“In the world of vision loss, the invention of
braille must be compared to the invention of the printing press – its birth was nothing short of a revolution.

Adoption of Guidelines Press Release - June 11, 2016


June 2016 - Braille Literacy Canada/Literatie Braille Canada has voted to adopt new guidelines for the production of braille signage and transactional documents during its Annual General Meeting, held on May 7th, 2016 in Vancouver, British Columbia.

Statements in braille allow blind customers to receive their documents in an accessible format so that they can make informed decisions and judgments about their personal information. While resources exist that provide guidance on the transcription of many braille documents, all assume that there is some manual intervention from the transcriber. Increasingly, however, strict Service Level Agreements for turnaround times and adhering to delivery and security regulations require producers to process braille automatically with little or no manual intervention.

The guidelines for transactional documents, developed by Braille Literacy Canada in consultation with braille producers and end users, provide guidance for the automated transcription into braille of personal and confidential data, such as bank statements, phone bills and health-related information. These guidelines will assist businesses in understanding the needs of braille-reading customers by providing concrete guidance on best practices. Ernie Crawford, President of Crawford Technologies, a high volume accessible document producer, notes, “Guidelines such as these are important for organizations that are subject to accessibility regulations, such as the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act which requires the provision of documents in an accessible format. These guidelines now specify precisely how these documents should be formatted, eliminating a lot of confusion.”

The signage guidelines, based on prior efforts in New Zealand but updated to take into account existing Canadian legislation, provide similar recommendations for the production of braille wayfinding and signage information, including specifications on the form of the braille and the recommended height of signage. Rebecca Blaevoet, Director of Tactile Vision Graphics, said, “The new accessible signage guidelines, which Canada has recently adopted, will be a great help to customers and producers of tactile material. They will take the guess-work out of signage production and ensure that everyone has a standard to refer to when ironing out the specifics of a contract.”

In addition, members adopted amendments to the bylaws which provide an increased opportunity for corporate members to join, participate, and have direct representation in the governance and activities of Braille Literacy Canada. President Jen Goulden also provided an update on several projects completed by BLC work committees during the preceding year. In particular, she highlighted the ongoing success of the Big Brailler Bounce Initiative: Under the direction of Myra Rodrigues, BLC continues to collect unused braillers donated to the organization, repair those that require servicing and forward them to braille users in need. Those who would like to donate a brailler or place their name on the list to receive one are invited to contact Jen Goulden for further information.

Individuals are invited to follow BLC on their social media pages (Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn), and to visit their website to become a member and to register for the quarterly newsletter which highlights braille-related news throughout the year.

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For more information contact: Jen Goulden, President of Braille Literacy Canada at info@blc-lbc.ca.