Accessibility In The News 2018

Top Stories

Advocates say Accessible Canada Act is too weak to be effective

Andrew Vaughan, The London Free Press, December 19, 2018
The cautious optimism that prevailed in Canada’s disabled community when the federal government tabled historic accessibility legislation earlier this year has given way to widespread concern that the law won’t lead to meaningful change. Major disability organizations, grassroots advocacy groups and disabled individuals said they’ve raised numerous concerns about the power and scope of the Accessible Canada Act, which the Liberal government first introduced in June. One the main concerns they raise is the fact that Bill C 81 does not contain timelines to ensure accessibility, contrary to similar provincial legislation on the books in three provinces. They also criticize the bill for allowing the government to create accessibility measures without requiring it to actually enact them, spreading enforcement over numerous government agencies and failing to recognize sign language as an official language of deaf people.

CRTC mandates standards for text-based accessibility messaging services

Sameer Chhabra, MobileSyrup, DEC 14, 2018
Canada’s telecommunications watchdog has issued a decision mandating standards for message relay services. According to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission’s (CRTC) December 14th, 2018 decision, groups that provide text-based message relay services (MRS) like teletypewriter relay (TTY) and internet protocol relay (IP relay) will be required to implement quality of service standards, as well as a standard for call answer time and typing speed.

Canada accedes to the Optional Protocol to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

CNW, Employment and Social Development Canada, December 3, 2018
the Honourable Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Public Services and Procurement and Accessibility, along with the ministers of Justice, Foreign Affairs and Canadian Heritage, announced that, with the support of all provinces and territories, Canada has acceded to the Optional Protocol to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Accession to the Optional Protocol means that Canadians will have additional recourse to make a complaint to the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, if they believe their rights under the Convention have been violated. Along with the proposed Accessible Canada Act, which was recently adopted by the House of Commons and is now before the Senate, today’s announcement shows that the Government of Canada is taking another step towards creating a barrier-free Canada.

Advocates urge Senate to improve national accessibility law

Laurie Monsebraaten, Social Justice Reporter, The Star, December 3, 2018
Disability activists say Ottawa has ignored their calls to strengthen Canada’s first national accessibility legislation and are urging the Senate to intervene. More than 90 groups, including the Council of Canadians with Disabilities and Ontario-based ARCH Disability Law, say the proposed Accessible Canada Act, passed by Parliament Nov. 27, is too weak to achieve its goal of making Canada barrier-free for over five million Canadians with disabilities.

Canada’s House of Commons Unanimously Passes Bill C-81, the Proposed Accessible Canada Act

Greg Thomson, AODA Alliance Update, November 29, 2018
On Tuesday, November 27, 2018, Canada’s House of Commons unanimously voted on Third Reading to pass Bill C-81, the proposed Accessible Canada Act. A number of amendments were made to the bill while it was being debated at the House of Commons’ Standing Committee that held public hearings about the bill in October. However, the federal Liberals used their majority in the House of Commons to defeat a series of important amendments that the opposition parties had commendably sought on behalf of people with disabilities in Canada. Over the past weeks, a strong and impressive consensus has emerged from the disability community on key amendments to Bill C-81 that are needed. Yet the Federal Government has largely rejected this consensus position. Before the Standing Committee began to debate amendments to the bill last month, a compelling October 30, 2018 Open Letter was sent to the Federal Government signed by 91 organizations.

Canadian Survey on Disability, 2017

Statistics Canada, The Daily, November 28, 2018
An estimated one in five Canadians (or 6.2 million) aged 15 years and over had one or more disabilities that limited them in their daily activities, according to new findings from the 2017 Canadian Survey on Disability (CSD). For many of these Canadians, challenges and obstacles in their day-to-day lives may limit their full participation in society. Understanding the challenges faced by persons with disabilities in their personal, employment, or economic situations helps inform government policy. In 2017, 57% of Canadians with disabilities had a “milder” disability (classified as having a mild or moderate disability) and 43% had a “more severe” disability (classified as having a severe or very severe disability). In all cases, the disability was severe enough to limit them to some extent in their daily activities. Statistics Canada has collected data on disability for more than 30 years, starting with the 1983 Canadian Health and Disability Survey. The 2017 Canadian Survey on Disability (CSD) provides comprehensive data on persons with disabilities by province and territory and age group, as well as disability types and severity of the disability.

