Accessibility In The News

  1. The Government of Canada tables the Optional Protocol to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

    Employment and Social Development Canada, November 30, 2017
    Today, the Honourable Kent Hehr, Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities, on behalf of the Honourable Chrystia Freeland, Minister of Foreign Affairs, is proud to announce that the Government of Canada tabled in the House of Commons the Optional Protocol to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The Optional Protocol establishes two procedures aimed at strengthening the implementation and monitoring of the Convention. The first is a complaint procedure that allows individuals and groups to bring petitions to the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities if they believe their rights under the Convention have been violated. The second is an inquiry procedure that allows the Committee to inquire into allegations of grave or systematic violations of the Convention by a State Party. The Optional Protocol was adopted by the UN in 2006 and entered into force in 2008. As of November 2017, there are 92 States Parties to the Optional Protocol.
  2. Indoor navigation system transforms working conditions for the blind

    John Moore, Site Editor, November 27, 2017
    An assistive technology program at Bosma Enterprises now includes an indoor navigation system that uses Bluetooth beacons and iOS' native VoiceOver feature. When Bosma Enterprises, a nonprofit organization that employs blind and visually impaired people, opened a new headquarters earlier this year, it introduced assistive technologies to help employees find their way in the 170,000-square-foot facility. The BlindSquare indoor navigation system -- ready for use when the headquarters opened -- represents a new level of commitment from the company to enable its 208-employee workforce, more than half of which are blind or visually impaired.
  3. Minister Lebouthillier announces Canada Revenue Agency Disability Advisory Committee

    John Power, Press Secretary, Office of the Minister of National Revenue, November 23, 2017
    The Government understands that living with a disability can have significant impacts on individuals and their families. The Honourable Diane Lebouthillier, Minister of National Revenue, announced that the Disability Advisory Committee, originally formed in 2004 and disbanded in 2006, is being re-instated to provide the CRA with a formalized means of collaborating with various stakeholders. Enhancing the accessibility of the CRA's services to persons with disabilities is an ongoing effort, which will be greatly assisted by the Committee's work.
  4. Section 508 Gets an Update: New Web Accessibility Guidelines for Government Sites Take Effect in January

    Zack Quaintance, Staff writer for Government Technology, November 20, 2017
    People with hearing and sight disabilities using screen readers and other assistive tech must be able to access content on government websites, but getting and staying compliant is a challenge. Updates for Section 508 accessibility legislation go into effect in January, creating new specifications for how federal agencies must make websites and other digital information channels navigable for users with disabilities. Not being able to keep up with updates has been an ongoing problem in terms of making tech accessible for users with disabilities. There is continual discord between people who create and edit content, the massive companies that issue updates to the most common Web browsers, and the much smaller companies that make assistive tech.
  5. Ryerson's student centre isn't accessible for students with disabilities

    MIRIAM KATAWAZI, Toronto Star Staff Reporter, November 1, 2017
    Ryerson University's $112-million Student Learning Centre poses safety risks for people with disabilities, advocate David Lepofsky says. The eight-storey structure, which opened in February 2015 at the corner of Yonge and Gould Sts., provides space on campus for students to socialize and work. The building won an award from the Canadian Architect Magazine for its proposed design in 2012. Ryerson Student Centre AODA Alliance Youtube video
  6. Grassroots Disability Coalition Unveils Powerful New Video Showing Serious Accessibility Problems at the New Ryerson University Student Learning Centre

    AODA Alliance, toronto, October 29, 2017
    The AODA Alliance today makes public a striking 12-minute video (and a more detailed 30-minute version) revealing significant disability accessibility barriers in a new public building in the heart of downtown Toronto, built in part with public money. This video documents accessibility problems at the new Ryerson University Student Learning Centre with such things as stairs, ramps, student socializing areas, elevators, signage, an information desk and electronic kiosk. AODA Alliance Chair David Lepofsky guides you on a tour of barriers that hurt people with blindness, low vision, mobility disabilities, dyslexia, balance issues, and more.
  7. Accessibility legislation to be tabled by spring 2018, minister says

    By Sean Kilpatrick, Toronto Star, October 15, 2017
    The federal minister responsible for crafting Canada's first national accessibility legislation says the law should be ready by next spring and should benefit not only people with disabilities, but their caregivers. Minister Kent Hehr says the bill, which has been highly anticipated, will benefit both those with disabilities and their caregivers. Kent Hehr says the timeline for the new law has shifted slightly since he took over the portfolio for sport and persons with disabilities in a recent cabinet shuffle. The legislation, which is highly anticipated by Canada's disabled community, was originally set to be unveiled either late this year or early 2018.
  8. New OHRC policy statement explains the duty to accommodate under Ontario's Human Rights Code

