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The Disabled Face Significant Obstacles to Voting in America’s Political System, Stanford Expert Finds

Stanford law scholar Rabia Belt’s new research shows that millions of votes are lost because the disabled encounter inadequate accommodations at the polls and legal obstacles regarding mental health. By Rick Schmitt

“People with disabilities are the ticking time bomb of the electorate.”

So says Stanford law researcher Rabia Belt, who has new research on the disenfranchisement of disabled Americans. The intersection of disability and citizenship in history and in the here-and-now is, in Belt’s view, part of a great unseen in law and democracy.

Rabia Belt

Stanford’s Rabia Belt is a legal historian whose recent scholarship focuses on disability and suffrage. (Image credit: Bruce Forrester Photography)

What Does an Accessible Canada Mean to You?

Government of Canada launches consultation on planned new accessibility legislation PR Newswire
Employment and Social Development Canada
June 22, 2016 9:00 AM

OTTAWA, June 22, 2016 /CNW/ – The Government of Canada is committed to eliminating systemic barriers and delivering equality of opportunity to all Canadians living with disabilities.

Today, the Honourable Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities announced the launch of a national consultation process to inform the development of planned legislation that will transform how the Government of Canada addresses accessibility.

iCanConnect: A National Program Bringing People Together through Accessible Communications Technology and Training

Paula Slotkin and Jamie Taylor
June 2016 Issue Volume 17 Number 6
Deaf-blind Technology

Do you, or does someone you know, have combined significant vision and hearing loss? For those who meet federal income and disability guidelines, iCanConnect provides free communication technology and training to help people to stay connected with family and friends.

iCanConnect, also known as the National Deaf-Blind Equipment Distribution Program, is mandated by the 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010, and is administered by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). The FCC certifies one organization in each state to participate in iCanConnect. Paid for by the Interstate Telecommunications Relay Service (TRS) Fund, iCanConnect launched in 2013 and is currently in the pilot phase. The FCC has announced that iCanConnect will be a permanent program and has formally solicited public feedback to inform the rules the FCC is developing for the permanent program.

Reasonable Accommodation Includes Electronic Accessibility

Computers, mobile devices, and the Internet are integral parts of today’s workplace. Employees email, log into various systems and programs, complete employer forms, and manage their time online. Job seekers research employers and submit job applications online. For the 56.7 million Americans with disabilities, these simple tasks may be impossible unless electronic systems are accessible.


Alliance of Advocates Calls for Mandatory Disability Access in New Homes

Annie Guest reported this story on Monday, June 13, 2016 08:30:00

MICHAEL BRISSENDEN: An alliance of 800 disability advocates and ethical designers is calling for mandatory disability access in new homes.

They say Australia must do better as a signatory to the UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities.

The alliance has submitted a formal proposal for a change to building regulations.

Annie Guest reports from Brisbane(listen to the Podcast at the link below).

HEATHER ROMAN: All right you’re all tucked in. All right, now we’re going to put a top on.

ANNIE GUEST: After Robbie Carr began dropping his carpentry tools in his 20s, Multiple Sclerosis was diagnosed.

Nominet Launches Free IoT Solution to Help Those With Sensory and Cognitive Impairments

Nominet’s “Pips’ prototype uses Internet of Things technology with potential to assist with management of daily routines
Oxford, 16th of June 2016

Nominet, best-known for managing the .UK
internet infrastructure, today announces the availability of free code and instructions for building smart IoT buttons, called “Pips’. Pips buttons use Bluetooth to create a sequence of audio and visual reminders to help guide those with sensory impairments through their daily routines, and to have confidence while navigating their environment.

Cyclists Using Sidewalks Leaves Blind Woman Scared for Safety:

‘We haven’t met anyone who has apologized . they’re not concerned,’ says Janis Brackman
By Laura Glowacki,
CBC News, June 6, 2016.

A blind woman says she can’t go for a walk without feeling threatened by cyclists zipping past her on the sidewalk in Winnipeg. Janis Brackman lives in Winnipeg’s Osborne Village area. Every time she steps out her front door, she has to be just as on guard for bikes.

Her walks have turned into “worrying about what’s coming behind me or towards me.” “Now that I’ve got to listen for the bikes I don’t concentrate as well on the cane and the traffic sounds,” she said.

