Newfoundland and Labrador Newsletter October - December 2016

In this Issue:

Editor's Corner
By Trevor Freeborn

Best wishes to everyone for a wonderful holiday season and a new year filled with peace and happiness. We hope you all enjoy the articles in this edition of the CNIB-NL newsletter. We had an amazing dedicated volunteer team who made this newsletter a reality; Courtney Gosse, Yong Ko, Alex Kenny, and Kim Thistle-Murphy.

If you have any comments, questions, or an opinion you would like to share with the CNIB-NL newsletter team, just contact us by mail at 70 The Boulevard, St. John's, A1A 1K2, fax at (709) 754-2018 or email at

Letter from CNIB-NL

I hope your Fall has gone well and that you are braced for this winter season that is already upon us.  We've had a busy Fall here with a few changes to share with you.

In November, we said congratulations to Duane Morgan, Manager, Programs and Services, as he embarked on a new position with CNIB in Ontario.  Duane accepted the role of Executive Director, Ontario East based in Ottawa.  While he is sad to leave Newfoundland and Labrador and all of his friends here, he is very excited for this next step in his career with CNIB. We are looking forward to his next visit!

In January, we will welcome Lynsey Soper as our Manager, Vision Rehabilitation. Lynsey joined CNIB four years ago and took on the dual role of Counsellor and Coordinator of Volunteer Services. In addition to her years of experience with us, Lynsey has worked in rehabilitation services at Western Health and recently completed her Masters of Social Work. Please join me in welcoming Lynsey to this new role.

All the best to you and your families for a happy and safe holiday season and a wonderful year ahead.

Deborah Wearn

Highlight of Staff Member: Alice Arns
By Courtney Gosse, CNIB Volunteer

Alice Arns has been working with CNIB for many years. Alice is a Specialist in Orientation/Mobility and Independent Living Skills. She had to learn many skills in order to help those who are blind or visually impaired.

Alice's job allows her to work with a wide range of people; with a wide range of visual acuities. Alice mostly works with adults since school children receive their O&M training through the specialist from APSEA, and most independent living skills are worked on by Visual itinerant teachers.

Alice is more than happy with her career path her exact words are "My job makes me feel wonderful and I have no problem getting up in the morning to go to work." I asked her to describe her job in just three words her word and she replied "Awesome, rewarding, and FUN, I like to make people feel comfortable and we do have some fun." It's easy to infer that Alice loves the people she works with, and the exciting opportunities she is presented with every day. She can't even seem to name a least favourite part of her job, however one of her favourite parts of her job is being able to work outside and being on the go.

Alice discovered her career path while working in administrations. When she discovered that the opportunity for Orientation/mobility was available and was determined to move into this field. She completed the training in addition to becoming certified in independent living skills and Braille. Alice also considered Social Worker as another career choice.

"My hobbies are walking and my main activity is involved with Beta Sigma Phi sorority which is a group that does some community work as well.  I have served as president, vice president, secretary, treasurer over the years." Alice is thankful that her passion for walking can tie in nicely with her occupation. Her love of being active is most likely one of the key points that led her to where she is now.

Alice has been working as a Specialist, Orientation/Mobility and Independent Living Skills, for 38 years now. She has helped many people throughout her career and has impacted many lives. All of those she has helped are thankful and we all know we can turn to her for any guidance. Thank you Alice for all that you have done and all you will continue to do!

Partnership's Build Inclusive Communities for Individuals Who Are Blind or Partially Sighted.

For a student who is blind or partially sighted, community partnerships can open up opportunities for him/her to acquire the right skills and access to education. Dylan Bradbury is a Level III student at Ascension Collegiate in Bay Roberts and he is hoping to attend College of the North Atlantic in September 2017, to complete his automotive technician or carpentry certification.

  (Picture, left to right); Deborah Wearn, CNIB, Amanda Bradbury, Dylan's Mom, Terri Decker, APSEA, Cpl. Nash and student Dylan Bradbury. For more information about the Military Police Blind Fund visit;
Thanks to community partnerships with organizations like APSEA and the Military Police Blind Fund, Dylan will have all of the assistive technology that will make the transition from high school to post-secondary. A big shout out to Corporal Shawn Nash for dropping by CNIB St. John's recently to present Dylan Bradbury with a computer, complete with accessible software, Zoom Text, and a special magnifier, on behalf of Military Police CFS, St. John's.

Highlight of CNIB Volunteer – Patricia Suvak
By Courtney Gosse, CNIB Volunteer

Patricia Suvak (Trish) has been a dedicated volunteer with CNIB for 41 years. Patricia started working with the CNIB staff to make the Adult Basic Education Program adaptable for people with vision loss. This program is used by the Department of Education. Adapting this program to those with vision loss included putting the materials used into either Braille or large print.

In the United States, students with vision loss began to be integrated into the public school system in the 1950s. Children in the Maritimes were integrated into the school system in the 1970's, while children in Newfoundland and Labrador began integrating in 1982. Through it all Trish has been determined to help change attitudes about the abilities of people living with vision loss.
She became heavily involved with CNIB's Vision Rehabilitation Team; her ambition is to improve the quality of life for her students and clients of CNIB.

