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Senators Urge DOJ to Weigh in On ADA Impact on Websites

BY BEN JACOBSON ben.jacobson@thmedia.com
September 16, 2018

A pair of U.S. senators from Iowa say it’s unclear whether the landmark Americans with Disabilities Act transcends the physical world into the cyber realm.

Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst, both Republicans, have asked U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions to explore whether the 1990 law applies to website accessibility as well.

“For nearly 30 years, the ADA has protected countless individuals with disabilities, ensuring physical access to ‘any place of public accommodation,'” the senators wrote in a letter, co-authored by lawmakers from North Carolina, South Dakota, Idaho and Texas. “We support the ADA and all that it stands for.

Talking Gloves, Tactile Windows: New Tech Helps the Disabled

Danica Kirka, The Associated Press
Published Thursday, September 13, 2018

LONDON — Hadeel Ayoub slips a black glove onto her hand before beginning the swish of sign language that is meaningless to the untrained observer. Then she pushes a button on her wrist, and a small speaker relays the message drawn in the air: “Let’s Dance!”

“My dream is to give a voice to those who can’t speak,” says the 36-year-old inventor who is developing her BrightSign glove while working toward a Ph.D. in assistive technology at Goldsmiths, University of London.

IWSCC Announces RBC as First Founding Member to Support Disabled Owned and Veteran Owned Businesses in Canada

MEDIA RELEASE September 10, 2018

Deidre Guy and Jeff Wilson, Co-ffounders of the Inclusive Workplace and Supply Council of Canada (IWSCC), are thrilled to announce the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) as its first Founding Member.

IWSCC is dedicated to helping Veterans and differently-abled entrepreneurs by creating conditions for equal access and opportunity, and highlighting the opportunities and value of relationships with these companies. Efforts include Inclusive Workplace programs and Diverse Supplier Certification. This formal designation assures organizations that procurement opportunities are going to businesses that have been pre-certified as at least 51% owned and operated by veterans or persons with disabilities.

PEAT and Teach Access Identify Large Skills Gap in the Tech Sector

Post date: Jul 26, 2018

(WASHINGTON)One in five Americans has a disability, and in today’s digital age it’s more important than ever that people with disabilities are able to use technology, from websites to mobile phones to emerging smart devices.

Twenty-eight years after the seminal passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act, leading tech companies agree that building and buying products that everyone can use is an imperative, not an afterthought. But a new national study shows that a major barrier many tech companies encounter is that they can’t find job candidates with the accessible tech skills the companies needand 57% report that, as a result, achieving accessibility in their products and services takes increasingly more time and resources.

Wegmans Adds a ‘Game-Changer’ for Visually Impaired Shopping

By: Jason Law
Updated: Aug 29, 2018

BOSTON – Grocery shopping can be very stressful. Navigating crowded aisles in a store full of people is frustrating, but if you’re blind, like Kim Charlson, then grocery shopping can be almost impossible.

A new tool, however, could revolutionize shopping for people who can’t see.

It’s an app that helps the visually impaired navigate the world and does it using the eyes in your smartphone.

“You come into a grocery store and you’re just bombarded with everything all around you,” Charlson explained. “It’s just not the place a blind person can get around independently without some kind of support.”

Fueling recovery: Top Nutrients For Addicts

Nutrition and Recovery: An Overlooked Relationship

When people think of recovery from addiction, they often think of meetings and counseling. While this is the cornerstone of rehabilitating addicts, there is an aspect that often goes overlooked. Lifestyle.

Both research and popular practice of many recovery centers of America focus only on psychological aspects of rehabilitation. The exception to this is the use of prescription drugs to ease recovery and help week off users of addictive substances.

But, there may be easier and more holistic ways to help addicts recover. Including certain nutrients in a holistic diet may help speed up recovery and prevent relapse. It can also help improve general health and mood while detoxing.

Apple Sued Over Claims Website is Inaccessible to Visually Impaired Users

By Malcolm Owen
Monday, August 20, 2018

Apple has become the target of a new lawsuit, one that claims the iPhone producer’s website is violating the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) by not being fully accessible to blind or visually-impaired consumers, due to the way the website itself is coded.

