What We're Doing

You already know about our quest for accessible prescription medication information. It’s our key priority right now. Yet there’s much more work we’re doing on many different issues. Learn about our other initiatives:

Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD) – BC’s Provincial Retinal Diseases Treatment Program

This issue rates highly amongst our growing concerns. The drug therapy most commonly promoted and used by ophthalmological specialists in BC for intravitreal injections has been linked to serious side effects. We provide details of our concerns and correspondence with BC's Minister of Health on this issue.

We know that AMD-affected BC residents need to be keenly aware of – and need to clearly understand – these two critical points about this particular drug therapy:

  • There is a range of Health Canada-approved treatment options available for intravitreal treatments of three conditions – AMD, Diabetic Macular Edema (DME), Retinal Vein Occlusion (RVO).
  • The drug therapies used in at least 85% of these intravitreal treatments carry a Health Canada warning against their usage as a treatment for these eye conditions.

We have now also confirmed our two theories, which deduced that most ophthalmological specialists are providing their patients with neither full disclosure nor a choice of therapies, as evidenced by the results of this survey conducted with AMD-affected BC residents.

Accessible Taxi Service

Despite the availability of numerous wheelchair-accessible taxis, we were forever frustrated there was not one single taxi in BC providing sight-impaired consumers with the dignity of necessary accessible features. Imagine our soaring spirits when our vision and efforts of lobbying toward a taxi equipped with a meter offering optional audio output became a reality on December 5 2014, when Canada’s first – and only – taxi with such a meter was introduced. Previously, sight-impaired consumers had been able to neither independently identify the taxi company, nor the vehicle's fleet number, nor monitor the taxi’s meter. Being at the mercy of a driver's level of honesty and integrity in terms of a cost-effective route and the proof of a final fare is a vulnerable place.

We’re continuing to work with both the Vancouver Taxi Association and the BC Taxi Association to increase the number of accessible taxi meters in BC. Meanwhile, we have accepted the current audio output announcing both meter status and the accumulating fare enroute, yet we are also lobbying for the audio feature to provide vehicle identification information, which is nothing short of a safety measure for all consumers.

Accessible Provincial and Municipal Voting

We know we’ve achieved significant advances in making BC's provincial general election more accessible to sight-impaired consumers. But we also know there’s still room for improvement. We continue to work with Elections BC for an acceptably accessible voting experience, regardless of physical disability. Our goal is to convince Elections BC to introduce telephone and online voting – or an accessible voting terminal, at the very least. We want to complete this initiative for the 2017 general provincial election, and in tandem, we’re focusing on making the municipal election process equally equitable.

Guide Dog & Service Dog Act for BC

Our joint proposal, under the leadership of the Disability Alliance BC in collaboration with several other consumer organizations and accredited guide/assistance dog training facilities, to completely revise the current and ineffective is now complete and in the hands of BC’s Minister of Justice. The new Guide Dog & Service Dog Act was introduced into the Legislature on March 12 2015, and has now passed third reading. We worked with Ministry staff during the public consultation process, and we continue to work closely with them as they develop the regulations for this new Act.

Accessible Bus Stops

Locating the loading zone for public transit has long been problematic for sight-impaired consumers. We’ve been working with TransLink's engineering staff to develop design guidelines and standards for accessible bus stops. Features include color-contrasted tactile walking surface indicators embedded into the sidewalk surface at the base of the bus stop ID pole, tactile and braille information signage, and perhaps a bench and/or shelter.

As a pilot project, TransLink has installed these accessibility features at several select transit exchanges throughout Metro Vancouver. We continue to work with TransLink to expand this pilot, and to promote the installation of the features shown in the photo below.

Photo of Universally Accessible Bus Stops

Back to top of page