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New sign language interpreting rules in effect in Michigan

The regulations established three tiers of certification levels for interpreting assignments, in increasing order of complexity. By DAVID EGGERT
Associated Press
Posted Jul. 23, 2016 at 4:00 PM

LANSING A Michigan Supreme Court justice and state civil rights officials called attention Wednesday to new rules establishing specific certification levels for sign language interpreters to work in courtrooms, hospitals and other settings.

The regulations, which took effect July 7, outline skill levels and training needed for interpreters who must be provided by judges, attorneys, physicians, mental health providers and others.

32 ‘urgent issues’ for minister

Accessibility for disabled, backlog on adoption records, daycare waiting list named By: Larry Kusch
Posted: 07/19/2016

The provincial government must beef up resources to improve accessibility for those with disabilities or risk failing to meet timelines set out in Manitoba law.

The warning was raised as one of 32 “urgent issues” flagged by the bureaucracy for rookie Families Minister Scott Fielding after the Progressive Conservatives were elected April 19.

Families Minister Scott Fielding was unavailable to talk about issues that need attention.

Also laid out for the new minister were concerns about a lack of staff to deal with welfare claimants, a seven-month backlog in accessing newly opened birth and adoption records, a 12,000-child waiting list for licensed day care, and growing wait lists for early intervention Autism Spectrum Disorder services.

4 Reasons Why Accessibility Needs to be Part of Your Plan Right From the Start

July 18, 2016 By Michaela Slade

Web and digital accessibility should be a vital part of any business plan. Everyones communication requirements should be acknowledged and planned for from the beginning, as accessibility is just as important as even security and virus protection, if not more so. This article offers four good reasons why accessibility needs to be integrated into your business plans, before you roll them out.

If you dont think about digital accessibility at the beginning then youre probably going to pay for it at the end either via costly remediation or costly rebuilding if you are on an inaccessible platform. For example, online content could be accessible, but the platform youre using to distribute it could be inaccessible with no way of changing it, which means youll have to start again from scratch to ensure accessibility.

City MTA Adds 70 Wheelchair-Accessible MV-1 Vehicles to Paratransit Fleet

NYC Access-A-Ride Fleet Will Have Close to 500 MV-1s in Service NEW YORK, July 12, 2016

Mobility Ventures LLC and the New York City Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) announced today that 70 wheelchair-accessible MV-1 vehicles will be added to MTA’s paratransit fleet, Access-A-Ride, in an effort to increase public transportation accessibility in a city with more than half a million people living with ambulatory impairments.

The city’s Access-A-Ride program, which already has nearly 400 MV-1s in service, is a shared-ride, door-to-door service for people unable to use public buses and subways. Replacing small buses with the MV-1
has helped the MTA save costs due to the MV-1’s proven durability and reduced maintenance needs.

United Airlines Earns Top Marks on Disability Equality Index

Company named one of the “Best Places to Work” for 2016 by the American Association of People with Disabilities and the U.S. Business Leadership Network CHICAGO, July 13, 2016

United Airlines achieved the top score of 100 percent on the 2016 Disability Equality Index (DEI), a prominent benchmarking metric that rates U.S. companies on their disability inclusion policies and practices. This designation also earns United a place on DEI’s 2016 “Best Places to Work” list.

The DEI, a joint initiative by the American Association of People with Disabilities and the U.S. Business Leadership Network, evaluates companies based on four categories: culture and leadership, enterprise-wide access, employment practices and community engagement and support services.

Governments are toughening up on public sector web accessibility

Thursday, 7 July 2016 14:07pm

State and Federal Governments around the globe are toughening up on public sector web accessibility. The latest case is the Alaskan Juneau School District, which felt the wrath of that state’s Government because of a complaint from the public that their websites aren’t inclusive for all needs.

After receiving the disability discrimination complaint, Alaskan authorities undertook a rigorous investigation and found out that ten other schools, educational groups, and institutions (including the Montana School for the Deaf and blind) also had accessibility issues on their websites.

The Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disability Act are currently in place in the United States to prohibit government agencies from discriminating against people who have a disability.

Accessibility in the Workplace – A Competitive Edge

June 28, 2016 – Adina Braha-Honciuc – Government Affairs Manager Accessibility, Sustainability and Environment Policy

People across Europe increasingly rely on technology to get their jobs done. But if you have a disability, this can be a challenge.