Filed in the U.S. District Court of the Southern District of New York on Sunday, the complaint from the plaintiff Himelda Mendez is said to be filed on behalf of other users in a similar accessibility situation. Apple is the sole defendant in the lawsuit.

Meow Cat Café Dispute Highlights Canada’s Accessibility Problem, Paralympian Jeff Adams Says

The owners of the business argued that wheelchairs pose a danger to their cats. By Emma Paling
The Huffington Post
08/14/2018

Paralympian and law student Jeff Adams spent an uncomfortable few hours at Meow Cat Café in Toronto after hearing the business turned away a 16-year-old because he uses a wheelchair.

The issue of accessibility in Canada is larger than one cat café in Toronto, paralympian Jeff Adams says.

Meow Cat Café was in the news all weekend when Global News reported that a 16-year-old wasn’t allowed inside for a birthday outing because he uses a wheelchair.

The High Cost of Special-Needs Programming

Anna Sharratt
Globe and Mail, August 16, 2018

Afshan Tafler has left no stone unturned in a bid to get help for her son, who has pervasive developmental disorder and who also shows signs of giftedness. The Toronto-based whole-life coach enrolled him in a private school with smaller class sizes and an on-site occupational therapist. She also pays an additional $10,000 a year above the school’s $23,000 tuition for an even smaller, personalized program within the school that tailors the curriculum to his learning style.

Editorial: It’s time to start talking about territorial accessibility legislation

Now that Ottawa has tabled its new accessibility law, the Yukon needs to prepare to follow suit Aug. 10, 2018

At the beginning of the year Yukon Hospital Corporation unveiled a $72-million makeover at the Whitehorse General Hospital.
For that money the territory got itself a snazzy new emergency room complete with a bunch of changes designed to streamline the process of seeing a doctor.
But officials forgot something. The new ER came with a new entrance. That entrance doesn’t have a cutout in the sidewalk directly outside the front door which is what’s needed for wheelchair users to easily get inside.

Feds Announce New Funding for Accessibility in the N.W.T.

4 organizations will divide $180K to build ramps, automatic doors CBC News · Posted: Aug 09, 2018

Automatic doors are among the improvements to accessibility that will be funded by the new money from the Enabling Accessibility Fund, a $15.6 million federal program. (Guy Quenneville/CBC )

Four local organizations will receive new funding to improve accessibility, N.W.T. MP Michael McLeod announced Thursday on behalf of the federal government.

Two churches, the Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre, and the Hay River Metis Government Council will receive $180,000 in new federal funding for automated doors, wheelchair ramps, and improved entryways.

Man Denied Service at Pierrefonds Tim Hortons Because of Service Dog

Police were called after the confrontation, who confirmed his dog was a service dog CTV Montreal, Sunday, August 5, 2018.

A man in Pierrefonds had the police called on him outside a Tim Hortons because of his service dog.

The incident took place on a July morning, when Craig Read was denied service.

The restaurant refused to serve him, and a confrontation ensued.

“I was asked to leave, and was told it’s because of the dog,” he said. “I said that it was a service dog, and they said they didn’t care, and I had to leave.”

Eventually, police were called.

Blind Woman Sues California Hospital for Employment Discrimination

National Federation of the Blind Assisting in Litigation

San Francisco, California (July 26, 2018): Alina Sorling worked for ten years as a food service technician at Mercy Medical Center in Redding, California until she went blind from an illness. After successful rehabilitation in which she learned to manage her home and perform the duties of her job as a blind person, she sought reasonable accommodations from her employer to return to work. Instead, she was fired.

From Trails to Exhibits, Parks Aim to Increase Accessibility

REBECCA REYNOLDS YONKER, Associated Press
July 23, 2018

CAVE CITY, Ky. (AP) David Allgood and Tom Stokes glide up a slight incline to the wooden platform overlooking the Green River at Mammoth Cave National Park. From there, they watch through a glass panel as the Kentucky park’s lone ferry carries a Jeep across the water below.

