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Table of Contents 2006

January

Announcement from the The Diversity and Employment Equity Professionals' Association (DEEPA)

Date posted to site: January 18, 2006

DEEPA, proudly presents

February 2 Breakfast Meeting

With Catherine Dunphy
Vocational Rehabilitation Consultant
& Employment Equity Consultant

Employment Equity Conciliation - Working Smarter in an Age of Diversity.

Catherine will discuss mediation between employers and employees who require accommodations for disabilities. Prepare for the future by educating your managers to work with a conciliator to mediate and resolve conflicts before they become productivity issues.

Thursday February 2, 2006
9:00 - 11:00 a.m.
Ontario Science Centre
770 Don Mills Road
Don Mills, Ontario

$40 DEEPA Members; $60 Non-Members
(includes GST #121261430)

Registration must be received by January 30 at 5 p.m. by
Email: deepa@harmony.ca
Phone: 416-385-2660

*Registration will be done on a first-come first-served basis as space is limited
*Please advise when registering if you require sign language interpreters or other specific accommodation.

Bring cheques payable to DEEPA to the event or pay cash at the door. Credit cards are not accepted.
Once registered, you will be billed even if you do not attend, unless cancellation is done by January 30, 5:00 p.m.

Check out our website at
http://www.deepa.ca

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February

Announcement from the Coalition for Persons With Disabilities Halton/Dufferin/Peel.

Date posted to site: February 17, 2006

The Coalition for Persons With Disabilities Halton/Dufferin/Peel, is proud to present "Women's Connections", a new workshop series made possible by funding from the Ontario Trillium Foundation. In partnership with 5 other agencies, this 12 workshop series will be targeted to women with physical disability. Among the issues that will be covered over the next 2 years are:
Community Resources, Employments, Self-defense, Women and Health, leadership skills and many more.

For more information about these free workshops please continue to check the News & Events section of the Coalition's website (www.disabilityaccess.org) for updates. Alternatively you can contact the Coalition by phone at
905-755-9157
or by e-mail at coalition.pwd@sympatico.ca.

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March

The COAAC has a new mailing list.

Date posted to site: March 27, 2006

A new e-mail discussion forum that allows people to talk online has been set up at Yahoo. To subscribe simply send a blank e-mail to coaac-subscribe@yahoogroups.com. The COAAC email list website is at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/coaac/, you can also subscribe there Discussion is usually quite lively, so please come join us.

Request from the Counselling Foundation of Canada

Date posted to site: March 14, 2006

Patricia Maitland has been hired by Robert Burt Productions in Toronto to research and produce video content on behalf of the Counselling Foundation of Canada (cfc.net).

In a nutshell, the end goal is to produce videos that:

  1. inform people with disabilities on how to best find and approach employment opportunities.
  2. inform employers of the wealth of talent and abilities within the disabled community.
  3. inform caregivers and support networks how to aid in facilitating this environment.

We want to reach this goal by showing the success stories. Where it's worked and why it's worked and what are the essential elements by all involved.

I hope you can put some thought into who would be the people you feel best represent this scenario as well as the employers who can speak to what's involved in being receptive to and accommodating employees with special needs.

The project is based in Toronto but will entail participation from people across the country.

[I am] looking for people who have gone through the hiring process but I'm considering including people in existing jobs who have had to be accommodated due to recent or increased disabilities (or keeping up with new software technology) because I think employers need to be reminded that this scenario evolving in their workplaces falls under the "not if but when" category.

I am speaking with as many organizations as possible across Canada so we can best narrow our choices for involvement in the video. I hope to have a list of prospective candidates as soon as possible so we can move on to the next step in our production schedule.

Contact information:
Patricia Maitland
pmaitland@sympatico.ca
cell: 1-416-451-2135
bus: 1-705-749-6727

Important Announcement from the AODA Alliance.

Date posted to site: March 09, 2006

On February 20, 2006, the Ontario Government said it will introduce a law (likely late March or April) to change enforcement of the Ontario Human Rights Code. That system needs reform. It's too slow, frustrating, and hard for many to use.

Yet, the Government's proposal will make things worse, not better. It will create new barriers that make it harder for people to get their human rights respected.

We ask everyone to support our call for the Ontario Government to stop its announced changes.

Below you will find 2 linnks to aimportant information regarding this issue. Please take the time to download the documents and help stop this dangerous piece of legislation.

Province announces appointments to Customer Service and Transportation Standards Committee.

Date posted to site: March 02, 2006

Click on the respective links below to see the members and terms of reference for each committee.

Transportation Standards Committee:

Customer Service Standards Committee.

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April

Oshawa Accessibility Forum

Date posted to site: April 26, 2006

"Changing the Way We Think, Changes the Way We Live."

Guest Speakers

  • Dr. Mark Nagler, Ph.D.
  • Kevin M. Duguay, KMD Planning and Consulting

Date: Monday May 8th, 2006
Place: Bobby Orr Lounge, Oshawa Civic Auditorium Complex
Time: Registration/Meet and Greet from 8:30 to 9:00
Presentations from 9:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Please contact Heather at the email below for more details.
Cost: $25.00 per person. Lunch and refreshments will be provided. R.S.V.P.
Heather Elston
Phone: 905-436-5636 extension 2288
Email: helston@oshawa.ca

In partnership with
The Oshawa Accessibility Advisory Committee

The City of London holds its first Accessibility Information Forum.