Accessibility advocates want the Ontario government to put them to work

Taylor Simmons, CBC News, November 13, 2018
Committees working on provincial accessibility standards say their work’s been paused for too long. Accessibility advocates say the government hasn’t put several Standards Development Committees (SDCs), special groups looking at how to get rid of accessibility barriers in the province, back to work almost five months after the spring election. Their work is an essential part of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA), passed in 2005. All the parties voted to work toward making the province barrier-free by 2025. The SDCs are meant to study barriers in different sectors to make recommendations for an accessibility standard. They stopped work on May 8, 2018, when the provincial election campaign officially began.

Universities still struggle to make websites accessible to all

Lindsay McKenzie, Inside Higher Ed, November 6, 2018
Hundreds of colleges and universities across the country are currently under investigation by the Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights for failing to make their websites accessible to people with disabilities. Universities that receive federal financial aid are required by law to make reasonable accommodations to ensure their web content is accessible to everyone, including, but not limited to, people who are blind, deaf or have limited mobility. Awareness of the importance of web accessibility has grown among university leaders in recent years partly due to numerous well-publicized lawsuits. Yet ensuring that every aspect of a university’s sprawling web presence meets recommended web-accessibility standards remains a huge challenge.

Passengers taken off flight due to guide dogs allege discrimination

Adrian Ghobrial, CityNews Toronto, November 2, 2018
Two visually-impaired Toronto women will have their complaint investigated by the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal more than three years after they were removed from a flight at Pearson airport because of their service dogs. The pilot told Peel police to remove the passengers as they weren’t complying with airline policy to muzzle dogs.

Ontario dad says program for kids with disabilities has run out of cash for the year

Paula Duhatschek, CBC News, November 1, 2018
An Ontario dad is calling on the government to be honest with parents after he says he was told this week that a provincial program for children with disabilities had run out of cash for the year. In July, Moffatt found out his son was eligible – though not officially accepted – to the program according to a letter from the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services. And since then, Moffatt said he and his wife have been playing voicemail phone tag with the ministry, trying to find out the status of their son’s application. The answer came in a phone call this week, when Moffatt said he was told the program had run out of money for the rest of the fiscal year, and that he’d have to wait until at least the spring to get help.

In a powerful Open Letter sent to the Federal Government, An Extraordinary Lineup of Thirty-four Disability Organizations Unite to Press for Key Amendments

Greg Thomson, AODA Alliance, October 31, 2018
A major effort has just been unveiled by Canada’s disability community to get the Federal Government to amend Bill C-81, the Federal Government’s proposed Accessible Canada Act, to transform it into a strong and effective bill. Thirty-four disability organizations in Canada have united to jointly send the Federal Government an open letter. This letter, delivered to the Federal Government by the Council of Canadians with Disabilities (CCD), identifies nine significant concerns with the bill, where the bill must be strengthened through amendments. The timing of this open letter is pivotal. The political parties must file their proposed amendments to the bill this Friday. The House of Commons’ Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities will start to vote on proposed amendments to the bill on November 8, 2018. The Federal Government has said that this bill is designed to reflect the principle: Nothing about us without us! The amendments that will be made to this bill are where the Federal Government can put that pledge into action.

AODA review hopes to address what it means to be accessible

Matt Vis,, October 31, 2018
Former Ontario lieutenant governer David Onley, who is conducting a legislative review of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, held a town hall session in Thunder Bay on Tuesday, October 30, 2018. The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, passed in 2005, gave the province 20 years to become fully accessible. With that target date now less than a decade away, David Onley believes it’s important to figure out what exactly it means to be accessible. The act in 2005 required municipalities with a population of more than 10,000 people to have municipal accessibility advisory committees. Onley said he has heard across the province that members of those committees don’t feel like they’re listened to or paid attention, which is something he said should be assessed.

