Blog Articles

Canadian Blindness Articles

The State of Tech Report

Workforce Windsor-Essex recently released a report, March 18, outlining The State of Tech in Windsor-Essex. The report addresses the tech brain drain that has led to the relocation of local tech talent. The tech sector provides essential support to the region, but who is telling the narrative.

Coping With Global Business Disruptions

The digital age of amazing innovations and human right challenges has imposed unprecedented pressures upon organizations and has disrupted traditional business processes. The struggle for competitive advantage has forced organizations to become more flexible, adaptable and value driven. This has had a huge impact on the health of Canadian workers, and has resulted in systemic barriers in the job market for Canadians with disabilities. To prepare for 2024, organizations need to evaluate past performance success indicators and determine what changes are necessary for increased market growth in 2024. Let us look at some measurable indicators that reflect progress during the past year.

The Business of Accessibility Virtual Workshop

Gain valuable insights into the world of accessibility and how it can benefit your business in a highly competitive global market.
Hosted by WEtech Alliance
the Ontario government, passed into law the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) in 2005, and has been working to create an accessible and inclusive province with the goal of full inclusion by January 1, 2025. Understanding the global trends of innovation technology and human rights is critical for Ontario organizations to thrive and set acceptable business value standards of inclusion for the world.
The digital revolution has disrupted the traditional management model in doing business, and the struggle for competitive advantage has forced organizations to respond to rapid changes in technology innovation and human rights demands. That is, the ease of access to digital information has shifted the balance of power from large corporations to small businesses, as creativity and collaboration bridge the knowledge gap.
Are large companies taking advantage of your limited resources by offering false promises and miss leading information about digital accessibility? Is the cost of doing business overwhelming and reducing the return on investment? Accessibility strategies integrated into your business will prevent costly infrastructure transformations down the road, and allow you to reach 100% of the market instead of just the 80% of easy to reac consumers.
Join me on Wednesday, November 29 at 9-10AM/ET to consider the business strategies that can expand your market growth through accessible digital communications.
eventbrite registration

Bridging The Economic Prosperity Gap

Wetech global disability awareness day webinar.
Hosted by WEtech Alliance
December 3rd is the annual observance day of the International Day of Disabled Persons, which was proclaimed in 1992 by the United Nations General Assembly resolution 47/3. The observance of the Day aims to promote an understanding of disability issues and mobilize support for the dignity, rights and well-being of persons with disabilities. It also seeks to increase awareness of gains to be derived from the integration of persons with disabilities in every aspect of political, social, economic and cultural life.
Innovation and collaboration is the intersection of creativity, and creativity can generate inclusion and prosperity. If you are a business owner or a member of a local disability community support group, join me on December 6th at 10-11AM/ET to engage in a dialog about building closer relationships between the business and disability communities. Working together we can influence the design of products and services in developing more inclusive communities.
Nihil de nobis, sine nobis – Nothing about us without us
Bridging barriers through cor principles.
Dignity: From information to knowledge (Knowledge is power)
Independence: From accessibility to usability (Usability is enabling)
Integration: From passive to active (Active is inclusive)
Equality: From chaos to stability (Stability is satisfaction)
Join the discussion

YouTube: WEtech GAAD 2023 Breaking Barriers Webinar

WEtech Alliance: Breaking Barriers – Unlocking Business Potential Through Accessibility, May 18, 2023
Join WEtech Alliance and EPICentre on Global Accessibility Awareness Day for a virtual session featuring accessibility. In this session, we will explore the benefits of improving accessibility for your company and your workplace and how it can unlock business potential. The purpose of GAAD is to get everyone talking, thinking and learning about digital access and inclusion, and the more than One Billion people with disabilities/impairments.

Startup Canada Podcast: Accessibility as a Competitive Advantage with David Best

Startup Canada Podcast, EPISODE 406, May 16, 2023
Accessibility as a Competitive Advantage with David Best.

AT BANTER EPISODE 313, December 7, 2022

This week it’s not only the biggest episode we’ve ever done, but one of the most important. We’re packing the Anti-Gloom Zoom Room full this week as Rob, Ryan, Lis, and Steve welcome the members of the Triple Vision Podcast – Peter Field, Charlie Ayotte, Hanna Leavitt, and David Best – to talk about their show which aims to rebuild the narrative of the experience of Blind Canadians in history through research and personal stories. They discuss the podcast’s origins and the importance of ensuring that the story of Canadians who are blind or partially sighted are told by the community and not lost to time.

