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Accessible Water Wheelchair, Access Mat Helping People Enjoy Regina Beach

A group of residents raised money for the equipment
Heidi Atter, CBC News
Posted: Jul 08, 2021

People who use wheelchairs can now take a dip in Last Mountain Lake at Regina Beach much more easily thanks to a group of residents who got together to raise money for equipment that makes the beach accessible.

The beach now has an access mat and “waterwheels,” a special buoyant wheelchair designed to be used in the water. The mat gives a stable surface for people in wheelchairs to use over the sand.

Five residents, including Janey Davies, raised the money to make it a reality. They started fundraising before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, then pivoted to online auctions, draws and a sports tournament.

New Laws Let Americans With Disabilities Vote Online. They’ve Also Resurrected The Debate About Voting Access vs. Election Security.

By Kaleigh Rogers

Since the dawn of the internet, someone has inevitably raised this question every election cycle: Why can’t we vote online? (The question was particularly apt in 2020, when states had to grapple with how to run an election during a pandemic.) And every time, election security experts dutifully answer that there is currently no technological way to guarantee a secure online ballot.

Accessibility Gains Must Become Lasting Learning Practices

We must broaden our focus to create inclusive learning environments that recognize and remove barriers, creating a more equitable system for all, write Raghu Krishnaiah and Kelly Hermann. July 7, 2021

For too long, colleges and universities have waited for students with disabilities to request accommodations before deciding to remove barriers to access and full participation that existed all along.

Higher education’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic shone a stark light on those practices, highlighting the shortcomings of this “wait and see” approach when it comes to digital accessibility and curricular access. In the new normal, post-pandemic education institution, we must broaden our focus to create inclusive learning environments that recognize and remove barriers, creating a more equitable system for all.

Accessibility Standards Canada 2020-2021 annual report: Keeping our focus on an accessible Canada

From: Accessibility Standards Canada
News release

Accessibility Standards Canada is proud to release its second annual report, which recounts a year that saw real progress in advancing their mandate. The Honourable Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion, tabled the report in Parliament on June 18, 2021.

The annual report provides a detailed account of the department’s accomplishments, engagement with Canadians and future goals.

Highlights

Accessibility Standards Canada’s mandate is to develop and revise accessibility standards that apply to the federal government and federally regulated organizations.

In fiscal year 2020 to 2021, Accessibility Standards Canada focused on achieving concrete results. Highlights of the report include:

Neuroscientist Joey Ramp is Breaking Down Barriers for Disabled STEM Students With Service Dogs

June 29, 2021

People with disabilities lack equal access in academia and this is especially the case in science and other STEM subjects. Having faced this, neuroscientist Joey Ramp is out to change the picture. Ramp helps disabled students with service dogs pursue STEM majors and works with universities to build an open minded, accessible culture.

Joey Ramp was in her early 40s when she began relying on the support of a service dog following a riding accident. She sustained a traumatic brain injury which impacted her cognitive functions to some extent. Ramp had to relearn how to speak clearly and developed PTSD, anxiety, and depression.

Is There a Right Way to Act Blind?

Activists slammed the TV show “In the Dark” for casting a sighted actress in a blind lead role. But what if blindness is a performance of its own? By Andrew Leland
NY Times, July 1, 2021

Canadians Concerned About Disability Poverty, On-Board with Proposed New National Benefit

Survey of Canadians living with disability underlines relative poverty, other social barriers June 22, 2021

Recognizing the challenges faced by Canadians with disabilities –
problems that have only been exacerbated during the COVID-19 pandemic – the federal Liberal government laid out plans to help in its September 2020 Speech from the Throne. The government promised a new Canadian Disability Benefit, modelled after the seniors’ guaranteed income supplement.

Details since the fall have been scarce, but in the spring budget the federal government set aside almost $12 million over three years to consult and reform existing programs and benefits with an eye towards the new unified benefit.

I Chose Not to Disclose My Condition for Many Years, But I Came to Change My Mind

Devin Percey
CBC First Person, May 30, 2021

“You’re a very big guy and awkward with the way you move. You have this large presence that is off-putting. If I had an opening and you were the applicant, I wouldn’t hire you.”

Those are the words that I heard at the age of 20 during an impromptu practice job interview.

Now, as a six-foot-six guy who is nowhere near petite, I was used to hearing commentary about my size. What really shook me were the “awkward” and “off-putting presence” remarks.

Over the years, everyone to whom I have told that story has said that person was just being a jerk, and that I had nothing to worry about.

Largest U.S. Blind Advocacy Group Bans Web Accessibility Overlay Giant AccessiBe

Gus Alexiou

The National Federation of the Blind, America’s most powerful civil rights and advocacy group for the visually impaired has launched a scathing attack on web accessibility overlay market leader accessiBe, accusing the company of engaging in “harmful” practices.

Israel-based accessiBe provides a web overlay solution that sits on top of web pages for the purposes of automatically scanning and reformatting them to ensure they are accessible and able to work with assistive solutions such as screen readers and keyboard navigation.

The company’s core proposition is that it can help a site achieve compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) for as little as $49 per month through the deployment of an AI-based solution that involves injecting one line of code into a website’s backend.

Feds Propose New Canada Disability Benefit

Benefit would supplement existing federal, provincial/territorial supports

Roughly one-fifth of working-age Canadians with disabilities live in poverty, according to the government. By Jim Wilson
Jun 23, 2021

The federal government has introduced legislation to establish the framework for a new Canada Disability Benefit for working-age Canadians with disabilities.

The benefit would supplement, not replace, existing federal and provincial-territorial supports with a goal of lifting hundreds of thousands of persons with disabilities out of poverty.

Nearly 850,000 (21 per cent) working-age Canadians with disabilities live in poverty, according to the government.