Date posted to site: April 13, 2006

The City of London has partnered with London's Accessibility Advisory Committee and the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation to bring to you London's first Accessibility Information Forum Wednesday, April 26, 2006. Presentations will include information on:
AODA Legislation
City of London's new release of the 2006 Facility Accessibility Design Standards (FADS) document
CMHC funding programs for housing persons with disabilities
Flexible Housing, CMHC research and accessible home adaptations
The Forum will be held at the Earl Nichols Recreation Centre (Community Hall), 799 Homeview Rd, London.

Registration is Free, and is available at www.london.ca/accessibilityforum

You can also download a copy of the forum's brochure from the above website.

You can also register by:
Phone: 519 661-2500 Ext. 5797
TTY: 519-661- 4889
Fax: 519-661- 5845
Email: cmckaig@london.ca
Please inform us of any accommodations you will require to participate in this event. ASL Interpreters will be available.

Please RSVP by April 21, 2006

Look for the 2006 release of the Facility Accessibility Design Standards coming to the City of London's website soon! http://www.london.ca/Planning/accessibilitystandards.htm

The Oxford County Accessibility Advisory Committee is hosting it's second Accessibility Forumm

Date posted to site: April 13, 2006

The Oxford County Accessibility Advisory Committee is hosting it's second Accessibility Forum on Thursday April 27, 2006.
Join us for information, discussion and presentations by:

  • Oxford County Accessibility Advisory Committee
  • CMHC - home adaptation for better mobility and funding initiatives
  • City of London - 2006 Facility Accessibility Design Standards

Registration is FREE includes complimentary Breakfast

For more information download the Oxford Brochure

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May

Town of Newmarket AAC Update.

Date posted to site: May 30, 2006

A new resolution was made by the Town of Newmarket to deal with gas stations and accessibility

To read more on this issue and other relevant information, see our May Newsletter

AODA Alliance Update: Fix Bill 107 Action Kit.

Date posted to site: May 18, 2006

On April 26, 2006, the McGuinty Government introduced the seriously-flawed Bill 107, its proposed Human Rights Code Amendment Act, into the Legislature for First Reading. Bill 107 sets back human rights protection. It seriously weakens the Ontario Human Rights Commission, the public agency responsible to enforce your right not to suffer illegal discrimination. We appreciate both the opposition Conservative and New Democratic Parties voicing our concerns with Bill 107 in the Legislature.

We urge everyone to act now to help with our campaign to fix Bill 107 so it makes things better, not worse.

For more information on how you can help, download the Fix Bill 107 Action kit

Reminder that May 16th 2006 is Census Day in Canada.

Date posted to site: May 04, 2006

Below is information on how to fill out your census form in an accessible format. Get counted everyone.

2006 Canadian Census forms now fully accessible Census Day is May 16, 2006, and for the first time ever, the entire country will be able to take part by using an accessible online form.

Starting May 2, a paper questionnaire will be delivered to households across Canada. A personalized Internet access code is printed on the front page of each questionnaire, which allows users to log into the Statistics Canada website and access a secure census form.

The online census form is compatible with the latest version of JAWS, and is also compatible with braille outboard displays. Users may also order a large-print questionnaire, or complete the questionnaire via telephone interview, by calling the Census Help Line at 1-877-594.

Braille and audio copies of the questionnaire are also available from the Help Line, but these are for reference only: users will still need to complete a census form on paper, online, by phone or in person.

Canadians with mobility challenges can navigate throughout the online census questionnaire using just a keyboard, while individuals with hearing loss may complete their questionnaire over the Internet without any special accommodation as no audio sounds, music or speech are used on the online questionnaire.

Completing the questionnaire online can also save time: online edits alert respondents to missing or invalid responses, and automated "skips" ensure that respondents are not presented with questions that are not relevant to them.

Statistics Canada's website employs a secure login process and strong encryption to prevent eavesdropping or tampering with any information given online.

Once you have received your census questionnaire and personal access code by mail, you may go straight to the online form at http://www.census2006.ca/ for the English version, or http://www.recensement2006.ca/ for the French version.

If you are unable to read the access code contained in your paper questionnaire, if you need assistance completing the form, or if you would like to obtain alternate-format copies of the paper questionnaire, call the Census Help Line at 1-877-594-2006.

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June

End Exclusion Initiative.

Date posted to site: June 09, 2006

The year 2006 marks two very significant anniversaries for the disability community: 25th anniversary for both the International Year of the Disabled and the first Parliamentary report on disability, Obstacles 10th anniversary of the Scott Task Force Report, Equal Citizenship for Canadians with Disabilities: The Will to Act.

A National initiative is being designed to celebrate these past events and build toward a Forum in Ottawa on November 2, 2006. Building an Inclusive and Accessible Canada will bring together people from across Canada, national, provincial and local disability groups and civil society organizations to participate in this unique and historic campaign.

To read more see: English
French

Trails for All Ontarians Collaborative - Testing new trail.

