Transcript: AT Banter Podcast Episode 225 – CCB & White Cane Week

Rob Mineault
Hey and welcome to a another episode of AT banter,

Steve Barclay
Banter, Banter.

Rob Mineault
Hey, my name is Rob. No joining me today, as usual, Mr. Ryan Fleury.

Ryan Fleury
I’m as usual

Rob Mineault
Cowbell player extraordinaire. You bastard. Yeah, you are grumpy today. We’ll get into that though. And also, look who else is here. Mr. Steve Barclay.

Steve Barclay
I am

Ryan Fleury
Who else is here?

Rob Mineault
Yeah, it’s it’s a beautiful day. And Ryan’s grumpy. I don’t know why, we don’t know. How did you sleep?

Okay. I thought I slept all right. You know, It’s just like I mentioned to you earlier when you first came in, it’s like you guys are like herding cats.

Steve Barclay
like, you don’t have my calendar up in front of you.

Ryan Fleury
You’re gone from like 1130 to 330. So Well, that’s all your calendar says.

Steve Barclay
Well, I gotta leave for Sherry’s for noon. Right? I gotta be there for noon. So I gotta leave it at 1130. I don’t teleport?

Ryan Fleury
Why not? It’s the 22nd century!

Steve Barclay
Right? Where’s my flying car?

Rob Mineault
You know why we think we need to and we should have like not like a banter bits episodes like special episodes, but just when Ryan’s grumpy we should just record like him.–

You mean like a Banter Bitch episode?

Oh my god. That’s beautiful. That’s brilliant. I love it, AT banter, bitch. Stay tuned. Awesome. Okay, Ryan, you just have to give us give us some notice. Whenever you’re in a grumpy it shouldn’t be hard because we generally know right away.

Ryan Fleury
That’s right.

Rob Mineault
I love it.

Steve Barclay
We can we can call it our BMW episode. Bitch moan and whine

Ryan Fleury
There you go.

Rob Mineault
Yeah, you’ve been it’s been a busy 2021 so far there, Steve.

Steve Barclay
Yeah, it’s been pretty active. You know people are people are coming out of the woodwork and deciding to get stuff done and orders have been steady. It’s been keeping me busy. Which is great. Because I’m, you know, I was telling Ryan yesterday, I was getting repetitive injury and my thumb’s from twiddling them too much.

Ryan Fleury
So it’s not playing Xbox or Playstation.

Steve Barclay
I don’t even have one. That’s Mike. Mike’s the game console guy. I’m hopeless on game consoles. Just useless.

Rob Mineault
Hey, we got an email.

Steve Barclay
Did we?

Rob Mineault
Yeah, we got actually a really lovely email from a fella named Roger who actually runs in assistive technology company down in the US.

Steve Barclay
Oh, no kidding. Which one?

Rob Mineault
Let me see. Let’s give him a shout out. Let’s give him a free plug company called Adaptive Information Systems.

Do you know active Information Systems?

Steve Barclay
I’m googling. I don’t know. I don’t know.

Rob Mineault
Down in Wisconsin, the cheese state.

Steve Barclay
Wisconsin. Nice. Cool. Nice website there, Roger. So yeah, if you want more information about Adaptive Information Systems, you can get it at adaptive information.org

Rob Mineault
To everybody out there, that’s that’s how you get a plug. You just email us we’ll plug anything. Whatever.

Hey, Ryan.

Yes, Rob.

I want to jump in right away. What are we doing today?

Ryan Fleury
Today we are speaking with the president of the Canadian Council of the Blind, Louise Gillis.

Rob Mineault
Ah, yes, I believe that’s because white cane week is rapidly approaching isn’t it?

Ryan Fleury
It is in February coming up here soon. So we thought we’d get her on to talk a little bit about the organization and a little bit about white cane week.

Rob Mineault
And look at as we’re starting 2021 organized and like we got our stuff together. This is amazing. Steve’s busy. Ryan’s grumpy. It’s just it’s like 2020 all over again.

Ryan Fleury
Oh, no, this is a way better year.

Rob Mineault
Yeah, absolutely. I think so. I’m very optimistic now. The events of this week and like, you know, the, the inauguration and just yeah, it’s sunny. I don’t know. I just I feel very optimistic. I’m the opposite of Ryan today.

Steve Barclay
Did you watch the inauguration stuff?

Rob Mineault
I watched some of it. Yeah.

