers a peer support program, which takes place every third Wednesday of every month at 1:30 PM until 3 PM at the United Way building of Chatham Kent.

For more information, please contact Markus McCracken, Co Coordinator,

CCB Chatham-Kent Chapter

makaveli2014@live.ca     519 784 3416

 

 

International Federation on Aging (IFA) Calling for Additional Abstracts++

Due to the demand to present at the IFA 14th Global Conference on Ageing (https://www.ifa2018.com) additional rooms have now been confirmed to facilitate additional abstract submissions. In order to balance the program, the IFA is highly interested in abstracts under the themes/subtheme: Combating Ageism; Toward Healthy Ageing; and Addressing Inequalities.

 

Further abstracts under the theme of Age-Friendly Environments are also welcome. The new deadline for additional abstracts is 6 April 2018.

 

With a conference program that will stimulate, educate and inform, join us in Toronto in August 2018 and take a few extra days to explore our city and region (https://www.ifa2018.com/location/about-toronto/)

Assistive Technology

Get Together with Technology (GTT) Top Ten Apps of 2017++

Here are the Top Ten Apps of 2017 as surveyed late in the year through the GTTProgram Blog, GTTSupport Email List and GTTProgram Facebook Group participants.  This was not a scientific survey, so might be considered by some to be a “Fake List”.  Be that as it may, your friendly GTT Group has likely had a hand in the results, and all of you are encouraged to submit your favourites for the 2018 list as we roll into November/December.

 

In order to do so, please stay in touch and participate with GTT groups where ever they gather throughout 2018 by following us at: www.GTTProgram.WordPress.com

Of course, none of the below iDevice, Android, PC or Mac apps are usable by blind, deaf-blind or partially sighted users if the operating system, screen reader and/or magnifier apps aren’t mastered first.  To learn more about how you might gain the skills you need for mastering the above, get involved with a GTT group or conference call near you and ask your questions.  You can also sign up for the GTTSupport email list for this very purpose by sending a blank email message to, GTTSupport+Subscribe@Groups.io

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Favourite Apps Listed according to the votes submitted:

 

 

Top 10 iOS Apps:

  1. Seeing AI, a free app By Microsoft Corporation.
  2. Native iOS Mail, a free email client built into every Apple device.
  3. Voice Dream Reader, a paid app By Voice Dream LLC.
  4. Nearby Explorer, a paid app By American Printing House for the Blind (APH).
  5. TuneIn Radio, a free app By TuneIn.
  6. Native iOS Reminders, a free app built into every Apple device.
  7. Transit, a free app By Transit App, Inc.
  8. VO Calendar, a paid app By Devista B.V.
  9. Bank, free apps by a variety of Canadian Banks.
  10. CBC Radio/News, free apps by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Top 10 PC Apps:

  1. MS Office, a paid word processing, email and spreadsheet suite of apps by Microsoft Corporation.
  2. Audacity, a free, open source multi-track recording and editing app.
  3. Firefox, a free open source web browser by Mozilla.
  4. Humanware Companion, a free VR Stream companion app by Humanware.
  5. JAWS, a paid screen reading app by Freedom Scientific.
  6. Notepad, a free Native app by Microsoft Corporation.
  7. NVDA, a free screen reading app by NVAccess.
  8. Openbook, a paid scan and read app by Freedom Scientific.
  9. Chicken Nugget, a paid Twitter app by Accessible Apps.
  10. GoldWave, a paid audio editing, recording and conversion app by GoldWave Inc.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Top 8 Mac Apps:

  1. Amadeus pro, a paid Audio editor / sound and voice recorder app by HairerSoft.
  2. Dropbox, a free cloud based file storage app by Dropbox.
  3. Facetime, a free iOS communications app by Apple.
  4. Skype, a free communications app by Microsoft Corporation.
  5. Twitterrific, a paid Twitter Client By The Iconfactory.
  6. Native Mail app, a free iOS email app by Apple.
  7. Twitter for mac, a free twitter client By Twitter, Inc.
  8. Audacity, a free, open source multi-track recording and editing app.

 

 

 

Top 4 Android Apps:

  1. Aqua mail, a free email client by MobiSystems.
  2. Amazing mp3 recorder, a free memo and call recorder by StereoMatch.
  3. Nearby explorer, a paid app By American Printing House for the Blind (APH).
  4. Podcast addict, a free Podcast player by Xavier Guillemane.

