Accessibility In The News 2022

Top Stories

Mohawk College faces criticism for cancelling program geared to help people with disabilities

Kate McCullough, Hamilton Spectator Reporter, June 30, 2022
When a blind disability advocate reached out to Mohawk College to complain they’d cancelled a program that trains students to develop accessible media, he received a response in a format he couldn’t fully read. The irony of the situation was not lost on David Lepofsky, chair of advocacy group Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) Alliance — given the right to have documents that are accessible to all was one of the things he was fighting for. The Hamilton community college has been under scrutiny since suspending AMP, the only known program of its sort in Canada, earlier this month. It trains students to develop documents, websites, social media and video accessible to people with disabilities.

Building Momentum for a Barrier-Free Canada

Accessibility Standards Canada, 2021 to 2022 Annual Report, June 2022
Our organization and its structure are now firmly established. Our staff, policies, and procedures are in place. We are now fully engaged in carrying out our mandate. We are motivated, and we feel confident that we will reach our goals. Over the past year, by engaging with our work and with people with disabilities, we have produced great results. We are pleased to share them with you in this report.

Mohawk College faces backlash for shuttering one-of-a-kind Accessible Media Production program

Bobby Hristova, reporter, CBC News Hamilton, June 9, 2022
Mohawk College is facing criticism over its move to shutter Accessible Media Production — its one-of-a-kind program geared toward making Canada more accessible to people with disabilities. The eight-month, online, post-graduation certificate program teaches students how to create accessible content, like captions and described video, and delves into disability legislation and inclusive writing. It also includes a capstone project. While the Hamilton-based college says the program will be replaced by micro-credentials and no content will be lost, the program’s creator, who is also the lead on developing the micro-credentials, is skeptical.
Disability Advocates Press Mohawk College to Reverse Wrong-Headed Cancellation of its Much-Needed Accessible Media Production Program. The last thing Ontario needs is for yet another backwards step on the obstacle-strewn road to making Ontario accessible to 2.6 million Ontarians with disabilities. Yet that is what has just harmfully been done by Mohawk College, a community college that is fully funded and overseen by the Ontario Government. For several years, Mohawk College has offered an excellent Accessible Media Production graduate certificate program. It gives desperately needed training on how to produce disability-accessible websites, electronic documents, videos and the like. Digital accessibility is a vital part of the goal of Ontario becoming disability accessible by 2025, as is required by Ontario’s Disabilities Act.

Business ownership among persons with disabilities in Canada

By Amélie Lafrance-Cooke and Robby Bemrose, Economic and Social Reports, January 18, 2022
This paper provides a sociodemographic profile of business owners with disabilities using 2017 administrative tax data. It evaluates how sociodemographic characteristics of business owners with disabilities intersect and compares them with those of business owners without disabilities. It also examines the firm-level measures of these businesses, including firm size, industry, exports and financial characteristics. According to the 2017 Canadian Survey on Disability, approximately 3.7 million Canadians aged 25 to 64 have a disability and, as a result, are limited in their daily activities. While about 65% of these working-age Canadians were also in the labour force, they are disproportionately underrepresented in the labour force compared with persons without disabilities. Previous research has shown that persons with disabilities face challenges and barriers in the labour market that can negatively impact their earnings. The COVID-19 pandemic further highlighted the vulnerability of this population, particularly in terms of unique challenges that they may face, which intensified over the pandemic.

The Agenda with Steve Paikin’s Discussion of the Ontario Election’s Disability issues, with AODA Alliance Chair David Lepofsky

Ontario’s flagship public affairs program The Agenda with Steve Paikin, May 11, 2022
Tell Candidates that the Million-Strong Disability Vote Counts! It’s time for voters with disabilities and voters without disabilities to swing into action. We need your help to press the Ontario Conservative Party to answer our November 22, 2022 request for election commitments to make Ontario accessible to 2.6 million Ontarians with disabilities. The other parties have done so. Our goal is to get the Tories to do so as well. As in the last seven Ontario elections, our non-partisan coalition does not try to elect or defeat any party or candidate. No matter who is elected, we want Ontario to have a strong plan to lead this province to full accessibility for people with disabilities. Help us, no matter which party you support, or if you support no party at all.

Canadian Human Rights Commission welcomes Canada’s first Accessibility Commissioner

Marie-Claude Landry, Chief Commissioner, Canadian Human Rights Commission, April 27, 2022
The Canadian Human Rights Commission is pleased to welcome Michael Gottheil, by Order in Council, as Canada’s first Accessibility Commissioner. Commissioner Gottheil brings to his new role his extensive experience and expertise as an adjudicator, mediator and educator in various fields of law, including human rights, administrative, labour and employment law. Throughout his career, he has worked on initiatives that seek to make justice more accessible, effective and responsive to the needs of the public. He is particularly interested in how building organizational capacity, along with community partnerships can lead to tangible benefits for those who have traditionally faced barriers and disadvantage in our society.

Convoy Occupation's Politics Pose Unique Threat to Disabled People

The Maple, GABRIELLE PETERS, February 18, 2022
When the convoy-turned-occupation took hold of Ottawa, disabled people were uniquely impacted and faced particular risks. People who required support could no longer access it; streets were no longer being cleared of snow; and sidewalks had vehicles parked on them. Public space was overrun by those whose interpretation of “freedom” left no room for social responsibility to others and treats someone else’s choice to wear a mask as a provocation. Although police now appear to be moving in to clear the occupation, there are long-term implications stemming from what happened over the past three weeks. The Maple reached out to disabled people in Ottawa and Winnipeg, where convoy protests took place, to discuss the impact of these occupations on their lives and their thoughts about the situation.

The crisis is real: Where are the web accessibility professionals?

WebAIM, January 2022
The need is here now, and it will continue. The Wall Street Journal indicated that many companies are looking for personnel with accessibility skills and that they can’t find them easily. A quick scan of job postings bears this out today. As of January 27, 2022, ZipRecruiter had nearly 45,000 positions referencing web accessibility. LinkedIn had over 3,100 jobs for web accessibility personnel. The need for jobs in digital accessibility will continue to increase. This is happening because real people are facing real issues with respect to equitable access. When Covid-19 hit, this need only grew.

It's Discriminatory: Students Of Ontario School For The Blind Urge Province To End Virtual Learning

admin, The Street Journal, January 27, 2022
In a video circulating online, blind and low-vision students of W. Ross Macdonald School in Brantford, Ontario urged the provincial government to reopen lodging so they can return to in-person learning. Everyone else is allowed to go back to school right now, I feel like it’s discriminatory, said student Megan Myers. Being online means we don’t have equal access to education, and as people who are already a minority in society this is a major setback, said student Jade Ondrick.In an interview with Global News, 18-year-old Ondrick said she is losing out on important life skills because the school’s lodging program has been shut down.

Bringing a Closing to Disclosing the Clothing

Jack Bernard, Braille Monitor, January 2022
I have noticed a growing trend. Some people are adopting the practice of giving physical descriptions of themselves at the beginning of meetings or presentations. This practice, I am told, is intended to support and welcome people who are blind or visually impaired. While this practice is not yet a dominant norm, it appears to be burgeoning. We should nip this well-meaning effort in the bud because it is unhelpful and begets other problems. In this essay I will unpack for you why I think we should not encourage this practice and, instead, should actively discourage it. This Practice Is Not Helpful.

Sprott consultants help organizations innovate for impact

Andrew Webb, Carleton University, January 2022
Students at Carleton University’s Sprott School of Business are making an impact across a wide range of organizations through their work with the Sprott Student Consulting Group. Over the past six months, Sprott student consultants have taken on projects that will help bring health care innovation to clinical practice, contribute to the future of a legacy multisport complex, and advance accessibility and equality for blind Canadians.