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DOJ Nixes All Pending ADA Rulemakings, Including Website Access Rules

Seyfarth Synopsis: The Justice Department withdraws pending rulemakings for accessible websites, furniture and non-fixed equipment.

The current Department of Justice’s (DOJ) regulatory approach to Title III of the ADA is yet another example of what a difference an election can make.

In 2010, the DOJ started the rulemaking process to issue new regulations about the websites of public accommodations and state and local governments, as well as non-fixed equipment and furniture used in public accommodations. In July of this year, the DOJ placed these rulemakings on the “inactive list”. On December 26, 2017, these rulemakings will officially be withdrawn.

All VIA Rail Trains to Allow Two Mobility Aid Scooters on Board

PRESS RELEASE PR Newswire
MONTRÉAL, Dec. 20, 2017 /CNW

Telbec/ – VIA Rail Canada (VIA Rail) announced today that, following an order by the Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA), its accessibility policy was revised on December 18, 2017 and will take effect on January 3, 2018. The Corporation will offer space for two passengers travelling together on the same train with qualified 3-wheel scooters either by having two tie-down spaces per train or by securing two unoccupied scooters in one tie-down.

Lyft Is Making The App More Accessible For Visually Impaired Riders & Heres Why Its Important

Source:Courtesy of Lyft
ByJames Loke Hale
December 20, 2017

Lyft has made accessibility a priority in 2017. First, in April, it announced its partnership with the National Association of the Deaf, along with changes to the app that would make it more accessible for Deaf and hard of hearing riders and drivers. Now Lyft is embracing its visually impaired riders by announcing its new partnership with Aira, which will make Lyft more accessible for visually impaired riders.

Aira “develops transformative remote assistive technology that connects the blind with a network of certified agents via wearable smart glasses and an augmented reality dashboard that allows agents to see what the blind person sees in real time.”

The Government of Canada Launches Renewed Program to Support the Social Inclusion of Canadians With Disabilities

GATINEAU, QC, Dec. 15, 2017 /CNW

The Government of Canada is working to ensure greater accessibility and opportunities for Canadians with disabilities in their communities and workplaces.

The Honourable Kent Hehr, Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities, today launched a call for expressions of interest under the renewed 2017 Social Development Partnership Program Disability (SDPP-D). The call is open to not-for-profit organizations with a national reach and whose primary mandate is on the inclusion of people with disabilities.

This is the first step in a two-step process which will result in operating funding for national organizations that support the inclusion of people with disabilities.

Canada’s Aging Population Signals Need for More Inclusive, Accessible Transportation System: New Expert Panel Report

PRESS RELEASE GlobeNewswire
Dec. 14, 2017

As the number of Canadians aged 65 and older continues to grow faster than any other age group, so too does the need for a more inclusive and accessible transportation system, underscores a group of experts in a new report released today by the Council of Canadian Academies.

Older Canadians on the Move addresses key obstacles faced by today’s older travellers and explores innovative and technological solutions for adapting Canada’s transportation system to meet future needs.

Older Canadians on the Move. The Expert Panel report on the transportation needs of an aging population.

Accessible Technology Program

From Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada

The new Accessible Technology Program will co-fund innovative projects led by the private sector, not-for-profit organizations and research institutes to develop new assistive and adaptive digital devices and technologies.

It will invest $22.3 million over 5 years, starting in 2017-18 to make it easier for Canadians with disabilities to more fully participate in the digital economy.

Background

The Program is part of the Government of Canada’s Innovation and Skills Plan, and aims to facilitate and encourage the participation of under-represented groups in the digital economy by investing in initiatives that provide them with the necessary tools, access and skills to participate.

Making Digital Technologies More Accessible to Canadians With Disabilities

News provided by
Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada

$22.3-million program will help Canadians with disabilities fully participate in the digital economy

OTTAWA, Dec. 6, 2017 /CNW/ – As a result of a new $22.3-million program, more Canadians with disabilities will have access to the digital tools they need to fully participate in society and get access to the well-paying jobs of today and tomorrow.

The Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, today launched the Accessible Technology Program, a new program that, over the next five years, will co-fund innovative projects to develop new assistive and adaptive digital devices and technologies.

