Access Board Updates ADA Guidelines for Buses and Vans

December 14, 2016

The Access Board has issued a final rule updating sections of its accessibility guidelines for transportation vehicles covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

The rule revises provisions in the guidelines that apply to buses and vans to enhance accessibility and to address industry trends and improvements in design and technology.

The guidelines, which the Board originally published in 1991, apply to new or remanufactured vehicles (they also include provisions for rail vehicles that the Board will update separately).

The guidelines for buses and vans address boarding access, fare devices, interior circulation, seating and securement, signs, lighting, and announcement systems.

London Unveils Badge Program for People With Invisible Disabilities

London’s transportation department wants to help people with invisible conditions find a seat on public transportation. Starting September 12, Transport for London (TfL) will spend six weeks testing a badge program for people with invisible illnesses and disabilities. The badges, which say “Please offer me a seat,” are designed for people who are unable to stand, but appear like they can. Those who see someone wearing a badge will then be encouraged through campaigns and materials distributed by the TfL to offer up their seat.

The TfL is currently recruiting 1,000 people for its trial program. Those receiving a badge will also get a card to present to transportation staff. According to the TfL website, if the trial is successful, more people will be able to apply for the program.

Individuals With Disabilities More Likely to Be Employed in States With Expanded Medicaid

Wed, 12/21/2016

LAWRENCE Individuals with disabilities are significantly more likely to be employed if they live in a state that has expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, a new study has found.

Researchers at the University of Kansas co-authored a study that found a 6 percentage-point difference in employment rates among working-age adults with disabilities in states that expanded Medicaid and those that chose not to.

How Do Deaf-Blind People Communicate?

American Association of the Deaf-Blind

Deaf-blind people have many different ways of communication.
The methods they use vary, depending on the causes of their combined vision and hearing loss, their backgrounds, and their education.

Below are some of the most common ways that deaf-blind people communicate. These methods described are used primarily in the United States.

Sign Language and Modifications

Signed Languages:

Some deaf or hard of hearing people with low vision use American Sign Language
or an English-based sign language. In some cases, people may need to sign or fingerspell more slowly than usual so the person with limited vision can see signs more clearly. Sometimes the person with low vision can see the signs better if the signer wears a shirt that contrasts with his or her skin color (e.g., a person with light skin needs to wear a dark-colored shirt).

5 Ways New Technologies are Empowering People with Disabilities

by Maggie Hammond

While the term adaptive technology is fairly new, throughout history humanity has used technology to make life easier for the sick and disabled. As a matter of fact, one of the oldest and most recognizable examples of adaptive technology is the simple cane used by the blind. Today, adaptive tech is so advanced that it can sometimes border on science fiction. Here are five new technologies that are empowering people with disabilities.

1. The DynaVox EyeMax

The EyeMax allows people with cerebral palsy, stroke, and paralysis to communicate using only their eyes. As they read on an on-screen keyboard, a scanner tracks their eye movements and formulates words and phrases. These are then translated into sound using text-to-speech technology.

In Quebec, French-Language Media Aren’t Talking About Accessibility

“When we talk about people with disabilities, theyre either shown as inspiring models of overcoming adversity, or as people left helpless. Ruby Irene Pratka
CANADALAND, December 15, 2016

For the 50th anniversary of the Montreal Métro, dozens of wheelchair users were able to do something theyd never done beforeenter the Place-des-Arts station. Only 10 of the subway networks 68 stations are currently accessible, to the consistent frustration of wheelchair users. For the anniversary celebrations, employees had set up a temporary ramp giving people in wheelchairs access to the station.

Co-organizer Laurence Parent did two TV interviews, one with CBC and one with Global. Weve been waiting for 50 years, Parent said, in her second language. Accessibility is coming but its not coming fast enough.

Blind Man Sets Out Alone in Google’s Driverless Car

By Ashley Halsey III and Michael Laris
Washington Post, Dec. 13, 2016

A blind man has successfully traveled around Austin unaccompanied in a car without a steering wheel or floor pedals, Google announced Tuesday.

