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Firm Ordered to Pay $1.5 Million in Fees!

Koskie Minsky LLP is seeking leave to appeal an Ontario Superior Court of Justice order to donate $1.5 million of its legal fees to charity.

The order comes as part of the decision in Welsh v. Ontario, a class action lawsuit that alleges the Ontario government was negligent and failed in its fiduciary duties and duties to care for students at three provincially run schools for the deaf.

This failure, the lawsuit alleges, led to children, who often lived at the schools, being physically and sexually abused.

The appeal does not affect how much class members can receive, says Robert Gain, an associate at Koskie Minsky, who worked on the case.

WFD and WASLI Statement on Use of Signing Avatars

This statement from the World Federation of the Deaf (WFD) and the World Association of Sign Language Interpreters (WASLI) is concerned with the way in which decisions on where and when to use signing avatars as a form of access to spoken or written content is being managed by public authorities. The difference in linguistic quality between humans and avatars is why WFD and WASLI cautions against the use of signing avatars as a replacement for human signers.

Read more at
http://www.accessibilitynewsinternational.com/wfd-and-wasli-statement-on-use-of-signing-avatars/

It’s OK To Look At Your Phone At A Broadway Show, If Your Hearing Is Impaired

Jerry Bergman is sitting in the audience at a Broadway matinĂ©e performance of The Band’s Visit. Despite the fact that a huge sign above the stage tells the audience in English, Hebrew and Arabic to turn off cellphones, Bergman is keeping his on so he can read closed captions while watching the show.

Read more at
http://www.accessibilitynewsinternational.com/its-ok-to-look-at-your-phone-at-a-broadway-show-if-your-hearing-is-impaired/

Grand Theatre Announces the World Premiere of SILENCE

mabel and alexander graham bell
By Trina Davies
Directed by Peter Hinton

On the Spriet Stage January 16 to February 3, 2018
LONDON, ONTARIO, December 22, 2017

The Grand Theatre is thrilled to announce the world premiere of SILENCE, which brings an untold Canadian story to life on stage.

This inaugural production from the COMPASS New Play Development program features a cast that embodies the best in Canadian theatre with actors who are hearing, Deaf, and hard of hearing.

SILENCE is on stage January 16, with the opening night on January 19 which will be an open-captioned performance. The production was originally commissioned and developed through FUSE: The Enbridge New Play Development Program at Theatre Calgary. The Title Sponsor for SILENCE is Bell.

Grand Theatre Expands Accessibility for Deaf Community

For Immediate Release
NEWS RELEASE
LONDON, ONTARIO, December 18, 2017

The Grand Theatre announces expanded accessibility initiatives for Deaf and hard of hearing patrons. The Grand’s commitment to offering an accessible theatre environment spans from the introduction of open-captioned performances to additional American Sign Language-interpreted performances, and from enhanced front-of-house services to productions inspired by stories about historic figures who were deaf, as well as casting that includes actors from the Deaf and hard of hearing community.

“We met with members of the Deaf community, asked a lot of questions, had incredible conversations, and from there, we determined our next steps in building a more accessible theatre environment,” said Deb Harvey, Executive Director of the Grand Theatre. “We want to make more of our performances visually accessible to Deaf and hard of hearing patrons and offer the best possible theatre experience for everyone.

Low-Cost Smart Glove Translates American Sign Language Alphabet

Engineers at the University of California San Diego have developed a smart glove that wirelessly translates the American Sign Language alphabet into text and controls a virtual hand to mimic sign language gestures. The device, which engineers call “The Language of Glove,” was built for less than $100 using stretchable and printable electronics that are inexpensive, commercially available and easy to assemble. The work was published on July 12 in the journal PLOS ONE.

Read more at
http://www.accessibilitynewsinternational.com/low-cost-smart-glove-translates-american-sign-language-alphabet/

Ontario’s Deaf-Blind Lack Support, Intervention Options

George Brown College Offers Only Training in Province, Leaving Families with Little Aid Scott Wheeler
The Toronto Star , June 17, 2017

When Serena Reynolds became an intervener for the deaf-blind a decade ago, she stumbled into her career by accident.

Like many, Reynolds didn’t know that thousands of children and adults in Ontario live with the dual disability, made famous by Helen Keller and recognized since 2015 in June, during National Deafblind Awareness Month.

Reynolds went to school to become a child needs worker and struggled to find a job until she came across a listing for interveners.

Festival Showcases Disability and Deaf Cultures

People with disabilities will be in the spotlight at Toronto’s second annual ReelAbilities Film Festival (RAFFTO).

The event, which runs from May 10 to 18, will screen 17 films that will showcase disability and deaf cultures.

Read more at
http://www.aoda.ca/festival-showcases-disability-and-deaf-cultures/

I’m over the moon!

By Michelle Ruby
Brantford Expositor, Apr.6, 2017

Bob Seed said he’s overcome with relief over a tentative agreement that could result in compensation for former visually impaired, blind and deafblind students at W. Ross Macdonald School who were allegedly abused over a span of more than 60 years.

“I’m over the moon,” said Seed, a former W. Ross Macdonald student and plaintiff in a class-action lawsuit brought against the Province of Ontario, which operates the school. “It’s a huge burden lifted off my shoulders.”

Deaf Community Under Stress as Canadian Hearing Society Strike Continues

For many in the Toronto’s Deaf community, workers with the Canadian Hearing Society provide essential support, from fixing hearing aids to interpreting at medical appointments, even helping to find employment. Since March, hundreds of CHS workers across the province have been on strike, and the effects are causing many clients to join staff on picket lines.

Read more at
http://www.accessibilitynewsinternational.com/deaf-community-under-stress-as-canadian-hearing-society-strike-continues/