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Accessible Cabs Would Make a ‘Major Difference’ in Halifax

By: Stephen Wentzell
July 24, 2021

An accessible taxi-style service could soon be making its way to the Halifax Regional Municipality.

A new survey, launched Thursday, is looking for public feedback on a potential program anticipated to begin operations by the end of 2021. The municipality says survey responses will help inform the framework for how the service will operate.

The private, on-demand program would require the municipality to pay a fee to the contracted company to provide an accessible taxi-style service, while users will pay the standard rate for cab rides.

For disability rights activist, Vicky Levack, the program would make a major difference in her life.

Independence Science Receives Award From National Federation of the Blind for Making Science More Accessible

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Independence Science has been recognized by the National Federation of the Blind for technology that makes science more accessible to blind students.

The company received a 2021 Jacob Bolotin Award on July 10 during the National Federation of the Blind’s virtual national conference. Independence Science created the Sci-Voice Talking LabQuest 2, a hand-held, talking data logger that connects to more than 75 sensors and probes. The sensors and probes collect quantitative data across subject areas including biology, chemistry, physics, and earth and space sciences.

Michael Hingson, spokesman and business development analyst at Independence Science, said blind students listen to the data as it is being collected. They also have access to the data afterward for additional analysis.

Report: Nova Scotia Failing to Meet Its Commitment to De-Institutionalize People With Disabilities

July 20, 2021
By Jennifer Henderson

A report issued yesterday by the Disability Rights Coalition says there remains “a mismatch” between government rhetoric on providing services to disabled adults and the frustrating reality faced by many families.

Back in 2013, in response to Canada’s ratification of the United Nations Convention respecting the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, a government-community task force produced a report known as the Roadmap to bring Nova Scotia into compliance with the UN Convention. The McNeil government accepted recommendations to end the warehousing of disabled people in large institutions and commit to developing small options homes for four to six people in their home communities.

New Award-Winning App Helps the Visually Impaired Manage Their Wardrobe

Two Industrial Design students from Carleton University have won an Innovative Designs for Accessibility (IDeA) student competition award from Universities Canada.

Liana Meere and Mandy Hui took top honours in the competition’s Attitudinal/Systemic barriers category for their concept Closet, a label system that enables people with visual disabilities to independently manage their clothes.

“The Carleton community is incredibly proud of Liana and Mandy in being recognized by Universities Canada for their innovation and dedication towards enhancing accessibility standards,” says Larry Kostiuk, dean of the Faculty of Engineering and Design. “Their achievement adds to Carleton’s long-running success at the IDeA student competition and reflects our School of Industrial Design’s strong emphasis on inclusive and accessible design practices, as well as Carleton’s commitment to accessibility within the university’s Strategic Integrated Plan.”

Supporting an ‘Active’ Recovery Means Improving the Accessibility of Outdoor Spaces

The government’s investment in active transportation should benefit rural, accessible outdoor spaces Opinion by Benjamin Rempel, Joe Doiron
July 19, 2021

Before Catherine McKenna, minister of infrastructure and communities, announced her planned departure from politics, she outlined significant investments to support active transportation across Canada. At the time few took notice. But four months later, this infusion of funding has taken on new importance as Canadians flock outdoors to reclaim their physical and mental health.

The funding includes $400 million to retrofit and develop new pathways, bike lanes, multi-use trails and sidewalks. The money will also support the government’s commitment to create an active transportation strategy – a first for Canada. This is exciting news, to be sure. But before supports are enacted to get more Canadians walking and wheeling, the government must consider several key issues.

Montreal Advocates Call for Better Accessibility

By Phil Carpenter , Global News
Posted July 16, 2021

Marie Pontini is a competitive bodybuilder who likes to keep active.

But she’s frustrated that she cannot always get to where she wants to. There isn’t always access for her wheelchair, which she uses because she has multiple sclerosis.

“New buildings, they have to be accessible,” she told Global News, “but there’s no guidelines that tell them how to make it accessible.”

Pontini pointed out that the problem of accessibility for people with reduced mobility in the city is nothing new and that for years they’ve been demanding improved access. According to her, more businesses and building owners could easily make the accommodations more effective by consulting experts – the people who need to services.

Woman With Disabilities Wants Change to Province’s Household Income Policy

Saint John woman says she’d lose her disability benefits if she married long-time partner Vanessa Balintec , CBC News
Posted: Jul 19, 2021

Saint John resident Kaitlyn Layden has been advocating for the revision of Social Development’s household income policy for years. She says the policy forces her to choose between getting married and moving in with her fiance or having financial stability with the department’s support.

Kaitlyn Layden remembers the intense joy she felt after getting engaged to her fiance Lucas Massey in 2017. After over four years together, she was ready for the next step – getting married, moving in together and maybe adopting a few pets.

Return to the Workplace Highlights Accessibility Concerns for Disabled Employees

The pandemic called attention to workplace barriers for disabled people. By Kiara Alfonseca
July 15, 2021

As COVID-19 restrictions loosen and the country settles into a new normal, disability advocates have mixed feelings about the future of the workplace and public health in the U.S.

Marcie Roth, executive director and chief executive officer of the World Institute on Disability, hopes the accommodations that have been made for all workers during the pandemic continue as the world goes back to normal.

“For lots of people with disabilities, returning to normal horrifies us,” Roth said. “Returning to normal means exclusion, inaccessibility, rigidity, a lack of imagination. Rather than the notion that we would be building back better … we would really like to be building forward better.”

People With Learning Disabilities ‘Extremely Vulnerable’ to the Effects of COVID-19

They must be prioritised and protected, say researchers
Research News

People with learning disabilities with covid-19 are five times more likely to be admitted to hospital and eight times more likely to die compared with the general population of England, finds a study published by The BMJ today.

Risks were particularly high for those with severe to profound learning disability, Down’s syndrome and cerebral palsy.

The researchers say prompt access to covid-19 testing and healthcare is warranted for this group, and prioritisation for covid-19 vaccination and other targeted preventive measures should be considered.

Seeing The Unseen: Nonvisible Disability

By Adriana Temprano | Staff
Published July 14, 2021

At the time I’m beginning to write this, I am slightly elevated in a hospital bed of an intensive care unit. Setbacks from a neurological procedure are why I once again find myself with a diet involving intravenous fluids and a wardrobe consisting of a hospital gown and nonslip socks.

As someone who experiences chronic pain, my appearance doesn’t always explicitly notify others I’m feeling unwell. Sometimes, this can look like me smiling through what hurts while telling those who ask, “I’m doing fine.” It can also result in a trip to the emergency room in an effort to try and overcome an incessant bout of pain. In both cases, trying to explain to those without this type of condition can be a task and a headache in itself.