Accessibility News December 25,2010 Update

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In this Issue

1) Message Board
*Car Sound Bill Approved
*Workshops for Disabled ‘Antiquated,’ Says Advocate
*Chirping Crosswalk Changes Its Tune; Safety Matters
*BSI Accessibility Documentary Endorsed on United Nations Website
*Stuck on the Road
*Disability Rights Activist Still Waiting For a Fully Accessible Transit System
*No Human Rights Enforcement for Transit?
*Disabled Nortel Employees Face a Bleak Future
*BMO Survey: Canadians With Disabilities Not Taking Advantage of RDSPs
*Woman Gets Electric Wheelchair OK
*The Process of Civic Engagement
3) Classifieds
4) This and That



Merry Christmas from Accessibility News!!

Car Sound Bill Approved

House OKs deadline for hybrid, electric levels to warn blind

Washington— The House voted 379-30 Thursday to give federal safety regulators 18 months to set minimum sound levels from quiet electric and hybrid vehicles to warn blind pedestrians.



Workshops for Disabled ‘Antiquated,’ Says Advocate

A national advocate for the disabled on Thursday called for an end to sheltered workshops after it was revealed that a Saskatchewan non-profit group pays a stipend of $150 a month for work on a recycling sorting line.

SASKATOON — A national advocacy organization is calling on Saskatchewan to move away from sheltered workshops for people with disabilities, saying the practice has “outlived its usefulness.”



Chirping Crosswalk Changes Its Tune; Safety Matters

Canadian municipalities are finding themselves on opposite sides of an odd debate: whether to change the sound used to help the visually impaired
safely cross the street.

The reason for the proposed change? The chirping sound that has become commonplace at crosswalks from coast to coast sounds too much like the
northern cardinal.



BSI Accessibility Documentary Endorsed on United Nations Website

The UN has long been a proponent of human rights worldwide. This includes the rights of disabled persons, as integral members of society often overlooked in public service sectors. In an article recognising the International Day of Persons with Disabilities on 3 December, the UN endorsed BSI’s documentary “Overview: Way to Accessibility in Buildings and on the Web” as a way to encourage companies to make their services indiscriminately applicable to all consumers.



Stuck on the Road

Yesterday I was walking home from doing errands at the grocery store, pharmacy, bank, etc. The snow was ankle-high, but thankfully the sidewalks had been shoveled, so that I didn’t have to wade through too much snow. Coming the other way, presumably headed to the same shopping complex I’d just left, was a guy in a power chair. He wasn’t on the sidewalk, though; he was in the road, hugging the curb, dodging 30-mile-an-hour traffic. He must’ve seen me looking at him because he looked back at me and explained, “It’s the snow. I can’t get to the sidewalk.”

I was confused. The sidewalk had been cleared. Why was he still…?

Oh. As I walked further, I realized that the sidewalk had indeed been cleared; but at the curb cuts on both sides of each block, where the snow plow had
left the usual piles, the snow crew had only scooped out a narrow pathway, about a foot wide, through each big pile of snow.

Needless to say, the average wheelchair cannot fit through a foot-wide gap; so my neighbor had been forced to trust luck and the judgment of the average
Ohio driver–not exactly a good trade for being able to get to the grocery store.



Disability Rights Activist Still Waiting For a Fully Accessible Transit System

For nine months, Anne Abbott waited for the Toronto Transit Commission to fix the elevator at the Yonge and Bloor subway station in downtown Toronto so she and other disabled commuters could get to work, attend school, visit friends and be active members of their communities.

“It took the busiest shopping time of the year for the TTC to actually do something about this situation,” said Abbott at Monday’s rally and leafleting
action for a free and accessible public transit system in Toronto.



No Human Rights Enforcement for Transit?

Saturday, December 18, 2010
By Wheelchair Demon

On Friday, I went through an exercise of major frustration. I phoned all over the place trying to find enforcement for a human rights settlement against
Kingston Transit that was made in 2006 through the Human Rights Commission.

At this point I have already spent 6 months trying to get the Kingston Transit routes, that were once declared as being “Fully Accessible” back to being
that way. But so far, it has been to no avail. For reasons I cannot explain, the transit manager has decided that, because of bus stop design and safety
issues, the accessibility of routes can be diminished by simply renaming the routes as “Easier Access” routes.



Disabled Nortel Employees Face a Bleak Future

OTTAWA—Earlier this month, forty-seven Conservative Senators killed proposed legislation designed to protect employees on long-term disability — then promptly
headed off for an evening of Christmas cheer.

The irony was not lost on the roughly 400 employees of bankrupt Nortel Networks Corp., who have very little to celebrate this holiday season.



BMO Survey: Canadians With Disabilities Not Taking Advantage of RDSPs
list of 3 items
• Only five per cent of Canadians with disabilities hold RDSP accounts
• A mere one in 10 of those impacted claim to be knowledgeable about the program
• Almost half have never heard of RDSPs
list end



Woman Gets Electric Wheelchair OK

Province acknowledges assisted devices programis struggling with backlog of applications 

Mary Comeau, 35, shown with her friend Don Hull, 47, outside the Montfort Hospital, has been getting by with a borrowed manual wheelchair, but needed an electric model. The final step in approving the wheelchair occurred Friday: the supplier received an order number.

OTTAWA — An Ottawa woman struggling with a disability as well as cancer is to receive a power wheelchair today – after waiting five months for Health Ministry officials to approve her application.



The Process of Civic Engagement

By John Rae

John Rae is 1st Vice President of the Alliance for Equality of Blind Canadians, and a member of CCD’s National Council. The following are notes
for a presentation at ARCH Disability Law Centre’s 30th Anniversary Symposium, Toronto, December 13, 2010.

Pursuing civic engagement in a democracy can take many forms, from organizing our own groups, writing letters to the appropriate officials or
the editor of one’s local newspaper, monitoring and making presentations to
Parliamentary committees, filing legal challenges, pickets and demonstrations, to today’s increasing emphasis on participating in the electoral process
by voting, as campaign workers or even as candidates hoping to get elected to office.




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