 

Respectfully submitted by Albert A. Ruel, GTT Coordinator

For more information please contact your GTT Coordinators:

Albert Ruel

1-877-304-0968,ext 550

albert.GTT@CCBNational.net

or

Kim Kilpatrick

1-877-304-0968 ext. 513

GTTProgram@Gmail.com

 

 

How to Use Headings to Organize a Document++

Taken from: http://www.washington.edu/accessibility/documents/word/

 

Using good heading structure helps people without eyesight to understand how the document is organized. Screen reader and Braille users can also jump between headings, which makes navigation much more efficient than if there are no headings.

 

Making text larger and bold does not make it a heading. In order to convert text to a heading in Microsoft Word, you must use the built-in Heading styles like “Heading 1” and “Heading 2”, available under Styles in the Home tab of the Ribbon in Office versions 2010 and higher.

 

Headings should form an outline, using the “Heading 1” style for the main heading, and “Heading 2” for sub-headings. If there are additional levels of headings within the document’s outline, using “Heading 3”, “Heading 4”, etc.

 

 

Instructions on How to Add Headings to a Document, by Albert Ruel:

 

To create section headings in your documents, do the following:

  1. Highlight the text you wish to turn into a Heading. Note, the entire paragraph will be turned into a Heading if the text you wish to use isn’t on its own line. For example: The Contacts Section of a document might be created as follows;

 

For more information contact:

Sally, Sue, Bill or Jack at 1-888-555-1234.

 

If the names of the individuals were left on the same line as the Heading, it too would have been marked as a Level 1 Heading.  For screen reader users it is cumbersome to hear an entire paragraph read as a Heading, so keep those bits of text short.

 

  1. To create a level 1 Heading with the selected text, hold down the Alt and Control keys and press the number 1 on the number row. Conversely, levels 2 and 3 can be created as above, and Levels 4, 5 and 6 Headings can only be created by accessing the Styles Sheet in the Ribbons.

To Use Headings when reading text with a screen reader:

  1. To list all the Headings in a document or email message, hold down the Insert key while pressing the F6 key.
  2. Arrow through the list to read each Heading, or use First Letter command to locate a specific Heading. Note, your screen reader will announce after each Heading the corresponding number of the Heading.
  3. Press the Enter key on the Heading you wish to access and your cursor will be placed at that location within the document, web page or email message.

 

Using the letter H for accessing Headings in MS Word:

  1. Hold down the Insert key while pressing the letter Z to turn Quick Keys on. This action takes you out of edit mode and allows you to press the letter H to move from one Heading to the next, or Shift H to move backward from Heading to Heading.
  2. Once you have located the desired Heading and want to return to edit mode you will hold down the Insert key while pressing the letter Z again to turn Quick Keys off.

 

Note: pressing the letter H will navigate all the Headings in a document in the order they appear, and using Shift H will have you accessing them in reverse order.

 

An additional means of accessing Headings:

  1. To access the Level 1 Headings, press the number 1 on the number row.

This will take you to the first occurrence of a Level 1 Heading, and pressing it again will take you to the next occurrence.  Shift number 1 will move the cursor backward through the Level 1 Headings.

  1. Once a Level 1 Heading is located, pressing the number 2 on the number row will have the cursor landing on the first Level 2 Heading found below that Level 1 Heading.

 

  1. Once the desired section of a Web Page, MS Word document or Email message is found, you can press your down arrow keys to read the text found below that Heading.

 

  1. If the desired Heading is also marked as a Link, pressing the Enter key will activate the Link.

 

Note: Don’t forget to hold down the Insert key while pressing the letter Z to turn Quick Keys off and return to edit mode.  Quick Keys is only needed in MS Word or when creating an Outlook email message.  It is not needed on the web or when reading an email message because edit mode is not turned on when doing those functions.

 

 

 

CNIB HUB++

 

In June 2017, CNIB opened a Community Hub in Toronto – the first of its kind in the province – for people that are blind or partially sighted. Located at 1525 Yonge Street (just north of St. Clair) The Hub is an innovative, accessible space where community members with sight loss can come for social and emotional support, learn new skills, take part in exciting Foundation Programs and thrive in an engaging space.

 

The space was designed and developed in close consultation with our program participants, volunteers and staff. Considerations ranging from the colour of the chairs (multi-coloured) and walls (white) to the accessibility of the furniture all went into the design of the space.

 

The building itself includes the following features:

  • Custom made furniture by Carol Kaifosh & Siobhan Allman at POCKIT Studio. The furniture was designed to be durable, collapsible, portable and accessible.
  • An accessible kitchen (donated by Mattamy Homes and The Brick) with tactile pieces and braille signage
  • Wayfinding floor strips and photo luminescent stair/handrail markings from Kinesik Engineering Products Inc.
  • Plexiglas panels under the stairwell to prevent dog paws and white canes from getting caught
  • An elevator and accessible washroom
  • Tactile artwork on the walls with braille created by Kate Ramos
  • A graffiti wall mural created by artist Leyland Adams
  • A virtual reality room and tech hub where community members, both those with sight loss and with full vision, can simulate various situations with sight loss and learn more about assistive technology
  • A Doggy Bar where “K9 staff,” volunteers and guides can enjoy a tasty treat
  • A “No-Office” community space where staff and volunteers can create and share ideas in an inclusive atmosphere

Design considerations are ongoing as we continue to grow in our space and learn from our staff, volunteers and program participants.

 

The Hub offers specialized life-enhancing programs designed to help people with sight loss smash barriers in many areas such as access, employment, education, leadership and research & technology.

 

For more information about Community Hub and to check out our programs, please visit: http://www.cnib.ca/en/ontario/gta/Pages/default.aspx

 

In the News

 

Blind B.C. woman’s access to audio books threatened by political flap++

 

A woman who is legally blind has launched a petition to try to get the provincial government to fund an online audiobook library that she will no longer have access to at the end of this month.

 

Taeshim Youn, 31, has collected 100 signatures at change.org to try to maintain access for her and other print-disabled British Columbians to a collection of 540,000 audiobook titles at the Centre for Equitable Library Access.

 

That includes The Books of Pellinor fantasy series that she’s listening to, her form of literary entertainment since she lost her sight after being paralyzed by an autoimmune disorder in 2006.

 

“I usually listen to it at night and sometimes during the day,” said Youn. “I’m bed-bound and I don’t go out as much. And when I do, I get around by wheelchair.”

 

Listening to books read by professional narrators is “is like watching a good movie, but better because there’s so much to it.”

 

Youn also wrote a letter to her Port Moody MLA, the NDP’s Rick Glumac, urging him to ensure B.C funds the national service that all provinces, except for B.C., Manitoba and Nunavut, pay for.

 

“You, as part of my B.C. government, have a responsibility to fund library services for people with sight loss, just like you do for sighted citizens,” she said in her letter.

 

“Someone has to speak up,” said Youn by phone. “I’m hoping this will help.”

 

CELA was formed as a non-profit, publicly funded organization in 2014 to provide the books, magazines and newspapers the Canadian National Institute for the Blind had for years provided by license to public libraries.

CNIB gave up control of the library because it was more appropriate for the government as opposed to a charity to be providing an audio library for the print-disabled, said CELA executive director Michael Ciccone.

 

Almost all provincial and territorial governments agreed to fund the library, but in B.C. the support came instead from public libraries. In B.C., 17 libraries in heavily populated parts of the province pay for CELA, providing access to 80 per cent of the population, said Ciccone.

 

CNIB had agreed to pay for access for the users in the remaining 20 per cent of the province until public funding could be secured. There are about 2,500 users of the service, he said.

 

The bridge funding for the service expires at the end of this month, leaving about 240 users, including Youn, without access to CELA. The library in Port Moody, where she lives, is one of the libraries that doesn’t fund CELA.

 

Ciccone said CELA is in talks with the provincial education ministry and is hopeful it will be funded before the end of January.

 

But the education ministry, in an emailed statement, said the province already funds a competing audio library called the National Network for Equitable Library Services, available through every public library in B.C.

 

Annual funding for NNELS in B.C. is $115,000, it said.

 

Ciccone said its requesting $132,000 a year to fund CELA.

 

NNELS, which was also formed in 2014 through the B.C. Libraries Co-operative, has 30,000 titles.

 

Former NNELS executive director Ben Hyman said print-disabled citizens, which includes those with vision disabilities as well as those with dyslexia or those with difficulties holding books, are better served by the two services because it offers them choice.

 

NNELS’s collection is growing and it will attempt to obtain special-order books, said Hyman.

 

He also said NNELS, which is funded by eight provinces (excluding Ontario and Quebec) has a different approach to its collection, choosing not to pay for “big-batch licensing deals” as CELA does.

 

He said NNELS is run through a “different philosophy,” which will enable it to build a sustainable collection that will be broadly available to what’s expected to be a growing proportion of print-disabled users.

By Susan Lazaruk

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

www.ccbnational.net 1-877-304-0968

 

 

ccb@ccbnational.net