All Branches of Government Must Rally Together for Canadians With Disabilities

Rick Hansen Contributed to The Globe and Mail
Updated December 3, 2017

Rick Hansen is a three-time Paralympic gold medalist and founder and CEO of the Rick Hansen Foundation, an organization committed to creating a world without barriers for people with disabilities.

Dec. 3 is the United Nations-sanctioned International Day of Persons With Disabilities (IDPD), and this also marks the 30th year since I wheeled around the world creating awareness and encouraging barriers to be removed. A lot has been accomplished in that time, including the UN declaring the launch of the Decade of Disabled Persons from 1983-1992, which ended with a global conference on accessibility hosted by Canada that I had the good fortune of leading.

The Government of Canada Tables the Optional Protocol to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

News Release
From Employment and Social Development Canada
November 30, 2017 Ottawa, Ontario Employment and Social Development Canada

The Government of Canada is taking further action to uphold and safeguard the rights of people with disabilities and further enable their inclusion and full participation in Canadian society.

Today, the Honourable Kent Hehr, Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities, on behalf of the Honourable Chrystia Freeland, Minister of Foreign Affairs, is proud to announce that the Government of Canada tabled in the House of Commons the Optional Protocol to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (the Optional Protocol). The Optional Protocol would allow individuals in Canada to make a complaint to the United Nations if they believe their rights under the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (the Convention) have been violated.

International Certification of Accessibility Consultants for the Built Environment launched by GAATES

November 27 2017

The Global Alliance on Accessible Technologies and Environments (GAATES), recognized as an international leader in the field of accessibility, is pleased to announce its public launch of the International Certification of Accessibility Consultants Built Environment (ICAC-BE) program.

Significant time and contributions from recognized global industry leaders has resulted in the development of the first ever international-level certification program for built environment accessibility experts.

The lack of a certification program has allowed people with little or no training or expertise to present themselves as accessibility experts. This has led to uneven and sometimes inadequate costly design solutions.

Immigration Minister Vows to Change Law That Bars Immigrants With Disabilities and Illnesses

A parliamentary committee is reviewing the law that refuses applicants who would put “excessive demand” on health or social services. By Nicholas KeungImmigration reporter
Wed., Nov. 22, 2017

Canada’s Immigration Minister says he’s committed to changing the rule that bars many people with disabilities and illnesses from immigrating to Canada.

Rights groups and individuals affected by the so-called “medical inadmissibility” rule say not only is it inhumane, but it also breaches the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, as well as the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

Section 508 Gets an Update: New Web Accessibility Guidelines for Government Sites Take Effect in January

People with hearing and sight disabilities using screen readers and other assistive tech must be able to access content on government websites, but getting and staying compliant is a challenge. by Zack Quaintance / November 20, 2017

Updates for Section 508 accessibility legislation go into effect in January, creating new specifications for how federal agencies must make websites and other digital information channels navigable for users with disabilities, and experts say these requirements are poised to become the new standard for state and local governments as well.

Uber Canada’s Service-Animal Policy Doesn’t Go Far Enough, Critics Say

By Peter GoffinThe Canadian Press
Mon., Nov. 20, 2017

The company’s policy says any drivers refusing rides to customers because of service animals will be dismissed, but it leaves room for exemptions.

Advocates say exemptions in Uber Canada’s service-animal policy could still lead to discrimination.

Uber Canada has launched a new policy on how its drivers deal with customers who have service animals, but some disability rights advocates say exemptions built into the rules could still lead to discrimination.

The company’s policy says drivers who refuse to give rides to customers with service animals will be dismissed.

Disability Rights Advocates Fight ‘Demeaning’ Immigration Criteria

Michelle McQuigge
The Canadian Press
November 19, 2017

TORONTO – A national advocacy group is pushing for the government to repeal immigration criteria that it calls discriminatory toward people with disabilities.

The Council of Canadians with Disabilities is calling for the repeal of a provision that bars disabled immigrants from settling in Canada on grounds that they could place too much demand on the country’s medical system. The group contends the practice is discriminatory and based on outdated, stereotypical ideas around disability.

The council wants the government to drop the requirement from the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act and to make sure disabled people are included in crafting a new, more inclusive procedure.

Court: Movie Theatres Must Accommodate Deaf-Blind Patrons

The Associated Press,, Financial Post, 10,06, 2017.

Federal disability law requires movie theatres to provide specialized interpreters to patrons who are deaf and blind, an appeals court said Friday.

The Philadelphia-based 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against Cinemark, the nation’s third-largest movie chain, in a case involving a Pennsylvania man
who wanted to see the 2014 movie “Gone Girl” and asked a Cinemark theatre in Pittsburgh to supply a “tactile interpreter.” The theatre denied his request.

The plaintiff, Paul McGann, is a movie enthusiast who reads American Sign Language through touch. He uses a method of tactile interpretation that involves
placing his hands over the hands of an interpreter who uses sign language to describe the movie’s action, dialogue and even the audience response.

B.C. Needs Disability Act: Victoria Council

Council motion asks province to make B.C. barrier free
Lauren Boothby/
Nov. 17, 2017

The City of Victoria wants to make the city and the province barrier free.

Council passed a motion Thursday asking the provincial government to enact a strong and effective British Columbians with Disabilities Act, which was added to the consent agenda at committee of the whole. Other provinces, including Ontario and Manitoba, have provincial accessibility laws, which include such regulations as building and structural guidelines, and allowing service animals.

Coun. Jeremy Loveday, who put the motion forward, said people with disabilities need more legal protections. Currently, the provinces Human Rights Tribunal is the only body used to address accessibility issues, but the province does have a non-binding Accessibility 2024 10-year action plan.

Disability Group TO Call for Repeal of Discriminatory Provision in Canada’s Immigration Act

For Immediate Release November 17, 2017

When: Monday, November 20, 2017
Place: Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration
Room 415, 197 Sparks Street
Time: 6:30 pm

The Council of Canadians With Disabilities (CCD), a national, human rights organization of persons with various disabilities that is working for a more inclusive and accessible Canada, will call for repeal of the “Excessive Demands” provisions in Canada’s Immigration and Refugee Protection Act when it appears before the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration on Monday evening, November 20, 2017.

Airbnb buys ‘Airbnb for Disabled People’ Startup Accomable in Accessibility Upgrade

Posted November 16, 2017
by Ingrid Lunden (@ingridlunden)

Airbnb, the accommodation and travel startup that is now valued at $31 billion, is today announcing an acquisition that points to how it wants to address the travel needs of more kinds of customers. It has bought Accomable, a startup based out of London that focuses on travel listings that are disabled-friendly.

Along with the announcement Airbnb is refreshing its own accessibility features as the first stage in how it hopes to develop them.

Senators Markey and Capito Introduce Legislation to Improve Educational Opportunities for Visual and Hearing-Impaired Students

Washington, November 7, 2017

Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) and Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.V.) today introduced bipartisan legislation that would strengthen the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) to ensure that visual and hearing-impaired students receive the best possible education.

The Alice Cogswell and Anne Sullivan Macy Act will improve the effectiveness and personalization of education and services for students who are deaf, hard of hearing, blind, visually impaired, and deaf-blind.

The legislation would improve reporting and evaluation measures of special education in each state, increase training for teachers and other special education professionals, and reaffirm the Department of Education’s mission and responsibility to ensure an accessible and quality education for all students.

West Virginia Nonprofit and its Partnership with the RightCycle Program Help People with Disabilities Find Work that Sustains Them and the Environment

PARKERSBURG, W.Va., Nov. 1, 2017 /PRNewswire

A West Virginia nonprofit organization is making a difference in the lives of people with disabilities while benefitting the environment at the same time.

The Jackson County Developmental Center (JCDC) of Millwood has embarked on a partnership with RightCycle by Kimberly-Clark Professional to provide employment for people who have survived traumatic brain injuries or have been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders, learning disabilities and other conditions.

The JCDC employees remove zippers and other metal parts from protective garments so that the apparel can be recycled through the RightCycle Program, the first large-scale recycling program for non-hazardous lab, cleanroom and industrial waste.