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Mental Illness is Another Pandemic in the Making

By Benjamin Rempel
Mon., April 5, 2021

Cachelle Colquhoun, mother of four from Collingwood, Ont., is frustrated with the state of mental-health supports available to her children.

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, Colquhoun has struggled to meet the needs of her nine-year-old with general anxiety disorder and attention deficit disorder and her six-year-old who has challenges with neurodiversity, including sensory disorder.

“I spend a lot of my days trying to find the right resources for my kids,” Colquhoun says. “Getting help is nearly impossible. And if you can access services, you price yourself out immediately.”

Virtual events open up the world

Technology plays catch up as events head online, making them more accessible to people with disabilities. By Suzanne Rent
Halifax Examiner, APRIL 6, 2021

Jewelles Smith is a human rights expert, scholar, and academic researcher who’s completing her PhD. This winter Smith attended a conference in Ireland and didn’t even have to leave home.

“It was really amazing for me academically and it wouldn’t have been possible for me otherwise,” Smith says.

AbleDocs Inc. Announces the Acquisition of Diversa Docs ApS to Further the Reach of the Worldwide Leader in Document Accessibility Products and Services Throughout Scandinavia

April 06, 2021

TORONTO & KØBENHAVN, Danmark–(BUSINESS WIRE)–AbleDocs Inc. the leading PDF accessibility product and service provider, and Diversa Docs ApS, a recognized leader in PDF and Web Accessibility services announce their coming together to become the Scandinavian leader in PDF accessibility products and services.

Diversa Docs has consistently been recognized as a leader in excellence in delivering PDF/UA compliant and accessible PDFs, and this acquisition will allow our combined client base to benefit from the experience, and scale of our products and services throughout Scandinavia

With a long-standing record of collaboration, both companies founders and leadership teams couldnt be more excited to leverage each others capabilities to offer their existing and new clients the best in PDF/UA products and services.

HBO Max Rolls Out Audio Described Content

Customers Who are Blind Will Notice Many New Features, With More on the Horizon March 26, 2021

Boston, MA Advocates for people who are blind applaud WarnerMedia’s first delivery date of significant upgrades in the landmark agreement signed last October by WarnerMedia; the American Council of the Blind (ACB); the Massachusetts-based Bay State Council of the Blind (BSCB); and individual claimants Kim and Brian Charlson.

These blind individuals and advocacy organizations were represented by Disability Rights Advocates (DRA), a national non-profit legal center, and Disability Law Center, the Protection & Advocacy agency for Massachusetts.

Federal Appeals Court: Civil Rights Claims Against Uber Must Be Heard in Court

Originally Posted March 22, 2021

Pittsburgh, PA – Plaintiffs suing Uber for failing to provide transportation accessible to people with disabilities cannot be forced out of court and into arbitration, a federal court of appeals ruled on Wednesday. Read the Third Circuit Court of Appeals’ opinion at the link below.

The plaintiffs are people with disabilities who cannot use Uber’s on-demand transportation service in Pittsburgh because there are no wheelchair accessible vehicles available through Uber’s app.

The lawsuit, filed in 2019, seeks modifications to Uber’s policies and practices to ensure that the company makes wheelchair-accessible vehicles readily available to Pittsburgh riders who need them. Plaintiffs do not seek monetary damages.

Uber Ordered to Pay $1.1m to Blind Woman Refused Rides

BBC News, Apr. 2, 2021

Uber argued it was not liable because its drivers are contractors Uber has been ordered to pay $1.1m (£795,000) to a blind woman who was refused rides on 14 occasions.

Lisa Irving said on some occasions, drivers were verbally abusive, or harassed her about transporting her guide dog, Bernie, in the car.

One driver allegedly cut her trip short after falsely claiming to have arrived at her destination.

An independent arbitrator ruled Uber’s drivers had illegally discriminated against her due to her condition.

It rejected Uber’s claim that the company itself was not liable, because, it argued, its drivers had the status of contractors rather than employees.

Accessibility Advocates Raise Serious Concerns With New Policy Allowing Dogs on Nova Scotia Patios

By Elizabeth McSheffrey , Global News
Posted March 31, 2021

This week, Nova Scotia announced a new policy giving restaurant and bar owners the option to allow dogs on outdoor patios. Its a decision meant to include pet owners, but as Elizabeth McSheffrey reports, accessibility advocates are concerned it could end up excluding service dog users.

One day after the Nova Scotia government announced a new policy allowing dogs on outdoor patios, some accessibility advocates and guide dog users are raising concerns that the presence of pets could compromise their safety.

While service animals are well-trained, any barking or play from dogs at other tables may still distract them, interfering with their ability to keep their owner safe, said guide dog user Shelley Adams.

Government of Canada Helps Employers Create Accessible and Inclusive Workplaces for Employees With Disabilities

News provided by
Employment and Social Development Canada

OTTAWA, ON, March 23, 2021 /CNW/ – The Government of Canada remains committed to building a more inclusive and accessible Canada during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.

One way to strengthen Canada’s workforce and economic recovery is to address the challenges experienced by persons with disabilities in securing gainful employment.

To help improve workplace accessibility and access to jobs, the Government of Canada introduced the National Workplace Accessibility Stream under the Opportunities Fund for Persons with Disabilities.

Walking While Blind in Manhattan During the Pandemic

by Peter Slatin
Braille Monitor March 2021

Crowded sidewalks and roadways have a few benefits to the blind: motion provides clues to what is happening. Before the pandemic, when I approached a corner I could hear whether other pedestrians were walking in the same direction, stopping, slowing or hurrying. I could hear cars traveling in the same direction and zooming past me on a parallel track through the intersection. I could hear other cars idling perpendicular to me, waiting for a light to change, or driving directly in front of me. These were all signals that it was okay to crossor not.

Government of Canada Increases Funding for Alternate Format Materials for Persons With Print Disabilities

News provided by Employment and Social Development Canada

GATINEAU, QC, March 16, 2021 /CNW/ – The Government of Canada continues to take important and decisive action to ensure that all Canadians are supported during the COVID-19 pandemic.

We know Canadians living with disabilities are facing significant challenges during this difficult time and that long-standing barriers to inclusion have been heightened. As we work together to restart the economy, we must continue to protect health and safety, and ensure the right supports are in place for all Canadians.