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Fundraising: Peterborough Kiwanis Donates Trail Chairs to Camp Kawartha

By Caroline McConnell, Special to the Examiner
Mon., June 29, 2020

The hiking trails at Camp Kawartha, both at the main site on Clear Lake and others behind the Environment Centre in Peterborough, just became more accessible thanks to a generous donation of two specialized trail chairs by The Kiwanis Club of Peterborough and Motion Peterborough.

“We are absolutely delighted to add these chairs to our accessibility equipment,” said Jacob Rodenburg, Camp Kawartha’s executive director, in a release last week. “These chairs are much more robust than the average wheelchair, and this means any camper or student can join with their peers and friends in an exciting hike through the woods.”

A Disability Lens in the Time of COVID-19

Marcia Carroll
The Guardian, June 10, 2020

The Government of Canada recently marked May 31 to June 6 as National AcessAbility Week. Any other year, it would also be a time to recognize the efforts of individuals, communities and workplaces that are actively working to remove barriers to accessibility and inclusion.

However, during the COVID-19 pandemic we have seen the disability rights movement regress and the rights and needs of Canadians living with disabilities have been, for the most part, left out of the conversations and response. Identified below are four core areas in which people living with disabilities have affected by the lack of the use a disability lens when responding to a public health emergency.

When Will Disabled Lives Also Matter?

By John Rae
Editor’s Note: John Rae is a long-time disability rights advocate, who lives in Toronto.

The 2015 Truth and Reconciliation Commission spotlighted centuries of genocide and assimilation that is the legacy of indigenous peoples in Canada and elsewhere. It included 94 calls to action for change in Canada, but change has been very slow in coming. The Report was followed up by the report Of the two and a half year National Inquiry into Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women and Girls whose final Report found “state actions and inactions rooted in colonialism and colonial ideologies” were a key driving force in the disappearance of thousands of Indigenous women. It offered more recommendations for improving the situation of indigenous women and girls in Canada. Recent shooting deaths of Rodney Levi, and Chantel Moore have put a clear focus on recent police encounters with Indigenous communities, and many indigenous peoples are asking do indigenous lives yet matter?

B.C. Advocate Says Proposed Federal COVID-19 Benefit For Canadians With Disabilities Leaves Many with Nothing

One-time $600 payment would only be paid to people who claim the federal disability tax credit CBC News ยท Posted: Jun 16, 2020

The federal government is considering a one-time emergency benefit for people with disabilities to help them cope with the added costs imposed by the pandemic, but a B.C.-based disability advocate says even if the legislation does pass, it won’t go far enough.

Heather Walkus, first vice chair of the Council of Canadians with Disabilities, says the legislation only applies to people who currently receive a disability tax credit, which she says is only about 40 per cent of Canadians living with disability.

Council of Canadians with Disabilities Response to COVID-19 Funding Falling Through Cracks

For Immediate Release | June 11, 2020

June 10, 2020 marked a disappointing day for Canadians with disabilities. Finally, government put forward financial relief for Canadians with disabilities only to have the bill fail on the floor. Once again, Canadians with disabilities have been further marginalized in receiving necessary COVID-19 financial relief support.

When attempting to separate the bill to ensure some Canadians, at least those with the disability tax credit certificate, would receive immediate support, the opposition opposed and blocked any discussion, using this moment to push for the entire house to be called back before further discussion. The result is that Canadians with disabilities have fallen through the cracks, once again.

Masks a Concern for Hearing-Impaired Travellers

By SUZANNE MORPHET
Globe and Mail, June 3, 2020

Even now, three months into COVID-19, the picture shocks. Five uniformed airport employees wear black helmets with dark visors that shield their eyes and blue medical masks covering their mouths.

Their faces are completely hidden. The photo is from Qatar’s Hamad International Airport, where staff now wear helmets with infrared thermal imaging to take people’s temperatures without making contact.

If security around travel used to be merely annoying, it’s become almost frightening.

Province Offering Grants to Improve Accessibility

Valerie Leung / Richmond News
May 31, 2020

The B.C. government is once again making a call for grant proposals for community projects aimed to improve accessibility.

B.C.’s third annual AccessAbility Week, from May 31 to June 6, recognizes people and organizations that help provide those with disabilities an opportunity to succeed.

This year the province is again distributing a total of $500,000 in grants for community projects focusing on improving accessibility.

“AccessAbility Week is an opportunity for everyone to celebrate diversity and inclusion, and to highlight the importance of accessibility,” said Shane Simpson, B.C. Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction.

United Nations Urged to Lead Action to End Discrimination Against People With Disabilities in the Response to COVID-19

By IDA
May 18, 2020

New campaign by disability rights groups calls for more leadership from the United Nations to ensure COVID-19 measures include people with disabilities.

Lack of concerted action from governments and health authorities is putting the lives of people with disabilities at greater risk during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the International Disability Alliance (IDA) and International Disability and Development Consortium (IDDC).

The two leading disability rights bodies have launched a campaign to prevent discrimination against people with disabilities and call for public health information and communications around COVID19 to be fully accessible.

Why Coronavirus May Make the World More Accessible

BBC Future

With millions under lockdown, many non-disabled people are experiencing, for the first time, how it feels to have external barriers preventing you from participating in everyday life.

But although countries around the world have put policies and practices in place to make public spaces, workplaces and other aspects of society more accessible, many barriers still exist for people with disabilities.

With disabled people making up 15% of the global population, greater accessibility has the potential to improve millions of lives of those 1.3 billion people. But it would help the non-disabled population, too.

‘I Need Help’: Coronavirus Highlights Disparities Among Canadians With Disabilities

Emerald Bensadoun GlobalNews.ca
May 6, 2020

Prior to the novel coronavirus pandemic, 27-year-old Marissa Blake was rarely ever home.

Now, Blake, who lives in Toronto supportive housing and needs assistance to walk, can only have one visitor a week for three hours and can’t see her friends in-person. An appointment to discuss surgery on her legs was cancelled, and her sleep and care schedule are in flux because her personal support workers keep changing.

“It’s difficult,” she said. “I feel like I’m in jail.”

Her exercise program with March of Dimes Canada, a rehabilitation foundation for disabled persons, was cancelled, and Blake said she’s been less physically active than usual.

B.C. Woman With Disability Dies Alone in Hospital Due to COVID-19 Visitor Restrictions

By John Hua
Global News, April 24, 2020

The family of a B.C. woman with a disability is calling for an investigation after she died alone at the Peace Arch Hospital.

In life, Ariis Knight’s family says she defied limitations.

The 40-year-old had cerebral palsy and was non-verbal, but found her own way to communicate with her family and support workers.

“She had a full range of facial expressions,” her brother David Knight told Global News.

“She was able to answer yes or no questions not with her voice but with her eyes.”

Ariis was admitted to hospital April 15 with symptoms of congestion, fever and vomiting but did not have COVID-19.

Disability Groups File Complaint On Rationing Policies In Coronavirus Pandemic

People With Disabilities Say Rationing Care Policies Violate Civil Rights Joe Shapiro
NPR, March 23, 2020

People with disabilities are asking the federal government to stop what they say are policies by states and hospitals that will ration care and deny them treatment for the coronavirus.

On Monday, several disability groups filed a complaint against the state of Washington, one of the states hardest hit by the pandemic.

The Washington State Department of Health issued guidelines to help doctors and hospitals decide something they fear having to face deciding who gets scarce, life-saving care. One example: If there are, say, more people who need ventilators than the number of ventilators available.

COVID-19 Visitation Bans for People in Institutions Put Many at Risk in Other Ways

Barring visitors ignores the specific needs of those with intellectual and psychiatric disabilities By Natalie Spagnuolo, Michael Orsini
CBC News Opinion, Mar. 29, 2020

Disabled people know a lot about social isolation.

Many including those with intellectual and psychiatric disabilities are relying on the success of COVID-19 containment strategies, and lives are indeed at risk if they are not taken seriously. However, public health measures that restrict visiting rights to those in institutional settings are putting many at risk in other ways.

While public health principles have a rightful place in our decisions, so too do principles that recognize the humanity and dignity of people with disabilities.

COVID-19 and Disability: Recommendations to the Canadian Government from Disability Related Organizations in Canada

March 24, 2020

It is imperative that the Government of Canada urgently address the unique vulnerabilities of people with disabilities and their families during the COVID-19 crisis. People with disabilities represent 22% of the Canadian population. Many are at extreme risk and require additional support to ensure their health and safety at this time.

Some people with disabilities are vulnerable to COVID-19 because of the nature of their disability and related health challenges. Many others are at risk because of the measures put in place in response to COVID-19 which require people with disabilities and their families to distance themselves from their communities and support systems and to invest funds up front for supplies needed to maintain wellbeing during an extended period of isolation.

COMING TO TERMS WITH MY DISABILITY

By Amy M. Warren w
Globe and Mail, Mar. 16, 2020

I started my career as a 25-year-old professor eagerly running between classes, but my body held within it a debilitating illness. Looking back, there were clues. I was able to do “party tricks” (like bending my thumb backward until it touched my forearm), I had dental issues, I had knee surgery at the age of 16, I had multiple subluxations/dislocations of my hip, knees and shoulders, I had problems with my stomach, pain and migraines – all signals of my then-undiagnosed chronic illness.

The Coronavirus Response Shows How Crucial Accessibility Is

Seeing companies make drastic changes to accommodate working remotely during the coronavirus outbreak is great ” but it’s also frustrating for those of us who could have used those accommodations much sooner. Amy Meng
BuzzFeed Contributor
Posted on March 13, 2020

The list of organizations and events migrating to online platforms multiplies daily. Moving these hubs of in-person interaction to a virtual space is a critical part of flattening the curve of coronavirus spread ” and although I’m sure these changes were not always simple to enact, the last few weeks have shown they are exceedingly possible.

Judge Finds NYPD Liable, Must Provide People with Disabilities Access to Police Stations

Ruling affirms and holds NYPD accountable for broad inaccessibility of police precinct stations

Police department must include disability community as it works to eliminate barriers

NEW YORK A federal judge has issued a major ruling holding the New York City Police Department (NYPD) liable for discrimination against people with disabilities by shutting them out of police precincts.

“In the thirty years since passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act (‘ADA’) the City of New York and NYC Police Department (‘NYPD’) have made little progress eliminating physical barriers to access to NYPD’s police stations,” wrote U.S. District Judge Valerie Caproni of the Southern District of New York in her ruling yesterday. “Plaintiffs have now shown that those barriers are not merely theoretical or technicalthey have actually prevented individuals with mobility disabilities from accessing the benefits of services provided from stations.”

Charlottetown Failing Those With Disabilities

The Guardian
Published: Feb. 11, 2020

“Accessibility in Canada is about creating communities, workplaces and services that enable everyone to participate fully in society without barriers.” That’s the first paragraph one finds when searching the Accessible Canada Act on the federal government’s website.

Progressive as those words may appear, none of those things seemed to occur for P.E.I. resident Paul Cudmore when his accessible van recently broke down in Charlottetown.

In Cudmore’s case, he was protected by the friends who came to his aid, not the legislation that was supposed to support him.

That is not acceptable.

eSSENTIAL Accessibility To Expand Software Platform With New Funding Round

By Dan Anderson
February 3, 2020

Accessibility-as-a-Service company eSSENTIAL Accessibility recently announced it closed $16 million in funding led by Lead Edge Capital. This round of funding will provide eSSENTIAL Accessibility with resources to expand its software platform and pursue rapid geographic expansion in order to meet escalating demand.

Accessibility is a business mandate that has arrived with tremendous force and the consequences of not offering accessible experiences are costly and brand debilitating.

This funding builds on a major year for eSSENTIAL Accessibility which saw a rapidly growing list of clients, key executive appointments, and market momentum in the areas of accessibility and inclusion.

Japan Speeds up Barrier-Free Initiatives Ahead of Paralympics

KYODO NEWS
January 2, 2020

TOKYO – Japan is speeding up its efforts to make accommodation and transport facilities more accessible ahead of the Paralympic Games in Tokyo, but some people with disabilities have questioned whether enough is being done.

While the games are touted as a chance to create a more inclusive society, a Kyodo News survey showed 66 percent of respondents did not see any improvement in accessibility or understanding of disabilities since 2013, when Tokyo was awarded hosting rights. In comparison, 34 percent said they had noticed progress.