Date posted to site: June 02, 2006

Join us for a walk, wheel or hike on the new Secord section of the Oak Ridges Trail! The Trails for All Ontarians Collaborative is developing guidelines to ensure that Ontario's trails are sustainable and available to people of all abilities. We'd like to hear your thoughts on this new trail, and whether the guidelines have achieved their goal. Tell us what you think about this trail section that was built to new guidelines for creating trails for all Ontarians!

Thursday, June 22 from 9am to 8 pm, or Sunday, June 25 from 9am to 8 pm. For information about these or other trails and dates, contact Linda Gurd at 416-691-1670 or lindagurd@sympatico.ca.

Please see the directions on how to get to the trail.

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July

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August

McGuinty Government Developing New Accessibility Standards.

Date posted to site: August 05, 2006

TORONTO - The McGuinty government is developing three new accessibility standards to target barriers in information and communications, the built environment, and employment for people with disabilities, Madeleine Meilleur, Minister of Community and Social Services and Minister Responsible for Ontarians with Disabilities, announced today.

"We are on the side of Ontarians with disabilities and business owners who employ and serve them, because greater accessibility is something that benefits us all," said Meilleur. "It means more customers for business, a larger talent pool for employers and an Ontario where all citizens are able to participate fully in society."

Meilleur made the announcement on the first anniversary of the passage of the landmark Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005. The act calls for new province-wide accessibility standards to be developed, implemented and enforced in stages of five years or less, leading to an accessible Ontario by 2025.

The next three proposed accessibility standards will be developed by standards development committees which will include people with disabilities or their representatives, members from businesses and organizations across Ontario as well as government representatives. The two proposed standards already in development in the areas of transportation and customer service are expected to be ready for public review this fall.

The development of enforceable accessibility standards are just one of the ways the McGuinty government is working to build a province where everyone has a chance to contribute. The government is also:

  • Committing nearly $276 million in new funding to strengthen community supports for adults with a developmental disability
  • Investing nearly $11 million in interpreter and intervenor services for the deaf and deafblind community
  • Providing $28.2 million to help universities and colleges provide services for students with disabilities to help them succeed.

"Everyone who lives in this province should have the same opportunities to participate in all aspects of community life from finding a job, to riding the subway, to going to the movies," said Meilleur. "That is our goal and with the help of the people of Ontario, we're going to get there."

More Information on the next Standards Committees.

Date posted to site: August 04, 2006

Minister's statement on first anniversary of AODA, 2005 being proclaimed into law
http://www.mcss.gov.on.ca/CFCS/en/newsRoom/speeches/060613.htm

Time frame for establishment of next standards development committees
http://www.mcss.gov.on.ca/CFCS/en/newsRoom/backgrounders/060613.htm

Fact sheet on Accessibility
http://www.mcss.gov.on.ca/CFCS/en/newsRoom/factSheets/060530.htm

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September

Scholarships For Students with Disabilities

Date posted to site: September 23, 2006

$20,000 Scholarships for Students with Disabilities Expanded August 11, 2006 - The Toronto Rehabilitation Institute is pleased to announce its $20,000 scholarship in Rehabilitation-Related Research for Graduate Students with Disabilities is now available at additional universities. Besides the University of Toronto, students at McMaster University, Ryerson University, the University of Waterloo, Wilfred Laurier University, and York University are now eligible to apply for these scholarships.

Read more at http://www.torontorehab.com/research/disabilityscholarship.htm

International Day of Disabled Persons 2006

Date posted to site: September 12, 2006

E-Accessibility

Access to information and communication technologies creates opportunities to everyone in society, but perhaps no-more so than for persons with disabilities. No longer do the societal barriers of prejudice, infrastructure, and inaccessible formats stand in the way of participation. When available to everyone, information technologies foster individuals to reach their full potential, and for persons with disabilities it allows them to play their part in society's development.

At the First World Summit on the Information Society in 2003, Governments expressed their commitment to build a people-centred, inclusive and development-oriented information society, where everyone can create, access, utilize and share information and knowledge. Despite the vision, many persons with disabilities remain unable to take full advantage of the Internet as most websites are: inaccessible to the blind and visually impaired, heavily dependent on using the mouse, and training is often conducted in inaccessible formats and venues. As persons with disabilities are amongst the most marginalized in society, many do not have access to information technologies at all. Even those with access to information technologies may not be able to utilize them effectively, as available adaptive equipment cannot keep pace with innovation.

Persons with disabilities are at a considerable disadvantage by not being able to access information technologies. For instance, as education becomes increasingly dependent on information technologies, not being able to access the Internet for example limits the learning potential of persons with disabilities.

Several places already have legislation and regulations requiring websites to be fully accessible. At the international level, standards and guidelines on website accessibility are being developed. Once adopted and ratified, the International Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities will require entities ensure that persons with disabilities can access information technologies. It specifies that measures should be introduced to eliminate obstacles and barriers to information and communications, and to promote access for persons with disabilities to information and communications technologies, including the Internet.

Making information technologies available to persons with disabilities is not only a matter of human rights, it also makes good business sense. Studies suggest that accessible websites appear higher up the page rankings of search engines and can save costs on web maintenance. It also allows companies access to a largely untapped customer base. Many websites, however, remain inaccessible for the visually impaired and the blind. A recent study of the FTSE 100 companies in the United Kingdom showed that around three-quarters of company websites did not achieve basic levels of accessibility. By not making their websites accessible, UK companies are forfeiting £80 billion in lost revenue.

