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Blind Marylanders Sue Walmart, Saying Self-Serve Checkouts Violate ADA

by Sarah Meehan
Contact Reporter
The Baltimore Sun
October 29, 2018

Three blind Maryland residents and the National Federation of the Blind are suing Walmart, alleging that the company violates the Americans with Disabilities Act because its self-checkout kiosks are not fully accessible to blind customers.

The lawsuit, filed Thursday in U.S. District Court, also claims that an employee at the Walmart in Owings Mills allegedly attempted to take money from one of the plaintiffs while she was checking out at the store.

The suit claims that a staff member at the Owings Mills store on Reisterstown Road was assisting Cynthia Morales with a purchase at a self-checkout kiosk in July 2017 when the employee selected an option for cash back from her debit card and took $40 without her knowledge.

It’s Been Revealed That Canadians Diagnosed With Mental Health Issues Are Put On A List That Is Shared With The FBI And US Border Patrol

October 30, 2018

In the past five years, Canada has made tremendous strides in the fight to reduce the stigma surrounding mental health. The #BellLetsTalk campaign has been at the forefront, considering the campaign routinely grabs the world’s attention using a single hashtag to raise money for mental health initiatives.

READ ALSO: Ontario Universities Are Tracking Their Students Who Went To These High Schools Because Of This Insane Secret List(opens in new tab/window)

While the stigma may not be as prevalent as it was a decade ago, what has recently been discovered when it comes to Canadians with mental illnesses trying to cross the border is the harsh reality that the stigma is still very much alive.

WPCampus is Pursuing an Independent Accessibility Audit of Gutenberg

Editors Note: As a member of the Accessibility Team that tested Gutenberg I can tell you at the time I tested it, it was garbage and totally inaccessible to me and my screen reader, if your company has any employees who use assistive devices, do not upgrade until they fix it .

?Sarah Gooding October 25, 2018

WPCampus is looking to hire a company to perform an accessibility audit of the Gutenberg editor. The organization is a community of more than 800 web professionals, educators, and others who work with WordPress in higher education. WPCampus director Rachel Cherry published a request for proposals detailing the organization’s specific concerns:

Sydney Woman With Disabilities Said She Was Carried on Air Canada Jet

Sharon Montgomery-Dupe (sharon.montgomery@cbpost.com)
Published: Oct 18 at 10:22 p.m.

A Sydney woman said she recently took the jet as a start to an exciting vacation but because they had no proper means of boarding a passenger with disabilities she was carried aboard, which was humiliating and dangerous.

Air travel is under federal jurisdiction

SYDNEY, N.S. It was a dream vacation that began with a nightmare.

Marcie Shwery-Stanley recently boarded an Air Canada jet by being carried up a steep set of stairs by three men.

“I was not only frightened to death, it was very demeaning,” said the Sydney woman who needs a wheelchair to get around. “It was a terrible experience and I’m looking into making a formal complaint.

The New York City Subway’s Accessibility Problem

Broken elevators, muffled announcements, a lack of Braille the transit system can be commuting chaos for riders with disabilities Oct 21, 2018
By Brit McCandless Farmer

With 472 stations in total, the New York City subway is one of the largest rapid transit systems in the world. It’s also one of the least accessible: Only 25 percent of the stations are designated wheelchair accessible, the lowest rate of wheelchair accessibility for any heavy rail system in the U.S.

Surrey to Build World’s First Translation System for British Sign Language

Originally Published: 03 October 2018

The worlds first machine capable of turning British Sign Language (BSL) into written English is set to be built by the University of Surrey as part of a project funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council.

BSL is a language in its own right, with its own grammar, and it is very different from English. BSL uses several parts of the body simultaneously to fully express a range phrases, ideas and emotions.

Accessibility Problems Still Not Fixed at MUHC SuperHospital: Report

Of more than 50 recommendations to improve access for the disabled at the MUHC superhospital, six have been implemented so far. Aaron Derfel, Montreal Gazette
Updated: October 16, 2018

More than a year after an independent report found numerous problems with accessibility for the disabled and other patients at the MUHC superhospital, the McGill University Health Centre has still not fixed most of the deficiencies, the Montreal Gazette has learned.