Steve Barclay
I watched the concert last night. I didn’t watch the actual inauguration itself. But the concert last night was excellent.

Rob Mineault
Yeah. I mean, it was an inauguration. It wasn’t I mean, it was different, of course, in the sense that there was really no crowd. But yeah, I thought it was it was lovely. It was it was good. It was good to see that administration getting right to work and trying to sort of do damage control right away, and it’s it’s been nice. It’s, you know, the, the news cycle isn’t filled with insanity anymore. It feels like things are already sort of getting back to normal. And I feel like I can spend time like reading and just, I’m gonna look into meditation.

Ryan Fleury
And all that Braille this year.

Rob Mineault
Yeah, I’m saving all this time not being addicted to like the Trump news insanity cycle. So it’s great. It’s great.

Steve Barclay
Fair enough. Have you seen all the fallout with the Qanon people

Rob Mineault
No, what’s going on?

Steve Barclay
Well, like the Q anon, people were expecting for yesterday or earlier, for Biden to be arrested by a military cabal and thrown in jail along with all the other what do they call him a human traffickers?

Rob Mineault
Wow.

Steve Barclay
Yeah. I mean, the whole conspiracy is that you know, these are the the government’s being run by cannibals and child smugglers and stuff. And, you know, the story was that yeah, it was leading up to Biden getting arrested, he wasn’t gonna be inaugurated, he was gonna get arrested instead. And then Trump was gonna strike out on stage, or carry on President again. Now, now, now, they’re sitting there scratching their heads going, but, but I told my whole family this was gonna happen. Now. They think I’m nuts. It’s like, well, they probably thought you were nuts before, but

Rob Mineault
You know, what, what next? They’re gonna they’re gonna get proof in front of them that the earth is actually round as well.

Steve Barclay
Oh, get out? Yeah, no.

Rob Mineault
Yeah. Well, you know, I feel bad for them. But I don’t. I’m in a good mood. I got my smoothie. I feel great already. It’s 2021 and it’s going to be the year guys.

Steve Barclay
absolutely.

Rob Mineault
This podcast is gonna go viral. And get some mad mad numbers. We’re gonna get those Joe Rogan podcast numbers this year.

Ryan Fleury
Sure.

Rob Mineault
Alright. Well, hey, you know what, before we dive into that interview, though, there’s a few things that I noticed were happening this week that I wanted to bring up. You know, it’s funny. Last week, we had a bit of a news show, and we were kind of lamenting the fact that there really wasn’t a heck of a lot of news going on. But a few things that happened this week that I thought we could talk a little bit about before we talk to Louise. We talked, you know, we mentioned CES last week. And I did notice that in over at CNET they did an article about some of the different assistive technology that was on display at CES this year. I find it always interesting and always notable whenever a mainstream publication sort of talks about assistive technology, and it’s always interesting to also see what devices they actually decide to feature. So I thought I would run these down with you guys and see what your thoughts are, because I don’t, some of them I know and some of them I kind of don’t. So first it mentions the mantis Q40 Braille display and I don’t know anything about that. But Have you guys heard of this one?

Steve Barclay
Yeah, it’s actually got one I have out on loan right now, to to a customer. it’s got a got a QWERTY keyboard on it. It’s got a full 40 cell Braille display on it. So for somebody who’s a typist, you can have your keyboard and Braille all on one surface.

Rob Mineault
But in general, though, it’s it’s pretty much just a Braille display? There’s nothing really anything that makes it unique against all the other braille displays on the market?

Steve Barclay
Most braille displays these days are coming with a with a Braille keyboard on them, but this one’s QWERTY.

Rob Mineault
I see but was was there not another Braille display that that did do that for a while? What was it called?

Steve Barclay
Well, there was always like the Braillenote Apex or the the HIMS. What was it the U2 QWERTY but those were actual notetakers not just braille displays.

Rob Mineault
Oh, I see. That’s right. That’s that’s what I’m thinking of. I wasn’t thinking Braille display. Sorry. I was thinking Notetakers. Very cool. I noticed that they also talked about this Aware app, which is a is an app from a place called Sensible Innovations that is an indoor navigation app using iBeacon technology. And I looked up the I looked up the over their website, and I’m pretty sure that I think we’ve either talked about this app, or we’ve had them on. But this app goes all the way back to 2017. Indoor navigation is still that nut that we really haven’t cracked yet. We haven’t really seen any sort of app or a technology even that has really set the standard in terms of indoor navigation.