    By Alicia Ann Pereira, Ontario Human Rights Commission, October 12, 2017
    Today, the Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) released a new policy statement explaining the purpose and importance of the duty to accommodate under the Ontario Human Rights Code. Employers and unions, housing providers and service providers have a legal duty to accommodate the Code-related needs of people who are adversely affected by a requirement, rule or standard. Accommodation is necessary to address barriers in society that would otherwise prevent people from fully taking part in, and contributing to, the community.
  9. Exploring a $55-billion untapped market

    Rich Donovan, Special to the Globe and Mail, September 29, 2017
    Canadian business has struggled since 1989 to hire people with disabilities in any material numbers. This is not a uniquely Canadian phenomenon. The experience has been repeated globally by millions of companies. Stats show that the 18.7 per cent of the population that self-declares as a person with a disability (PWD) makes an average annual income of 91 per cent compared with those living without a disability. Simple math means 6.2 million Canadians with a disability control $55.4-billion in annual disposable income. When their friends and family are added to the market, disability touches 53 per cent of consumers controlling more than $366.5-billion. Globally, this market opportunity is more than $10-trillion.
  10. CNIB Installs App-Enabled Info Beacons for Visually Impaired in Toronto Neighbourhood

    Anastasia V. Silva, Samaritanmag online magazine news, October 5, 2017
    The CNIB has started to install beacons in the Yonge-St. Clair area of Toronto, which will improve accessibility for those in the neighbourhood with visual impairments. Two hundred shops and restaurants are expected to come on board at no cost to them. The beacons are small battery-powered devices that silently communicate pre-programmed information about the businesses to users via the BlindSquare iPhone app.
  11. Wheel-Trans users fear new program will force them to use inaccessible TTC

    By Natalie Nanowski, CBC News, September 20, 2017
    TTC hears concerns about long waits and inaccessible stations at annual meeting. The TTC's annual accessibility meeting drew about 300 people to the Beanfield Centre at Exhibition Place. It's intended to highlight any concerns or questions people have about the accessibility of the TTC or Wheel-Trans. The TTC says it's actively working on upgrading old elevators and installing new ones. Currently 34 of the 69 stations are accessible. Activist David Lepofsky doesn't think people with disabilities should be made to use the TTC unless it's fully accessible.
  12. New smart beacons open doors for the blind in Toronto neighbourhood

    By Emily Chung, CBC News, September 19, 2017
    CNIB pilot project plans to install 200 wayfinding beacons in Toronto stores and restaurants. If you were blind and walked into a coffee shop, how would you find the counter so you could order? The iOS BlindSquare app gives verbal directions to customers at several businesses in the Yonge and St. Clair neighbourhood, thanks to a pilot project called ShopTalk launched by the CNIB, a charity that provides community-based support for people who are blind or partially sighted.
  13. New Program Helps Ontario Business Connect with the Right Talent

    PR Newswire, September 14, 2017
    The Discover Ability Network will showcase the business advantages of employing persons with disabilities. The Honourable David Onley, Special Advisor to the Government of Ontario's Minister Responsible for Accessibility, the Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC) and the Discover Ability Network partners launched a new program and online portal that will connect persons with disabilities seeking employment directly with Ontario businesses looking to meet their talent requirements. The portal is a key feature of Access Talent: Ontario's Employment Strategy for People with Disabilities, a comprehensive plan focused on connecting more people with disabilities to rewarding jobs and more employers to new talent to help grow their businesses.
  14. Liberal minister Carla Qualtrough wants to make history with federal accessibility laws

    By Vjosa Isai, Toronto Star Staff Reporter, August 23, 2017
    Federal minister of sport and persons with disabilities Carla Qualtrough heard from local and international disability experts on Tuesday as Canada prepares to introduce its first national accessibility legislation. Although the prospective act would govern only those areas under federal authority, such as banks, telecommunications and interprovincial transportation, Qualtrough believes it will also show leadership beyond this jurisdiction and inspire provinces to create similar laws. Currently, seven provinces do not have accessibility legislation.
    August 21 2017 cbc radio here and now lepofsky on CDA conference.mp3
    August 22, 2017, three-hour online Policy Experts Conference.
  15. On accessibility, Ontario needs less secrecy, more action