Justice Department failing disabled people and businesses, advocates and attorneys say

wusa9 TV News, October 12, 2018
Advocates argue innovation is ignoring disabled Americans, denying their right to access the Internet, and leaving millions of people lost in the digital space. Eric Bridges, ACB Executive Director, is featured in this news video. It is reported that more than 800 accessibility lawsuits were launched in 2017, and it is expected more than 2,000 by the end of this year.

Interview with Mike Gifford, Drupal 8 Core Accessibility maintainer

By Ana, Agiledrop, September 24, 2018
Agiledrop is highlighting active Drupal community members through a series of interviews. Learn who are the people behind Drupal projects. This week we talked with Mike Gifford. Read about what his company is striving to achieve, where he thinks has been a lot of movement in the last 2 years regarding Drupal and what contribution to open source is he proud of. Drupal 8 has centralized many elements of accessibility that make it easier to make and maintain an accessible site.

Province announces plans to support accessibility law passed in 2017

CBC News, September 21, 2018
Nova Scotia has announced the next steps to reach its goal of making the province more accessible for those with disabilities by 2030. Justice Minister Mark Furey has released an implementation strategy for the province’s Accessibility Act, passed in April 2017. When the new law was passed in 2017, Nova Scotia became the third province with accessibility legislation joining Manitoba and Ontario. the document, entitled Access by Design 2030, identifies priorities for accessibility standards, including the formation of committees that will develop standards for public buildings, streets, sidewalks and shared spaces, as well as education. The government said public consultations will continue as the standards are developed and implemented.

Ontario Human Rights Commission releases policy on accessible education

Alexandra Elves, The Charlatan, Carleton’s independent newspaper, September 20, 2018
The Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) recently released a new policy on accessible education for students with disabilities, which says students with disabilities continue to face barriers in all levels of education. The OHRC also released recommendations on how education providers can best meet legal obligations under Ontario’s Human Rights Code. Statistics Canada reports that Ontarians with disabilities continue to have lower educational achievement levels, a higher unemployment rate, and are more likely to have a lower income than people without disabilities.

Empower the right department to manage disability supports

Jennifer Zwicker and Stephanie Dunn, Institute for Research on Public Policy, September 4, 2018
Breaking Down Barriers is the title and galvanizing theme of a June 2018 report from the Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology. It recommends urgently needed measures to improve access to underutilized federal disability supports: the disability tax credit (DTC) and the Registered Disability Savings Plan (RDSP). The recommendations are broad in scope. They include streamlining the DTC and RDSP application processes and making eligibility criteria simpler and more appropriate. The report also recommends ensuring that relevant agencies are collecting data to monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of the DTC and the RDSP, as well as undertaking effective outreach to improve uptake. It does not make sense that staff at the Canada Revenue Agency determine eligibility for complex programs that support Canadians with disabilities.

bB.C. residents with disabilities demand a say on proposed accessibility law

By Nick Eagland, Vancouver Sun, July 16, 2018
More than 600,000 people in B.C. have disabilities. Many of them encounter barriers in society that keep them from fully participating. While they are protected by human rights legislation, they must prove on a case-by-case basis that their rights have been denied. To address that — and after federal legislation was proposed last month to improve accessibility for people with disabilities — the B.C. government will begin creating a provincial disabilities act this fall. People with disabilities in B.C. are making it clear they want to play a major role in its design.

A Look at Premier Doug Ford’s First Throne Speech from the Perspective of Ensuring that Ontario Becomes Accessible to 1.9 Million Ontarians with Disabilities by 2025

By Greg Thomson, Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Alliance, July 13, 2018
Ontario Premier Doug Ford’s first Throne Speech, read at Queen’s Park on July 12, said nothing about taking new action to ensure that Ontario becomes accessible to 1.9 million Ontarians with disabilities by 2025, the deadline which all parties set in the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act 2005. The Throne Speech is where a Government sets out, at a high level, its priorities for action.

