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Website Audits: Is the CNIB Robbing You Blind?

By Geof Collis
May 25, 2012

How can they perform expensive Audits if their own website isn’t compliant?

Remember, just because it’s the CNIB, doesn’t make them an Authority or experts on web Accessibility and you’d be well advised to get other proposals if you want to go the Audit route.



By Paul Caune and Victor Schwartzman

[Disclosure: Victor was a Human Rights Officer who worked over twenty years for The Manitoba Human Rights Commission. He retired two years ago.]

For the past decade, about one third of all complaints registered by the Manitoba Human Rights Commission have been based on disability, with the Cowardly Lion’s share based on physical disability. There are thirteen “group factors” on which to base a human rights complaint—it is remarkable that one third of all complaints are based on only one “group factor”. This is part of the ongoing international scandal of how Canada abuses its citizens who have disabilities. See Barrier Free Manitoba’s Feature Issue here:

The Blind Have Rights, the Right to Unemployment, Unequal Access and Poverty

By Geof Collis
January 25, 2011

Donna Jodhan how dare you Sue Us the Federal Government to give Equal Access to the Blind by way of our websites!

You want to get a Job with Us? You have the Right to be Unemployed.

Guest Commentary: A Moral Dilemma: “Scentual” Pleasure at the Expense of the Fundamental Rights and Freedoms of Others

By Carol Lewis
March 8, 2010

Hundreds of Canadians have contacted the Canadian Human Rights Commission to find out whether their rights under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms are being violated because they are unable to access basic services, social and cultural events in their community without becoming ill from fragrance exposure.

Guest Commentary: Stigma & Sensitivities: Must They Coexist?

By Carol Lewis
Posted Mar 3, 2010

Those with environmental sensitivities look just like anyone else, yet their bodies react very differently to such things as automobile exhaust, moulds, fragrances, tobacco smoke and pesticides. While reactions often effect the respiratory, cardiovascular, digestive and/or muscular systems, most everyone with environmental sensitivities experiences neurological symptoms such as headaches, depression, insomnia, anxiety, coordination problems, difficulties with memory and concentration, feeling spaced out, etc. These types of symptoms can have a strong impact on employability.

Guest Commentary: Victor’s New Year’s Resolutions regarding the Ontario Government and people with disabilities:

December 29, 2009

Victor Schwartzman is a former human rights officer with The Manitoba Human Rights Commission. His human rights complaint against the MHRC for failing to accommodate him has been supported by the Ontario Human Rights Commission, which in December, 2009 voted to reaffirm its decision of a year earlier to direct mediation on the complaint.
(Please note: unfortunately, all recommendations for Ontario also appear to apply to other Provinces).

The Pandemic and the Poor: Contrasting Government Responses

By: John Rae
October 29, 2009

The following is based on introductory remarks given at the Standing Committee on Finance’s Pre Budget consultation, Toronto, October 22, 2009

Government responses to the possible H1N1 pandemic and the poor provide a stark contrast in approaches.

Guest Commentary: Getting a Job

By Anna Taylor
October 8, 2009

Getting a job while being disabled is more challenging than one might imagine. I was lucky to get an on-call job that gave me something to be proud of. I am thankful for the opportunity. Now, I am looking for a second job to fill the time I am not using for my other job, and am finding it to be difficult, not because of the economic times we are in, but because “hiring the handicapped” is no longer something that employers think is important.

Guest Commentary: Accessibility, a Short Definition

By Anna Taylor
A Person in a Wheelchair

Since the advent of the Americans with Disabilities Act, commercial establishments have been trying to comply with the laws with varying success. As for what is accessible and what is not, a simple rule to follow is that if some arrangement is accessible for the less ambulatory, it will be accessible for anyone. Lowering a light switch to a height that can be used by a person in a wheelchair does not make it difficult for an ambulatory person. And in fact,
it might be easier to turn on light switches that are belt level than one that is 5 feet up the wall! The ADA actually makes the world easier to operate
for all people. (Sometime watch how many ambulatory people use the ramps at a ball park as opposed to those using the stairs.)

Guest Commentary: What Would You Want?

By Ana Taylor

September 21, 2009

Have you ever wondered what it is like for someone else to go about their living? I’m sure at some point in all of our lives someone has said, “Try to think what it’s like in my shoes.” People today are caught up in their own lives, problems, and health concerns. It appears to me as if they think they’re the only ones who should be accommodated. Whether you are disabled or just experiencing old age, everyone should have equal access to commercial business,
even if it’s a little more “leg work” for the owner.

