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Funding is Available to Improve Accessibility and Safety in Your Workplace

June 19 2018

A new funding opportunity under the Government of Canada’s Enabling Accessibility Fund (EAF) has been announced. Your business or organization could receive a grant of up to $100,000 through the EAF program to improve accessibility and safety in your workplace for current or future employees with disabilities.

The EAF program funds workplace projects which help remove barriers to accessibility through:

  • the construction, renovation or retrofit of workplaces, which could include the construction of access ramps and accessible offices and washrooms and the installation of elevators; and
  • the provision of accessible information and communication technologies for work use such as braille printers, accessible computer software, and visual alarm systems.

Generation Z: Waiting – Often Months – to Get Mental Health Help

By Leslie Young
June 20th, 2018

This is the third story of an eight-part series on the generation Z population in Canada who they are, what drives them and how they envision their near future.

Shailee Korrane was still in high school when she had her first panic attack.

Eventually, she decided to seek help. “I was obviously very afraid,” she tells Global News. “It was actually a friend who was diagnosed with bipolar disorder who kind of sat me down and said, ‘I’m really worried about your health and you remind me of me before I sought care.'”

Minister Duncan Introduces the Proposed Accessible Canada Act

From: Employment and Social Development Canada
News release

Most significant progress for people with disabilities in over 30 years
June 20, 2018 Gatineau, Quebec Employment and Social Development Canada

Today, following the most inclusive and accessible consultation with Canadians with disabilities and with the disability community, the Honourable Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science and Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities, introduced the proposed Accessible Canada Act to Parliament. This historic legislation would enable the Government of Canada to take a proactive approach to end systemic discrimination of people with disabilities.

Canada’s First National Accessibility Law Tabled in Ottawa

Michelle McQuigge, The Canadian Press
Published Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Canadians with disabilities felt a surge of tempered optimism on Wednesday as they watched Canada table its first piece of federal legislation aimed at improving accessibility for people with disabilities.

Disabled residents and advocacy organizations said the introduction of the Accessible Canada Act marked a key step towards greater inclusion and contained several critical points community members had named as priorities during a lengthy cross-country consultation process that helped shape the new bill.

But they also raised concerns about provisions the draft bill appears to lack, such as measures to ensure new accessibility barriers do not work their way into future government laws.

American Foundation for the Blind Launches the First Fully Accessible Digital Archive of the Helen Keller Collection

More than 160,000 artifacts can now be viewed in a groundbreaking, fully accessible online archive thanks to support from the National Endowment for the Humanities and American Express

WASHINGTON, D.C. (June 12, 2018)The American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) today announced the launch of the Helen Keller Archive, the world’s first fully accessible digital archive collection, comprising more than 160,000 artifacts, dedicated to the fascinating life of Helen Keller.

The Helen Keller Archive is the largest repository of historical content about Helen Keller, whose iconic name is known in every corner of the globe for her groundbreaking work as an author, political activist, and humanitarian who played a critical role in changing public perceptions about people with disabilities.

Mobility Devices and Air Travel Forum

The Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA) will host an international forum on June 12-13, 2018, in Toronto, in order to address issues related to the storage and transportation of mobility aids on aircraft.

The CTA is Canada’s longest-standing independent, expert tribunal and regulator. One of its core mandates is to ensure that transportation services are accessible to persons with disabilities.

Over the last 18 months, we’ve undertaken a major initiative to modernize all the regulations, codes and guidelines we administer, starting with those in the area of accessible transportation. In the course of the consultations and analysis related to this initiative, it became clear that these issues are becoming more serious as mobility devices grow in size and complexity.

A Simple Way to Improve a Billion Lives: Eyeglasses

It’s the biggest health crisis you’ve never heard of. Doctors, philanthropists and companies are trying to solve it. By Andrew Jacobs
New York Times, Originally posted May 5, 2018

PANIPAT, India: Shivam Kumar’s failing eyesight was manageable at first. To better see the chalkboard, the 12-year-old moved to the front of the classroom, but in time, the indignities piled up.

Increasingly blurry vision forced him to give up flying kites and then cricket, after he was repeatedly whacked by balls he could no longer see. The constant squinting gave him headaches, and he came to dread walking home from school.

“Sometimes I don’t see a motorbike until it’s almost in my face,” he said.

