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B.C. Residents With Disabilities Demand a Say on Proposed Accessibility Law

Nick Eagland
Updated: July 13, 2018
From left, Amanda Reaume, Kent Loftsgard, Jessica Leung, and Vivian Ly are people living with varying disabilities who say they have to be involved in drafting any new accessibility legislation.

For Amanda Reaume, acquiring a disability meant awakening to a civil rights movement in a way made possible only through lived experience.

Last year, the 33-year-old writer suffered a brain injury that left her with balance problems and having to relearn how to walk and talk at the same time. She returned to work in Vancouver six months later but with a new, invisible disability.

Left In The Dark: Canadians With Disabilities Deserve Better From CRA

My colleagues and I learned that both of Canada’s Disability Tax Credit programs are failing our most vulnerable people. Sen. Jim Munson

Canadians with physical disabilities and serious mental health issues are being denied crucial tax credits due to a change in eligibility criteria.

One Ontario mother who cares for her 16-year-old son who has ADHD and a learning disability told CBC News she had been informed by the Canada Revenue Agency she was no longer eligible for the Disability Tax Credit. As a caregiver for her son, she had relied on the tax benefit for years until she was suddenly denied last year. No explanation was given.

Bike-Lane Bus Stops Dangerous for Blind: Suit

Bill Cleverley / Times Colonist
July 6, 2018

The City of Victoria and B.C. Transit have put the lives of blind pedestrians at risk by moving bus stops away from the curb to accommodate bike lanes, claims the Canadian Federation of the Blind.

“It’s a Russian Roulette game,” said Oriano Belusic, 56, who is named in the complaint that the federation is making with the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal against the city and transit, claiming discrimination against the visually impaired.

He cited a close call he had in a bike lane in March.

New Canadian Accessibility Standard for Buildings Benefits Everyone, Disability Advocates Say

By Wanyee LiStarMetro Vancouver

VANCOUVERPeople with disabilities often get their own cashier line, their own bathroom stall, their own entrance and that type of building design amounts to segregation, disability advocates say.

Part of the problem is that Canada did not have a standard for accessibility design in buildings, said Brad McCannell, vice-president of access and inclusion with the Rick Hansen Foundation.

(left) Brad McCannell, vice president of access and inclusion with the Rick Hansen Foundation, (centre) Kirsten Sutton, vice president of and managing director at SAP Labs Canada, and Rick Hansen, founder of the Rick Hansen Foundation, celebrate a ‘Accessibility Certified Gold’ rating at SAP Labs’ Yaletown office.

‘I’m Just Amazed’: Inverness Beach Becomes Accessibility Leader

Organizers hope to make beach the most inclusive in Atlantic Canada Kayla Hounsell · CBC News
Posted: Jul 02, 2018

The Inverness Development Association and the Inverness County Accessibility Committee partnered to purchase two of the beach-friendly wheelchairs, mats that make it easier to walk on the sand and two floating chairs that allow people to go in the water.

Christine Hannigan’s delight is evident as she sits at the water’s edge watching the waves crash on Inverness Beach in Cape Breton.

“You never thought you’d ever do this?” says the woman pushing her along the sand in what looks like a lawn chair with large rubber wheels and a Velcro strap for safety.

‘Disappointing and Frustrating’: Air Travel Accessibility Highlighted at Winnipeg Passenger Rights Meeting

CBC News · Posted: Jun 25, 2018

Jesse Turner, who uses a wheelchair, says she loves to travel but hasn’t flown for months because of concern following severe damage to her chair during a flight last summer.

A national forum on air travel passenger rights in Canada heard from Winnipeggers on Monday, including a presentation from one woman who said she hasn’t flown for months following serious damage to her wheelchair on a flight last summer.

Jesse Turner, who works as an accessibility advisor in Winnipeg, told the Canadian Transportation Agency that even before the incident 10 months ago, her wheelchair has been damaged regularly during loading and unloading for air travel.

‘Handicapped’ Removed From P.E.I. Legislation, Thanks to Hannah MacLellan

Island also teen inspired changes in 2016 around accessible parking Nancy Russell
CBC News, June 25, 2018

The P.E.I. government has removed the word handicapped from five major pieces of legislation, as a result of lobbying by former Easter Seals ambassador, Hannah MacLellan.

