Canadian and American Visually Impaired Research Participants Needed

Assistive Technology Community for the Blind and Visually Impaired Vancouver

You are invited to take part in a study exploring the attitudes of visually impaired people towards seeking psychological services.

People, Power, and Pelf

by Ed Vaughan
Braille Monitor
January 2016

Throughout my academic career and personal life, I have been concerned when individuals are exploited. Concerning blindness, I was always angered when I encountered educators and rehab workers with low expectations for blind people. This becomes worse when low expectations are embodied in the culture of agencies and organizations. Pelf is the Middle English word for wealth ill begotten.

Does this idea apply to people who make their money and careers while diminishing the life prospects of the people they are supposed to be serving?

Lawsuits Rise: Blind Plaintiffs Sue Additional Retailers for Website Accessibility/ADA Claims

Fredrikson & Byron PA
Steven E. Helland.
USA December 28 2015

Patagonia, Ace Hardware, Aeropostale, Bed Bath & Beyond and Estee Lauder are the most recent companies sued by blind plaintiffs, alleging that the retailers websites are not accessible to the blind as required by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

Lawsuits previously filed have included well-known companies such as JC Penny and Home Depot. Details of these lawsuits are included in the article ADA Website Accessibility Lawsuits Mount, by Alexis Kramer, 12/23/15, in BNA Electronic Commerce & Law Report.

EEOC Sues McDonald’s for Disability Discrimination

Fast Food Giant Denied Sign Language Interpreter for Deaf Applicant 12-21-15

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — McDonald’s Corporation and McDonald’s Restaurants of Missouri violated federal law by refusing to accommodate and hire a deaf applicant, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit filed today.

According to the suit, Ricky Washington, who is deaf, applied online for a job at a McDonald’s restaurant in Belton, Mo. in June 2012. Washington indicated on his application that he attended Kansas School for the Deaf. Washington also said he had previous job experience working as a cook and clean-up team member at a McDonald’s restaurant in Louisiana in 2009. When the Belton restaurant manager learned Washington needed a sign language interpreter for his job interview, she canceled the interview and never rescheduled it, despite Washington’s sister volunteering to act as the interpreter. Restaurant management continued to interview and hire new workers after Washington made several attempts to schedule an interview.

CCD Chairperson’s Update – November – December 2015

CCD Continues Its Role As A Convenor

In the disability community, CCD has a long tradition as a convenor, bringing together disability organizations, governments and others to remove barriers and create greater inclusion.

Most recently, CCD convened a consultation on the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) and helped the Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities bring the community together to celebrate the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, which had as its theme, Inclusion Matters.

Is the Company’s Website Accessible to Individuals With Disabilities?

Quarles & Brady LLP
Pamela M. Ploor.
USA December 22 2015

The Internet revolutionized how businesses sell their goods and services. A standard tool in a company’s marketing and sales toolbox is its website.

There are increasing demands by plaintiffs’ lawyers on businesses to ensure their websites are accessible to individuals with disabilities under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) or face a lawsuit. These demands often take the form of a letter alleging the company’s website violates the ADA, demanding changes to the website, and offering a choice between negotiating a payment to avoid litigation or being sued. This usually feels like a “stick-up” to companies that never heard of accessibility in websites or gave a thought to whether the ADA applies to their websites. By being aware of the ADA’s accessibility obligations and how those may relate to websites, companies may limit their liability and protect themselves from being the next victim of a corporate “stick-up.”

Hearing Aid Compatibility for Wireless Voice Technology

Synopsis: FCC agreement between consumer advocates and industry associations as pathway to 100% compatibility for wireless devices.

“Recognizing that wireless voice communications increasingly operate via alternative technologies, the Commission has expanded the rules to cover IP-based communications services like Wi-Fi Calling and Voice-over-LTE.”

The U.S. Federal Communications Commission took major steps to ensure greater access to wireless communications services and handset devices for the tens of millions of Americans with hearing loss.

New rules and proposed rules passed reflect a consensus-driven approach to foster accessibility for individuals who are deaf and hard of hearing while promoting innovation and investment by the wireless industry.

