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Deaf Community Under Stress as Canadian Hearing Society Strike Continues

CBC News, Mar. 23, 2017

For many in the Toronto’s Deaf community, workers with the Canadian Hearing Society provide essential support, from fixing hearing aids to interpreting at medical appointments, even helping to find employment. Since March, hundreds of CHS workers across the province have been on strike, and the effects are causing many clients to join staff on picket lines.

To understand the reason for the strike, and the toll it’s taking both clients and staff, Metro Morning’s Matt Galloway spoke with Stacey Connor. She is deaf and works as an employment consultant with CHS. She’s also the president of the union, CUPE Local 2073. Galloway also spoke with Gary Malkowski, the vice-president of stakeholder and employer relations at CHS. He is also deaf. Both guests spoke with Galloway through an interpreter. This is a transcript of their conversation.

UM Study Finds Longstanding Interpretation of Disability Data Incomplete

March 21, 2017

MISSOULA University of Montana researchers with the Research and Training Center on Disability in Rural Communities, or RTC:Rural, show that the standardized disability questions used by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services identify two distinct groups of people with disabilities: those with permanent disability and those with temporary disability.

Their findings were published today in the American Journal of Public Health and can be accessed online at

The findings contradict the long-standing assumption by researchers and policymakers who use HHS disability data that it represents only people with long-term disabilities. The RTC:Rural study clarifies the survey collects information from two important subgroups: those with permanent disability, and those experiencing a temporary disability at the time of the survey.

Rights of People With Disabilities in Europe: A New Strategy Based on Ability Rather Than Disability

Mar 23, 2017

STRASBOURG: There are 80 million persons in Europe who live with a disability and many of them continue to be victims of discrimination or abuse. In response, the Council of Europe will be launching its new Disability Strategy 2017-2023 at a conference in Nicosia (Cyprus) on 27 and 28 March.

Our focus must be on ability, not disability. Lawmakers should devise laws and policies which offer persons with disabilities a maximum of autonomy, access to information, education and employment. Our new strategy shows the way forward, said Thorbjørn Jagland, Secretary General of the Council of Europe, ahead of the conference.

CNIB Faces Legal Challenge by Ex-Kiosk Operator Accused of Mishandling Money

‘I got shafted and I’m being made to look bad…. I didn’t do anything,” says Mike Perry By Yvonne Colbert, CBC News Posted: Mar 14, 2017

Mike and Jane Perry say their lives have been turned upside down by CNIB, which claims Mike is responsible for $9,000 in missing funds.

CNIB, the national registered charity for the visually impaired, is again facing a legal fight with a former lottery kiosk operator who says he’s been wrongly terminated and accused of mismanaging funds.

Mike Perry is one of at least seven former kiosk operators to be targeted in connection with funds that have allegedly gone missing, but he said he’s been told the non-profit organization is writing off the shortfall.

Learning to Drive With a Disability

by Maggie Hammond

The thought of driving with a disability can be daunting, but with support and technological advancements, driving can be worthwhile and attainable for everyone. You could find a new lease of independence, as you no longer have to rely on other people to take you to the places that you need to go to.
How the process works can vary depending on your personal circumstances. If you are returning to driving after a disability or illness then you must notify the driving agency, so they can assess whether your current licence can be continued. They may require you to attend an assessment. If you are not sure whether you need to notify the driving agency, you can check on their website for a list of medical conditions that you must inform them of. Failure to do so can result in a fine, so make sure you don’t neglect to inform the authorities.

Ottawa’s Deaf Community ‘At a Loss’ Amid Canadian Hearing Society Strike

‘I really need the services,’ says Kimberley Blomquist, ‘and I needed it this week’ Elyse Skura
CBC News, Mar. 11, 2017

As hundreds of Canadian Hearing Society workers strike across the province, people who are deaf or hard of hearing are left without some of the counselling and audiology services they rely on.

Negotiations between management and the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) broke down last Sunday and workers in Ottawa have been walking the picket line since early Monday.

“I feel kind of angry about it, kind of depressed about it,” said Kimberley Blomquist, through an American Sign Language interpreter. “I really need the services. And I needed it this week.”

Alliance Seeks Input From People With Disabilities, Families About Accessibility



From left, Jeff Sparks (Muscular Dystrophy Canada), Kara Reid (occupational therapist), Alex Peeler (Muscular Dystrophy Canada) and Tracy Ryan (Muscular Dystrophy Canadas director of mission) took part in Thursdays discussions hosted by the Alliance for an Inclusive and Accessible Canada.

