Accessibility News December 31,2016 Update

Follow us on Twitter at https://twitter.com/acnewsca

Inclusive Media and Design Inc is a proud supporter of Accessibility News.

Inclusive is ready to caption and video describe all your video for web, DVD, and computer desktop. They can also assist you in understanding and implementing Ontario’s AODA Integrated Standards’ media requirements. Consider having them check that any of your new web site content is compliant with an Accessibility Audit.

Visit http://www.inclusivemedia.ca to find out more.

The AODA Clock is Ticking

There are 8 years, 0 weeks, 2 days until a fully Accessible Ontario! Will you be compliant?

In this Issue

*AODA Alliance 2016 Highlights
*Many Ontarians With Mental-Health Issues Must Choose Between Food and Meds *Access Board Updates ADA Guidelines for Buses and Vans
*London Unveils Badge Program for People With Invisible Disabilities
*Individuals With Disabilities More Likely to Be Employed in States With Expanded Medicaid

For a long term strategy in meeting the AODA and Section 508, Accessibility News recommends Accessibil-IT Inc for all your accessible PDF documentation needs. For more information email them at info@accessibilit.com or visit them on the web at: http://www.accessibilit.com

AODA Alliance 2016 Highlights:

1. Nine Years after the Ontario Government Promises to Review All Ontario Laws for Accessibility Barriers, the Wynne Government Proposes Modest Legislative Changes to 11 Laws , To Be Fast-Tracked Through the Legislature

Read more at
http://www.aoda.ca/nine-years-after-the-ontario-government-promises-to-review-all-ontario-laws-for-accessibility-barriers-the-wynne-government-proposes-modest-legislative-changes-to-11-laws-to-be-fast-tracked-throug/

2. Despite Ongoing Issues, Ontario Plans to Reduce Small Business Accessibility Requirements

For most people, hailing a cab is no big deal, but Diane Bergeron has a guide dog and she says that makes all the difference.
After a hotel doorman hailed a taxi for Bergeron, she said the driver refused to allow her guide dog Lucy on board.
He just said, No Im not taking a dog, even though I was in full view, said Bergeron, who works with CNIB, an non-proit rehabilitation agency for the visually impaired.

Read more at
http://www.aoda.ca/despite-ongoing-issues-ontario-plans-to-reduce-small-business-accessibility-requirements/

3. Toronto Star Reports on Wynne Government Weakening the 2007 Customer Service Accessibility Standard

and on Toronto Transit Commission Delays in Ensuring Accessibility of Public Transit in Canadas Largest City

Two important Toronto Star reports this week illustrate how far Ontario falls short of the Wynne Governments claim to be a global leader on disability accessibility. These news reports come just eight and a half years before the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Acts mandatory 2025 deadline for the Ontario Government to have led Ontario to become fully accessible to 1.8 million people with disabilities.

Read more at
http://www.aoda.ca/toronto-star-reports-on-wynne-government-weakening-the-2007-customer-service-accessibility-standard/

4. Wynne Government Holds Unneeded Pre-Consultation on Health Care Accessibility Barriers, Before It Sets Up Standards Development Committee to Consult on Health Care Accessibility Barriers

More Delays on the Road to an Accessible Ontario Health Care System The Wynne Government Announces Unnecessary Pre-Consultation on Health Care Accessibility Barriers, Before Appointing the Overdue Standards Development Committee to Consult on Barriers in Ontarios Health Care System

Read more at
http://www.aoda.ca/wynne-government-holds-unneeded-pre-consultation-on-health-care-accessibility-barriers-before-it-sets-up-standards-development-committee-to-consult-on-health-care-accessibility-barriers/

5. Premier Wynnes Throne Speech Offers 1.8 Million Ontarians with Disabilities Nothing new

The Wynne Governments new Throne Speech, read at Queens Park this afternoon, offers 1.8 million Ontarians with disabilities absolutely nothing new, as a point-by-point analysis, set out below, shows.

Read more at
http://www.aoda.ca/premier-wynnes-throne-speech-offers-1-8-million-ontarians-with-disabilities-nothing-new/

ARTICLES:

Many Ontarians With Mental-Health Issues Must Choose Between Food and Meds

Most must pay out of pocket for their prescription drugs. Not all of them can afford to.

Dr. Kwame McKenzie, CEO of the Wellesley Institute, says Ontario could be doing so much more for mental health.

Read more at
http://www.accessibilitynews.ca/many-ontarians-with-mental-health-issues-must-choose-between-food-and-meds/

Access Board Updates ADA Guidelines for Buses and Vans

The Access Board has issued a final rule updating sections of its accessibility guidelines for transportation vehicles covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

The rule revises provisions in the guidelines that apply to buses and vans to enhance accessibility and to address industry trends and improvements in design and technology.

Read more at
http://www.accessibilitynewsinternational.com/access-board-updates-ada-guidelines-for-buses-and-vans/

London Unveils Badge Program for People With Invisible Disabilities

Londons transportation department wants to help people with invisible conditions find a seat on public transportation. Starting September 12, Transport for London (TfL) will spend six weeks testing a badge program for people with invisible illnesses and disabilities. The badges, which say Please offer me a seat, are designed for people who are unable to stand, but appear like they can. Those who see someone wearing a badge will then be encouraged through campaigns and materials distributed by the TfL to offer up their seat.

Read more at
http://www.accessibilitynewsinternational.com/london-unveils-badge-program-for-people-with-invisible-disabilities/

Individuals With Disabilities More Likely to Be Employed in States With Expanded Medicaid

Individuals with disabilities are significantly more likely to be employed if they live in a state that has expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, a new study has found.

Read more at
http://www.accessibilitynewsinternational.com/individuals-with-disabilities-more-likely-to-be-employed-in-states-with-expanded-medicaid/

eSSENTIAL Accessibility: helping organizations reach, serve and empower people with disabilities.

The eSSENTIAL Accessibility assistive technology app gives those who have trouble typing, moving a mouse, or reading a screen due to a variety of conditions – such as stroke, paralysis or arthritis – the tools they need to navigate the Web. The app is free to the end-user and simple to use.

Organizations that feature the app on their websites are committed to making it easier for people with disabilities to access information online. For more info, please visit http://www.essentialaccessibility.com

Follow us on Twitter at https://twitter.com/ea11y or connect with us on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/groups?gid=59891 .

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info@accessibilitynews.ca or just reply to this Update and state your intentions.

The views and opinions expressed throughout Accessibility News do not represent those of the various organizations or associated individuals and are exclusively those of the contributor and/or author of the specific article or commentary.

Accessibility News, since November 8, 2006

Many Ontarians With Mental-Health Issues Must Choose Between Food and Meds

Most must pay out of pocket for their prescription drugs. Not all of them can afford to.

Dr. Kwame McKenzie, CEO of the Wellesley Institute, says Ontario could be “doing so much more” for mental health.

Theresa Schrader, seen here in this 2012 photo, says she stopped taking her mental health medication when she lost her job, and her employer-provided drug coverage. By Peter GoffinStaff Reporter
Fri., Dec. 30, 2016

When her medication got too expensive, Theresa Schrader just stopped taking it.

Schrader has anxiety, Type II bipolar disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder. She’s also struggled with addiction and takes medicine for diabetes and blood pressure.

When Schrader had a social work job in Toronto, her employer-provided drug plan covered her medication costs over $200 per month for the psychiatric drugs alone.

Then she relapsed into addiction and her mental health spiraled. Schrader lost her job and her drug coverage.

Medication is often an integral part of mental-health treatment. But many Ontarians must pay out of pocket for their prescription drugs. And not all of them can.

Forced to choose between medication and rent for herself and her young son, Schrader stopped taking her drugs, even though it meant panic attacks and reckless behaviour brought on by her mental illnesses.

“I went without medication for a period of time,” Schrader says. “Until my psychiatrist insisted that I needed to get back on them (as) my mental health was deteriorating.”

OHIP generally covers drug costs for people in hospital, but not for outpatients. And while many employers offer drug coverage to their employees, a growing number of workers have no health benefits at all.

“Work has become more and more precarious,” Dr. Kwame McKenzie, CEO of the Wellesley Institute urban health think tank, says. “Low-paid, non-professional, non-unionized environments tend to be the environments that don’t have health coverage.”

When people can’t afford their drugs, they usually just go without it, McKenzie says.

