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Doing More For People With Disabilities Is Doing More For Canadians

People with disabilities still make up a disproportionate number of professionals working in jobs that are below their skills level. 08/11/2017

Most of us take for granted the ability to easily perform daily activities or engage in social interactions. We do not wake up each morning with debilitating pain, or require the assistance of a guide dog to leave our homes. For the over 3.8 million Canadians living with a chronic health condition or health-related problem, however, performing what some might consider routine tasks can be a serious challenge.

World’s Blind Population to Triple by 2050 : study

Published: Thu, Aug 03 2017

The number of blind people across the world is set to triple from about 36 million to 115 million by 2050, due to a growing ageing population, says a study in ‘The Lancet’

The researchers estimate that crude prevalence of global blindness declined from 0.75% in 1990 to 0.48% in 2015, while the rate of moderate to severe vision impairment reduced from 3.83% to 2.90%.

London: The number of blind people across the world is set to triple from about 36 million to 115 million by 2050, due to a growing ageing population, a study warned on Thursday.

Federal Disabilities Minister ‘Frustrated’ After Family Denied Residency Over Daughter’s Health Needs

Carla Qualtrough hopes to reverse presumption that people with disabilities burden the system By Cameron MacLean
CBC News, July 28, 2017

An advocate who says it is “unfair” that an American family was denied permanent residency due to the potential costs of their daughter’s health problems has found an ally in Canada’s minister of persons with disabilities.

The family of six moved to Canada from Colorado in 2013 and have built a business in the town of Waterhen, Man. Their work permits expire in November.

When they came to Canada, Jon and Karissa Warkentin didn’t know that their daughter Karalynn, then two, had special needs. She was diagnosed in 2014 with epilepsy and global developmental delay.

Committed to Technology Equality for People with Disabilities

July 26, 2017
Written by: Dr. Ruoyi Zhou

The year 2017 will be remembered as a major milestone in the relationship between technology and equality.

Earlier this year, updates were finally approved to the Section 508 Amendment of the U.S. Rehabilitation Act of 1973 that transformed turn-of-the-century accessibility guidelines for procurement and services of the U.S. federal government to encompass modern challenges and solutions. This new set of requirements provides organizations with a roadmap toward creating inclusive technologies that can benefit all individuals, including people with disabilities.

A Robot to Help Visually Impaired Schoolchildren Find Their Way

03.07.17 – Summer series students works:

Alexandre Foucqueteau has taught Cellulo, a little hand-sized robot, how to help visually impaired children find their bearings and avoid obstacles in the classroom.

For his semester project, Alexandre Foucqueteau came up with a new application for a little multifunctional robot called Cellulo. Created at EPFL two years ago in a collaboration between the Computer-Human Interaction Lab for Learning & Instrution (CHILI) and the Robotic Systems Laboratory (LSRO) with the support of NCCR Robotics, the robot can now help visually impaired children get around their classroom. The child moves the little robot around a map of the room. When the robot bumps virtually into something, such as a table or the teacher’s desk, it can recognize the object. That may sound like a piece of cake, but getting a tablet to interact with the robot and recognize the objects was actually quite complex.

Uber Discriminates Against Riders With Disabilities, Class-Action Suit Says

By WINNIE HU
New York Times, July 19, 2017

All around Valerie Joseph, there is a fleet of Uber cars rolling by on New York City streets.

But though she could really use the ride-hailing app, Ms. Joseph said she does not bother because Uber has so few wheelchair-accessible cars to dispatch. “It’s plain unfair,” said Ms. Joseph, 41, who relies on a wheelchair.

Now, Ms. Joseph is part of a class-action lawsuit accusing Uber of discriminating against New York City riders with disabilities by providing scant access to wheelchair-accessible cars at a time when ride-hailing apps are becoming a common alternative to public transit in the city. The lawsuit was filed on Tuesday in State Supreme Court in Manhattan by Disability Rights Advocates, a nonprofit organization.

nTIDE June 2017 Jobs Report: Ongoing Job Growth Reflects Americans with Disabilities Striving to Work

by Anna Brennan-Curry
Jul 07, 2017

Kessler Foundation and University of New Hampshire release nTIDE Report Monthly Update

Durham, NH Americans with disabilities continued to engage in the labor market, reaching 15 months of job gains, according to today’s National Trends in Disability Employment Monthly Update (nTIDE), issued by Kessler Foundation and the University of New Hampshire’s Institute on Disability (UNH-IOD). This extends the longest stretch of recorded gains for this population.

As the nation implements the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) of 2014, vocational rehabilitation (VR) services are evolving to better serve people with significant disabilities.

Microsoft’s New iPhone App Narrates the World for Blind People

The app uses AI to recognize people, objects, and scenes
by James Vincent@jjvincent
Jul 12, 2017

Microsoft has released Seeing AI a smartphone app that uses computer vision to describe the world for the visually impaired. With the app downloaded, the users can point their phone’s camera at a person and it’ll say who they are and how they’re feeling. They can also point it at a product and it’ll tell them what it is. All of this is done using artificial intelligence that runs locally on their phone.

Low-Cost Smart Glove Translates American Sign Language Alphabet

By Liezel Labios, UC San Diego
Wednesday, July 12, 2017

“The Language of Glove”: a smart glove that wirelessly translates the American Sign Language (ASL) alphabet into text and controls a virtual hand to mimic ASL gestures.

Engineers at the University of California San Diego have developed a smart glove that wirelessly translates the American Sign Language alphabet into text and controls a virtual hand to mimic sign language gestures. The device, which engineers call “The Language of Glove,” was built for less than $100 using stretchable and printable electronics that are inexpensive, commercially available and easy to assemble. The work was published on July 12 in the journal PLOS ONE.

Guide Dog Users, Providers Say Proposed Rules Disregard Needs of Visually Impaired

Michelle McQuigge / The Canadian Press
July 7, 2017 08:50 AM

Yvonne Peters, who is visually impaired, spends time with her four year old service dog Mina at her home in Winnipeg, Tuesday, July 4, 2017. Peters expects proposed standards to impact service dog teams in Canada.

TORONTO Providers and users of guide dogs for the visually impaired say new proposed federal standards for service dog teams disregard their current needs and could pose barriers to future access.

The Canadian General Standards Board issued draft guidelines meant to serve as best practices for a wide range of people with disabilities and their canine service partners.

Freeing our people: Updates From the Long Road to dIinstitutionalization

By: Natalie Spagnuolo, Kory Earle
The Monitor, July/August 2017
July 4, 2017

Imagine.

You are told when you will go to bed, when you will eat, and what you will eat.

You are denied a key to your own home, or to have visitors.

You are coerced or forced into sexual sterilization, for “your own protection.”

You’re informed the hours you spent shredding paper over 10 years are just a form of “training,” and that you don’t deserve even a minimum wage for this work.

You are told how to vote, or that someone else will vote in your place because you aren’t capable of making rational decisions.

Letter Calls on Minister to Include Education in Accessibility Legislation

CBC News Posted: Jul 03, 2017

A group of Manitobans wants to see schools become more accessible for people with disabilities.

Barrier Free Manitoba delivered a letter to Minister of Families Scott Fielding on Friday calling for an education standard to be included in the Accessibility for Manitobans Act.

The letter was signed by 1,100 Manitobans and 59 organizations.

Patrick Faulkner sits on the steering committee of Barrier Free Manitoba. He said although human rights law states that all children have the right to a quality education, in practice, there are many barriers.

“We know that half of parents report that they have real difficulty securing the kinds of supports (that they need),” he said.

Benetech Establishes Global Certified Accessible Program to Ensure Content Serves All Students Equally

By Sara Gebhardt
Originally Posted June 22, 2017

Ingram Content Groups VitalSource® and CoreSource® to incorporate the results of Benetechs Global Certified Accessible program into their service offerings

Early supporters of Global Certified Accessible include Elsevier, HarperCollins Publishers, Harvard Business Publishing, Macmillan Learning, Penguin Random House, Amnet Systems, Apex CoVantage

Benetech, the leading software for social good nonprofit, in conjunction with Dedicon, Royal National Institute of Blind People, and Vision Australia, today announced Global Certified Accessible. The program is the first third-party ebook verification program for accessible content. Global Certified Accessible supports publisher efforts to meet or exceed accessibility requirements set by K-12 schools and post-secondary institutions. Todays announcement comes on the heels of a six-month beta program with participation from industry leaders spanning educational, academic, professional, and trade publications.

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 québécoise, and intervenor services for participants who are deaf-blind. In northern Canada, Inuit sign language was also provided.