Triple Vision on Accessible Media Inc. (AMI)

From the AEBC’s Pandora Project and AMI-audio comes a new podcast that aims to tell the history and stories of blind Canadians. Join co-hosts David Best and Hanna Leavitt as they speak to historians, community members and those who were there for the moments that shaped the lives of blind Canadians for generations. On Triple Vision, hosts David Best and Hanna Leavitt bring you the history of Canadians who are blind, deafblind, and partially sighted, one story at a time, illuminating the challenges of the past, present, and future.
Triple Vision on Apple Podcasts
Triple Vision Podcast on Spotify

Entrepreneurship Is The Backbone Of Our Economy

By David Best, Accessibility Digital Communications Specialist, October 2022
October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month.
Our economic growth depends upon entrepreneurs; So, give people with a disability an opportunity.
Employment programs need to support individuals with a disability, rather than the large company employer, and SMEs need to tap into the disability talent pool.
Small businesses have been called the backbone of our economy, as businesses with fewer than 100 workers employ about 65% of the total private labour force in Canada. In total, SMEs employ about 88.5 percent of the private sector workforce highlighting the important role SMEs play in employing Canadians. SMEs’ contribution to gross domestic product is about 55% compared to the 45% of large businesses.

The Business Accessibility Scam

By David Best, Accessibility Digital Communications Specialist, October 2022
October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month.
The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 (AODA) is intended to reduce and remove barriers for people with disabilities so that Ontario can become more accessible and inclusive for everyone. Collaboration among businesses, organizations, communities and all levels of government is key to reaching this goal.
Do not adopt AI Overlays as an accessibility solution unless you can absolutely confirm that it conforms to your business accessibility strategy.

The Canadian Council of The Blind An Abbreviated History

By Gordon Dingle, Alliance for Equality of Blind Canadians, April 2021
Prior to 1941 numerous independent associations of the blind existed across local Canadian communities. The Manitoba League of the Blind (Winnipeg), however, called for meetings between 1941 and 1943 with the London Association of the Blind of Ontario and other interested parties. These same groups met again in 1944 and established the Inter-Provincial “Council”. When they parted, they faced the task of bringing together representatives from across Canada to establish a national body. The Council recognizes the value of fostering relations with International colleagues for what we can learn from each other. As these ongoing activities are nurtured or expanded, the organization is in the active process of re-defining its structure with a view to providing a more responsive, inclusive, efficient vehicle and productive forum for blind Canadians.

Preparing Blind People for the Rest of Reality

By Joe Orozco, blog, April 12, 2021
There’s never been a better time to be blind, or so I’ve heard. And I have to ask: How low have we dropped the bar? I was recently chatting with a friend. I forget exactly how the subject came up, but we found ourselves discussing blind people and entry level jobs. I expressed frustration at the blindness consumer groups for not doing a better job of partnering with national chains to employ blind people. If the unemployment rate among the blind persists deep into double digits, why would we not fight to change the landscape? The number of jobs that ask for a high school education or jobs that do not require formal education to fulfill are growing at the slowest rate compared to other trends. Blind people should be prepared for the inevitability of automation, but in the meantime, it does not seem reasonable that blind people should be kept out of the jobs in retail, hospitality, and recreation so common to Americans as early as adolescence.

A discussion paper in support of the Canadian Federation of the Blind’s complaint to the Competition Bureau Canada

By Daryl Jones, The Blind Canadian, Volume 18, CFB, December 2020
The Canadian National Institute for the Blind (CNIB) was created in 1918 to help victims of the Halifax Explosion and soldiers who lost their eyesight during the First World War. Over the past hundred years, the CNIB has grown into a corporate behemoth, with a highly paid executive, a full-time staff of 646, a part-time staff of 306, and over 10,000 volunteers. The CNIB controls the blindness business in Canada and its reach has spread throughout the lives of the blind, including providing them public library services. One consequence of this market dominance is that the charity holds great power over the lives of the blind. The CFB hopes that this report will become a catalyst and will trigger a long-overdue dialogue and debate on the need for a new competitive model to provide services for blind and visually-impaired Canadians.

Slide Presentation: The Leadership of Accessibility

By David Best, City of Toronto Information Technology Services, March 2019
The accessibility challenge is the deficit gap between the user abilities and the system capabilities. The goal is to bridge the accessibility gap, through inclusive design, that will create the best possible end-user experience. Accessibility is a measurement of productivity, and productivity defines usability. Usability is concerned with effectiveness, efficiency and satisfaction through multiple means of representation, multiple means of expression, and multiple means of engagement. That is, design is the bridge between the information delivery and the knowledge received. If you do not understand the information then it is just noise, and your limited understanding will impair your decision making. That is, cognitive considerations for visualization and the information interface design, are important for making products and services accessible and usable. The bridge design must consider the physical and cognitive characteristics of people with a holistic user interface that incorporates vision, audio, and touch, so as to close the gap of inclusion.
YouTube: City of Toronto Accessibility Forum (51:30 David Best speaking)

What is Universal Design?

By David Best, Alliance for Equality of Blind Canadians (AEBC), January 17, 2019
Design is all around us, but for the most part it reflects the perception of the designer, and if the product or service fails your need then the design concepts are flawed. Design is the bridge that spans the digital divide to overcomes barriers between the delivery of information and the understanding knowledge that impacts life decisions. Design flaws are the barriers that keep people from benefiting from products and services. The accessibility core principles must be understood by all designers, if we are going to achieve universal inclusion within Canadian society. Universal Inclusive Design is based on Transparent Interfaces, Ubiquitous Access, and Adaptive levels of Engagement. Let us consider the barriers that must be removed, so as to close the digital divide.