Read Part 1 of this series: Patients suffer over gap between physical and mental health care

Read Part 2 of this series: Timely, affordable mental health therapy out of reach for many (Follow the link below to find these articles)

“Prescribed medication is prescribed for a reason,” he adds. “If you don’t have that medication, you get ill.”

Cost is a factor for anyone taking medication, but mental-health patients experience some unique barriers to affording their drugs.

People with mental illness will likely need to stay on medication for years, McKenzie says, while many prescriptions for physical ailments may only be needed for a week or two.

Patients may also need multiple medications at once.

“Often people with mental-health problems are on one or two or three medications for their mental-health problem and then other medication because they’re more likely to have physical problems,” says McKenzie, a psychiatrist and Director of Health Equity at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH).

It can also take several months of experimenting with different medications before finding the right one.

“The brain is a very complicated organ,” Mood Disorders Society of Canada executive director Phil Upshall says. “Changing the brain’s behaviour, the chemistry in the brain, takes some time and it takes finding the right chemical formula.”

Meghan Coolen has depression, an anxiety disorder and an eating disorder.

In November 2015, her family doctor prescribed her an antidepressant similar to Zoloft. It helped alleviate some of her mental-health issues but also put her into a kind of dream state, she says, like she wasn’t experiencing her life first-hand.

The doctor gave her a new prescription for a different antidepressant, but Coolen was left with several tablets of the old drug, which she had paid for but now couldn’t use.

Coolen currently pays about $50 a month in medication costs. But she also pays about $480 per month for therapy, which is not covered by OHIP or her employer either. It all adds up.

“Some months it’s tight,” she says. “I’m spending money on medication that I could be spending on food, and I’m eating cereal for dinner.”

Coolen is a young professional with a university degree and a full-time job at a major media company in Toronto. But, because she is a contract employee, she does not qualify for her employer’s health benefits.

“There’s a ton of things I’m missing out on by working contract, yet I’m working the same hours as the [permanent] staff members,” she says.

Coolen is just one of the thousands of working Ontarians without health coverage through their jobs.

In 2015, the Wellesley Institute reported that 37 per cent of workers in the province have no employer-provided health coverage at all.

The government of Ontario has safety-net drug programs for people in dire financial need, but thousands of others are stuck in the strange situation of earning too much to qualify for drug coverage, yet not enough to comfortably afford their drugs.

“While Ontario provides a patchwork of health benefits that cover prescription drugs . . . to selected populations, people who are working but who have low earnings are likely to fall through the gaps,” the Wellesley Institute says in its report. “They are not eligible for public benefits and are less likely to have employer-provided benefits.”

The Trillium Drug Program is for people whose medication costs are at least 3 to 4 per cent of their household’s after-tax income. Recipients of Trillium are still on the hook to pay the deductible for the drugs they take.

The Ontario Drug Benefit covers medication costs for senior citizens, patients in long-term care homes or receiving home care, people on provincial assistance for disability and people on the Ontario Works financial and employment assistance program.

To qualify for Ontario Works, a person must “need money right away for food and shelter,” and be willing to participate in “activities that will help you” find employment.

“Individuals that are on Ontario Works automatically qualify for the Ontario Drug Benefit,” Ministry of Community and Social services spokesperson Joshua Henry says. The ministry runs Ontario Works.

But McKenzie says that navigating government channels to get drug coverage can be prohibitively complicated, and that many patients may not even know what options exist.

“The problem is that we’re (dealing with) people that are really ill and vulnerable and rather than making it a really easy process, some people find it quite difficult,” McKenzie says.

And not all drugs are covered under these public programs, or even the private ones.

“When drug plans are assessing whether they’re going to cover (specific) drugs, they tend to look at whether the drug works or not rather than the side effects,” McKenzie says. “And so what you sometimes find is you get a new drug that’s much more expensive than the old drug . . . The side-effect profile is so much better, but it’s not going to get covered.”

Months after losing her job, Schrader got onto Ontario Works and qualified for the Ontario Drug Benefit. But the drug her psychiatrist had prescribed for her bipolar disorder was not covered by the ODB.

She tried an ODB-covered alternative but fell victim to one of its side effects, a severe skin rash that, in some rare cases, can be fatal.