The theme for this year's International Day of Disabled Persons (3 December 2006) is accessibility to information technologies, and the day will be referred to as E-Accessibility Day. Through its efforts, and collaboration with others, the United Nations aims to raise appreciation among Governments, private entities and the public of the significant benefits to persons with disabilities and society when they are empowered with increased access to information technologies.

Article taken from http://www.un.org/esa/socdev/enable/iddp2006.htm.

19 Abuse Cases Found by Investigators at N.S. Residence for Mentally Disabled

Date posted to site: September 10, 2006

HALIFAX, N.S. — Residents of an aging centre in Nova Scotia for mentally handicapped and mentally ill adults suffered 19 cases of physical, emotional or sexual abuse over the past two years, say government documents obtained by The Canadian Press under provincial access to information legislation.

Read more at
http://www.accessibilitynewsinternational.com/?p=847

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October

Announcement From The Accessibility Directorate of Ontario

Date posted to site: October 24, 2006

On October 23, Community and Social Services Minister Madeleine Meilleur made an announcement in the House that:

  • The first proposed standard developed under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005, for customer service, is now available for public review and feedback.
  • Recruitment has also begun for a new Standards Development Committee, which will work to draft a proposed standard on accessible information and communications.

Dear Friends,

In June 2005, the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act was made law. The purpose of the legislation is to develop, implement, and enforce accessibility standards in order to achieve accessibility for Ontarians with disabilities with respect to goods, services, facilities, accommodation, employment, buildings, structures and premises on or before January 1, 2025.

In January 2006, two standards development committees were established one committee to develop a proposed standard for Customer Service, and one committee to develop a proposed standard for Transportation. On June, 2006, the Minister of Community and Social Services announced plans for the development of three additional standards in the areas of information and communications, the built environment, and employment.

I am writing at this time to let you know about next steps in the process.

1. The Customer Service Standards Development Committee has developed an initial proposed standard that is available as of October 23, 2006 for public review and comment.

The public will have 60 days to review the proposed standard and submit feedback. Once the public review period is complete, the standards development committee will reconvene to consider the feedback prior to submitting the proposed standard to the Minister.

To review the proposed standard and to provide feedback, visit the Ministry of Community and Social Services website at:
www.mcss.gov.on.ca/accessibility/index.html
For additional information, or to find out about alternate methods of providing feedback, please call 1-888-789-4199 or toll-free TTY 1-888-335-6611.

I encourage you to take the time to visit the website, review the Committee's proposed standard and provide your comments, using the discussion guide provided.

2. A process for recruiting members for a new Standards Development Committee to develop a proposed information and communications standard is being launched. Application forms and committee terms of reference are available on the Ministry of Community and Social Services website as of October 23, 2006 at www.mcss.gov.on.ca/accessibility/index.html

For additional information, or for application packages in alternate formats, such as large print, audio formats (cassettes or cd's), or Braille please call 1-888-520-5828 or toll-free TTY 1-888-335-6611. The final deadline for applications is November 30, 2006.

Consistent with the AODA, members of this, Standards Development Committee must include people with disabilities or their representatives, representatives from industries, sectors of the economy or organizations that will be affected by an Information and Communications standard and representatives from government ministries.

Information and communications refers to information and communications provided to the consumer or end-users through print, telephone, electronically and in person. The identification, removal and prevention of barriers with respect to information and communications for persons with disabilities can include organizational policies, processes and practices related to information and communications, including staff training.

If you require any assistance to participate in these two important activities, please do not hesitate to let us know.

For ongoing information on the public review of the Customer Service proposed standard and the establishment of the information and communications Standards Development Committee please visit www.mcss.gov.on.ca/accessibility/index.html

For the application Form - Accessible Information and Communications Standards Development Committee go to http://209.167.40.13/sdc_public/appform_eng/ or call us at the phone numbers listed above.

Sincerely,

Original signed by the Assistant Deputy Minister

Andrea Maurice
Assistant Deputy Minister
Accessibility Directorate of Ontario
Ministry of Community and Social Services

Link: /acnews/what/ Update Back to top of page

Citizens With Disabilities - Ontario Launches New Website

Date posted to site: October 17, 2006

I am pleased to announce the new and fully accessible Citizens With Disabilities - Ontario website.

Citizens With Disabilities - Ontario (CWD-O), has been established by Ontarians with disabilities to create a strong, consumer-driven, cross-disability organization to represent the needs and interests of the community of people with disabilities in Ontario.

Citizens With Disabilities - Ontario is dedicated to the full participation of persons with disabilities in the social, economic and political life of their communities. It actively supports and promotes the rights, freedoms and responsibilities of persons with disabilities to determine their own destinies.

Key areas of activities for CWD-O are community development, social action, social development, education and awareness training. Its primary activity is to advocate on behalf of persons with disabilities and promote their personal participation in eliminating social and physical barriers to allow full participation of all Ontarians in the mainstream of society.

CWD-O will address the broader needs of persons with multiple disabilities that cannot be adequately served by disability organizations structured around a particular disability. CWD-O will emphasize the person, not the disability, looking to resolve systemic problems that affect people with disabilities regardless of the nature or source of the disability.

