Last Updated: March 11 2019
Article by Jackie VanDerMeulen and Megan Beal
The Accessible Canada Act (Act), first introduced in June 2018 in Bill C-81, is now being considered by the Senate, and could soon be law.
The purpose of the Act is to make Canada’s federal sector barrier-free. If enacted, it will apply to federally-regulated entities like banks, telecommunication companies, transportation companies, and the Government of Canada. It will not apply to certain businesses in Yukon, the Northwest Territories, or Nunavut.
It will apply to the areas of:
Canada: Federal Accessibility Legislation One Step Closer To Law full article
- the built environment,
- information and communication technologies (e.g. websites),
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 6th, 2019
HALIFAX, NS – Chairman John Walter Thompson, Q.C. found in Monday’s Human Rights Commission Board of Inquiry decision that the Province of Nova Scotia violated the rights of Beth MacLean, Sheila Livingstone, and Joseph Delaney under the Nova Scotia’s Human Rights Act.
The decision is a win for MacLean, Livingstone, and Delaney as individuals, and is an important victory in ensuring full recognition of the right of persons with disabilities to live in the community and access community-based services throughout the province.
NS Decision Finds Blatant Discrimination Against Three Persons with Intellectual Disabilities full article
Each year when Women’s History Month comes around, there’s an explosion of content online about women. This year, there are plenty of signs that corporate America is poised to create change for women with disabilities the likes of which we haven’t seen in years. Here’s my thinking: The fight for equal pay and the #metoo movement have jumpstarted awareness of the huge challenges women face in the workplace.
For the first time, the topic of inclusion took center stage at the World Economic Forum 2019. And then there’s renewed attention to the issue of web accessibility, which plays a part in general disability awareness. The dismal employment numbers for women with disabilities give also impart a sense of urgency.
This Is How To Create The Biggest Changes for Women With Disabilities In Years full article
Allen Mankewich says the wheelchair lift at 201 Portage Ave. is often out of service
Holly Caruk · CBC News · Posted: Mar 04, 2019 10:16 AM CT | Last Updated: March 4
Allen Mankewich, a consultant with the Independent Living Resource Centre who uses a wheelchair, says the broken lift forces people in wheelchairs to travel blocks out of their way on snowy sidewalks just to cross the street.
A Winnipeg man is frustrated after a broken wheelchair lift has gone unrepaired for weeks at downtown Winnipeg’s busiest intersection.
Broken Elevator at Portage and Main Suggests Accessibility’s Not A Priority, Advocate Says full article
Conn Maciel Carey LLP
USA February 21 2019
Over the past several years, we have written extensively about employers’ obligations to make their websites accessible for individuals with visual, hearing and physical impairments. In the past, we have counseled employers who are considered a “place of public accommodation” (such as a hotel, restaurant, place of recreation, doctor’s office, etc.) to at the very least do some due diligence to determine whether their websites are accessible for disabled users, so that those individuals can use and navigate those websites and/or purchase goods sold on
Court Ruling Further Clarifies ADA Website Accessibility Obligations full article
By Jennifer Tzivia MacLeod, Israel Correspondent
February 21, 2019
Canadian Ambassador to Israel Deb Lyons welcomed leaders from three of Canadas largest organizations in the disability field to her official residence in Tel Aviv on Feb. 12, to kick off the first Canada-Israel Inclusion Mission. She spoke about the importance of sharing knowledge and expertise, in order to remove barriers for people with disabilities, an area in which she said both Israel and Canada have made impressive strides.
Lyons pointed out that 15 per cent of the global population experiences some form of disability, a number thats expected to increase to 25 per cent by 2050. That 25 per cent, she said, represents a vast potential for innovation, social contribution and economic opportunity, and both countries are leading the way.
Non-Profits, MPs Lead Disability Mission to Israel full article
February 18th, 2019
Posted by John Toon-Georgia Tech
Mobile phones are increasingly more accessible for people with disabilities, but there are still some significant gaps in service, according to a new study.
