CCB-Yukon division newsletter, The Observer, April 2022 edition

President’s Message

Hello, well it’s April Fools Day and no one has played a prank on me and I haven’t done one either.  But I did hear how one of my church ladies made chocolate covered brussel sprouts on a stick and passed them off as cake pops; and that same lady made caramel covered apples, but as a special treat for a particular friend gave him a caramel onion instead and believe it or not, she apologized and lovingly gave him another caramel apple and much to his surprise it was also a caramel onion.  If you have a story to tell, please let me know and we can grin together!

Okay, let’s giggle just a little more, here are your jokes…  First, how excited was the gardener about spring?  Second, what falls but never gets hurt?  And third, why did the bird go to the hospital?  Please check the end of this newsletter for the answers.

It’s looking promising and is a go for the Division’s 2022 Triennial Conference later this month in the Comox Valley.  I am looking forward to seeing some of you and will miss others who will not be there.

As you know, these are strange times and there’s lots happening all around us.  And I know, I’m grateful for what I have and where I live and the opportunities given me.

Remember your Division Board of Directors is here to help you; and do not hesitate to email or call me or any other Division Board Member for more information or clarification on any matters concerning the CCB BC-Yukon Division.  Ann McNabb, President


2022 Triennial CCB BC-Yukon Division Conference

– submitted by Pat Chicquen

Our Division Triennial conference is fast approaching.  And we are happy to announce portions of the conference will be available on Zoom.

*Tuesday April 26th from 9:00 to 10:30am: Opening Ceremonies

*Tuesday April 26th from 10:45am to 12:00pm: Guest Speaker Dr. Glen Hoar from Comox,  physician & Surgeon  specializing in ophthalmology

*Wednesday April 27th from 9:00 to 10:30am: Guest Speaker and CCB member Heather Walkus from Keremeos”What lies ahead for the Division?”

*Wednesday April 27th from 10:45 to 11:25am: Guest Speaker Helen Whitaker, Optician from Powell River

*Wednesday April 27th from 11:30am to 12:00pm: Guest speaker Chad McGillivary, Director of Operations for Get My Kit from Nanaimo

*Thursday April 28th from 9:00am to 12:00pm: AGM

*Thursday April 28th from 1:30 to 3:30pm: AGM continued

Hoping you can join us for some part of our conference.  You will receive the Zoom schedule and connecting link in your inboxes the weekend before the Conference.


Membership Tidbits

What does the Division do for me?

It’s sometimes difficult to put what the Division is into words or concrete facts.  I’ve always been proud to be a member and have always known that the CCB is “us”, it’s members.  Like many things in life we can make or break it.  It’s a positive attitude and not getting discouraged when stuff is not going the way we might like.  Life is challenging and not always so easy; we’ve all experienced challenges and still carry on.  Here are a few benefits of being a part of the CCB BC-Yukon Division:

*A monthly Division Call In for members and friends to share their views, knowledge/expertise, opinions on almost anything.

*A monthly guest speaker from the community at a second Division Call In for us to learn and grow.

*The Observer  Newsletter about us and the stuff important to us – published 4 to 6 times yearly.

*Access to the Division Zoom account with assistance for your Chapter meetings.

*An annual White Cane Event subsidy available for your Chapter for an event held from January to November.

*An annual Sports and Recreation subsidy available to your Chapter for a project from January to December.

*A Division brochure for you to share with your community.

*An in-person AGM and Educational Workshop annually with assistance for attendees.

*Virtual White Cane Week events with Zoom links to share with community, family and friends.

*And maybe most importantly friendship and encouragement.

I’m sure there’s more and lots to share, so please don’t hesitate to let us know your thoughts and ideas.  Remember you are the CCB!


Division Call Ins: Calling All Members

– submitted by Iris Thompson

Rob Sleath from ASIC (Access  for  sight impaired consumers) joined our Division Call In for February.  He gave  us an update on what  is new with ASIC.  Rob has been very involved  with advocacy.  To hear Rob’s presentation you can contact Ann McNabb  for the recording.

