Who Is VIRN?

Photo one of VIRN's office work station in our computer lab.
Goal Is Inclusion

“Finding solutions for day-to-day challenges.”
Help us break down barriers and embrace inclusion for all!

The Vision Impaired Resource Network (VIRN) is a registered charity that started in 1944. We became incorporated in Manitoba as the Canadian Council of the Blind Manitoba Division (CCBMB) in 1982. After doing research and consulting with the community of people who are vision impaired, their families, friends and supporters of the organisation we changed our name to better reflect the needs of the community and to eliminate confusion people had regarding organisations with similar sounding names.

Collectively our four core building blocks of Peer Support, Public Education, Active Living and Training promote active, healthy and independent living, and developing good life skills. Click Here to Read More

VIRN Position Statement On Draft Service Dog Standards

Photo of yellow lab guide dog under the picnic table sitting by his handler's leg.
Too Onerous for Handlers

Although we understand the importance of establishing standards for the training of guide and service dogs, VIRN cannot support the draft Service Dog Standards as they currently exist. It would not be practical and it is too onerous for a handler to comply with the documentation requirements. VIRN stands in support of the standards already established by the International Guide Dog Federation and Assistance Dogs International. VIRN does not want to put any barriers in place that would prevent schools and any other training facilities that match service dogs with handlers outside of Canada to exclude people from our community.

it is important to recognize the fact that a guide dog is not the same as a service dog. Requirements and training is different for a guide dog to work with a person who is vision impaired.

Journey To Accessibility by Deanna Ng

Graphic of Manitoba Access Awareness Week Logo
Community News Commons

The Disabilities Issues Office hosted a well-attended discussion earlier this month at the Viscount Gort Hotel on Portage Ave. — all about accessibility in Manitoba, and in Winnipeg in particular — with the common goal of examining accessible legislation, customer service, and employment for people with disabilities.

The various sectors – non-profits, government, educators, and especially businesses — attended the event, with a common interest in making Manitoba a more accessible province. This was just one of several events that were part of Manitoba Access Awareness Week, held June 5 to 9.

Since 1990, there has been much to celebrate in Manitoba when it comes to accessibility. In fact, Winnipeg recently won the
Rick Hansen Accessibility Award.

While we can all be proud the Rick Hansen Foundation chose to honour the City of Winnipeg with a 2017 Accessible Cities Award, it is also important to view this achievement from a broader perspective. There is still much work to do to advocate for the funding earmarked for accessibility in the 2016-2018 budget. Barrier Free Manitoba is calling for the budgeted $425,000 to be used to improve accessibility throughout Winnipeg.

Freelance reporter, Jessica Botelho-Urbanski from Winnipeg Metro, wrote about MAAW by focusing on the importance of public education, and the need to reach more than 34,000 businesses and non-profits before November 2018, so all can become accessible.

There were several other organizations represented at this event. Doris Koop, Executive Director of the Vision Impaired Resource Network - VIRN, had an information booth there.

“We celebrate accessibility and inclusion every day of the year by ensuring all of our events, programs and activities go the extra mile to make people feel welcome and do everything we can do to bring accessibility to the forefront without being obvious,” said Koop. “We refer to this as ‘Seamless Inclusion.'”

On accessible customer service, Koop explained, “[We] do presentations to small businesses, corporations, organizations, schools, etc. on how to better serve and understand how to better serve the community of people who are vision impaired.”
Koop added, “[VIRN also does] website analysis to ensure websites are accessible.”

To help make Winnipeg a more accessible and inclusive city, “[VIRN] took part in many studies and testing with the city, and made many recommendations based on personal hands-on experiences as an organization that is a consumer based organization.”

Written by Deanna Ng on June 20, 2017

For the complete article visit: Community News Commons

VIRN Triple P Fundraiser - Overwhelming Success

Photo of Doris, Christine and Winnipeg East Rotary member on right presenting a cheque to VIRN.
Thank You For Your Support!

Thank you so much for your support and the overwhelming response and attendance to our Triple P Fundraiser on Thursday, May 11th which was held at Nashville's - Canad Inns Transcona.

As always there are so many people to thank who helped to make this evening educational, fun and most of all inclusive.
However, there are some who we want to say a special thank you to:

Event Sponsors
Rotary Club of Winnipeg East A.M.
B.A. Robinson Co. Ltd. Electric

Thank you to our many donors for cash and/or auctions prize donations.

To the staff at Nashville's - Canad Inns Transcona for your hospitality!

To the Audeyo Brothers for their entertainment throughout the evening. Great job!

To Tasia Knysh who shared her story, from "Her Heart" and made many of us realize that it takes a lot of hard work to overcome the challenges people who are vision impaired face in day-to-day living. However, with a little help, support and one's own personal determination there are solutions to some of these challenges and you can achieve your goals.

Thank you to our volunteers who worked so hard before, during and after the event. We are always so honoured by your endless contribution of your precious time.

A very special thank you to Christine Bonnett who is a special friend to us and a member of the Rotary Club for her hours of time and energy spent in helping organize the event and for to making it a huge success.

All of us at VIRN never take things for granted and want the community to know we will use the funds raised to help improve our programs and activities and all funds raised stay here in Manitoba.

