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A Wake Up Call on the Urgent Need to Remove Barriers

OTTAWA, ONTARIO, CANADA: Canada has received a wake-up call in recent months about the urgent need to remove physical barriers in the built environment and improve accessibility for people of all abilities.

In June 2018, the federal government tabled the Accessible Canada Act, a means to ensure equality, inclusion, and full participation in society for all Canadians. This historic event was welcomed by disability groups and advocates across the country, as Canada currently has no set national standard for measuring accessibility and implementing change.

Passengers Taken Off Flight Due to Guide Dogs Allege Discrimination

by Adrian Ghobrial and News Staff
Posted Nov 2, 2018 2018 at 7:56 am EST

Two visually-impaired Toronto women will have their complaint investigated by the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal more than three years after they were removed from a flight at Pearson airport because of their service dogs.

Friends Amal Haddad and Nayla Farah and Farahs daughter had booked a round trip to Stockholm on Jet Airways, departing July 1, 2015, with a stopover in Brussels on the way over.

Farah, who has been travelling the world with a seeing-eye dog for years, said she and Haddad made sure they had all their papers in order before arriving at the airport.

Blind Marylanders Sue Walmart, Saying Self-Serve Checkouts Violate ADA

by Sarah Meehan
Contact Reporter
The Baltimore Sun
October 29, 2018

Three blind Maryland residents and the National Federation of the Blind are suing Walmart, alleging that the company violates the Americans with Disabilities Act because its self-checkout kiosks are not fully accessible to blind customers.

The lawsuit, filed Thursday in U.S. District Court, also claims that an employee at the Walmart in Owings Mills allegedly attempted to take money from one of the plaintiffs while she was checking out at the store.

The suit claims that a staff member at the Owings Mills store on Reisterstown Road was assisting Cynthia Morales with a purchase at a self-checkout kiosk in July 2017 when the employee selected an option for cash back from her debit card and took $40 without her knowledge.

Accessibility Problems Still Not Fixed at MUHC SuperHospital: Report

Of more than 50 recommendations to improve access for the disabled at the MUHC superhospital, six have been implemented so far. Aaron Derfel, Montreal Gazette
Updated: October 16, 2018

More than a year after an independent report found numerous problems with accessibility for the disabled and other patients at the MUHC superhospital, the McGill University Health Centre has still not fixed most of the deficiencies, the Montreal Gazette has learned.

The MUHC commissioned the report by two experts at the Université de Montréal after the patients committee raised repeated concerns about the lack of clear signage, the scarcity of wheelchairs in the lobby, the confusing layout and poor access to public bathrooms for the mobility-challenged. The report uncovered visual and physical obstacles in 19 categories, a dozen of which were deemed urgent.

World Federation of the Deafblind Launches Initial Global Report!

By IDA
Originally posted September 18, 2018

The World Federation of the Deafblind has launched the initial global report on the situation and rights of persons with deafblindness.

Representing between 0.2% to 2% of the population, persons with deafblindness are a very diverse yet hidden group and are, overall, more likely to be poor and unemployed, and with lower educational outcomes. Because deafblindness is less well-known and often misunderstood, people struggle to obtain the right support, and are often excluded from both development and disability programmes.

Review of Disability Tax Credit and Registered Disability Savings Plan

By Lila Refaie, Staff Lawyer

On June 27, 2018, the Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology (“Committee”) released a report about the Disability Tax Credit and the Registered Disability Savings Plan. The report is called Breaking Down Barriers: A critical analysis of the Disability Tax Credit and the Registered Disability Savings Plan.

In this report, the Committee analyzed the existing programs and concluded that a major reform is needed. The Committee put forward a list of 16 recommended changes for the federal government to consider in the hopes of improving both programs for persons with disabilities. The recommendations include a variety of changes, affecting everything from the administration of the programs to more permanent legislative amendments.

Students Get to Showcase Their Award-Winning Accessibility-Related Designs

National competition aims to find innovative, practical and low-cost solutions to make our communities more accessible for persons with disabilities. By MARK CARDWELL | OCT 03 2018

A year ago, Memorial University student Emma Dornan was watching TV with her after-school buddy Matthew Squires, a 10-year-old who suffers from spastic quadriplegia cerebral palsy, when she made what turned out to be an award-winning discovery.

I was sitting on the couch with Matthew on my lap, using my hands and fingers to stabilize his head to help him watch TV, recalled Ms. Dornan, a fourth-year behavioural neuroscience student who works with children with disabilities at Easter Seals summer camps and during the school year in St. Johns.

How Technology is Assisting Seniors to ‘Age in Place’

October 1 2018

The latest statistics show that people are living longer in virtually every country in the world, with the over 60 age group growing faster than any other cohort.

The aging global population is altering many aspects of society, none more so than housing. When quizzed about their preferred living arrangements, the overwhelming majority of over 60’s (up to 90%) stated that they’d prefer to stay in their own home as they grow older known as ‘Aging in Place’. Yet the challenges brought on by deterioration in mental and physical health as we age, often make this difficult.

The Secret World of Disabled Gamers

Studies like this one could begin to make digital games more accessible to people with a wide range of disabilities. by Emerging Technology from the arXiv
Originally posted July 3, 2018

By some estimates, as many as 2.6 billion people take part in digital gaming, a significant fraction of the global population. There is much ongoing study by games makers and researchers into why and how people play: for fun, for the challenge, to relax, to engage with friends, and so on.

EXCLUSIVE: Veterans Denied Service Dogs Despite Gov’t Report Showing ‘Significant’ Reduction in PTSD

By Brian Hill and Mercedes Stephenson Global News

Update: This story includes an updated response from Veteran Affairs Canada received after the story was first published.

Canadian veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are out of luck if they expect the government to help them find a service dog anytime soon.

Thats because the Department of Veteran Affairs (VAC) continues to deny veterans and their families funding for service dogs despite growing evidence showing their effectiveness in treating PTSD and its related symptoms.

The difference [between having a dog and not having a dog] can best be described as night and day, said Medric Cousineau, an air force veteran and the founder of Paws Fur Thought, an organization that helps match former soldiers with service dogs.

Province Announces Plans to Support Accessibility Law Passed in 2017

New standards for public buildings, streets, sidewalks and shared space coming for 2022 The Canadian Press · Posted: Sep 21, 2018

Nova Scotia has announced the next steps to reach its goal of making the province more accessible for those with disabilities by 2030.

Justice Minister Mark Furey has released an implementation strategy for the province’s Accessibility Act, passed in April 2017.

Furey says the document, entitled Access by Design 2030, identifies priorities for accessibility standards, including the formation of committees that will develop standards for public buildings, streets, sidewalks and shared spaces, as well as education.

He says the standards are expected to be rolled out in 2022 and will be implemented in subsequent years.

Empower the Right Department to Manage Disability Supports

It does not make sense that staff at the Canada Revenue Agency determine eligibility for complex programs that support Canadians with disabilities. Jennifer Zwicker, Stephanie Dunn
Policy Options Institute for Research on Public Policy, September 4, 2018

Breaking Down Barriers is the title and galvanizing theme of a June 2018 report from the Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology. It recommends urgently needed measures to improve access to underutilized federal disability supports: the disability tax credit (DTC) and the Registered Disability Savings Plan (RDSP).

The recommendations are broad in scope. They include streamlining the DTC and RDSP application processes and making eligibility criteria simpler and more appropriate.

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.

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.

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.

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.