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Carleton to Lead Canadian Accessibility Network

The new network of regional centers of excellence comes on the heels of Canada’s first national accessibility law. By SPARROW MCGOWAN | AUG 20 2019

Carleton University aims to draw on the power of partnerships to advance accessibility for people with disabilities through the recently announced Canadian Accessibility Network.

“We are pursuing to establish Carleton as a centre of excellence in accessibility,” said Dr. Boris Vukovic, director of Carleton’s READ (Research, Education, Accessibility and Design) Initiative, where the network will be headquartered. Dr. Vukovic said they plan to create a network of regional centers of excellence across the country, drawing on “Carleton’s history of collaborating with partners within and outside of Carleton, locally, nationally and even internationally on accessibility related projects.”

Canadian Transportation Agency Launches a New Confidential Toll-Free Accessibility Help Line

News provided by
Canadian Transportation Agency

GATINEAU, QC, Aug. 20, 2019 /CNW/ – The disability community and persons with disabilities now have new tools available to help them exercise their right to an accessible transportation network.

In support of the implementation of the new Accessible Transportation for Persons with Disabilities Regulations, the Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA) has launched a new confidential toll-free Accessibility Help Line to provide information, and guidance about dispute resolution services relating to accessible travel.

Callers to the Accessibility Help Line can have access to a staff member if they have questions relating to accessible transportation, or if they wish to file a transportation-related accessibility complaint. This is a confidential service. Staff are available Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Eastern Time.

In Japan, Gyms for People With Disabilities Gain Traction

The Japan News/Asia News Network
August 04, 2019

TOKYO A little more than a year remains before the start of the Tokyo Paralympics, and sports facilities for persons with disabilities are being built across Japan and competitions being held for para athletes.

The Paralympics are expected to enhance the visibility of sports for persons with disabilities and help improve their business viability.

In March, i-Self Workout, a training gym for wheelchair users, opened in Koto Ward, Tokyo. J-Workout, the company that operates the gym, imported five kinds of equipment from South Korea designed to help users train their upper body and trunk while seated in a wheelchair.

How Actors With Disabilities are Changing the Narrative in Hollywood

‘We just keep trucking along and defying the odds,’ says Emmy nominee Ryan O’Connell Tashauna Reid · CBC News
Posted: Aug 11, 2019

When Ryan O’Connell created his Netflix series Special, he knew it was good. But he didn’t imagine the comedy would earn four Emmy nominations, including best comedy, in its first season.

“I always believed in the show,” said O’Connell. “But having that validated is sort of incredible.”

Special is about a millennial gay man living with cerebral palsy while trying to make it as a writer. But when he gets hit by a car just before starting his new job, he decides to hide his disability from his co-workers, citing the accident as the reason for his limp and dexterity issues.

National Federation of the Blind Applauds Introduction of Greater Access and Independence through Nonvisual Access Technology (GAIN) Act

Urges Swift Passage of Legislation to Preserve Independence of Blind People in their Homes Baltimore, Maryland (July 31, 2019)

The National Federation of the Blind, the oldest and largest nationwide organization of blind Americans, today applauded the introduction of the Greater Access and Independence through Nonvisual Access Technology (GAIN) Act of 2019 (H.R. 3929) in the House of Representatives.

The bill was introduced by Representatives Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-DE), and Mark DeSaulnier (D-CA). This legislation directs the Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board (the “Access Board”) to develop a minimum nonvisual access standard for home-use medical devices, exercise equipment, and home appliances, and provide for the enforcement of the standard.

Biomedical Engineering Students Design Life-Changing Technology

July 29, 2019

The University of Manitoba Biomedical Engineering Design Team (BMED) brings together students with a passion for the biomedical field to foster design experience, device building, public speaking and networking opportunities.

Throughout their first year as a team, BMED organized events, tours and outreach programs to distribute knowledge about biomedical engineering. The team focused on completing autonomous design projects that aim to improve the quality of life of clients. Within these projects, students designed, prototyped and tested their devices before taking them to competitions and conferences. BMED worked on three projects: Wheelchair Transfer, Wheelchair Handwarmer, and EMG Muscle Rehabilitation.

Feeling Waves for First Time: Floating Wheelchairs Big Hit on P.E.I. Beaches

‘It’s about inclusion and enjoying the beach’
Pat Martel · CBC News · Posted: Aug 05, 2019

‘You know she’s happy when she hits the water,’ says Maryann LaFlamme as her daughter Meghan Hughes uses a floating wheelchair while vacationing on P.E.I.