Advocates welcome Ontario minister responsible for accessibility

By Laurie Monsebraaten, Social Justice Reporter, The Star, July 3, 2018
Advocates for the disabled are praising the Ford government for appointing a cabinet minister to oversee the often-intersecting areas of accessibility and seniors’ issues. Progressive Conservative Premier Doug Ford appointed Scarborough North MPP Raymond Cho minister for seniors and accessibility on June 29.

Disability rights advocates welcome national legislation

By Laurie Monsebraaten, Social Justice Reporter, The Star, June 21, 2018
Disability rights advocates welcome long-awaited national accessibility legislation, tabled in Ottawa Wednesday, but say the law needs significant strengthening to meet its goals. The Accessible Canada Act, which covers federally regulated sectors such as banking, inter-provincial and international transportation, telecommunications and government-run services such as Canada Post, aims to “identify, remove and prevent” barriers for an estimated 4 million Canadians with a physical, sensory, mental, intellectual, learning, communication or other disabilities. The government has earmarked $290 million over six years to implement the legislation, which includes fines of up to $250,000 for violations.

Federal government tables Canada’s first national accessibility law

Michelle McQuigge, The Canadian Press reporter, The Globe and Mail, June 20, 2018
Canadians with disabilities felt a surge of tempered optimism on Wednesday as they watched Canada table its first piece of federal legislation aimed at improving accessibility for people with disabilities. The Accessible Canada Act, presented hours before the house rose for the summer, fulfils a promise to have disability-related legislation on the table by spring 2018. The government pledged $290-million over six years towards supporting its implementation. The Act’s stated purpose is to “identify, remove and prevent” accessibility barriers in areas that fall under federal jurisdiction. This includes built environments, federally run programs and services, banking, telecommunications and transportation that crosses provincial lines.

Minister Duncan introduces the proposed Accessible Canada Act

Media Relations Office, Employment and Social Development Canada, June 20, 2018
Today, following the most inclusive and accessible consultation with Canadians with disabilities and with the disability community, the Honourable Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science and Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities, introduced the proposed Accessible Canada Act to Parliament. This historic legislation would enable the Government of Canada to take a proactive approach to end systemic discrimination of people with disabilities. The goal of the legislation is to benefit all Canadians, especially Canadians with disabilities, through the progressive realization of a barrier-free Canada. The act would establish a model to eliminate accessibility barriers and lead to more consistent accessibility in areas under federal jurisdiction across Canada.
Bill C-81 (42-1) – First Reading – Accessible Canada Act – Parliament of Canada

Some voters report issues with accessible voting machines in Ontario

Michelle McQuigge, The Canadian Press, June 6, 2018
As Ontario gets set to elect a new government, some disabled voters say accommodations put in place to allow them to cast their ballots independently and privately are not working as intended. They say elections workers were helpful and respectful, but not always trained on accessible voting options and sometimes did not offer them or didn’t readily know how to make them available.

Social Economy and Disability: a winning formula to be promoted

By Yannis Vardakastanis, President, European Disability Forum, Journal General of Europe, June 4, 2018
Reflections on the occasion of the European Social Economy Day
Seven months ago the leaders of the 28 EU member states adopted in Stockholm the so-called European Pillar of Social Rights, by which they committed to a set of 20 principles and rights. Even though most of us in the disability movement believe that EU leaders should have been more ambitious and should have converted those political statements into more concrete and enforceable policy and legislative initiatives, we could not but welcome the explicit recognition that people with disabilities have the right to income support that ensures living in dignity, services that enable them to participate in the labour market and in society, and a work environment adapted to their needs. The celebration of the European Social Economy Day on 4 June is a good occasion to reflect on the role that this sector has been playing and can play in the future to help achieve these goals, in particular as a job generator.

