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Court Certifies Class of People With Disabilities Excluded From NYC Subway System Due To Lack of Stair-Free Access In Violation of NYC Human Rights Law

February 23, 2021

New York, NYYesterday the New York Supreme Court certified a class of all people with disabilities for whom the use of stairs is difficult or impossible and who are therefore unable to access over 75% of the New York City subway.

Fewer than 25% of the New York City subway’s 472 stations provide stair-free access, meaning the MTA excludes hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers with mobility disabilities each day from this vital system.

New National Partnership Focuses on Improving Accessibility on The Great Trail of Canada

Canadian Paralympians and Para athletes join AccessNow and Trans Canada Trail to provide valuable accessibility feedback on trails across Canada OTTAWA, ON and MONTREAL, Feb. 23, 2021 /CNW/

Trans Canada Trail (TCT) and AccessNow ” a Canadian social startup that works through mapping to facilitate accessibility in countries around the world ” are excited to announce a new partnership aimed at increasing accessibility on trails across the country.

By working together on initiatives that lead to information being shared via the AccessNow app, Canadians will be able to discover barrierfree routes as well as identify areas where barriers still exist so they can be addressed, resulting in increased accessibility along The Great Trail.

Ice Now Open in Parkdale, at Alberta’s First Accessible Outdoor Rink

Wider bench doors, transparent boards included in first phase of construction Hannah Kost, CBC News
Posted: Feb 17, 2021

Phase 1 of construction has officially been completed on the Parkdale Community Rink & Hub, which means accessible and inclusive ice is now open for skaters and sledge hockey players.

The Parkdale Community Association said the outdoor rink in the northwest Calgary neighbourhood is the first of its kind in Alberta, and only the second in Canada.

The first phase of the project saw the rink completed with inclusivity in mind.

Federal Court Rules NYC Discriminates Against Blind and Low Vision Pedestrians by Failing to Make Crosswalk Signals Accessible

New York, NY – In a decision that will remake the streetscape of New York City and improve safety and accessibility for all New Yorkers, a federal court ruled today that New York City’s failure to provide accessible pedestrian signals (APS) at 96.6 % of its signalized intersections violates the civil rights of people with disabilities. APS are push-button devices attached to crosswalks that convey visual crossing information in audible and vibro-tactile formats accessible to blind, low vision, and Deafblind pedestrians.

Calgary Accessibility Advocate Reminds People to Clear Snow and Ice From Sidewalks

Jordan Kanygin CTV News Calgary Video Journalist
Published Wednesday, December 23, 2020

CALGARY — Anyone who has been outside in Calgary since the snow started falling on Monday evening knows it’s difficult to get around whether it’s vehicles slipping and sliding on roads or people trudging through heavy snow on walkways.

But the massive snowfall is an even bigger roadblock for those who have limited mobility.

“Snow makes it impassable,” says Sean Crump with Universal Access Inc., a company that works on initiatives to make the city more accessible for all Calgarians.

Ruling on B.C. Bus Stops Reflects Cities ‘Terrible’ Track Record on Accessibility, Plaintiff Says

‘Floating’ bus stops used by many cities discriminate against blind people, human rights tribunal finds Bethany Lindsay, CBC News
Posted: Nov 21, 2020

A human rights ruling that found Victoria’s so-called “floating” bus stops discriminate against blind people could have implications for other B.C. cities that use similar designs.

Last week, the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal upheld a complaint filed by Oriano Belusic, vice-president of the Canadian Federation of the Blind, about bus stops that require transit riders to cross a protected bike lane to catch their bus.

Belusic argued the stops, located along Pandora Avenue and Wharf Street, are dangerous for blind and vision-impaired bus riders, who often can’t hear the sound of oncoming bicycles over the traffic noise.

Saskatoon’s Council Chambers Sees Significant Renovation

CTV News Saskatoon Staff
Published Monday, November 16, 2020

When Saskatoon’s new city council sits for the first time, it will be in an upgraded council chambers.

This past fall, council chambers underwent renovations to improve its function and accessibility, the city said in a news release.

Improvements include audio visual upgrades to improve video and audio of council meetings; changes to room configuration to improve accessibility and enable physical distancing; a new space for media; new paint, carpeting and gallery seating.

Council chambers has not seen this level of renovation since 1981, the city said.

BC Human Rights Tribunal Upholds Complaint That Victoria Bike Lanes Discriminate Against the Blind

Adam Chan
CTV News, November 13, 2020

VICTORIA — The BC Human Rights Tribunal says a complaint filed against the City of Victoria arguing that bike lanes that separate sidewalks from “floating bus stops” create unsafe conditions for blind pedestrians is justified.

The dispute began in 2018, after the Canadian Federation of the Blind (CFB) submitted a complaint centred around the perceived dangers of crossing the bike lanes to access floating bus stops along Pandora Street, between Cook Street and Store Street, and on Wharf Street.

The CFB said that blind people felt unsafe crossing the marked crosswalk along the bike lane to access the transit stops because they were unable to hear approaching bicycles, which sometimes would not stop for pedestrians.

Ottawa Inventor Sees Rising Interest in Hands-Free Elevator-hailing App

By: David Sali
Published: Oct 23, 2020

Before the pandemic struck, Ke Wang had devoted the better part of the last two years to developing a smartphone app that would allow people with disabilities like himself to open doors and call elevators without touching any handles or buttons.

Little did he know his invention targeted at a niche market would capture the attention of Canadas largest airport and a global hotel chain before 2020 was out.

Once we got it done, all of a sudden COVID happened and then people realized that we can use this to avoid touching buttons, says Wang, founder of Ottawa-based ProtoDev Canada, the five-person company that created the new Contactless Access app. He adds that the company received a flood of interest from customers interested in the product for uses that extend beyond accessibility.

Former Lawyers File Human Rights Complaints, Allege Accessibility Issues in Manitoba Courts

‘I’ve had multiple judges apologize to me for how inaccessible the courtroom is,’ says Mike Reimer CBC News
Posted: Oct 20, 2020

Two former lawyers have filed human rights complaints against the province, saying Manitoba’s law courts are not fully accessible for people living with disabilities.

Mike Reimer and Peter Tonge left the profession in part because they said they faced ongoing challenges getting into and out of courts.

In a joint news release Tuesday, the two former lawyers said they have each filed a complaint with the Manitoba Human Rights Commission, alleging accessibility issues and “an attitude of indifference ” within the Manitoba justice system” to correcting “historic and ongoing issues.”