“I was so grateful that our provincial government saw the need to amend the acts to include up to date terminology,” said MacLellan, 19. “Language is very important ? to not have negative terminology. It’s really great to see these changes.”

‘Pretty exciting’

The Miscellaneous Statutes Amendment Act (Persons with Disabilities) changes the wording in five major pieces of legislation: the Employment Standards Act, the Engineering Profession Act, the Labour Act, the Mental Health Act and the Public Health Act.

Funding is Available to Improve Accessibility and Safety in Your Workplace

June 19 2018

A new funding opportunity under the Government of Canada’s Enabling Accessibility Fund (EAF) has been announced. Your business or organization could receive a grant of up to $100,000 through the EAF program to improve accessibility and safety in your workplace for current or future employees with disabilities.

The EAF program funds workplace projects which help remove barriers to accessibility through:

  • the construction, renovation or retrofit of workplaces, which could include the construction of access ramps and accessible offices and washrooms and the installation of elevators; and
  • the provision of accessible information and communication technologies for work use such as braille printers, accessible computer software, and visual alarm systems.

Generation Z: Waiting – Often Months – to Get Mental Health Help

By Leslie Young
June 20th, 2018

This is the third story of an eight-part series on the generation Z population in Canada who they are, what drives them and how they envision their near future.

Shailee Korrane was still in high school when she had her first panic attack.

Eventually, she decided to seek help. “I was obviously very afraid,” she tells Global News. “It was actually a friend who was diagnosed with bipolar disorder who kind of sat me down and said, ‘I’m really worried about your health and you remind me of me before I sought care.'”

Minister Duncan Introduces the Proposed Accessible Canada Act

From: Employment and Social Development Canada
News release

Most significant progress for people with disabilities in over 30 years
June 20, 2018 Gatineau, Quebec Employment and Social Development Canada

Today, following the most inclusive and accessible consultation with Canadians with disabilities and with the disability community, the Honourable Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science and Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities, introduced the proposed Accessible Canada Act to Parliament. This historic legislation would enable the Government of Canada to take a proactive approach to end systemic discrimination of people with disabilities.

Canada’s First National Accessibility Law Tabled in Ottawa

Michelle McQuigge, The Canadian Press
Published Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Canadians with disabilities felt a surge of tempered optimism on Wednesday as they watched Canada table its first piece of federal legislation aimed at improving accessibility for people with disabilities.

Disabled residents and advocacy organizations said the introduction of the Accessible Canada Act marked a key step towards greater inclusion and contained several critical points community members had named as priorities during a lengthy cross-country consultation process that helped shape the new bill.

But they also raised concerns about provisions the draft bill appears to lack, such as measures to ensure new accessibility barriers do not work their way into future government laws.

American Foundation for the Blind Launches the First Fully Accessible Digital Archive of the Helen Keller Collection

More than 160,000 artifacts can now be viewed in a groundbreaking, fully accessible online archive thanks to support from the National Endowment for the Humanities and American Express

WASHINGTON, D.C. (June 12, 2018)The American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) today announced the launch of the Helen Keller Archive, the world’s first fully accessible digital archive collection, comprising more than 160,000 artifacts, dedicated to the fascinating life of Helen Keller.

The Helen Keller Archive is the largest repository of historical content about Helen Keller, whose iconic name is known in every corner of the globe for her groundbreaking work as an author, political activist, and humanitarian who played a critical role in changing public perceptions about people with disabilities.

Mobility Devices and Air Travel Forum

The Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA) will host an international forum on June 12-13, 2018, in Toronto, in order to address issues related to the storage and transportation of mobility aids on aircraft.

The CTA is Canada’s longest-standing independent, expert tribunal and regulator. One of its core mandates is to ensure that transportation services are accessible to persons with disabilities.

Over the last 18 months, we’ve undertaken a major initiative to modernize all the regulations, codes and guidelines we administer, starting with those in the area of accessible transportation. In the course of the consultations and analysis related to this initiative, it became clear that these issues are becoming more serious as mobility devices grow in size and complexity.

A Simple Way to Improve a Billion Lives: Eyeglasses

It’s the biggest health crisis you’ve never heard of. Doctors, philanthropists and companies are trying to solve it. By Andrew Jacobs
New York Times, Originally posted May 5, 2018

PANIPAT, India: Shivam Kumar’s failing eyesight was manageable at first. To better see the chalkboard, the 12-year-old moved to the front of the classroom, but in time, the indignities piled up.

Increasingly blurry vision forced him to give up flying kites and then cricket, after he was repeatedly whacked by balls he could no longer see. The constant squinting gave him headaches, and he came to dread walking home from school.

“Sometimes I don’t see a motorbike until it’s almost in my face,” he said.

The IDeA Competition Deadline May 31, 2018

CANADA: The Innovative Design for Accessibility (IDeA) student competition aims to inspire students to use their creativity to develop innovative, cost-effective and practical solutions to accessibility-related issues resulting in communities that are more accessible for persons with disabilities.

The objectives of the program are:

  • to contribute to the creation of a culture of accessibility in Canada
  • to motivate students to think about accessibility issues and to include accessibility in their creation of social and technological innovations now and in the future
  • to develop cost-effective, practical and innovative concepts, programs, initiatives or designs that address everyday accessibility issue

National AccessAbility Week

May 21 2018

CANADA: May 27 to June 2, 2018, is National AccessAbility Week. This is a time for Canadians to promote inclusion and accessibility in our communities and workplaces, and celebrate the contributions of Canadians with disabilities.

It is also a time to recognize the efforts of individuals, communities and workplaces who are actively removing barriers to give Canadians of all abilities a better chance to succeed.

We need to change the way we think, talk and act about barriers to participation and accessibility, and we need to do it right from the start, not as an afterthought. An inclusive Canada is one where all Canadians can participate and have an equal opportunity to succeed in their workplaces and communities.

Saskatoon Woman Demands Change for Provincial Wheelchair Accessibility

A woman’s struggle with wheelchair accessibility has sparked her to make a change. Stephanie Villella explains. CTV Saskatoon
Published Saturday, May 19, 2018

A woman in a wheelchair in Saskatoon is demanding change for wheelchair accessibility in the city and across the province.

For Debbie Windsor, getting around isnt easy. Shes been in a wheelchair since she was four-years-old and has a rare condition called Osteogenesis imperfecta.

Windsor said her disability has been preventing her from going to certain places like the Saskatoon Business College to start her career.

I started looking into that school and where it was and all of that And it wasn’t accessible, Windsor said.

2nd World Summit on Accessible Tourism – Destinations for All 2018

BRUSSELS, BELGIUM: The second edition of the World Summit Destinations for All will take place in Brussels, October 1-2, 2018, under the auspices of Kéroul and CAWaB.

The aim of the event is to give concrete expression to the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) Recommendations on Accessible Tourism.

For more information: https://www.destinationsforall2018.eu/

The first edition of the Summit was held in Montréal in October 2014 and wrapped up with the adoption of the A World for Everyone declaration.

Available in 10 languages, this declaration features 40 specific measures for implementing the UNWTO Recommendations on Accessible Tourism globally and locally. It is a veritable plan for action on the local, national and international scales to promote the accessibility of infrastructure, buildings, tourist services as well as transportation services.

Robot ‘Double’ Allows Sick Students to Attend School, See Friends

Jilly DeStephanos robot is guided out of social studies class and into the hallway by her friend at Octorara Intermediate School in Atglen, Pa. by Kathy Boccella, Staff Writer @Kathy_Boccella | kboccella@phillynews.com Published: February 27, 2018

Jilly, I like your hair, said Melanie, admiring her neat brunette pigtails, which Jilly flicked in response. Suddenly, their teacher Melissa Fanelli showed up.

Jilly, did you get the classwork I emailed you?

Got it, answered Jilly, who was actually a couple of miles away, sitting at her dining-room table at home in Christiana, just past the edge of Philadelphia in Lancaster County.

Travel With Ease: How Singapore Is Catering to Visitors with Special Accessibility Needs

SINGAPORE, MALAYSIA: With an aging population, Singapore has been tackling accessibility needs head-on with a series of changes to the city’s infrastructure. Today, it’s one of the most travel-friendly cities in the world for those with accessibility needs, so if you’re looking for delicious Asian food and a cultural adventure, Singapore makes a great vacation destination. New York travel company AllTheRooms has the lowdown on how Singapore has become a top, accessible vacation destination.