Providing more Choices and Inclusion for People who are vision impaired.
Peer Support \ Training \ Public Education \ Active Living

Twitter: @virnca

VIRN Triple P Fundraiser - Thursday, May 11th

In Support of Programs & Activities

Triple P Fundraiser
In support of our Programs & Activities
Providing more Choices and Inclusion for People who are vision impaired.
Peer Support \ Training \ Public Education \ Active Living

Thursday, May 11, 2017 at 6:00 to 9:00 PM
$20.00 Per Person
Nashville’s – Canad Inns Destination Centre
826 Regent Ave W – Winnipeg

Pulled Pork on a Bun, Perogies, Coleslaw and Beverage – Silent Auction, 50/50 Draw,

Entertainment by The Audayo Brothers
Terry Penner
Born in Winnipeg 1954 ( the stone age } raised in Winnipeg in a musical family
Dad liked Opera Mom Liked Hymns Have experience in Winnipeg Community Theatre Scene in the 1970 s to 1994. Formed The Audayo Bros 5 years ago, now starting our third season on the Prairie Dog Central, Listed as their favorite group.

Ian Stirling
Born In Timmins Ontario 1963. also raised in a musical family learned guitar at an early age
performed on local Timmins TV for Charity 1980 to 1990 also collaberated with Terry to form the Audayo Brothers

For tickets and more information:
204-975-9341 or

Thank you to our Event Sponsors!
Rotary Club of Winnipeg East A.M.
B.A. Robinson Co. Ltd. Electric

Marrakesh Announcement

Photo of the Canadian Flag blowing in the wind, with a clear blue sky in the background.
Means More Books in More Libraries for Everyone!

We’re pleased to be among those announcing that the Marrakesh Treaty is now in force. This Treaty makes it possible to share books in accessible formats across borders. As many of you know, this is something we have been working toward and campaigning for: it means more books in more libraries for everyone.

A few weeks ago we thought the Treaty’s provisions were still some unknown time away. Canada was going to be the 18th country to sign and 20 were needed for the Treaty to be “live”. Then Ecuador and Guatemala signed on and Canada was the 20th and the Treaty was suddenly in force, as of yesterday.

It’s wonderful news, and we look forward to having more access to books in available formats through public libraries soon.

The 2-minute message from WIPO’s Director General is a concise summary of the Treaty’s benefits: A longer release can be found on WIPO’s website:

If you’re looking for more background information, NNELS also has an ongoing information page where you can find the latest updates:

We wish you all a very happy Canada Day!

The VIRN Team

AMI Visits VIRN's Inclusive Trivia Challenge

Graphic of AMI Logo
"Inclusion Happens Naturally At VIRN Events" - VIRN Team

"Inclusion, removing barriers, making everyone feel welcome."

This year marks our 7th year for "Inclusive Trivia", and we are proud of it. An event where everyone is welcome and they can let their hair down and enjoys themselves for a couple of hours of fun.

VIRN Announces Addition of NNELS to Voice Dream Reader App for Android and iOS

Graphic of NNELS logo

VIRN Announces Addition of NNELS to Voice Dream Reader App for Android and iOS

Monday, June 13, 2016

The Vision Impaired Resource Network (VIRN) is pleased to announce that NNELS, the National Network for Equitable Library Service, is now available as a default content source in Voice Dream Reader.

Voice Dream Reader is an accessible reading app for iOS and Android devices that reads books in digital text or audio formats. Using this app, eligible public library cardholders can download books directly from the NNELS website ( and listen to them immediately.

This addition of NNELS to the Voice Dream App is an initiative by VIRN, whose community includes many regular readers. Public library user and VIRN Board Chair Vic Pereira wanted NNELS to be easy to find on his phone, and brought the idea of adding NNELS to the app to VIRN members who acted on the idea by contacting the Voice Dream developer.

“What we appreciate most about NNELS is that it makes everyone part of mainstream library service,” says Doris Koop, Executive Director of VIRN.

“NNELS means that people with print disabilities – any vision, mobility, or cognitive impairment that prevents them from being able to read a print book – can get books from the library,” says Vic Pereira, “Our personal information is private and protected, as it should be for everyone, and our book requests are taken seriously, as they are by all librarians when they’re asked to purchase specific books for the library’s shelves.”

NNELS is a provincially and territorially funded online public library available at no charge to eligible residents of Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, Northwest Territories, Nova Scotia, Nunavut, Saskatchewan, and Yukon. The service provider for NNELS is the BC Libraries Cooperative, a national co-op providing libraries and related organizations with the services, cost savings, and support they need to do great work in Canadian communities.

How to add NNELS to Voice Dream Reader? Open the app and tap on either the Add link (a plus symbol) or the Settings option (a gear symbol). Then, under Content Sources choose “Add website” and select NNELS from the list of options. If you are not already registered with NNELS, please contact your local public library or visit the website at: NNELS is available directly to individuals, or with downloading assistance from their local public libraries.

VIRN is a non-profit organization that delivers programs and activities focused on providing the positive experiences and information that help people who are vision impaired lead fully inclusive and productive lives. VIRN offers a number of successful programs focused on peer support, public education, active living, and training. Current projects include a Braille embossing service, consulting services, and a ten-year popular Tech-Ease Drop-In program where people can share what they know about technology, and ongoing recreational activities, training, networking, and mentorship.

For more information visit our website:
Phone: 1-888-851-VIRN (8476) or 204-975-9340


Live Studio 5 - Doris Koop On AMI-audio

Graphic of AMI logo with 3 three blocks with white letters A M I and the word audio in black.
OrCam Device Is Impressive

Live Studio 5 Interview with Doris Koop, Executive Director, VIRN talking about the OrCam device. And about them returning to Winnipeg on March 2nd and 3rd.

 Listen to the interview

Media Release "No, we do not do telemarketing."

VIRN Logo with Fiery coloured swooshes on left side with the VIRN letters in black to grey at the bottom.
Keeping Manitobans Informed

"No, we do not do telemarketing."

Vic Pereira, Vision Impaired Resource Network (VIRN)'s Board Chair, said "We (VIRN) continue to receive inquiries about donations made to CCB in Ottawa. As far as we know, CCB is not running any programs or activities in Manitoba for people who are vision impaired."