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Employment for Canadians With Disabilities: The MOST Unattained Dream!

February , 2017
Brief from John Rae


The Government of Canada has expressed its commitment to eliminating systemic barriers and providing equality of opportunity to all Canadians living with disabilities in Canada.

This is a welcomed commitment. The proposed Act must include tangible measures to improve the lives of Canadians with disabilities, especially in the field of employment. The Act must also include the amendment of a number of existing statutes if it is to deliver on the governments important commitment of greater equality.


My name is John Rae. I am totally blind and live in Toronto.

Pheon and Prosedo Mechanical Prosthetic Knees Provide Mobility and Stability for Less Active Amputees

For Immediate Release
AUSTIN, Texas (February 17, 2017)

Ottobock announced the release of the Pheon and Prosedo mechanical prosthetic knees aimed at providing mobility and stability for less active amputees.

The Pheon polycentric knee joint is an ideal choice to help less active lower limb amputees restore their ability to stand and walk both indoors and in limited community settings. With the integrated optional lock, which can be activated or deactivated by the prosthetist, the Pheon also provides targeted support for the post-amputation therapy process from initial walking exercises to the final fitting.

Broadcasters and Disability Organisation Draw Up Common Recommendation on Future EU Rules for Audiovisual Access Services

The European Broadcasting Union (EBU), the European Disability Forum (EDF), and the Association of Commercial Television in Europe (ACT) have made a common proposal to improve the accessibility of audiovisual media services for persons with disabilities.

Broadcasters and the umbrella organisation of the European disability movement reached this agreement upon the initiative of the Member of the European Parliament (MEP) Petra Kammerevert, who is preparing the European Parliament’s report on the revision of the Audiovisual Media Services Directive (AVMSD).

EDF, EBU and ACT (the signatories) expect these measures to enhance the accessibility of TV programmes for persons with disabilities, in particular via subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing, audio description, spoken subtitles and sign language interpretation, also known as access services.

SUPAC Conference on Transition Planning for Life after High School for Students with Disabilities

Tuesday, February 14, 2017, By Jennifer Russo
School of Education

The Syracuse University Parent Assistance Center (SUPAC), the Mid-State Regional Special Education Technical Assistance Support Center (RSE-TASC) and Onondaga Community College (OCC) will host a free conference, “Finding Your Way! Understanding Transition Planning In and After High School.” The event, scheduled for Monday, March 13, on the OCC campus in Syracuse, is an exciting opportunity for families, professionals and students with disabilities to learn about planning for life after high school and the services offered in their community.

Doors open at 8:30 a.m., with the final session of the day ending at 2:30 p.m. Parking on the OCC campus is free.

Federal Complaint Alleges School District Website ‘Inaccessible’

In civil-rights complaint, parent-advocate seeks to make website fully useable for students with disabilities by Elena Kadvany / Palo Alto Weekly

A special-education advocate from Michigan who has filed more than 1,000 federal complaints against school districts alleging their websites are inaccessible to students and adults with disabilities has brought her grassroots campaign to Palo Alto.

Marcie Lipsitt, a parent-turned-education advocate, confirmed to the Weekly that she filed a complaint against the district with the Office for Civil Rights, though she is not named in the complaint itself. The federal civil-rights agency notified the district in late January that it was investigating allegations that certain pages on the district’s recently redesigned website are not accessible to people with vision impairments and other disabilities.

Disabled Prisoners in Canada: How do They Fare?

One of the topics that is rarely discussed either among activists, or anyone for that matter, is that of people with disabilities who must serve time. Prison time is challenging enough without adding the pressure of having to cope with one’s disability. The individual may have relied on various treatments and/or medications for their disability, but the question remains as to whether or not disabled prisoners are receiving proper treatment in Canadian prisons?


Nova Scotia Accessibility Legislation Gets More Scrutiny

Friday, February 10, 2017

The Nova Scotia government is seeking more input on its proposed accessibility legislation after negative feedback on the version tabled in the provincial legislature last fall. Committee hearings on Bill 59, an Act Respecting Accessibility in Nova Scotia, will resume next week with the Justice department replacing the Ministry of Community Services as the lead on the file.