    By LUCAS OLENIUK, Toronto Star Editorial, August 7, 2017
    Disability advocate David Lepofsky has worked tirelessly since the McGuinty Liberals passed the landmark Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act in 2005, holding the government to account as it moves toward its goal of a fully accessible Ontario by 2025. David Lepofsky just wants to make sure the province is doing what it promised to do. Too often, however, what he has found is failure – and too often the province has tried to keep him from discovering the frequently disappointing truth. The government should stop fighting disability advocates and start working alongside them.
  16. Alliance for an Inclusive and Accessible Canada | All Abilities Together

    By Jan Ditchfield, Alliance for an Inclusive and Accessible Canada, August 3, 2017
    The Alliance is proud to be hosting our pioneering conference, called "What Should Canada's Promised National Accessibility Law Include? Cutting-edge ideas from Experts from Around the World". Hosted by David Lepofsky, the event will be lived streamed on August 22nd, 2017 from 10:00 am-1:00 pm ET. The Government of Canada has committed to adopting a strong federal accessibility law to remove and prevent barriers facing people with disabilities. The Alliance is consulting Canadians to collect their comments, concerns and suggestions about this new law. We want to know what your main accessibility issues are and how they could be addressed through the law. visit The Alliance's YouTube Channel to watch the live stream.
  17. People with disabilities feel left out of the modern digital workplace

    By Genna Buck, Metro News, July 31, 2017
    Former federal worker Abigail Shorter is taking the government to task in a human rights case. After her position was made redundant, she was not able to find a new one in the public service. Because of her disability, she claims she is not able to use much of the software required in government jobs. There are international standards for building accessibility into the online experience: The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines. The rules for who is required to adhere to these standards vary from province to province.
  18. Province overcharged advocacy group for information request by almost $4K, privacy commission rules

    By Michelle McQuigge, The Canadian Press, July 31, 2017
    Ontario's privacy commission says the provincial government significantly overcharged an advocacy group fighting for information on accessibility law compliance in the province and must now hand over the material. The commission's decision says the government tried to charge the Access for Ontarians with Disabilities Alliance $4,200 for a sweeping access to information request seeking details on many issues, including plans to make sure private businesses are complying with accessibility laws. Commission knocked $4,200 price tag for accessibility group's request down to $750. The Information and Privacy Commission 67-page ruling
  19. New program wants to make Yonge and St. Clair the GTA's most accessible neighbourhood

    By May Warren, Toronto MetroNews Canada, Jun 27, 2017
    The Canadian National Institute for the Blind (CNIB) is putting small battery powered beacons in 200 restaurants and shops. The beacons will transmit to an app called BlindSquare, to verbally guide people around indoor buildings. The program is funded through a grant from the the Rick Hansen Foundation.
  20. For public servants with disabilities, some tools of the trade out of reach

    By Julie Ireton, CBC News, June 19, 2017
    Thousands of federal public servants across Canada are unable to utilize internal government software programs and websites because they're inaccessible to people with a range of disabilities. The problem has led to job losses, grievances, a human rights complaint and, as one lawyer suggests, opens the door to a potential court challenge under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
  21. Big Win for Blind Shopper in First U.S. ADA Web Accessibility Trial

    Law Office of Lainey Feingold, June 13, 2017
    On June 12, a judge in the federal District Court in South Florida made history. That history came in the form of a court order in a lawsuit filed by blind Florida resident Juan Carlos Gil against regional grocer Winn-Dixie. After a two-day trial the court ruled in favor of the plaintiff (Mr. Gil). That order is historic because it is believed that this is the very first trial in an ADA case about website accessibility against a private company, known legally as a public accommodation.
  22. Fixing society involves boosting accessibility laws

    By Kevin Rollason, Winnipeg Free Press, June 8, 2017
    David Lepofsky is in Winnipeg this week to speak during Manitoba Access Awareness Week. He spoke on Wednesday at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights about accessibility rights legislation.
    The world has been designed as if the only people living in it successfully are people without disabilities. The buildings around us, public transit, stores, education systems, are all designed like people said, "Let's design things so people with disabilities can't use them." What we're trying to do is fix society. There are four million-plus Canadians with disabilities.
  23. Job strategy for Ontarians with disabilities lacks specifics, critics say

