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How Canada Can Make Better Progress on Disability Inclusion

OPINION: Canada has set an ambitious goal to become a “barrier-free society” by 2040. A new approach could help us get there Written by Sunil Johal
Sep 14, 2023

According to the World Health Organization, around 16 per cent of the world’s population – just over 1 billion people – are living with a disability. In Canada, research shows, up to 30 per cent of Canadians are living with a disability. That includes people with mental-health conditions, mobility issues, and loss of sight or hearing. It also includes people who may not fall under traditional definitions of disability, such as those with autoimmune or other chronic conditions.

Walmart Sued by US Agency Over Test That Screened Out Disabled Workers

By Daniel Wiessner

Sept 13 (Reuters) – The U.S. agency that enforces workplace discrimination laws said on Wednesday that it had sued Walmart Inc (WMT.N) over allegations it fired hourly workers with disabilities who could not pass a computer-based test.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) said that the test, which Walmart began administering nationwide in 2015, had no connection to workers’ job duties, in a lawsuit filed in federal court in Arkansas.

The commission said Walmart gave newly-hired workers up to 180 days to pass the “knowledge assessment,” and that they could take it up to three times. But Walmart failed to provide accommodations for the test to workers with disabilities as required by federal law, the EEOC said.

Brandon Needs to Improve ‘Awful’ Accessibility, Says Wheelchair User

With election coming, advocacy groups say more needs to be done to implement Manitoba’s Accessibility Act Chelsea Kemp , CBC News
Posted: Sep 17, 2023

When Phillip Emmerson travels on the sidewalks in southwestern Manitoba’s biggest city, it takes constant vigilance to ensure his wheelchair doesn’t catch on any obstacles.

His journeys in Brandon are full of impediments.

At one point he wheels over an uneven railway line before hitting a piece of raised sidewalk. He speeds up before the crossing to ensure he has the momentum to cross it – but he risks crashing if his front tires catch where the street joins the sidewalk.

Toronto Man Wins Disability Accommodation Fight Against Air Canada

Community applauds decision, but says ultimate goal is to be able to fly in their wheelchairs Lane Harrison, CBC News
Posted: Sep 09, 2023

Seven years after Tim Rose was denied access to an Air Canada flight because of the size of his power wheelchair, the Canadian Transportation Agency ruled the country’s largest airline needs to do more to accommodate passengers with mobility devices.

Rose, who lives in Toronto, was planning a trip to Cleveland, Ohio, in 2016 to give a presentation on disability awareness and big business. When he tried to book his flight over the phone, Air Canada said his wheelchair – a device custom designed for his body that provides him with his independence – was like a piece of oversized luggage: if it didn’t fit, it didn’t fit. As a result, he had to drive.

From Kicked Off to Welcome Aboard: How a Blind Vancouver Paralympian was Hired by Virgin Cruise Line

Shannon Paterson
Multi-skilled Journalist, CTV News Vancouver
Published Sept. 9, 2023

Donovan Tildesley, 39, has been blind since birth. But that hasn’t stopped him from traveling the world.

“I was very blessed to have parents who encouraged me to do any and everything that someone with sight could do,” said Tildesley.

Last November, he boarded a Virgin Voyages Caribbean cruise that he’d booked through a travel agent. “I made him aware and he made the company aware that I was blind,” said Tildesley.

But just as the ship was getting set to leave Miami, two Virgin Voyages crew members approached him.

Walmart Class Action Alleges Website Not Equally Accessible to Blind, Visually Impaired Consumers

Abraham Jewett | September 7, 2023

Walmart has failed to design its website in a way that would make it fully accessible to and independently usable by individuals who are blind or visually impaired, a new class action lawsuit alleges.

Plaintiff Ali Abdulhadi claims Walmart’s website contains access barriers to screen-reading software used by individuals who are blind or visually impaired to browse internet websites.

Abdulhadi, a legally blind man, argues Walmart is denying full and equal access of its website to individuals who are blind or visually impaired, in what he claims is a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

Eye-Tracking Tool May Help Diagnose Autism More Quickly and Accurately, New Studies Suggest

By Jacqueline Howard and Deidre McPhillips, CNN
Updated 11:36 AM EDT, Tue September 5, 2023

Most families of children with autism may face long wait times to diagnose their child with the disorder, and once a diagnosis is made, it sometimes may not be definitive.

But now, two studies released Tuesday suggest that a recently developed eye-tracking tool could help clinicians diagnose children as young as 16 months with autism – and with more certainty.

Kids’ developmental disability diagnoses became more common during pandemic, but autism rates held steady, CDC report says
“This is not a tool to replace expert clinicians,” said Warren Jones, director of research at the Marcus Autism Center at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta and Nien Distinguished Chair in Autism at Emory University School of Medicine, who was an author on both studies.

EU Commission Proposes Universal Disability, Parking Card

European Commission

When people’s disability status is not recognised abroad, they cannot access the special conditions and preferential treatment, such as free and/or priority access, reduced fees or personal assistance, while visiting other Member States. To address this issue, the Commission proposes the creation of a standardised European Disability Card.

The European Disability Card will serve as recognised proof of disability throughout the EU, granting equal access to special conditions and preferential treatment in public and private services, including for instance transport, cultural events, museums, leisure and sport centres, or amusement parks. It will be issued by the national competent authorities and complement existing national cards or certificates.

Lego Launches New Line of Braille Bricks

The bricks, which were previously only available through organizations that work with kids with visual impairments, roll out on Sept. 1 for $89.99. By Emily Price
Updated August 26, 2023

Just in time for Blind Awareness Month, Lego is launching a new line of bricks that include something a little different-braille.

The Lego Braille Bricks – Play with Braille kit includes 287 bricks in five different colors: red, white, yellow, green, and blue. The studs on each brick are designed to correspond to the letters and numbers in the braille system. A printed version of each braille letter or number is then included below the studs.

Government of Canada Invests in Projects to Increase Access to Employment Opportunities and Support Persons With Disabilities in the Workplace

News release
August 29, 2023 Sydney, Nova Scotia Employment and Social Development Canada

Building on the government of Canada’s commitment to improve inclusion and financial security of Canadians with disabilities, today, the Minister of Diversity, Inclusion and Persons with Disabilities, Kamal Khera, announced nearly $73 million in funding under the Opportunities Fund for Persons with Disabilities (OF) to support 31 projects that organizations across Canada will launch this year.

This funding is in addition to $118 million announced in June 2023 to support 60 projects, which brings the Government’s total investment under the OF 2022 call for proposals to approximately $191 million.