Federal Government Pokes the Blind and Visually Impaired in the Eye!

By Geof Collis
January 14, 2011

In a recent decision “Government to Appeal Ruling Over Website Access for Blind
www.accessibilitynewsinternational.com/?p=1930” the Federal Government has in essence given the finger to the Blind and Visually Impaired Community and other Disabilities that rely on websites being Accessible.

In an earlier Ruling(http://www.accessibilitynewsinternational.com/?p=1821) the government was given 15 months to comply with the Charter of Rights by making its websites accessible to visually impaired
Canadians who want to tap into the federal job bank, fill in forms and apply for federal programs online.

The Government excuse stated:

“The federal government argued in written court documents that federal services are available in other ways, such as by telephone, in person and by
mail, and that it is unlikely that the Internet can be perfectly accessible to all, given that there are more than 23 million pages under the domain of
gc.ca.”

What a crock!

We all know how much fun it is trying to get a hold of Government Departments by phone and very few of us have the ability to meet in person.

To suggest by mail is ridiculous, do they mean Snail mail or Internet?

If they mean Snail Mail then that is absurd if the response is time sensitive. If they mean Email then that is also a lesson in futility.

If the site is not accessible how does one find it in the first place. Reminds me of those sites that write “If you have any problems with the accessibility of this site please contact us”. How do I find your contact info if it isn’t accessible?

None of their responses are “Equal Access”!

To suggest that it is “Unlikely” that the Internet cant be accessible to all is just another tap dance, Government sites are not that complicated when it comes to making them accessible.

The Government wasted years of our time and Taxpayers dollars fighting the original complaint and is going to waste more all the while Blind and Visually Impaired Canadians are left to wait, yet again.

As I wrote in another article, “Equal Access Delayed is Equal Access Denied http://www.aoda.ca/?p=895

I have emailed my Member of Parliament (MP) and express my disgust at this ruling and let him know that he will not get my vote if his Government continues with this Appeal and I urge others to contact their own MP’s, you can find their info at http://webinfo.parl.gc.ca/MembersOfParliament/MainMPsCompleteList.aspx?TimePeriod=Current&Language=E