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Advocates Want Websites Accessible to Those With Impaired, No Eyesight

By Brian Bowling
Wednesday, Aug. 19, 2015, 11:03 p.m.

For most people, surfing the Web consists of a quick glance to find a link, followed by a mouse click.

For Phil Glotfelty and other people with impaired or no eyesight, Web browsing requires listening to screen-reading software describing each element on the page until it reaches the right link. The process can take several minutes.

“You bored yet?” he asks while demonstrating the software at his Ross business, Game Masters.

As tedious as it is, it gets worse when a website’s design doesn’t allow the reading software to work.

Parapan Am Games remind us of what is possible when barriers are removed

By Sara Arenson,
CBC News, Aug. 17, 2015

In July, Canadians were glued to television screens as Toronto hosted the 2015 Pan Am Games. But how many of us were aware of the sister event in August, the fifth ever Parapan Am Games?

An elite competition for athletes with disabilities, the Parapan Am Games challenges stereotypes. During the Toronto Games, the media showcased athletic excellence without glossing over athletes’ impairments or the difference between traditional and adapted sports.

‘Becoming disabled can be as easy as injuring your back at work, being involved in a car accident, or developing a chronic illness. No one is immune.’ – Sara Arenson

Justice Department Applies ADA Title III to Carnival’s Cruise Ships, Website, and Mobile App in a Landmark Settlement

Seyfarth Shaw LLP
USA August 13 2015

In late July, coinciding with the 25th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the Department of Justice (DOJ) entered into a landmark settlement agreement with Carnival Corp. to improve the physical accessibility of 62 cruise ships sailing under the Carnival Cruise Line, Holland America Line, and Princess Cruise brands. The agreement, also addresses the accessibility of Carnivals website, mobile application, and reservation system.

The agreement is notable in at least two key respects:

HOCKEY INNOVATION Students design puck for visually impaired players

The Globe and Mail, August 3, 2015, Sports.

A pair of Ontario college students face a tough crowd as they try to design an audible hockey puck that can be used by visually impaired players. And the international judges vetting the product at a global engineering contest won’t even be the harshest critics.

Those would be the players themselves, who say people have been designing pucks containing electronic noisemakers for decades and haven’t yet managed to create one that works well on the ice.

They say it’s proven difficult to find a puck that can be heard equally well while stationary or in motion, adding that ice temperatures and arena acoustics add further challenges.

How Google Designs for the Blind

Published 10:19 AM CDT Aug 04, 2015

SAN FRANCISCO (CNNMoney) Laura Palmaro was 10 years old when she rubbed her eyes and noticed something was wrong with her vision. She had a hemorrhage in the left eye and lost central vision, part of a rare condition called choroidal osteoma.

The same condition struck her right eye four years later. Overnight, she’d become legally blind, retaining only peripheral vision. She was unable to read or see a blackboard.

“It seemed like everything I loved was being stopped. It was very difficult at that point to find out where to go from here,” said Palmero, now 27.

Rick Hansen Calls for Establishing Federal Disabilities Act

Philip Raphael / Richmond News
July 31, 2015

Rick Hansen has joined the call to establish a federal law protecting the rights of disabled people.

Well-known accessibility advocate and Richmond resident Rick Hansen has added his voice calling for establishing a federal disabilities act.

Hansen, who made his mark during his Man in Motion round the world wheelchair tour in the 1980s, is supporting a non- partisan campaign to ensure accessibility, inclusion, and equal opportunity for Canadians with disabilities.

It’s part of Barrier-Free Canada’s initiative to advocate for an enactment of a strong and effective Canadians with Disabilities Act (CDA), which the organization says will enable people with disabilities to live to their full potential.

Toronto Man With Tourette’s Says He Was Kicked Out of Club Over Tic

Crews and Tangos ownership says it is seeking bouncer’s side of story CBC News, July 30, 2015

A Toronto man with Tourette syndrome says he was kicked out of a downtown nightclub after a bouncer mistook his tic for a sign that he was using drugs.

Graham Kent says he was at Crews and Tangos, a busy Church Street bar, with his girlfriend and a group of friends two weekends ago when a bouncer approached him and asked him to leave.

“I said ‘are you kicking me out?'” Kent recalls.