Steve Barclay
So I don’t know if that’s true, because I mean, there’s right now, we’re seeing a shift away from beacon technology into technologies that are using LIDAR scanning, to map out the insides of buildings and provide navigation that way. And I think, I think that’s gonna take off, it’s just gonna take some time to get adopted. So I disagree.

Rob Mineault
Okay, well,

Steve Barclay
We do have a technology.

Rob Mineault
Well, that’s good. It just, you know, I guess the tricky part about indoor navigation. And in terms of, you know, really like setting that standard is just that all these different pieces have to come on board. Like, we need venues to embrace that technology and use that technology in order for it to really spread. It’s such a new type of technology that, you know, we’ve spent the last few years figuring out Well, is it going to go the direction of ibeacons? Or is it going to, you know, go to the direction of LIDAR? I know for a fact in talking to some of the different manufacturers and companies out there that are that are working on this stuff, that the LIDAR option is both more of a thorough solution, but also sort of an easier solution, right, because they just they take their laptops into the venue and they walk around and the lasers just kind of do their work. And they’re able to create these really detailed maps in pretty short order.

Steve Barclay
Yeah, it doesn’t require that you’re, you’re sticking beacons up anywhere, it doesn’t require batteries and beacons being replaced it, you know, you’re never gonna lose a beacon with that, that technology it’s got it’s definitely got some technical advantages over and above beacon technologies. And beacon technology is fraught with with other problems, too. You know, we we know, from, from our experience with it, that, you know, things like putting a beacon at a doorway, can be great for helping somebody find a doorway. But, you know, you might not actually be able to get that beacon to transmit through the glass of that door. So you might have to use two beacons on a door. You know, it’s also the the range on beacons is variable, you know, depending on the environment as well. And you have to kind of tweak the range to get the area of effect for beacon set to what you want. So it’s it’s a it’s a problematic technology. I mean, it was, it was good idea. It was a good start. But I think LIDAR is going to take it over. Yeah, in very short order.

Rob Mineault
I think the other missing component of that is just that we, they there needs to be a company that just comes in and they are the LIDAR specialists, their LIDAR services to go in and map different venues just becomes sort of the the big one to use, you know?And I’m thinking along the lines of you almost need something like Google Maps, right? They just — Google became, that’s how we have Street View right? They they just went everywhere and mapped everywhere. And we sort of need that to happen, except on an indoor level.

Steve Barclay
Yeah. And you’ve got to get the buy in from the, from the owners of the buildings, right. Yeah. You know, there’s there’s companies out there like Accessibuild, who we’ve we’ve had on the program. And what’s Mike Mays, new company, Ryan?

Ryan Fleury
GoodMaps

Steve Barclay
They’re both doing, they’re both using the the LIDAR technology. And I know from talking with the accessibuild folks that, you know, they’re, they’re really selling it to the, the owners of the buildings as a service that they can use in other situations, as well. So you know, for for maintenance issues for for, you know, General mapping of your building, because, you know, buildings change over time. You know, you may have architectural drawings, for example, that show what the building looked like originally, but walls have been changed and, you know, things have happened here and there that changed the layout of the building. So you can’t necessarily rely on original blueprints for that kind of stuff. So they’re delivering to a building owner a 3d look at their, at their building that they can use in other applications as well as in navigation. So they’re, they’re adding value in that sense, as well. I think I think it’ll, you know, take off. We’re also seeing LIDAR being built into mainstream devices now, right? The the iPhone, right? The latest iPhones have LIDAR built in them. Now they’re not LIDAR like they would use in a LIDAR scanner going into the building. But over time, all of this overlapping LIDAR data that they’re going to get from phones will be a semblable. And right, you know, you’ll be able to take a picture of where people have been with their, with their phones and build out on that. So it’s gonna be interesting.

Rob Mineault
Yeah, for sure. Well, listen, good. I mean, hopefully, they do figure this out soon. Because indoor navigation is going to be a really, really powerful mobility solution for people.

