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Big Win for Blind Shopper in First U.S. ADA Web Accessibility Trial

Law Office of Lainey Feingold, June 13, 2017

On June 12, a judge in the federal District Court in South Florida made history. That history came in the form of a court order in a lawsuit filed by blind Florida resident Juan Carlos Gil against regional grocer Winn-Dixie.

The lawsuit argued that the Winn-Dixie website wasn’t accessible. Mr Gil could not read the store’s online coupons using his screen reader or use other features on the site.

After a two-day trial the court ruled in favor of the plaintiff (Mr. Gil). That order is historic because it is believed that this is the very first trial in an ADA case about website accessibility against a private company, known legally as a public accommodation. Read the Seyfarth Shaw blog post that identified the historic nature of this trial.

The Federal Government Releases Report of Its Public Consultation on What the Promised Canadians with Disabilities Act Should Include Lots of Good Content But Some Areas Where The Federal Report Falls Short

Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Alliance Update United for a Barrier-Free Ontario for All People with Disabilities http://www.aodaalliance.org aodafeedback@gmail.com Twitter: @aodaalliance

June 13, 2017

SUMMARY

On May 29, 2017, the Federal Government released a detailed 63-page report on what its promised Canadians with Disabilities Act should include, according to the feedback the Federal Government received during its public consultation. It held public forums and roundtables across Canada, and an online survey, from the 2016 summer through the 2017 winter. According to this report, the Federal Government heard from many people and organizations, including from many people with disabilities.

Is your Company’s Website Accessible to the Disabled? You’d Better Hope So

By Mark Pulliam
June 11, 2017, 4:00 AM

The Americans With Disabilities Act produced tangible benefits. Signed into law by President George H. W. Bush in 1990, the ADA banned employment discrimination against the disabled and eliminated unnecessary physical barriers to commercial and government buildings. But in the quarter-century since it was enacted, the law has also had countless unintended consequences mutating definitions of what constitutes a physical or mental disability, senseless mandates, astronomical compliance costs for business owners and, perhaps most damaging of all, waves of abusive litigation.

Indeed, ADA lawsuits are now as common as sex-discrimination lawsuits, with more than 26,000 new claims filed against employers each year. The latest litigants have their sights on the most innovative segment of our domestic economy: e-commerce.

More Canadians Seeking Disability Benefits Have Denials Overturned on Appeal

Jordan Press,
The Canadian Press, June 4, 2017

OTTAWA Nearly half the Canadians who seek to have decisions denying them access to Canada Pension Plan disability benefits are successfully appealing the rulings a statistic that is giving experts cause for concern.

The figures illustrate what has happened in the year since Canada’s auditor general excoriated the government for its handling of CPP disability appeals, which provides stipends to Canadians who are unable to work due to disability.

Michael Ferguson’s February 2016 report on the $4-billion disability benefits system found that some one-third of applicants who were originally denied benefits were later found to be eligible, based on the initial evidence.

Social Robots Improving the Lives of People with Autism

Jun 12, 2017

Autism is a neurodevelopmental disabilities in which communication can be hindered in social interactions both verbal and non-verbal. There is a wide spectrum within the effects autism has on a person including intellectual disabilities, physical and mental health issues such as seizures, ADD or ADHD, anxiety and phobias.

robotsWhen placed in a social setting with those without autism, people who do not understand autism may jump to the conclusion that this person is socially awkward, lacks emotion, doesn’t understand humor, or the other nuances of communication learned through time. Social settings can include everything from small talk at the register, expressing empathy to someone’s problems, workplace dynamics, meeting new people, and countless other interactions.

‘Fixing Society’ Involves Boosting Accessibility Laws

Four million Canadians have disabilities, advocate says
By: Kevin Rollason
Posted: 06/8/2017

The world would be a different place for people who have disabilities if Toronto lawyer David Lepofsky has his way.

Lepofsky said the biggest changes would happen if governments could be convinced to create better laws to guide accessibility.

“What we’re trying to do is fix society,” Lepofsky said on Thursday.

“The world has been designed as if the only people living in it successfully are people without disabilities. The buildings around us, public transit, stores, education systems, are all designed like people said, ‘Let’s design things so people with disabilities can’t use them.’

Creating New National Accessibility Legislation: What We Learned

Message from the Minister

As Canada’s first-ever Minister responsible for persons with disabilities, I had the honour of leading Canada’s largest and most accessible consultation on disability issues ever.

In the summer of 2016, I began asking Canadians all across the country, “What does an accessible Canada mean to you?” What we learned, summarized in this report, will help us create new federal accessibility legislation.

I’m proud to say more than 6,000 Canadians participated in person and online. Throughout the consultation, I held 18 in-person public meetings across the country that were supported by local leaders from the disability community. These meetings were made fully accessible for a range of disabilities and included English and French real-time captioning, American Sign Language and Langue des signes qu├ęb├ęcoise, and intervenor services for participants who are deaf-blind. In northern Canada, Inuit sign language was also provided.

Manitoba Accessibility Awareness Week kicks off June 4

More than a dozen events will focus on ways to improve accessibility in the province, with guest speakers flying in from Denver and Toronto.
David Lepofsky, a Toronto-based advocate, will be in Winnipeg for three talks during Manitoba Accessibility Awareness Week. By: Jessica Botelho-Urbanski Metro Published on Mon Jun 05 2017

An important event, Manitoba Accessibility Awareness Week (MAAW), kicked off Sunday, though you might not have heard about it from the provincial government due to a media blackout.

Patrick Falconer, who works with Barrier-Free Manitoba, called it “very unfortunate” timing to have MAAW happening during the Point Douglas byelection and its consequent media blackout period. Unfortunately, the event was already scheduled for June 4-10 nearly a year earlier.

‘So many barriers’: Forum discusses jobs and accessibility

Alliance aims to have people noticed for their abilities rather than their disabilities By Nicole Williams
CBC, Jun 1, 2017

Islanders shared accessibility issues on P.E.I. and how they want the federal government to improve things at a public forum Wednesday.

The Alliance for an Inclusive and Accessible Canada hosted a public forum in Summerside in their latest round public consultations happening across the country to collect feedback on upcoming legislation regarding accessibility.

Mental health issues added to P.E.I. disability support program How can P.E.I. be more accessible for people with disabilities?

“We’re trying to create a more accessible Canada,” said Dave Carragher, communications manager for the alliance.

Canadian Transportation Agency issues What We Heard Summary Report on accessible transportation

GATINEAU, QC, June 1, 2017
CNW

As part of the Regulatory Modernization Initiative, the Canadian Transportation Agency has issued a What We Heard Summary Report for its first phase of consultations on accessible transportation. The report highlights the key points that have emerged so far, such as the need for a clear, relevant and comprehensive set of rules for all modes of transport, and for those rules to be expressed in mandatory regulations rather than voluntary codes.

The accessibility needs of Canadians are varied and are increasing as the population ages and the percentage of Canadians with disabilities continues to grow. In a recent Government of Canada consultation on creating new national accessibility legislation, participants ranked transportation as third among key areas of focus for the Government of Canada.

Wearable System Helps Visually Impaired Users Navigate

Larry Hardesty | MIT News Office
May 31, 2017

New algorithms power a prototype system for helping visually impaired users avoid obstacles and identify objects.
Device provides information from a 3-D camera, via vibrating motors and a Braille interface. Watch Video at the link below

Computer scientists have been working for decades on automatic navigation systems to aid the visually impaired, but its been difficult to come up with anything as reliable and easy to use as the white cane, the type of metal-tipped cane that visually impaired people frequently use to identify clear walking paths.

Expecting a Barrier Free Saskatchewan

29 May 2017 For Immediate Release

About Barrier Free Saskatchewan

Barrier Free Saskatchewan (BFSK) has developed fourteen principles to be the foundation of a Saskatchewan Disability and Inclusion Act.

We want the Province of Saskatchewan to pass an Accessibility Act with these principles intact so we can become a barrier free province.

A Barrier Free Saskatchewan is for everyone. Using these principles, BFSK is building a non-partisan coalition from the provincial community of individuals and organizations of and for persons with disabilities, Saskatchewan citizens, organizations, and companies who will endorse this worthwhile endeavor.

http://www.barrierfreesaskatchewan.org

Canada’s New Accessibility Laws Should Focus on Employment, Inclusive Buildings, Transport

By Michelle McQuigge The Canadian Press
Mon., May 29, 2017

Carla Qualtrough, the minister tasked with crafting laws to make Canada more accessible to people with disabilities, says employment will be a key focus of her efforts.

Public consultations on Canada’s first national law for disabled people have identified high unemployment rates, inaccessible buildings and barriers in transportation as some of the key issues that need to be addressed.

The priorities were laid out in a report, released by the federal government Monday, summarizing eight months of consultations held with Canadians from coast to coast.

Families Seeking Autism Service Dogs Face Years-Long Wait Lists

CTVNews.ca Staff, Sunday, May 28, 2017.

Concern is growing about a shortage of dogs that can make life easier for children with autism and their families. Avis Favaro explains.

There is a shortage of service dogs across Canada, and an Edmonton organization was forced to close their wait list due to a lack of funds.

Executive director, Dogs with Wings, Doreen Slessor explains the reason behind closing the wait list to families seeking autism dogs.

For kids with autism, a service dog can be just the friend they need, helping to calm them when they’re overwhelmed, keeping them safe, and giving parents a little bit of peace of mind.

AMI Partners with Prominent Web Organization to Further Encourage Media Accessibility and Inclusion

May 25, 2017

TORONTO, May 25, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) —
Accessible Media Inc. (AMI) announced today that it has become an official member organization of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C).

With more than 400 members world-wide, W3C is an organization that facilitates the creation of standards that shape web technology. One of its primary goals is to make the Web widely accessible to all people regardless of hardware, software, network infrastructure, native language, culture, geographical location, physical or mental ability. AMI shares similar values with a strong focus on inclusion, empowerment and innovation.

‘Hey Siri’ – how mobile technology can support inclusion

By Contributor on April 27, 2017 in Community Care Review

For such a small piece of equipment, the iPad packs a lot of punch when it comes to providing accessibility features, writes Jacqui Kirkman.

While there is still a need for custom-built equipment, many people with special accessibility needs are finding that an iPad, iPhone, Apple Watch or similar devices by other manufacturers can perform the same functions for a much lower price and sometimes in a way that makes them stand out less.

14 Quotes That Celebrate a More Accessible World

Written by Courtney Seiter
Originally posted May 24, 2016

Accessibility isn’t a topic that just affects some of us. As no less of an innovator than Google puts it, “the accessibility problems of today are the mainstream breakthroughs of tomorrow.”

We at Buffer are delighted to have Neil Milliken (@neilmilliken), Debra Ruh (@debraruh), Antonio Santos (@akwyz) of AXSChat (@axschat) joining us on Bufferchat today to discuss Supporting Accessibility on Social Media.

AXSChat is an open online community dedicated to creating an inclusive world with the belief that accessibility is for everyone. The community works to spread knowledge through weekly video interviews and Twitter chats about the work people are doing to enable greater access and inclusion.

Fighting the Social Factors of Accessibility

Digital content shared through a website is a powerful tool for nonprofit outreach, fundraising, community building, and program delivery. It can give a parent access to amazing resources they otherwise may not have found, and bring new eyes to your parent center.

But what if your message is falling on “deaf ears”?

Currently 1 in 5 Americans have a documented disability. That’s 20% of fundraising opportunities or outreach your organization could be missing.

On top of reaching those with disabilities, nonprofits need to take into account social factors like:

  • Users who speak another language
  • Users with low literacy rates
  • Users who aren’t computer savvy

The Mortgage Industry’s Next Headache: Website Accessibility Requirements

by Jack McElaney
on May 17, 2017

If past behavior is a good predictor of the future, mortgage lenders (as well as mortgage brokers, settlement services providers and real estate brokers, for that matter) should brace themselves: A new regulatory compliance shoe is about to fall, with private litigation leading the way.

The focus is website accessibility a catch-all phrase that means making websites and other digital platforms and files accessible to individuals with disabilities.

There are no Web accessibility regulations currently in place that are aimed at financial institutions generally or at the housing and housing finance industries specifically. But you don’t need a crystal ball or 20/20 vision to see them coming. A look at the history of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) will tell you what you need to know.

Students with Reading Disorders Sue Berkeley Unified School District (BUSD) for Failing to Educate Them

Despite the availability of effective teaching methods, BUSD refused to alter its policies and practices, leaving students of all ages who have reading disorders without the basic tool of literacy May 02, 2017 07:54 PM Eastern Daylight Time

BERKELEY, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Disability rights lawyers filed a complaint in federal court today against Berkeley Unified School District (BUSD), the BUSD Superintendent, the BUSD Board of Education, and the Directors of the BUSD Board of Education, for systemically failing to educate students with reading disorders, and students who are suspected to have reading disorders.