SAINT JOHN Alex Peeler recently started a petition that made its way to the House of Commons.

The 24-year-old man from Bridgewater, N.S., wants to help implement a national assistance program for Canadians with disabilities so they have access equipment and services needed to live independently. Peeler said the petition included 1,600 signatures and was sponsored by Bernadette Jordan, MP for Southshore-St. Margarets.

Disabled Woman Sues Seven Shops in Same Street After Complaints to 28 Businesses About Access

Wheelchair user Esther Leighton has submitted a string of legal claims after claiming the law is being “ignored” By RAYMOND BROWN,
2 MAR 2017

A disabled woman has filed a string of lawsuits against shops and restaurants in the same street over a row about access.

Wheelchair user Esther Leighton has taken action against seven businesses after she complained to 28 traders in Mill Road, Cambridge, two miles from where she lives.

Ms Leighton said she launched legal claims because the Equality Act was being “ignored”, the Cambridge News reported.

She claimed she has contacted traders about not being able to enter their shops since 2010 but has not received responses from some businesses.

Aids for Vision Loss, From Those Who’ve Been There

The New York Times
By JANE E. BRODY, February 27, 2017

Stanley F. Wainapel, clinical director of physical medicine and rehabilitation at Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx, admitted that “adapting to vision loss is a major challenge.” But he disputed Mr. Hoagland’s allusion to “enforced passivity,” pointing out that many advances in technology – from
screen-reading software for computers to portable devices that read menus or printed letters with a delay of only seconds” – can keep productivity, creativity and pleasure very much alive for people who can no longer see.

Minister Qualtrough Reinforces the Government of Canada’s Commitment to Accessibility in an Official Visit to Australia

GATINEAU, QC, March 5, 2017 /CNW/ – The Honourable Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities, joined world leaders at the 2017 International Initiative for Disability Leadership (IIDL) Conference on March 2, 2017, to share their experiences, knowledge and perspectives on this year’s theme: Contributing Lives, Thriving Communities.

During her keynote address to the IIDL, Minister Qualtrough highlighted Canada’s commitment and ongoing work towards building a more accessible and inclusive society. The conference, attended by world leaders, policy makers and social service providers, along with people with disabilities and their families, provided an opportunity for collaboration and the development of international partnerships. Other participating countries included New Zealand, Sweden, Ireland and the United States.
Minister Qualtrough spoke about leading by experience and the calls to action that inspire leaders to work for the public good.

Running with Gaston at the NYC Marathon

By: Addie Lee, Michel Carriere, and Laurence Wright
Running Room magazine, January February 2017, page 15.

We did it. we ran and completed the New York City Marathon with 51,000 other runners on November 6, 2016.

It was an amazing experience guiding Gaston Bedard, a deaf-blind 64 year-old runner, through the biggest street party in the world.

Gaston is from Aylmer, Quebec and began planning this special NYC adventure with his son Marc over two years ago.

Our team ran in the marathon as members of Achilles International, based in New York City.

N.S. Group for Disabled Calls Accessibility Bill Weakest in Canada

The Canadian Press
Published Thursday, March 2, 2017

HALIFAX — Nova Scotia’s proposed accessibility legislation needs to be significantly strengthened, advocates for the disabled told lawmakers Thursday.

Bill 59 was delayed last fall after heavy criticism from the groups it was supposed to help.

Sue Uteck, of the March of Dimes Canada, told the legislature’s law amendments committee that the Accessibility Act is weaker than similar legislation in Ontario and Manitoba — the only provinces with accessibility laws.

“If enacted as is, it would be the weakest such law in effect in any province that has enacted a comprehensive disability accessibility law,” said Uteck.

New Robotics Technology Brings Standing and Mobility to Wheelchair Users

Numotion announces exclusive U.S. distribution of Tek RMD from Matia Robotics BRENTWOOD, Tenn., March 1, 2017

Numotion, the nation’s leading provider of complex rehab technology (CRT), has announced the availability of Tek RMD (“robotic mobilization device”) by Matia Robotics in the United States.

Tek RMD is a motorized standing movement device that offers the ability for those who are in a manual wheelchair to complete everyday activities from a standing position. Unlike other standers, users can board and control a Tek RMD unassisted. Numotion is the exclusive distributor of the product in the U.S.