The proposed legislation, drawing from recommendations of a Minister’s advisory panel released in 2015, was introduced in November 2016, then pulled off a planned fast track to approval. The bill sets out a guiding framework for how accessibility standards will be developed, applied and enforced beginning with the appointment of a 12-member accessibility advisory board that will be instrumental to the task but critics decry its lack of specifics and leeway for exemptions from compliance.

Court Says Settlement Agreement Does Not Bar Later Website Accessibility Lawsuit by a Different Plaintiff

by Kristina Launey

Kristina Launey,
Minh Vu
Seyfarth Shaw LLP

Seyfarth Synopsis: With the recent proliferation of web accessibility demand letters and lawsuits, businesses often ask whether settling a claim with one plaintiff will bar future lawsuits brought by different plaintiffs. One federal judge recently said no.

Plaintiffs Rachel Gniewskowski, R. David New, and Access Now, Inc.represented by Carlson, Lynch, Kilpela & Sweetsued retailer Party City in the Western District of Pennsylvania on September 6, 2016, alleging that Party Citys website is not accessible to visually impaired consumers in violation of Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). On October 7, 2016 (while the Pennsylvania lawsuit was pending), Party City entered into a confidential settlement agreement with Andres Gomez, who had previously filed a similar lawsuit in Florida. Both lawsuits contained the same basic set of facts and legal claims, and sought similar reliefmodification of the website to make it accessible to, and useable by, individuals with disabilities.

Liberals Revive Funding for Groups That Take Government to Court

Daniel Leblanc
The Globe and Mail, Feb. 7, 2017

Ottawa has reinstated a program that allows minority groups to get federal funding to challenge laws they feel go against their Charter rights, after it had been abolished by the previous Conservative government.

The Liberal government added it will expand the scope of the Court Challenges Program beyond its original mandate, which only included cases based on language and equality rights. Starting in the fall, the program will fund challenges to legislation based on the right to life, liberty and security, which was at the heart of the fight over Canadas prostitution laws, for example.

Acceptable Identification Document Policies – Call to action!

by Alan Shaw
February 9, 2017

If you’ve ever been denied a good or service, namely that of a wireless service, this is your opportunity to express your concerns and experiences and have them presented directly to those who can make a difference.

I currently have an active Canadian Human Rights claim against one of Canada’s major wireless carriers following a denial of service back in March 2015. My case at this time has been referred to the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal and we are now in mediations and failing a negotiated settlement we will be going to a full public tribunal hearing.

U.S. Access Board Releases Information and Communication Technology Standards and Guidelines

Monday, January 30, 2017

Earlier this month, in the waning moments of the Obama Administration, the U.S. Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board (the “Access Board”) took the long-anticipated step of requiring websites of federal government agencies to comply with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (“WCAG”) 2.0 Levels A and AA. (The Access Board was established in 1973 to develop and maintain standards for accessible design in the built environment, transit vehicles and systems, telecommunications equipment and electronic and information technology.)

The Reality of Being a Disabled College Student

by Maggie Hammond

Even though disabled students are well integrated in public schools, many people don’t understand that going to college with a disability is still not a cakewalk. Since disabilities aren’t always obvious, those living with visual impairments, physical disabilities and neurological disorders often need to tell their stories repeatedly, just to feel like they are fully understood.

Some disabled students feel like you should earn your MBA online while others are driven to get up and go to an on-campus school each day. In any case, being disabled while going to college can be a bit different to the experience of others and it can also be more of a challenge, but that doesn’t mean that the end rewards aren’t even sweeter.