Researchers compared 2017 model year phones capable of receiving Wireless Emergency Alert notifications a category that includes most top-tier phones to 2015 versions and found improved accessibility across 10 of 13 features.
However, phones offered through the federally subsidized Lifeline program for low-income people fell short in nearly every category when compared to phones offered through traditional wireless plans.
Phones Still Aren’t Quite Right for People With Disabilities full article
I was born with optic atrophy, so I have a very narrow field of vision. I basically just see out of one corner of my left eye.
I use a white cane, and when you’re born with this condition, it’s just natural that you learn to walk with a cane and travel quite confidently.
But I’m relying on people to see me. And it doesn’t always happen that way.
We think of distracted drivers, but we don’t think of distracted pedestrians – and they can be just as dangerous.
What It’s Like to Be Blind in a World of People Distracted By Cellphones full article
February 17, 2019 (Mainichi Japan)
TOKYO — Paralympic medalists have inspected parts of the capital’s Koto Ward, host to two Tokyo 2020 swimming venues, to see if the area meets the growing demand for easier access for people with disabilities.
A Mainichi Shimbun reporter joined the athletes’ first check of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics venue sites on Jan. 20. The aim: to assess the current environment as well as facilities with barrier-free concepts. The meeting point with Paralympians Association of Japan (PAJ) chairman Junichi Kawai, 43, and former Japan national wheelchair basketball player Katsumi Miyake, 48, was outside the Tokyo Metro’s Tatsumi Station ticket gate.
Paralympic Medalists Check Accessibility of 2020 Tokyo Games Venue Area full article
The University of Tennessee, Knoxville
Feb. 15, 2019
Copy machines capable of producing documents accessible to those with low vision or other sight impairment will soon be in place at 11 locations across campus. It’s the start of a campaign to ensure these machines are readily available for the campus community.
When scanning a document, most copy machines produce a PDF image that’s undecipherable to screen-reading technologies. The new functionality allows copiers to scan a document to create a PDF file that can be read by these technologies using optical character recognition, or OCR.
Copy Machines Being Upgraded for Accessibility full article
by Kayla Bruch
Originally Posted Jan 22, 2019
CALGARY (660 NEWS) Seventy-two thousand dollars will go a long way in renovating a local community space.
Minister of Public Services and Procurement and Accessibility, Honourable Carla Qualtrough, said the Evergreen Community SPACES building in Calgary is receiving this money through the Enabling Accessibility Fund.
“The idea of creating initiatives that remove barriers for people with disabilities is really the idea of making our country better and more equal,” said Qualtrough.
She adds Canada can’t succeed as a country unless we give everyone an equal opportunity, and we can’t achieve this if 20 per cent of the population is excluded.
Calgary Building Receives $72,000 Toward Accessibility Renovations full article
Ian Jacques / Delta Optimist
February 10, 2019
The Canadian Council of the Blind has awarded Delta MP Carla Qualtrough with its CCB Person of the Year.
Qualtrough, the federal minister of public services and procurement and accessibility, received the award at a special presentation Feb. 6 in Ottawa.
“I feel truly honoured to receive this award,” said Qualtrough. “The unwavering engagement of organization such at the Canadian Council of the Blind has been one of the building blocks of my determination to create a Canada where everyone is included and can contribute to society.”
Qualtrough Named Person of the Year by Canadian Council of the Blind full article
The U of A is the most recent among universities making headlines for evicting a student with mental illness.
Last week, while #BellLetsTalk flooded social media, allowing institutions to do the bare minimum in relaying their support for mental health initiatives, another story made CBC headlines — in 2016 a University of Alberta student was kicked out of residence after a suicide attempt.
Year after year headlines emerge detailing another student losing their home, being forcibly removed from their school, regardless of academic standing, owing to the fact that they have a mental health problem.
Universities: Stop Evicting Students With Mental Health Issues full article
Unlike similar legislation in the U.S., the ACA’s scope will be limited to federal agencies and programs Gabrielle Peters · for CBC News · Posted: Feb 07, 2019
We are getting sunny words about equal participation, opportunity and dignity, written around legislation that is too broad to actually achieve it.
Canada is finally on the verge of passing federal disability legislation. So why aren’t I, a disabled woman, celebrating?
Because Bill C-81, the Accessible Canada Act is not the legislation many disabled Canadians asked for or need.
Opinion: Canada’s Pending Accessibility Law Comes Off As the Liberals Just Fulfilling An Election Promise full article
AI & Big Data I write about the broad intersection of data and society.
As society has increasingly awoken to the dangers of algorithmic bias in the machine learning and AI systems that underlie an ever-greater portion of our lives, it is notable that for all of the attention and funding being focused on AI bias, there has been in comparison a deafening silence on the topic of accessibility bias.
As the web rushes ever faster towards a multimedia-first existence, why is it that there is comparatively so little conversation about making this content accessible to those with differing physical abilities?
Our Biased Web: Why Don’t We Care About Making The Web Accessible For All? full article
Seven-in-ten Canadians say universal accessibility should be the goal for newly constructed buildings January 22, 2019
As Canada’s population grows older, millions of Canadians find themselves worrying about decreased mobility, vision and hearing and the impact it may have on their own lives or the lives of loved ones.
A new study from the Angus Reid Institute, conducted in partnership with the Rick Hansen Foundation, finds more than two-thirds of Canadians expressing concern that someone in their lives will face such challenges over the next decade or so.
Currently, approximately three-in-ten say that accessibility is a consideration for them when they’re thinking about which places they will go to and which they will avoid within their communities.
Accessibility: A Source of Future Anxiety and a Significant Consideration for Canadian Consumers today full article
By Carlos Sosa
Policy Alternatives, Jan. 17, 2019
Recently the Manitoba Government made a decision to reject a core funding application from the Manitoba League of Persons with Disabilities (MLPD) for the 2018-19 fiscal year. It can be very difficult for an organization to function without core funding which diminishes its capacity.
The organization (formally known as the Manitoba League of the Physically Handicapped) has existed since 1974 as a consumer-based organization of people living with disabilities. MLPD emerged in the era of the civil rights movement in which people with disabilities were often left out of policy decisions affecting their lives.
Valuing the Voice of People Living with Disabilities in Manitoba full article
By Evan Jones
January 17, 2019
Many East Lansing residents go through doorways and live in apartments without realizing the barriers common designs present to older members of the community.
Through the Age-Friendly Community Committee, citizens and government leaders are working to improve accessibility and bridge the generational gap.
The City of East Lansing created the committee in 2017 to continue working toward an Age-Friendly Community designation, which the World Health Organization, or WHO, describes in a 76-page guide(opens in new tab/window). While the problem is described by the WHO through a global lens, they aim to inspire communities to improve access for their own aging populations.
Age-Friendly Community Committee aims to increase accessibility full article
Next stop: integrating with Google Assistant.
January 9, 2019
“Hey Siri, stream iTunes through my hearing aid.” That’s just one of many things you can do with the ReSound Linx Quattro, the first smart hearing aid to use AI to pair with Apple’s Siri assistant.
Smart hearing aids are part of a burgeoning field of gadgets set to transform the health care industry. For the Linx Quattro, that means drawing people with hearing impairment further into their digital world.
The Linx Quattro uses AI to learn your preferences and settings over time, and to proactively make adjustments to various sound profiles. You’ll be able to ask Siri to change profiles with voice commands (e.g. turn up the volume in my left ear).
Siri on the ReSound Linx Quattro Smart Hearing Aid a First for AI voice Control full article
Controversy rang out in November 2018 when the Home Builders Federation objected to councils across England wanting to increase the number of homes with universal home designed centered around accessibility.
Organizations such as Age UK and the Centre for Ageing Better and Disability Rights UK released reports stating that only 7% of homes classify as accessible, causing a rift in a housing market that so poorly serves those with limited mobility.
While currently trying to fight this injustice, organizations are being met with resistance in their fight for housing options that are suitable for all and meet higher accessibility standards.
UK Faces Accessible Housing Crisis – Only 7% of Homes Deemed Accessible full article