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Government Launches Consultation to Make New Homes More Accessible

26th June 2019 UK

Higher accessibility standards for new housing are to be introduced in the UK as part of a wider plan to make sure disabled people are not facing discrimination.

Prime Minister Theresa May said that it is widely recognising that too many disabled people still live in unsuitable homes and she announced a consultation on mandating higher accessibility standards for new homes.

The aim is to deliver up to 300,000 new accessible and adaptable homes every year and guidance will also be published to help councils meet current standards for accessible housing in England.

Accessible Air Travel Survey

Share Your Accessible (Or Not) Air Travel Stories

Large North American airline seeking feedback from people with disabilities that have had good and bad accommodation experiences on any airline. The survey results will be used in the development of an online training program for airline staff supporting travelers with disabilities. Please click the link below to participate. Thank you for your time and consideration. https://tinyurl.com/AccessibleAirTravelSurvey

TRISH ROBICHAUD
trish@changingpaces.com

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

PR NewswireJune 21, 2019

GATINEAU, QC, June 21, 2019 /CNW/ – Bill C-81, the Accessible Canada Act , which received Royal Assent today, 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;

How Charities Can Meet the New Digital Accessibility Standards

Charities are legally responsible for meeting accessibility standards online, but most don’t. Digital accessibility expert Carlos Eriksson of Studio 24 explains what they can do to fix it, starting now. Guest Writer | 20th Jun 19

Carlos Eriksson is Accessibility Lead Developer at Studio 24. Eriksson was named ‘Champion of Change’ in the 2019 BIMA 100 which recognises the top 100 digital movers and shakers, thanks to his decade-long work making the web better for everyone.

In the past couple of years, accessibility has gone from being an afterthought at best, to an often spoken about subject at conferences and water coolers alike.

Digital Accessibility Improving, but People with Disabilities Still Seek More Inclusive Access

Published on June 18, 2019 in Broadband’s Impact/Digital Inclusion/FCC/Innovation by Masha Abarinova

ARLINGTON, Virginia – June 18, 2019 Comprehensive legislation addressing accessibility is necessary to ensure that information technology is available to a wider group of people, particularly to people with disabilities, said panelists speaking at the M-Enabling Summit here on Tuesday.

Innovations involving wireless 5G technologies, for example, use multiple bandwidths including mid-band and low-band, which are more available in rural areas. But some of 5G’s functions will be more available than others, as the gaps in rural coverage present a “real problem” for which a “massive funding effort will be necessary,” said Paul Schroeder, vice president of public policy at Aira. The company offers wearable smart glasses and an integrated mobile app helping people with limited visibility.

Nominations Open for 2019 Henry Viscardi Achievement Awards

June 3, 2019

The Viscardi Center has opened a call for nominations for the 2019 Henry Viscardi Achievement Awards, an international award series honoring extraordinary men and women with disabilities.

The Henry Viscardi Achievements Awards commemorate the vision of The Viscardi Center’s founder, Dr. Henry Viscardi, Jr., who himself wore prosthetic legs. A premier disability advocate, Dr. Viscardi served as a disability advisor to eight U.S. presidents and implemented groundbreaking employment and education programs that continue to improve the quality of life for people with disabilities.

Launched in 2013, the Awards are bestowed upon leaders in the global disability community who carry on Dr. Viscardi’s legacy through their professional accomplishments and advocacy efforts.

‘Super Power’ Artwork On Display at Heathrow Airport

Chief Assignment EditorJune 13, 2019

A canopy of brightly coloured umbrellas has appeared at Heathrow as part of an initiative to raise awareness of neuro-developmental disorders, including Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), autism, Dyslexia, Dyscalculia and Dyspraxia.

Devised by ADHD Foundation, the hugely popular ‘Umbrella Project’ has launched at arrivals in Heathrow’s Terminal 5 the first time this artwork has been available to view in London or at an airport. Celebrating the gifts, talents and employability of those with neuro-developmental disorders, the project name stems from the use of ADHD and autism as ‘umbrella terms’ for many neurological conditions and reframes them for children as unique ‘Super Powers’. The installation forms part of a wider education programme with participating local schools including Heathrow Primary, William Byrd and Harmondsworth Primary to raise awareness about ADHD and autism.

