we would like to start by once again thanking you for your continuing support and words of encouragement for it is only with you and through you that we as an organization can continue to thrive and to encourage others to speak up, speak out, and engage each other in meaningful discussion and constructive criticisms, feedback, and suggestions.
2018 was a year of revitalization and recommitment for us and as we draw closer to the proposed time for the promised enactment of the historic Accessible Canada Act Barrier free Canada – Canada sans Barrières is preparing to welcome and celebrate this historic event.
Our new board
We are pleased to introduce 2 new members of our board; Louise Gillis, president of the Canadian Council of the Blind and Charlene Young, a member of the executive of Barrier Free Saskatchewan.
Louise and Charlene have joined us as directors and our board is now made up of:
Donna Jodhan – president.
Robin East – Vice president.
Anthony Tibbs – secretary/treasurer.
Louise Gillis – Director.
Charlene Young – director.
Collaboration and engagement
We continued to collaborate with other organizations through out 2018 and in early December we launched our BFC advocating for change Facebook group. And we are extremely excited to tell you that as of the writing of this newsletter our group boasts over 500 members.
Collaboration with others
Through out 2018 we continued to collaborate with organizations such as:
The National coalition of persons with disabilities
And the Rick Hansen Foundation.
Various board reps attended meetings on behalf of BFC-CSB:
- June – the advisory group of the Canadian Transportation Agency in Ottawa
- August – The Rick Hansen’s conference on accessibility standards in Toronto
- October – A reception hosted by Minister Qualtrough in Ottawa
- October – appearance before the standing committee of the House of Commons via video conferencing
- November – The Rick Hansen leadership conference in Toronto
- December – The United Nations Day for persons with disabilities reception hosted by Minister Qualtrough in Ottawa
Engagement on Facebook
As mentioned above, we launched our BFC advocating for change Facebook group in early December and are extremely pleased with the exposure and reception that we have been enjoying. Our membership is growing rapidly and members are engaging in meaningful interaction as they discuss barriers that are of particular interest to them. More importantly, they are sharing meaningful suggestions, feedback and constructive criticisms.
We have also set up a Twitter account and have begun to tweet regularly.
We are grateful to Albert Ruel for his enormous assistance and to our directors Louise and Charlene for their input and help.
Other social media activities
We continue to post relevant questions to our Facebook page and articles of interest to our website and to tweet on a regular basis.
Proposed plans for 2019
Early in the new year we will be having a tele call with 2 officials of Minister Qualtrough’s office and it will be our intention to reaffirm our commitment to continue to play an important part in negotiations and initiatives pertaining to the passage of the Accessible Canada Act.
We will be seeking to find ways to obtain funding to assist us to expand and extend our Facebook initiative to reach out to university students across Canada and to this end we have started to collaborate with NEADS Canada.
We will also be hoping to set up a link on our website where those persons who wish to submit articles expressing their personal opinions on topics directly related to barriers being faced or ones that have been faced by them or by others will be accepted. We will be developing guidelines and will publish these on our website.
One of our other priorities for 2019 will also be to expand our board to include persons with other disabilities and a call for persons interested will be circulated as soon as we have developed our criteria.
Summary of news items posted to our website
The following is a list of news items that have been posted to our website for October – December.
2018-10-29 – Finley Stands Up to Make Parliament Accessible to All Canadians
Justin Trudeau’s Accessibility Legislation Fails to Meet the Needs of Canadians with Disabilities
La mesure législative de Justin Trudeau sur l’accessibilité ne répond pas aux besoins des Canadiens handicapés
Canada accedes to the Optional Protocol to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities