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What’s Wrong With Quick-Fix Products For Digital Accessibility?

Enterprise Tech

Let’s get straight to the point: There’s no quick fix for making your digital experiences accessible. That’s true even if your approach to accessibility is narrowly focused on being compliant with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) and the laws in your region of the world.

Many companies these days are tempted by what are often referred to as “accessibility overlay” products that promise to get a company’s website compliant quickly รข sometimes in as little as 24 hours – without touching the underlying source code. And I understand why: Creating accessible experiences isn’t easy. But there are some important questions to ask yourself first.

Will BC’s Landmark New Legislation Adequately Address Disability Rights?

Minister says the bill is a solid foundation, while critics identify where it falls short. Andrew MacLeod
The Tyee, May 20, 2021

BC’s new accessibility bill provides the province with -a way of identifying barriers, removing barriers and preferably preventing them from being established in the first place.’

MLA Stephanie Cadieux has mixed feelings about a British Columbia government bill aimed at improving accessibility for people with disabilities.

“I am happy that we’re moving legislation forward that will enable us to do the more detailed work,” said Cadieux, the MLA for Surrey South and the BC Liberal Party’s critic for gender equity, accessibility and inclusion.

KKR Makes $55 Million Investment in eSSENTIAL Accessibility

Leading Digital Accessibility Platform drives Greater Inclusion of People with Disabilities May 26, 2021

TORONTO & NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)–KKR today announced a $55 million investment in eSSENTIAL Accessibility (“eA” or the “Company”), the pioneering provider of Accessibility-as-a-Service.

As the digital divide for people with disabilities expands and the number of companies facing Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)-related litigation continues to skyrocket, eA’s digital accessibility platform addresses the growing demand for a comprehensive, sustainable solution.

Microsoft Takes Aim At The ‘Disability Divide’

by Shaun Heasley
May 5, 2021

Technology-giant Microsoft is promising big steps in the coming years to make its products and workplace even more accessible and inclusive to people with disabilities.

The company says that in the next five years it will roll out a host of accessibility improvements to products, boost disability hiring efforts and invest in programs to help increase graduation rates among college students with disabilities in science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields, among other efforts.

Corporate Canada, It’s Time to Look Beyond Ramps and Elevators

Tim Rose
Contributed to The Globe and Mail
Published May 19, 2021

Canadians with disabilities have long faced significant barriers to employment. Now, more than a year into the major economic and social tsunami of COVID-19, those barriers have been exacerbated.

As a high-risk group, Canadians living with disabilities – both visible and invisible – have been more socially isolated during the pandemic, and a recent Statistics Canada survey shows that one-third of respondents with disabilities experienced job loss in the past year.

As a person with a significant physical disability, I have first-hand experience with the many challenges this community faces. For several years after completing postsecondary education, I was the unemployed, talented candidate with a disability, struggling to find a career.

Smart Shoes Help the Visually Impaired

Maider GameroAAP
Mon, 17 May 2021

Smart shoes can tell visually impaired people if there are obstacles in their path.

Shoes with sensors embedded in them have been created to alert blind and visually impaired people to obstacles in their path.

Developed by Austria’s Tec-Innovation company in collaboration with the Graz University of Technology, the intelligent shoes can increase the safety of visually impaired and blind people in their everyday life.

The warning system includes an ultra-bright LED and two sensors placed at the front of each shoe.

The sensors detect obstacles and notify the wearer through vibration feedback in the shoe or sound warning signals via a smartphone.

Many With Disabilities Struggling in COVID Era; Pandemic Has Magnified Sense of Isolation

Emma Tranter
National Post, May 17, 2021

Riley Oldford is usually out playing sledge hockey or spending time with friends, but since the start of the pandemic he’s mostly been at home.

The 16-year-old resident of Yellowknife, who has cerebral palsy and a chronic lung condition, was the first person in the Northwest Territories under 18 to get vaccinated when he got the shot earlier this month.

The N.W.T. prioritized residents with chronic conditions or at high risk for COVID-19 in its vaccine rollout, but Oldford wasn’t originally eligible because of his age.

On May 6, the territory started offering the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine to youth between 12 and 17, a day after Health Canada approved its use.

Accessibility Advocates Sign Open Letter Urging People Not To Use AccesiBe and Other Overlay Products

Sarah Gooding, May 13, 2021

AccessiBe and other similar tools are coming under fire after more than 400 accessibility advocates and developers signed an open letter calling on the industry to unite against the use of accessibility overlay products.

These overlay “widgets” are technologies that apply third-party code to the front end in an attempt to automate repairs after sites launch without having accessibility baked in from the design phase.

Woman With Invisible Disability Left Shaken After Altercation Over Accessible Parking Spot

Nicole Sparks of Cole Harbour says parking spots, permits should reflect that not all disabilities are obvious Emma Smith , CBC News , Posted: May 14, 2021

Nicole Sparks, a mother of two from Cole Harbour, N.S., says she’s been harassed in parking lots and followed into stores on a near-weekly basis since getting her permit.

Every time Nicole Sparks pulls into an accessible parking spot, her heart starts racing and she asks herself, “Who’s going to yell at me today?”

It was no different last Saturday when Sparks, 28, parked her vehicle and started making her way into a pharmacy. The Cole Harbour, N.S., woman is missing her left arm and wears a prosthetic.

Disability Alliance B.C. Worried Pending Accessibility Legislation Lacks Teeth

Disability B.C. says proposed legislation missing implementation timelines and enforcement mechanisms CBC News, Posted: May 13, 2021

The B.C. government is putting the finishing touches on legislation it says will improve accessibility for those with disabilities but a provincial advocacy group says the bill is incomplete.

A bill aimed at improving the lives of British Columbians with disabilities is before lawmakers in Victoria this week but a provincial advocacy group is calling on the government to pause the process and consult some more with the individuals it will effect.