Steve Barclay
Hi, everyone. This is Steve from Canadian Assistive Technologies, and this is a shameless plug. A few years back, everyone was all excited about the pen friend from rnrb, which allowed folks to use small stickers with a chip in them to label products and record descriptions. We are pleased to be Canada’s distributor of WayAround products which do the same thing, but utilize a cell phone as the reader. There are a variety of available tags from simple stickers to clothing, buttons, magnets, clips, do something to label almost everything, the descriptions you enter can be any length, and they are automatically backed up to your account on the web. So no matter what happens, you’ll never lose your descriptions. Check them out on our website at http://www.canasstech.com

Ryan Fleury
Joining us now is Louise Gillis, president of the Canadian Council of the Blind. So Louise, I wanted to have you on the podcast to talk a little bit about the Canadian Council of the Blind, and also about White Cane Week. So hopefully you came full of knowledge.

Louise Gillis
Well, I think I have enough to get us going on this at least in.

Ryan Fleury
Excellent. So why don’t we start off with, you know, who is the Canadian Council of the Blind?

Louise Gillis
Well, the Canadian Council of the Blind was founded like, about 76 years ago or so in 1944 by return retiring, blind veterans and schools of the blind. It’s a membership based organization, and it’s a registered charity. It’s for people who are blind, deaf blind, or living with vision loss of one sort or another. And that people meet through chapters in their own local communities, or through national events on through the more modern technology of zoom and in other internet facets. So we were here to work with people who have sight loss of one sort or another in advocacy and awareness campaigns and peer mentoring, sports and recreation, that are all adapted for persons with sight loss, and the promotion of health and fitness. Also in the promotion of ensuring that people who are, don’t have sight loss at this point, do get the medications to prevent vision loss. And that’s with a variety of different governments federal, provincial, and locally to get those medications to the people who need them. And for disease processes, such as macular degeneration, and diabetic macular edema, plus others along with that. So we have a variety of programs. And I can elaborate more on that a bit later. But we’re about we’re here to help people with sight loss, learn to live a different life than then if they lost sight later in life than what they had prior to that. And for those who were born with sight loss, to be able to take part in society, and their communities plus move on in education and take a large role in their own lives to meet the wishes and desires that they have had. So we work with people to realize that if they have a mind to do something, they just need to get out and start working on it and do it.

Ryan Fleury
It’s interesting, because you know, like, I lost my sight in 1995. And, you know, the first place people tell you about is the CNIB, Canadian National Institute for the Blind. So, you know, it’s it’s interesting hearing that the CCB has been around for over 70 years as well. Why do you think it is that you know, organizations like yours just may not be as as known in the mainstream?

Louise Gillis
Well, I think use the use of the word blind is is there and nationally the CNIB is where people who lose their sight or know when they’re first born or later in life, they’re referred by their doctors to go to the CNIB for their vision, rehab services, and all the things that go with that. And therefore it’s called the blind is of any organization with the word blind, and it is all under one umbrella that way, because people don’t realize this. There’s other things. And CCB is peers helping peers to live that new experience or a lived experience explaining how to do new things,

Ryan Fleury
right. So you guys wouldn’t you guys wouldn’t necessarily do like orientation and mobility, you’re more basically, like you mentioned, you know, peer mentoring, getting together learning from each other, and just more of a community based organization.

Louise Gillis
It is basically because there, we have chapters all across Canada, in many different communities. And we have independent members who don’t have chapters nearby. So they can still take advantage of the the programs and things that we do have across the country. And that helps people fairly confident one learns better from somebody who has the lived experience than somebody who was sighted telling you how to do it. Communities should be working in relation with each other, not necessarily copying the same programs, but just enhancing the programs that are already there, and working with people so that they can live a better life.

Ryan Fleury
Right now, one of the probably more popular programs that the CCB runs is called the GTT — Getting Together with Technology program. Can you tell us a little bit about that?

Louise Gillis
Yes, that’s a great program that’s been running over five years now. And it was started just to help people who have new technology. And that’s when all the smartphones and things started coming into being and especially for people who are blind for a long time, did not have the experience of you know, using a, or seeing what a cell phone look like. And with the Apple products coming out and voice over everything is built in. Prior to that people had to purchase different modules to attach to their, their phones or their computers or whatever to be able to work with that. So this is peers began helping peers. And it’s a program where, yes, you learn about technology and your technology questions. But also, during that friendly conversation, people are able to get together across the country, so that if I want to know how I should be making my way to in a store, or what I need to do, that somebody can help me with that. Or if I have a recipe that I’m trying to cook, and I don’t exactly know, maybe what different utensils are now they’re they’re done. People can say, Well, I use this particular item. And it helps me a great deal without having to worry about half cup, full cup, whatever the measurement is, and just different techniques of using your cane that or handling your cane. We never do mobility training as such, that’s not part of it. But just questions that people may have. Where can I get something fixed? So it goes beyond technology, it goes into much more depth, and a very great fellowship, because people develop good friends over the GTT program.