University of Guelph installs BlindSquare app to guide students who are visually impaired

Kate Bueckert, CBC News, June 1, 2018
A new wayfinding system will help University of Guelph students who are blind or visually impaired get around campus this fall, and all students need to do to access it is download an app on their phone. A few years ago, the university wanted to do more to make signs more inclusive and accessible. The university is the first in Canada to install it on campus, and it’s the first campus in the world to have all three levels (beacons, GPS and QR codes). The goal is to have the entire University of Guelph campus on the BlindSquare within five years.

New TTC and GO stations difficult, dangerous for people with disabilities

Jaren Kerr, Staff Reporter, The Star, May 15, 2018
Toronto’s subway and train stations, including the TTC’s newest, have design flaws that can make travelling difficult or dangerous for people with disabilities, according to a new video that illustrates the problems.
A 30 minute video released Tuesday
Making Progress on Disability Issues: The Agenda with Steve Paikin,, May 21, 2018

Provincial Parties encouraged to show leadership on disability issues at upcoming debate

Robin Simmons, The Centre for Independent Living in Toronto (CILT), April 26, 2018
Non-partisan community partners invite persons with disabilities, their friends and families and the public to the Province-Wide Debate on Accessibility and Disability Issues. Representatives of Ontario’s political parties will be fielding questions about housing, employment, poverty reduction strategies, Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA), Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP), and more. Community Partners invite people with disabilities and their allies from across Ontario to ask questions to each party.
Date: Wednesday, May 16, 2018
Time: 6 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
Location: Tecumseh Auditorium, Ryerson University. 55 Gould St., Toronto
LiveStreame: Event live streaming

Blind customers locked out by bank web upgrades

Sally Abrahams and Lee Kumutat, BBC Radio 4, Money Box, May 6, 2018
HSBC, Metro Bank and Halifax have all admitted to failings after redesigning websites that made it hard for their blind or visually impaired customers to access full services online. In a statement, HSBC told Money Box it has just finished upgrading the site again, and saying we apologise to those who may have experienced problems accessing the site during this update. More than two million people in the UK have vision problems that can’t be corrected with prescription glasses. And over a third of a million are registered blind or partially sighted. Under the Equality Act, firms must not discriminate against anyone by failing to provide them with a service. And that includes banking services. Companies that don’t comply could face a claim for damages.

Ontario educational system failing students with intellectual disabilities: report

Andrea Gordon, Education Reporter, The Star, May 4, 2018
Students face daunting academic and social barriers that can leave them excluded, vulnerable to bullying and set them up for low expectations for the future, said the report, a joint project by experts in disabilities law and education. Their parents are asked to keep them home from school, pick them up early and must fight hard to get them the supports they are legally entitled to. This is the reality for many students with intellectual disabilities and their families in Ontario, according to a new report released Friday, conducted by the Toronto District School Board Special Education Advisory Committee, which provides a rare look at how this vulnerable group is faring in school. To Learn More About the Disability Barriers in Ontario’s Education System,
read the survey results, of Parents of Students with Special Education Needs, April 2018.

Consultation: Improving accessibility standards for transportation

Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Division, Accessibility Directorate of Ontario, May 4, 2018
The AODA review committee has submitted their final proposed revisions to the Transportation Standards of the AODA to the Minister Responsible for Accessibility. The minister may accept the 32 proposed revisions in whole, in part, or with modifications. Any proposed changes to the transportation standards will be posted to the Regulatory Registry. Read the initial recommendations.

Activists push for independent enforcement of Ontario’s accessibility law

Laurie Monsebraaten, Social Justice Reporter, The Toronto Star, April 18, 2018
After five years of lax enforcement of Ontario’s groundbreaking accessibility legislation, disability activists want Queen’s Park to hand over enforcement responsibilities to an independent public agency. The call comes in the wake of a new report that shows a 2015 government crackdown on accessibility scofflaws never really happened and that the government has imposed just six monetary penalties despite thousands of known violations. The AODA-Alliance has asked all party leaders to commit to moving enforcement of the AODA to an independent public agency, if elected premier in June.
Read more about the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Alliance (AODA-Alliance).

Accessibility advocates express cautious optimism about Ontario budget

Michelle McQuigge, The Canadian Press, CTV Kitchener News, March 31, 2018
Accessibility advocates are expressing cautious optimism about measures in the latest Ontario budget that fund programs for developmentally disabled people, enhance social assistance and boost mental health support. Over the next three years, the budget promises to pump $1.8 billion into services for developmentally disabled people and invest $2.3 billion into social assistance programs, which will loosen restrictions recipients have long contended keep them in poverty. Implementation of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) — which promises full accessibility — has fallen behind in recent years, advocates say, arguing the budget contains no plan to ensure the law is completely in place by 2025 as promised.

TTC rider pushes transit agency to improve communication with hearing-impaired customers

Ben Spurr, Transportation Reporter, Toronto Star, March 29, 2018
More than a decade after an advocate for the blind won a landmark human rights case against the TTC, a hearing-impaired transit user is calling on the agency to improve its communication with riders who have hearing loss. Leona Zultek argues that by not devising ways to provide hearing-impaired customers with the same information as other riders, the TTC is failing in its obligation to communicate with all passengers regardless of their abilities.

Who Enforces AODA Accessibility Compliance Requirements?

Greg Thomson,, March 22, 2018
The Accessibility compliance and enforcement report 2017 outlines the activities undertaken by the Accessibility Directorate of Ontario in 2017 to oversee compliance with the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act and its accessibility standards. In the Second Legislative Review of the AODA, reviewer Mayo Moran made recommendations aimed to determine who enforces AODA accessibility compliance requirements. These included making an enforcement plan, building transparency into the plan, and incorporating feedback into compliance and enforcement. This report details the activities throughout the year to ensure compliance. The proactive communication and outreach strategies, as well as the verifications of compliance that the directorate performs is included. Read more articles by Greg Thomson, Author at Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA).

One hundred years enough for the CNIB

Graeme McCreath, An independent blind activist and executive member of the Canadian Federation of the Blind, Times Colonist, MARCH 18, 2018
Is the CNIB’s centennial this year really something to celebrate? The Canadian National Institute for the Blind came about directly because of the high profile of gas-blinded heroes of the First World War and survivors of the 1917 Halifax explosion. As a self-preservation policy, the institute eventually turned to influencing government to designate all blind Canadians permanent wards of a charity, but in reality, recipients of little. Although blind citizens’ treatment does somewhat mirror the First Nations experience, it does not have the same profile to generate conscious political recognition. Instead, Canada’s custodial treatment of its blind citizens just continues to reinforce the public’s morbid fear of blindness. In 2018, we need government to recognize and treat blind citizens as contributing, respected and worthy members of society.

Trudeau Liberals axe funding for blind and vision-impaired books

Brian Hill, Associate Producer, Global News, March 10, 2018
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government has decided it will no longer fund the production of accessible books for blind and vision-impaired Canadians, Global News has learned. Starting April 1, the Canadian National Institute for the Blind (CNIB), which is Canada’s largest producer of accessible and alternate-format books, will no longer receive government funding for converting conventional books into accessible formats. The news comes nine days before the CNIB is set to celebrate its 100th anniversary.

Advocates question independence of provincial accessibility review

Laurie Monsebraaten, Social Justice Reporter, Toronto Star, March 8, 2018
Accessibility advocates are questioning the Wynne government’s recent appointment of former lieutenant-governor David Onley to lead the next independent review of Ontario’s landmark accessibility legislation. They say Onley, a childhood polio survivor, who completed a three-year appointment last fall as the government’s special adviser on accessibility, should not be reviewing the same policies and actions he so recently defended in that role.