The MUHC commissioned the report by two experts at the Université de Montréal after the patients committee raised repeated concerns about the lack of clear signage, the scarcity of wheelchairs in the lobby, the confusing layout and poor access to public bathrooms for the mobility-challenged. The report uncovered visual and physical obstacles in 19 categories, a dozen of which were deemed urgent.

Deaf Canadians ‘At Risk’ in Times of National Emergency

Other countries have on-screen interpreters during news broadcasts Sherry Noik, CBC News, September 27, 2018.

When the next ice storm, wildfire or terror attack happens, Canadians who are deaf or hard of hearing will be in greater peril than others because most public notification systems are not accessible to them, experts say.

The Canadian Hearing Society estimates there are 3.15 million Canadians who are hard of hearing and 340,000 Canadians who are deaf, including an estimated 11,000 who are deaf-blind. In policy and in practice, Canada lags behind other countries in ensuring their safety in an emergency.

World Federation of the Deafblind Launches Initial Global Report!

By IDA
Originally posted September 18, 2018

The World Federation of the Deafblind has launched the initial global report on the situation and rights of persons with deafblindness.

Representing between 0.2% to 2% of the population, persons with deafblindness are a very diverse yet hidden group and are, overall, more likely to be poor and unemployed, and with lower educational outcomes. Because deafblindness is less well-known and often misunderstood, people struggle to obtain the right support, and are often excluded from both development and disability programmes.

Innovative System Enables the Blind and Visually Impaired to Orient Independently in Centers for People with Disabilities

Ra’anana, Israel, October 10, 2018.

RightHear, developer of an innovative solution for accessibility and orientation of blind and visually impaired persons, today announced a dedicated version of the system for centers serving people with disabilities, making them accessible to people with sight impairments, allowing them to orient themselves independently inside the center.

The announcement follows a successful implementation at Israel’s Beit Halochem center in Tel Aviv, serving Israel’s disabled veterans and victims of terror.

Review of Disability Tax Credit and Registered Disability Savings Plan

By Lila Refaie, Staff Lawyer

On June 27, 2018, the Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology (“Committee”) released a report about the Disability Tax Credit and the Registered Disability Savings Plan. The report is called Breaking Down Barriers: A critical analysis of the Disability Tax Credit and the Registered Disability Savings Plan.

In this report, the Committee analyzed the existing programs and concluded that a major reform is needed. The Committee put forward a list of 16 recommended changes for the federal government to consider in the hopes of improving both programs for persons with disabilities. The recommendations include a variety of changes, affecting everything from the administration of the programs to more permanent legislative amendments.

Wheelchair Users Sue Orioles Over Camden Yards Accessibility

The Associated Press
October 02, 2018

BALTIMORE Three wheelchair users are suing the Baltimore Orioles over accessibility at Camden Yards.

News outlets report the lawsuit filed Friday against the team and the Maryland Stadium Authority says each plaintiff has been stuck in a wheelchair lift while trying to get to their seats. And the view from lower-level wheelchair-accessible seats is obstructed whenever fans stand up.

Plaintiff’s attorney Sharon Krevor-Weisbaum says the Americans with Disabilities Act mandated “equal enjoyment of the services.” Another plaintiff’s attorney, Kevin D. Docherty, criticized the Orioles for July’s “Celebrate ADA Day.”

The plaintiffs seek damages of at least $75,000 each, and a Camden Yards that’s compliant by the next baseball season.

Students Get to Showcase Their Award-Winning Accessibility-Related Designs

National competition aims to find innovative, practical and low-cost solutions to make our communities more accessible for persons with disabilities. By MARK CARDWELL | OCT 03 2018

A year ago, Memorial University student Emma Dornan was watching TV with her after-school buddy Matthew Squires, a 10-year-old who suffers from spastic quadriplegia cerebral palsy, when she made what turned out to be an award-winning discovery.

I was sitting on the couch with Matthew on my lap, using my hands and fingers to stabilize his head to help him watch TV, recalled Ms. Dornan, a fourth-year behavioural neuroscience student who works with children with disabilities at Easter Seals summer camps and during the school year in St. Johns.

How Technology is Assisting Seniors to ‘Age in Place’

October 1 2018

The latest statistics show that people are living longer in virtually every country in the world, with the over 60 age group growing faster than any other cohort.

The aging global population is altering many aspects of society, none more so than housing. When quizzed about their preferred living arrangements, the overwhelming majority of over 60’s (up to 90%) stated that they’d prefer to stay in their own home as they grow older known as ‘Aging in Place’. Yet the challenges brought on by deterioration in mental and physical health as we age, often make this difficult.

The Secret World of Disabled Gamers

Studies like this one could begin to make digital games more accessible to people with a wide range of disabilities. by Emerging Technology from the arXiv
Originally posted July 3, 2018

By some estimates, as many as 2.6 billion people take part in digital gaming, a significant fraction of the global population. There is much ongoing study by games makers and researchers into why and how people play: for fun, for the challenge, to relax, to engage with friends, and so on.

RAM Clarifies Accessible Parking Plans for New Museum

After the province said there would be no accessible parking spots at the new museum, RAM said there would be. Julia Parrish, Web Reporter, CTV Edmonton
@JuliaParrishCTV
Published Wednesday, September 26, 2018 3:51PM MDT

In an online post, the Royal Alberta Museum (RAM) says there will be accessible parking spots at the new museum.

The statement was posted Tuesday on the museum’s Facebook page, saying there would be three accessible parking spots just outside the main doors on the west side.

The post said there are wheelchair ramps outside the building leading up to the doors, and there is direct access to the museum through the LRT pedway, with elevators available to get to public transit. The building also features accessible washrooms.

EXCLUSIVE: Veterans Denied Service Dogs Despite Gov’t Report Showing ‘Significant’ Reduction in PTSD

By Brian Hill and Mercedes Stephenson Global News

Update: This story includes an updated response from Veteran Affairs Canada received after the story was first published.

Canadian veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are out of luck if they expect the government to help them find a service dog anytime soon.

Thats because the Department of Veteran Affairs (VAC) continues to deny veterans and their families funding for service dogs despite growing evidence showing their effectiveness in treating PTSD and its related symptoms.

The difference [between having a dog and not having a dog] can best be described as night and day, said Medric Cousineau, an air force veteran and the founder of Paws Fur Thought, an organization that helps match former soldiers with service dogs.

Province Announces Plans to Support Accessibility Law Passed in 2017

New standards for public buildings, streets, sidewalks and shared space coming for 2022 The Canadian Press · Posted: Sep 21, 2018

Nova Scotia has announced the next steps to reach its goal of making the province more accessible for those with disabilities by 2030.

Justice Minister Mark Furey has released an implementation strategy for the province’s Accessibility Act, passed in April 2017.

Furey says the document, entitled Access by Design 2030, identifies priorities for accessibility standards, including the formation of committees that will develop standards for public buildings, streets, sidewalks and shared spaces, as well as education.

He says the standards are expected to be rolled out in 2022 and will be implemented in subsequent years.

Empower the Right Department to Manage Disability Supports

It does not make sense that staff at the Canada Revenue Agency determine eligibility for complex programs that support Canadians with disabilities. Jennifer Zwicker, Stephanie Dunn
Policy Options Institute for Research on Public Policy, September 4, 2018

Breaking Down Barriers is the title and galvanizing theme of a June 2018 report from the Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology. It recommends urgently needed measures to improve access to underutilized federal disability supports: the disability tax credit (DTC) and the Registered Disability Savings Plan (RDSP).

The recommendations are broad in scope. They include streamlining the DTC and RDSP application processes and making eligibility criteria simpler and more appropriate.

Senators Urge DOJ to Weigh in On ADA Impact on Websites

BY BEN JACOBSON ben.jacobson@thmedia.com
September 16, 2018

A pair of U.S. senators from Iowa say it’s unclear whether the landmark Americans with Disabilities Act transcends the physical world into the cyber realm.

Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst, both Republicans, have asked U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions to explore whether the 1990 law applies to website accessibility as well.

“For nearly 30 years, the ADA has protected countless individuals with disabilities, ensuring physical access to ‘any place of public accommodation,'” the senators wrote in a letter, co-authored by lawmakers from North Carolina, South Dakota, Idaho and Texas. “We support the ADA and all that it stands for.