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Blind MP to Draft Canada’s First National Accessibility Law

Carla Qualthrough, Ottawa’s minister responsible for Canadians with disabilities, announced a series of national discussions on the first national accessibility legislation. By Laurie MonsebraatenSocial justice reporter
Sat., Aug. 27, 2016

Carla Qualtrough, who is legally blind, grew up learning alternative ways of doing almost everything.

“When I was growing up, it was called accommodation. But today it’s called innovation,” said Qualtrough, 44, Canada’s federal minister of sport and first-ever minister responsible for people with disabilities.

The human rights lawyer, former Paralympian and world championship swimming medalist is helping Canadians think about disability in a new way as she crafts the country’s first national accessibility legislation.

How Accessibility is Driving Innovation in Canada

In-person consultations to inform the development of planned accessibility legislation announced
August 23, 2016 Whitby, Ontario Employment and Social Development Canada

Today, the Honourable Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities, visited the Abilities Centre in Whitby, Ontario, and hosted a panel with three young Canadian innovators to discuss how accessibility drives innovation. The Minister toured the centre, noting the accessibility measures in place there, which serve as an example for other communities across Canada. Minister Qualtrough also announced the schedule of the in-person consultations organized to inform planned accessibility legislation.

Minister Qualtrough participated in a dynamic discussion with the three young Canadian innovators:

Australia Adopts New Standard for ICT Accessibility in Procurement

Australia will adopt a new standard for ICT accessibility in procurement, federal Finance Minister Mathias Cormann announced today. In time, this should make it easier for people with disabilities to deal with government, and to work for it.

The Department of Finance has already committed to add the new standard to the Commonwealth Procurement Rules, according to the report from former disability discrimination commissioner Susan Ryans last inquiry.

Ryan recommended all Australian governments mandate that when their agencies buy any new IT equipment, including software and peripherals, it must made according to universal design principles so it is available to and usable by all people, whatever their abilities.

Paralyzed Edmonton Toddler a Whiz in Homemade Wheelchair

Just like other children learn how to crawl, Evelyn slowly figured out how to wheel By Chris Purdy, The Canadian Press, CBC News
Posted: Aug 18, 2016

Evelyn Moore isn’t the fastest kid on the racetrack, but she’s by far the tiniest.

At 13-months old, the paralyzed toddler skilfully wheels her homemade wheelchair around the simulated track at Treehouse, an indoor playground in northeast Edmonton that she often visits with her mom.

Several school-age children whiz by on souped-up tricycles and she stops to stare and clap.

“She really gets around now,” says Kim Moore, who first put her daughter in the makeshift chair basically a purple, foam Bumbo seat on wheels at seven months.

Becoming Disabled

Roughly one in five Americans lives with a disability. So where is our pride movement? Rosemarie Garland-Thomson
DISABILITY AUG. 19, 2016

Not long ago, a good friend of mine said something revealing to me: “I don’t think of you as disabled,” she confessed.

I knew exactly what she meant; I didn’t think of myself as disabled until a few decades ago, either, even though my two arms have been pretty significantly asymmetrical and different from most everybody else’s my whole life.

UMMS Works to Improve Web Text for People With Cognitive Disabilities

By Ellen Moran
UMass Medical School Communications
August 19, 2016

WPI graduate student Prateek Jain and Soussan Djamasbi, PhD, assistant professor of IT and director of WPI’s User Experience & Decision Making Research Lab, demonstrate the university’s eye-tracking technology, which measures text comprehension.

UMass Medical School’s Eunice Kennedy Shriver Center is conducting research to determine if simplifying text for people with cognitive disabilities improves their understanding of what they read online.

“We want to prove that their comprehension increases after they read simplified text,” said John Rochford, MS, director of the Shriver Center’s INDEX program and instructor of family medicine & community health. INDEX provides free information for people with disabilities living in Massachusetts.

New Book Released: Tapping Into Hidden Human Capital: How Leading Global Companies Improve their Bottom Line by Employing Persons with Disabilities

Aug 15, 2016

G3ict, the Global Initiative for Inclusive Information and Communication Technologies announced the publication of a new book authored by Debra Ruh, G3ict’s EmployAbility Program Chair.

In this book, Tapping into Hidden Human Capital: How Leading Global Companies Improve their Bottom Line by Employing Persons with Disabilities,” Debra Ruh presents a new, game-changing perspective about the employment of persons with disabilities. By documenting existing practices of some of the largest companies in the world, the author shows that employees with disabilities are proactively recruited for their positive contributions to the competitiveness and financial performance of major businesses.

Disabled T.O. Traveler Considers Lawsuit After Air Canada Unable to Accommodate Wheelchair

Diana Mehta, The Canadian Press
Published Friday, August 12, 2016 3:46PM EDT

TORONTO — A disabled Toronto man is considering legal action against Air Canada after the airline said it was unable to fly him to a U.S. city because the aircraft couldn’t accommodate his motorized wheelchair.

Tim Rose, who has cerebral palsy, says the airline’s lack of an accessible aircraft for his trip is a grave concern not just for himself, but for all people with disabilities.

The 31-year-old had booked a direct flight from Toronto to Cleveland for a date in September, but was told that his wheelchair was too big to fit in the plane’s cargo area.

Virtual Schools Need to Serve Students With Disabilities – Education Officials

The Education Department released a letter to states addressing the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act to protect kids with disabilities in virtual schools. By Darlene Aderoju
August 11, 2016 6:00 PM

Students with disabilities who attend virtual public schools should get the same quality education they would find in a traditional school, Education Department officials warned.

The agency’s Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services on Thursday released a Dear Colleague
letter addressing the rights of students with disabilities who attend public virtual schools, which are exploding across the country. Many students with impairments choose to enroll because the virtual schools offer the flexibility of learning at home.

Employment for People With Disabilities is Dire

I use forearm crutches to assist with walking. It’s not the type of physical impediment that should prevent me from entering the workforce by Irena Kagansky-Young
August 3, 2016

For five tough years I worked tirelessly toward graduating with honours from Canada’s third-largest university. I had dreams of starting a successful career in communications. I looked forward to being given the opportunity to shine. I was ready to show the world. I’m fluent in three languages. Surely I had everything I needed to impress potential employers. Instead, I was stifled, belittled and disheartened by potential employers every step of the way.

Is it because I’m a person living with a disability?

Searching for and Finding the Right Women’s Health Products Can be a Challenge, but Here is the Answer!

Have you been looking for effective women’s vitamins and been unable to find just the right product line? Good news!
Vitanica is a line of women’s vitamins with just one purpose in mindnatural health care for women.

This company is committed to serving women by combining education, research and the best quality possible in completely effective nutritional supplements. This company is particularly noted for its attention to detail and quick response to needs within the area of women’s health. Also, the friendly, personalized customer service representatives are seldom matched in quality elsewhere.

PHARMACEUTICAL INNOVATION LTD. EXTENDS PRODUCT LINE OFFERING WITH NEW APPLICATION, HEALTH ESPRESSO

MARKHAM, Monday 4th July, 2016

Since its inception, Pharmaceutical Innovation Ltd. has developed notable, original products that consumers need for accessible medication and healthcare management. With the launch of its latest product offering, the new application called Health Espresso, Pharmaceutical Innovation continues to fulfill its mandate of making pharmaceutical technology accessible to everyone.

Health Espresso is a Bluetooth-enabled app that acts as a virtual caregiver through innovative technology. The primary user, typically an elderly or disabled individual, wears a Bluetooth enabled medical data collection device such as a heart rate or blood pressure monitor that provides body readings in real time and stores the readings, along with other medical information, on a secure network. A secondary user, either a family member or doctor, is connected to the data from the app at all times allowing the secondary user to oversee, manage and intervene if necessary.

Attorney General(AG) Healey and National Federation of the Blind Announce Agreement to Make Health Care Kiosks Accessible to Blind Consumers

For Immediate Release – July 26, 2016

Announcement Marks 26th Anniversary of Americans with Disabilities Act

BOSTON On the 26th anniversary of the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Attorney General Maura Healey and the National Federation of the Blind (NFB) announced a first-of-its-kind agreement with Pursuant Health, Inc. to make its self-service health care kiosks accessible to blind consumers.

The agreement reached with Pursuant Health, an Atlanta-based company that manufactures and operates thousands of self-service health care kiosks in retail stores nationwide, provides meaningful benefits to individuals nationwide who are blind or who have low vision, including 27,000 Massachusetts residents who are legally blind.

Man Denied Air Canada Flight Due to the Size of His Wheelchair

by Faiza Amin
Citynews, Aug. 1, 2016 8:10 pm EDT

A Toronto man is accusing Canada’s national airline of the most blatant discrimination he’s ever experienced, saying reps even compared him and his wheelchair to luggage.

Tim Rose had plans to fly to Cleveland this September, but on Sunday, he says Air Canada told him his flight would be refunded because he couldn’t fly on the plane due to his wheelchair being five inches too tall for the cargo area.

“I felt like an oversized piece of luggage,” he told CityNews. “They even said to me at the time if it doesn’t fit, it doesn’t fit it’s like an oversized piece of luggage.”

U.S. Department of Education Releases Guidance On Civil Rights of Students with ADHD

July 26, 2016

The U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) today issued guidance clarifying the obligation of schools to provide students with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) with equal educational opportunity under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.

“On this 26th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, I am pleased to honor Congress’ promise with guidance clarifying the rights of students with ADHD in our nation’s schools,” said Catherine E. Lhamon, assistant secretary for civil rights. “The Department will continue to work with the education community to ensure that students with ADHD, and all students, are provided with equal access to education.”

New sign language interpreting rules in effect in Michigan

The regulations established three tiers of certification levels for interpreting assignments, in increasing order of complexity. By DAVID EGGERT
Associated Press
Posted Jul. 23, 2016 at 4:00 PM

LANSING A Michigan Supreme Court justice and state civil rights officials called attention Wednesday to new rules establishing specific certification levels for sign language interpreters to work in courtrooms, hospitals and other settings.

The regulations, which took effect July 7, outline skill levels and training needed for interpreters who must be provided by judges, attorneys, physicians, mental health providers and others.

32 ‘urgent issues’ for minister

Accessibility for disabled, backlog on adoption records, daycare waiting list named By: Larry Kusch
Posted: 07/19/2016

The provincial government must beef up resources to improve accessibility for those with disabilities or risk failing to meet timelines set out in Manitoba law.

The warning was raised as one of 32 “urgent issues” flagged by the bureaucracy for rookie Families Minister Scott Fielding after the Progressive Conservatives were elected April 19.

Families Minister Scott Fielding was unavailable to talk about issues that need attention.

Also laid out for the new minister were concerns about a lack of staff to deal with welfare claimants, a seven-month backlog in accessing newly opened birth and adoption records, a 12,000-child waiting list for licensed day care, and growing wait lists for early intervention Autism Spectrum Disorder services.

4 Reasons Why Accessibility Needs to be Part of Your Plan Right From the Start

July 18, 2016 By Michaela Slade

Web and digital accessibility should be a vital part of any business plan. Everyones communication requirements should be acknowledged and planned for from the beginning, as accessibility is just as important as even security and virus protection, if not more so. This article offers four good reasons why accessibility needs to be integrated into your business plans, before you roll them out.

If you dont think about digital accessibility at the beginning then youre probably going to pay for it at the end either via costly remediation or costly rebuilding if you are on an inaccessible platform. For example, online content could be accessible, but the platform youre using to distribute it could be inaccessible with no way of changing it, which means youll have to start again from scratch to ensure accessibility.

City MTA Adds 70 Wheelchair-Accessible MV-1 Vehicles to Paratransit Fleet

NYC Access-A-Ride Fleet Will Have Close to 500 MV-1s in Service NEW YORK, July 12, 2016
PRNewswire-USNewswire

Mobility Ventures LLC and the New York City Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) announced today that 70 wheelchair-accessible MV-1 vehicles will be added to MTA’s paratransit fleet, Access-A-Ride, in an effort to increase public transportation accessibility in a city with more than half a million people living with ambulatory impairments.

The city’s Access-A-Ride program, which already has nearly 400 MV-1s in service, is a shared-ride, door-to-door service for people unable to use public buses and subways. Replacing small buses with the MV-1
has helped the MTA save costs due to the MV-1’s proven durability and reduced maintenance needs.

United Airlines Earns Top Marks on Disability Equality Index

Company named one of the “Best Places to Work” for 2016 by the American Association of People with Disabilities and the U.S. Business Leadership Network CHICAGO, July 13, 2016
PRNewswire

United Airlines achieved the top score of 100 percent on the 2016 Disability Equality Index (DEI), a prominent benchmarking metric that rates U.S. companies on their disability inclusion policies and practices. This designation also earns United a place on DEI’s 2016 “Best Places to Work” list.

The DEI, a joint initiative by the American Association of People with Disabilities and the U.S. Business Leadership Network, evaluates companies based on four categories: culture and leadership, enterprise-wide access, employment practices and community engagement and support services.