Global Apex Body of Airline Operators Passes Key Resolutions to Make Travel More Accessible

Originally posted June 4 2019

Improving airline infrastructure and facilities for people with disabilities, global deployment of Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) for baggage tracking and facilitating implementation of biometrics based One ID process were some of the key resolutions passed on Sunday at the annual general meeting of the International Air Transport Association (IATA), the global apex body of airline operators, in Seoul.

The resolution means that global airlines and airports will work together to ensure that wheelchair assistance to passengers increases. Airlines will also work with passenger associations, airports, ground handlers, and regulators to ensure that there is no damage to the mobility aids of passengers who travel with their own aids.

Canada: New Accessibility Standard For Employment

Last Updated: June 5 2019
Article by Melissa Beaumont
Thompson Dorfman Sweatman LLP

The Accessibility for Manitobans Act (AMA) was created to achieve an accessible society for all Manitobans disabled by a barrier. Over time, a number of standards will be enacted under the AMA to create accessibility obligations for organizations in areas such as customer service, employment, information & communications, the built environment and transportation.

On May 1, 2019, the Accessible Employment Standard Regulation came into force. It creates a general obligation on all employers to implement policies and practices to reasonably accommodate employees who are disabled by a barrier in the workplace.

Japan Struggling to Ramp Up Accessibility Efforts Ahead of Paralympics

KYODO NEWS – Jun 2, 2019

TOKYO – A shortage of wheelchair-accessible hotel rooms remains an issue for Tokyo 2020 organizers who say they are committed to using the Paralympic Games to make Japan a more inclusive place.

As the clock ticks down to the Aug. 25, 2020, Paralympic opening ceremony, the Tokyo metropolitan government admits that by its own estimations it is still about 300 rooms short of the projected 850 accessible rooms needed each night during the two-week sporting festival.

“We’re nowhere near the number. There’s no denying that we’re behind schedule,” said a representative of a Japanese disability organization.

Province in British Columbia, Canada to Develop Online Tool to Track Accessible Parking Spaces

May 28, 2019

An online tool to track accessible parking spaces is being developed by Richmond Centre for Disability (RCD), thanks to a $28,000 provincial grant they received last year.

The province is once again calling for grant proposals for community projects that improve accessibility for the second year running, the province is giving out a total of $500,000 in grants.

“Every day, people with disabilities overcome barriers that could otherwise impact their lives,” said Shane Simpson, Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction, in a press release. “Organizations across B.C. are working to embrace diversity, create equal opportunities and improve social inclusion.”

Lyft Fights to Avoid Americans with Disabilities Act in Federal Court

By SAMANTHA MALDONADO
May 2, 2019 06:16 PM EDT

Lyft argues it should not be subject to the Americans with Disabilities Act and is fighting a federal class action lawsuit filed in Westchester County on the grounds that “it is not in the transportation business.”

It’s an argument long employed by app-based companies like Lyft and Uber, and it’s one that experts in the field continue to scoff at.

According to their public filings their mission is to improve people’s lives with the world’s best transportation,” said former New York City Taxi Commissioner Meera Joshi. “Or maybe it should be improving some people’s lives because throughout the country most passengers that use a wheelchair still can’t get a Lyft.”

Disabled Musicians are Being ‘Failed by Venues’

By Mark Savage
BBC Music reporter
9 May 2019

Last year, Ruth Patterson’s band Holy Moly and the Crackers tried to book a tour of the UK.

But one venue wrote back, refusing to host them because Patterson, who has arthritis and Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, uses a wheelchair.

“They said they wouldn’t book us because I was a fire hazard,” she says. “That’s absolutely horrendous.”

The singer is not alone. A new survey suggests disabled musicians face significant barriers in UK venues.

Of the nearly 100 deaf and disabled performers surveyed by Attitude Is Everything, two-thirds said they had to “compromise their health or wellbeing” in order to play live.

Laws Alone Aren’t The Answer for Improving Disability Access, Expert at Ottawa Summit Says

Blair Crawford
Updated: May 9, 2019

When it comes to accessibility, casinos lead the way.

“Las Vegas figured out a long time ago that older people and seniors were the ones who sit at slot machines,” said Brad McCannell, vice-president of access and inclusion for the Rick Hansen Foundation.

