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Lyft Fights to Avoid Americans with Disabilities Act in Federal Court

By SAMANTHA MALDONADO
May 2, 2019 06:16 PM EDT

Lyft argues it should not be subject to the Americans with Disabilities Act and is fighting a federal class action lawsuit filed in Westchester County on the grounds that “it is not in the transportation business.”

It’s an argument long employed by app-based companies like Lyft and Uber, and it’s one that experts in the field continue to scoff at.

According to their public filings their mission is to improve people’s lives with the world’s best transportation,” said former New York City Taxi Commissioner Meera Joshi. “Or maybe it should be improving some people’s lives because throughout the country most passengers that use a wheelchair still can’t get a Lyft.”

Disabled Musicians are Being ‘Failed by Venues’

By Mark Savage
BBC Music reporter
9 May 2019

Last year, Ruth Patterson’s band Holy Moly and the Crackers tried to book a tour of the UK.

But one venue wrote back, refusing to host them because Patterson, who has arthritis and Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, uses a wheelchair.

“They said they wouldn’t book us because I was a fire hazard,” she says. “That’s absolutely horrendous.”

The singer is not alone. A new survey suggests disabled musicians face significant barriers in UK venues.

Of the nearly 100 deaf and disabled performers surveyed by Attitude Is Everything, two-thirds said they had to “compromise their health or wellbeing” in order to play live.

Laws Alone Aren’t The Answer for Improving Disability Access, Expert at Ottawa Summit Says

Blair Crawford
Updated: May 9, 2019

When it comes to accessibility, casinos lead the way.

“Las Vegas figured out a long time ago that older people and seniors were the ones who sit at slot machines,” said Brad McCannell, vice-president of access and inclusion for the Rick Hansen Foundation.

“They started accommodation long before the ADA because they saw it’s the little things, McCannell said, referring to the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.

The casinos replaced the standard slot machine stools with sturdier chairs with back rests and armrests that older people need to push off to stand up.

Feds Cutting Program That Employs Dozens with Developmental Disabilities

‘I don’t want to lose my job’
CTVNews.ca Staff, CTV Ottawa’s Joanne Schnurr
Published Monday, May 6, 2019

Workers with developmental disabilities say they are planning to protest on Parliament Hill if the government doesn’t reverse its plan to shut the federal program that employs them.

For nearly four decades, they have sorted and shredded papers for Library and Archives Canada. Now, they’ve learned — for the second time in four years — that the program is being cut.

Gladys Whincup has worked in the program for nearly four decades. She was brought to tears when asked Monday whether she was worried.

“We’ll have no jobs,” she said.

Media Release: Senate Committee Corrects Some Weaknesses in Bill C-81

May 4, 2019 | For Immediate Release

With the Accessible Canada Act, Bill C-81, the federal government introduced measures that will help bring Canada into compliance with the commitments that it made when it ratified the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) in 2010.

While the federal government made a good start with C-81, the community of persons with disabilities identified a number of weaknesses and proposed corrective action.

The disability community has been steadfast in its commitment to the principle of Nothing About Us Without Us at every step of the way for Bill C-81 and we are pleased with Senate’s proposed amendments, stated Jewelles Smith, Chairperson of the Council of Canadians with Disabilities (CCD), a national organization of persons with disabilities working for an inclusive and accessible Canada.

Apps, Badges and 3D Rendering: Steps Being Taken to Improve Rail Accessibility

April 29 2019

In the not-too-distant past rail, the considerations afforded to passengers with mobility issues or those whom require special assistance can sometimes be found lacking. For obvious reasons, having to travel when negotiating steps, stairs and trains that the majority of the travelling public find straightforward can make the idea of using public transport quite daunting.

Thankfully though attitudes are changing in this area, with operators, infrastructure manufacturers and technology developers increasingly making accessibility for this section of the community more included.

Illustrating this change in mindset, the UK government has this month announced a £300 million initiative to bring accessibility improvements to 73 train stations, upgrading ticket counters so theyre adjustable for those in wheelchairs and installing lifts.

Small Businesses Excused From Writing Down Accessibility Findings, Manitoba Government Decides

While province reduces administrative burden on employers, employment standards on accessibility introduced Ian Froese · CBC News · Posted: Apr 29, 2019

The Manitoba government is lowering the threshold for additional requirements placed on businesses from 20 to 50 employees for accessibility matters concerning customer service and employment. (Shutterstock)

The Manitoba government is exempting more business owners from documenting the steps they take to make their workplaces accessible.

The province is loosening the requirement on small business owners at the same time as it introduces new guidelines to remove employment barriers for people with disabilities.

‘I Had to Crawl’: Amputee Seeks Damages After United Airlines and Airport Security Seize Scooter Batteries

CATSA apologizes, United offers travel certificate; WestJet offers credit in separate incident Erica Johnson · CBC News · Posted: Apr 28, 2019

Stearn Hodge says he’s ‘had enough’ of airport security agents and airlines trying to take away the batteries for his portable scooter a disability violation. He’s fighting to take United Airlines, WestJet and the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority to the Canadian Human Rights Commission.

Stearn Hodge says he will never forget the humiliation of having to drag his body across a hotel room floor during what was supposed to be a vacation celebrating his 43rd wedding anniversary because a security agent at the Calgary International Airport and United Airlines confiscated the batteries he needed to operate a portable scooter.

Federal Budget 2019 Contains Good News for Post-Secondary Students With Disabilities

(Ottawa, April 23, 2019)

The Federal Budget delivered in March included a number of very important measures for college and university students with disabilities that enhance the Canada Student Loans and Grants programs and will be available for disabled students starting in the upcoming fall school year.

Announcements in the budget specific to students with disabilities include a significant increase on the cap on the Canada Student Grant for Services and Equipment for Students with Permanent Disabilities from $8,000 to $20,000 per year. This grant can go towards exceptional education-related services or equipment for eligible students with a permanent disability.

The Coming Web Crack-Up

Apr 21, 2019
Peter Slatin
Contributor

Diversity & Inclusion I write about undoing norms that inhibit success for disabled people.

This post is the first in a series on web accessibility.

Remember the bumper stickers that read, If You Can Read This, You’re Too Close? Yeah, danger ahead. Well, as America races down the cyber-highway, we should be on the lookout for a pile-up, because despite warning signs (as in a blizzard of web-accessibility lawsuits, up almost 200% last year from 2017) everywhere, people with disabilities just aren’t going to be able to move past the many obstacles heedless developers and designers are putting in their way.

Blind People Can Struggle to Understand Memes, So They Made Their Own

Screen-reading software allows visually impaired people to use the internet, but it hits a wall when it comes to memes.

In January, a photo of a woman holding a probing cane and looking at a phone went viral on Facebook after the poster implied that the subject was faking blindness given that she was clearly able to see her phone screen. Though the image was shared thousands of times by people who believed the joke, commenters were eventually informed of the reality, which is that blind people and people with low vision depend on their phones just as much as anyone else.

eSchool News: 3 Steps to a More Accessible Classroom

By Danise Olague
Originally posted February 22nd, 2018

“Turn on the subtitles, Ms. Olague!”
I clicked on the “CC” button underneath the YouTube video, and the closed-captioning appeared at the bottom of the screen. Suddenly, all my students were looking at the screen with wide eyes, eager to watch the video.

In my first-grade classroom, a third of my students were learning English as a second language. Though my English learners were the initial reason I starting using closed-captioning on videos, I soon realized that students with special needs also benefited. As a public school teacher, I had to constantly evaluate how my teaching practices and materials could better include and empower the vast diversity in my classroom.

eSchool News: 5 Steps to Ensure Accessibility

By Stacey Pusey
April 11th, 2019

Rockville, MD: If we want to help every child reach his or her potential, we need to take the appropriate steps

While the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) was last reauthorized in 2004, with amendments in 2015, and the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) updated back in 2008, the demand for accessibility and equality in education continues to grow. Administrators and teachers, who want to help every child reach their potential, can’t afford to wait for new laws and policies. To ensure accessibility, educators need to constantly evaluate the effectiveness of accessibility initiatives, advocate for resources for their students, and anticipate where they need to go next.

Innovators Challenged to Design Products for Homes to Win Investment Fund and Help Disabled People Live Independently

4th April 2019

Now in its fifth year, Design Council Spark is putting a new focus on driving accessible home innovation; Design Council Spark: The Home Innovation Challenge is aiming to deliver major impact, both financially and socially, for people with reduced mobility or disabilities.

In the UK, there are currently 14 million people living with a disability and 25 percent of the population are due to be over the age of 65 by 2046. Design Council Spark showcases how innovative design is fundamental to futureproofing peoples ability to live independently and enabling bright ideas to transform future homes for everyone.

Legal Battle Over Captioning Continues

A legal dispute over video captions continues after court rejects requests by MIT and Harvard University to dismiss lawsuits accusing them of discriminating against deaf people. By Lindsay McKenzie
April 8, 2019

Two high-profile civil rights lawsuits filed by the National Association of the Deaf against Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology are set to continue after requests to dismiss the cases were recently denied for the second time.

The two universities were accused by the NAD in 2015 of failing to make their massive open online courses, guest lectures and other video content accessible to people who are deaf or hard of hearing.

Autonomous Vehicle Design Should Benefit Broader Group of Potential Drivers

April 1, 2019
cstdenis@itsa.org

New ITS America Report Underscores Need for AVs to be Accessible, Inclusive.

Washington At a time when major automakers are planning to deploy greater numbers of autonomous vehicles (AVs), they have a unique opportunity to ensure people with disabilities have access to this transformational technology.
That is one of the conclusions of “Designing the Future of Transportation for People with Disabilities,” released today by the Intelligent Transportation Society of America (ITS America).

The report calls for key players in the transportation, healthcare and consumer electronics fields to work together to encourage manufacturers to produce accessible designs for automated vehicle systems and notes that developing standards and focusing on universal design must happen now.

IKEA Israel Makes Life Simpler for People With Disabilities

ThisAbles collaboration enables people with disabilities to 3D-print add-ons to regular IKEA furniture to make it more easily accessible for all. By Naama Barak | April 3, 2019

Everyone (well, almost) loves a good stroll through IKEA, and the people of Israel are certainly no different. Pronounced eek-eh-ah in Hebrew, the Scandinavian giant’s furniture decorates almost every home in country, making it the perfect place to roll out super-smart accessories that make life simper for all.

At IKEA Israel, 13 accessories designed for people with disabilities can now be scanned at no cost and printed out using 3D printers to add to the store’s furniture. The aim is to increase the products’ usability and raise awareness of inclusion and accessibility.

Province Lays Out New Goals to Get to Full Accessibility by 2030

Advocates say there is still enormous amount of work to be done to keep the province on track Shaina Luck · CBC News · Posted: Apr 01, 2019

Clayton Dauphinee is on a personal mission to document accessibility problems in public washrooms in Nova Scotia. (Shaina Luck/CBC)

As Nova Scotia strikes two committees to develop the first provincial accessibility standards, some advocates say there is still an enormous amount of work to be done to keep the province on track toward its goal of becoming fully accessible by 2030.

On Thursday, the province released the names of 20 people who are tasked with coming up with standards for making education more accessible, and 19 people who will concentrate on making buildings and public spaces more accessible.

Proposed Accessible Transportation for Persons with Disabilities Regulations now published in Part I of the Canada Gazette

March 11, 2019 Gatineau, QC Canadian Transportation Agency

The Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA) today announced that its proposed Accessible Transportation for Persons with Disabilities Regulations (ATPDR) are now published in Part I of the Canada Gazette for public review and comment.

The proposed regulations consolidate the CTA’s various accessibility instruments including six voluntary codes and two regulations – to create a single, robust, legally binding set of accessible transportation regulations.

The CTA consulted extensively with persons with disabilities and industry, including members of its Accessibility Advisory Committee, as well as the general public, on which regulatory measures can help make the federal transportation network more accessible for persons with disabilities.

Adaptive Sports Equipment Enables Outdoor Recreation for All

March 18 2019

Stephen was 14 when he lost all use of his legs and the full mobility of his arms in a traffic accident. Three years after the crash, the Braddock youth, who asked that his last name not be used, said he sorely missed getting outside with family and friends.

Gal Pinto, nine years old, pedals her bike with assistance by physical therapist Kirsten Raether around the gym at the western Pa. School for the Deaf , Tuesday, March 12 2019 in Edgewood.

Hanging out in the park, fishing just doing anything outdoors its really hard when you cant get around, he said in 2018 during a fishing program organized by the state Fish and Boat Commission.