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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.

Boston Sled Hockey Players Finding Family and Freedom on the Ice

By: Kerry Kavanaugh, Jason Solowski, and Thomas Korsak
Updated: December 31, 2019

WELLESLEY, Mass. For people with physical disabilities simple tasks can be major challenges. They plan ahead for everything. Even sports designed for athletes with disabilities can create obstacles.

We have enough to adapt to in life, said sled hockey player Brian Bardel. We tend not to think about it and just overcome.”

But, theres a new arena where sled hockey players can shed all that worry and just play. Its the only one of its kind in New England.

Boston 25 News Anchor Kerry Kavanaugh visited the fully adaptive ice rink in Wellesley and met the players of the Boston Ice Storm, a Massachusetts sled hockey team.

Broadbent Pushes B.C. Government for Justice-Based Accessibility Law

The left-wing thing tank says historical injustices and ongoing discrimination have made a society that excludes the Deaf and disabled. Nick Eagland
Updated: December 7, 2019

As the B.C. government develops accessibility legislation, a left-wing think-tank is calling on policy-makers to consider how historical injustices and continuing discrimination have led to a society that still excludes deaf and disabled people.

From Sept. 16 to Nov. 29 of this year, the Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction collected public feedback to help develop the new legislation it says will “guide government, persons with disabilities and the broader community to work together to identify, remove and prevent barriers.”

Public Bodies in Nova Scotia Get One Year to Develop Accessibility Plans

The Canadian Press Staff
Published Tuesday, December 3, 2019

HALIFAX — Municipalities and universities will have a year to develop plans to remove barriers to accessibility as Nova Scotia continues to move towards its legislated goal of making the province more accessible to people with disabilities by 2030.

Justice Minister Mark Furey announced a step Tuesday that would see municipalities, villages, universities, the Nova Scotia Community College and provincial libraries designated as public sector bodies under the provincial Accessibility Act on April 1.

Furey said those bodies will then have one year to establish accessibility advisory committees and implement plans aimed at making buildings and public spaces accessible to employees under provincial standards that are being developed. Those standards are expected to be in place by 2022.

Recommendations for Transportation Accessibility Standard AEBC Winnipeg Nov 2019

Alliance for Equality of Blind Canadians
L’Alliance pour l’égalité des personnes aveugles du Canada
Winnipeg Chapter
Janet Hunt, Chapter President
Email: jjvhunt@shaw.ca
November 2019

Response to Discussion Paper on AAC Recommendations for the Transportation Accessibility Standard

The Winnipeg Chapter of the Alliance for Equality of Blind Canadians (AEBC) is pleased to provide feedback and comments on the AAC recommendations for the Transportation Accessibility Standard.

AEBC is a national grassroots, peer support organization that is comprised of Canadians who are blind, deafblind or partially sighted and our supporters from the public at large.

Next Government ‘Must Tackle Dangerous Shortage of Accessible Homes’

The next government should make all new homes accessible and adaptable, according to a coalition of housing and charity groups.

The organisation, which has called itself Housing Made for Everyone (HoME), includes Age UK, Riba (Royal Institute of British Architects), Disability Rights UK, the National Housing Federation, and the Chartered Institute of Housing.

It has published an open letter calling on the next government to take greater action to secure housing suitable for an ageing population and people living with disabilities.

It reads: “Without action, we face an ever-mounting bill, with councils spending greater sums on trying to adapt homes retrospectively and the costs to our health and social care systems spiralling.

British Columbians Pack Meeting to Help Develop Accessibility Law

The government is collecting feedback to develop legislation to reduce barriers for disabled people in B.C. Nick Eagland
Updated: November 2, 2019

Olive Olajide describes the issues she has boarding new transit buses during Saturday’s community consultation session in Vancouver for new accessibility legislation.

Thousands of disabled British Columbians are contributing ideas for legislation to make the province more accessible, including a large group that packed into a community meeting Saturday in Vancouver.

More than 150 people turned up for the public consultation session at a downtown hotel where Shane Simpson, Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction, asked them about the barriers they have experienced, what they think about framework proposed for the legislation, and how his ministry can improve it.

Delivery Bots ‘Paused’ After Accessibility Incident

by Nicholas Upton | Oct 24, 2019

Stuck because a robot won’t move out of the way might sound like a dumb episode of “Black Mirror,” but that was the reality for a doctoral student on the University of Pittsburgh campus.

Emily Ackerman, a chemical engineering student who uses a wheelchair, said she was crossing the street as she does every day, but a Starship food-delivery robot blocked her path, leaving her stuck in a busy street. Ackerman was able to navigate up on the curb, and later took to Twitter to share her story.

Some Disabled Canadians Feeling Left Out of Discussion During Election Campaign

Michelle McQuigge, The Canadian Press
Published Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Amy Amantea tuned in to the English-language federal leaders’ debate with modest hope there would be at least some discussion of issues relevant to disabled Canadians.

The first half of the campaign had passed with barely a reference, even from the party that had delivered a historic achievement in national disability policy. Earlier this year, the Liberals made good on a 2015 campaign promise when the Accessible Canada Act received royal assent, marking the first time any government had enacted accessibility legislation at the federal level.

Request for Qualifications: Social Inclusion and Employment Outcomes for Persons Living with Disabilities

LIFT Philanthropy Partners is pleased to announce our Request for Qualifications for a new initiative aimed at support for “creating communities, workplaces and services that enable everyone to participate fully in society without barriers.”1

This initiative supports organizations that are removing barriers for persons living with disabilities, scaling innovative programs and services, and demonstrating measureable results, specifically towards employment or self-employment outcomes.

Under this initiative, disabilities are defined broadly to include physical, developmental, mental, and cognitive disabilities.

‘We’re All in This Together’: A Push for Accessibility for All British Columbians

Accessibility benefits everyone because anyone can have an injury, advocate says Kathryn Marlow · CBC · Posted: Oct 04, 2019

Victoria’s Chris Marks says improved accessibility would make life better for everyone not just people with disabilities.

Chris Marks loves his hometown, Victoria, but he can only explore so much of it.

After a spinal injury over a decade ago, Marks gets around using an electric wheelchair. Every day he encounters design flaws that stop him from getting where he wants to go: things likes stairs, curbs, and even raised doorways get in his way.

I Was Paralyzed 6 Years Ago and Now I Struggle with Suicide – But Not for the Reason You Think

Scott Jones · for CBC News · Posted: Sep 30, 2019

Scott Jones says that he struggles with suicide, but not because of his paralysis. Instead, he says the way in which others treat those with a disability can be the harder pill to swallow.
Editor’s note: Scott Jones was attacked outside a New Glasgow, N.S., bar in 2013, which left him paralyzed from the waist down. The musician and music teacher founded the Don’t Be Afraid campaign shortly afterward to encourage others to speak out against homophobia.

I struggle with suicide on a daily basis.

3D Printed Wheelchairs Project Brings Assistive Tech to Developing Countries

September 13 2019

UNITED KINGDOM: Run by charity Motivation in partnership with 3D printer manufacturer Ultimaker, the project is called Motivation InnovATe. It designed to establish the technologies, infrastructure and skills within developing countries to enable custom 3D printed wheelchairs to produced where and when they are needed.

Initially starting in Kenya through local partner Bethany Kids, the project will see the establishment of a purpose-built assessment, fitting and 3D printing workshop, where wheelchair users will be measured using specialist tools, including a seating simulator, to determine the precise measurements of wheelchair they require.