He said the bouncer told him he was “not comfortable” with him being in the club, and that the establishment has a “zero drug policy.”

Did Canada Break a Promise to Its Disabled Citizens?

The Globe and Mail, July 28, 2015

David Pettinicchio is an assistant professor of sociology at the University of Toronto.

Despite their differing approaches, both Canada and the U.S. face challenges in keeping their promise to improve the economic wellbeing of their disabled citizens.

Until recently, the U.S. had generally been regarded a world leader in disability rights, while Canadians with disabilities had to wait until the 1982 Charter of Rights and Freedoms and even there, activism was necessary in pressuring the government to include disability in the Charter. Meanwhile the U.S. government had already enacted disability rights and antidiscrimination legislation in the early 1970s.

ADA at 25: Progress and Peril

by Mark A. Riccobono

July 26 is the twenty-fifth anniversary of the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). As President of the National Federation of the Blind, one of the oldest and largest organizations of disabled Americans, I recognize that the ADA was made possible through our self-determined action as people with disabilities, and there are many achievements we should celebrate after twenty-five years of progress.

But while I continue to be hopeful about our future, I also view this anniversary as a time to be significantly concerned about new barriers that threaten our full participation in society.

This Small Change Could Make a Big Difference for Accessible Technology

The Switch
By Hayley Tsukayama, July 23 at 10:10

Tech firms such as Yahoo, Facebook, Dropbox and LinkedIn announced Thursday that they will develop standard language that lets applicants know that having accessibility knowledge is “preferred” to land a job.

Think about how much you rely on your phone and computer every day. Now imagine having to get through your day without being able to use the mouse. Imagine not being to use a touchscreen — or maybe not being able to see the screen at all. Could you still do your job? That’s what it’s like for millions of people with disabilities that prevent them from using basic technology for work and play. And while few would argue that it’s a bad idea to build products that address those issues, a lack of awareness often means that even making products functional for people with disabilities is an afterthought.

Internet Pioneer, Tech Maven Join Forces to Support CHS Benefit

Vinton Cerf and Amber Mac announced as speakers at Get CONNECTED: The Social Interactive Event

TORONTO, July 23, 2015 /CNW/ – The Canadian Hearing Society (CHS) is thrilled to announce Vinton G. Cerf, known as one of the “Fathers of the Internet,” as the featured speaker and Amber Mac, a Canadian TV personality, as the emcee at Get CONNECTED: The Social Interactive Event at Muzik Nightclub in Toronto on Sept. 24. The fully-accessible event will celebrate the technological advancements that have broken down barriers for people with disabilities.

B.C. Transit Buys System to Announce Greater Victoria Stops


The move comes three years after a B.C. Human Rights Tribunal ruling, responding to complaints from people with impaired vision, had directed B.C. Transit to make stop announcements. The corporation responded by ordering drivers to call out stops while they drove their routes.

Unifor Local 333, the drivers union, spoke against the order, saying that calling the stops would be unsafe and tantamount to distracted driving. Many drivers refused to follow the order.

B.C. Transit is buying an automated, GPS-assisted stop-announcing system called Trekker Breeze+. The total cost is estimated at just under $400,000, including brackets and installation.

VCH Denies Former CEO Forced Out For Telling The Truth

by Valentine Marten
July 21, 2015

This morning the Vancouver Coastal Health Authority (VCH) denied social media reports that its former CEO Dr. David Ostrow had not voluntarily retired last year but was forced to for telling the truth.

Two days ago Wikileaks tweeted a link to a News 1130 article dated February 26, 2013 in which Dr. Ostrow stated: Pearson was never meant to handle the complex care requirements of those now living therePeople are getting their medications at the right time, and theyre getting suction and that sort of thing, but its way more than that when you are actually living there, and so there I would say that care isnt ideal, theft is an issue at every one of Vancouver Coastals long term care organizations. (Pearson is the George Pearson Centre, a 63 year old 114 bed extended care hospital for adults with disabilities who have complex needs.)

No Dogs in Shopping Carts: Service Dog Owners Hail Clarification of ADA Rules

Nanci Hutson
The Prescott Daily Courier – Prescott, Arizona

Pamela and Gregg McKinley are “absolutely thrilled” the American Disabilities Act rules this week were clarified to specify such dogs cannot be placed in shopping carts.

“This is a major step for the ADA. We’re extremely proud,” said Pamela McKinley whose husband, an Operation Desert Storm veteran, has a trained service dog, Seth, a Dutch Shepherd mix.

The U.S. Department of Justice released this week a new technical assistance document entitled “Frequently Asked Questions About Service Animals and the ADA.” It is in that document that it is made clear that service animals are not allowed in shopping carts.

Government of Canada Improves Accessibility for Canadians With Disabilities in Manotick

July 14, 2015 Manotick, Ontario Employment and Social Development Canada

Today, the Honourable Pierre Poilievre, Minister of Employment and Social Development, announced improved access for Canadians with disabilities to programs and services in Manotick.

Royal Canadian Legion Branch 314 is receiving $50,000 through the Enabling Accessibility Fund (EAF) to improve accessibility for Canadians with disabilities. Royal Canadian Legion Branch 314’s project consists of installing an accessible lift and an automated door. As a result of this project, the organization will be able to offer their programs and services to Veterans with disabilities in Manotick.

The Federation at Seventy-Five: The Determination of Value and the Reflection of Hope

An Address Delivered by Mark Riccobono
at the Banquet of the Annual Convention of the National Federation of the Blind
Orlando, Florida, July 10, 2015

Value is a broad concept used to measure the worth of a resource, product, service, or a combination of these.

Many theories have been offered through the centuries to help explain both the objective and subjective value that people place on things and on each other. The consideration of value began with the ancient philosophers attempting to apply a logical framework. In contrast, the modern investigation, broadly known as value theory, is empirical research that involves concepts from psychology, sociology, and economics.

VCH Investigation Unable To Conclude Why It Told the Truth

By Valentine Marten
July 10, 2015

The Vancouver Coastal Health Authority (VCH) is one of British Columbia’s Health Authorities. It is responsible for the delivery of $3.4 billion in community, hospital and residential care to more than one million people in communities including Richmond, Vancouver, the North Shore, Sunshine Coast, Sea to Sky corridor, Powell River, Bella Bella and Bella Coola.

On July 7, 2015 VCH released the report of an investigation into why one of their media spokespeople told the truth in 2012. The three year meticulous, exhaustive investigation was unable to conclude why the spokesperson told the truth. VCH issued a highly qualified, carefully worded safety blanket apology to their stakeholders, and made a commitment to never tell the truth again.

Quebec Superior Court Assumes Jurisdiction Over Accessibility Class Action

July 08 2015

The Quebec Superior Court recently rejected a motion brought by WestJet seeking to have a previously certified class action dismissed on the basis that the Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA) had exclusive jurisdiction over the subject matter of the suit.(1)


In October 2013 the Quebec court certified a class action in that province for the recovery of compensatory, moral and punitive damages against WestJet. The class was composed of:

  • persons residing in Quebec who were functionally disabled by reason of their obesity or otherwise and who were required to pay additional fees for an extra seat for an attendant and/or for a seat adapted to their condition on a WestJet flight; and

Blind Transit Riders Deserve Safe Callout System

Ben Williams / Times Colonist
July 4, 2015 12:08 AM

How can a serious problem affecting people with disabilities in Victoria persist for seven years when everyone involved agrees on the obvious solution?

That’s the question that has perplexed Greater Victoria transit operators, their union, the Canadian Federation of the Blind, the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal and now the B.C. Supreme Court.

Because everyone agrees that an automated call-out system for bus stops in Greater Victoria is the only safe, effective way to ensure the rights of the blind are respected on our transit system.

Public Servants With Visual Impairments Say Government Failing Them

Federal government could face legal battle over inaccessible, internal websites says Toronto lawyer
By Julie Ireton, CBC News Posted: Jul 02, 2015 5:00 AM ET| Last Updated: Jul 02, 2015 12:37 PM ET

Former federal government electrician Dan Mooney said the computer he was using at his desk job was constantly failing. “It was not unusual to go a month, month and a half without a properly working computer.”

Public servants who are blind or have visual impairments say the federal government is failing them when it comes to making sure they have the proper tools to do their jobs.