By Matthew Futterman
New york Times, Dec. 26, 2020
A blind runner issued a challenge to technologists last year to find a way for him to run safely without a guide. They did.
Thomas Panek dreamed for years of running the way he did before he lost his sight, without fear and without a human or a dog tethered to his wrist as a guide.
That dream took Panek, 50, to the north end of Central Park one frigid morning last month, to test drive something that might one day liberate thousands of other people with severely impaired vision. As a camera crew and a team of technologists made some final adjustments, he stood on the downslope of West Drive. He straddled a painted yellow line and waited for the signal to go.
His Dream: Running Blind and Running Free full article
by Trevor Wright
December 21, 2020
Some Nunavummiut living with disabilities say that more that can be done with regards to access to services.
Yugh Ahuja, 19, who has a rare genetic disease called Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD), has faced numerous accessibility challenges in Iqaluit, where he lives. DMD causes the muscles in the body to become increasingly weak over time before they eventually cease function, leading to mobility problems such as those Ahuja experiences every day.
Ahuja faces many challenges if he has to go somewhere alone: some handicap door buttons not working, navigating elevators, being able to access ATM machines and dealing with inadequate ramps that are sometimes put in just to fulfill the requirement.
More Access Needed to Accessibility Services: Ramps, Home Care, Health Coverage Can Pose Challenges full article
This documentary proves we can tell human stories about disabled people and our lives. And through those stories, we can show both how far we’ve come and where we must go next. Originally Posted April 4, 2020
By Sara Luterman
I don’t remember the first time I met Judy Heumann, but I’ve only ever known her as an omnipresent elder statesman of the disability rights movement. A former President Bill Clinton and President Barack Obama appointee, the word that best describes Heumann, if I had to pick one, would be “dignified.”
If you want to marvel at human ingenuity, perseverance and triumph while you’re in quarantine, “Crip Camp” has you covered.
Netflix’s ‘Crip Camp’ is One of the Most Important Films About Disability I’ve Ever Seen full article
CBC News, Dec. 19, 2020
For many Manitobans, this holiday season will be very different from previous years.
In order to protect public health, it has been recommended that we restrict our contacts and gatherings to within households.
Over this last year as a society, we have all had to alter our lifestyles to lead a more isolated way of life due to the COVID’19 pandemic. Our entertainment options have been narrowed and restrictions have been placed on where we can gather.
This has left Manitobans feeling isolated and struggling with mental health issues.
‘For many persons with disabilities ‘ social isolation is status quo,’ says support worker Carlos Sosa full article
3 Dec 20
Ensuring accessibility for tourists with specific access requirements can be a ‘game changer’ for destinations around the world as they look to bounce back from the impacts of the pandemic.
A new set of Inclusive Recovery Guides from the World Tourism Organization, produced in partnership with the European Network for Accessible Tourism (ENAT), the ONCE Foundation of Spain and Travability from Australia, makes clear the importance of placing inclusivity at the centre of recovery plans and provides key recommendations for achieving this.
Accessible Tourism Identified as ‘Game Changer’ for Destinations full article
Jeff Preston wants to know what governments are doing to help people with disabilities live Rebecca Zandbergen , CBC News
Posted: Dec 08, 2020
If Bill C-7 passes, the federal government will give many more Canadians access to medical assisted dying (MAID), particularly those in the disability community.
The legislation removes a requirement that a patient’s natural death be “reasonably foreseeable,” a change that would satisfy a September 2019 Quebec Superior Court ruling that deemed parts of the federal and provincial laws on assisted dying unconstitutional.
Why Disability Advocates are Worried About Changes to Canada’s Medical Assistance in Dying Bill full article
OTTAWA, ON (December 2, 2020)
The Government of Canada is fighting a small registered charity and not-for-profit organization in court and refusing to ensure that its websites are accessible to blind, deafblind and partially sighted Canadians.
