Monday May 12 2014

Access for sight impaired consumers Board Meeting Minutes

Date: Monday May 12, 2014
Location:  CNIB Boardroom, 5055 Joyce Street, Vancouver, BC
Time: 3:00 - 6:00 PM

Attendees: Rob Sleath - Chair, David Neufeld - Vice-Chair, Amy Amantea, Ann McNabb, Reed poynter, Cathy Stuckenberg, Angie Swain, Louise Johnson, Susan Flanagan, Shawn Marsolais
Chair called the meeting to order at 3:00 PM

Meeting Agenda: Added under other business 8.1 – Discussion regarding an invitation received from the CCB BC-Yukon Division’s open house in Kelowna.

Personal Introductions: The Board reviewed the personal biographies submitted by each new and existing member of the board with an opportunity following to ask additional questions of each.

Approval of April 7, 2014 minutes: Motion to approve the previous meeting minutes as circulated, moved - Shawn Marsolais, seconded - Cathy Stuckenberg. Carried.

Betty Nobel joined the meeting and presented an overview of the Center for Equitable Library Access (CELA) and the National Network for Equitable Library Service (NNELS.) Her presentation included several web sites where one could garner further information regarding CELA and NNELS:
BC Libraries Co-op

Action Item: All board members to visit their local public library by August 31st to determine what alternate format services they offer their print disabled patrons. Where it is determined that only NNELS is available, the library should be encouraged to investigate the CELA initiative.
Action Item: all board members to write a letter addressed to Andrew Martin supporting the CELA initiative by the date of the Board’s next meeting (June18th 2014). 

Susan Flanagan joined the meeting at 4:10 PM

Bylaw change: Motion to set aside the bylaw as described in article 4 section 2 paragraph 2 item 5, moved - David Neufeld, seconded - Louise Johnson. Carried.

Appointment of Secretary: For one year term to the position of Secretary - Angie Swain nominated by Louise Johnson, seconded - Amy Amantea. Angie Swain appointed by acclamation.

Treasurer Report: the treasurer reported on the state of ASIC's finances as per the confidential reports included in the board package. Motion that the Board receive the Treasurer’s report as presented, moved - Susan Flanagan. Carried.

Summary Report from the Chair – See Appendix A: Further to the written report included in the board package was the fact the new ASIC web site is nearing completion for public launch.

Action Item: All - Those who have yet to write to Minister James Moore in
Regards to expediting Federal        Government ratification of the
Marrakesh Treaty are asked to do so by May 30th. For the newest members, please feel free to adapt the template letter that was attached to the action items email. Organizational representatives are encouraged to write on behalf of their respective organizations. Please forward a copy of your letter to Angie Swain for ASIC's files.

ASIC Board minutes: It was agreed that board meeting minutes would be posted to the ASIC web site.

Motion to proceed in-camera, moved - Louise Johnson, seconded - Amy Amantea. Carried.

Motion to go back on record, moved - Shawn Marsolais, seconded - Amy Amantea. Carried.

Ratification of Position Statements: On motion by Ann McNabb, seconded by Louise Johnson, it was moved to approve in principle, the draft Position Statement on Accessible Pedestrian Signals revised May 5 2014. The Board entered into debate, both pro and con which focused primarily on the desire to include a verbal countdown at crossings which provided a visual countdown for the benefit of sighted pedestrians.  

Shawn Marsolais left the meeting at 5:35 PM

Given this single debate consumed the balance of the meeting agenda, it was moved - Cathy Stuckenberg, seconded - Amy Amantea that the meeting be adjourned without resolution. Carried. Next meeting is scheduled for June 18, 2014 at 4:00 PM.

Appendix A
Date: May, 2014

TO: Members – Access for Sight-Impaired Consumers Board
FROM: Rob Sleath, Chair – Access for Sight-Impaired Consumers
RE: Summary report of activities

This report is provided as a summary of the activities which have taken place since the Board’s last meeting on April 7, 2014. We extend a warm welcome to our newly elected board members, Mr. Karim Damani, Ms. Quyn Lê, Mr. Reed Poynter and Ms. Angie Swain who are now voting members for a two year term. We also welcome returning board members Ms. Amy Amantea – representative for the CNIB BC-Yukon Division, Mrs. Louise Johnson – representative for the Alliance for Equality of Blind Canadians, Metro Vancouver Chapter and Ms. Cathy Stukenburg – representative for the Western Association of People with Vision Impairment. These latter three individuals will also be embarking on a renewed two year term.

As of April 1, our internal accounting records are now computerized using Intuit’s business application within Quicken. As a result, the Board will now receive more detailed and transparent reports regarding our account activities. This will include a month-end Balance Sheet inclusive of account balances, accounts payable and accounts receivable plus a separate Transaction Summary report. All transactions for 2014 have been entered and categorized which will enable our treasurer to produce timely monthly or year-to-date reports. It will also enable the creation of a year-end summary with finite detail for our annual general meeting.

With regards to the recent approved motion to proceed with a human rights complaint against three national pharmacy chains, legal counsel is recommending we begin by sending a demand letter to each individual pharmacy. You will note by the demand letters included in your meeting package under tabs 8.1, 8.4 and 8.6 that they give the respondents a very short window to comply with our request to provide prescription information in alternate formats. The writer will keep the board well advised as this process unfolds. Please note, until such time as our complaints are filed and accepted by the Tribunal, the content of Tabs 8.1 through Tab 8.7 (inclusive) are for the Board’s consumption only and may not be shared beyond members of the board at this time.

Follow-up by way of our legal counsel with the City of Richmond regarding the status of APS installations has clearly had a positive impact on their diminishing attention to this matter. In the City’s April 23 response to our letter of April 3, they stated, “Between January 2011 and today, 32 intersections have been retrofitted, leaving 101 intersections still to be retrofitted as of this date. For the remainder of 2014, subject to unforeseeable higher priority safety-related projects, we aim to carry out the retrofits at 15 additional intersections...” Simple math confirms they were retrofitting at a rate of .8 intersections per month (32 over a 40 month period) and now, thanks in part to our follow-up; they will retrofit 15 intersections in just 8 months – that’s better than twice their current pace. We have written back to obtain an explanation as to what may constitute “higher priority safety-related projects” given we view the safety of pedestrians with vision loss is a “higher priority safety-related project.” We have also reminded them that they need to maintain the pace of 15+ retrofits per year to meet their legal obligation to have all completed by the year 2020. And finally, we have also let them know that we will be following up once again in January 2015.

On April 9, the writer accepted an invitation from the City of Vancouver to participate on an ad-hoc committee which will assist in the development of “city standards” with respect to accessible pedestrian signal devices (APS) and tactile walking surface indicators (TWSI’s) at curb cuts. Once these standards are developed, we will ask the city to share these standards with other municipalities. In preparation for the first meeting on May 13, it is essential we review the revised position statements; one specifically addressing APS devices during our May 12 meeting.

On April 28, the writer had the privilege of presenting an Advocacy Workshop to members of the Canadian Council of the Blind at their annual general meeting in Langley. Feedback to date indicates the presentation was well received with many ideas, suggestions and strategies included throughout. The active question and answer session that accompanied the presentation was a further indication the workshop was engaging and beneficial for all.

At time of writing, we are awaiting dates and confirmation of a follow—up meeting with Ministry of Justice staff regarding the proposed BC Guide & Assistance Dog Act, anticipated for some time in late May. Further, we are awaiting a response from the Minister herself regarding our request for a face-to-face meeting to discuss our need for a new or revised Act.

On the subject of guide dogs, we were pleased to learn that our advocacy efforts to assist a guide dog graduate with 40 years experience, having had several guide dogs from    this same school in the US, had convinced the school to re-open and review his declined application as a result of our advocacy intervention. The gentleman faced two significant challenges – one being his application for a subsequent guide dog (following the death of his previous dog) was declined by the school due to the location of his suite in an extended care facility. And two, the management of the facility adamantly refused to permit a certified guide dog to reside on the premises. Once he received the telephone call informing the school had reconsidered his application and would be providing him with a dog in mid-June, he mustered up the courage to speak to the management on his own and did a masterful job of self-advocacy.

Our new web site is progressing well and development is nearing completion. The domain name has now been successfully registered and renewed in our name with the registration validated and not due to expire until July 21, 2020. The final steps are now focusing on the content of the “Information & Resources” and “News Archives” links to ensure all the pages reflect current and accurate information. With the exception of our “Constitution & Bylaws” page and the need to set up a Twitter account, the information behind the following links has been reviewed for accuracy and layout:
About ASIC
Contact ASIC – note we will be introducing a new e-mail address attached to our new domain.
Site Map – Very fluid as this page updates automatically as pages are added or deleted.
Current Initiatives
Successful Initiatives
Subscribe to Our ECN
Community Calendar – Another dynamic page as material is added or deleted.

All links have been tested within the foregoing list. However, if you should come across a broken link or any other required edits, please let the writer know at your earliest convenience.

Our new web site uses Microsoft SharePoint as its content management system (CMS) – an application which is reasonably (but not entirely) blind friendly to JAWS and screen magnification users. For those who wish to contribute content to the web site, we can set aside some time at a future meeting to discuss what will be required and how contributions’ can be submitted by all members of the board without the need to learn SharePoint.

Given this report makes up a portion of one of the largest meeting packages we have ever assembled, the writer would ask that everyone arrives early for our 3:00 PM start. There is some question as to whether we will have sufficient time to cover all the items on our agenda given we have a presentation focusing on the Center for Equitable Library Access versus the National Network for Equitable Library Services to address as well. As a result, we may find it necessary to defer some items to a meeting in June.

Respectfully submitted,

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