How Disability Simulations Promote Damaging Stereotypes

by Toby Olson

Participants in disability simulations experience their adopted disabilities as a series of discoveries of things they can’t do. They can leave the exercise imagining an unbroken string of those discoveries stretching out for a lifetime. Those of us who have had a disability all our lives haven’t experienced our disabilities that way.

While Some Provinces Will Get Text-911 Service in New Year, Others Will Wait Until 2015

By Douglas Quan, Postmedia News December 27, 2013

Text-based 911 service will become available for deaf Canadians in some parts of the country in 2014. Other parts of Canada, however, may have to wait until 2015.

Canadians in some parts of the country will likely be able to access 911 emergency services using text messaging starting next year, but others may have to wait until well into 2015. Advocates say the delays are “unacceptable” and a matter of life and death.

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission imposed a deadline of Jan. 24, 2014 for all telephone and wireless companies to upgrade their networks to support “T911” service and officials say companies are on track to meet that deadline.

Voting Problems Widespread For Those With Disabilities

By Shaun Heasley
November 4, 2013

More than a decade after Congress took steps to ensure equal access for people with disabilities at the polls, a new report finds that legal, physical and attitudinal barriers remain.

During the 2012 election cycle, 1 in 5 voters with disabilities said they were kept from casting their ballot on their own and more than half said they encountered hurdles — including rude or condescending attitudes from election workers — while inside their polling place.

The findings are based on the experiences of nearly 900 people with disabilities who were queried by the National Council on Disability, an independent federal agency charged with advising Congress and the president on disability issues.

Safeway Announces Website Accessibility and Usability Enhancements to its On-line Grocery Delivery Website Benefiting Shoppers with Visual Impairments

Customers Applaud Safeway’s Commitment
Pleasanton, California (December 13, 2013)

Safeway (NYSE:SWY) today announced a comprehensive initiative to make its online grocery shopping website more accessible and usable for Safeway shoppers with visual impairments. The site enhancements are the result of collaboration between Safeway and several visually impaired customers.

Safeway has adopted the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) version 2.0 level AA as its accessibility standard and has already made significant enhancements to its online shopping website to meet this standard and will continue to do so over the next year.

The customers praised Safeway’s announcement.

DOJ Joins Suit Against H&R Block, Saying Website Violates ADA

Wednesday, 11 Dec 2013 12:33 PM

By Andrea Billups

The Justice Department has announced that it will intervene in a private lawsuit filed against national tax preparation firm H&R Block, saying its website does not allow sufficient access for people with disabilities.

The department’s motion, filed Nov. 25 against Block subsidiaries HRB Digital and HRB Tax Group, says the company violated the Americans with Disabilities Act, which the Justice Department has ruled applies to websites.

The Justice Department, in making its motion to intervene in the case, says the website “prevents some people with disabilities from completing even the most basic activities on the site.”

Ensuring Equal Justice for All

John McCamus, National Post | 11/12/13 | Last Updated: 10/12/13 1:30 PM ET

Too many Canadians with mental health challenges are falling through the cracks in our court system..

Those of us who have ever gone through a divorce, struggled with employment issues, or had problems with a landlord, know full well the stress that any of these matters can bring.

Now imagine having to deal with a mental illness on top of everything else.

For a lot of Ontarians with mental health issues, legal problems don’t exist in isolation. Too often there are multiple legal needs that cut across the entire justice system.

New Online Bingo Game launched for the Blind

11th December 2013
by Wayne Howe

Recently I came across the news of a new online bingo game that had been created for blind and partially sighted people. This intrigued me somewhat as it had never crossed my mind how blind people even accessed the internet, never mind played online games.


Disabled Still Face Work Barriers

Yaldaz Sadakova | December 9, 2013

While Canada has made great strides in equal opportunity employment, companies might still be inadvertently discriminating against disabled individuals.

Many firms continue to engage in practices that shut out individuals with disabilities, often right from the application process, according to experts. And, observers note, disabled people’s marginalization in the labour market is compounded by the fact that Canada’s public system for disability benefits is essentially a confusing patchwork of programs.

“If we think about labour force productivity, it’s contingent upon being able to access work,” said Emile Tompa, a labour and health economist at the Institute for Work & Health, speaking at a recent webinar on disability.

Rules Only Work if Enforced

Passing laws removing barriers great in policy, but needs to be put into practice too
By Harry Wolbert ,For the Winnipeg Sun
Posted: Thursday, December 05, 2013

What good is a law or government policy if it’s not enforced? In my opinion, it’s worthless and doesn’t benefit anyone. This brings to mind Ontario.

Ontario, which passed the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act in 2005, is often held up as a model for others to follow. Eight years later, we are learning that Ontario isn’t paradise for people with disabilities. It’s not even close to being barrier-free.

UMass Boston and IBM Advance Technology Accessibility Research

Office of Communications | December 03, 2013

UMass Boston students will develop the necessary skills to become a massive force of inclusion.

The University of Massachusetts Boston (UMass Boston) and IBM (NYSE: IBM) today announced a new research initiative to advance accessible technology solutions for people with disabilities, the growing elderly population, those with low literacy and novice technology users.

As part of IBM’s Academic Initiative, IBM will provide access to technology and industry expertise to students, professors and researchers at UMass Boston’s newly formed School for Global Inclusion and Social Development.