The action taken has two parts.

Why Some Disability Advocates are Worried About A National Disability Act

MP Carla Qualtrough is in charge of the sport, and persons with disabilities portfolio. (Chris Wattie/Reuters)

Stephen Harper’s Conservative government promised a national disability act in 2006, but never followed through.

Now, the new Liberal government has made a national disability act a priority. They say the new bill will fill gaps in the patchwork of legislation concerning people with disabilities in Canada.

“Usually the law doesn’t come into play until people are discriminated against. You are denied a job, and then the law kicks in. You’re denied a place to live, or a service, and then we help you but you’ve already been discriminated against. It feels like there’s a gap in legislation,” said Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities Carla Qualtrough.

Master WordPress With This 3 in 1 Accessible Online Book!

Have a product to sell? Want a Membership Only website? How about a Community Forum?

If you are new to WordPress or not this 3 in 1 online book will walk you through setting up any or all of the above.

For more information on this book and others, visit the Library at

Lawsuit Challenges Discriminatory Charge For Wheelchair Accessible Taxi Service

Phoenix, AZ November 19, 2015

A class action lawsuit filed today in the United States District Court for the District of Arizona alleges that Total Transit Inc. (“TTI”), doing business as Discount Cab, violates federal and state law by charging wheelchair users a $10.00 fee per trip in addition to the standard fare because they require accessible taxis.

TTI is a large transportation provider in the Southwest, and Discount Cab is one of the largest taxi companies in the United States. The complaint alleges that Discount Cab’s policy discriminates against persons with mobility disabilities and violates both the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Arizonans with Disabilities Act.

A Victoria Resident is Challenging a Ruling by the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal, After a Local Taxi Company Allegedly Discriminated Against Him by Refusing to Transport Him and His Guide Dog

Kendra Wong – Victoria News, December 9, 2015.

Allison Davidson, a puppy breeder and caretaker, shows off Glinda, a nine-week old golden lab at the legislature. Last week, the provincial government introduced new laws requiring business, taxis and restaurants to allow certified guide dogs in the establishments.

A Victoria resident is challenging a ruling by the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal, after a local taxi company allegedly discriminated against him by refusing to transport him and his guide dog.

On July 15, 2014, Graeme McCreath, who is legally blind, was having dinner at Earls in downtown Victoria. At the end of the night, a friend called him a taxi, however, when it arrived, the driver refused to pick up McCreath and his five-year-old German Shepherd guide dog, Adrienne.

Air Canada Ordered to Stop Forbidding Deaf-Blind People From Flying Solo

Airline forced passenger to travel with an attendant and that’s discrimination, regulator says.
The Canadian Press
December 09, 2015

Canada’s transportation watchdog has chided Air Canada for what it calls a discriminatory policy prohibiting people with certain disabilities from flying alone.

The Canadian Transportation Agency ordered the airline to officially change its guidelines requiring people who are both blind and deaf to travel with an attendant.

The ruling came after a complaint filed by Carrie Moffatt, who learned of the policy when she booked a flight from Vancouver to Victoria in September 2013.

Air Canada amends policy following challenge from deaf-blind passenger

Moffatt is legally blind and deaf but can read text and communicate orally by phone.

“Missing in Action: Disability Policy and Persons with Disabilities”

by Mario Levesque
Dec. 8, 2015

Within just 96 hours of October’s federal election, Mario Levesque and 65 other leading thinkers and political scientists in Canada each wrote a short, snappy analysis of the election. Never before have Canadian experts collaborated to produce such a complete and fast response to an election. Together with UBC Press, Samara is proud to bring you all 57 articles as part of the “Election 2015” blog series, the definitive look at all angles of the 42nd general election.

European Commission Publishes the European Accessibility Act

International Day of Persons with Disabilities

The European Commission has published the European Accessibility Act. The European Association of Service providers for Persons with Disabilities (EASPD) welcomes this step forward taken by the Commission, announced only one day before the celebration of the International Day of Persons with disabilities [3.12] .

European countries have different rules for making products and services accessible to its citizens. This situation makes it difficult for companies to provide accessible products and services across borders. Therefore, the European Commission (EC) proposed today a new Directive aiming at improving the functioning of the internal market, making it easier for companies to provide accessible products and services across borders to all citizens. The proposal sets common accessibility requirements for certain products and services and those requirements will also apply in the frame of EU procurement rules and for the use of EU funds.

Guelph Study Identifies Job Barriers for Graduates With Disabilities

Statistics Canada finds about 45% of Canada’s 2.3 million disabled workers have jobs CBC News Posted: Dec 03, 2015 6:00 AM ET| Last Updated: Dec 03, 2015 10:45 AM ET

University of Regina students participate in a theatre class intended to improve access for people with disabilities. A recent University of Guelph study suggests students with disabilities tend to face greater barriers to employment than their non-disabled peers.

A recent University of Guelph study shows Canadian university students with disabilities face disproportionate barriers to employment after graduation.

According to study co-author Brad Seward, unemployment rates are twice as high among graduates with disabilities and those who do succeed at finding full-time work earn an average of $4,000 to $6,000 less per year than students without disabilities.

Half of Canadians Accept Job Disability Discrimination

Jane Taber
TORONTO The Globe and Mail
Published Thursday, Dec. 03, 2015 5:00AM EST

Half of Canadians believe its understandable if an employer thinks its too risky to hire someone with a physical disability, according to a new survey by the Angus Reid Institute and the Rick Hansen Foundation.

At the same time, 90 per cent of Canadians say that accessibility for people with physical disabilities is a human right and not a privilege.

The survey reveals some ignorance on disability and accessibility issues, including that Canadians vastly underestimate the number of disabled people in the population although more than half say they know disabled people, or see a person with a physical disability every day in their workplace or socially.

Wearable Tech to Decode Sign Language

College Station, TX
By Ben Gruber

The communication barrier between deaf people who use sign language and those that don’t understand it may be coming to an end thanks to a new wearable technology being developed at Texas A&M University.

The device incorporates a system of sensors that records the motion of hand gestures, as well as the electromyography or EMG signals produced by muscles in the wrist when signing.

“We decode the muscle activities we are capturing from the wrist. Some of it is coming from the fingers indirectly because if I happen to keep my fist like this versus this, the muscle activation is going to be a little different,” said Roozbeh Jafari, an Associate Professor of Biomedical Engineering at Texas A&M University.

Junk Lawsuits Explode on Web

Businesses face costly ADA battles over websites that are inaccessible to blind, deaf by Brendan Kirby

Businesses across the United States increasingly are facing lawsuits under the Americans with Disabilities Act. It is not due to a failure build ramps or elevators at their stores, but over allegations of a different kind of inaccessibility their websites.

No one keeps statistics on cases involving noncompliant websites, and such lawsuits still make up a relatively small share of the overall number of disabilities actions. But advocates on both sides say such legal actions are exploding as the Internet becomes more embedded in daily life.

Badeyes Launches Second Online Book in Its “WordPress for Badeyes” Series!

Learn how to build your own Personal or Business website.
by Geof Collis

After putting the finishing touches on my second Book: Build an eCommerce, Membership site with Community Forum it can now be purchased as a standalone or as part of a number of Discounted Bundles.

For more details visit

Campus Group Works to Enhance Statewide Instructional Accessibility Goals

November 24, 2015
Tennessee Today

The University of Tennessee(UT) System recently adopted a policy that reiterates its commitment to providing and supporting a teaching and learning environment that is accessible to all.

The policy requires that all campuses and institutes provide information, materials, and technology that are accessible to individuals with disabilities, including those who use assistive technologies. The Accessibility Policy went into effect on October 16.

Chancellor Jimmy G. Cheek has charged a team of faculty, staff, and students to develop a strategy to exceed policy requirements and further the campus’s accessibility goals. Heather Hartman, summer sessions coordinator is chairing the accessibility implementation team. The team has worked to launch a new website to promote awareness and provide resources for the campus community.