Cornell: Sites Will Be Upgraded for Disabled

After rejecting policy in 2009, University affirms commitment to disabled
December 3, 2010
By Jeff Stein

Until he found a way to circumvent blocks of irrelevant text, Zachary Mason ’12,  a blind student and Sun science writer, needed as long as 5 to 10 minutes to read a single e-mail on his CMail account, “just to find what the e-mail was telling me, who sent it and what was involved.”

Mason said he uses the program Jobs Access With Speech to transform a website’s images and text into an input he can understand.  Yet the ease with which Mason uses JAWS depends on the programming of the website he is trying to access, and Mason called CMail’s internal framework “miserable.”

“Take Charge” of Your Travel This Holiday Season

Posted to site December 8, 2010

In an effort to help travellers with disabilities plan their travel this holiday season, the Canadian Transportation Agency is pleased to provide one of its most popular publications, Take Charge of Your Travel: A Guide for Persons with Disabilities.

Take Charge helps Canadians living with disability to plan and conduct their travel plans with greater ease and confidence. It does so by describing accessible services and features available to persons with disabilities.

Report Recommends Upgrading Transit System for the Disabled

Published Tuesday December 7th, 2010

An Ontario consultant who studied the city’s Dial-a-Bus system for the disabled is recommending a five-year expansion of the service because the system isn’t meeting public demand.

Dennis Fletcher, director of transit solutions with Genivar Consulting in Markham, told city councillors Monday night that it would cost $520,850 by Year
5 of a five-year plan to enhance the service to add three more low-floor buses, add one to two more drivers and improve the services, operations, policies and procedures.

The consultant is recommending hiring an additional dispatcher, computerizing the booking service and suggesting the city look at contracting out passenger overflow to the wheelchair accessible Bat Mobile taxi service.

Acces to Information: A Critical Human Right

December 7, 2010

In recognition of the UN’s annual Human Rights Day, December 10, Robin East, President of the nationwide Alliance for Equality of Blind Canadians is calling for increased access to print materials, something most Canadians take for granted. 

“Imagine a world in which you could read only about 5% of what you currently can access and read. How would this affect your life?” challenges East. “That’s the situation currently facing persons who have a print disability. 95 percent of published materials are not accessible to us”.” 

What Do human Rights Commissions and Tribunals Do?

Second of our 12-part  Special Report: Human Rights Commissions in Canada

November 29, 2010
By Judy Monchuk
Senior Writer
Troy Media

CALGARY, AB, Nov. 29, 2010/ Troy Media/ – Most Canadians take no notice of the sidewalk cuts that allow people in wheelchairs to travel up and down city streets, or that the waitress at their favourite coffee shop is displaying a prominent baby bump.

That’s because, over the last 30 years, disabled accessibility and women’s right to fair treatment while pregnant have become accepted human rights in Canada, thanks to the power of people who sought redress through human rights commissions.

Advances in Mobile Technology Provide the Blind With New Tools

Brian Charlson demonstrated adaptive cellphone technology at the Carroll Center for the Blind in Newton.

By Kathleen Pierce
Globe Correspondent / November 26, 2010

The 14-year-old can also search the Web, read textbooks, and translate Spanish assignments. For that, she uses the BrailleNote Apex, a wireless device about the size of a netbook computer that she carries over her shoulder.

“The advancements are incredible for kids,’’ said Janet Ulwick-Sacca, who teaches children with visual impairments at Georgetown High School.

Earlier this week, Pankova attended a technology fair at the Carroll Center for the Blind in Newton to check out the latest products from the evolving market called assistive or adaptive technology — products for low-vision and blind people.

What a Screen Reader Is Not!

By Geof Collis
December 3, 2010

I recently read a couple of articles where the Author, obviously not a screen reader user, tried to explain what they are and what they do.

While I’m sure they meant well they aren’t doing those of us who have to use one on a daily basis any favours.


UN Enable – International Day of Persons with Disabilities – 3 December 2010

Posted to site: December 2, 2010

“Keeping the promise: Mainstreaming disability in the Millennium Development Goals towards 2015 and beyond”


Basic Income Proposal Could Eliminate Poverty for People With Disabilities

Monday, 29 November 2010 11:40
Written by Stephen Pate

Changes to benefit system modeled on systems for seniors and Canada Child Benefit Benefit would replace welfare for working age people with severe disabilities

The  Caledon Institute has presented a proposal,  Caledon Basic Income Plan, to overhaul Canada’s patchwork and failing system of social supports for working age Canadians who are severely disabled and living in poverty.

The new system would prevent the abject poverty that afflicts Canadians with disabilities where a single adult in New Brunswick is subsisting on roughly
$8,000 a year, which is less than half of the LICO (Low Income Cut-Off).

Digital Inclusion: First British Standard to Promote Web Accessibility Globally

Growing dependence on the internet for business and personal use has introduced a very real challenge to website owners. The internet should help improve our lives, and yet, how does it benefit those who are unable to access websites with ease? The need to make the web more universally accessible has become increasingly urgent.

As a result, BSI has developed the first British Standard to fully address the challenge of digital inclusion. Building on guidance published in 2006, the
new BS 8878 Web Accessibility Code of Practice presents a fully up-to-date, detailed guide for businesses and organizations to make web products more accessible to disabled and older users. By increasing the accessibility of these interfaces, the web will inevitably become more usable for all.

Blind Woman Wins Case Against Federal Government

Last Updated: Monday, November 29, 2010 | 11:26 PM ET
CBC News

Donna Jodhan successfully sued the federal government because she was unable to apply online for a government job. (CBC)

A blind Toronto woman who sued the federal government because she is unable to apply online for a government job has won her case.

A Federal Court judge in Toronto ruled Monday that the government has 15 months to make its websites accessible to visually impaired users.

Donna Jodhan, a special needs consultant who has certified skills with Microsoft and Novell programs, as well as a master’s degree in international business and finance from McGill University, launched the constitutional challenge in September.

Penn State Discriminates Against Blind Students and Faculty


Penn State Discriminates Against Blind Students and Faculty
National Federation of the Blind Files Complaint Against Penn State

Baltimore, Maryland (November 12, 2010): The National Federation of the Blind (NFB), the nation’s oldest and largest organization of blind people, announced today that it has filed a complaint with the United States Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights, requesting an investigation of Pennsylvania State University (Penn State) for violating the civil rights of blind students and faculty.  The NFB filed the complaint because a variety of computer- and technology-based services and Web sites at Penn State are inaccessible to blind students and faculty.  Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act requires public state universities to offer equal access to their programs and services. 

Regina Mom Pushes for Accessible Playground

CBC news, Wednesday, November 24, 2010

A Regina mother is encouraging the city to build a new wheelchair-accessible playground.

Cindy Leggott, who uses a wheelchair to get around, wants to see an accessible playground built near Jean Vanier Elementary School.

Leggott said the playground would allow her to spend more quality time with her two-year-old daughter because traditional playgrounds are more difficult
for her to use.

“This particular structure is going to be on a surface that is not sand – it’s going to be on a rubberized surface that will allow any wheelchair to
go on it without having the risk of getting stuck.”

Private Member’s Bill Aims to Better Protect Service Animals and Police Dogs

By Angela Hall,
Leader-Post, November 22, 2010

Legislation proposed by Saskatoon Centre NDP MLA David Forbes would, if passed, make it an offence to interfere with a service animal.

Stephen Kaye once worked with a police dog who died while trying to disarm and subdue a subject.

At the legislature Monday, Kaye watched with approval as a private member’s bill that aims to better protect service animals and police dogs came

The legislation proposed by Saskatoon Centre NDP MLA David Forbes would, if passed, make it an offence to interfere with a service animal.

Diane Finley Responsible for Disability Has Inaccessible Office

Monday, 15 November 2010 14:35
Written by Stephen Pate

Ironically Federal Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development Diane Finley has inaccessible constituency office 

Bob Speller, Liberal candidate in the Haldimand-Norfolk riding, blasted Federal Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development Diane Finley for having an office that is not wheelchair accessible.

“She keeps making announcements saying the government is doing so much for the disabled, but she doesn’t seem to care in her own riding that they don’t have access,” said Speller. “It goes to show she’s not serious about the issue. She should be setting an example. This is embarrassing.” (

Mall cop tries to eject boy’s service dog

CBC news, Saturday, November 20, 2010

A Brandon, Man., woman says a security guard at a local shopping centre gave her son a hard time over his service dog.

“On the bottom – on both sides – it says she’s a hearing dog,” Joanne Wilkinson told CBC News, pointing out a bright red harness that shows the
animal is a service dog and not a pet.

Wilkinson said the mall guard failed to notice the markings and demanded her nine-year-old son take the dog away during an encounter on Tuesday.

“It just bothers me when that type of ignorance is permitted when he is in authority,” Wilkinson said of the episode.

In Their Own Voices

Hope Technology School gives autistic students a new way to be heard.

By Kathleen Savino
Posted Nov 1, 2010

On the same street as Stanford University, in Palo Alto, Calif., is another school you’ve probably never heard of: Hope Technology School. Hope Technology’s student body comprises a mix of disabled and nondisabled students in grades pre-K through eight. Many of the disabled students are autistic and often have difficulty verbalizing even basic needs. 

A disabled student population can mean big costs for schools, and Hope Technology is a nonprofit that’s always looking for creative ways to save money.

Disabled Group Fights for Accessible Units

CBC news, Friday, November 19, 2010

An advocacy group for the disabled is frustrated by the fact that Charlottetown has no rules requiring developers to supply accessible units
in new apartment buildings.

The P.E.I. Council of People with Disabilities said it has been lobbying for changes for 10 years.

Residents are frustrated as well. Shelley Stanley has been living for six years in what was supposed to be temporary housing.

Stanley said her heart disease and diabetes limit her mobility, so she lives at the Kay Reynolds Centre.

“I need a place with no stairs,” said Stanley. “I need a place when I’m in my chair, I can move around.”

Voluntary Codes of Conduct Improving Air Carrier Aaccessibility for Persons With Disabilities (PWD)

OTTAWA, Nov. 15 /CNW/ – The Canadian Transportation Agency has found that Canada’s major air carriers are improving onboard accessibility for persons with disabilities.

The Agency today released a compliance report ( on the status of the Implementation Guide Regarding Space for Service Dogs and the Implementation Guide Regarding Tactile Row Markers Onboard Large Aircraft. This report indicates that the country’s six largest airlines, representing over 80% of air passenger traffic in Canada, have made progress in terms of: – providing onboard tactile row markers to assist persons with visual impairments in independently finding their seats; – providing sufficient space for service dogs at travellers’ seats, and – informing travellers of their policies regarding these provisions of the Code of Practice: Aircraft Accessibility for Persons with Disabilities.

City Aims to Curb Disabled Parking Spot Abuse

CBC news, Saturday, November 13, 2010

Ottawa is trying to cut down on the number of people parking illegally in disabled spaces. (CBC)

The city of Ottawa is cracking down on drivers who park illegally in spots reserved for disabled people.

In 2010, Ottawa officials have issued close to 1,000 fines to people parking without a proper permit in spaces reserved for the disabled, or who are
using a permit illegitimately. And, officials say, there has even been a rise in the number of fake permits.

“We see a tremendous amount of abuse,” said Troy Leeson of Ottawa’s bylaw services.