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Free Rides Offered to Winnipeg COVID-19 Test Sites, but Many Unaware of Service

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.

MPI Compensation ‘Laughable,’ Senior Says – Not Offering Enough to Replace Electric Wheelchair

By: Ben Waldman
Winnipeg Free Press, Sept. 30, 2020

Three months ago, Arthur Ray was crossing Main Street in his motorized wheelchair when a vehicle hit him and damaged the wheelchair significantly, leaving the 76-year-old without a way to safely get around.

“A lady was looking in a different direction, and she drove into me,” he said. “My wheels stopped working, the machine broke, and now, it’s basically useless.”

In his condition, he could use a walker, but only for a few metres before running out of breath. So he contacted Manitoba Public Insurance to see whether he could get compensation to purchase a replacement chair, which he said would cost about $3,000.

Disability Rights Group Sues San Diego Over Scooters On Sidewalks

March 4, 2019

Electric scooters have taken cities across the country by surprise, sometimes causing conflicts with city authorities and pedestrians. In San Diego, the scooters have led to a federal lawsuit claiming the new devices cause discrimination against people with disabilities.

The lawsuit, which was filed in a federal district court in January and seeks to be a class action, claims the city and scooter rental companies Lime, Bird and Razor have failed to prevent people from riding or parking scooters on sidewalks.

Scooters have blocked people with disabilities from accessing the public right-of-way, the plaintiffs claim, and have turned sidewalks into a “vehicle highway” where pedestrians are at risk of injury.

Winnipeg Transit Considering Priority Seating for People With Disabilities

City says current first come, first served option doesn’t line up with provincial rules around accessibility CBC News
Posted: Aug 18, 2020

The City of Winnipeg is asking the public to weigh in on whether it should create designated priority seating areas on conventional buses.

The city is doing a review of its transit system and is specifically looking at the needs of riders with disabilities, the city said in a release Tuesday.

It’s launched an online survey and discussion forum to get the public’s opinions. It takes 10 minutes to complete and will be available until Sept. 15 visit https://engage.winnipeg.ca/priorityseating?tool=survey_tool#tool_tab.

City’s Amphibious Wheelchairs Put the Beach Within Reach

Specially designed chairs can traverse soft sand, go into the water CBC News, July 13, 2020

All her life, whenever Delaney Dunlop’s friends asked her to go to the beach, she’d decline.

The 30-year-old’s battery-powered wheelchair just wasn’t built to traverse the sand.

“It took like six people to get it out of the sand,” Dunlop said of one earlier attempt.

And what was she supposed to do once she reached the water?

“Getting in and out of the water isn’t always safe for people who need assistance,” Dunlop told CBC Radio’s Ottawa Morning.

VIA Rail Pledges to Improve Rail Accessibility

VIA Rail Canada Inc. last week announced additional steps toward ensuring universal accessibility in order to meet requirements set out by the Canadian Transportation Agency.

To increase accessibility, VIA Rail is proposing:

telephone reservations for riders with disabilities or functional limitations unable to make reservations on the website;
curbside assistance from select station entrances to the platform, which includes wheelchair assistance, guiding assistance and assistance carrying baggage; relief areas for service animals at 80 stations;
an improved digital strategy to make information more accessible; and
on-demand availability of menus and safety cards in braille or large print on board trains.

New Transport Rules for Disabled Travellers a Step Forward but Not Enough: Advocates

Michelle McQuigge / The Canadian Press
June 25, 2020

New rules aimed at making travel within Canada safer and more accessible for people with disabilities mark a welcome step forward but don’t yet go far enough to removing long-standing barriers, advocates said Thursday as the new regulations officially came into effect.

The reforms drafted by the Canadian Transportation Agency spell out rules governing most travel between provinces by air, rail, bus or boat. They do not apply to municipal or intraprovincial travel, which do not fall under the agency’s jurisdiction.

BC Transit is Using COVID Safety Precautions as An Excuse to Infringe the human Rights of Disabled People

By Lyle Attfield
June 22, 2020

I was denied access to the bus identified above because the driver refused to let me board citing COVID 19 related safety concerns.

I, an individual who requires a scooter for mobility, assured the driver that I was physically capable of securing myself without the driver’s assistance after the driver indicated that they were not comfortable securing my scooter due to the proximity and associated COVID 19 risks. The driver still refused to allow me to board the bus.

Flying While Disabled: Air Travelers Must Wait Decades for Handicap-Accessible Bathrooms

New proposals for handicapped-accessible airline lavatories would only apply to new aircraft not the 5,600 planes already flying today. Jayme Fraser, USA TODAY Network
Mar. 2, 2020

Federal officials want to make airplane bathrooms easier to use for people with disabilities and aging travelers with reduced mobility. But it could be decades before planes with those features dominate the air.

In January, the U.S. Department of Transportation proposed its first update to lavatory design rules since 1990, when the Air Carrier Access Act barred discriminating against passengers with disabilities. The airline industry is exempt from the Americans with Disabilities Act that sets accessibility standards for most businesses.

Charlottetown Failing Those With Disabilities

The Guardian
Published: Feb. 11, 2020

“Accessibility in Canada is about creating communities, workplaces and services that enable everyone to participate fully in society without barriers.” That’s the first paragraph one finds when searching the Accessible Canada Act on the federal government’s website.

Progressive as those words may appear, none of those things seemed to occur for P.E.I. resident Paul Cudmore when his accessible van recently broke down in Charlottetown.

In Cudmore’s case, he was protected by the friends who came to his aid, not the legislation that was supposed to support him.

That is not acceptable.