Please take a look at the website and send us your comments using the online reply form. Complete the online membership application and be part of this new and important Ontario initiative! Go now to our www.cwd-o.org website. Together we are stronger! Jerry Jerry Ford jerry.ford@rogers.com

Right This Way Access Consultants launches New Accessible Website

Date posted to site: October 04, 2006

Right This Way Access Consulting throws open its doors today and launches its fully accessible website. Setting new standards in excellence, Right This Way specializes in event planning for access by guiding hosts of public and private events towards higher levels of accessibility. While recognizing how advances in technology can give greater access to people who are deaf or have disabilities, Right This Way focuses on the human factor. Barriers exist when attitudes, practices and processes exclude some people from full participation. Right This Way provides training and education that leads to positive, lasting change. Please visit our website at www.rightthisway.org.

Feel free to use the feedback form to comment on the site or ask questions about our services.

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November

Report looks at 'true magnitude' of hospitalizing mentally ill

Date posted to site: November 30, 2006

By SANDY NAIMAN, TORONTO SUN

For more than 14 years, Karen Liberman was caught in a revolving door.

The executive director of the Mood Disorders Association of Ontario, herself so depressed or even suicidal she could not function between 1983 and 1997, was admitted into three Toronto hospital psychiatric wards 17 times, four times in 1997.

This "revolving door syndrome," as it is known in psychiatric circles, is a pernicious problem.

Yesterday the Canadian Institute for Health Information released a national report on psychiatric readmissions, shining a spotlight for the first time on "the true magnitude" of this problem, said study head Nawaf Madi.

The report found 37% of those discharged with a mental illness from a general hospital were readmitted within a year, compared to 27% of all other patients.

Read the full article at http://www.torontosun.com/News/TorontoAndGTA/2006/11/30/2560769-sun.html.

WSIB penalizes Employers who hire workers with disabilities

Date posted to site: November 29, 2006

My name is Gary Robertson and I am a Human Resources Professional involved in the construction industry www.hrconsultant.ca.

For many years I have been trying to change the way that the Workplace Safety & Insurance Board of Ontario penalizes employers who hire workers with pre-existing conditions (disabilities).

I need your help.

Read more at http://www.accessibilitynews.ca/cwdo/activities/

Wrong to quash public debate on Bill 107

Date posted to site: November 27, 2006

Nov. 23, 2006. 02:49 PM
HELEN HENDERSON

No matter what, Ontario's human rights record will be forever tainted by this week's effort to quash public input into Bill 107.

With Attorney General Michael Bryant recklessly determined to use the Liberal majority to cut off debate, the battle over reforms to the province's human rights legislation turned decidedly ugly.

So ugly that chief commissioner Barbara Hall stepped into the fray, formally expressing her "profound dismay" at the subversion of the process in an open letter to Premier Dalton McGuinty.

Read the full article at http://www.thestar.com/NASApp/cs/ContentServer?pagename=thestar/Layout/Article_Type1&c=Article&cid=1164235812017&call_pageid=1155636137428&col=1155636137421

Kofi Annan: Make the Internet available to everyone

Date posted to site: November 27, 2006

UNESCO

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Access to information technology creates opportunity for all, especially persons with disabilities, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan says in a message for the International Day of Disabled Persons, observed on 3 December under the theme "E-accessibility".

Read more at http://www.accessibilitynews.ca/acnews/press/all.php

The Canadian Centre on Disability Studies (CCDS) has initiated a new project

Date posted to site: November 25, 2006

The Canadian Centre on Disability Studies (CCDS) has initiated a new project to study the progress and diffusion of Visitability in Canada.

For more information go to www.accessibilitynews.ca/cwdo/activities/housing.php

Resident calls for wheelchair access to City buses

Date posted to site: November 24, 2006

Date: 2006-11-23
Author: jay gutteridge

When Teresa MacDonald tried to use bus service in Lindsay last Friday, she was left in tears. She was denied access because she uses a wheelchair, she says. "It's an outrage. Actually, it's discrimination," she says. Lindsay's buses ride lower to the ground to accommodate people who have difficulty with stairs. They also feature wheelchair accessibility. "I don't see why I was denied access to a bus with a low floor and a wheelchair sign on it," she says, questioning the City's decision to buy wheelchair-accessible buses if it didn't plan to allow wheelchair access.

Read the full article at http://www.mykawartha.com/article/5576

Watchdog dismayed

Date posted to site: November 22, 2006

Rights bill debate urged

By
ANTONELLA ARTUSO,
QUEEN'S PARK BUREAU CHIEF

Ontario Human Rights Commissioner Barbara Hall called on the Liberal government yesterday to abandon its plan to limit debate on a bill that reforms the human rights system.

In a letter to Premier Dalton McGuinty, Hall expressed "profound dismay" that the government was invoking closure on Bill 107, bringing public hearings on the legislation to an abrupt halt.

"Dozens of groups and individuals who have waited to take part could be denied the opportunity at the 11th hour," wrote Hall, who supports the legislation.

The Liberal-dominated legislature passed a motion last night requiring public hearings to wrap up this month.

Attorney General Michael Bryant blamed his political opponents yesterday when asked why public hearings were being curtailed.

