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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.”

New Restaurants, Cafes in N.S. Must Be Accessible to Meet Food Safety Requirements

Changes set to come into effect Oct. 31
Brooklyn Currie
CBC News
Posted: Oct 02, 2020

Any new sit-down restaurants and cafes starting up in Nova Scotia will need an accessible washroom, entrances and pathways to meet food safety requirements.

It’s part of the province’s commitment to being fully accessible by 2030, according to a news release.

In 2018, a group of wheelchair users argued equal access to restaurants and restaurant washrooms is a human rights issue.

A human rights board of inquiry ruled in their favour, saying the province discriminated against wheelchair users by not enforcing a regulation requiring restaurants to have accessible washrooms.

B.C. Human Rights Tribunal orders nanaimo strata to take action on barriers that trapped woman in condo

Bethany Lindsay
CBC News
Posted: Sep 17, 2020

A Nanaimo woman who has fought for accessibility improvements that would allow her to go to and from her home without help has won her human rights complaint.

A Vancouver Island wheelchair user who has spent years asking her strata for changes to make it possible to go to and from her condo safely and without help from friends has won $35,000 in damages and an order for action on her complaints.

Last week, the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal ordered the owners at the Eagle Point Bayview complex in Nanaimo to begin the process of making their building wheelchair accessible, and to pay a penalty to 76-year-old Ada Jacobsen for injury to her dignity, feelings and selfârespect.

B.C. Senior Who Was Called A ‘Loser’ for Demanding Accessibility in Condo Building Wins $35K

B.C. Human Rights Tribunal orders Nanaimo strata to take action on barriers that trapped woman in condo Bethany Lindsay
CBC News
Posted: Sep 17, 2020

A Nanaimo woman who has fought for accessibility improvements that would allow her to go to and from her home without help has won her human rights complaint.

A Vancouver Island wheelchair user who has spent years asking her strata for changes to make it possible to go to and from her condo safely and without help from friends has won $35,000 in damages and an order for action on her complaints.