4 Reasons to Learn Online if You Have a Disability

by Maggie Hammond

Living with a disability can often make it more difficult for individuals to carry out everyday tasks and achieve goals that many people take for granted. Attending college can be a difficult experience for many disabled students, although the good news is that more college campuses are making the effort to make their facilities more accessible, for example by adding adjusted rooms to college dorms for students with limited mobility, or having lectures accompanied by a sign language translator for the deaf. Students with disabilities can often apply for extra time in exams or the use of a laptop rather than pen and paper for writing. However, perhaps the best approach to learning for students with disabilities is online education. Here’s why:

Proposed Manitoba Accessibility Standard for Employment

by Yosie Saint-Cyr

The Accessibility Advisory Council’s (AAC) is inviting interested stakeholders to provide their views to its initial proposal for an accessibility standard for employment. Therefore, employment is the second of five accessibility standards being developed under the Accessibility for Manitobans Act (AMA).

The purpose of the employment standards is to remove employment barriers for persons disabled by barriersincluding the obligation to provide reasonable accommodationunder the Human Rights Code. This standard will have a timeline for compliance, however, all employers must engage in emergency planning one year after the standard comes into effect.

Specifically, the employment standards have the following timelines:

Realizing the Promise of a New ERA for Canadians With Disabilities:

Bringing Canadians With Disabilities Into the Mainstream of Canadian Society January, 2017
Brief by John Rae


My name is John Rae. I am totally blind and live in Toronto.

Over the past 40 years, I have worked for the Ontario Government, held elective offices in Canadas labour movement at the local, provincial and national levels, and have participated actively in numerous community-based organizations dealing with disability and broader human rights issues.

AMI Announces Scholarship Program for 2017

TORONTO, ON–(Marketwired – January 26, 2017) – Accessible Media Inc. (AMI) announced today that the 2017 AMI Robert Pearson Memorial Scholarship campaign will launch Monday, February 6.

Entering its sixth year, the AMI Robert Pearson Memorial Scholarship program offers much needed financial assistance to students with a disability. The scholarship was renamed in 2016 in memory of AMI’s former Accessibility Officer, Robert Pearson, who passed away suddenly in December 2015.

In 2017, AMI will once again collaborate with the National Educational Association of Disabled Students (NEADS) to administer the program and engage students with disabilities from across the country. Two $5,000 bursaries will be awarded to two deserving students with a permanent disability; one from the English community and one from the French.

Canadian Accessibility Guidelines Survey

A committee has been organized through the Canadian Institute of Transportation Engineers that has been tasked with reviewing accessibility guidelines published by various levels of government across Canada.

New Self-Assessment Launching Will Help Departments Evaluate Accessibility Efforts

Jan 23, 2017
By Sarah Lack

As part of its ongoing work to guide accessibility and inclusion efforts at Ohio University, the Presidentially Appointed Committee on Disability and Accessibility Promotion (PACDAP) Leadership Implementation Team will launch a departmental self-assessment tool on Tuesday, Jan. 24, to help University departments reflect on their efforts to incorporate accessibility planning into their day-to-day activities and identify resources needed to further those efforts.

The Departmental Self-Assessment for Inclusion and Accessibility will help individual departments at OHIO determine their readiness in shifting towards a culture of inclusion and accessibility. Once the data is collected and analyzed, PACDAP will release results of the self-assessments including areas of strength and identified areas for improvement.

Can You Work in Healthcare with a Disability?

by Maggie Hammond

Those who have suffered from some debilitating injury or illness know what it’s like to find themselves ‘disabled’ by a legal definition.

While some people are born with disabilities, physical limitations to what they can and should be doing, others suddenly find themselves unable to work the same kinds of jobs they once held and for as many hours as they are used to working.

If you are one of hundreds of students looking to see if an ADU Online bachelor of science in diagnostic medical sonography would lend itself well to a job you can handle, the following information may prove useful.

Nova Scotians Can Discuss Accessibility at Law Amendments Committee

January 23rd, 2017

Nova Scotians are encouraged to present their views about the province’s first accessibility legislation, Bill 59, to the Law Amendments Committee.

“It is important for the disability community to have the opportunity to make their voices heard,” said Community Services Minister Joanne Bernard. “Government has been talking with many organizations and individuals over the past month to ensure they are aware of the bill and its intent and that supports will be put in place to make it easier for those who want to share their points of view with the committee.”