Deaf Man Fights DND Over Lost Job

By JEROME LESSARD – The Intelligencer
Updated December 30, 2011

Jeffrey Stringer has won the first round of a five-year discrimination battle with the Department of National Defence.

But the hearing-impaired former drafting technician at 8 Wing/CFB Trenton said he is not done fighting.

Recently, the Department of National Defence (DND) was ordered to pay the 41-year-old civilian more than $27,000 for failing to provide him with a sign language interpreter.

When hired as a draftsman — he prepared accurate and detailed drawings for construction and engineering projects at the air base — under an employment equity program in 2003, National Defence (DND) was aware of Stringer’s disability. However, Stringer’s request for an American Sign Language (ASL) interpreter — his first language — was denied on several occasions.

Guess Who Funds Biggest Project Ever to House the Homeless? Stephen Harper

By Heather Scoffield Mon Dec 26 2011

TORONTO — The government’s response to the Attawapiskat housing crisis may well have underscored Stephen Harper’s reputation for his hard line rather than his heart, with his focus on the aboriginal reserve’s financial problems, not its social ones.

But in other parts of the country, the prime minister’s government is also quietly bankrolling one of the largest social pilot projects ever seen in Canada, paying generously for cutting-edge research that is changing the lives of hundreds of homeless people.

The project may scream out for a new, national social program — the kind that has been anathema to Harper in the past.

Judge: NYC Taxi Agency Must Help Disabled Riders

By Larry Neumeister, Associated Press
December 23, 2011

NEW YORK (AP) — A federal judge has barred New York City’s Taxi and Limousine Commission from issuing permits for taxicabs unless they’re accessible to people with disabilities.

Advocates for the disabled say it’s a milestone decision that could have national implications.

Federal Judge George Daniels issued his ruling Friday. He says the commission can provide taxi medallions only for wheelchair-accessible vehicles until it produces a comprehensive plan to provide meaningful access to taxicab service for disabled passengers.

He says the plan must include targeted goals and anticipated measurable results.

Payment Increase Costs Disabled Man His Bus Pass

Man Says His Income Exceeds Province’s Cutoff by Less Than $20
By Tara Carman, Vancouver Sun
December 22, 2011 2:27 AM

Barry Londry receives disability money because he has a heart condition, but a recent cost-of-living increase from Ottawa makes him ineligible for a transit pass, which costs about $1,800 a year.

For most people, a little extra money from the government is something to celebrate, but for Barry Londry, it was the beginning of a bureaucratic night-mare that threatens to make his world a whole lot smaller.

Microsoft Commits to Improving NZ Accessibility

Voxy News Engine Wednesday, 21 December, 2011 – 08:21.

Microsoft New Zealand has signalled an increased focus on accessibility solutions by making a significant donation to the Royal New Zealand Foundation of the Blind (RNZFB) and announcing the availability of Microsoft Office add-ons for people with a hearing or vision impairment.

The donation of more than $1 million worth of software was made by Microsoft to help the RNZFB manage information about its members more effectively and encourage greater collaboration within the organisation. Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 and SharePoint 2010 are the key products being donated.

Transit Tough for the ‘Invisible Disabled’

By Brent Richter, The Record December 21, 2011 2:26 AM.

Most people will immediately offer their seat on public transit to someone who is clearly disabled, pregnant, elderly or walking with a cane.

But not everyone with a difficulties riding transit can be spotted so easily.

That’s the case for New Westminster resident Jason Bosher, who rides the SkyTrain every day in “a great deal of pain” because he must stand while otherwise healthy looking people sit in seats reserved for the disabled.

Bosher, who has rheumatoid arthritis and spinal injuries, said he knows he’s only one of the “invisible disabled” – people whose disabilities are not immediately apparent to outsiders.

An Inaccessible Website: Don’t Just Suck it Up

By Sarah Pulis Ramp Up 19 Dec 2011

The Disability Discrimination Act in Australia includes web accessibility.

Speaking up about inaccessibility on the web is the only way to change it, writes Sarah Pulis from Media Access Australia.

An American court case has thrown web accessibility into the international spotlight. Three women who are vision impaired brought a case against the Walt Disney Company for failing to accommodate the needs of vision impaired customers across its websites and within its theme parks. Disney, no stranger to litigation, was able to settle the suit out of court for an undisclosed sum.

B.C. Program Offers Independence to People With Intellectual Disabilities

adriana barton
VANCOUVER— From Monday’s Globe and Mail
Published Sunday, Dec. 18, 2011 4:00PM EST

Callan Parker has what some people call a “diversability.” Born with Down’s Syndrome, Ms. Parker has grown into an 18-year-old fashionista with a passion for dancing, Facebook and pop singers such as Hilary Duff.

But like many people her age, she’s at a crossroads. High school is over and the path to a job and independent living is uncertain. The roadmap is getting clearer, though.

National Federation of the Blind Urges Swift Action on Recommendations for Accessible Higher Education Materials

BALTIMORE, Dec 13, 2011 (BUSINESS WIRE) — The National Federation of the Blind (NFB) commented today on the recently released final report of the Advisory Commission on Accessible Instructional Materials in Postsecondary Education for Students with Disabilities.

The commission was created by Congress following extensive advocacy by the NFB as part of the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008.

The report sets forth specific recommendations to facilitate the production and distribution of accessible instructional materials–including printed and digital books, journals, course packs, articles, tests, videos, instructor-created materials, and Web pages, as well as any hardware, firmware, software, or other means of accessing such materials–to students who are blind or have other disabilities.

Keep Sweet, Gimps

By Victor Schwartzman and Paul Caune
December 14, 2011

“God bless us, everyone”—Tiny Tim
“Can I have some more, please?”—Oliver Twist
“Go ahead, make my day.”—Dirty Harry

Christmas time is a reminder of the strange situation many Canadian citizens face. Among plenty, people with disabilities have little. People who are abused are forced to be thankful for what little they receive. And the last thing you will do is upset the generous person giving you a gift.

Is it because Canadians believe a person with a disability is lucky to get anything? Is it because Canadians have a colonial past? Or is it simply because Canadians are so very…Canadian?

Aging in Place: How to Remodel Your Home and Stay as Long as Possible

by Jennifer Grey, Columnist
June 15, 2011

There are plenty of wonderful senior living communities out there. But for many older adults, no matter how lovely the neighborhood and how terrific the services, a senior community isn’t the first choice—staying at home is.

It’s difficult for older adults to stay in the home as they age—because many homes were not designed to accommodate aging in place. Still, you can make some basic changes to your home that will make it easier for you to stay as you age. Here are a few ideas for older adults who want to stay in their homes as long as possible.

Air Canada to Face Class Action Suit from Obese

CBC News
Posted: Dec 12, 2011 11:02 AM ET Last Updated:

A Quebec judge has authorized a class action lawsuit against Air Canada on behalf of obese travellers who had to pay extra because of their disability during a three-year period ending in December 2008.

The Montreal law firm BGA Barristers & Solicitors LLP announced the ruling on Monday. David Bourgoin, a lawyer with the firm, said a similar suit against WestJet was thrown out because of a technicality, but the firm has about 30 days to fix the problem and continue the case against WestJet.

The Smartphone Revolution: Accessible To All

Dec 7

Vodafone has announced the winners of the inaugural Vodafone Foundation Smart Accessibility Awards at a ceremony attended by the European Commissioner for Digital Agenda Neelie Kroes and Vodafone Group Chief Executive Vittorio Colao.

The mobile internet is central to the daily lives of hundreds of millions of people around the world as an increasing number of consumers turn to smartphones for messaging, social networking, access to information and entertainment and many other services.

US Labor Department Seeks to Improve Job Opportunities for Americans With Disabilities by Setting Historic Hiring Goal for Federal Contractors and Subcontractors

Posted to site December 9, 2011

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Labor is proposing a new rule that would require federal contractors and subcontractors to set a hiring goal of having 7 percent of their workforces be people with disabilities, among other requirements. The department’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs invites public comment on this proposal, which will be published in the Dec. 9 edition of the Federal Register.

The Demonisation of the Disabled is a Chilling Sign of the Times

There is a climate of hostility towards people for whom life is already difficult and it is being fostered by politicians and journalists

Ian Birrell
The Observer, Sunday December 4, 2011

Peter Greener endured a barrage of hate from his neighbour. Sometimes, it was eggs thrown at his house, stones thrown at his windows or paint thrown
at his fence; more often, it was words hurled in his face: spastic, cripple, scum, scrounger.

These assaults went on for months, leaving the former Nissan car-sprayer in floods of tears, feeling suicidal and on antidepressants. He was scared to leave his home in Hebburn in South Tyneside and blamed himself for the upset it caused his wife and two children. “It made our lives hell,” he said.

Civil Rights Now’s Award-Winning Executive Director


In honour of the United Nations International Day of Persons with Disabilities, December 3rd, Access is pleased and proud to announce our Sixth Annual Access A+ Awards. 

Our stellar award winners for 2011 are: Vancouver based disability activist Paul Caune, Victoria author Graeme McCreath, University of Victoria professor
Dr. Audrey Yap and University of Victoria students Tanja Given and Erin Lacharity. 

Canadian Government Web 2.0 Guidelines Criticized

By: JD Speedy On: 01 Dec 2011 For: ComputerWorld Canada

The Treasury Board’s formal guidelines governing social media use have only been out for about a week, and they’ve already been scrutinized as impenetrable The Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat has released the Guideline for External Use of Web 2.0, an over-arching set of rules that the Treasury Board hopes will both promote social media use while also making it abundantly clear what is and isn’t allowed.

How Practices Can Make Room for Mobility

More than 40 million Americans have a disability, and about 24% of them use mobility aids. Experts offer tips to improve care for these patients.
By Christine S. Moyer, amednews staff. Posted Nov. 28, 2011.

“People with disabilities have many health issues,” says Lisa I. Iezzoni, MD, MSc. “Doctors, because of their short visit times, might not feel they can address all preventive issues in a single visit, especially when the patient has major medical issues.”

when she still could stand — before multiple sclerosis made her rely on a wheelchair.

Similar to those in many doctor’s offices, the scale where Dr. Iezzoni sees her primary care physician is not wheelchair-accessible.

Families Push for Autism Funds

By Emma Graney, Leader-Post November 28, 2011

Levi Tetlock is a nine-year-old boy who likes playing with toy planes, watching films and eating popcorn.

He’s skinny for his age and his thick-lashed brown eyes are usually focused on the wall, small clues to the fact he has autism.

Until a few months ago, he didn’t really talk and simple interactions were beyond his grasp. But in September, he started Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) – an intensive, one-on-one form of therapy.

Now, when his mother asks him questions in the living room of their Regina home, he giggles as he answers; he knows his name, age, address, names of his family members, where he went on vacation.

The CLBC Controversy

By Victor Schwartzman and Paul Caune 
November 26, 2011

“CLBC exists to support British Columbians with developmental disabilities and must return them to the centre of decision making”—B.C. Minister of Social Development Stephanie Cadieux, November 18, 2011.

Community Living British Columbia (CLBC) is a crown agency of the B.C. Government.  It provides services to adults who have developmental disabilities, and  answers to the Ministry of Social Development. 

CLBC was created in 2005 with enormous promise.  On November 19, 2011 a Vancouver Sun headline blared CLBC was “struggling to meet (its) mandate”. CLBC admitted it had cut “services because it doesn’t have enough money to meet growing demand.”