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Social Media for Those With a Disability Gets 2016 Update

Marvin Ross
Tuesday, 29 March 2016 14:09pm

The ground-breaking 2012 ‘SociAbility’ review into social media for those with a disability has had a much anticipated update. The Media Access Australia website now includes important new information on the varying accessibility challenges and practical fixes across all popular social channels.

Project leader Dr Scott Hollier believes that it is destined to be the go-to resource on social media for people with a disability and those who provide care, support and advice.

In 2011, Media Access Australia undertook extensive research to find out how accessibility issues within each of the most popular social media tools could be overcome. Funded by ACCAN (the Australian Communications Consumer Action Network), the SociAbility: social media for people with a disability review was published in 2012.

Mentally Ill Deserve Fair Access To Disability Tax Credits

Marvin Ross
Huffington Post, May 24, 2016

The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) “has abdicated its mandate for fairness by denying the Disability Tax Credit (DTC) to eligible Canadians with disabilities” and particularly those with psychiatric disabilities according to advocate Lembi Buchanan of Victoria.

“It has become virtually impossible for the majority of people living with severe psychiatric illnesses to access the DTC without appealing to the Tax Court of Canada,” she said.

Ms. Buchanan is lobbying the new Liberal government to restore the accountability that was lost during the Harper government. She added in an email that “there has been a slow erosion of fair treatment of taxpayers with disabilities and no one has really paid attention to it. And of course, no one really seems to care.”

Demographic Demands: The Business Case for Diversity

By John G. Smith, Posted: May 24, 2016

Recruiters in Canada’s trucking industry appear to be overlooking massive labor pools, and a recent report from Trucking HR Canada is making the business case to connect with several under-represented demographic groups.

“We just want the industry to be aware of the demographics; that these are the labor pools we need to tap into,” says CEO Angela Splinter, whose trucking-focused organization promotes best practices in human resources.

Consider the gender gap that exists. Changing Workforce: The Case for Diversity in Canada’s Trucking Industry shows that women, who represent 48% of the nation’s workforce, account for just 3% of Canada’s truck drivers.

System Abuses Make Booking a Flight With a Service Dog a Frustrating Ordeal

A woman who travels with a service dog says booking flights has become unnecessarily tedious. Alesia Fieldberg has her story

Ryan White , Reporter/Producer
Published Thursday, May 12, 2016

A Vancouver Island resident who suffers from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) says WestJet’s current booking procedure places additional stress on some passengers who require accessible travel.

Joanne Trofanenko, a former paramedic, travels with her service dog Linka at her side. During the booking of five recent flights, Trofanenko says she has spent, on average, two hours on the phone with WestJet staff attempting to correct misunderstandings related to Linka’s role.

Financial Status Affects Success of Students With Learning Disabilities

Study finds students with means to pay for special accommodations perform better than those with fewer resources Date:May 17, 2016
Source:University of Iowa

Summary:Only one third of undergraduates from 11 universities who reported having a learning disability were receiving accommodations, a new study has discovered.

College students who receive special accommodations because of a learning disability say they have less difficulty completing assignments and more contact with faculty outside of class than peers who don’t receive extra help.

A new study by the University of Iowa, however, found that only one third of undergraduates from 11 universities who reported having a learning disability were receiving accommodations.

Seventy Per Cent of Websites Are Breaking the Law on Accessibility – Here’s How and Why That Needs to Change

Posted: 15/05/2016

We’ve all been there, angrily tapping at your phone on a website that just refuses to co-operate. The links are too small to click, the images won’t load and the ads are both incredibly invasive and impossible to close. Now imagine accessibility issues like this every time you visit a website, infuriating right?

The 2010 Equality Act was introduced to update and add clarity to the Disability Discrimination Act (1995). Society changed a lot in 15 years, the act was intended to ensure disability legislation remained up to date, and nowhere was this more relevant than the internet.

EEOC Sues Mobile Destination For Disability Discrimination


Mobile Phone Retailer’s Management Withdrew Job Offer to Salesman Because He Uses a Wheelchair, Federal Agency Charges

HOUSTON – Mobile Destination, Inc., a mobile phone retailer which operates 30 Verizon Wireless stores in Texas, unlawfully revoked a worker’s job offer because of his disability, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit filed today.

According to EEOC’s suit, around October 2013, Morgan Davis applied for a retail sales position at the Verizon Wireless store in Porter, Texas. Around Nov. 7, Mobile Destination’s district manager and its recruiter interviewed several applicants, including Davis, and after the interviews they extended a job offer to Davis.

CSA Group Announces Harmonization of Accessibility Standard with Canadian National Building Code

TORONTO, May 11, 2016 /CNW/

CSA Group, a leading global provider of standards development and testing and certification services, announces that its key accessibility standard has been referenced in the National Building Code (NBC), an important step toward the harmonization of accessible design requirements.

CSA B651-12 Accessible Design for the Built Environment was first published in 1990, and is now in its fourth edition. The standard contains requirements for making buildings and other facilities accessible to persons with a range of physical, sensory, or cognitive disabilities. It was developed to fulfill an expressed need for a national technical standard that covers many different types of buildings and public spaces.


Originally posted April 19, 2016

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced today it is charging landlords in Beloit, Kansas with violating the Fair Housing Act after allegedly discriminating against a female tenant with disabilities by not renewing her lease, sending her a notice containing discriminatory statements about her disability, and retaliating against her for filing a previous fair housing complaint. (Read HUD’s charge at the link below).

The Fair Housing Act makes it unlawful to make housing unavailable to any person because of a disability. It also prohibits retaliating against a person because they filed a fair housing complaint.

Malhotra and Lieffers: Assisted Dying? Let’s Talk About Accessible Living First

Published on: May 5, 2016 | Last Updated: May 5, 2016 6:53 AM EDT

Assisted dying debate may be overshadowing other important discussions.

Since the Supreme Court of Canada’s “Carter” decisionfinding the prohibition on assisted dying to be unconstitutional, disability rights advocates have
devoted considerable time and energy to debating and publicizing this multifaceted issue. Assisted dying is understandably a difficult and challenging matter for policymakers as it raises complex legal, ethical and religious questions. Finding complete consensus is likely impossible, both in society in general and within the disability community.

Web Accessibility Will Now Be the Law of the Land in Europe

DISCLAIMER: All opinions in this column reflect the views of the author(s), not of EurActiv.com PLC. By Dita Charanzov√°

On Tuesday (3 May), after a long night of negotiation, and after more than three years since its proposal, it was agreed that web accessibility will now be the law of the land in Europe. This is a victory not only for persons with disabilities, but all of us, writes Dita Charanzov√°.

Dita Charanzov√° MEP (Czech Republic, ALDE), is the rapporteur of the Directive on Web Accessibility for Public Sector Websites.

The Directive requires:

  • All new public sector websites and apps will have to accessible and current websites will have to be updated

EEOC Sues KB Staffing For Disability Discrimination


Company Required Applicants to Complete an Unlawful Pre-Offer Health Questionnaire, Federal Agency Charged

TAMPA, Fla. – KB Staffing LLC, a staffing firm servicing central Florida, made unlawful pre-offer health inquiries of applicants in violation of federal law, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit filed today.

According to EEOC’s lawsuit, from 2011 to 2013, KB Staffing asked all applicants to complete a paper application package with a detailed medical questionnaire before the company offered the applicant a position or placement. The suit further alleges that, although KB Staffing represented that it changed its process in 2013, it still required applicants to complete a medical questionnaire prior to any offer of employment in some instances after that date. The medical questionnaires asked for sensitive health information, and included numerous disability-related questions.

Groundbreaking Settlement to End Discrimination Against Blind Uber Riders Who Use Guide Dogs

Apr 30, 2016

BERKELEY, Calif., April 30, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — In an unprecedented settlement announced today, Uber has agreed to take affirmative steps to prevent discrimination against blind riders who use guide dogs in its transportation network across the United States.

The settlement resolves a lawsuitNational Federation of the Blind of California, et al. v. Uber Technologies, Inc.brought by the National Federation of the Blind, its California affiliate, and individuals who use guide dogs, to ensure that guide-dog users have full and equal access to vehicles in the Uber network. This is the first nationwide class-action settlement of its kind against an app-based transportation network company.

National Federation of the Blind Condemns Delay of Web Accessibility Regulations

BALTIMORE, April 29, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire

The National Federation of the Blind, the nation’s leading advocate for equal access by the blind to information and technology, today condemned the announcement by the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) that it will further delay issuing regulations under Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and instead seek further comments from the public on what those regulations should contain.

The original Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking expressing the intent to issue regulations was published on July 26, 2010. At that time, President Obama said that the regulations would be “the most important updates to the ADA since its original enactment.” This is the DOJ’s second recent announcement of a delay relating to the issuance of ADA regulations on internet access.

FCC Adopts Real-Time Text Proposed Rulemaking

Commission Moves Forward on Accessibility Proposal to Modernize Wireless Phone Compatibility with Advanced Text Communications WASHINGTON, April 28, 2016

The Federal Communications Commission today approved a proposal to utilize real-time text to ensure that people with disabilities who rely on text to communicate have accessible and effective telephone access.

As communications networks migrate to IP-based environments, this technology would allow Americans who are deaf, hard of hearing, speech disabled or deaf-blind to use the same wireless communications devices as their friends, relatives and colleagues, and more seamlessly integrate into tomorrow’s communications networks.

Family Protests Airline’s Rejection of Special Seat for Son Who Has Cerebral Palsy

Cathay Pacific had approved the seat months before but turned it away at Pearson, says mother of boy with cerebral palsy, who cant sit up without it.

Alastair Sharp, daughter Tallula, 3, son Sebastian, 7, and wife Kara found themselves turned away from a flight to Australia at Pearson Airport last week because the airline refused to let them use Sebastian’s special seat designed to help him sit upright.

By: Michael Robinson Staff Reporter, Published on Mon Apr 25 2016

Kara has a moment with Sebastian, who was anxious to get on the Cathay Pacific plane. After the standoff about the special seat, the airline arranged for an alternative flight through Air Canada.

Mertl: Here are 10 Reasons to Hire Workers With Disabilities

Kelly Mertl
Published on: April 24, 2016

In Ottawa, people who live with disabilities are often underemployed and only 43 per cent participate in the labour market, compared to 70 per cent of the general population.

With an aging workforce and shortage of young skilled workers, employees with disabilities offer a large untapped talent pool for employers.

So in 2010, United Way Ottawa brought local employers, service providers, and job seekers together to create the Employment Accessibility Resource Network (EARN). The network has one key goal: help people with disabilities find meaningful employment.

After 1,300 job matches, we’ve learned 10 important lessons about why hiring a person with a disability is both good for business and the community.

CRA Hurting Disabled Canadians, Advocates Say

Last piece still missing almost 2 years after Ottawa OK’d bill to protect disabled taxpayers By Sean Davidson
CBC News, Mar. 25, 2016 5:00 AM ET| Last Updated: Mar 25, 2016

Almost two years ago, Ottawa passed a bill to limit what consultants could charge when helping others file for the disability tax credit. But the bill didn’t specify a limit and experts say the delay is hitting people with disabilities in their wallets.

Critics have long maintained the rules surrounding the disability tax credit need a re-do.

The non-refundable DTC isn’t worth enough, some say. The paperwork? Too complicated. The eligibility requirements? Too restrictive.

The Blind Leading the Blind: How Berkeley Alums Are Designing an Inclusive World

By Holly J. McDede
Posted on April 20, 2016 – 5:41pm
Joshua Miele has been blind ever since a violent acid attack took away his vision before his 5th birthday. But he says he no longer spends time wishing he could see. Instead, from his office at the Smith-Kettlewell Eye Research Institute in San Francisco, he dreams up new technologies for the blind, and helps turn those visions into reality: maps that can talk, YouTube videos that can speak, electronic gloves that can text.

Put Ministry of Health in Charge of Inmates’ Health Care, John Howard Society Says

Blair Crawford, Ottawa Citizen
Published on: April 19, 2016

Ontario’s John Howard Society is urging the province to put the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care in charge of inmates’ health, taking away the responsibility now held by jail superintendents.

In a report released Tuesday, the society says the province “is facing a growing health crisis in Ontario’s correctional institutions,” a crisis made worse because health care behind bars has been left to the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services.