Opinion: The World Should Not Fall Into Its Old Ableist Habits as Covid Re-Openings Continue

Matt McCann says despite the challenges of Covid, some welcome changes have come for those with disabilities and those changes should not be lost. Matt McCann
TheJournal.ie (Ireland), November7, 2021

COVID-19 HAS CHANGED the way the world works in numerous and dramatic ways. Since taking to the world stage, this virus has asserted itself and created a universal social disability for everyone, individuals, businesses and nations alike. It has, invariably, changed us all.

One positive note that this global pandemic has revealed, however, is that nothing is impossible for humanity when given the proper amount of focus, intention and support.

Talking Labels Aid the Blind with Prescriptions

Other services also can help the visually impaired avoid life-threatening mistakes by Edward C. Baig,
AARP, December 22, 2021

As some people age, they may have trouble reading prescription labels, knowing what dose to take and identifying proper pills.

Mistakes can have life-threatening consequences. The challenge is exacerbated for folks who don’t see well or have a severe visual impairment though some blind people have learned to figure out which pill is which by feeling its shape or texture.

How The Labor Market Has Changed For People With Disabilities

Paula MorganContributor

The Labor Market Has Changed for People with Disabilities PEXELS
Even during the best times, men and women with disabilities experience challenges finding and keeping jobs. These challenges can range from insufficient workplace accommodations to difficulty getting transportation and even negative attitudes from managers and coworkers regarding their disability.

Despite only representing about 3 percent of the labor force, the economic fallout from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately affected workers with disabilities. Prior to the pandemic, individuals with disabilities were being hired for jobs faster than their counterparts without disabilities, which was welcome news that seemed to suggest a closing of the long-standing employment gap. In the first year of the pandemic, however, workers with disabilities lost nearly a million jobs – that is a 20 percent decline, compared to only a 14 percent decline among workers without disabilities.

Canadian Company Builds a Better Box of Chocolates Using Braille

Braille box an example of more accessible packages for people with disabilities James Dunne, CBC News
Posted: Dec 25, 2021

A move by a Canadian chocolate maker to produce packaging for blind and partially sighted people is one of several campaigns this year by companies trying to make their products more accessible to people with disabilities (PWD).

Purdys Chcolatier created a holiday box of chocolates this Christmas with both a braille label and a braille legend for the chocolates inside.

“When it first launched online and in select shops, it sold out within a matter of hours,” Julia Cho, the brand’s marketing manager, said from its Vancouver factory.

EEOC Confirms COVID-19 Can Be A Disability Under ADA

Wednesday, December 15, 2021

On December 14, 2021, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) supplemented its guidance concerning COVID-19, the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”), the Rehabilitation Act, and other Equal Employment Opportunity (“EEO”) Laws to confirm that COVID-19 can qualify as a disability under any of the three “disability” definitions in the ADA.

COVID-19 can be-but is not always-an actual disability under the ADA if it causes a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities. Similarly, a person with a history of COVID-19 may qualify as a person with a “record of” a disability under the ADA. Pre-existing conditions worsened by the virus may also qualify an employee for protection under the ADA.

Merge-Interpreter Platform Provides Simultaneous Interpretation of Sign Language

Middle East, November 22 2021

DUBAI: Merge Technology has launched “Merge-Interpreter Sign Language”, the “first-ever” smart platform in the Middle East & North Africa to provide a community with a simultaneous interpretation of sign language for the deaf & hard of hearing.

The platform enables users to communicate easily through video calls, with round-the-clock assistance from sign language interpreters with a third party, the company said in a statement today Users can download “Merge- Interpreter Sign Language Application” that’s available on both Android & iOS, signup, and avail interpreter services anytime they need via the company’s call center. The smart platform provides the best-in-class certified & qualified sign language translators for simultaneous interpretation and is the first to provide immediate sign language translation anytime from anywhere for all deaf people in MENA.

Covid-as-Disability Bound to Spur Workplace Conflicts, Lawsuits

Dec. 20, 2021

Litigation possible for terminations based on Covid
Accommodating long-haul symptoms a challenge
The EEOC’s determination that Covid-19 can be a disability in many circumstances will create confusion, and tee up litigation, as companies grapple with how to accommodate workers who contract the virus and experience symptoms including brain fog, headaches, and shortness of breath.

Last week’s long-awaited guidance from the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission for employers and workers navigating the pandemic addresses issues that have already sparked discrimination lawsuits under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Accessibility Advocate Stranded After Storm: Calls on Halifax to Improve Sidewalk Clearing

‘We have such a long way to go to make this city better for everybody,’ Brian George says Cassidy Chisholm, CBC News
Posted: Dec 16, 2021

An accessibility advocate who uses a wheelchair is calling on the Halifax Regional Municipality to “do better” after last week’s snowfall left him stranded on the sidewalk by his home.

Brian George said he was trying to leave his apartment on the corner of Robie and Welsford streets on Dec. 10, a day after Halifax had been hit with 30 centimetres of snow.

Although the sidewalks were clear, George said the curb cuts to cross the road were blocked with snow and he couldn’t leave the area without help from someone else.

Shopping Season Is in Full Swing, but Disability Community Can Feel Excluded

Alisha Dicks, CBC News
Posted: Dec 15, 2021

Katie Cashin of Stephenville says shopping is riddled with accessibility pitfalls for her, and that’s why she avoids it.

Living with a disability can sometimes be frustrating, expensive and isolating. But, as the CBC’s Alisha Dicks knows, it’s so much more than that. Her disability has taught her to think creatively and look at things from a different perspective. In her new series, Access with Alisha, she gives us a look into her life, and others living with a disability, and helps break down barriers for others.

B.C. Wants Your Opinion About Making Buildings More Accessible for Everyone

Government asks the public to fill out an online survey to help guide changes to the building code Kathryn Marlow, CBC News
Posted: Dec 14, 2021

Stairways. Door handles. Slippery floors. Most disabled British Columbians have a list of things that make buildings inaccessible to them. Now, the province wants to hear about them as it works to update the B.C. Building Code.

The building code lays out the minimum safety requirements for new building construction. It’s updated every five years or so, and the province is putting a focus on accessibility for the next update in 2023.