The longtime friends turn their wheelchairs and roll toward the recently improved Echo River Spring Trail, which is wide enough for them to travel side-by-side. Accompanied by the gurgling water and chirping birds, they chat quietly about the trail and the thought that went into the view unobstructed by railings.

Most Business Websites Are Sitting Ducks for ADA Suits, Experts Say

Disabled turn to courts for equal access to business, government websites By Ron Hurtibise
Contact Reporter
South Florida Sun Sentinel
July 22, 2018

Business owners who think that building a wheelchair ramp and grab bars in the restroom will ward off South Florida’s accessibility testers and their lawsuits need to fire up their computers, go to their websites and ask: “What’s missing?”

Lawsuits accusing businesses of failing to ensure that their websites are accessible to deaf, blind, or otherwise disabled customers have been on the rise in recent years and show no sign of tapering off, say attorneys who specialize in accessibility litigation.

Disability Community Struggles to Find Accessible Apartments in Rockford

Posted: Jul 19, 2018

When C.J. Campbell moved back to Rockford 8 years ago, it was an uphill battle to find a place to call home.

“There’s a two year waiting list generally and its very limited apartments and generally the apartments are quite old and not up to ADA standards,” Campbell said.

That’s a big challenge for Campbell, who’s been using a wheelchair his whole life.

“I discovered that it’s very difficult to find accessible housing not just here in the Stateline, but everywhere in the United States,” Campbell said.

“Housing really is one of the biggest barriers people with disabilities face,” Eric Brown said.

4 Areas AI Makes the World More Accessible

AI technology such as voice interaction, image recognition and real-time captioning is starting to break down barriers for people with sensory, physical and cognitive disabilities.

In today’s world, so much relies on information. But this can make navigating everyday life even more of a barrier for people with a sensory, physical or cognitive impairment. Fortunately, the advent of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning technology is helping people with disabilities both interact with the physical world and use digital devices and services.

How LED Lighting Can Help Those With Visual Impairments Navigate The City

July 13 2018

CANADA: Vision loss will increase by 30 percent within the next 10 years in Canada. People with visual impairments risk social isolation as well as less community participation, which is why it’s so important for cities to be more accessible to them. This can be alleviated with the use of LED lighting.

LED lighting is growing in popularity. In Canada alone, the phasing out of incandescent bulbs has resulted in other, more accessible lighting options. One of these is LEDs. Since they last up to 25 times longer than incandescent lights, use less energy, and work well in all weather conditions, they provide a valuable lighting system for both public and private spaces. They can also help to light the way for people with vision problems who rely on well-lit public areas in order to get around with greater ease. Here are other benefits of LEDs for those with visual impairments.

Court Orders CRA to Stop Setting Political Limits on Charities’ Activities

National Post
Canadian Press, July 17, 2018

OTTAWA – An Ontario Superior Court judge is telling federal tax authorities they can’t set limits on how much a charity devotes to political activity in a new ruling that grants a win to a national anti-poverty group.

Justice Ed Morgan said in the decision Tuesday that the Canada Revenue Agency could not justify a restriction on charities that they spend no more than 10 per cent of their time on political advocacy, calling it an unconstitutional limit on freedom of expression.

Morgan’s ruling – which begins with the philosophical question, what is political? – says all political activities are charitable activities so long as groups advocate “in pursuit of the overall charitable purpose.”

Proposed San Francisco Straw Ban May Limit Accessibility for People With Disabilities

by Kate Larsen
Sunday, July 15, 2018

Cities around the country have anti-plastic straw legislation in the works, including San Francisco. While reducing plastic waste is positive for the environment, it’s concerning for some people with disabilities.

“Anything that attempts to limit the amount of plastic waste in our environment today, is very positive,” says Nina McCullaugh, who is visiting her daughter in San Francisco from Los Angeles County, where Malibu is also working to ban plastic straws. Three years ago, video of a plastic straw stuck in a sea turtle’s nose went viral. Now, people around the world are ditching their single-use plastic straws in favor of biodegradable paper and reusable straws.