    Lucas Oleniuk, Toronto Star, June 6, 2017
    The province's new strategy to address the high unemployment rate among Ontarians with disabilities was panned by advocates who said it lacks specifics and will take "months if not years" to have an impact. Plan focuses on students and youth, and aims to connect employers with potential workers. But advocate David Lepofsky says it is not the "immediate, practical" strategy that was needed. Tracy MacCharles, the minister responsible for accessibility, told the Star in an interview that the strategy will particularly focus on helping students and youth better plan and prepare for employment, as well as try to connect employers with potential workers.
  24. Creating new national accessibility legislation: What we learned

    Following eight months of consultations held with Canadians from coast to coast, the Honourable Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities, released a report on May 29 entitled, "Creating new national accessibility legislation: What we learned from Canadians".
    Through the consultations, Canadians from across the country shared their personal stories, their challenges, successes, hopes and aspirations. This consultation process was a very important step forward towards inclusion, but it is only the beginning of a journey to reach our goal of a truly inclusive Canada. Thank you to all who participated. Moving forward, we're going to take what we learned through this historic consultation process to develop new federal accessibility legislation that will provide all Canadians a better chance to succeed in their local communities and workplaces. As Canadians, we all benefit from accessibility when we and our family members, friends, neighbours, classmates and co-workers are able to fully participate and contribute in our communities and workplaces without barriers. Currently, one in seven Canadians has a disability, and that number is expected to grow with an aging population. It is clear that these barriers to accessibility can no longer be ignored. This is why the Government of Canada is working towards new legislation to help address these barriers and strive towards a more accessible Canada.
  25. Nova Scotia Is the Third Canadian Province to Pass an Accessibility Law

    Sarah Gillis, Government of Nova Scotia, Department of Justice, April 27, 2017
    On Thursday, April 27, 2017, the Nova Scotia Legislature passed a new accessibility law, the Accessibility Act, following the lead of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act. Nova Scotia becomes the third Canadian province to enact a comprehensive accessibility law. The Nova Scotia law has the goal of Nova Scotia reaching full accessibility by 2030.
  26. E-Agenda Going Back to Tender

    By Graeme McNaughton, The Oshawa Express, MARCH 22, 2017
    When the Region of Durham puts out a new tender for its electronic agenda system, it will ensure the winning company knows what its doing. the company that previously held the contract, the American-based Accela, couldnt make a system that worked within the province's legal requirements. The contract was first terminated in late January because Accela could not make the system work with the province's Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA), which says that web pages and other online documents belonging to government entities must be accessible for those with disabilities, including the ability to resize text, audio description for pre-recorded video content and captioning for live video. The Region says it will ensure next winner has local references.
  27. Nova Scotia Government Puts Brakes On Accessibility Bill 59

    By Graham Steele, CBC News Political analyst, March 8, 2017
    The Bill 59 Community Alliance is only a few months old, and has already become a powerful player in any discussion around the future of the Accessibility Act. Last week the legislature saw a remarkable example of effective citizen action. The alliance has been working from the moment the McNeil government hit the pause button on Bill 59 last November. When the four alliance spokespersons appeared before the Law Amendments Committee last Thursday, they carried the endorsement of 35 organizations serving Nova Scotians with disabilities. That's remarkable. That's the power of numbers.
  28. Federal minister of sport and persons with disabilities wraps up cross-country consultations on proposed accessibility legislation

    By LAURIE MONSEBRAATEN, Social justice reporter, Toronto Star, February 9, 2017
    Cost can no longer be a barrier to creating an accessible Canada, says Carla Qualtrough, federal minister of sport and persons with disabilities. Qualtrough hopes the new law will spark a culture shift away from the "fallacy" that making the country fully accessible for more than2.3 million Canadians with a disability would be financially ruinous.
  29. Canadians with Disabilities Act to focus on employment: minister

    By Michelle McQuigge, The Canadian Press, February 5, 2017
    Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities, says removing accessibility barriers will be crucial to tackling long-standing high jobless rates among the country's disabled population. Data has long shown that Canadians with disabilities are greatly under-employed compared to their non-disabled counterparts, with multiple studies finding that only half of disabled Canadians have found work. Qualtrough said the federal act has to be written to work alongside existing provincial laws without encroaching on their areas of jurisdiction.
  30. Accessibility advocate appeals access to information fee

    By LAURIE MONSEBRAATEN, Social justice reporter, Toronto Star, January 30, 2017
    The Wynne government is denying Ontarians the right to know the details behind its promised 2015 crack-down on businesses that ignore their responsibilities under the province's landmark accessibility legislation, an accessibility activist says. In documents filed in advance of Tuesday's hearing, government lawyers argue the fee is being charged to offset costs to the public. David Lepofsky, Lawyer, appeals $4,250 fee to access information on how Ontario's accessibility law is being enforced.
  31. How an app helps the visually impaired navigate the world