Ryan Fleury
It’s great work, you know, I’ve attended a few of the sessions myself, and they always come over they’re learning something

Louise Gillis
You do really and it’s it’s good for beginners, because they have a particular group set up for beginners who are just really learning how to to deal with blindness and technology at the same time to people who are well advanced and can do many more things than that the general population, I would say, do so it’s it’s a great way and students who are in school and young folks who are able to be working may need some extra education on on how to use the programs that are required for employment.

Ryan Fleury
Yeah, no, there’s a lot of good people. There’s a lot of good information that comes out of those programs. What are some of the other programs that the CCB offers?

Louise Gillis
We have a health and fitness one where we do some exercises online or give tips over internet service now too, but the other big program is curling where we have our vision impaired curling championship is usually during the the first full week of February. But of course for 2021, that’s not happening. But it’s a group of Canadians from across the country who have become CCB members then learn to curl in their own individual ranks and compete at a level there that quite often because there’s not, may not be a lot of people who are blind or low vision, the curling gates sighted folks so that it gives them more insight into the program and what it’s about. So it’s a kind of a universal program we call and then we have groups that have a variety of different blind sports, we’ll call them. Different places like Goalball in Nova Scotia is a blind sports program from that organization, but it’s under the umbrella of CCB. Here we have Atlantic sports and recreation weekend, which takes place in the long weekend in May. And that’s a variety of different sports held over one weekend, we moved from chapter to chapter — eight within the four Atlantic provinces and take part for three days doing bowling, talent shows, track and field meets, cribbage table, bowling, darts, so a variety of those things, and they take place throughout the year and in different communities as well. Each chapter decides themselves which activities they like to do.

Ryan Fleury
I mentioned earlier, losing my sight in 1995, as a young adult, you know, I was very active as a sighted person. And after I lost my sight, never really knew about BC blind sports or, you know, adaptive sports for the blind and partially sighted. And so a couple of times, you know, my girlfriend at the time, and I would try bowling because I i bowled competitively as a sighted person. And that sucked. gutter ball, gutter ball, gutter ball. You know, I tried, I tried, you know, playing softball, even having somebody throw the ball and of course, the ball doesn’t beep so I had no idea where the ball was. You know, it’s, it’s really important to let people know, of the opportunities that are available. You know, tandem Cycling is something I probably would love to you know, I skied and snowboarded as a sighted person. And it’s unfortunate, I didn’t get plugged into the opportunities after I lost my sight, so I can’t stress enough to anybody listening to the show, to reach out to CNIB, CCB, you look up bc blind sports, or I’m sure there’s Canadian blind sports locals across Canada as well, if you’re interested, because there are so many opportunities available for people.

Steve Barclay
So what I’m what I’m hearing here, Ryan, is that post-COVID we’re getting a tandem bike, are we?

Ryan Fleury
I’m game. Absolutely, let’s do it.

Louise Gillis
Okay, sounds like a good idea. I was never able to ride a bike as a sighted person. But I never curl as a sighted person either. And it is after losing my sight in 96. I still have some was so thankful for, but started the very first curling team in in Nova Scotia. So you know, just because you think that you can’t do something, and it’s not available, your age really doesn’t matter. So I was old when I started curling, and old means anything over 50 in my mind. And I’m well over that now.

Steve Barclay
Hey now, easy.

Louise Gillis
So it’s the fact that, you know, all these sports that are out there, the majority of them can be done, and can be learned as an older person too. So right, Ryan, there’s hope for you to to get out on your tandem bike and do those things.

Ryan Fleury
I don’t know, I’ve been a real lazy couch potato for the last since the last probably 20 years. So it’s gonna be hard to get me off the couch.

Louise Gillis
Work on that next time I see you.

Rob Mineault
Right. So in terms of the organization and how its structured by by doing something like having chapters, are you sort of able to service smaller communities than say, some of the larger organizations like say CNIB that are mainly in the urban areas?

