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Restoring Funding for Accessible Books: We Need Your Help!

Sustained funding that we can rely on is crucial to our ability to plan and maintain the services we provide to our users. In its Fall Economic Statement, the federal government has indicated that its funding for CELA and NNELS will be reduced by 25% per year in the coming 4 years, down to no federal funding by the year 2024-25.

Kids With Physical Disabilities Struggling Through the Pandemic

News provided by
Easter Seals Ontario
Mar 01, 2021

TORONTO, March 1, 2021 /CNW/ – Easter Seals Ontario, now in its 99th year of operation, kicks off its annual campaign, March is Easter Seals Month, with a goal of bringing heightened awareness of the increased challenges faced by children and youth with physical disabilities and their families particularly during the pandemic.

“It has been almost a year that children with physical disabilities and their families have been without services like therapy, personal care and respite support, and it’s taking its toll,” says Kevin Collins, President and CEO, Easter Seals Ontario. “The kids have been isolated at home with very little social interaction, and many parents have had to quit their jobs to provide around the clock care. They are emotionally and physically exhausted.”

Advocacy Group for Visually Impaired Canadians Says Ottawa’s Funding Application was Inaccessible

Globe and Mail, Mar. 3, 2021

OTTAWA – An advocacy group for blind Canadians is accusing the federal government of negligence after the organization applied for a funding program to support people living with disabilities through an online process it says was not accessible to those with visual impairments.

The Alliance for Equality for Blind Canadians (AEBC), a national charitable organization that advocates for the inclusion of individuals who are blind, deaf-blind and partially sighted, tried to apply for funding to help build capacity for their organization, Ottawa-based lawyer Anne Levesque said.

COVID-19 Vaccine Websites Violate Disability Laws, Create Inequity for the Blind

By Lauren Weber, Hannah Recht
Feb. 25, 2021

Many COVID vaccination registration and information websites at the federal, state and local levels violate disability rights laws, hindering the ability of blind people to sign up for a potentially lifesaving vaccine, a Kaiser Health News investigation has found.

Across the country, people who use special software to make the web accessible have been unable to sign up for the vaccines or obtain vital information about COVID”19 because many government websites lack required accessibility features. At least 7.6 million people in the U.S. over age 16 have a visual disability.

New National Partnership Focuses on Improving Accessibility on The Great Trail of Canada

Canadian Paralympians and Para athletes join AccessNow and Trans Canada Trail to provide valuable accessibility feedback on trails across Canada OTTAWA, ON and MONTREAL, Feb. 23, 2021 /CNW/

Trans Canada Trail (TCT) and AccessNow ” a Canadian social startup that works through mapping to facilitate accessibility in countries around the world ” are excited to announce a new partnership aimed at increasing accessibility on trails across the country.

By working together on initiatives that lead to information being shared via the AccessNow app, Canadians will be able to discover barrierfree routes as well as identify areas where barriers still exist so they can be addressed, resulting in increased accessibility along The Great Trail.

Online Learning Era Neglects Blind Students’ Needs

A year after many campuses transitioned to remote instruction, blind students continue to encounter barriers that undermine their learning. By Lindsay McKenzie
February 19, 2021

Blind students report challenges like materials arriving late after many colleges and universities transitioned to remote learning amid the pandemic.

The shift to remote learning has been extremely challenging for blind students, with some still facing unresolved accessibility issues.

The National Federation of the Blind and other organizations have warned for months that colleges are failing to provide blind students with the timely accommodations and support to which they are legally entitled.

Ice Now Open in Parkdale, at Alberta’s First Accessible Outdoor Rink

Wider bench doors, transparent boards included in first phase of construction Hannah Kost, CBC News
Posted: Feb 17, 2021

Phase 1 of construction has officially been completed on the Parkdale Community Rink & Hub, which means accessible and inclusive ice is now open for skaters and sledge hockey players.

The Parkdale Community Association said the outdoor rink in the northwest Calgary neighbourhood is the first of its kind in Alberta, and only the second in Canada.

The first phase of the project saw the rink completed with inclusivity in mind.

4 Reasons Why Hiring Disabled Workers Is Good for Business

The pandemic has hit the disabilities community particularly hard. This founder of a startup that makes software more accessible warns that’s a major loss for your innovation. By Cat Noone

Everyone has been struck by the pandemic, but the individuals who typically fail to be taken into account in society and business have felt some of the harshest blowback of all. Diverse employees have been facing greater challenges, work-related stress, and fear for their professional futures more than non-diverse workers.

Canada: University Professors Research on Barriers to Justice Faced by Persons with Disabilities During the COVID-19 Pandemic

February 12 2021

CANADA: In collaboration with ARCH Disability Centre, TRU with the help of the University of Windsor will pursue a new research project on the effects of COVID-19.

TRU’s Dr. Ruby Dhand, a professor in the Faculty of Law, has partnered with Dr. Dipesh Prema, a TRU chemistry professor, and Dr. Tess Sheldon, a law professor from the University of Windsor are not focusing on traditional COVID-19 topics but is seeking to understand what barriers to justice those with severe disabilities in long-term care homes are facing due to the pandemic.

The research is being done in partnership with ARCH Disability Law Centre and is funded by the government of Canada’s Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council.

Crowd Sourced Description – Call for Submissions!

Hey friends with sight loss!

I hope this email/post finds you all well!

A cool project is being embarked on…crown sourced description!
please help spread the word to all in the blind community, near and far. the draw can include anybody in any part of Canda, and the USA and possible beyond…

Here is how i hope you can help.

Is there an artwork you have always wanted to hear described, but never had the chance? VocalEye is seeking suggestions from the blind and partially sighted community for a described visual art tour. It could be anything from a famous masterpiece to a lesser-known work that you have a personal connection to. The suggestions we collect will form the basis of an Almost Live Zoom Virtual Tour later this year.