    By LINDA STUART, Cartt.ca News, CABLE and TELECOM, February 2, 2017
    For most of us, location-based augmented reality apps might be considered "nice to have", entertaining technology that conjures up images of last summer's PokaMon Go craze. But for blind and visually impaired people, the use of augmented reality technology in audio-based navigation apps can provide a safer and often liberating way to travel through unfamiliar streets and especially inside buildings. That's the idea behind BlindSquare. (Text version)
  32. Canadian Accessibility Guidelines Survey

    Accessibility News International, January 27, 2017
    A committee has been organized through the Canadian Institute of Transportation Engineers that has been tasked with reviewing accessibility guidelines published by various levels of government across Canada. Your participation and feedback will assist with the development of uniform accessibility guidelines across Canada.
  33. Government of Canada improves accessibility for Canadians with disabilities within their workplaces and communities

    Employment and Social Development Canada, SURREY, BC, Jan. 17, 2017
    the Honourable Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities, visited the Centre for Child Development of the Lower Mainland to announce the approval of 573 Enabling Accessibility Fund (EAF) projects. The Minister highlighted how these projects will help strengthen the Government of Canada's commitment to ensuring greater accessibility and opportunity for Canadians with disabilities in their communities and workplaces.
  34. Only half of disabled Canadians have a full or part-time job

    By Michelle McQuigge, The Canadian Press, January 17, 2017
    A new poll suggests that employment conditions remain dismal for Canadians with disabilities. The survey commissioned by CIBC and conducted by Angus Reid found that only half of respondents living with a disability have a full or part-time job. The unemployed respondents overwhelmingly said they were out of work as a direct result of their disability, with 67 per cent citing it as the reason for their current circumstances.
  35. U.S. Leading the Global Failure on Disability Employment

    By David Fazio, LinkedIn, January 1, 2017
    More than 80% of U.S. Americans with disabilities are unemployed according to the U.S. Department of Labor, while the World Bank reports an 80 - 90 percent unemployment rate for persons with disabilities across Latin America, and the Caribbean. Despite 25 years of the Americans with Disabilities Act, disability rights law has mostly failed, not led to more jobs, and the employment rate for the disabled remains basically unchanged after a quarter-century. The 40 year old rhetoric about empathy, the acknowledgement, and acceptance of differences, and a stinging mantra of "disability matters," is deeply rooted in the problem-solving mentality that we've all become so accustomed to. Unfortunately, the problem-solving mentality produces deficit-based thinking. Employees are trained to always be on the lookout for deficits, or weaknesses, anomalies in the workplace. Once discovered, problem-solving teaches us to uncover the root of that problem, and fix, or eliminate, it. Any way you look at it, disability translates into a problem to be solved. After all, the legal definition is an impairment due to a medical condition that limits one or more major life function.
  36. Mohawk Journalism's content accessibility program continues to develop

    By Greg O'Brien, Cartt.ca editor and publisher, December 14, 2016
    Mohawk College Journalism's pioneering new program teaching accessible content production to its aspiring journalists took another step on Tuesday when its initial group of second-year journalism students showed off their work to some members of the community. The course, which is mandatory in order to graduate from the J-school was made possible by an $80,000 grant from the Broadcasting Accessibility Fund and is believed to be the first such program in North America. View the Youtube video.
  37. Accessibility Lawsuits, Trolls, and Scare Tactics

    By Karl Groves, December 19, 2016
    There has been a lot of discussions in Web Accessibility circles around "ADA Trolls" this year. Recently 60-Minutes aired a segment on what they refer to as "Drive-by Lawsuits". The 60-minutes segment is being used to argue against making websites accessible. Read the article to learn more about the Objective Facts about Drive-by Lawsuits and Trolling.
  38. Groups urge premier to remove barriers for disabled students

    By Andrea Gordon, Toronto Star, December 5, 2016
    Students in wheelchairs who can't use playground equipment or open classroom doors. Children with impaired vision or dyslexia unable to read the Smartboard in class. Youth with autism who miss out on co-op placements because workplaces don't accommodate their needs. These are just a few examples of obstacles faced by special needs students from pre-school to university who aren't getting the education they are entitled to, according to a group of almost two dozen community groups. Developing an education standard would also mean a fundamental shift towards creating a universal design for schools, curriculum and teaching strategies aimed at a broader range of students, rather than relying on an old mainstream model that involves "shoehorning" special needs kids into an environment that doesn't fit.
  39. Statement by Minister Qualtrough on International Day of Persons with Disabilities

