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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.

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.