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‘You Just Spiral’: UBC President Who Overcame Mental Health Crisis Determined to Help Canadian Students

Santa J. Ono was afraid to speak out about his mental illness; now he’s a champion for mental health on campus CBC Radio
Posted: Feb 14, 2020

University of British Columbia president Santa J. Ono understands the immense pressures students face, having dealt with his own mental health crisis as a student.

Eleanor Vannon was a student at Camosun College in Victoria when anxiety literally stopped her in her tracks.

Vannon had experienced anxiety in high school, but she had high expectations of herself, and felt she had to be “the strongest and the toughest.” At the same time, she was haunted by feelings of low-self worth, and questioned if she even deserved a post-secondary education.

Advocates, Industry Await Plan to Make N.S. Restaurant Washrooms Accessible

Working group collected ideas, concerns in series of meetings last fall Shaina Luck, CBC News
Posted: Feb 13, 2020

The restaurant industry and accessibility advocates alike are hoping to hear back from the Nova Scotia government in the next few months on a plan to make every restaurant washroom in the province accessible, a process that’s expected to cost tens of millions of dollars.

Late last year, a working group wrapped up a series of Justice Department meetings designed to gather input on the issue, said Gordon Stewart, the executive director of the Restaurant Association of Nova Scotia.

Charlottetown Failing Those With Disabilities

The Guardian
Published: Feb. 11, 2020

“Accessibility in Canada is about creating communities, workplaces and services that enable everyone to participate fully in society without barriers.” That’s the first paragraph one finds when searching the Accessible Canada Act on the federal government’s website.

Progressive as those words may appear, none of those things seemed to occur for P.E.I. resident Paul Cudmore when his accessible van recently broke down in Charlottetown.

In Cudmore’s case, he was protected by the friends who came to his aid, not the legislation that was supposed to support him.

That is not acceptable.

Vancouver Taxi Companies Stop Subsidizing Drivers of Accessible Vehicles, Cite Ride-Hailing Competition

B.C. considers adding new incentives from fees it collects from Uber, Lyft CBC News
Originally Posted: Jan 30, 2020

The Vancouver Taxi Association says it will no longer subsidize drivers who operate accessible vehicles, claiming sudden competition from ride-hailing means taxi companies can no longer afford it.

Without the subsidies, the association said, drivers are less likely to choose an accessible van because it will cost them more out of pocket.

“I want to make it crystal clear “we have not stopped trying to service these trips. We’re doing our best to try and service these trips,” said Kalwant Sahota, speaking Wednesday for the Vancouver Taxi Association.

eSSENTIAL Accessibility To Expand Software Platform With New Funding Round

By Dan Anderson
February 3, 2020

Accessibility-as-a-Service company eSSENTIAL Accessibility recently announced it closed $16 million in funding led by Lead Edge Capital. This round of funding will provide eSSENTIAL Accessibility with resources to expand its software platform and pursue rapid geographic expansion in order to meet escalating demand.

Accessibility is a business mandate that has arrived with tremendous force and the consequences of not offering accessible experiences are costly and brand debilitating.

This funding builds on a major year for eSSENTIAL Accessibility which saw a rapidly growing list of clients, key executive appointments, and market momentum in the areas of accessibility and inclusion.

Accessibility Advocate Pans Proposed QEII Parkade Location

People with disabilities will have to travel farther and cross a city street to get health care Anjuli Patil
CBC News
Posted: Jan 31, 2020

A Halifax disability advocate says the proposed location for a new hospital parkade will create a barrier to health care.

“It’s going to make it more difficult to access our human right of health care. And that’s my concern. It’s going to create dangerous conditions with the weather in the crosswalk and the cars,” Paul Vienneau told CBC News in an interview on Thursday.

The province plans to build an 800-space parking garage on land partially owned by the Halifax Regional Municipality.

Emotional Support Animals Could Soon Be Banned From Planes

The Department of Transportation is considering new rules that would restrict service animals on airplanes to specially trained dogs. By Nina Golgowski
01/23/2020

The Department of Transportation is considering overhauling current rules for service animals on planes, including allowing airlines to prohibit those used for emotional support.

The proposed changes announced on Wednesday include only allowing specially trained service dogs to qualify as service animals, which ride for free in a plane’s cabin. Any other animal used for emotional support or simply to make a passenger “feel better” would be considered a pet and airlines would not be required to allow them on board, the DOT said.

B.C. Ride-Hailing Services Won’t Be Accessible to All

In B.C., ride-hailing companies will not be required to provide wheelchair-accessible vehicles Jennifer Saltman
Updated: January 20, 2020

Many people are eagerly looking forward to ride-hailing finally being available in Metro Vancouver, but Vince Miele is not one of them.

The Tsawwassen resident, who uses a wheelchair, said he and many others who have disabilities and use mobility aids will be left behind when services like Lyft and Uber begin operating, because they will be unusable by those who can’t get in and out of a standard vehicle.

Feeling The Accessibility Of Gift Cards

ByAmanda Fugazy
January 21, 2020

Remember all those gift cards you sold for the holidays? Little did you know that gift cards what was once thought of as the gift that keeps on giving, could soon be the gift that bites back.

Recently, a wave of lawsuits were filed against restaurants and retailers located in New York for their failure to sell gift cards that contain braille. These lawsuits allege violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the New York State Human Rights Law and the New York City Human Rights Law. New York hospitality employers who sell gift cards should be aware of this new and novel concept, and consider preparing proactively to avoid being faced with similar lawsuits.

I Was Very Ignorant. How Being Paralyzed Changed One Woman’s View of How the World Treats Disabled People

After an accident severed her spinal cord, Kristi Leer has been using a wheelchair CBC News
Posted: Jan 19, 2020

A wheelchair user from Fort Nelson in northeastern B.C. is pushing for better accessibility for all, based on her own experiences struggling with moving around.

Two years ago, Kristi Leer severed her spinal cord in a vehicle crash. Since then, Leer has used a wheelchair to get around.

Leer says the experience has been eye opening.

“You know when I got in this chair, I’m going to be very honest, my attitude toward persons with disabilities and wheelchairs was very ignorant, and when I say ignorant, I mean not knowing,” Leer told host Carolina de Ryk on Daybreak North.

Society Is Missing the True Definition of Inclusion

January 16, 2020
Column by Ralph Yaniz.

My experiences writing this column over the past year have been fabulous. But it was daunting at first to put pen to paper to capture what so many people feel.

My first column talked about starting something new and the excitement this brings. But the reality is that the muscular dystrophy community is diverse. And the broader disability community is as wide and beautiful as the universe. Trying to capture the entirety of these communities has been a learning experience.

Entering 2020, I find myself 24 columns ” with over 10,000 views ” into this experience. I continue to receive more and more responses from readers, both on the website and social media platforms. This has helped me to grow.

MANITOBA SUPPORTS EDUCATION ON EMPLOYMENT ACCESSIBILITY

Renewed Funding Agreement Focuses on Outreach: Stefanson
January 15, 2020

The Manitoba government is investing $120,800 with the Manitoba League of Persons with Disabilities (MLPD) to provide educational and outreach work that will help ensure organizations understand and comply with the accessible employment standard, Families Minister Heather Stefanson announced today.

“Accessibility is important to all Manitobans and a priority for our government,” said Stefanson. “We are pleased to support this work with the MLPD. This funding will help them deliver workshops, share tools and resources, and provide advice and expertise to organizations to promote the development and implementation of accessible employment practices.”

eSSENTIAL Accessibility Secures $16 Million in Growth Funding

Business Wire
January 15, 2020

Lead Edge Capital spearheads the round to accelerate, scale and meet escalating demand for Accessibility-as-a-Service

TORONTO – eSSENTIAL Accessibility, the pioneering provider of Accessibility-as-a-Service, today announced the close of a $16 million USD investment round led by Lead Edge Capital.

Accessibility is a business mandate that has arrived with tremendous force. The consequences of not offering accessible experiences are costly and brand debilitating. This new financing will provide eSSENTIAL Accessibility with resources to expand its software platform and pursue rapid geographic expansion to meet escalating demand. It builds on an exceptional year for eSSENTIAL Accessibility which saw a rapidly growing roster of clients, key executive appointments, and market momentum in the white-hot areas of accessibility and inclusion.

Mayor Promises Disabled Londoners Free Travel for Companion

By Jessie Mathewson
Local Democracy Reporter – City Hall

The Mayor of London has today promised a free travel pass to help disabled people get around.

Carers and companions of disabled people would get free travel on all Transport for London (TfL) services, including the Tube, Overground and buses, under the new plans.

The pledge is Sadiq Khans first policy announcement ahead of the London mayoral election in May this year.

It came as rail fares rose by an average of 2.7 per cent nationally, meaning some commuters faced increases of more than £100 on annual travel cards.

Japan Speeds up Barrier-Free Initiatives Ahead of Paralympics

KYODO NEWS
January 2, 2020

TOKYO – Japan is speeding up its efforts to make accommodation and transport facilities more accessible ahead of the Paralympic Games in Tokyo, but some people with disabilities have questioned whether enough is being done.

While the games are touted as a chance to create a more inclusive society, a Kyodo News survey showed 66 percent of respondents did not see any improvement in accessibility or understanding of disabilities since 2013, when Tokyo was awarded hosting rights. In comparison, 34 percent said they had noticed progress.

Boston Sled Hockey Players Finding Family and Freedom on the Ice

By: Kerry Kavanaugh, Jason Solowski, and Thomas Korsak
Updated: December 31, 2019

WELLESLEY, Mass. For people with physical disabilities simple tasks can be major challenges. They plan ahead for everything. Even sports designed for athletes with disabilities can create obstacles.

We have enough to adapt to in life, said sled hockey player Brian Bardel. We tend not to think about it and just overcome.”

But, theres a new arena where sled hockey players can shed all that worry and just play. Its the only one of its kind in New England.

Boston 25 News Anchor Kerry Kavanaugh visited the fully adaptive ice rink in Wellesley and met the players of the Boston Ice Storm, a Massachusetts sled hockey team.

Toyota Motor Europe Launches the Toyota Startup Awards to Find Most Innovative Solutions to Improve Mobility for All

The Toyota Startup Awards will take place at the 4YFN event in Barcelona, from 24 to 26 February 2020

Eight selected startups will participate in a pitching competition to try to win the main prize a fast track to the Toyota Accelerator Program, powered by ISDI Accelerator

Toyota is looking for the most innovative solutions in the fields of Inclusive Mobility, Accessibility and Disruptive Mobility to contribute to its goal of offering “Mobility for All”

The competition ties in with Toyota’s global call to “Start Your Impossible”, the belief that when people are free to move, anything is possible

Whitehorse Teen can Write eMails Using Her Eyes

‘It gives me a sense of pride to have one bit of independence,’ says Eva von Flowtow Jane Sponagle · CBC News · Posted: Dec 29, 2019

Eva von Flotow won’t take no for an answer.

The 19-year-old Whitehorse woman is fighting for more accessibility.

It’s a cause close to her heart; von Flotow uses a wheelchair. She has quadriplegic cerebral palsy with dystonia, which means she has difficulty controlling how she moves.

Von Flotow is already making change. The Vancouver International Airport is working on an accessible washroom with a lift after she wrote a letter saying none of the washrooms had a lift for people in wheelchairs.

Halifax New Year’s Eve Celebration at Grand Parade Aims to Be Accessible for First Time

By Alexa MacLean -Global News
Posted December 26, 2019

The New Year’s Eve celebration at Grand Parade is coined as the largest in Atlantic Canada. Work is being done to make it fully accessible to everyone looking to attend. .

A well-known accessibility advocate in Nova Scotia has been working alongside the municipality to ensure that one of Atlantic Canada’s largest outdoor New Year’s Eve celebrations, happening at Halifax’s Grand Parade, is fully accessible to anyone wanting to attend.

“This is the first year for it,” said Paul Vienneau.

“We’re going to build on this, but immediately we’ve got a sort of fenced-off area downstage right in the front, for disabled folks of all descriptions to sit.

Americans With Disabilities Have $200 Billion in Spending Power. Comcast Isn’t Leaving Them Behind

by Christian Hetrick, Updated: December 25, 2019

James Baldwin thought he’d never see his granddaughter’s face again.

The 18-year Army veteran started to lose his vision three years ago from an injury he suffered in the Gulf War. He lost his left eye and was left with limited vision in his right, reducing his sight to light and shadows. He can see shapes but not faces.

That was until October, when Baldwin put on a pair of NuEyes electronic glasses, which enhance the vision of visually impaired people. Suddenly, he could clearly see his wife sitting beside him. Leaves on trees. A picture of his granddaughter in her basketball uniform.