Read more at http://www.torontosun.com/News/Canada/2006/11/22/2446212-sun.html

Variety Village Christmas Party

Date posted to site: November 22, 2006

Variety Village is holding its annual "World's Greatest Christmas Holiday Party" on Sunday December 10, 2006.

It's the perfect time of year to show Variety your support and come and join the team in celebrating the holiday spirit.

If you have any further questions, please contact Nina Chamberlain at
416-699-7167 ext. 285.

Canada-Wide Accessibility for Post-Secondary Students (CANWAPSS) Breaking Down Barriers 2006 Conference (4th Annual)

Date posted to site: November 20, 2006

Dec. 1st and 2nd in Toronto

Theme: Disability Culture & Community Development Keynote Speaker: Tanya Titchkosky, Disability Studies Professor, University of Toronto

Session Topics:

  • Communication and Community Development
  • The Art of Activism
  • "Our Life Our Community"
  • Allies and Enemies: Can Non-Disabled People Effectively Represent the Disability Community?

Registration Fees:

  • Students: $25
  • Non-Students: $100

To find out more about our conference and to register, please visit: www.canwapss.com

Life And Death Election Issues Ignored

Date posted to site: November 18, 2006

by

Helen Henderson

Among those who travel by wheelchair, they are known as "mean streets."

Sidewalks with dangerous curb cuts, stretches of impossibly narrow strips of concrete canted at precarious angles, minefields of unexpected bumps, dips and hollows. Equal-opportunity booby-traps, catching anyone not sure of foot, including pedestrians with canes. Testament to the lethal nature of closed minds.

Read the full article at http://www.thestar.com/NASApp/cs/ContentServer?pagename=thestar/Layout/Article_Type1&c=Article&cid=1163026212126&call_pageid=1155636137428&col=1155636137421

Invitation to Stakeholder Meetings

Date posted to site: November 17, 2006

You are invited to participate in a stakeholder meeting being held in Ottawa, Ontario, on December 7, 2006, in connection with the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005.

In June 2005, the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act was made law. The purpose of the legislation is to develop, implement, and enforce accessibility standards in order to achieve accessibility for Ontarians with disabilities with respect to goods, services, facilities, accommodation, employment, buildings, structures and premises on or before January 1, 2025.

The Customer Service Standards Development Committee has developed an initial proposed standard that is now available for public review and comment.

The public will have 60 days to review the proposed standard and submit feedback. Once the public review period is complete, the Standards Development Committee will reconvene to consider the feedback prior to submitting the proposed standard to the Minister of Community and Social Services.

Everyone in Ontario will be able to comment by means of an Internet-based feedback form. Whether or not you are able to attend the meeting, we encourage you to review the Standards Development Committee's proposed standard and make written comments and wording suggestions by visiting http://www.mcss.gov.on.ca/mcss/english/pillars/accessibilityOntario/

At the meeting, to which about 30 organizations have been invited, we will be talking about the Standards Development Committee's proposed standard, typical customer service accessibility barriers, and how these barriers can be reduced or eliminated.

If you can join us, please leave a message for Shannon Price at 1-877-569-2143 or via email at shannon.price@mercerdelta.com by November 24, 2006. Our TTY number is 1-888-335-6611. You will be provided with meeting details such as location and timing. Please indicate as soon as possible if you have any accessibility needs or dietary restrictions.

Accessibility supports to be provided include, but are not limited to, materials in alternate formats such as electronic, large print or Braille, as well as interpreter services and real-time captioning. Out-of-pocket accessibility-related expenses (such as travel expenses for personal attendants or caregivers) will be reimbursed. Please let us know in advance if you expect to incur such expenses.

We hope that you can join us, and we look forward to hearing your thoughts and ideas about the Standards Development Committee's proposed standard.

Sincerely,

Original signed by

Scot Weeres
Director, Standards Development and Compliance Branch
Accessibility Directorate of Ontario

A-G tries to placate rights-bill critics

Date posted to site: November 16, 2006

Attorney General Michael Bryant yesterday took another crack at overhauling the Ontario Human Rights Commission, proposing changes to proposed legislation that has been under fire.

Among the amendments introduced at a committee hearing was the creation of a Human Rights Legal Support Centre aimed at providing free legal services to complainants.

Read the full article at http://www.torontosun.com/News/Canada/2006/11/16/2378176-sun.html

Local Action Committees Being Established

Date posted to site: November 16, 2006

Citizens With Disabilities - Ontario (CWD-O) addresses the broader needs of persons with multiple disabilities, emphasizing the need to resolve systemic problems that affect people with disabilities regardless of the nature or source of the disability. Key areas of activities for CWD-O are:

  • Community development
  • Social action
  • Social development
  • Education
  • Awareness training.

CWD-O is pleased to announce the establishment of Local Action Committees across Ontario, providing coordinated advocacy initiatives at the local community in four critical areas.

Read more at http://www.accessibilitynews.ca/cwdo/activities

Please also readOngoing Complaint with The Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA) at http://www.accessibilitynews.ca/cwdo/activities/transportation.php

Announcement From The Niagara Centre For Independent Living

Date posted to site: November 16, 2006

The Niagara Centre for Independent Living is hosting a Disability Symposium. The Symposium is an opportunity to learn about issues and trends in the disability community.