Guest Editorial: Rural vs. Urban

By Victor Schwartzman
September 14, 2009

A recent article from The Sudbury Star noted the lack of certain health programming in rural Ontario—for example, mental health programmes. A member of
the Ontario Legislature, France Gelinas, is currently leading a Legislative committee touring rural Ontario communities (i.e. not Toronto), gathering information
about the current situation. It appears obvious that when it comes to ‘services’, good luck if you do not live in Toronto.

Guest Editorial: Re: Making Buildings Accessible

By Victor Schwartzman

August 31, 2009

A recent piece by Janis Ramsey(Making Buildings Accessible) was very revealing. Her article detailed the ongoing problems Catherine Caldwell has in Barrie, Ontario, accessing public
buildings, and that the Government is yet again reviewing the problem. Why
are articles like this still being written? Was not the law clearly
established decades ago?

Guest Editorial Accessible Taxis in Kingston

By Victor Schwartzman
August 17, 2009

Victor Schwartzman was a Human Rights Officer for 21 years with The Manitoba
Human Rights Commission, until its failure to accommodate his disability
resulted in his forced retirement.

Guest Commentary: Treatment for a Disability

By Victor Schwartzman
July 20, 2009

For 21 years I was a Human Rights Officer with The Manitoba Human Rights Commission, until I ran into problems being accommodated for the treatment of a
disability (high blood pressure). High blood pressure felt fine. I only felt sick from the medical treatment of lowering it.

Prescription medications for serious medical conditions, including disabilities, are common in North America. We love our pills! But pills come with a price. Some of the meds I take, the list of side effects is so long they have to print it in tiny type you can’t read (just to squeeze it in). If you are not aware that human rights protections includes the treatment for a disability, read on.

Just Another Bad Decision by the CNIB

By Geof Collis

Re: Debate Stirs Over Hiring of Sighted CNIB Head

I originally started writing this Editorial about the CNIB hiring a sighted person for the top job and how it was a bad decision but quickly realized that it’s not their first and wont be their last.

This organization has made so many bad mistakes in the past that one more wont change my opinion, it’s just business as usual for those who make the decisions.

The Life and Times of a Disabled Job Seeker

By Donna J. Jodhan

At the best of times, job seeking can be one of the most tedious, frustrating, and nerve racking processes but for a disabled person it can be doubly difficult.

It does not matter whether the economy is good or bad, the trials and difficulties for a disabled job seeker remain the same. The excuses are the same, the reasons for rejection of disabled applicants continue to be the same, and the unemployment statistics continue to hover over the 80%mark. At least,
that is the statistic that we hear when it comes to North America but for the rest of the world it is probably the same and in the developing world it is even greater.

Shocker or shaker! Neither! Just very sad!

Targets of Schemes and Scams

By Donna J. Jodhan

We are living in a world where schemes and scams continue to spiral out of control. There was a time when one could probably venture to say that seniors and persons with disabilities were probably relatively safe from schemes and scams; but not anymore and as we continue to deal with hard economic times,
you are going to see that schemers and scammers are not going to discriminate when they choose their targets. Many Canadians would probably be shocked if they really knew how often seniors and persons with disabilities fall to those seedy individuals with their get rich quick schemes and scams with smoking mirrors but I am hear to tell them that this is no shocker. As a matter of fact, seniors and persons with disabilities are probably the favourite targets of many schemers and scammers.

Are Agencies Really Acting in Our Best Interest?

By Donna J. Jodhan

This question has lingered in my mind for many years now and it is a very troubling one. I know that there are many persons with disabilities who continue to ask the same question and I am afraid that the
reader may not like the answer. That is, if you are a person with a disability, you would most likely agree with me but for the mainstream reader, you may be either surprised or dare to call me a pessimist or
even a grouch or maybe something stronger.

Is IKEA Missing the Boat?

By Donna J. Jodhan

Here in Toronto many seniors and persons with disabilities continue to face a very challenging problem and that is: large furniture stores and departmental
chains are still not willing to provide services to deliver, assemble and remove large appliances and furniture. If you are able-bodied, can drive, and
can assemble purchased items for yourself then lucky for you; but for those of us who are unable to drive, and who have difficulty assembling purchased items we are out of luck. Shocker or shaker? No shocker or shaker but rather disgusting that stores such as IKEA are managing to get away with it but
hold on!

Making Decisions Without Dated Information

By Donna J. Jodhan

This is the story of my life! Every time I go to analyze my ever shrinking investments, or request information from a
Governmental department, I have to wait weeks before receiving the requested information. Last year for example, I phoned the 1800 ocanada phone number
and requested a copy of the Health Canada guidelines and do you know how long I had to wait before it arrived? Three long and agonizing months! Shocker
or shaker? Maybe a shocker to the mainstream Canadian but no shocker or shaker to blind and visually impaired Canadians.