Welcome to Accessibility News International (ANI)

This site is part of the Accessibility News Network.

Latest Headlines

One Hundred Years Enough for the CNIB

Graeme McCreath
March 18, 2018
Graeme McCreath argues the group encourages custodial treatment of the blind.

Is the CNIB’s centennial this year really something to celebrate?

The Canadian National Institute for the Blind came about directly because of the high profile of gas-blinded heroes of the First World War and survivors of the 1917 Halifax explosion. As a self-preservation policy, the institute eventually turned to influencing government to designate all blind Canadians permanent wards of a charity, but in reality, recipients of little.

Temporary causes reflect contemporary attitudes, but society changes and so should attitudes. Nevertheless, this longstanding enigma, the CNIB, will celebrate its centennial this year, yet elsewhere inclusion has replaced segregation, and obsolete Victorian values have evaporated like the age of steam power.

Disabled Canadians Experience More Assault

Michelle McQuigge
The Toronto Star , Mar. 16, 2018

Canadians with disabilities are about twice as likely to experience violence as their able-bodied peers, with greater instances of victimization taking place at every stage of life, new data from Statistics Canada indicated Thursday.

The numbers, drawn heavily from the agency’s 2014 General Social Survey on victimization, take an in-depth look at the experiences of Canadians over the age of 15 who identify as having a physical, sensory, cognitive or mental health disability and do not live in an institution.

The report, while breaking down data on both genders, offers a particular focus on women, who experience noticeably higher rates of victimization in many areas.

Airbnb strives for inclusiveness with accessibility-approved Rentals

Airbnb just took an important step toward inclusiveness by making it easier to find listings that are accessible for people who use wheelchairs.

If you climb up porch stairs or step into a shower without thinking about it, you may never have noticed that finding disability-friendly listings on Airbnb was a challenge, requiring guests to grill hosts about details on accessible bathrooms and ramps and leaving much to be desired. Airbnb recognized the problem (eventually), and in 2017 it started working with the California Council of the Blind, California Foundation for Independent Living Centers, and National Council on Independent Living to develop new filters that would make it easier for travelers to find homes that fit their needs. It also purchased Accomable, a startup dedicated to disability-friendly travel.

Paralympics: Disabled People Experience Accessibility Issues

By KIM TONG-HYUNG | Associated Press
March 17, 2018

GANGNEUNG, South Korea As the world’s top disabled athletes competed on ice and snow, Erica Mitchell steered through her own obstacle course on Pyeongchang’s narrow and uneven streets.

The 31-year-old from Chicago was one of many people with disabilities who spoke to The Associated Press this week about accessibility problems at the Paralympic Games in South Korea’s rural east, despite what organizers described as a “perfectly” organized event that provided the “highest level” of access.

Bill C-49 Empowers Goliath and Takes Away David’s Sling Shot

March 15, 2018 For Immediate Release

Bill C-49, the Transportation Modernization Act, will make some aspects of Canadas federally regulated transportation system more inaccessible than it already is for people with disabilities.

Travelers with disabilities routinely encounter accessibility barriers, such as damaged or delayed mobility equipment, kiosks without audio output to make them accessible to blind travelers.

If passed without amendment, Bill C-49 while adding new barriers will also make it harder for organizations like the Council of Canadians with Disabilities, a national organization that has been working for more than 40 years in support of an accessible and inclusive transportation system, to take complaints in the public interest to the Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA).

U.S. Sues New York City Subway Operator Over Disabled Access

March 13, 2018
By Jonathan Stempel

NEW YORK (Reuters) – The U.S. government on Tuesday sued the agencies that run New York City’s subway, claiming they failed to make a Bronx station accessible to disabled people despite an expensive renovation.

By intervening in a 2016 lawsuit brought by disability rights advocates against the Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) and New York City Transit Authority (NYCTA), the U.S. Department of Justice added firepower to a case that could help spur broader changes to the aging subway.

The agencies were accused of violating the Americans with Disabilities Act by spending more than $27 million in 2013 and 2014 to renovate the Middletown Road station on the No. 6 line in the Pelham Bay neighborhood, without installing an elevator so disabled people could use it.

Trudeau Liberals Axe Funding for Blind and Vision-Impaired Books

By Brian Hill Associate Producer Global News

Kirsty Duncan rises during Question Period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Tuesday November 3, 2009.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government has decided it will no longer fund the production of accessible books for blind and vision-impaired Canadians, Global News has learned.

Starting April 1, the Canadian National Institute for the Blind (CNIB), which is Canada’s largest producer of accessible and alternate-format books, will no longer receive government funding for converting conventional books into accessible formats. The news comes nine days before the CNIB is set to celebrate its 100th anniversary.

Olympic Bid an Opportunity to Improve Accessibility

Thursday, Mar 08, 2018
By: Paul Clarke

On the eve of the opening ceremonies for the Paralympic Games in South Korea and ongoing discussions at home about hosting the 2026 Winter Olympics, accessibility remains an issue for many in this community.

Just ask Robin Slater, who has been advocating for years to make the community more accessible for people with cognitive, mental and physical disabilities.

“We’re not thinking with disability in mind,” said Slater, who suffered a brain injury in 1984 after a vehicle accident with an elk.

“There has to be an attitudinal switch, so instead of just watching Paralympic athletes we need to think in terms of what disability is like 24/7 and how it impacts people’s lives.”

Technology Innovations: Making the Online World More Accessible

Ross McLaughlin and Sandra Hermiston, CTV Vancouver
Published Wednesday, March 7, 2018

From wheelchair ramps to braille on ATMs, you can see the steps businesses are taking to make the physical world more accessible for people with disabilities. But what about when it comes to using computers or going online?

“Being able to use the computer and have things in an electronic format is really a life changer,” said Shawn Marsolais, executive director of Blind Beginnings who is living with visual impairment.

The average person now spends around five hours a day on their smartphone, but for people with mobility, vision, hearing and cognitive impairments that’s not always possible.

Diversity and Inclusion Give These Firms a Competitive Advantage

Canadas Best Diversity Employers for 2018 lead the way in trying to make the workplace more inclusive through a variety of innovative and compassionate diversity initiatives. DIANE JERMYN
Special to The Globe and Mail
Updated March 7, 2018

Canada’s Best Diversity Employers competition celebrates Canada’s vibrant and increasingly diverse work force. The winners listed here for 2018 have been judged as having an inclusive and respectful work environment that benefits everyone.

But what does being inclusive in the workplace really mean to people? Some might say it’s simply about feeling respected and comfortable in your own skin at work, no matter what your race, where you originally come from or how long you’ve been here. Others might describe inclusion as being able to bring your whole self to work so you can do your best, instead of having to hide who you are.

Pacific Autism Family Network and Miriam Foundation Receive Federal Funding to Help Canadians Impacted by Autism

Ottawa, Ontario, Feb. 27, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE)

The movement to assist Canadians living with autism, intellectual and development disabilities, and their families gained ground today when the government of Canada announced an investment of $20 million over 5 years as part of the 2018-2019 federal budget.

The funding will be used to develop two new initiatives to support the needs of Canadians experiencing autism spectrum disorder and their families. This will include $10.9 million towards the creation of an Autism-Intellectual Disability National Resource and Exchange Network (AIDE) which will provide credible and evidence-based resources for individuals and families living with autism and intellectual disabilities. Led jointly by Pacific Autism Family Network and Miriam Foundation, AIDE is the first of its kind in Canada, and will be available in a curated online library, reducing regional disparities and offering equitable access across the country.

Uber Sued By Disability Rights Groups For Illegal Discrimination Against Wheelchair Users

Berkeley, CA (February 27, 2018)

Today, Disability Rights Advocates (DRA) filed a major class action lawsuit against Uber challenging the popular ride-sharing service’s lack of wheelchair-accessible vehicles. The suit, brought by a coalition of individuals and disability rights groups in the San Francisco Bay Area, is the first legal challenge to Uber’s wheelchair-inaccessibility on its home turf.

The plaintiffs Independent Living Resource Center of San Francisco, Community Resources for Independent Living, and three individuals who use wheelchairs brought this action to end Uber’s discriminatory practices and policies.

Ninety-six percent of Visually Impaired Adults Watch TV on a Regular Basis, According to Comcast and the American Foundation for the Blind

Ashley Boucher
SFGate, February 17, 2018

The majority of people with visual disabilities watch four or more hours of television per day, which is almost as much as the general public, a new survey by Comcast and the American Foundation for the Blind found.

That’s compared to a Nielsen study from 2016 that found the average person watched about five hours of television per day.

“It’s a myth to think that you can’t enjoy television just because you have a visual disability,” said Tom Wlodkowski, Vice President of Accessibility for Comcast, who was born blind.

Why Do Gyms Make Things So Difficult for Blind People?

When smartphones, TVs and even washing machines are set up for visually impaired people to use, why isn’t exercise equipment? Amar Latif
The Guardian, February 26, 2018

If, like me, you want to keep fit and healthy, your first port of call is usually your local gym or health club. However, if, like me, you are also blind, keeping active can be a minefield of inaccessible technology, awkward conversations and frustrating barriers. And mine is hardly a rare issue:
more than two million people in Britain are living with sight loss, and the RNIB predicts this will double by 2050.

Widespread Economic Benefits To Be Gained From Making Workplaces More Accessible For People With Disabilities

Making work spaces and facilities more accessible would allow people with physical disabilities to participate more fully in the workforce, lifting overall economic activity by $16.8 billion by 2030, according to a new report by The Conference Board of Canada.


Members of New Advisory Board Want Nova Scotia to Rethink Accessibility

Bruce said advocates have been consulted many times in the past, but the provincial government doesn’t have a good track record of listening.

She hopes it’s different this time around.


It’s OK To Look At Your Phone At A Broadway Show, If Your Hearing Is Impaired

February 11, 2018·4:55 PM ET
Jeff Lunden

Seventeen Broadway theaters are now using technology that allows deaf and hearing-impaired patrons to see closed captions on their smartphones. Unlike the white smartphone background seen here, the GalaPro app screen is dark.

Jerry Bergman is sitting in the audience at a Broadway matinée performance of The Band’s Visit. Despite the fact that a huge sign above the stage tells the audience in English, Hebrew and Arabic to turn off cellphones, Bergman is keeping his on so he can read closed captions while watching the show.

UK Government Website Offline After Hack Infects Thousands More Worldwide

Thousands of websites globally have been hijacked by code which made computers run cryptocurrency mining software. Sunday 11 February 2018
By Nick Stylianou, Defence & Technology Producer

“The Coinhive script was inserted into a popular third-party accessibility plugin “BrowseAloud” which is used to help blind or partially-sighted people access the web.”

More than 5,000 websites have been hacked to force visitors’ computers to run software that mines a cryptocurrency similar to Bitcoin.

Users loading the websites of the Information Commissioner’s Office, the Student Loans Company, as well as the council websites for Manchester City, Camden, and Croydon – and even the homepage of the United States Courts – had their computers’ processing power hijacked by hackers.

A Delicate Approach to Restoring Control

by Industry Update

An Australian startup programme is aiming to tackle lifestyle problems caused by fine motor control issues, an ever-pervasive ailment that dramatically impacts quality-of-life.

Their solution is a hand controller designed to help people with dexterity issues perform daily household functions: the i-boll.

The i-boll, roughly the size of a junior soccer ball, links to a smartphone app to connect with other devices and uses the smartphone’s built-in accelerometer to track movement.

The wireless device is operated with two hands and aims to help people living with cerebral palsy, arthritis, those recovering from a stroke and the elderly to operate smart devices and household appliances.

Transport Boards Must Include People With ‘Experience of Disability’

Updated / Wednesday, 7 Feb 2018 18:31

Last week Iarnród Éireann launched a pilot scheme on DART services to improve accessibility for wheelchair users

Minister for Transport Shane Ross has announced that the boards of public transport bodies must include at least one person with “raw, personal, experience of disability.”

Mr Ross’ spokeswoman said his announcement means that individuals with experiences of disability will be appointed directors of organisations such as the National Transport Authority, Dublin Bus, Bus Éireann, Iarnród Éireann and CIÉ.

In an address to the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Transport, the Independent Alliance minister said that in recent years, access to public transport had been improved but that progress had been unacceptably slow.