After years of testing by Google engineers and employees, the company’s new level of confidence in its fully autonomous technology was described as a milestone.

“We’ve had almost driverless technology for a decade,” said Google engineer Nathaniel Fairfield. “It’s the hard parts of driving that really take the time and the effort to do right.”

Steve Mahan, who is legally blind, was the first non-Google employee to ride alone in the company’s gumdrop-shaped autonomous car.

Your quiet hybrid is likely to make itself heard in the not-so-distant future

Coming soon to your quiet hybrid:
By Fredrick Kunkle
Washington Post, November 23, 2016

Under a new safety regulation issued by the federal government, hybrids and electric cars will be equipped with a device that emits sound to alert passersby that the vehicle is running. Manufacturers have until Sept. 1, 2019, to meet the requirement.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in announcing the new safety standard, said adding noise to the nearly soundless vehicles could prevent nearly 2,400 injuries a year to pedestrians and bicyclists.

The measure is of special importance to people who are blind or visually impaired.

Sobey’s Hardware/Software Upgrade Denies Access to Visually Impaired Long-Term Employee

The hearing dates in the case of Jones v Sobey’s West Inc., Case #12888, have been confirmed and will proceed as scheduled, January 16 to 18th 2017.

My name is Juanita Jones, and I have been employed by Safeway since July 2001 as a cashier. During this time I have been very successful in my position even though I am partially-sighted. Over the years, I have received many compliments from regular customers, both as a cashier and as a customer service representative, at my local Safeway store in Surrey, BC.

Canada Makes Further Commitment to Support Rights of Persons With Disabilities

December 1, 2016 – Ottawa, Ontario – Global Affairs Canada

The Honourable Stéphane Dion, Minister of Foreign Affairs, and the Honourable Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities, today announced that the Government of Canada has begun a consultation process on Canadas accession to the United Nations Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (the Optional Protocol).

The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities protects and promotes the rights and dignity of persons with disabilities without discrimination and on an equal basis with others.

Retail Savings Guide for People with Disabilities

Retail Savings Guide for People with Disabilities

https://www.couponchief.com/guides/savings_guide_for_those_with_disability

International Day of Persons with Disability 2016

Independent Living Canada invites Canadians to join their voices for a more inclusive Canada Nov 28th (Ottawa, Ontario)

In preparation for the 2016 International Day of Persons with Disability (IDPD) Independent Living Canada has an ambitious goal: Get thousands of Canadians from across the country to add their voice by signing their Declaration on their campaign page: http://www.ilcanada.ca/idpd

We believe that everyone has the right to aspire to the philosophy of Independent Living. While people with disabilities have made great strides in our country, too many still face barriers in daily living. Persistent gaps remain in areas such as employment, income, social inclusion, transportation and accessibility. Because we aspire to an all-inclusive and accessible society where people with disabilities are valued equally and participate fully, we believe these are issues that should be addressed now, to make Canada a better place.

CCD Disappointed by Electoral Reform Bill C-33

For Immediate Release November 25, 2016

While the Council of Canadians with Disabilities (CCD) is pleased with some aspects of the Government’s electoral reform bill, “This Bill fails to respond to most of the important amendments to the Canada Elections Act that CCD proposed,” said John Rae, 1st Vice Chair of CCD.

While we are pleased with provisions regarding vouching and increasing the powers of the Chief Electoral Officer to provide a wide range of information to electors, “the Bill was silent on such topics as making it easier to test telephone and online methods of voting, or to add new sections proposed by CCD which would require access to all candidates’ meetings, candidates’ offices, and the provision of campaign literature in various alternate formats and plain language,” added Rae.

Silent No More: Ottawa Consults on national disability act, demonstrations for disability justice remain strong

by Alex William
The Leveller, November 23, 2016

With a national disability act in preparation, the federal government is continuing its consultation process to address concerns within the disability community. On Nov. 1, over 100 people with disabilities arrived at Carleton University to take part in the National Youth Forum on an Accessible Canada.

