Deaf Man Fights DND Over Lost Job

By JEROME LESSARD – The Intelligencer
Updated December 30, 2011

Jeffrey Stringer has won the first round of a five-year discrimination battle with the Department of National Defence.

But the hearing-impaired former drafting technician at 8 Wing/CFB Trenton said he is not done fighting.

Recently, the Department of National Defence (DND) was ordered to pay the 41-year-old civilian more than $27,000 for failing to provide him with a sign language interpreter.

When hired as a draftsman — he prepared accurate and detailed drawings for construction and engineering projects at the air base — under an employment equity program in 2003, National Defence (DND) was aware of Stringer’s disability. However, Stringer’s request for an American Sign Language (ASL) interpreter — his first language — was denied on several occasions.

Guess Who Funds Biggest Project Ever to House the Homeless? Stephen Harper

By Heather Scoffield Mon Dec 26 2011

TORONTO — The government’s response to the Attawapiskat housing crisis may well have underscored Stephen Harper’s reputation for his hard line rather than his heart, with his focus on the aboriginal reserve’s financial problems, not its social ones.

But in other parts of the country, the prime minister’s government is also quietly bankrolling one of the largest social pilot projects ever seen in Canada, paying generously for cutting-edge research that is changing the lives of hundreds of homeless people.

The project may scream out for a new, national social program — the kind that has been anathema to Harper in the past.

Judge: NYC Taxi Agency Must Help Disabled Riders

By Larry Neumeister, Associated Press
December 23, 2011

NEW YORK (AP) — A federal judge has barred New York City’s Taxi and Limousine Commission from issuing permits for taxicabs unless they’re accessible to people with disabilities.

Advocates for the disabled say it’s a milestone decision that could have national implications.

Federal Judge George Daniels issued his ruling Friday. He says the commission can provide taxi medallions only for wheelchair-accessible vehicles until it produces a comprehensive plan to provide meaningful access to taxicab service for disabled passengers.

He says the plan must include targeted goals and anticipated measurable results.

Payment Increase Costs Disabled Man His Bus Pass

Man Says His Income Exceeds Province’s Cutoff by Less Than $20
By Tara Carman, Vancouver Sun
December 22, 2011 2:27 AM

Barry Londry receives disability money because he has a heart condition, but a recent cost-of-living increase from Ottawa makes him ineligible for a transit pass, which costs about $1,800 a year.

For most people, a little extra money from the government is something to celebrate, but for Barry Londry, it was the beginning of a bureaucratic night-mare that threatens to make his world a whole lot smaller.

Microsoft Commits to Improving NZ Accessibility

Voxy News Engine Wednesday, 21 December, 2011 – 08:21.

Microsoft New Zealand has signalled an increased focus on accessibility solutions by making a significant donation to the Royal New Zealand Foundation of the Blind (RNZFB) and announcing the availability of Microsoft Office add-ons for people with a hearing or vision impairment.

The donation of more than $1 million worth of software was made by Microsoft to help the RNZFB manage information about its members more effectively and encourage greater collaboration within the organisation. Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 and SharePoint 2010 are the key products being donated.

Transit Tough for the ‘Invisible Disabled’

By Brent Richter, The Record December 21, 2011 2:26 AM.

Most people will immediately offer their seat on public transit to someone who is clearly disabled, pregnant, elderly or walking with a cane.

But not everyone with a difficulties riding transit can be spotted so easily.

That’s the case for New Westminster resident Jason Bosher, who rides the SkyTrain every day in “a great deal of pain” because he must stand while otherwise healthy looking people sit in seats reserved for the disabled.

Bosher, who has rheumatoid arthritis and spinal injuries, said he knows he’s only one of the “invisible disabled” – people whose disabilities are not immediately apparent to outsiders.

An Inaccessible Website: Don’t Just Suck it Up

By Sarah Pulis Ramp Up 19 Dec 2011

The Disability Discrimination Act in Australia includes web accessibility.

Speaking up about inaccessibility on the web is the only way to change it, writes Sarah Pulis from Media Access Australia.

An American court case has thrown web accessibility into the international spotlight. Three women who are vision impaired brought a case against the Walt Disney Company for failing to accommodate the needs of vision impaired customers across its websites and within its theme parks. Disney, no stranger to litigation, was able to settle the suit out of court for an undisclosed sum.

B.C. Program Offers Independence to People With Intellectual Disabilities

adriana barton
VANCOUVER— From Monday’s Globe and Mail
Published Sunday, Dec. 18, 2011 4:00PM EST

Callan Parker has what some people call a “diversability.” Born with Down’s Syndrome, Ms. Parker has grown into an 18-year-old fashionista with a passion for dancing, Facebook and pop singers such as Hilary Duff.

But like many people her age, she’s at a crossroads. High school is over and the path to a job and independent living is uncertain. The roadmap is getting clearer, though.

National Federation of the Blind Urges Swift Action on Recommendations for Accessible Higher Education Materials

BALTIMORE, Dec 13, 2011 (BUSINESS WIRE) — The National Federation of the Blind (NFB) commented today on the recently released final report of the Advisory Commission on Accessible Instructional Materials in Postsecondary Education for Students with Disabilities.

The commission was created by Congress following extensive advocacy by the NFB as part of the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008.

The report sets forth specific recommendations to facilitate the production and distribution of accessible instructional materials–including printed and digital books, journals, course packs, articles, tests, videos, instructor-created materials, and Web pages, as well as any hardware, firmware, software, or other means of accessing such materials–to students who are blind or have other disabilities.

Keep Sweet, Gimps

By Victor Schwartzman and Paul Caune
December 14, 2011

“God bless us, everyone”—Tiny Tim
“Can I have some more, please?”—Oliver Twist
“Go ahead, make my day.”—Dirty Harry

Christmas time is a reminder of the strange situation many Canadian citizens face. Among plenty, people with disabilities have little. People who are abused are forced to be thankful for what little they receive. And the last thing you will do is upset the generous person giving you a gift.

Is it because Canadians believe a person with a disability is lucky to get anything? Is it because Canadians have a colonial past? Or is it simply because Canadians are so very…Canadian?