For the first time in her life, 26-year-old Meghan Hughes has been able to feel what it’s like to have waves wash over her, thanks to a floating wheelchair at Cedar Dunes provincial park.

The floating chairs are provided at four P.E.I. provincial park beaches including the park at West Point, P.E.I. That’s where Hughes, who’s visiting from Windsor, Ont., recently took her first ride into the ocean.

Could Assistive Tech Transform the Social Care Sector?

Originally posted 17th July 2019

Learning disability charity Hft has partnered with Tunstall Healthcare, a specialist in connected healthcare solutions, to release a new report on how assistive technology can support and transform the social care sector.

The report looks at the untapped potential of assistive technology and how it can support disabled people, increase independence and free up carers to focus on more meaningful support. It also highlights how assistive technology could help bridge the disability employment gap and get more disabled people into work.

Hft says that with social care funding in crisis and with care needs and demands growing, the realisation of the potential of assistive technology could revolutionise the way care is delivered, bringing about helpful changes for healthcare professionals and users alike.

‘No No No No No No’: Wheelchair Users Say Even Accessible Taxis Will Refuse Rides in Vancouver

Industry association says drivers who discriminate against disabled passengers are held accountable Bethany Lindsay · CBC News · Posted: Aug 03, 2019

A Vancouver taxi driver uses the wheelchair ramp on his accessible vehicle to load luggage for cruise ship passengers.

Two weeks ago, Gabrielle Peters spent a rare day out in Vancouver with friends. They took in a cultural festival in the afternoon, then headed for dinner at a restaurant Peters had always wanted to try.

“As soon as we sat down, my anxiety started. In the back of my mind was, ‘I’m going to have to call a taxi,’ and that’s likely to be not a good experience,” she remembered.

Whyte Ridge Community Centre Opens New Accessible Fitness Park

By Connor Chan Digital Journalist Global News

A new way for people with accessibility issues to get active in Winnipeg has opened at the Whyte Ridge Community Centre.

The new Whyte Ridge Accessible Fitness Park was officially opened on Saturday.

“We have all ages and we want folks of all ages to enjoy this,” said Coun. Janice Lukes.

The park was first discussed in 2015, received funding last year and was built in just a few weeks.

All the exercises are performed primarily with your own body weight. The park has been built specifically for people with accessibility issues.

A chart of different exercises at the fitness park.

Stonehenge Gets Rated for ‘Accessibility’ as an Attraction

Published by Mike Draper
29th July 2019.

A national charity, that organises holidays for disabled people and their carers, has been assessing visitor attractions.

The Revitalise Accessible Tourism Report, first conducted in 2014, was carried out for a second time to see if visitor attractions have actively made any positive changes in accessibility for 2019.
The report identified Stonehenge as the number one attraction in Wiltshire for 2019

Revitalise creates holidays for disabled adults and their carers, but when it comes to accessibility, every family deserves to have access to Britain’s cultural attractions.

It’s a sunny day and we’re looking at the stone circle at Stonehenge.
The Revitalise report identified Stonehenge as the number one attraction in Wiltshire for 2019.

Navigating the NYC Subway in a Wheelchair Is Hell

By Valerie Kipnis Jul 29, 2019

NEW YORK Sometimes it takes Sasha Blair-Goldensohn three times longer to get to work than it used to, and sometimes he’s stuck on a subway platform with no easy way to get up to street level.

The 43-year-old software engineer, who’s been using a wheelchair since 2009, is one of about a million differently-abled people facing daily struggles as they navigate New York City’s aging subway system.

“You can get almost all the way to work, and that last elevator that’s supposed to take you from the mezzanine section up to the pavement is out of service, and suddenly, it’s 40 minutes from home, and you’re a block away from work in the subway station, but there’s no way out,” Blair-Goldensohn says.

Caught Out: How CAPTCHA Patterns Trip Up People With Disabilities

22 July, 2019

Ariel Bogle* says people with disabilities face encoded inhospitality and numerous other barriers as they try to access the internet.

Dr Scott Hollier logged into an online portal recently, and was immediately faced with a familiar yet irritating internet question: How many of these pictures include buses?

CAPTCHA security tests, or the Completely Automated Public Turing Test, to Tell Computers and Humans Apart, are not always accessible to people with disabilities sometimes putting them, ridiculously, in the robot category.