    By Employment and Social Development Canada, Canada News Centre, December 3, 2016
    The Honourable Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities, today issued the following statement:
    While this is a day to celebrate the vast contributions of people with disabilities, it also reminds us that many barriers to accessibility and inclusion still exist in our society. Please join me in celebrating International Day of Persons with Disabilities as we embrace a culture that supports an active and engaged community in a truly accessible Canada.
  40. Lawyer crusades against accessibility problems caused by inadequate laws

    By HINA ALAM, Toronto Star Staff Reporter, December 2, 2016
    Toronto lawyer David Lepofsky is highlighting Centennial College building's accessibility problems. But that is not the complete picture. These accessibility issues are the symptoms of a bigger problem, Lepofsky says. The Centennial College building opened in late August of this year to accept student residents while the Culinary Arts Centre on the ground floor opened in time for classes on Sept. 6. Other publicly-financed buildings, such as Ryerson's Student Learning Centre, the new Women's College Hospital, and major renovations at York's Osgoode Hall Law School also have accessibility problems, Lepofsky said.
  41. Minister Carla Qualtrough says Canada's new disability act will make history

    The Current with Anna Maria Tremonti, CBC Radio, October 21, 2016
    Carla Qualtrough is the first-ever federal minister of sport and persons with disabilities. She tells The Current's special guest host Ing Wong-Ward that her appointment to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's cabinet as a legally blind person is sending a strong signal to Canadians just how important disability and accessibility issues are to our government. Minister Qualtrough has been travelling across the country for an ongoing national public consultation on creating new Canadian accessibility legislation, the first of its kind in Canadian history.
    I think we do some things really well here in Canada and I think in other areas we have work to be done. I am the exception to the rule. I am not the rule, as a successful person with a disability.
  42. TTC still has 'big ticket items' to address when it comes to accessibility

    By Ben Spurr, Transportation Reporter, The Toronto Star, September 14, 2016
    For most transit riders, problems on the TTC are an inconvenience. But for people who use mobility devices or have physical or cognitive disabilities, when the transit system fails, it can severely limit their autonomy, and even be dangerous. With only nine years to go until provincial law dictates the TTC must be fully accessible, advocates say that the transit agency still has a lot of work to do, but it has made some progress.
  43. Blind MP to draft Canada's first national accessibility law

    By LAURIE MONSEBRAATEN, Social justice reporter, Toronto Star, Aug. 27, 2016
    Carla Qualtrough, who is legally blind, grew up learning alternative ways of doing almost everything. The human rights lawyer, former Paralympian and world championship swimming medalist is helping Canadians think about disability in a new way as she crafts the country's first national accessibility legislation. The government has received more than 700 submissions since online consultations on the new law began in July. Canadians have until February 2017 to give their views. Qualtrough will report on the consultations next spring and said she hopes to have legislation ready to introduce in the Commons by the end of 2017 or early 2018.
  44. How accessibility is driving innovation in Canada

    Employment and Social Development Canada, Canada News Centre, August 23, 2016
    The Honourable Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities announced the government in-person consultations to inform the development of planned accessibility legislation. The Minister visited the Abilities Centre in Whitby, Ontario, and hosted a panel with three young Canadian innovators to discuss how accessibility drives innovation. The Minister toured the centre, noting the accessibility measures in place there, which serve as an example for other communities across Canada. Minister Qualtrough also announced the schedule of the in-person consultations organized to inform planned accessibility legislation.
    Today we are taking another exciting step in our discussion on accessibility. Increasing accessibility is not only the right thing to do, but it also has social and economic benefits for all Canadians. Canada is well positioned to become a global leader in innovative service delivery, technology and universal design. Together, we will reshape the landscape for Canadians with disabilities.
    Between July 2016 and February 2017, we will be consulting with Canadians on planned accessibility legislation: Consulting with Canadians on federal disability legislation.
  45. Update on the IANA Transition - Privatization Of The Internet

    By Lawrence E. Strickling, Assistant Secretary for Communications and Information and NTIA Administrator, August 16, 2016
    For the last 18 years, the United States has been working with the global Internet multistakeholder community to establish a stable and secure multistakeholder model of Internet governance that ensures that the private sector, not governments, takes the lead in setting the future direction of the Internet's domain name system. To help achieve this goal, NTIA in 1998 partnered with ICANN, a California-based nonprofit, to transition technical DNS coordination and management functions to the private sector. NTIA's current stewardship role was intended to be temporary. The United States Department of Commerce's National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) remains committed to preserving a stable and secure Internet Domain Name System (DNS). But what does this effort to privatize the Internet domain name system (DNS) mean for blind Canadians that depend upon accessible digital communications? The Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA) is the member-driven organization that manages Canada's .CA domain name registry, develops and implements policies that support Canada's Internet community, and represents the .CA registry internationally, but has no accessibility strategy to govern the .ca ecosystem.
  46. Accessibility advocates tweet their barriers

    By Jessica Botelho-UrbanskiStaff, Toronto Star, August 9, 2016
    Two social media campaigns are attracting attention to lackluster building, airline plans for people with disabilities. Disability advocates are hoping social-media campaigns will publicly shame organizations into taking action on accessibility. Under the AODA Act, landmark legislation passed unanimously by the provincial government in 2005, Ontario needs to be fully accessible by 2025. David Lepofsky doesn't see the goal as realistic right now. Despite an influx of design technology, Lepofsky said architects and city planners aren't always aware of the hurdles they create.
  47. Ontario won't close schools for deaf and blind children

    By Rob Ferguson, Queen's Park Bureau, Toronto Star, August 8, 2016
    Education Minister Mitzie Hunter, shown earlier this year, says the decision to keep schools for deaf and blind children open was made after several months of consultation. The move follows protests by worried parents last winter and spring and an outcry from opposition parties at Queen's Park, after the government stopped admissions at the schools in Milton, London, Belleville and Ottawa for the fall. But critics like David Lepofsky of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Alliance charged the latest step "falls miles short of what is needed by 334,000 students with special education needs."
  48. Air Canada Innovates to Make In-Flight Entertainment Systems Accessible for Vision-Impaired Customers

    July 7, 2016
    John Rae and Marcia Yale are pleased to have reached a settlement concerning a complaint they filed with the Canadian Human Rights Commission for passengers who are vision-impaired to more easily access Air Canada's in-flight entertainment (IFE) system. Both Mr. Rae and Mrs. Yale are vision-impaired.
  49. Government of Canada launches consultation on planned new accessibility legislation

    Ottawa, Ontario, Employment and Social Development Canada, June 22, 2016
    "What does an Accessible Canada mean to you?", the Honourable Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities.
    The Government of Canada is committed to eliminating systemic barriers and delivering equality of opportunity to all Canadians living with disabilities. The Honourable Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities announced the launch of a national consultation process to inform the development of planned legislation that will transform how the Government of Canada addresses accessibility.
  50. Promoting Technological Entrepreneurship in the Field of Disabilities

    Beit Issie, a non-profit special Consultant to the United Nations based in Israel, mission is to provide cutting-edge services to improve quality of life for people with disabilities, and to effect social change by breaking down the barriers preventing people with disabilities from full societal integration, assuring them the rights and opportunities for maximum growth and development. David Lepofsky, a Canadian disability advocate, had the chance to speak on a panel at the 9th annual conference on disability rights at the United Nations in New York, on June 16, 2016. Listen to the panel discussion on the UN Live United Nations Web TV.
  51. Canadian Transportation Agency launches consultation on accessible transportation as Phase 1 of its Regulatory Modernization Initiative

    Canadian Transportation Agency, June 6, 2016
    As part of the Regulatory Modernization Initiative announced last week, the Agency is launching the first phase of its regulatory review, which focusses on accessible transportation.
  52. 9th session of the Conference of United Nations States Parties to the CRPD, 14-16 June 2016

    The 9th session will take place at the United Nations Headquarters from 14 to 16 June 2016. This year's session will include Elections for nine members of the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
    Theme: "Implementing the 2030 development agenda for all persons with disabilities: Leaving no one behind."
    David Lepofsky speaking at this event. watch live on UN Web TV.
  53. Accessibility online: A neglected frontier for people with disabilities

    By Evelyn Harford, Ottawa Citizen, May 21, 2016
    When we think accessibility, we usually think about doors that open automatically, or ramps that lead up to buildings. But what about accessibility online?. Ottawa tech leaders say web development needs to catch up and improve online accessibility for people with disabilities.
  54. Final Report: Facilitation of Third Party Accessibility Certification Consultation, May 2016

