The International Day of Persons With Disabilities, December 3, brings a call for all Canadians to demand increased rights and opportunities for those who are blind, deaf-blind and partially sighted.
Robin East, President of the Alliance for Equality of Blind Canadians says “All Canadians benefit from increasing the involvement of persons with disabilities in every aspect of the political, social, economic and cultural life of our communities.” The AEBC President adds, “This Day reminds all of us to consider persons with disabilities in our country, and urges us to develop new ways to advance the opportunities of persons with disabilities.”
The AEBC asks all Canadians to support and press for these priorities:
Access to Regular Household Products: An increasing range of regular household products are now operated by touch panels without buttons that make them difficult if not impossible for blind persons to operate independently. Technology has the answers, and the AEBC calls on manufacturers to use today’s technology to make their products independently usable by the widest possible number of customers.
Access to Safe Travel on Our Streets: The AEBC fully supports measures to protect our environment, but the quiet hybrid automobile is threatening our safety, as it is too quiet for pedestrians to hear the approach of the hybrid automobile. The AEBC also urges the installation of more audible traffic signals throughout our communities, and audible calling out of all transit stops.
Access to Printed Information: While technology makes it easier than ever before to produce materials in various multiple formats, only about 5% of print materials are produced in these formats. The AEBC calls for increased availability of materials in Braille, and for the use of a text equivalent on all websites wherever a PDF file is included.
Access to Employment and Income: Advances in technology were supposed to help level the playing field, but disabled Canadians still face unacceptably high levels of unemployment and poverty. The AEBC calls on all levels of government to work together in creating a national Economic Strategy that will address both income and labour market inequities.
Access to Voting: The most important act a citizen in any democracy performs is to vote independently and in secret. We want that same right. This means developing alternative methods of voting so that we can independently verify how we voted.
The Alliance for Equality of Blind Canadians (AEBC) is a national organization of rights holders who are blind, deaf-blind and partially sighted, whose work focuses on improving public attitudes and influencing policies, programs and legislation that affects members of our community.
For further information on the AEBC, visit our website: www.blindcanadians.ca
The 2009 theme is: “Making the Millennium Development Goals Inclusive: Empowerment of persons with disabilities and their communities around the world.””
Robin East, President, 306-934-1547
John Rae: 1st Vice President: 1-800-561-4774 or in Toronto: 416-941-1547