I had two choices, said Dr Hollier, a digital access specialist who is legally blind.

Blind Man with Guide Dog Denied Service, Arrested at Kamloops Gas Station

CTV News
Blind man arrested over guide dog dispute”, “A blind man is speaking out after a gas station pit stop turned ugly. “, Angela Jung, Reporter / Web Journalist
Thursday, July 18, 2019

A man who’s blind was told his guide dog wasn’t allowed inside a Kamloops gas station, and when RCMP arrived, he thought they would defend his rights, but instead, the officers put him in handcuffs.

“I was very shocked and appalled,” said Ben Fulton. “I was just really surprised at how quickly it spiraled out of control.”

Canadian Transportation Agency Announces Plans to Enhance Accessibility of Canada’s National Transportation System

Jul 19, 2019

GATINEAU, QC: Bill C-81, the Accessible Canada Act, which received Royal Assent, will provide the Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA) with new tools to help advance the accessibility of the national transportation system.

Once in force, this legislation will provide the CTA with

  • own motion powers to initiate investigations, upon approval of the Minister of Transport, regardless of whether a formal complaint has been made;
  • new power to award compensation for lost wages, pain and suffering, and willful or reckless practice when an adjudication finds that there was an undue barrier to the mobility of persons with disabilities. This power to award compensation aligns with that of the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal;

Changes to the Canada Elections Act may Increase Accessibility of Federal Elections

By Lila Refaie, Bilingual Intake Lawyer and Student Programs Lead

The Canada Elections Act (“Act”) governs the rules Elections Canada must follow when there is a federal election. The Act was amended by Bill C-76 in December 2018 and is now in force. The new rules will be implemented as soon as the next general election in October 2019.

Bill C-76 introduced a great number of changes to the Act. Of the many changes, some relate to the rights of electors with disabilities.

Elections Canada must ensure that any communications, public education or other materials available to the public are accessible to persons with disabilities. This includes information about the way someone can become a candidate or how an elector can vote during the election period.

City Opens Accessible Playground

By MATTHEW REITZ mreitz@palltimes.com
Jul 12, 2019

OSWEGO Port City officials celebrated the opening of the first accessible playground Friday morning at Hamilton Park as part of an ongoing effort to make Oswego a more inclusive community.

Designed to accommodate children with disabilities, the park includes an accessible swing and a variety of other equipment for children to enjoy. Oswego Mayor Billy Barlow, along with representatives from Arise, Inc. and a number of other local advocates, hosted a ribbon cutting ceremony Friday morning.

Why Do We Fix AI Bias But Ignore Accessibility Bias?

Kalev Leetaru Contributor
AI & Big Data
I write about the broad intersection of data and society.

“As the Web has become increasingly visual, with pages of text replaced by rich high-resolution imagery and video, it has become increasingly inaccessible to those with differing physical abilities who rely on accessibility software like screen readers.”

Silicon Valley has become obsessed with addressing AI bias. As deep learning algorithms have graduated from the academic research lab into the real world, there has become a growing awareness of the implications of their innate biases as their limited Western training data has collided spectacularly with a globalized digital world.

UK.: Bikes to Give Disabled People More Freedom

Posted on Tuesday 2nd July 2019

A pilot project to introduce bicycles suitable for use by disabled youngsters and adults is being introduced into Tredegar Park, Newport.

The free initiative by Newport City Council will enhance the facilities at the popular park where an improved cycle route takes users around the park.

The specially adapted bikes will be provided by charitable organisation Pedal Power which runs a similar scheme from Bute Park in Cardiff.

Councillor Deb Harvey, cabinet member for culture and leisure, has chosen the project because it will help people of all abilities to enjoy recreation and leisure together.

FAU’s Online College Ranked One of the ‘Best’ Online Schools for Students With Disabilities

FAU’s Online College Ranked One of the ‘Best’ Online Schools for Students With Disabilities
SR Education Group, who has been helping students find online colleges since 2004, found the Florida Atlantic University[FAU] to be suitable for students with audio, visual, and learning disabilities. Kimberly Swan, Contributing Writer
July 1, 2019

FAU’s online college was rated among the top colleges in the nation for accommodating students with disabilities, according to a recent ranking.

SR Education Group, which has helped students find online colleges since 2004, released their 2019 Best Online Colleges for Student with Disabilities list last month. The organization split the rankings into best online colleges for students with audio, visual, and learning disabilities.