“They started accommodation long before the ADA because they saw it’s the little things, McCannell said, referring to the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.

The casinos replaced the standard slot machine stools with sturdier chairs with back rests and armrests that older people need to push off to stand up.

Feds Cutting Program That Employs Dozens with Developmental Disabilities

‘I don’t want to lose my job’
CTVNews.ca Staff, CTV Ottawa’s Joanne Schnurr
Published Monday, May 6, 2019

Workers with developmental disabilities say they are planning to protest on Parliament Hill if the government doesn’t reverse its plan to shut the federal program that employs them.

For nearly four decades, they have sorted and shredded papers for Library and Archives Canada. Now, they’ve learned — for the second time in four years — that the program is being cut.

Gladys Whincup has worked in the program for nearly four decades. She was brought to tears when asked Monday whether she was worried.

“We’ll have no jobs,” she said.

Media Release: Senate Committee Corrects Some Weaknesses in Bill C-81

May 4, 2019 | For Immediate Release

With the Accessible Canada Act, Bill C-81, the federal government introduced measures that will help bring Canada into compliance with the commitments that it made when it ratified the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) in 2010.

While the federal government made a good start with C-81, the community of persons with disabilities identified a number of weaknesses and proposed corrective action.

The disability community has been steadfast in its commitment to the principle of Nothing About Us Without Us at every step of the way for Bill C-81 and we are pleased with Senate’s proposed amendments, stated Jewelles Smith, Chairperson of the Council of Canadians with Disabilities (CCD), a national organization of persons with disabilities working for an inclusive and accessible Canada.

Apps, Badges and 3D Rendering: Steps Being Taken to Improve Rail Accessibility

April 29 2019

In the not-too-distant past rail, the considerations afforded to passengers with mobility issues or those whom require special assistance can sometimes be found lacking. For obvious reasons, having to travel when negotiating steps, stairs and trains that the majority of the travelling public find straightforward can make the idea of using public transport quite daunting.

Thankfully though attitudes are changing in this area, with operators, infrastructure manufacturers and technology developers increasingly making accessibility for this section of the community more included.

Illustrating this change in mindset, the UK government has this month announced a £300 million initiative to bring accessibility improvements to 73 train stations, upgrading ticket counters so theyre adjustable for those in wheelchairs and installing lifts.

Small Businesses Excused From Writing Down Accessibility Findings, Manitoba Government Decides

While province reduces administrative burden on employers, employment standards on accessibility introduced Ian Froese · CBC News · Posted: Apr 29, 2019

The Manitoba government is lowering the threshold for additional requirements placed on businesses from 20 to 50 employees for accessibility matters concerning customer service and employment. (Shutterstock)

The Manitoba government is exempting more business owners from documenting the steps they take to make their workplaces accessible.

The province is loosening the requirement on small business owners at the same time as it introduces new guidelines to remove employment barriers for people with disabilities.

‘I Had to Crawl’: Amputee Seeks Damages After United Airlines and Airport Security Seize Scooter Batteries

CATSA apologizes, United offers travel certificate; WestJet offers credit in separate incident Erica Johnson · CBC News · Posted: Apr 28, 2019

Stearn Hodge says he’s ‘had enough’ of airport security agents and airlines trying to take away the batteries for his portable scooter a disability violation. He’s fighting to take United Airlines, WestJet and the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority to the Canadian Human Rights Commission.

Stearn Hodge says he will never forget the humiliation of having to drag his body across a hotel room floor during what was supposed to be a vacation celebrating his 43rd wedding anniversary because a security agent at the Calgary International Airport and United Airlines confiscated the batteries he needed to operate a portable scooter.

Federal Budget 2019 Contains Good News for Post-Secondary Students With Disabilities

(Ottawa, April 23, 2019)

The Federal Budget delivered in March included a number of very important measures for college and university students with disabilities that enhance the Canada Student Loans and Grants programs and will be available for disabled students starting in the upcoming fall school year.

Announcements in the budget specific to students with disabilities include a significant increase on the cap on the Canada Student Grant for Services and Equipment for Students with Permanent Disabilities from $8,000 to $20,000 per year. This grant can go towards exceptional education-related services or equipment for eligible students with a permanent disability.