Almost half (48%) of all EU citizens living with disabilities are unemployed. This means over 38 million people are missing out on the opportunity to participate fully and equally in society. Improving this state of affairs by creating workplaces adapted to the needs of those with disabilities is essential in order to empower individuals to make the most of their potential. But it also makes good business sense.

Air Canada Innovates to Make In-Flight Entertainment Systems Accessible for Vision-Impaired Customers

John Rae and Marcia Yale are pleased to have reached a settlement concerning a complaint they filed with the Canadian Human Rights Commission for passengers who are vision-impaired to more easily access Air Canada’s in-flight entertainment (IFE) system. Both Mr. Rae and Mrs. Yale are vision-impaired.

“The parties are delighted to have arrived at a settlement of this matter to ensure that persons with a vision impairment who travel on Air Canada’s flights can enjoy the In Flight Entertainment System,” said Mr. Rae.

“Air Canada has shown true leadership in this regard and we are very proud to have participated in the process,” added Mrs. Yale.

Geauga County Public Library Adds Technology to Aid Hearing Impaired

By Staff report, The News-Herald
Posted: 07/04/16

Many churches, subways, airports and universities already use telecoils, and users find it to be life changing, the release stated. Libraries are community spaces where people routinely share ideas and converse with each other, and this technology allows a wider patron base to enjoy the many resources their libraries provide.

“We want our buildings to be welcoming to everyone,” says GCPL Director Ed Worso in the press release . “Hearing loss is a reality for many of our patrons, but it’s not something that has to impact them negatively in our buildings.

CNE Cancels Free Admission for People With Disabilities

By Ebyan AbdigirStaff Reporter
Tues., July 5, 2016

Advocates, experts say the change to eliminate free admission to people with disabilities will be seen in a negative light.

Mobility advocate Luke Anderson, seen here in 2014, described the CNE’s new policy of eliminating free admission for disabled people as unfortunate, and worries that the Ex will not allow disabled people a fair opportunity to participate.

Advocates are blasting a CNE decision to eliminate free admission for people with disabilities.

The CNE is ending the long-standing policy of providing free admission, saying the change will respect the dignity and independence of all of our guests, including those with disabilities.

Disabilities Charity AbilityNet Calls on UK Government to Enforce Web Accessibility

Written by Jenni Davidson on 30 June 2016

A disabilities charity is asking the UK Government to make sure websites are accessible for disabled people

A disabilities charity is calling for the creation “wardens of the internet” with powers to fine companies and organisations whose websites and apps fail to comply with equalities legislation.

In an open letter to the UK Government last month, Robin Christopherson, head of digital inclusion at AbilityNet, a charity that supports access to digital technology for people with disabilities, asked the Government to enforce websites and app accessibility for disabled users.

Education Department Settles Civil Rights Complaints Over Accessible Websites

By Christina Samuels on June 29, 2016 5:00 PM

The U.S. Department of Education’s office for civil rights announced Wednesday that it has settled complaints in seven states and one territory over issues related to websites that are not accessible to people with certain disabilities.

The department had found that websites were not using text descriptions, also known as “alt tags,” on important images. Text descriptions, when used with special software, help blind or visually impaired people understand all the information on a website.

Other concerns that the department raised:

  • Some important website content could only be accessed by people who can use a computer mouseanother hurdle for those with vision impairments or problems with fine motor control;

NuEyes, the Newest Head-Mounted and Hands-Free Wearable Technology, Makes CCTV and Text-to-Speech Capabilities Available in an Easy-to-Use Headset

AL BEACH, California, June 21, 2016, PRNewswire

NuEyes, a pioneer in the field of low vision technology, and mac-fusion, Orange County’s Premier Apple Authorized Reseller and Service Provider, are proud to announce an exclusive partnership to bring NuEyes wireless, a wearable CCTV headset, to visually impaired users across Southern California.

Photo – http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20160620/381552

NuEyes, featuring ODG smartglasses, magnifies (up to 12x) and displays enhanced versions of anything that a user looks at.

mac-fusion and NuEye’s shared dream for this partnership is to give people with vision loss in Orange County access to wireless hand-free magnification technology that can be used anywhere to increase their mobility, independence and quality of life.

Deaf-Blind Housing Project Will Be 1st of Its Kind in Manitoba

Manitoba – CBC News

10 suites at Gas Station Arts Centre redevelopment will be designed for deaf-blind people
By Jill Coubrough, CBC News, February 24, 2016

Winnipeg will soon be one of the first cities in Canada to have specialized housing designed for people who are both deaf and blind.

Bonnie Heath, executive director of the Resource Centre for Manitobans who are Deaf-Blind, has put down payments on 10 suites in the residential portion of the new Gas Station Arts Centre, which is slated for the corner of River Avenue and Osborne Street.

“We’re very excited,” Heath said, adding that the need for this kind of housing is great.

Legislation Will Improve Access to Copyrighted Materials for Visually Impaired and Print-Disabled Canadians

OTTAWA, ONTARIO–Marketwired – June 23, 2016
Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada

Canadians who are visually impaired or print disabled will have better access to books and other copyrighted materials. The Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, today announced that the Act to Amend the Copyright Act (access to copyrighted works or other subject-matter for persons with perceptual disabilities) has received royal assent.

The amendments to the Copyright Act enable Canada to be among the first countries in the world to accede to the Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons Who Are Blind, Visually Impaired or Otherwise Print Disabled.

Apparel Causes Additional Barriers for People Living with Disabilities

Study highlights need for affordable, accessible adaptive clothing June 14, 2016

COLUMBIA, Mo. The U.S. clothing industry is a multi-billion dollar industry, but for the millions of Americans with disabilities and their families, a lack of options in the apparel industry presents daily challenges.

Now researchers from the University of Missouri are looking at the relationship between apparel and marginalization for people with disabilities. Allison Kabel, assistant professor of health sciences in the School of Health Professions, found that the lack of adequate, accessible apparel created barriers for people with disabilities from engaging in their communities. She identified the need for innovation in design, production, distribution and sale of adaptive clothing.

The Disabled Face Significant Obstacles to Voting in America’s Political System, Stanford Expert Finds

Stanford law scholar Rabia Belt’s new research shows that millions of votes are lost because the disabled encounter inadequate accommodations at the polls and legal obstacles regarding mental health. By Rick Schmitt

“People with disabilities are the ticking time bomb of the electorate.”

So says Stanford law researcher Rabia Belt, who has new research on the disenfranchisement of disabled Americans. The intersection of disability and citizenship in history and in the here-and-now is, in Belt’s view, part of a great unseen in law and democracy.

Rabia Belt

Stanford’s Rabia Belt is a legal historian whose recent scholarship focuses on disability and suffrage. (Image credit: Bruce Forrester Photography)

What Does an Accessible Canada Mean to You?

Government of Canada launches consultation on planned new accessibility legislation PR Newswire
Employment and Social Development Canada
June 22, 2016 9:00 AM

OTTAWA, June 22, 2016 /CNW/ – The Government of Canada is committed to eliminating systemic barriers and delivering equality of opportunity to all Canadians living with disabilities.

Today, the Honourable Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities announced the launch of a national consultation process to inform the development of planned legislation that will transform how the Government of Canada addresses accessibility.

iCanConnect: A National Program Bringing People Together through Accessible Communications Technology and Training

Paula Slotkin and Jamie Taylor
June 2016 Issue Volume 17 Number 6
Deaf-blind Technology

Do you, or does someone you know, have combined significant vision and hearing loss? For those who meet federal income and disability guidelines, iCanConnect provides free communication technology and training to help people to stay connected with family and friends.

iCanConnect, also known as the National Deaf-Blind Equipment Distribution Program, is mandated by the 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010, and is administered by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). The FCC certifies one organization in each state to participate in iCanConnect. Paid for by the Interstate Telecommunications Relay Service (TRS) Fund, iCanConnect launched in 2013 and is currently in the pilot phase. The FCC has announced that iCanConnect will be a permanent program and has formally solicited public feedback to inform the rules the FCC is developing for the permanent program.

Reasonable Accommodation Includes Electronic Accessibility

Computers, mobile devices, and the Internet are integral parts of today’s workplace. Employees email, log into various systems and programs, complete employer forms, and manage their time online. Job seekers research employers and submit job applications online. For the 56.7 million Americans with disabilities, these simple tasks may be impossible unless electronic systems are accessible.