2019 was a year of revitalization for Barrier Free Canada – Canada Sans Barrieres. Our mission remained the same; to collaborate with others to ensure the safe passage of Bill C-81 and we were successful in accomplishing this.
On May 1, 2019, we presented to the Senate standing committee and we were part of Minister Qualtrough’s Parliament Hill celebrations on June 20, 2019 as well as being a witness to the Royal Assent ceremonies when the bill was acclaimed on June 21, 2019.
Social Media Initiatives
2019 was also a year for us to launch some new social media initiatives as part of our revitalization efforts. In late 2018 we created a Facebook Group named “BFC Advocating For Change”; designed to encourage persons of all disabilities to speak up, speak out, and share their thoughts with others from coast to coast and we are pleased to report that at the close of 2019 our membership had surpassed the 300 mark.
We also revived our efforts on Twitter (@barrierfreeca), and on our Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/barrierfreeca), and we are happy to report that at the close of 2019 our followers on Twitter stood at almost 3,000 and our likes on Facebook went well past the 1,000 mark.
Our New Look Website
Thanks to a huge push greatly assisted by the support of Aaron Di Blasi (https://www.facebook.com/aaron.diblasi) of Mind Vault Solutions, Ltd. (https://www.mvsltd.com/) our website at https://barrierfreecanada.org underwent a huge face lift and because of this we are proud to share that our weekly reaches, engagements, and shares have spiraled significantly; ranging anywhere from a low of 200 to well over 1,000.
Our website now contains up-to-date news, appropriate images to reflect news items and submitted articles, but most of all; it is extremely accessible and navigable especially to persons with disabilities.
We also initiated an article submissions page to encourage persons to submit their thoughts on various aspects of accessibility and at the close of 2019 we had managed to post 9 submissions. We will continue to encourage persons to submit their views as we believe that this is yet another way and opportunity for persons to have their voices heard.
You can make your submissions to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Participating and Collaborating
2019 also saw us continuing to participate in tele-conferences hosted by the HRSDC (Human Resources and Skills Development Canada) [https://www.canada.ca/en/employment-social-development.html], CHRC (Canadian Human Rights Commission) [https://www.chrc-ccdp.gc.ca/eng], CCRW (Canadian Council on Rehabilitation and Work) [https://www.ccrw.org/], and CAG (Consumer Access Group) [http://www.cag-tccdv.ca/] along with face to face meetings hosted by the CTA (Canadian Transportation Agency) [https://www.canada.ca/en/transportation-agency.html], Elections Canada [https://www.elections.ca/home.aspx] and FALA (Federal Accessibility Legislation Alliance) [https://www.include-me.ca/federal-accessibility-legislation-alliance/about-us] and 2020 will be the same.
Comings and Goings
2019 was a year where we were challenged to ensure that our board continued to be on track.
We lost three board members due to unexpected circumstances; medical problems and a conflict of interest.
It was with a heavy heart that we said so long to Robin East as he assumed a new position with the CHRC (Canadian Human Rights Commission) [https://www.chrc-ccdp.gc.ca/eng] thus putting him in a position of conflict of interest with us. Then we also had to bid a sad farewell to Brenda Edel and Kevin Boutet due to their medical challenges.
On the positive side of things, we welcomed Albert Ruel and Michelle Buckland to our team bringing our board to a total of six members.
One of our priorities for 2020 will be to add three additional members to our board with the emphasis on finding someone who lives in Ottawa or close to Ottawa, and persons who are either the parent of a child with a disability or someone who can bring us perspectives from those with a special need other than being blind or vision impaired.
I will close by wishing everyone the very best of everything for 2020.
We thank you for your continuing support.
Donna J. Jodhan, President
Barrier Free Canada – Canada Sans Barrieres