by Jason Teakle
Brant News, May 22, 2011
Pursuing more rights for visually impaired Canadians was the focus of a conference held in Brantford over the weekend.
The national conference of the Alliance for Equality of Blind Canadians took place at the Best Western Brant Park Inn, bringing members from across the country to the city.
“We’re making sure the rights that we don’t have get put in place,” alliance president Robin East said during an interview. “We are celebrating the fact
that when we advocate, it is for members of the community as well as ourselves.”
East said there are several goals left to achieve that will improve the rights of blind Canadians.
“Things people take for granted every day are a challenge for us,” he said.
East said one concern is blind pedestrians crossing streets without audible walk signals.
“We need sound signals at all crosswalks,” he said. “When you are only using your ears to cross, it is important to have a sound signal.”
East said another priority is to have publicly funded library services that are accessible to the visually impaired. He said the Canadian National
Institute for the Blind currently funds accessible library services.
“We want a publicly funded library so we have the same rights as everyone else,” he said.
Local Alliance for Equality of Blind Canadians chapter president Bob Brown said the weekend conference brought people who share common concerns
“This weekend is about bringing people together to further the aims and directions of those who are blind, have low-vision or are deaf-blind,” Brown
The conference included displays of technology, a president’s report on alliance activities, discussions about elections access, filing human rights
complaints, the use of social media by the visually impaired, working with the CRTC to increase television access and the election of a new board.
The Alliance for Equality of Blind Canadians is a national organization of rights holders who are blind, deaf-blind and partially-sighted. The
organization focuses on public awareness and providing input on the
development of new products, programs and legislation.