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International Day of Persons with Disability 2016

Independent Living Canada invites Canadians to join their voices for a more inclusive Canada Nov 28th (Ottawa, Ontario)

In preparation for the 2016 International Day of Persons with Disability (IDPD) Independent Living Canada has an ambitious goal: Get thousands of Canadians from across the country to add their voice by signing their Declaration on their campaign page: http://www.ilcanada.ca/idpd

We believe that everyone has the right to aspire to the philosophy of Independent Living. While people with disabilities have made great strides in our country, too many still face barriers in daily living. Persistent gaps remain in areas such as employment, income, social inclusion, transportation and accessibility. Because we aspire to an all-inclusive and accessible society where people with disabilities are valued equally and participate fully, we believe these are issues that should be addressed now, to make Canada a better place.

CCD Disappointed by Electoral Reform Bill C-33

For Immediate Release November 25, 2016

While the Council of Canadians with Disabilities (CCD) is pleased with some aspects of the Government’s electoral reform bill, “This Bill fails to respond to most of the important amendments to the Canada Elections Act that CCD proposed,” said John Rae, 1st Vice Chair of CCD.

While we are pleased with provisions regarding vouching and increasing the powers of the Chief Electoral Officer to provide a wide range of information to electors, “the Bill was silent on such topics as making it easier to test telephone and online methods of voting, or to add new sections proposed by CCD which would require access to all candidates’ meetings, candidates’ offices, and the provision of campaign literature in various alternate formats and plain language,” added Rae.

Silent No More: Ottawa Consults on national disability act, demonstrations for disability justice remain strong

by Alex William
The Leveller, November 23, 2016

With a national disability act in preparation, the federal government is continuing its consultation process to address concerns within the disability community. On Nov. 1, over 100 people with disabilities arrived at Carleton University to take part in the National Youth Forum on an Accessible Canada.

While many issues arose during the youth forum, one of the most prominent and recurring problems is the close correlation between disability and poverty.

CBC Expands Accessibility Project for Hearing-Impaired Audiences

Initiative to support an estimated 1 to 3 million Canadians who are deaf or hard-of-hearing By Alice Hopton
CBC News, Nov. 24, 2016

As It Happens, co-hosted by Carol Off and Jeff Douglas, is the latest CBC Radio One program to join an initiative providing greater accessibility to Canadians by making transcripts of the daily program available online.

CBC is expanding a successful pilot project to make its radio programming more accessible to those who are deaf or hard-of-hearing, with As It Happens to now join The Current in posting daily show transcripts online to read, print and share.

The World Blind Union: Future Challenges and Opportunities

by Fredric K. Schroeder, PhD

From the Editor: Fredric Schroeder is one of the most prolific and thought-provoking writers we have, and when his name appears on the annual convention agenda, the speeches he gives never fail to command attention and spark discussion. It is no accident that Fred Schroeder is now the president of the World Blind Union, and his service will no doubt bring the same class, intelligence, and insight that have benefited the blind of the United States. Here is what he writes for the Braille Monitor following the meeting at which he was elected:

Does Canada Need a Canadians with Disabilities Act?

by Ilanna Mandel

The question we, as Canadians may want to ask ourselves is: “will the enactment of national legislation such as a Canadians with Disabilities Act help to create this fully inclusive society?” A national act is only the precursor to change. The law must be drafted in such a way so as to be the foundation for social change.

Read more at
http://disabilitycreditcanada.com/canadians-with-disabilities-act

How Far Has B.C. Come in Terms of Accessibility? Rick Hansen Weighs In

‘A lot of the stats show deep unemployment, challenges and barriers still out there,’ says Rick Hansen
By Jon Hernandez, CBC News Posted: Nov 17, 2016 4:43 PM PT| Last Updated: Nov 17, 2016

Canada’s Man in Motion, Rick Hansen, poses for a photograph outside his foundation’s offices in Richmond, B.C., on Sunday Jan. 30, 2011.

When Canadian icon Rick Hansen was just 15 years old, a pickup truck accident left him a paraplegic. He went on to circle the entire planet in his wheelchair and raise millions of dollars for people living with disabilities.

Press Release: CCD Says Regulations Are Necessary to Increase the Accessibility of Passenger Transportation

November 16, 2016

On Thursday, November 17, 2016 in Montreal, Bob Brown, Co-Chair of CCD’s Transportation Committee, will attend the federal government’s roundtable discussion on planned accessibility legislation, as it relates to transportation. The federal government regulates air, rail, interprovincial marine and bus transportation. Roundtable organizers want participants to identify gaps in the legal and policy environment and to suggest ways for Canada to make transportation more accessible. Among other recommendations, CCD will urge the adoption of comprehensive accessibility regulations.

In the 1990s, when Canada turned its back on binding accessibility regulations in favour of voluntary codes of practice to prevent barriers, progress in Canada toward a fully accessible transportation system became lamentably slow. The burden to remedy transportation barriers through litigation fell on people with disabilities and their organizations, such as CCD.

Women and Persons With Disabilities Being Left Behind on CPP Expansion

Nov 14, 2016

Women and persons with disabilities will face a significant and unfair disadvantage under proposed changes to the Canada Pension Plan. Canada’s largest union is urging the federal government to address troubling gaps in legislation to expand the CPP that will harm workers already vulnerable to post-retirement poverty.

“Women and persons with disabilities are far more reliant on public pensions. It is deeply troubling that the Liberal federal government is abandoning these already vulnerable workers in the urgently needed expansion of the CPP,” said Mark Hancock, national president of the Canadian Union of Public Employees.

Canadian Disability Act Communication and Information Round Table Discussion

by David Best

As a follow up to the Information and Communications round table discussion, that took place in Moncton New Brunswick on Friday October 21, I would like to offer my conclusion for next steps in the Canadians with Disability Act development process.

Read more at
http://www.davebest.info/html/CDA-ICT-RoundTable.html

Michigan Girl and Her Service Dog Head to Supreme Court

12-year-old girl faces Napoleon Community Schools in Supreme Court By Corrie Goldberg – Associate Producer
October 31, 2016.

WASHINGTON – Ehlena Fry has Cerebral Palsy and when she was 5-years-old, her doctors prescribed her service dog, Wonder to help her at school. But the Jackson County school district would not allow her to bring Wonder to class.

The Frys sued the Napoleon Community Schools and the Jackson County Intermediate School District for violations of federal disability laws, but have lost their battle in lower courts.

However, they’re getting a second chance now, as the supreme court is taking up the now 12-year-old Ehlena’s appeal.

Proud to Be Blind

by Penny Leclair
November 5, 2016

Is the idea of being proud of yourself new to you? How about being proud of the fact that you have a disability or that you can eat anything without getting sick?

I share with you that I am very proud of who I am, and that I am deaf-blind. The fact that I was born blind, and that I have never let that fact stop me from doing what I want, is a part of who I am, and who I intend to always be. It wasn’t easy to learn to live with deafness, but I have succeeded very well. I am an active senior citizen that is proud of being one of few people who is totally blind and deaf.

Youth with Disabilities Advise on the Creation of an Accessible and Inclusive Canada

For Immediate Release October 31, 2016

On Tuesday, November 1, 2016 in Ottawa at the National Youth Forum, Natalie Spagnuolo, a member of the Council of Canadians with Disabilities’ (CCD) Social Policy Committee, will provide recommendations on where the Government of Canada should provide leadership to improve opportunities for participation by people with disabilities as it moves forward with promised accessibility legislation.

Ms. Spagnuolo, who will address Minister Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities, intends to encourage action in 6 areas:

Creating Opportunities For Deaf Employees

“Where do you work?” “What do you do for a living?” In America, these are among the first questions a new acquaintance will ask us. This simple inquiry reflects the cultural emphasis placed on work and career choice in the modern world. But for many, this dreaded question serves as a reminder that even work is a privilege.

Read more at
http://www.aoda.ca/creating-opportunities-for-deaf-employees/

Online Public Services to be Made More Accessible for the Disabled and Elderly

Plenary Session Press release – Citizens’ rights / Information society – 26-10-2016 – 13:25

The websites and apps of public administrations, hospitals, courts and other public sector bodies will have to be made accessible to everyone, under new EU-wide rules approved by the European Parliament on Wednesday. The web accessibility directive, already agreed by Parliament and Council, should make it easier for disabled and elderly people to access data and services on the internet, e.g. to file a tax declaration, apply for an allowance, pay fees or enrol at university.

Free Online Course Enabling Improved Digital Accessibility

Published: 21 October 2016

Academics from the Web and Internet Science (WAIS) research group within Electronics and Computer Science are lead educators on a new, free online course that aims to help learners understand how accessible digital technologies can overcome barriers encountered by people with sensory, physical or cognitive impairments.

The Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) in Digital Accessibility: Enabling Participation in the Information Society has recently been launched on the FutureLearn platform and already thousands of students from more than 50 countries have signed up.

New Research Could Help Build Better Hearing AIDS

Originally posted September 29, 2016

Scientists at Binghamton University, State University of New York want to improve sensor technology critical to billions of devices made every year. With a three-year grant from the National Science Foundation, they will start by making a high-performance sensor and applying it to hearing aids.

“This [grant] allows us to explore a new sensing mechanism that can revolutionize capacitive sensing by addressing the severe limitation of limited range of motion. This could lead to devices with better sensitivity and functionality,” said principal investigator Sherry Towfighian, an assistant professor of mechanical engineering within the Thomas J. Watson School of Engineering and Applied Science at Binghamton University.

Disability Rights Group Sues Uber Over Wheelchair Access

Posted: Oct 13, 2016 12:18 PM EDT
By MICHAEL TARM
Associated Press

CHICAGO (AP) – A Chicago disability rights group sued Uber Thursday over wheelchair accessibility, arguing that the mobile ride-hailing company’s adherence to federal disability laws “ranges from token to non-existent” despite its expanding role in the nation’s transportation system.

The 19-page lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Chicago on behalf of Access Living of Metropolitan Chicago and several individuals, seeks an order requiring that Uber comply with the 1990 Americans With Disabilities Act, or ADA, by making far more wheelchair-accessible vehicles available.

“(Uber’s) position threatens a return to the isolation and segregation that the disability rights movement has fought to overcome,” the filing says.

Wearable Artificial Vision Device Shows Promise in Helping People Who Are Legally Blind ‘Read’

Date:October 17, 2016 Source:American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO)

A unique wearable artificial vision device may help people who are legally blind “read” and recognize faces. It may also help these individuals accomplish everyday tasks with significantly greater ease than using traditional assistive reading devices, suggests a study presented today at AAO 2016, the 120th annual meeting of the American Academy of Ophthalmology.

Approximately 246 million people worldwide have low vision. This sight loss impairs a person’s ability to do simple daily tasks. Optical and electronic devices such as hand-held magnifiers, tele-microscopic glasses and computer and video magnifiers can help. But, typically these devices are bulky, cumbersome or not readily portable. With recent advancements in wearable electronic devices and optical character recognition technology that converts images to computer-readable text, University of California, Davis researchers hypothesized that these newer technologies could help improve patients’ ability to function in daily life.

Miami University Reaches Justice Department Consent Decree to Improve Technology Access for Students With Disabilities

Under the consent decree, which is pending court approval, the university will make significant improvements to ensure that technologies across all its campuses are accessible to individuals with disabilities, the federal department said in a release.

Read more at
http://www.aoda.ca/miami-university-reaches-justice-department-consent-decree-to-improve-technology-access-for-students-with-disabilities/