Wearable Device to Guide People With Vision Disabilities

Jun 13, 2016

“It is better than any cane or guide dogs”. That is how a user describes a new assistive device in the market for people with vision disabilities. Another 20-yr-old B.Com student says, “I feel liberated. There is a sense of freedom. I am very, very happy.”

Blind Cane UserRelegating the traditional blind man’s walking stick to the past, a recently developed wearable device in the form of a ring seeks to change the way the people with vision disabilities can move around.

This mobility device can help a person with vision disability navigate his way by sending haptic feedback or vibrations through the sense of touch.

Canadian Transportation Agency Launches Consultation on Accessible Transportation as Phase 1 of Its Regulatory Modernization Initiative

June 6, 2016
Gatineau, QC Canadian Transportation Agency

As part of the Regulatory Modernization Initiative announced last week, the Agency is launching the first phase of its regulatory review, which focusses on accessible transportation.

To advance this initiative, the Agency will be meeting with its Accessibility Advisory Committee on June 20, 2016, and will be asking for input from persons with disabilities, transportation service providers and all interested Canadians on how regulatory measures can help make the federal transportation network accessible for persons with disabilities. Interested parties have until September 30, 2016, to submit comments at consultations@otc-cta.gc.ca. A discussion paper on accessible transportation is available.

Increasing Legal Scrutiny of Website Accessibility in the Real Estate Industry

Thursday, June 2, 2016

From fair housing laws to licensing requirements, the real estate industry is accustomed to navigating various legal constraints and requirements. However, as a result of current ambiguity in the law, class action lawsuits based upon website accessibility pose an emerging threat to real estate brokers, lenders, homebuilders, and ultimately, any company that has a web presence.

Today almost all companies have a website, which is often used as the primary method to provide information and to market to current and future clients. But what about clients and prospects that have disabilities? Do they have equal access to your company website?

Government of Canada Reduces Barriers to Accessibility Through Call for Proposals

GATINEAU, QC, May 31, 2016 /CNW

The Honourable Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities, today invited businesses and community organizations to apply for funding through the 2016 Enabling Accessibility Fund (EAF) call for proposals.

This call includes a Workplace Accessibility and a Community Accessibility funding stream.

Minister Qualtrough also highlighted the increase in funding of $4 million to the EAF through Budget 2016.

Canadians with disabilities face challenges every day which prohibit them from participating fully in their community and workplace. The Government of Canada is committed to reducing these accessibility barriers and ensuring that everyone has equal access and opportunity through programs such as the EAF.

People With Disabilities Unite to Create Buzz on Political Fronts

May 27, 2016

There’s a buzz penetrating the political scene this election year and it’s coming from the world’s largest minority group: people with disabilities.

Enter #CripTheVote, a Twitter/social media conversation that encourages voters and political candidates to exchange concerns and views on disability rights.

When people with disabilities consider themselves part of a group, they take action, such as through #CripTheVote, according to Michelle Nario-Redmond, Ph.D., professor of psychology at Hiram College. Nario-Redmond’s “Disability Group Identification and Disability-Rights Advocacy: Contingencies Among Emerging and Other Adults” (Emerging Adulthood: 2016) reveals this phenomenon.

Social Media for Those With a Disability Gets 2016 Update

Marvin Ross
Tuesday, 29 March 2016 14:09pm

The ground-breaking 2012 ‘SociAbility’ review into social media for those with a disability has had a much anticipated update. The Media Access Australia website now includes important new information on the varying accessibility challenges and practical fixes across all popular social channels.

Project leader Dr Scott Hollier believes that it is destined to be the go-to resource on social media for people with a disability and those who provide care, support and advice.

In 2011, Media Access Australia undertook extensive research to find out how accessibility issues within each of the most popular social media tools could be overcome. Funded by ACCAN (the Australian Communications Consumer Action Network), the SociAbility: social media for people with a disability review was published in 2012.

Mentally Ill Deserve Fair Access To Disability Tax Credits

Marvin Ross
Huffington Post, May 24, 2016

The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) “has abdicated its mandate for fairness by denying the Disability Tax Credit (DTC) to eligible Canadians with disabilities” and particularly those with psychiatric disabilities according to advocate Lembi Buchanan of Victoria.

“It has become virtually impossible for the majority of people living with severe psychiatric illnesses to access the DTC without appealing to the Tax Court of Canada,” she said.

Ms. Buchanan is lobbying the new Liberal government to restore the accountability that was lost during the Harper government. She added in an email that “there has been a slow erosion of fair treatment of taxpayers with disabilities and no one has really paid attention to it. And of course, no one really seems to care.”

Demographic Demands: The Business Case for Diversity

By John G. Smith, Posted: May 24, 2016

Recruiters in Canada’s trucking industry appear to be overlooking massive labor pools, and a recent report from Trucking HR Canada is making the business case to connect with several under-represented demographic groups.

“We just want the industry to be aware of the demographics; that these are the labor pools we need to tap into,” says CEO Angela Splinter, whose trucking-focused organization promotes best practices in human resources.

Consider the gender gap that exists. Changing Workforce: The Case for Diversity in Canada’s Trucking Industry shows that women, who represent 48% of the nation’s workforce, account for just 3% of Canada’s truck drivers.

System Abuses Make Booking a Flight With a Service Dog a Frustrating Ordeal

A woman who travels with a service dog says booking flights has become unnecessarily tedious. Alesia Fieldberg has her story

Ryan White , Reporter/Producer
Published Thursday, May 12, 2016

A Vancouver Island resident who suffers from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) says WestJet’s current booking procedure places additional stress on some passengers who require accessible travel.

Joanne Trofanenko, a former paramedic, travels with her service dog Linka at her side. During the booking of five recent flights, Trofanenko says she has spent, on average, two hours on the phone with WestJet staff attempting to correct misunderstandings related to Linka’s role.

Financial Status Affects Success of Students With Learning Disabilities

Study finds students with means to pay for special accommodations perform better than those with fewer resources Date:May 17, 2016
Source:University of Iowa

Summary:Only one third of undergraduates from 11 universities who reported having a learning disability were receiving accommodations, a new study has discovered.

College students who receive special accommodations because of a learning disability say they have less difficulty completing assignments and more contact with faculty outside of class than peers who don’t receive extra help.

A new study by the University of Iowa, however, found that only one third of undergraduates from 11 universities who reported having a learning disability were receiving accommodations.

Seventy Per Cent of Websites Are Breaking the Law on Accessibility – Here’s How and Why That Needs to Change

Posted: 15/05/2016

We’ve all been there, angrily tapping at your phone on a website that just refuses to co-operate. The links are too small to click, the images won’t load and the ads are both incredibly invasive and impossible to close. Now imagine accessibility issues like this every time you visit a website, infuriating right?

The 2010 Equality Act was introduced to update and add clarity to the Disability Discrimination Act (1995). Society changed a lot in 15 years, the act was intended to ensure disability legislation remained up to date, and nowhere was this more relevant than the internet.

EEOC Sues Mobile Destination For Disability Discrimination


Mobile Phone Retailer’s Management Withdrew Job Offer to Salesman Because He Uses a Wheelchair, Federal Agency Charges

HOUSTON – Mobile Destination, Inc., a mobile phone retailer which operates 30 Verizon Wireless stores in Texas, unlawfully revoked a worker’s job offer because of his disability, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit filed today.

According to EEOC’s suit, around October 2013, Morgan Davis applied for a retail sales position at the Verizon Wireless store in Porter, Texas. Around Nov. 7, Mobile Destination’s district manager and its recruiter interviewed several applicants, including Davis, and after the interviews they extended a job offer to Davis.

CSA Group Announces Harmonization of Accessibility Standard with Canadian National Building Code

TORONTO, May 11, 2016 /CNW/

CSA Group, a leading global provider of standards development and testing and certification services, announces that its key accessibility standard has been referenced in the National Building Code (NBC), an important step toward the harmonization of accessible design requirements.

CSA B651-12 Accessible Design for the Built Environment was first published in 1990, and is now in its fourth edition. The standard contains requirements for making buildings and other facilities accessible to persons with a range of physical, sensory, or cognitive disabilities. It was developed to fulfill an expressed need for a national technical standard that covers many different types of buildings and public spaces.