Embracing Human Diversity: Policies and Enabling Factors for Accessible Technologies

Alejandro Moledo, United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD), March 6, 2018
This contribution is published as part of the UNRISD Think Piece Series, From Disruption to Transformation? Linking Technology and Human Rights for Sustainable Development. It isn’t news that we live in an exciting moment for technology. From artificial intelligence and machine learning to robotics, 3D printing, virtual realities or smart environments, it seems like these so-called emerging technologies will soon become an everyday reality that could underpin progress worldwide. But are these new technologies designed for all? There are one billion persons with disabilities globally and as societies become older, more and more people will face functional limitations related to age. Will these technologies be accessible for them as well?

ShopTalk app opening doors for visually impaired

City News Toronto, March 5, 2018
The TTC is participating in an innovative program, the ShopTalk: BlindSquare Enabled project, which features a mobile app to enhance community accessibility for those with vision loss.

The Wynne Government Appoints a Person to Conduct an Independent Review of the Disabilities Act

Alliance Update United for a Barrier-Free Ontario for All People with Disabilities, February 9, 2018
On Wednesday, February 7, 2018, the Wynne Government announced that it had appointed the Honourable David Onley to conduct the next mandatory Independent Review of the implementation and enforcement of the 2005 Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA). The AODA Alliance has serious concerns about this appointment, despite Mr. Onley’s deep and commendable commitment to accessibility for people with disabilities. It is essential that a person appointed to conduct an AODA Independent Review meet two equally important qualifications: First, they should have sufficient knowledge or expertise to conduct the Independent Review. There is no doubt that David Onley meets this requirement. The second requirement is that the person be fully independent and impartial, and be seen by the public as being fully independent and impartial. We regret that Mr. Onley does not meet this vital second requirement.

Province Selects The Honourable David C. Onley to Review Ontario’s Accessibility Laws

Accessibility Directorate of Ontario, Ontario Newsroom, February 7, 2018
Ontario has appointed the Honourable David C. Onley to conduct the third review of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA). The reviewer will consult with the public and will analyze accessibility progress made in other jurisdictions. The review will be completed by the end of 2018 and will consider the evolution of the current AODA and its goals for an accessible Ontario by 2025 and beyond.

Does the government make it too hard for people with disabilities to work?

By Monique Scotti, National Online Journalist, Global News, February 5, 2018
The federal Conservatives have tabled a bill in the House of Commons that they say will help get more Canadians with disabilities into the workforce, arguing that right now, it can be more affordable for them to stay out of it. The private member’s bill, is unlikely to pass unless the Conservatives get the Liberals on-side. If it does pass, the bill (labeled The Opportunity for Workers with Disabilities Act) would amend the Federal-Provincial Fiscal Arrangements Act to ensure that Canadians with disabilities don’t lose more through taxation or the loss of benefits than they gain as a result of finding a job.

UberAssist driver fined for denying ride to Paralympian

Desmond Brown, Toronto CBC News, February 6, 2018
An UberAssist driver who refused to pick up a blind Paralympian last year because of her service dog has been fined $250. Victoria Nolan, who captured bronze at the 2016 Rio Games in four-mixed rowing, had finished training at the Toronto Pan Am Sports Centre when she decided to try UberAssist for the first time. The ride-hailing service is designed specifically to be accessible to people with disabilities. But when the driver arrived and saw Nolan’s guide dog, he took off.

CNIB Calls for Senate of Canada to Include Strengthened Requirements to Accommodate Canadians With Sight Loss

Accessibility News International, Ottawa, January 30, 2018
CNIB is calling on the Senate of Canada to make amendments to strengthen requirements to accommodate Canadians with sight loss. As the Senate resumes sitting at the end of January, they will continue their study of Bill C-49, the Transportation Modernization Act. CNIB supports the passage of this important piece of legislation, specifically the creation of an airline Passenger Bill of Rights. The Senate has two options: pass the Bill as is or send it back to the House of Commons with amendments.