Let’s Talk About A Digital Canada

By David Best, Alliance for Equality of Blind Canadians (AEBC), April 11, 2018
Join me at the 26th annual AEBC AGM – Our Journey, Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow, April 27-29, 2018. The conference will be held at the Metrotown Hilton in Burnaby, BC. For 25 years the AEBC has played a critical role in targeting its advocacy efforts to change the lives of Canadians who are blind, deaf-blind, and partially sighted for the better. With the rapid deployment of technology, however, and the pace of change which surrounds us, the AEBC must learn to become a more nimble organization, capable of responding in a quick and effective way to the world around us. Join us to celebrate, reflect, engage with others, and give voice to AEBC in creating positive social change.

Join the discussion on how to make government better

By David Best, Alliance for Equality of Blind Canadians (AEBC), March 13, 2018
The Creating Canada’s 4th Plan on Open Government 2018 to 2020 is currently underway. The Canadian government is seeking your ideas, experiences, insights, and stories in making government better. What does Open Government mean to you? What is, or is not, working well so far? This is your chance to help shape how our country is governed, and until June 2018 you can help decide what Open Government is, and the commitments for Canada’s next plan on Open Government.

Global Trends and the Impact on Prosperity

By David Best, Alliance for Equality of Blind Canadians (AEBC), February 16, 2018
Although most organizations want to do the right thing, each has a unique culture and business leaders that understand the effect of global trends will take the time to shape enterprise cultural values. Is the business case, of your organization, for disability based on legal compliance or inclusion best practices? Does management view the AODA enforcement as a business burden or a growth strategy? Do your software developers believe universal accessibility requirements introduce operational challenges or business opportunities? These are just some of the questions that business leaders must ask in order to close the gap of understanding between perception and reality. Providing accessible and usable technologies, that is fundamental to an organisation’s core business objectives, must be clearly communicated by the senior business leaders to all employees, suppliers and partners.

Digital Design Without Inclusive Accessibility Is Blind

By David Best, Alliance for Equality of Blind Canadians (AEBC), November 9, 2017
I have just returned from the three day inaugural FWD50 Canada’s Digital Government conference, and would like to share my experience with you. I was invited to speak at the FWD50 Conference, on the growing digital communications gaps for blind Canadians. Earlier this year the Treasury Board of Canada launched the Canadian Digital Services (CDS) without any apparent user engagement strategy that included blind Canadians, which I believe should be a major concern. We need to be participants in the design and development of the CDS, and not just consumers of the end product.

Canada’s digital government conference

Mike Gifford, LinkedIn, November 3, 2017
It was a real pleasure for me to present at a FWD50 panel about Diversity and Inclusion.
The FWD50 Three-day conference, leading minds in government and technology come together to redefine what is possible in an era of digital systems and connected citizens, held at the Aberdeen Pavilion in Ottawa.

Launch Of The Canadian Digital Service

By David Best, Alliance for Equality of Blind Canadians (AEBC), July 23, 2017
As a follow up on the government’s Budget 2017 commitment, the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat (TBS) undertook a cross-country engagement process, Between September 2016 and February 2017, to solicit ideas and perspectives on an emerging Government of Canada approach to improving digital service delivery.

Guelph Accessibility Conference 2017

AMI Inside, Season 3, Episode 16, July 13, 2017
AMI Inside travels to Guelph University for the 9th annual Accessibility Conference, one of the largest of its kind in Canada, featuring compelling sessions focused on the importance of achieving inclusion. BlindSquare starting at 15:00 for 10 minutes.

Creating New Barriers

By David Best, Alliance for Equality of Blind Canadians (AEBC), April 22, 2017
If we are to meet the Ontario goal of a barrier-free society by 2025, the AODA standards must prohibit the creation of any new barriers immediately. According to the OHRC report the proposed Integrated Accessibility Regulation (IAR) fails to identify basic human rights principles to guide its overall interpretation.

Employment Equality for Canadians with Disabilities: Getting and Keeping a Job – What makes a difference

By David Best, Council of Canadians with Disabilities, September 17, 2014
The measurement of career success depends upon the values used, and what it is being compared to.  Recent reports show that there is a continually high rate of unemployment within the Canadian disability population, but the reasons for this are often misunderstood, and the expectations for career success are often misrepresented. Discrimination in the workplace, intentional or subconscious is very real, and understanding your disability and how you interact with the world, will create a positive shift in perceptions. The key attributes in my career success are flexibility in adapting to change, and a high level of comfort in using the tools of the job, and in people skills to build meaningful relationships.  I have had many disappointments along my career path, but the ability to evaluate expectations has allowed me to resolve conflicts and overcome barriers.

Confronting Real World Challenges in the Digital Age

By David Best, Lime Network Blog (Lessons from the Road), March 29, 2013
The Lime Network is an exclusive resource for university students and professionals with disabilities. Preparing For Career Success, Moving Beyond Job Survival & Accessible Workplace Technologies.