In March Donavin Robinson from Canada revenue agency gave an excellent presentation in regards to any helpful deductions you can claim when filing your income tax forms.  Contact Ann for the recording.

We continue to have our monthly Division Check In calls the first Thursday of the month and guest speakers on the 3rd Thursday of each month.

Stay tuned for upcoming presentations and join us for engaging conversations with Division members on the first Thursday of each month.


Division Call In Update

The Division’s Upcoming Call In Schedule:

*Thursday April 7th at 10:00am, an open session giving you the opportunity to share and discuss your ideas, thoughts and whatever’s on your mind

*Thursday April 21st at 10:00am, guest speaker Ken Gray from Kamloops will talk about photography from a blind perspective

*Thursday May 5th at 10:00am, an open session giving you the opportunity to share and discuss your ideas, thoughts and whatever’s on your mind

*Thursday May 19th guest Steve Barclay from Canadian Assistive Technology will speak to us about the latest assistive technology

If you are interested and would like to join us, but have trouble with phoning in because of punching in numbers, please let us do the dialing for you and all you need do is answer your phone.  Please email or call 604-795-3885 and we will make it happen.


CCB Alberni Valley Chapter

– submitted by Jean Kanngiesser

With the COVID restrictions easing and the snow melted, we were able to have an in-person meeting in March 2022. Two new members attended. Over a coffee, we chatted and caught up with each other’s activities since we last met. We reviewed some of the benefits available to those with vision impairment.

We participated in White Cane Week by placing posters around town, wrote an article for our local newspaper describing how the White Cane became a symbol of vision loss, and the City of Port Alberni proclaimed White Cane Week.

I am looking forward to the AGM next month in Courtenay.


CCB Provincial Book Club

– submitted by Kathy Sanness

The Provincial Book Club is a provincial, rather than a district arm of the Canadian Council of the Blind, BC -Yukon division.  Our members are from all over BC as well as Ontario and Newfoundland.  We accept anyone who wants to join us, from totally to partly blind and the people who volunteer with them, e.g. family members or volunteers.  As a prolific reader, I started the club to meet other people in BC who loved reading as much as I do, and who, also have sight problems.

The books we read are chosen by our members rather than from a prescribed reading list.  Our members have become friends, as we have come to know each other and our perspective likes and dislikes.  For example we have a member from Ontario, who lives on a small farm, who has a Quarter Horse as a guide dog, and who plays Chess and has learned several languages.  We also have a member who participates in Special Olympics.  We have a computer guru who answers our questions about computers and tech.  He helped me find a refurbished computer for free, when my old computer packed it in.

The next few books we are reading are; for April 22nd, The Midnight Library by Matt Haig; for May 27th, August  into Winter by Guy Vanderhaeghe; and for June 23rd, All Creatures Great and Small by James Herriot.

If you have questions, call me at 778 484 2298 or on my cell at 250 395 0395 or e mail at


Coming Home With A New Guide Dog

– submitted by Iris Thompson and guide dog Jill

After a long year of waiting for a call to go to the guide dog school, I finally got a class date to go to Oregon .  The guide dog school I have been accepted to is in Boring Oregon just outside of Portland in the United States.  This is my fourth guide dog.  Some people think it’s a piece of cake transitioning to a new guide, but it’s far from the truth.

I had a great bond with my last guide dog.  We were a team for 8 and a half years.  My last guide dog was confident and very smart.  We traveled together so smoothly.  I trusted her one hundred percent.

Going from one guide dog to the next can be the hardest part. I receive a dog that’s very young, doesn’t know me and I don’t know the dog. It does help when I go to the campus.  We spend two weeks together getting to know each other.The trainers are there if I have any questions or concerns.

My new guide dog is a female yellow lab named Jill. She is 57 pounds. My first walk with her was a bit nerve racking. It had been almost a year since I worked with a guide dog. I’m completely blind so I have to have complete confidence in the dog that she is doing what she is supposed to do. After about 15 minutes things seemed a bit more comfortable.The training went well and my guide dog did everything she was supposed to do.