    The Accessibility Directorate of Ontario engaged Deloitte to facilitate a three-phase public consultation process to explore the merits, viability and design of a third party accessibility certification model. The final report for the Accessibility Certification Consultation aims to capture a three-phase process that engaged over 400 members of the accessibility advocacy, business, not-for-profit, academic, and broader public sector communities to discuss the viability, risks, and design of an accessibility certification model. Central to the report are the accessibility certification prototypes, submitted by seven organizations inspired by the discussion throughout the consultation, as well as the set of guiding principles developed by working groups in the previous phase of the public engagement process. Raising the bar on accessibility in Ontario will require the knowledge, efforts, skills, and good will of all Ontarians.
  55. Woman challenged by Tim Hortons over guide dog last year not happy with response

    By Christina Stevens, Senior Reporter, Global News, April 19, 2016
    It has been one year since staff at a Lawrence Heights Tim Hortons told Victoria Nolan that Alan, her guide dog, was not allowed inside. Nolan said the chain apologized and agreed to replace outdated signs, which said "no pets" with new ones saying service animals welcome. A year later signs were found at nearly all Tim Hortons locations checked by Global News. You have to look closely though, they are about four centimetres by 11 centimetres. That's smaller than most smartphones. Nolan also asked Tim Hortons to update employee training, but says she was told they couldn't because training is not dealt with nationally.
  56. Federal budget commits to creating a Canadians with Disabilities Act

    TONY CALDWELL, Calgary Herald, March 24, 2016
    The federal budget unveiled this week includes a promise to eliminate barriers for Canadians living with disabilities by introducing a national disabilities act, a document advocates have long said is needed.
  57. App Boost For Blind, By Michelle Ruby, Brantford Expositor, March 9, 2016

    At a launch of the new technology on Wednesday, manager Glenn Brown said the Sanderson is the first performing arts venue in the world to install BlindSquare, a GPS application developed for the blind and visually impaired that describes the environment and announces points of interest both indoors and outside. Eighteen Bluetooth iBeacons were installed in strategic locations throughout the theatre and work in tandem with the BlindSquare mobile app. The app provides users with information through their smartphones. As they move through the theatre, the phones announce the location of aisles and seats. The app announces locations stairs and exits. It directs users to the bar and to washrooms, where it further tells them the location of stalls and sinks.
  58. Analysis of the May 2015 Initial Report of the Wynne Government's Partnership Council on Employment for People with Disabilities

    ACCESSIBILITY FOR ONTARIANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT ALLIANCE, February 19, 2016
    Why is the Wynne Government doing so little on increasing stunning levels of unemployment chronically facing people with disabilities? On November 28, 2014, former Ontario Lieutenant Governor David Onley (the Wynne Government's Special Advisor on Accessibility for People with Disabilities) proclaimed at Queen's Park that unemployment facing people with disabilities is not only a national crisis - it is a national shame!
    Here is an analysis of the Partnership Council Initial Report's important findings about the plight of people with disabilities who try to find jobs in Ontario. We agree with them all. These findings are largely based on authoritative public sources that have been readily available to the Government for some time. It was not necessary for the Wynne Government to appoint the Partnership Council to learn about these.
  59. Is Your Website Accessible to Blind and Visually Impaired? National Law Review, February 1, 2016

    U.S. Department of Justice is taking notice of the increase of Plaintiffs' firms sending out demand letters warning that if businesses do not enter into a settlement agreement and agree to use their consultant to make the website accessible and pay their attorney's fees, they will file a lawsuit. While wage/hour lawsuits continue to be filed at record rates, the plaintiffs' bar is now flirting with a new type of class action lawsuit which poses a threat to any employer that operates a website. These lawsuits allege that company websites are inaccessible to the blind and/or visually impaired and therefore violate Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and various states' laws.
  60. Tim Hortons owner reaches out to unemployed Goodwill workers

    Henry Stancu, Toronto Star, January 25, 2016
    The Toronto Tim Hortons franchise owner has reached out to former Goodwill employees after 16 stores and 10 donation centres in Ontario abruptly closed a week ago leaving 430 workers without jobs. No stranger to disability, Wafer is deaf, having been born with only 20 per cent hearing ability. Unable to keep a job as a young man, he has become a successful businessman and an advocate for the disabled by hiring people with disabilities. Mark represents what it means to be a leader in a province that has championed full inclusion.
  61. More Accessibility In The News Archive