As a board member, she served on several local and national committees such as: client services, public education, communications, library services, and the council of chairs.

Trish is a visual itinerant teacher and has been an advocate for her students and all clients at CNIB. Trish realized that students who were blind or partly sighted needed a program along with the general school curriculum, that would ensure they acquired the skills and knowledge they would need for the future; whether it be for post-secondary or employment. While developing this specialized program Trish co-edited a document that provided guidelines for blind and partially sighted students, which is still in use today. One thing Trish insisted on is that her students learn to type.

Trish's students grew confident and independent through her support and guidance. They aimed to obtain a post-secondary education, and eventually employment.

Patricia Suvak exemplifies all of the key criteria set by the Volunteer Hall of Fame. Her passion for volunteering and creating change for individuals with vision loss is infectious. She has also been a strong role model for her students; many of whom are either employed or volunteer with CNIB today and are also passionate about creating change for people who are blind or partially sighted in Newfoundland and Labrador.

CNIB Advocating EmployAbility for Visually Impaired
By Courtney Gosse, CNIB Volunteer

CNIB has launched an EmployAbility campaign; this campaign encourages employers to look past misconceptions about people with vision loss. Instead, they focus on the skills they have to offer, as the employer would for any other person applying for a job. Many people are born with vision loss while others experience loss of vision later in life. The campaign strives to bring awareness to the fact that many people who are blind or partially sighted struggle to find employment opportunities.

Over half a million Canadians have a visual impairment of some sort, and over 100,000 of these people are working adults. The employment rate for those who have no visual impairment is 73%, while the employment rate for those who have a visual impairment is noticeably lower at only 38%. Another revealing statistic is that over half of Canadians who are blind or partly sighted live on an income of $20,000 a year or less.   

A recent Ipsos survey has revealed that 70% of Canadian surveyed would hire a sighted worker over a blind one, even if they both had the same skill set. It's believed that this is related to common misconceptions about people who are blind or visually impaired. The misconceptions of most employers seem to have about people with a visual impairment often stems from a lack of experience working with an individual with vision loss.

With the advanced technology available today people who have a visual impairment can perform their jobs much more efficiently than any time in the past. With technological innovation many individuals with vision loss feel much more confident in their abilities and are expanding the range of tasks they're able to complete. CNIB strives to help those with vision loss do things independently and find opportunities in the work force. CNIB offers many services such as mock interviews, help in career development skills, Orientation/Mobility training for a new environment, technology advice, and much more! CNIB is always available for any guidance or assistance you may need; feel free to contact them at any time.    

By spreading awareness of this campaign we hope that more employers will understand the capabilities of the blind or visually impaired and appreciate the contributions they can make to the workplace. They can offer some incredible skills to your company. While deciding who you are going to hire, don't focus on one thing. Take all of their skills and perspectives into account.

Built-In Video Magnifier in New Apple iOS
by Alex Kenny – CNIB Volunteer

In September, Apple released iOS 10 for the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch. A new accessibility feature that is useful to those with low vision is a built-in video magnifier. To use it, go to Accessibility Settings -> Magnifier and enable it. Once enabled, press the Home button three times quickly to bring it up.

On the main screen, you can adjust the zoom level, freeze the frame, or enable the flash. The Filters button at the bottom right allows you to choose from several colour filters as well as brightness and contrast adjustment.

While this feature may not take the place of a dedicated video magnifier, it can come in handy when a dedicated device isn't available.

Inspirational Quote

"The happiness of your life depends upon the quality of your thoughts."

- Marcus Aurelius

Consulting with Canadians on Accessibility Legislation

(Reprint of statement by Carla Qualtrough - Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities)
From July 2016 until February 2017, the Federal government are consulting with Canadians on planned accessibility legislation.
This consultation is now open. The questionnaire and discussion guide are available in the following formats:

American Sign Language (ASL) version
Audio version
Participate in the survey

If you would like to receive information in another format, including large print, braille, e-text, or Digital Accessible Information System (DAISY), please contact the Office for Disability Issues.

Consultation objectives

Canadians, communities and workplaces benefit when everyone can participate equally in everyday life. There has been much progress in making our society more inclusive, but we can do better.

This is why the Government of Canada is committed to developing new planned accessibility legislation to promote equality of opportunity and increase the inclusion and participation of Canadians who have disabilities or functional limitations.

Many Canadians continue to face barriers that affect their ability to participate in daily activities that most people take for granted. These could include:

  • physical and architectural barriers that impede the ability to move freely in the built environment, use public transportation, access information or use technology;
  • attitudes, beliefs and misconceptions that some people may have about people with disabilities and what they can and cannot do; and
  • outdated policies and practices that do not take into account the varying abilities and disabilities that people may have.

In developing this new legislation, the Government of Canada is consulting Canadians both in person and online.
The Government of Canada is seeking your ideas to inform the development of this planned new legislation, including:

  • feedback on the overall goal and approach;
  • whom it should cover;
  • what accessibility issues and barriers it should address;
  • how it could be monitored and enforced;
  • when or how often it should be reviewed;
  • how and when to report to Canadians on its implementation; and
  • how to raise accessibility awareness more generally and support organizations in improving accessibility.

The public consultation will be open until February 2017 and information on viewpoints received will be made available after the consultation is closed.

Canadians are encouraged to visit this site often and explore what's new.

Latest activities

In Canada we've made considerable progress in making our society more inclusive. We see this throughout our communities. But there is still work to do.

Canadians with disabilities continue to face barriers in their daily lives. Persistent gaps remain in areas such as employment, income and social inclusion.

As Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities, I have been asked to lead a consultation process that will inform the development of new accessibility legislation.

Canadians with disabilities, their families, and the organizations that represent them have been integral to many of the advancements Canada has made in accessibility. To draw on this knowledge and experience, as well as that of businesses, community organizations and government partners, the Government of Canada is conducting consultations to gather input on options for the new legislation.

We have a long road ahead, but this is a big step in helping to ensure our communities become more inclusive for all Canadians.
What does an Accessible Canada mean to you? Please take the time to participate in our online consultation or attend one of our in-person public sessions.

Together, we will make history.

How to participate

By participating in this consultation, you are consenting to, and acknowledging that you have reviewed, understood, and agree to the Privacy Notice Statement; and that your submission, or portions thereof, may be published on, included in publicly available reports on the consultation, and compiled with other responses to the consultation in an open-data submission on

  • Participate in the online questionnaire; The questionnaire is also available in an accessible PDF version.
  • Submit your feedback in the language of your choice (English, French, American Sign Language or Langue des signes québécoise) and preferred format such as online, handwritten, video or audio submissions. You can provide your input to the Office for Disability Issues via:

Phone: 1-844-836-8126
TTY: 819-934-6649
Fax: 819-953-4797
Consultation - Accessibility Legislation
c/o Office for Disability Issues
Employment and Social Development Canada
105 Hotel-de-ville St., 1st floor, Bag 62
Gatineau QC K1A 0J9

All of the feedback we receive will be incorporated into reports that will be made available on the consultation website and in alternate formats, on request.

You can also consult the Discussion Guide for more information.

Inspirational Quote

"The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why."
–Mark Twain

CNIB Fundraising Highlights
By Trevor Freeborn

On November 23, CNIB held its first Dining in the Dark luncheon at Gypsy Tea Room in St. John's. Our Dining in the Dark events are a popular fundraiser for CNIB as well as an opportunity to raise awareness about some of the orientation techniques used by those living with vision loss. Gypsy Tea Room and their staff were once again excellent hosts for a successful event that was attended by more than 50 diners. We were able to raise funds to support our postsecondary program which helps further our college-bound clients on their road to success.

We're always happy to welcome new fundraisers. Every year people find creative ways to help the CNIB through Facebook online auctions, bake sales, casual day 'toonie' drives, and hosting BBQs and casino nights, to name a few. If you have an idea for a fundraiser, please contact us at 1-800-563-2642.

Canadian Council of the Blind (CCB) Updates
By Yong Ko, CNIB Volunteer

CCB is excited to announce the following fundraising activities during the 4th quarter.
Corner Brook Chapter
-      Curling started at the end of November. This event will be held on Saturdays.
-      Christmas Party on December 7th.
-      New Year's Eve party and fundraiser on December 31st. 110 tickets ($25 per person) have been printed. The party will start at 7pm and the dinner will begin at 8pm.
-      30 voting members registered in 2016
CCB chapters hold regular monthly meetings from September to June. CCB members participate in activities such as curling, snow shoeing, ice hockey, cross country skiing, skating, lawn bowling, croquet, bocce, golf, darts, bowling, swimming, goalball and various track and field activities. Activities vary by chapter. Clients living in St. John's area can enjoy croquet and bocce every Monday near 6:30pm at the St. John's Lions Club on Bonaventure Avenue.

Inspirational Quote

"You are not a drop in the ocean. You are the entire ocean, in a drop."

– Rumi

Classifieds Section of CNIB-NL Newsletter

Do you have any independent living aids or technology you would like to sell or give away to a fellow newsletter reader, or would you like to put up a wanted ad for one? If so, send us a request by mail at 70 The Boulevard, A1A 1K2, St. John's, fax at (709) 754 2018 or email at

We Are Here for You - Contact Us

St. John's Office
70 The Boulevard
A1A 1K2
(709) 754-1180

Corner Brook
3 Herald Avenue, 1st Floor
A2H 4B8
(709) 639-9167

Grand Falls-Windsor
1A O'Neill Avenue
P.O. Box 442
A2A 2J8
(709) 489-6515

Happy Valley – Goose Bay
49 Grenfell Street
A0P 1E0
(709) 896-8302

Call Toll Free to all offices: 1-800-563-2642

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