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FCC Adopts Real-Time Text Proposed Rulemaking

Commission Moves Forward on Accessibility Proposal to Modernize Wireless Phone Compatibility with Advanced Text Communications WASHINGTON, April 28, 2016

The Federal Communications Commission today approved a proposal to utilize real-time text to ensure that people with disabilities who rely on text to communicate have accessible and effective telephone access.

As communications networks migrate to IP-based environments, this technology would allow Americans who are deaf, hard of hearing, speech disabled or deaf-blind to use the same wireless communications devices as their friends, relatives and colleagues, and more seamlessly integrate into tomorrow’s communications networks.

Family Protests Airline’s Rejection of Special Seat for Son Who Has Cerebral Palsy

Cathay Pacific had approved the seat months before but turned it away at Pearson, says mother of boy with cerebral palsy, who cant sit up without it.

Alastair Sharp, daughter Tallula, 3, son Sebastian, 7, and wife Kara found themselves turned away from a flight to Australia at Pearson Airport last week because the airline refused to let them use Sebastian’s special seat designed to help him sit upright.

By: Michael Robinson Staff Reporter, Published on Mon Apr 25 2016

Kara has a moment with Sebastian, who was anxious to get on the Cathay Pacific plane. After the standoff about the special seat, the airline arranged for an alternative flight through Air Canada.

Mertl: Here are 10 Reasons to Hire Workers With Disabilities

Kelly Mertl
Published on: April 24, 2016

In Ottawa, people who live with disabilities are often underemployed and only 43 per cent participate in the labour market, compared to 70 per cent of the general population.

With an aging workforce and shortage of young skilled workers, employees with disabilities offer a large untapped talent pool for employers.

So in 2010, United Way Ottawa brought local employers, service providers, and job seekers together to create the Employment Accessibility Resource Network (EARN). The network has one key goal: help people with disabilities find meaningful employment.

After 1,300 job matches, we’ve learned 10 important lessons about why hiring a person with a disability is both good for business and the community.

CRA Hurting Disabled Canadians, Advocates Say

Last piece still missing almost 2 years after Ottawa OK’d bill to protect disabled taxpayers By Sean Davidson
CBC News, Mar. 25, 2016 5:00 AM ET| Last Updated: Mar 25, 2016

Almost two years ago, Ottawa passed a bill to limit what consultants could charge when helping others file for the disability tax credit. But the bill didn’t specify a limit and experts say the delay is hitting people with disabilities in their wallets.

Critics have long maintained the rules surrounding the disability tax credit need a re-do.

The non-refundable DTC isn’t worth enough, some say. The paperwork? Too complicated. The eligibility requirements? Too restrictive.

The Blind Leading the Blind: How Berkeley Alums Are Designing an Inclusive World

By Holly J. McDede
Posted on April 20, 2016 – 5:41pm
Joshua Miele has been blind ever since a violent acid attack took away his vision before his 5th birthday. But he says he no longer spends time wishing he could see. Instead, from his office at the Smith-Kettlewell Eye Research Institute in San Francisco, he dreams up new technologies for the blind, and helps turn those visions into reality: maps that can talk, YouTube videos that can speak, electronic gloves that can text.

Put Ministry of Health in Charge of Inmates’ Health Care, John Howard Society Says

Blair Crawford, Ottawa Citizen
Published on: April 19, 2016

Ontario’s John Howard Society is urging the province to put the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care in charge of inmates’ health, taking away the responsibility now held by jail superintendents.

In a report released Tuesday, the society says the province “is facing a growing health crisis in Ontario’s correctional institutions,” a crisis made worse because health care behind bars has been left to the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services.

New York City Enacts Accessibility Standards for Government Websites

By John W. Egan on April 14th, 2016

Seyfarth Synopsis: NYC recently passed a law requiring that its government agency websites meet accessibility standards. Other state and local governments may follow NYC’s lead and enact accessibility standards for government agencies, contractors and even public accommodations in the absence of regulations from DOJ.

On March 14, New York City became the first major municipality in the United States to adopt legislation mandating accessibility standards for all of its government agency websites. Serving a population of over 8 million, the New York City government includes more than 120 agencies staffed by approximately 325,000 employees. This legislation will have an impact on City agencies, and access for persons with disabilities to those institutions. It may also have an impact on future website regulations impacting businesses across the country.

Netflix to Enhance Access for Customers Who Are Blind

Berkeley, CA April 14, 2016

In a first-of-its-kind settlement, advocates for people who are blind have reached an agreement with Netflix to make accessible the movies and videos offered through the Netflix video streaming and DVD rental subscriptions.

The settlement provides that Netflix will make its video content accessible by adding a new technology called “audio description” as a feature that blind customers can activate so they can more fully understand and enjoy the movie and video experience.

The settlement was reached between Netflix and the American Council of the Blind (ACB). The Massachusetts-based Bay State Council of the Blind (BSCB) and Robert Baran, an individual who is blind, were also parties to the settlement.

Mobility Plays Important Role In Development for Toddlers With Disabilities

Michelle Klampe

CORVALLIS, Ore. Typical toddlers simultaneously spend about three hours a day in physical activity, play and engagement with objects such as toys, while their peers with mobility disabilities are less likely to engage in all of those behaviors at the same time, new research from Oregon State University shows.

The study shows the marked differences in play and activity among toddlers with and without disabilities. It also underscores the need for young children with disabilities to have opportunities to play and explore in the same manner as their peers, said the study’s lead author, Sam Logan.

Study: Most K-12 Online Learning Content Does Not Meet Needs of Students With Disabilities

Wed, 04/06/2016

LAWRENCE Online education is growing rapidly, reaching millions of students every day. However, a Center on Online Learning and Students with Disabilities at the University of Kansas study has found the majority of online educational products are not designed to meet the needs of students with disabilities and struggling learners.

Sean J. Smith, professor of special education and a co-principal investigator with the center, has authored “Invited In: Measuring UDL in Online Learning.” The report analyzes how six popular vendors of online learning products meet the principles of Universal Design for Learning, or UDL, the concept that education should be designed to meet the needs of all students. It also provides a tool that K-12 school districts across the country can use to evaluate online education programs they are using or considering for their students.

Why Canadian Companies Can’t Ignore the Cost of Mental Illness

Special to The Globe and Mail
Published Tuesday, Apr. 12, 2016

This column is part of Globe Careers’ Leadership Lab series, where executives and experts share their views and advice about leadership and management. Follow us at @Globe_Careers. Find all Leadership Lab stories at tgam.ca/leadershiplab.

With public figures such as Clara Hughes leading the way to greater awareness and increased discussion around mental health, it’s still a largely overlooked issue in many workplaces.

Each year one in five Canadians will experience a mental health or addiction problem, and in some areas, such as Ontario, this number is as high as one in four. More worrying, these figures reflect only people who have visited a doctor for a diagnosis. The actual number is likely much higher.

Barrier-Free Ballot Boxes

By: Kevin Rollason
Posted: 04/9/2016

Disability Matters’ Natalie Mulaire. The campaign not only encourages people living with special needs to vote, but to examine how parties and candidates address issues affecting their lives.

Gone are the days a person living with disabilities would be denied the right to vote because of a flight of stairs. Or because they couldn’t see the ballot. Or because they couldn’t leave their home.

There are about 3,000 voting stations open during a provincial election. Elections Manitoba officials said 99 per cent of the locations were accessible to people living with physical disabilities during the 2011 election.

A Lot More Needs To Be Done To Help Blind People Use The Internet

Facebook’s new blind-friendly feature puts a small dent in a big problem. Huffington Post, April 6, 2016.
By Casey Williams

For the blind, navigating the digital world can be as tricky as moving through the physical one.

Some companies have tried to make their sites easier for the world’s 39 million blind people to use. Facebook, for instance, just introduced a new image-recognition feature that lets blind users “see” photos on the site.