Her psychiatrist kept her on the initial drug, getting free samples from the manufacturer a few weeks at a time, until the government added it to their list of covered drugs.

Steps are being taken at the federal and provincial levels to limit the cost of medication.

The provincial, territorial and federal governments have united under the Pan-Canadian Pharmaceutical Alliance, negotiating with drug companies to reduce the price of drugs under public drug plans, Ontario Ministry of Health spokesperson David Jensen says.

Jensen also pointed out that the federally run Patented Medicines Price Review Board works to cap prices of patented drugs across the board.

But for care providers, national drug coverage is the only solution.

“We need a national pharmacare plan right now to help Canadians access needed prescriptions, not just for mental health,” Dr. Vicky Stergiopoulos, physician-in-chief at CAMH, says.

“A national pharmacare plan should also provide guidance about which medications are effective at the lowest possible cost.”

In general, McKenzie says, governments should be taking greater steps to make mental-health treatment accessible.

“We’re in a position in mental health where we can do more for people than we ever could, but that doesn’t mean you can get it,” he says. “That’s a big frustration in Ontario. We could be doing so much more.

Original at https://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2016/12/30/many-ontarians-with-mental-health-issues-must-choose-between-food-and-meds.html

Access Board Updates ADA Guidelines for Buses and Vans

The Access Board has issued a final rule updating sections of its accessibility guidelines for transportation vehicles covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

The rule revises provisions in the guidelines that apply to buses and vans to enhance accessibility and to address industry trends and improvements in design and technology.

Read more at
http://www.accessibilitynewsinternational.com/access-board-updates-ada-guidelines-for-buses-and-vans/

London Unveils Badge Program for People With Invisible Disabilities

London’s transportation department wants to help people with invisible conditions find a seat on public transportation. Starting September 12, Transport for London (TfL) will spend six weeks testing a badge program for people with invisible illnesses and disabilities. The badges, which say “Please offer me a seat,” are designed for people who are unable to stand, but appear like they can. Those who see someone wearing a badge will then be encouraged through campaigns and materials distributed by the TfL to offer up their seat.

Read more at
http://www.accessibilitynewsinternational.com/london-unveils-badge-program-for-people-with-invisible-disabilities/

Individuals With Disabilities More Likely to Be Employed in States With Expanded Medicaid

Individuals with disabilities are significantly more likely to be employed if they live in a state that has expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, a new study has found.

Read more at
http://www.accessibilitynewsinternational.com/individuals-with-disabilities-more-likely-to-be-employed-in-states-with-expanded-medicaid/

Accessibility News December 24,2016 Update

Follow us on Twitter at https://twitter.com/acnewsca

Inclusive Media and Design Inc is a proud supporter of Accessibility News.

Inclusive is ready to caption and video describe all your video for web, DVD, and computer desktop. They can also assist you in understanding and implementing Ontario’s AODA Integrated Standards’ media requirements. Consider having them check that any of your new web site content is compliant with an Accessibility Audit.

Visit http://www.inclusivemedia.ca to find out more.

The AODA Clock is Ticking

There are 8 years, 1 week, 2 days until a fully Accessible Ontario! Will you be compliant?

In this Issue

*Durham Regional Council Passes 2016 Accessibility Report
*Accessible WorkPlace AODA Deadlines
*How Do Deaf-Blind People Communicate?
*5 Ways New Technologies are Empowering People with Disabilities
*No Christmas Joy for Disability Camp Supporters
*Gravenhurst woman starts up online store to help special-needs kids, families

For a long term strategy in meeting the AODA and Section 508, Accessibility News recommends Accessibil-IT Inc for all your accessible PDF documentation needs. For more information email them at info@accessibilit.com or visit them on the web at: http://www.accessibilit.com

ARTICLES:

Durham Regional Council Passes 2016 Accessibility Report

Durham Regional Council has passed The Regional Municipality of Durhams 2016 Accessibility Report, a document that outlines completed initiatives that will help to further eliminate barriers across Regional operations.

Read more at
http://www.aoda.ca/durham-regional-council-passes-2016-accessibility-report/

Accessible WorkPlace AODA Deadlines

The Accessible Employment Standard comes into effect for businesses and non-profits: January 1, 2016 for businesses and non-profits with 50+ employees January 1, 2017 for businesses and non-profits with 1-49 employees

Read more at
http://www.aoda.ca/accessible-workplaces/

How Do Deaf-Blind People Communicate?

Deaf-blind people have many different ways of communication.
The methods they use vary, depending on the causes of their combined vision and hearing loss, their backgrounds, and their education.

Read more at
http://www.accessibilitynewsinternational.com/how-do-deaf-blind-people-communicate/

5 Ways New Technologies are Empowering People with Disabilities

While the term adaptive technology is fairly new, throughout history humanity has used technology to make life easier for the sick and disabled. As a matter of fact, one of the oldest and most recognizable examples of adaptive technology is the simple cane used by the blind. Today, adaptive tech is so advanced
that it can sometimes border on science fiction. Here are five new technologies that are empowering people with disabilities.

Read more at
http://www.accessibilitynewsinternational.com/5-ways-new-technologies-are-empowering-people-with-disabilities/

No Christmas Joy for Disability Camp Supporters

The Ontario government has dropped a lump of coal in the stocking of a group trying to save a northern Ontario lodge for the disabled.

Read more at
http://www.accessibilitynews.ca/no-christmas-joy-for-disability-camp-supporters/

Gravenhurst woman starts up online store to help special-needs kids, families

Natalie Edwards of Gravenhurst may have started Canadas first online store for toys and tools geared for special-needs kids and families.

Read more at
http://www.accessibilitynews.ca/gravenhurst-woman-starts-up-online-store-to-help-special-needs-kids-families/

eSSENTIAL Accessibility: helping organizations reach, serve and empower people with disabilities.

The eSSENTIAL Accessibility assistive technology app gives those who have trouble typing, moving a mouse, or reading a screen due to a variety of conditions – such as stroke, paralysis or arthritis – the tools they need to navigate the Web. The app is free to the end-user and simple to use.

Organizations that feature the app on their websites are committed to making it easier for people with disabilities to access information online. For more info, please visit http://www.essentialaccessibility.com

Follow us on Twitter at https://twitter.com/ea11y or connect with us on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/groups?gid=59891

Want to advertise in this spot? Email info@accessibilitynews.ca for more info

To unsubscribe from this Newsletter, send an email to
info@accessibilitynews.ca or just reply to this Update and state your intentions.

The views and opinions expressed throughout Accessibility News do not represent those of the various organizations or associated individuals and are exclusively those of the contributor and/or author of the specific article or commentary.

Accessibility News, since November 8, 2006

Durham Regional Council Passes 2016 Accessibility Report

Durham Regional Council has passed The Regional Municipality of Durham’s 2016 Accessibility Report, a document that outlines completed initiatives that will help to further eliminate barriers across Regional operations.

“In order to preserve dignity and independence for individuals of all abilities, we are continually working to achieve an inclusive and accessible environment,” said Roger Anderson, Regional Chair and Chief Executive Officer. “One of our top priorities remains creating a safe and fully inclusive community for our residents.”

Read more at
http://www.aoda.ca/durham-regional-council-passes-2016-accessibility-report/

Accessible WorkPlace AODA Deadlines

The Accessible Employment Standard comes into effect for businesses and non-profits: January 1, 2016 for businesses and non-profits with 50+ employees January 1, 2017 for businesses and non-profits with 1-49 employees

Read more at
http://www.aoda.ca/accessible-workplaces/

How Do Deaf-Blind People Communicate?

Deaf-blind people have many different ways of communication.
The methods they use vary, depending on the causes of their combined vision and hearing loss, their backgrounds, and their education.

Read more at
http://www.accessibilitynewsinternational.com/how-do-deaf-blind-people-communicate/

5 Ways New Technologies are Empowering People with Disabilities

While the term adaptive technology is fairly new, throughout history humanity has used technology to make life easier for the sick and disabled. As a matter of fact, one of the oldest and most recognizable examples of adaptive technology is the simple cane used by the blind. Today, adaptive tech is so advanced that it can sometimes border on science fiction. Here are five new technologies that are empowering people with disabilities.

Read more at
http://www.accessibilitynewsinternational.com/5-ways-new-technologies-are-empowering-people-with-disabilities/