In 2019, the Alliance for the Equality of Blind Canadians (“AEBC”) brought a human rights complaint against the Government of Canada because its websites are inaccessible to blind, deafblind and partially sighted Canadians. In particular, the complaint alleged that blind, deafblind and partially sighted Canadians were discriminated against in the context of a funding application process created by Employment and Social Development Canada (“ESDC”) specifically for organizations for people with disabilities.
Government of Canada Fighting the Alliance for the Equality of Blind Canadians in Court full article
By Nectar Gan
CNN, November 23, 2020
Blind runner makes history with help from furry friends
At the age of 11, Yang Kang lost his vision due to a rare type of eye cancer. But he considers himself one of the lucky few among China’s millions of blind people — he has a guide dog.
Yang splits his time between living in Beijing with his wife and running a piano studio in his hometown Tangshan, a sprawling industrial city some 100 miles away.
China Has 8 Million Blind People, but Only 200 Guide Dogs full article
A recently published JAMIA paper argues that design, implementation and policy considerations must be taken into account when developing virtual care technology. By Kat Jercich
November 23, 2020
Much has been made of telehealth’s potential to bridge the accessibility gap for those who may be otherwise underserved by the healthcare systems.
But, experts said in a new paper published in the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association this past week, telehealth may also exacerbate inequities faced by the disability community.
“There remains a pressing need to explicitly consider how changes in the prevalence and ubiquity of telehealth impact people with disabilities,” wrote the authors.
Telehealth May Worsen Digital Divide for People With Disabilities(PWDs) full article
Man suffering from neurological disorder says MAID easier to access than supports for disabled Canadians Kathleen Harris, CBC News
Posted: Nov 10, 2020
The House of Commons justice committee heard today from opponents of the federal government’s plan to change the rules for medical assistance in dying.
Advocates for Canadians with disabilities are sounding the alarm over a bill to expand medical assistance in dying, warning that it will devalue the lives of vulnerable people.
Speaking to MPs on the justice committee via Zoom from his hospital bed in London, Ont., Roger Foley pleaded with policymakers to focus on providing more assistance and home care to Canadians with disabilities. He said he has been denied proper care and was “coerced” into choosing MAID because his acute care needs were too much for hospital staff to handle.
Disability Advocates Say Assisted Dying Bill Fails to Protect Vulnerable Canadians full article
The film, which stars Anne Hathaway, associates physical impairment with witches By IPC
Nov. 3, 2020
WarnerBros’ latest movie ‘The Witches’ has triggered a stir among the disability community with its negative portrayal of limb deficiencies. The film, featuring actress Anne Hathaway, heavily portrays evil witches with distinct physical impairments in their hands and feet.
With a star-studded cast that also includes Octavia Spencer, some Para athletes raised concerns that the film could further the stigma around disability.
One of the movie trailer shows the star-studded cast giving a tutorial on ‘How to Identify Witches’, highlighting claws and lack of toes as prime characteristics of the witches. The film was released on 26 October in Great Britain, and shortly afterward, the hashtag #NotAWitch began trending on social media.
NotAWitch Calls Out ‘The Witches’ Movie for Portrayal of Disability full article
Forbes Magazine, Oct. 25, 2020
If you read more than one or two articles on disability issues, or talk to just about any disability rights activist, you will run across the word “ableism.” The word does a lot of work for disability culture. It carries the weight of the worst of what plagues disabled people the most, but can be so hard to express.
But for that reason, “ableism” can also seem like an overworked term. It often adds as much confusion and dissension to disability discourse as it does clarity and purpose. While it gives voice and substance to very real beliefs and experiences, the word “ableism” can also feel like a rhetorical weapon meant to discredit people at a stroke for an offensiveness that many people simply don’t see or agree exists.
Words Matter, And It’s Time To Explore The Meaning Of “Ableism.” full article
By Staff, The Canadian Press
Posted October 25, 2020
The federal government is being criticized for not doing enough to help disabled veterans as new figures appear to confirm fears COVID-19 is making it more difficult for them to apply for assistance.
The figures from Veterans Affairs Canada show about 8,000 veterans applied for disability benefits during the first three full months of the pandemic, which was about half the normal number.
The sharp drop in the number of applications helped the department make a dent in the backlog of more than 40,000 requests for federal assistance waiting to be processed.
Fewer Veterans Have Applied for Disability During COVID-19, Sparking Accessibility Concerns full article
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.
Ottawa Inventor Sees Rising Interest in Hands-Free Elevator-hailing App full article
Accessibility legislation, poverty and children with special needs among hot-button issues largely ignored Cathy Browne , CBC News
Posted: Oct 23, 2020
Albert Ruel is tired.
The blind advocate has been fighting for improved access, inclusion and human rights protection for people with disabilities for the past 30 years. And he’s frustrated that the B.C. election campaign hasn’t shone a light on many of the issues that matter to voters with disabilities.
“There’s not a lot of appetite to actually do something meaningful about the immense discrimination that we face every day in our lives,” Ruel said.
Voters With Disabilities Disappointed, Frustrated By B.C. Election Campaign full article
Report raises 6 main concerns, from money to supports
Heidi Atter, CBC News
Posted: Oct 20, 2020
A new report is highlighting issues with the Saskatchewan Assured Income for Disabilities program (SAID).
The Saskatchewan Disability Income Support Coalition (DISC) interviewed 11 people on their personal experiences and had 432 respond to an online survey. The respondents included 188 people on SAID and 244 people representing organizations that help people on the program.
It issued the report a few weeks after holding an event calling for the SAID program to become an election issue.
Report Highlights Issues With Sask. Assured Income for Disabilities Program full article
Speaking on Newstalk 580 CFRA’s “The Goods with Dahlia Kurtz”, Singh said the Liberal government, in its effort to keep benefits such as the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) from being accessed by people who don’t need the help, designed a program that excludes the most vulnerable.
“One of the things we found during this pandemic is we’re up against a massive inertia of a Liberal government that is trying to design programs to exclude people,” Singh said. “They’re willing to miss out people who desperately need help so that they can avoid helping those who don’t need it. They want to make sure that someone who doesn’t need the help doesn’t get it but they’re willing to miss the people who are most desperate. That’s what we’re up against.”
NDP Leader Singh Accuses Liberals Of Failing to Support Canadians Living with Disabilities During Pandemic full article
Advocates for people with low incomes, disabilities say many could benefit from service if they knew about it Cameron MacLean, CBC News
Posted: Oct 15, 2020
Getting to one of the six COVID-19 testing site in Winnipeg can be a daunting task for people without access to a vehicle. Anyone who is sick is told to avoid taking public transportation, and cab fare may be too expensive for many.
For months, the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority has offered a free ride service to help people with “very unique needs” get to a site –
but many COVID-19 test patients, as well as advocates for people with disabilities and low-incomes, told CBC News they had never heard of the service.
Free Rides Offered to Winnipeg COVID-19 Test Sites, but Many Unaware of Service full article
A one time payment of up to $600 will be sent to those who are eligible, at the end of October Kate Letterick
Posted: Oct 07, 2020
As a disabled person, Murielle Pitre has dealt with extra costs throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
“You have like increased fees, deliveries and deliveries for food, the price of food is going up. I mean you’re not going out so you can’t seek out the bargains as much as you used to,” she said.
Pitre is also the director of communications for the New Brunswick Coalition of People with Disabilities.
She’s heard from many people who are paying more for everything from transportation to personal care.
Disability Advocates Applaud Federal Pandemic Aid, But Say Payment Should Be Higher full article
Pandemic has laid bare systemic issues for people with disabilities Kieran Leavitt
Toronto Star, Oct. 3, 2020
Lene Andersen says it’s hard to feel optimistic about Ottawa’s plans for Canadians living with a disability after waiting months for emergency funding that was promised, but never came. That’s something Employment Minister Carla Qualtrough takes personally.
“It’s so unacceptable and it’s been so frustrating because of how quickly we identified this need,” said Qualtrough, adding that the government is only “weeks away” from having the money being dispensed.
“It has taken way too long, and it will not happen again,” she said during an interview with the Star this week.
Promised Funds for Disabled Still Haven’t Arrived full article