Blind Cabinet Minister Promises Canada’s First National Accessibility Legislation Will Have Teeth, Could Be Retroactive

Sport and Disability Minister Carla Qualtrough, who is blind, is helping to draft a new bill to address accessibility for people with disabilities. The legislation will apply to all companies that operate under federal jurisdiction, and she hopes it’s a game changer. By RACHEL AIELLO
The Hill Times, Feb. 27, 2017

PARLIAMENT HILL”It’s been a very personal experience for me,” says Canada’s Minister of Sport and Disability Carla Qualtrough, taking a seat on the couch in her Hill office with her back facing the window so the sun isn’t in her eyes.

Universal Design 2017 Conference NYC

Feb 24, 2017 7:11 pm

Universal Design Conference, an inaugural event bringing together leading professionals from the fields of architecture and design, technology, healthcare, education and government, is being hosted to promote accessibility and ensure inclusion and equality for people of diverse abilities and backgrounds, no matter their size or age.

The one day event, to be held on March 9, 2017 at the Center for Architecture in New York City, aims to propagate the popularity of universal design and the need for universal accessibility. The event will showcase a number of short, 18 minute talks on ideas, initiatives and projects to inspire individuals to endeavor to incorporate universal design in their design process.

Japan’s Adoption of Universal Design Ahead of Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games

Published: 2017-02-23
Contact: International Paralympic Committee (IPC) at

“Universal design will promote a barrier-free attitude amongst the people of Japan and make for more accessible facilities.”

In a meeting with Japan’s Prime Minister Abe on Wednesday afternoon (22 February) in Tokyo, International Paralympic Committee (IPC) President Sir Philip Craven praised the Japanese government for the approval of the Universal Design 2020 Action Plan.

Under the terms of the plan approved this week, the government will redouble efforts to promote universal design for an inclusive society that is comfortable and accessible to everyone regardless of age, nationality and ability ahead of the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.

Disabled Prisoners in Canada: How do They Fare?

One of the topics that is rarely discussed either among activists, or anyone for that matter, is that of people with disabilities who must serve time. Prison time is challenging enough without adding the pressure of having to cope with one’s disability. The individual may have relied on various treatments and/or medications for their disability, but the question remains as to whether or not disabled prisoners are receiving proper treatment in Canadian prisons?


Nova Scotia Accessibility Legislation Gets More Scrutiny

Friday, February 10, 2017

The Nova Scotia government is seeking more input on its proposed accessibility legislation after negative feedback on the version tabled in the provincial legislature last fall. Committee hearings on Bill 59, an Act Respecting Accessibility in Nova Scotia, will resume next week with the Justice department replacing the Ministry of Community Services as the lead on the file.

The proposed legislation, drawing from recommendations of a Minister’s advisory panel released in 2015, was introduced in November 2016, then pulled off a planned fast track to approval. The bill sets out a guiding framework for how accessibility standards will be developed, applied and enforced beginning with the appointment of a 12-member accessibility advisory board that will be instrumental to the task but critics decry its lack of specifics and leeway for exemptions from compliance.

Liberals Revive Funding for Groups That Take Government to Court

Daniel Leblanc
The Globe and Mail, Feb. 7, 2017

Ottawa has reinstated a program that allows minority groups to get federal funding to challenge laws they feel go against their Charter rights, after it had been abolished by the previous Conservative government.

The Liberal government added it will expand the scope of the Court Challenges Program beyond its original mandate, which only included cases based on language and equality rights. Starting in the fall, the program will fund challenges to legislation based on the right to life, liberty and security, which was at the heart of the fight over Canadas prostitution laws, for example.

Proposed Manitoba Accessibility Standard for Employment

by Yosie Saint-Cyr

The Accessibility Advisory Council’s (AAC) is inviting interested stakeholders to provide their views to its initial proposal for an accessibility standard for employment. Therefore, employment is the second of five accessibility standards being developed under the Accessibility for Manitobans Act (AMA).

The purpose of the employment standards is to remove employment barriers for persons disabled by barriersincluding the obligation to provide reasonable accommodationunder the Human Rights Code. This standard will have a timeline for compliance, however, all employers must engage in emergency planning one year after the standard comes into effect.

Specifically, the employment standards have the following timelines: