March 15, 2005.
today. The National Federation of the Blind: Advocates for Equality (NFB:AE) is now Alliance for Equality of Blind Canadians (AEBC).
"Our new name better reflects our distinctly Canadian advocacy organization," says John Rae, AEBC president. "People confuse us with a US-based advocacy group and we've even been mistaken for the National Film Board of Canada."
The not-for-profit group of blind, deaf-blind and partially sighted people wants the Canadian government to install technology for independent voting, provide more audible signals at intersections and would like both government and businesses to build more accessible web sites, bank machines and household products.
"We believe in personal empowerment and responsibility," says Rae. "But there are structural changes needed to help us live as independently as possible. There are nearly a million legally blind Canadians, diabetes retinopathy is on the rise and we have an aging population. That means the public and private sectors must do more to adapt to this reality."
He says uniform standards must exist across the country to provide specialized computer software and Braille writing equipment. "These programs should be integrated immediately into our health care system. Otherwise the discrimination will continue and thousands of blind people will continue to live in poverty and isolation."
Along with its new name and logo, the organization wants to reach more people with its updated, accessible web site, which Geof Collis, AEBC web design committee chair, believes is leading by example. "Built to today's best practices and standards, our website is accessible to the widest range of Internet users, including blind, deaf-blind and partially sighted people," says Collis.
Rae says the new identity is a positive step forward for the 12-year-old organization which sponsors many programs, including mentorship for newly blinded adults and children, a scholarship program for outstanding students and the Canadian Blind Monitor, a national magazine in Braille and audiotape.
For further information contact: John Rae, AEBC President, 416-941-1547. email: firstname.lastname@example.org Judy Smith, AEBC Public Information Coordinator 604-689-2577 or 604-910-2266. email: email@example.com
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