I have been home for just over two weeks. This is the real test for her. Jill is in a new environment, she is starting to know me and I am beginning to trust her. I have taken her away from what she is familiar with and put her in a  new home, with new family members.

We are doing fairly well. Over the past two weeks we have been walking around our neighborhood and getting Jill familiar to my routes.Jill seems a bit hesitant at first and the second time we go on the same route she feels more at ease. Jill has good house manners and is fun to have around the house. We have two cats and Jill is very good to them and they are getting very comfortable with her. Our youngest cat gave Jill a bop on the head  with her paw , I think it’s her way of saying  welcome to the family. Jill just sat there not sure of what to do.

The weather is getting nicer so I have been going for long walks around our neighborhood. Things are slowly opening up since Covid. It will be great to get back into a more normal routine. These guide dogs are well trained, but there still dogs at heart. After a grocery shopping trip on our way home, Jill was in the back of the car with the groceries.Jill decided that the butter we bought was just up her alley. Jill ate half a pound of the butter. We have  to watch her around the groceries. This is something I never had to worry about with my last guide dogs, they never  touched the groceries. There is always something new with each guide dog.I look forward to getting to know Jill and work with her over the years. She is still new, but I have a good feeling that her and I will make a good team and continue to bond over time.


Ruff ruff Corner

– submitted by Bill Conway

Over the past baker’s dozen years or so, the good ship – CCB BC-YUKON DIVISION – has been steered by President Ann McNabb. When President Ann first took over the helm, she had to put together a crew that would get the ship back up on her keel. Once President Ann and her crew put the ship afloat again, they concentrated on putting trust and confidence back into supporting this good ship.  President Ann piloted her ship over flat and sometimes through difficult waters, always with a calm and understanding frame of mind.  Over these many years of service, President Ann oversaw five different sets of crew members.  This was indeed a juggling act for our President, working with a diversity of opinionated crew.    President Ann always managed to ensure no matter what was going down, her and her crew always worked for the betterment of the visually impaired community. President Ann will be steering, the good ship – CCB BC-YUKON DIVISION – into the port of Comox, and dock at the tri-annual conference in Courtenay, it will be for the last time. President Ann will be stepping aside and a new President with a new crew will be sailing the good ship – CCB BC-YUKON DIVISION – into the near future.  Thank you, President Ann, for your twenty-two years of, unbelievable dedication and service to the visually impaired community.


Access for Sight Impaired Consumers (ASIC)

What kinds of access we’ve helped create

Since 1998, ASIC has approached all levels of government, public and private corporations, and service providers to create awareness of the myriad of challenges and barriers impacting the independence of people who are blind, partially sighted, or deafblind. Often, service providers are unaware of the barriers they themselves have created, and truly do not know how to make their services or venues more accessible. This is how Access for Sight Impaired Consumers can help. Our philosophy encompasses both an understanding of these barriers and a proven ability to innovate collaboratively to reach alternatives, resulting in improved access and independence for those of us living with sight loss.

On June 17, 2021, Access for Sight Impaired Consumers and its community partners, hundreds of other disability organizations and thousands of persons with disabilities celebrated when Bill 6 – the Accessible British Columbia Act received Royal ascent in the BC Legislature. This legislation set British Columbia on the path to a more accessible and inclusive province for people with disabilities. The Act authorizes government to establish accessibility standards to support the identification, prevention, and removal of barriers to accessibility and inclusion. For more information, visit the accessibility legislation web page where a plain language overview and an ASL video is available. Public engagement and consultation will remain a priority as government develops regulations and standards to address the barriers people with disabilities face.

Under the Act, the BC Government is required to perform certain functions, among the first is to establish a Provincial Accessibility Committee. The Access for Sight Impaired Consumers Board was pleased and proud to learn that our president, Rob Sleath was appointed an inaugural member of this committee on December 3, 2021 for a 2-year renewable term.” I am humbled by this appointment and look forward to joining my committee colleagues in the task that lies ahead. While I recognize my role will be to help in the development of the standards and regulations with an inclusive approach for all persons with disabilities, I will ensure the needs of British Columbians who are blind, partially sighted or deafblind are clearly defined and understood to ensure a balanced conversation takes place” he said.


News, Views & Tips From You


Magnify Low Vision Equipment and Supply

– submitted by Kent Stewart

Out of these confusing and stressful times of covid something new was born and would like to take a minute to introduce its self.

Hello, my name is Kent Stewart with MAGNIFY LOW VISION EQUIPMENT AND SUPPLY.

I am here to assist you with your vision loss journey and help you continue along the road of independence.  The vision loss road can be a bumpy one at times and it can be comforting to deal with someone that already navigated many of the good and bad routes to help reassure the direction you are taking and will get you to where you want to be.  Having lived with many different levels of vision loss and now being completely blind, I understand and appreciate what is needed to continue on the road of independence.

I carry all of the top names in low vision products and will be happy to chat with you and figure out the right tools to keep you heading in the right direction.  It’s your turn to take control of the wheel and together let’s see where the road can take us!!!


Kent Stewart


Here it is March and all Thoughts Turn to Spring

– submitted by Rose Pokeda

Everywhere heather, crocuses and daffodils are blooming.  Just makes one’s spirit come alive.  March is also Pharmacy Appreciation Month.  Do we ever stop to think about the extraordinary role pharmacists play in health care !  If you are blind or vision impaired it is important to make your pharmacist aware of your specific needs in terms of drug labelling , packaging, refills and drug information.  They have many tools available to suit your individual needs.  Let’s not forget their role in Public Health during the pandemic.  They have stayed open and accessible for their patients; expanding their practices to fill critical gaps in care exposed by the Pandemic.  In addition to screening , testing and vaccinating patients, they’ve played an important role in educating their communities on evolving medical evidence and guidelines and helped to mitigate the spread of misinformation.

During Pharmacy Appreciation Month we need to express our genuine gratitude for the dedication of Pharmacists  keeping us safe and healthy.  And we cannot end the month of March without wishing our President Ann a very Happy Birthday.


2022 White Cane Week Magazine

– from the CCB National website

*Learn about Your Eye Care and preventable Vision Loss Report.

*Read about treatments for Age-Related Macular Degeneration.

*How blindness is 75% preventable and when caused by Diabetes 95% avoidable.

*Recognize Optometrists as your primary eye care provider and your Ophthalmologists as the leaders of your eye care team.

*Read how the failure to deliver a national vision care strategy is costing Canada billions.

*Marvel as 5 people share their life experiences of living with blindness.

*See how clinical trials lead to sight saving innovations and how research is core to Fighting Blindness Canada.

*Read about the Canadian Council of the Blind and its advocacy for Canada’s blind, deaf-blind and partially sighted community.



– submitted anonymously

I’m thinking because this sleep item is practically at the end of the newsletter, that many of you may have already fallen asleep.  If that’s the case, good for you.  Google says “sleep recharges us and our minds, keeps us refreshed and alert and helps keeps us healthy.  So you all need to get your sleep and maybe thank me for contributing to your well-being!


Your Division Board of Directors Contact Information

Ann McNabb, President – 604-795-7230 –

Pat Chicquen, 1st Vice President – 250-339-3904 –

Bill Conway, 2nd Vice President – 604-740-5896 –

Gerry Braak, 3rd Vice President – 604-485-5028 –

Kelvin Adams, Director – 250-895-9835 –

Darren Douma, Director – 250-428-1807 –

Brodie McKenzie, Director – 604-942-4255 –

Rose Pokeda, Director – 250-334-8565 –

Vern Short, Director – 250-819-9152 –

Iris Thompson, Director – 604-939-1258 –


Answer to President Ann’s questions

First, so excited he wet his plants.

Second, the rain!

Third, it needed tweetment!