Louise Gillis
Well, yes, we are in a lot of ways because we have chapters. We still have, as I mentioned earlier, independent members. So if there’s not a chapter in a community close by or in a rural area, that person can join CCB and take part in all the activities that we have, if they can get transportation into a place where we’re doing a sports activity as such. Then they can come and take part there. If not, they can still do a lot of the other things that are, are done online and every individual that wants to be served. Basically, if they have an interest, we can find some way of, of working with them to improve their quality of life, rather than sitting home on the couch.

Ryan Fleury
What’s wrong with sitting on the couch?

Rob Mineault
So it sounds like, you know, by having that sort of policy and sort of trying to service as many people as we can, it sounds like you guys were already kind of set up in a lot of ways with remote services or, you know, services by phone or by zoom or by some other networking software. So, given that, has has COVID really had much of an impact on you guys?

Louise Gillis
Well, in some ways, yes. Some ways, no. what it has done is enlarged, those programs that we do run by, like GTT is run by zoom, and a lot more people are using it now. Because they don’t are not able to get out and go do other things. So they stay home and listen to the chats and the things that are going on there and find out about other things, because right now, the majority of us are not able to be curling and doing those sports where there are a lot of people out there in the ring store and like a hockey rink and that sort of thing for the blind hockey. So these GTT and Zoom calls have made a difference for people like that, and make connections with people across Canada. Whereas before, with chapters, people quite often were isolated in that one chapter and didn’t know somebody, like if you lived in Nova Scotia didn’t know anybody from British Columbia. But now through zoom and COVID, that has helped people from Nova Scotia know people in other provinces across the country. And it has made it a bigger family of everyone. With COVID has, our office has not been able to be fully staffed within the office every day. So people have to work from home. But it is fully staffed that way as well. So if we need to contact somebody to get assistance with something in technology, then we can get them, you know, by calling the office and it still works, the regular hours that we have. As far as other issues with COVID. We have done a survey way back in April, that has taken a lot of interest by many organizations and communities across not only Canada, but internationally to on the results of that and the effect of COVID on persons living with blindness, and the fears and the anxieties that are there for for all of us. And each one of us has something different than the fact of the fear of going into a grocery store to do shopping, are we going to be able to know when we’re six feet away from somebody, excuse me or two meters, that’s a very tricky issue to have. The fear of transportation getting on the bus and knowing where a seat is. So we’ve been working with, through GTT, many times talking about things like that, to comfort people a bit more about being able to be out and about a little bit better. And the proper wearing of masks because somebody who is totally blind has no idea how a mask is to be worn because they can’t see exactly. So, you go into description of telling somebody what a mask is like and how it should be worn and and why it should be worn. And COVID is also affecting people who have, you know, they have sight loss, that they also have other disabilities and therefore, often have homecare or some sort of service coming in. They may not be aware whether the person coming into the system has any protective equipment on them such as masks and gowns and gloves and that sort of thing. And especially when workers who go from home to home, like whose place where they were in last, are they actually cleaning their hands properly and that sort of thing when you can’t see you don’t always know that. So it’s just trying to educate the public as well and we’ve sent out letters to retail Canada, the Retail Council of Canada, about the Plexiglass in at stores in how that can be a disadvantage and to let the employees know that if we are blind or low vision, we may need extra help but to be more patient with us as we tried to, to get our groceries or goods in another store, whatever it might be,

Rob Mineault
In terms of the programs, are they are they mainly community driven?

Louise Gillis
They’re basically community driven. Because if somebody wants to start bowling, for instance, they find a few people who are interested, and get some sign of volunteers to attend with them so that they can, they can let just go and do their bowling. In regular times, before COVID times, we were able to get two or three different volunteers to come in and depending on the number of people who are actually willing to bowl and carried on bowling very actively. And that’s the same for all the different sports and, and those types of activities, that as long as we can get our site of volunteers to be there and show us, that way it does develop from the community. Somebody else may want to do a knitting group or a sewing group or something like that. And it’s just getting people together. And by the community, it’s not our national office saying okay, that we’re going to start a bowling chapter in Sudbury or a knitting chapter in Porter, Basque or something like that. It’s the people of those communities saying, well, I want to do something, and going out amongst the community, which is difficult for some people who don’t know other blind people in their communities. So we kind of put out awareness, ads one way or another, like through church bulletins or on community based Radio TV programs that we’re posting of how to bowl or how to knit.

Unknown Speaker
Louise, can you tell us what is White Cane Week?

Ryan Fleury
White Cane Week is generally the first full week of February, and this year, seems to confuse people because February 1 is on a Monday, but the first full week of February starts on the seventh. So it runs from the seventh to the 13th. And generally, it’s a week of chapters in different communities across the nation, and the national organization, put on awareness programs, events, whatever they may be, to bring the general community in to see our abilities, not our disabilities, how we do things, and to encourage those of us who need more encouragement to be able to get out and see. So there’s a variety of things do generally take place at the community level, but it’s not going to be as easy this year. The National entity is doing several programs, but not all necessarily during that first week. But through the month of February, on February 13, which is a Saturday, there’s a forum that’s being held in traditionally that is held in Toronto in person and now this will be done virtually. There’s going to be a Gala on February 18, which was generally held in Ottawa. But again, that will be done virtually. So I guess people will just be the virtual part of that and instead of having dinners, people may have a peanut butter sandwich. I’m not exactly sure how the food part is going in there. And then the following up with the COVID survey that we did earlier, we actually are doing an impact of COVID-19 during the year 2020 how this affected people, but also have a researcher working on 2020 how the effect of blindness has added to Canada’s employment rates and, and different other aspects of living and what the impact of blindness has on living. So that is taking place on February 17. And then again, there’ll be a summit held on May 26, with results of the impact of COVID-19 on life in general. Also we’re planning just sort of an awareness program of what the white cane is and that should be taking place – the date is not fully set – but on the 10th of February that information will be coming out. And it’s just a kind of a fireside chat, where people can talk about, a few presenters talking about white cane weekend and what the white cane is. So those are the activities for this year. But is to let the general population know that even though we have sight loss, total blind or deaf blind, we still have a life and we still are able to contribute to society in many different ways. And there is life after blindness.

Rob Mineault
Where can people find CCB online?

Louise Gillis
Okay, the website for CCB is http://www.cbbnational.net. And the email address is CCB@cbbnational.net. Our phone number, the toll free number is 1-877-304-0968.

Rob Mineault
Best of luck with White Cane Week, thanks so much for coming on and talking to us about CCB. And White Cane Week.

Louise Gillis
Well, thank you very much for the opportunity. We appreciate being on here and getting the word out to as many people as we can.

Ryan Fleury
Thank you so much, Louise, appreciate it.

Louise Gillis
Bye now. Bye

Rob Mineault
All right. Well, sounds like there’s quite a bit going on for White Cane Week this year, despite COVID.

Ryan Fleury
Well, I think that’s definitely one thing we’ve seen is everybody’s had to pivot and move their events online.

Rob Mineault
Yeah. So no, it’s good to see these organizations continuing on, that’s for sure. I feel like CCB really, like sort of fills in a really important gap in terms of where the chapters are. And, you know, they fill in the holes that are left by like some of the larger blindness organizations.

Ryan Fleury
Yeah, there’s a lot of mentorship that goes on. And, you know, you can get plugged into a chapter near you and find out what’s what’s going on in your area. You know, tell them what your interests are. And they’ve got the getting together technology program as well. So if you’re a novice to technology, you know, you can reach out and join one of their chats and it’s a lot of good people there with a lot of good information.

Rob Mineault
Yeah, absolutely. Hey, Ryan.

Ryan Fleury
Yes, Rob.

Rob Mineault
Where can people find us?

Ryan Fleury
They can find us online at@banter.com. They can also drop us an email if they so desire — cowbell@atbanter.com

Steve Barclay
Hey, and you know what else? We are on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. So reach out join our social media.

Rob Mineault
That’s right. Email and cheer Ryan up.

Steve Barclay
Yeah, absolutely.

Rob Mineault
Tell him to stop being a grumpy bastard.

Ryan Fleury
It doesn’t happen all that often.

Steve Barclay
I don’t know. Five out of seven days. That sounds like

Ryan Fleury
Oh, my goodness.

Steve Barclay
Well, I don’t talk to you on the weekends. It could be seven out of seven.

I love it. Yeah.

Rob Mineault
I would check your mattress. Maybe there’s like a pea underneath your mattress. You’re like that fairy tale. Maybe? Well, then I guess that is about enough damage for one week.

Ryan Fleury
All righty.

Rob Mineault
Thanks, everybody for listening. Big thanks to Louise Gillis and CCB and we will see everybody next week.

Ryan Fleury
Bye.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai