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Canada’s New Accessibility Laws Should Focus on Employment, Inclusive Buildings, Transport

By Michelle McQuigge The Canadian Press
Mon., May 29, 2017

Carla Qualtrough, the minister tasked with crafting laws to make Canada more accessible to people with disabilities, says employment will be a key focus of her efforts.

Public consultations on Canada’s first national law for disabled people have identified high unemployment rates, inaccessible buildings and barriers in transportation as some of the key issues that need to be addressed.

The priorities were laid out in a report, released by the federal government Monday, summarizing eight months of consultations held with Canadians from coast to coast.

Families Seeking Autism Service Dogs Face Years-Long Wait Lists

CTVNews.ca Staff, Sunday, May 28, 2017.

Concern is growing about a shortage of dogs that can make life easier for children with autism and their families. Avis Favaro explains.

There is a shortage of service dogs across Canada, and an Edmonton organization was forced to close their wait list due to a lack of funds.

Executive director, Dogs with Wings, Doreen Slessor explains the reason behind closing the wait list to families seeking autism dogs.

For kids with autism, a service dog can be just the friend they need, helping to calm them when they’re overwhelmed, keeping them safe, and giving parents a little bit of peace of mind.

AMI Partners with Prominent Web Organization to Further Encourage Media Accessibility and Inclusion

May 25, 2017

TORONTO, May 25, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) —
Accessible Media Inc. (AMI) announced today that it has become an official member organization of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C).

With more than 400 members world-wide, W3C is an organization that facilitates the creation of standards that shape web technology. One of its primary goals is to make the Web widely accessible to all people regardless of hardware, software, network infrastructure, native language, culture, geographical location, physical or mental ability. AMI shares similar values with a strong focus on inclusion, empowerment and innovation.

‘Hey Siri’ – how mobile technology can support inclusion

By Contributor on April 27, 2017 in Community Care Review

For such a small piece of equipment, the iPad packs a lot of punch when it comes to providing accessibility features, writes Jacqui Kirkman.

While there is still a need for custom-built equipment, many people with special accessibility needs are finding that an iPad, iPhone, Apple Watch or similar devices by other manufacturers can perform the same functions for a much lower price and sometimes in a way that makes them stand out less.

14 Quotes That Celebrate a More Accessible World

Written by Courtney Seiter
Originally posted May 24, 2016

Accessibility isn’t a topic that just affects some of us. As no less of an innovator than Google puts it, “the accessibility problems of today are the mainstream breakthroughs of tomorrow.”

We at Buffer are delighted to have Neil Milliken (@neilmilliken), Debra Ruh (@debraruh), Antonio Santos (@akwyz) of AXSChat (@axschat) joining us on Bufferchat today to discuss Supporting Accessibility on Social Media.

AXSChat is an open online community dedicated to creating an inclusive world with the belief that accessibility is for everyone. The community works to spread knowledge through weekly video interviews and Twitter chats about the work people are doing to enable greater access and inclusion.

Fighting the Social Factors of Accessibility

Digital content shared through a website is a powerful tool for nonprofit outreach, fundraising, community building, and program delivery. It can give a parent access to amazing resources they otherwise may not have found, and bring new eyes to your parent center.

But what if your message is falling on “deaf ears”?

Currently 1 in 5 Americans have a documented disability. That’s 20% of fundraising opportunities or outreach your organization could be missing.

On top of reaching those with disabilities, nonprofits need to take into account social factors like:

  • Users who speak another language
  • Users with low literacy rates
  • Users who aren’t computer savvy

The Mortgage Industry’s Next Headache: Website Accessibility Requirements

by Jack McElaney
on May 17, 2017

If past behavior is a good predictor of the future, mortgage lenders (as well as mortgage brokers, settlement services providers and real estate brokers, for that matter) should brace themselves: A new regulatory compliance shoe is about to fall, with private litigation leading the way.

The focus is website accessibility a catch-all phrase that means making websites and other digital platforms and files accessible to individuals with disabilities.

There are no Web accessibility regulations currently in place that are aimed at financial institutions generally or at the housing and housing finance industries specifically. But you don’t need a crystal ball or 20/20 vision to see them coming. A look at the history of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) will tell you what you need to know.

Students with Reading Disorders Sue Berkeley Unified School District (BUSD) for Failing to Educate Them

Despite the availability of effective teaching methods, BUSD refused to alter its policies and practices, leaving students of all ages who have reading disorders without the basic tool of literacy May 02, 2017 07:54 PM Eastern Daylight Time

BERKELEY, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Disability rights lawyers filed a complaint in federal court today against Berkeley Unified School District (BUSD), the BUSD Superintendent, the BUSD Board of Education, and the Directors of the BUSD Board of Education, for systemically failing to educate students with reading disorders, and students who are suspected to have reading disorders.

Two-Thirds of Councils Pass Web Accessibility Test

New survey points to fall from last year, but Socitm points out the test has become more demanding

More than two-thirds of councils have passed stage two of the accessibility test created by the Better Connected service of public sector IT association Socitm, but the number has declined slightly from last year.

It said that in a recent survey covering a mix of counties, districts, metropolitan authorities and unitaries throughout the UK, 134 of 195 passed the test for their sites to be used by people with disabilities. This amounted to 69%, but the figure for last year was 77%.

Environmental and Personal Factors Still Create Barriers for People With Disabilities, Despite Assistive Tech

May 10, 2017

Assistive products and technologies such as wheelchairs, upper-limb prostheses, and hearing and speech devices hold promise for partially or fully mitigating the effects of impairments and enabling people with disabilities to work, but in some cases environmental and personal factors create additional barriers to employment, says a new report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine.

Moreover, a mismatch sometimes exists between the products that are covered by Medicare and other insurers and those that would best meet the needs of users, the report says. New assistive devices and technologies are advancing faster than reimbursement systems and clinician education, which may limit access to these devices and training in their use.

Minister Qualtrough Announces National AccessAbility Week

Promoting accessibility every day, everywhere in Canada

GATINEAU, QC, May 11, 2017 /CNW/ – The Honourable Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities, today issued the following statement:

“As Canada’s first Minister responsible for Persons with Disabilities, I believe that our country’s diversity is our strength and when we include people with disabilities, we create a stronger Canada for everyone.

It is my pleasure to announce an annual national week devoted to inclusion and accessibility.

From May 28 to June 3 2017, National AccessAbility Week will celebrate, highlight and promote inclusion and accessibility in our communities and workplaces across the country.

AMC Theaters Agrees to Improve Services for Blind Movie-Goers

San Francisco, CA April 28, 2017

AMC Theaters (AMC) has reached an agreement with several blind individuals, the California Council of the Blind (CCB), and the LightHouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired in San Francisco (LightHouse) to ensure blind customers have reliable access to audio description services at AMC movie theaters nationwide.

Audio description is a verbal description of the visual events on screen, which plays between pauses in dialogue. Many movies come with audio description tracks, and customers who are blind or visually impaired can listen to audio description through special headsets that are available at the theatres. With audio description, people who are blind and visually-impaired can fully enjoy the important and beloved American pastime of going to the movies.

Voters With Mental Disabilities Deserve a Say at Polls, advocates Say

I Am Voting campaign encouraging participation of people with mental disabilities in #elxn2017 By Liam Britten, CBC News Posted: May 09, 2017

Alexander Magnussen is a man with autism who is voting in his first provincial election. He is also an advocate with I Am Voting, a campaign encouraging voters with intellectual disabilities to participate and exercise their rights.

Alexander Magnussen is over the age of 18. He’s a resident of British Columbia.

But he also has autism and, until recently, believed his diagnosis made him ineligible to vote.

“I would hear people talk about voting and I would assume that I was not allowed to vote … I would mind my own business,” he told On The Coast host Stephen Quinn.

Visually Impaired Voters in B.C. Given Option to Phone it In

EMILY McCARTY
VANCOUVER Special to The Globe and Mail
Published Monday, May 08, 2017

For Reed Poynter, not being able to see has made voting difficult.

Plastic templates that help visually impaired voters cast their ballots can slip, meaning the only way he could ensure he checked off the right candidate is to ask for help and give up his privacy.

In the last federal election, staff at his polling station told him they didnt have any braille ballots; he was later told some officials just didnt know where they were.

School District Eyes Resolution Agreement for Website-Accessibility Complaint

Board to discuss civil-rights case on Tuesday
by Elena Kadvany / Palo Alto Weekly

Palo Alto school district staff are asking the board to waive their two-meeting rule for approval and enter into a voluntary resolution agreement with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights in response to a complaint alleging the district’s website is inaccessible to individuals with disabilities.

The draft resolution agreement, which has been reviewed by district attorneys, would commit Palo Alto Unified to a series of website improvements as well as monitoring, reporting and training requirements to address the alleged civil-rights violations. The board will discuss the resolution agreement at its Tuesday meeting.

Report Finds Adults With Disabilities Remain Outside the Economic Mainstream

New report highlights the banking status and financial behavior of people with disabilities Washington, D.C.,
April 25, 2017
GLOBE NEWSWIRE

Today, National Disability Institute (NDI) released a new report titled Banking Status and Financial Behaviors of Adults with Disabilities: Findings from the 2015 FDIC National Survey of Unbanked and Underbanked Households. The report finds that, in the 27 years since the landmark Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was signed into law, ensuring all individuals with disabilities the opportunity to achieve “economic self-sufficiency,” this population still faces numerous financial hurdles and roadblocks to financial inclusion.

Federal Court Dismisses VIA Rail Appeal on Couples With Mobility Scooters Travelling Together

Order means railway must expand mobility device spaces or prove doing so causes ‘undue hardship’ By Shanifa Nasser
CBC News Posted: Apr 30, 2017

Martin Anderson and Marie Murphy say they have long been working to get additional tie-down spaces for scooters and wheelchairs on VIA trains and are tired of waiting for the railway to act.

The Federal Court has dismissed an appeal by VIA Rail of a decision that would make it possible for a Toronto couple who rely on wheelchairs and scooters to travel together on a single train.

Products and Services to Be Made More Accessible for Disabled Persons in the EU

April 25, 2017
Key products and services, like phones, e-book readers, operating systems and payment terminals, will have to be made more accessible to people with disabilities, under draft EU rules amended in committee on Tuesday.

The Internal Market Committee amended and approved the rules, which would apply only to products and services placed on the EU market after the directive takes effect, by 20 votes in favour, none against and 17 abstentions.

App Spots Objects for the Visually Impaired

A new iPhone app uses machine learning to identify objects for people with poor eyesight, and it doesn’t need an Internet connection. by Rachel Metz
Originally posted March 25, 2016

As I walked around my office on a recent morning, a female voice on my iPhone narrated the objects I passed. “Brick,” “wall,” “telephone,” she said matter-of-factly. The voice paused when I came upon a bike hung on a wall-mounted rack, then intoned, “bicycle.”

BlindSquare and BlindWays, Connecting the Dots for Travelers in Boston, Then and Now.

By Ile, April 24, 2017

Discovery and recollection.

Discovery and recollection are two necessary elements for travel for our friends who are blind. This presents a difficult task in a city the size of Boston, with its nearly 8,000 bus stops.

THEN:

It is necessary for all to move from point A to point B, whether home to work, work to play or home to “the necessaries” such as groceries, doctors’ offices, visiting friends or journeys to study. Public transit is a wonderful and beneficial asset. The physical movement of vehicles, coupled with information to support choices for travel, is an important service to the community at large. Still, for a person who is blind, partially-sighted or deafblind the “last few feet” can be a great void.