But blind advocates say fixes like Facebook’s don’t solve the biggest obstacles blind people face online.

“We think it’s pretty cool,” Mark Riccobono, the president of the National Federation of the Blind, told The Huffington Post. “But we get concerned about flashy technology.”

Barrier-Free BC Urges Provincial Government to ‘Just Say Yes’ to a British Columbians with Disabilities Act

VICTORIA, April 6, 2016 /CNW

A grassroots movement of organizations and individuals representing British Columbia’s residents with disabilities officially launched a province-wide campaign on the steps of the Legislature today. Barrier-Free BC called on the provincial government to ‘Just Say Yes’ and enact a British Columbians with Disabilities Act.

More than 600,000 people in BC have some form of disability and that number is expected to rise dramatically over the next 15 to 20 years as the population ages.



Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has. Margaret Mead.

Twenty-five years ago, a small group of people labelled with an intellectual disability began proving that quote to be true. That group was the beginning of a legacy that would become People First of Canada (PFC). Today, People First of Canada is the national voice of people who have been labelled with an intellectual disability.

Properties Must Be Accessible to People with Disabilities Before Occupancy Federal Court Rules

Equity Residential Cannot Bypass Fair Housing Act Laws by Transferring Properties WASHINGTON, April 04, 2016 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE)

Equity Residential, the nation’s largest developer of multi-family housing, must comply with the Fair Housing Act by ensuring that properties are accessible to people with disabilities before they are occupied, not afterwards, according to a decision by the U. S. District Court for the District of Maryland. The court further ruled in Equal Rights Center v. Equity Residential, that developers cannot avoid compliance with this law by transferring properties to another company following development.

Why You Should Use Twitter’s New Accessibility Feature for Blind Users ‘ Even If You’re Not Blind

Updated by Michelle Hackman on March 29, 2016

For a large but often neglected chunk of internet users like me, a core part of the web remains totally off limits.

I’m speaking, of course, about photos the millions of images posted each day on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram that tell stories in richer detail than can be captured in bite-size posts. I miss all of them because I am blind, and the screen-reading software I use to make the web accessible can’t “read” photographs.

New Federal Budget Commits 2 Million Dollars to Federal Government Consultation on the Promised Canadians with Disabilities Act in 2016-17

Barrier-Free Canada/Canada Sans Barrière
A Non-Partisan Campaign for a Barrier-Free Canada for All Persons with Disabilities

March 31, 2016


1. New Federal Budget is Another Important Step on the Road to the Promised Canadians with Disabilities Act

In its first budget, which Finance Minister Morneau announced in Parliament on March 22, 2016, the Justin Trudeau Government repeated its 2015 election pledge to enact the Canadians with Disabilities Act. It specifically committed 2 million dollars for the Governments consultation on the development of this legislation, in 2016 and 2017. The Budget included:

Web Accessibility for People Living with a Hearing Disability

Posted by Sue Ann Rodriquez on Mar 27, 2016

CTC, Kate Olson, holding a hearing amplification device, and smiling.

One might believe that people living with a hearing disability don’t really suffer from web accessibility problems since they can see the images, use a mouse, navigate the site, and read the content on the web page just fine, right?

Auditory disabilities range from mild or moderate hearing impairments in one or both ears (“hard of hearing”), to substantial and uncorrectable impairment of hearing in both ears (“deafness”). Some people with auditory disabilities can hear sounds but sometimes not sufficiently to understand all speech, especially when there is background noise. This includes people using hearing aids or other approaches to improve the sound. (W3C, 2013)

Invitation to official launch of Barrier-Free BC – April 6, 2016

The following is circulated as a public service on behalf of Barrier-Free BC. Responses, questions or comments regarding the enclosed should be directed to the Barrier-Free BC Steering Committee at barrierfreebc@gmail.com

Barrier-Free BC Bulletin – March 2016

The Barrier-Free BC Steering Committee regrets the earlier postponement of its scheduled launch originally set for February 24. We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused.