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Government of Canada Announces New Accessible Technology Program Funding Recipients

From: Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada
$7.78 million investment will help boost participation of Canadians with disabilities in the digital economy September 4, 2019 Ottawa, Ontario

Canadians with disabilities deserve the same opportunities to find good jobs, contribute to their communities, and build a better life for themselves and their families. Yet many Canadians with disabilities still face barriers to full participation in the digital economy.

Today, the Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, announced that 12 new projects from across the country will receive funding through the Accessible Technology Program. This is in addition to the three projects funded under the program that were announced earlier this year.

Dad’s Invention for Disabled Daughter Gets Recognition at National Contest

by: Glacier Media
August 21, 2019

A device developed by a Saanich father to keep his disabled daughter’s diaper dry has taken second prize in a Canadian national contest.

The CareChanger, a sensory device that monitors for moisture and alerts caregivers to the need for a diaper change, took second place in its category at Innovative Design for Accessibility, a competition of Universities Canada, an organization that includes the University of Victoria.

Jim McDermott said he is meeting with a technology and design firm to discuss taking the device further, possibly to market.

“It might be a little easier now that I actually have an award-winning device to sell,” said McDermott, a retired maintenance engineer.

Carleton to Lead Canadian Accessibility Network

The new network of regional centers of excellence comes on the heels of Canada’s first national accessibility law. By SPARROW MCGOWAN | AUG 20 2019

Carleton University aims to draw on the power of partnerships to advance accessibility for people with disabilities through the recently announced Canadian Accessibility Network.

“We are pursuing to establish Carleton as a centre of excellence in accessibility,” said Dr. Boris Vukovic, director of Carleton’s READ (Research, Education, Accessibility and Design) Initiative, where the network will be headquartered. Dr. Vukovic said they plan to create a network of regional centers of excellence across the country, drawing on “Carleton’s history of collaborating with partners within and outside of Carleton, locally, nationally and even internationally on accessibility related projects.”

In Japan, Gyms for People With Disabilities Gain Traction

The Japan News/Asia News Network
August 04, 2019

TOKYO A little more than a year remains before the start of the Tokyo Paralympics, and sports facilities for persons with disabilities are being built across Japan and competitions being held for para athletes.

The Paralympics are expected to enhance the visibility of sports for persons with disabilities and help improve their business viability.

In March, i-Self Workout, a training gym for wheelchair users, opened in Koto Ward, Tokyo. J-Workout, the company that operates the gym, imported five kinds of equipment from South Korea designed to help users train their upper body and trunk while seated in a wheelchair.

How Actors With Disabilities are Changing the Narrative in Hollywood

‘We just keep trucking along and defying the odds,’ says Emmy nominee Ryan O’Connell Tashauna Reid · CBC News
Posted: Aug 11, 2019

When Ryan O’Connell created his Netflix series Special, he knew it was good. But he didn’t imagine the comedy would earn four Emmy nominations, including best comedy, in its first season.

“I always believed in the show,” said O’Connell. “But having that validated is sort of incredible.”

Special is about a millennial gay man living with cerebral palsy while trying to make it as a writer. But when he gets hit by a car just before starting his new job, he decides to hide his disability from his co-workers, citing the accident as the reason for his limp and dexterity issues.

Biomedical Engineering Students Design Life-Changing Technology

July 29, 2019

The University of Manitoba Biomedical Engineering Design Team (BMED) brings together students with a passion for the biomedical field to foster design experience, device building, public speaking and networking opportunities.

Throughout their first year as a team, BMED organized events, tours and outreach programs to distribute knowledge about biomedical engineering. The team focused on completing autonomous design projects that aim to improve the quality of life of clients. Within these projects, students designed, prototyped and tested their devices before taking them to competitions and conferences. BMED worked on three projects: Wheelchair Transfer, Wheelchair Handwarmer, and EMG Muscle Rehabilitation.

Feeling Waves for First Time: Floating Wheelchairs Big Hit on P.E.I. Beaches

‘It’s about inclusion and enjoying the beach’
Pat Martel · CBC News · Posted: Aug 05, 2019

‘You know she’s happy when she hits the water,’ says Maryann LaFlamme as her daughter Meghan Hughes uses a floating wheelchair while vacationing on P.E.I.

For the first time in her life, 26-year-old Meghan Hughes has been able to feel what it’s like to have waves wash over her, thanks to a floating wheelchair at Cedar Dunes provincial park.

The floating chairs are provided at four P.E.I. provincial park beaches including the park at West Point, P.E.I. That’s where Hughes, who’s visiting from Windsor, Ont., recently took her first ride into the ocean.

Could Assistive Tech Transform the Social Care Sector?

Originally posted 17th July 2019

Learning disability charity Hft has partnered with Tunstall Healthcare, a specialist in connected healthcare solutions, to release a new report on how assistive technology can support and transform the social care sector.

The report looks at the untapped potential of assistive technology and how it can support disabled people, increase independence and free up carers to focus on more meaningful support. It also highlights how assistive technology could help bridge the disability employment gap and get more disabled people into work.

Hft says that with social care funding in crisis and with care needs and demands growing, the realisation of the potential of assistive technology could revolutionise the way care is delivered, bringing about helpful changes for healthcare professionals and users alike.

Whyte Ridge Community Centre Opens New Accessible Fitness Park

By Connor Chan Digital Journalist Global News

A new way for people with accessibility issues to get active in Winnipeg has opened at the Whyte Ridge Community Centre.

The new Whyte Ridge Accessible Fitness Park was officially opened on Saturday.

“We have all ages and we want folks of all ages to enjoy this,” said Coun. Janice Lukes.

The park was first discussed in 2015, received funding last year and was built in just a few weeks.

All the exercises are performed primarily with your own body weight. The park has been built specifically for people with accessibility issues.

A chart of different exercises at the fitness park.

Stonehenge Gets Rated for ‘Accessibility’ as an Attraction

Published by Mike Draper
29th July 2019.

A national charity, that organises holidays for disabled people and their carers, has been assessing visitor attractions.

The Revitalise Accessible Tourism Report, first conducted in 2014, was carried out for a second time to see if visitor attractions have actively made any positive changes in accessibility for 2019.
The report identified Stonehenge as the number one attraction in Wiltshire for 2019

Revitalise creates holidays for disabled adults and their carers, but when it comes to accessibility, every family deserves to have access to Britain’s cultural attractions.

It’s a sunny day and we’re looking at the stone circle at Stonehenge.
The Revitalise report identified Stonehenge as the number one attraction in Wiltshire for 2019.

Blind Man with Guide Dog Denied Service, Arrested at Kamloops Gas Station

CTV News
Blind man arrested over guide dog dispute”, “A blind man is speaking out after a gas station pit stop turned ugly. “, Angela Jung, Reporter / Web Journalist
Thursday, July 18, 2019

A man who’s blind was told his guide dog wasn’t allowed inside a Kamloops gas station, and when RCMP arrived, he thought they would defend his rights, but instead, the officers put him in handcuffs.

“I was very shocked and appalled,” said Ben Fulton. “I was just really surprised at how quickly it spiraled out of control.”

Changes to the Canada Elections Act may Increase Accessibility of Federal Elections

By Lila Refaie, Bilingual Intake Lawyer and Student Programs Lead

The Canada Elections Act (“Act”) governs the rules Elections Canada must follow when there is a federal election. The Act was amended by Bill C-76 in December 2018 and is now in force. The new rules will be implemented as soon as the next general election in October 2019.

Bill C-76 introduced a great number of changes to the Act. Of the many changes, some relate to the rights of electors with disabilities.

Elections Canada must ensure that any communications, public education or other materials available to the public are accessible to persons with disabilities. This includes information about the way someone can become a candidate or how an elector can vote during the election period.

City Opens Accessible Playground

By MATTHEW REITZ mreitz@palltimes.com
Jul 12, 2019

OSWEGO Port City officials celebrated the opening of the first accessible playground Friday morning at Hamilton Park as part of an ongoing effort to make Oswego a more inclusive community.

Designed to accommodate children with disabilities, the park includes an accessible swing and a variety of other equipment for children to enjoy. Oswego Mayor Billy Barlow, along with representatives from Arise, Inc. and a number of other local advocates, hosted a ribbon cutting ceremony Friday morning.

UK.: Bikes to Give Disabled People More Freedom

Posted on Tuesday 2nd July 2019

A pilot project to introduce bicycles suitable for use by disabled youngsters and adults is being introduced into Tredegar Park, Newport.

The free initiative by Newport City Council will enhance the facilities at the popular park where an improved cycle route takes users around the park.

The specially adapted bikes will be provided by charitable organisation Pedal Power which runs a similar scheme from Bute Park in Cardiff.

Councillor Deb Harvey, cabinet member for culture and leisure, has chosen the project because it will help people of all abilities to enjoy recreation and leisure together.

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.

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.

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.

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.