The 2006 Ability Symposium is sure to be the biggest event in Southern Ontario's disability community.

This event, the only one of its kind in the province, will see a diverse group of individuals gather on December 1, 2006 to "build the collective capacity of persons with disabilities and those who support them, through research, innovation and skill development." Cross-disability and cross-discipline. The Ability Symposium engages the entire community, including persons with disabilities, researchers, educators, service providers and families of persons with disabilities.

For more info visit: www.abilitysymposium.com

The Herrington Group Ltd is Pleased To Announce The Launch of its Completely Redesigned Website

Date posted to site: November 16, 2006

The website, created by Badeyes Design and Consulting uses todays Best Practices and Standards allowing us to demonstrate our commitment to accessibility at all levels of our organization. Free templates and tools will soon be added to assist you in your accessibility planning efforts.

For more information about our programs and services, call us at 905-380-4782, email us at info@theherringtongroup.ca or visit us at www.theherringtongroup.ca

ACCESSIBILITY FOR ONTARIANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT ALLIANCE UPDATE

Date posted to site: November 11, 2006

SUMMARY

With the Legislature's public hearings on the controversial bill 107 resuming in Toronto on November 15, 2006, a major counter-proposal is being made public for reforming Ontario's under-funded, back-logged human rights system. This 4-page Blueprint, co-authored by David Lepofsky (the AODA Alliance's Human Rights Reform Representative), Margaret Parsons (executive director of the African Canadian Legal Clinic) and Avvy Go (clinic director of the Metro Toronto Chinese & Southeast Asian Legal Clinic) can be found at http://www.aodaalliance.org/reform/update-110606.asp

This Blueprint is based on the AODA Alliance's draft brief on Bill 107. The AODA Alliance Board has approved that draft brief in principle. It is also based on the Discussion Paper on Human Rights Reform that the AODA Alliance made public last April, and the feedback received on it. This Blueprint also incorporates key ideas suggested by many of the 28 deponents who opposed bill 107 during the first three days of the public hearings, last summer in Ottawa, Thunder Bay and London.

Announcement From National Educational Association of Disabled Students (NEEDS)

Date posted to site: November 07, 2006

NEADS will once again provide a live audio broadcast of our conference workshops taking place on Saturday November 11 and Sunday November 12. Consult the schedule located at http://www.neads.ca/conference2006 for more details. Note that the times listed are Eastern time. The audio broadcast is completely free of charge, and will be available in English and French.

You will need a computer with either speakers or a headset. You will also need to download free software such as Windows Media Player or WinAmp.

If you would like to listen into the conference workshops, register at http://www.nows.ca/conference/en/online.php

If you are unable to listen in, but would like to be informed once the Conference audio and presentations are archived online, email conference2006@neads.ca

Thanks,

Frank Smith, National Coordinator
National Educational Association of Disabled Students Rm.
426 Unicentre,
Carleton University
Ottawa, Ontario,
K1S 5B6
tel. (613) 526-8008
www.neads.ca

Mental health law too convoluted

Date posted to site: November 07, 2006

HELEN HENDERSON

Who's on your side if you or someone you care about is struggling with mental illness in a society that doesn't want to know?

Ostracized, ridiculed, persecuted, abandoned, fearful. Too often these feelings are overwhelming for anyone seeking help.

Allies are few and far between, the search so frustrating, the system so convoluted, it's easy to feel defeated before you even start which is undoubtedly part of the reason a series of free workshops on understanding mental health law was sold out long before it started touring the province this month.

Read the full article at http://www.thestar.com/NASApp/cs/ContentServer?pagename=thestar/Layout/Article_Type1&c=Article&cid=1160647509394&call_pageid=1155636137428&col=1155636137421

ACCESSIBILITY FOR ONTARIANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT ALLIANCE UPDATE

Date posted to site: November 07, 2006

PUBLIC HEARINGS ON CONTROVERSIAL BILL 107 TO RESUME IN TORONTO NOV. 15 - BOOK YOUR TIME SLOT TO PRESENT NOW! November 3,2006

SUMMARY

An important new phase has begun in our campaign to prevent the weakening of the Ontario Human Rights Commission and our human rights system. The Ontario Legislature's Standing Committee on Justice Policy has announced that it will resume public hearings on the controversial Bill 107 on Wednesday, November 15, 2006 in Toronto. It is VERY IMPORTANT that you call the Standing Committee NOW to schedule a time to make a presentation, whether you are part of an organization, or appearing as an individual. (See the Standing Committee's contact information on the link below)

Bill 107 is the McGuinty Government's widely-criticized proposed new law that would strip the Ontario Human Rights Commission of most of its power to enforce the Human Rights Code. The Human Rights Code bans discrimination in access to things like employment, goods, services and facilities on grounds like physical or mental disability, race, religion, sex, and many other grounds.

The Legislature's Standing Committee has announced that the public hearings on the Bill will be held on Wednesday and Thursday mornings from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 noon at least until the Legislature goes on its winter break. The Standing Committee is now booking time slots for individuals and organizations to make presentations. Call now to book your slot. Their staff are very helpful. Organizations will be given 30 minutes to present. Individuals will be given 20 minutes each.

Read more at http://www.aodaalliance.org/reform/update-110306.asp

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December

Bell Canada offers accessible cell phone package

Date posted to site: December 30, 2006

Note: It is Accessibility News' opinion that this plan discriminates against those who are not CNIB Clients and will coerce them into becoming Clients if they want to benefit from this plan.

Bell Mobility and CNIB now have a partnership that makes it easier for people who are blind or vision impaired to access, and afford cellular phones.

Read more at www.accessibilitynews.ca/cwdo/activities/accessibility.php.

Speech announcements on Canadian TTC's Accessible Transit Service

Date posted to site: December 29, 2006

Torontoist, Canada

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

By Jonathan Goldsbie

"I'm sorry, Davisville, I'm afraid I can't do that."

Although they have not yet replaced the members of Local 113 as the operators of our subways, soulless automatons have recently begun speaking on their behalf. If you've ridden on the Yonge-University-Spadina line more than once in the past month, you may have wondered whether your fate and that of one particular subway conductor have become intertwined, as you seem to board her train every single time. More likely, you've realized that the TTC has finally gotten around to fulfilling its obligation under the Ontario Human Rights Code, as determined by the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario (HRTO), to "provide reliable, consistent, audible subway station stop announcements."

Read more at www.accessibilitynews.ca/cwdo/activities/transportation.php

Paralympics - Curling Regional Games - Press Release

Date posted to site: December 22, 2006

For immediate release - December 20, 2006

Mayor, Councillors and wheelchair curlers are going to rock the Curling Club of Collingwood!!!

Breaking Down Barriers Independent Living Center hosts the 1st annual 'Wheelchair Cur ling Regional Games' on Saturday January 13th, 2007 starting at 12:30 PM.

For more information go to www.accessibilitynews.ca/cwdo/activities/recreational.php

Diversity hiring: long on words, short on deeds

Date posted to site: December 20, 2006

December 16, 2006

Helen Henderson
Toronto Star

Time to take a look at two critical issues seemingly caught in our very own version of the Bermuda triangle.

Where is the Canadian Mental Health Commission recommended this spring by Senator Michael Kirby's task force and promised by federal Health Minister Tony Clement?

And how come bosses all across the country say they're committed to building strong, diverse workforces yet barely half of those surveyed by a respected Ottawa-based think-tank have any strategic plans in place for creating inclusive work environments that welcome visible minorities, including people with disabilities?

Quite simply, the internal makeup of the organizations they lead doesn't reflect the world outside their doors, indicating the possibility of systemic disadvantages for anyone whose colour or gender or credentials or movement or method of processing information differs from the powers that be.

This at a time when the United Nations this week formally recognized the right of people with disabilities to be free from discrimination.

Read more at www.accessibilitynews.ca/cwdo/activities/employment.php

Diversity! in the Workplace - Canada's only online publication that deals with Diversity in the workplace

Date posted to site: December 12, 2006

December 11, 2006

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

A consortium of communications and consulting companies has launched the country's first media project covering all aspects of employment diversity in Canada.

Read more at http://www.accessibilitynews.ca/cwdo/activities/employment.php

New scholarship breaks down the barriers for students with disabilities

Date posted to site: December 11, 2006

Friday December 8th, 2006

Toronto Rehabilitation Institute (Toronto Rehab) presented its Scholarship in Rehabilitation-Related Research for Graduate Students with Disabilities to graduate students Laura Moll and Anita Kaiser. The first-of-its-kind scholarship program is part of the hospital's strategy to enhance consumer participation in research by attracting people with disabilities to train in and conduct rehabilitation research.

Read more at http://www.accessibilitynews.ca/cwdo/activities/employment.php

Open Letter From Accessibility News

Date posted to site: December 09, 2006

This is an open letter to the Norfolk District Business Development Corporation (NDBDC) regarding a launch of a new website on Monday December 4th.

Read the full letter at http://www.accessibilitynews.ca/acnews/letters/

Playing The PDF Lottery Game

Date posted to site: December 06, 2006

Imagine that you've been given a scratch and win lottery ticket. Sometimes when you scratch it you might get a free ticket, $5.00 or maybe something larger. At first there's the anticipation of winning some money, but more often than not, there's nothing but disappointment when all is said and done.

Now imagine that you are someone with a disability who relies on assistive technology and you've just received a pdf file, or have gone to a website and the only option for a document you want to read is in pdf.

Read the full commentary at http://www.accessibilitynews.ca/acnews/editorials/geof.php

Accessibility News Teams Up With Citizens With Disabilities - Ontario (CWD-O)

Date posted to site: December 04, 2006

Accessibility News and Citizens With Disabilities - Ontario are pleased to announce that Accessibility News is now the official electronic newsletter for CWD-O. This is an important step forward in our effort to improve communication within the disability community, bring people together to find shared solutions and eliminate the barriers we face each day, creating an inclusive Ontario.

In order for us to do this we need your help by sending us issues of accessibility and/or barriers that you feel need to be brought to the disability community's attention but have not had a forum to do so.

Make sure you visit our websites regularly, www.accessibilitynews.ca and www.cwd-o.org, to learn more about what is unfolding across Ontario.

"Together We Are Stronger"

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