The IDeA Competition Deadline May 31, 2018

CANADA: The Innovative Design for Accessibility (IDeA) student competition aims to inspire students to use their creativity to develop innovative, cost-effective and practical solutions to accessibility-related issues resulting in communities that are more accessible for persons with disabilities.

The objectives of the program are:

  • to contribute to the creation of a culture of accessibility in Canada
  • to motivate students to think about accessibility issues and to include accessibility in their creation of social and technological innovations now and in the future
  • to develop cost-effective, practical and innovative concepts, programs, initiatives or designs that address everyday accessibility issue

National AccessAbility Week

May 21 2018

CANADA: May 27 to June 2, 2018, is National AccessAbility Week. This is a time for Canadians to promote inclusion and accessibility in our communities and workplaces, and celebrate the contributions of Canadians with disabilities.

It is also a time to recognize the efforts of individuals, communities and workplaces who are actively removing barriers to give Canadians of all abilities a better chance to succeed.

We need to change the way we think, talk and act about barriers to participation and accessibility, and we need to do it right from the start, not as an afterthought. An inclusive Canada is one where all Canadians can participate and have an equal opportunity to succeed in their workplaces and communities.

Saskatoon Woman Demands Change for Provincial Wheelchair Accessibility

A woman’s struggle with wheelchair accessibility has sparked her to make a change. Stephanie Villella explains. CTV Saskatoon
Published Saturday, May 19, 2018

A woman in a wheelchair in Saskatoon is demanding change for wheelchair accessibility in the city and across the province.

For Debbie Windsor, getting around isnt easy. Shes been in a wheelchair since she was four-years-old and has a rare condition called Osteogenesis imperfecta.

Windsor said her disability has been preventing her from going to certain places like the Saskatoon Business College to start her career.

I started looking into that school and where it was and all of that And it wasn’t accessible, Windsor said.

2nd World Summit on Accessible Tourism – Destinations for All 2018

BRUSSELS, BELGIUM: The second edition of the World Summit Destinations for All will take place in Brussels, October 1-2, 2018, under the auspices of Kéroul and CAWaB.

The aim of the event is to give concrete expression to the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) Recommendations on Accessible Tourism.

For more information: https://www.destinationsforall2018.eu/

The first edition of the Summit was held in Montréal in October 2014 and wrapped up with the adoption of the A World for Everyone declaration.

Available in 10 languages, this declaration features 40 specific measures for implementing the UNWTO Recommendations on Accessible Tourism globally and locally. It is a veritable plan for action on the local, national and international scales to promote the accessibility of infrastructure, buildings, tourist services as well as transportation services.

Robot ‘Double’ Allows Sick Students to Attend School, See Friends

Jilly DeStephanos robot is guided out of social studies class and into the hallway by her friend at Octorara Intermediate School in Atglen, Pa. by Kathy Boccella, Staff Writer @Kathy_Boccella | kboccella@phillynews.com Published: February 27, 2018

Jilly, I like your hair, said Melanie, admiring her neat brunette pigtails, which Jilly flicked in response. Suddenly, their teacher Melissa Fanelli showed up.

Jilly, did you get the classwork I emailed you?

Got it, answered Jilly, who was actually a couple of miles away, sitting at her dining-room table at home in Christiana, just past the edge of Philadelphia in Lancaster County.

Travel With Ease: How Singapore Is Catering to Visitors with Special Accessibility Needs

SINGAPORE, MALAYSIA: With an aging population, Singapore has been tackling accessibility needs head-on with a series of changes to the city’s infrastructure. Today, it’s one of the most travel-friendly cities in the world for those with accessibility needs, so if you’re looking for delicious Asian food and a cultural adventure, Singapore makes a great vacation destination. New York travel company AllTheRooms has the lowdown on how Singapore has become a top, accessible vacation destination.

Increasing Access to Financial Support Programs for People With Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Would Lead to Economic and Social Benefits

News provided by Conference Board of Canada

OTTAWA, May 2, 2018 /CNW/ – Improving financial support programs for people living with multiple sclerosis (MS) would increase their labour force participation and boost economic activity. A new Conference Board of Canada report released during MS Awareness Month finds that expanding the employment insurance (EI) sickness benefit program and making the disability tax credit (DTC) refundable would allow approximately 11,400 people to remain in or re-enter the workforce and boost economic activity by an estimated $1.1 billion annually.

With 2.6 Million Followers and Counting, Disabled Chinese Woman Inspires Social Change

By NATHAN VANDERKLIPPE
Staff

Let’s shake hands,” Yang Li says, getting up from the couch to greet a visitor. She lifts her right foot above her waist, curls it around and gives a slight squeeze to an outstretched hand.
It’s the kind of unexpected everyday gesture that has won the young office worker a huge and growing following in China.

Ms. Yang’s loss of her arms in a childhood accident both were completely amputated, leaving no possibility
of prosthetics – and no-nonsense mien have made her the subject of national interest and an icon for disabled people.

Ms. Yang, 28, uploaded her first two videos to Kuaishou, a short-video platform in China, last July.

Lyft Sued for Discriminating Against Wheelchair-Users

Berkeley, CA (March 13, 2018)

Today, Disability Rights Advocates (DRA) filed a major class action lawsuit against Lyft, challenging the popular ride-sharing service’s failure to make wheelchair-accessible vehicles available in the Bay Area through its rideshare service.

The suit, brought by a coalition of a disability rights group and individuals in the San Francisco Bay Area, is the first legal challenge to Lyft’s wheelchair-inaccessibility on its home turf. The plaintiffsIndependent Living Resource Center of San Francisco and two individuals who use wheelchairs brought this action to end Lyft’s discriminatory practices and policies.

Lyft does not provide wheelchair-accessible transportation in the Bay Area. The case challenges Lyft’s failure to provide wheelchair-accessible service as a violation of California anti-discrimination laws.

HealthHack 2018 Winner Aims for Better Accessibility in Edmonton

By Kerry McAthey
Radio Anchor/Reporter 630CHED

Navigating Edmonton in a wheelchair takes a lot of force, according to the Click N’ Push application

Navigating Edmonton in a wheelchair takes a lot of force, according to the Click N’ Push application

The winner of this year’s HealthHack Smart Cities Challenge is aiming to make Edmonton more accessible to those who use wheelchairs.

Professor at the Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine at the University of Alberta Martin Ferguson-Pell and his team have developed Click N’ Push an app that shows just how difficult it can be to get around the city in a wheelchair.

Are Autonomous Vehicles Ready to Help the Blind?

April 16, 2018

New research conducted outside of the auto industry aims to develop data and software to ensure that the needs of the blind are met when autonomous cars become commonplace.

In 2012, Steve Mahan, who is blind, climbed into the driver’s seat of a self-driving car and rolled up to the drive-thru of a Taco Bell in a video viewed more than 8 million times.

Produced by Google, the video captured the potential of autonomous-car technology to change the lives of the visually impaired.

“It was my first time behind the steering wheel in seven years and was absolutely amazing,” Mr. Mahan said.

Calgary, Edmonton Expos Less Accessible After Policy Change, Say Fans With Mobility Concerns

Fan Expo HQ says policy complies with all necessary regulations Sarah Rieger · CBC News
Posted: Apr 26, 2018

Cosplayer Laura Taylor incorporates her wheelchair into her Princess Peach costume. She says Fan Expo HQ’s policy change makes it harder for her to attend the Calgary and Edmonton fan conventions.

Some visitors to the Calgary and Edmonton Comic and Entertainment Expos are disappointed with what they say are “unfair” changes to the fan conventions’ accessibility policies.

The changes came after the expos joined the North American pop culture exhibition group Fan Expo HQ.

CSUN 2018 Heralds The Year of Wearables–Unless It Doesn’t

Shelly Brisbin

When reporting on an event like the annual CSUN Assistive Technology Conference, it’s tempting to try to sum it up with a single narrative. This is my third year covering the trade show portion of CSUN. In addition to asking questions for AccessWorld, I was part of the Blind Bargains podcast team You’ll find links to some of our interviews at the link below.

A couple of years ago, Jamie Pauls wrote that CSUN and other accessibility-focused trade shows inaugurated the year of Braille. This year, a number of the products announced in 2016 are available to purchase, some have even been updated, and a few still aren’t available at all. Most of these items exemplify important improvements in function, price, or both.