While many issues arose during the youth forum, one of the most prominent and recurring problems is the close correlation between disability and poverty.

CBC Expands Accessibility Project for Hearing-Impaired Audiences

Initiative to support an estimated 1 to 3 million Canadians who are deaf or hard-of-hearing By Alice Hopton
CBC News, Nov. 24, 2016

As It Happens, co-hosted by Carol Off and Jeff Douglas, is the latest CBC Radio One program to join an initiative providing greater accessibility to Canadians by making transcripts of the daily program available online.

CBC is expanding a successful pilot project to make its radio programming more accessible to those who are deaf or hard-of-hearing, with As It Happens to now join The Current in posting daily show transcripts online to read, print and share.

The World Blind Union: Future Challenges and Opportunities

by Fredric K. Schroeder, PhD

From the Editor: Fredric Schroeder is one of the most prolific and thought-provoking writers we have, and when his name appears on the annual convention agenda, the speeches he gives never fail to command attention and spark discussion. It is no accident that Fred Schroeder is now the president of the World Blind Union, and his service will no doubt bring the same class, intelligence, and insight that have benefited the blind of the United States. Here is what he writes for the Braille Monitor following the meeting at which he was elected:

Does Canada Need a Canadians with Disabilities Act?

by Ilanna Mandel

The question we, as Canadians may want to ask ourselves is: “will the enactment of national legislation such as a Canadians with Disabilities Act help to create this fully inclusive society?” A national act is only the precursor to change. The law must be drafted in such a way so as to be the foundation for social change.

Read more at
http://disabilitycreditcanada.com/canadians-with-disabilities-act

How Far Has B.C. Come in Terms of Accessibility? Rick Hansen Weighs In

‘A lot of the stats show deep unemployment, challenges and barriers still out there,’ says Rick Hansen
By Jon Hernandez, CBC News Posted: Nov 17, 2016 4:43 PM PT| Last Updated: Nov 17, 2016

Canada’s Man in Motion, Rick Hansen, poses for a photograph outside his foundation’s offices in Richmond, B.C., on Sunday Jan. 30, 2011.

When Canadian icon Rick Hansen was just 15 years old, a pickup truck accident left him a paraplegic. He went on to circle the entire planet in his wheelchair and raise millions of dollars for people living with disabilities.

Press Release: CCD Says Regulations Are Necessary to Increase the Accessibility of Passenger Transportation

November 16, 2016

On Thursday, November 17, 2016 in Montreal, Bob Brown, Co-Chair of CCD’s Transportation Committee, will attend the federal government’s roundtable discussion on planned accessibility legislation, as it relates to transportation. The federal government regulates air, rail, interprovincial marine and bus transportation. Roundtable organizers want participants to identify gaps in the legal and policy environment and to suggest ways for Canada to make transportation more accessible. Among other recommendations, CCD will urge the adoption of comprehensive accessibility regulations.

In the 1990s, when Canada turned its back on binding accessibility regulations in favour of voluntary codes of practice to prevent barriers, progress in Canada toward a fully accessible transportation system became lamentably slow. The burden to remedy transportation barriers through litigation fell on people with disabilities and their organizations, such as CCD.

Women and Persons With Disabilities Being Left Behind on CPP Expansion

Nov 14, 2016

Women and persons with disabilities will face a significant and unfair disadvantage under proposed changes to the Canada Pension Plan. Canada’s largest union is urging the federal government to address troubling gaps in legislation to expand the CPP that will harm workers already vulnerable to post-retirement poverty.

“Women and persons with disabilities are far more reliant on public pensions. It is deeply troubling that the Liberal federal government is abandoning these already vulnerable workers in the urgently needed expansion of the CPP,” said Mark Hancock, national president of the Canadian Union of Public Employees.