Three blind Maryland residents and the National Federation of the Blind are suing Walmart

Hello there and welcome to our newest segment: Where we highlight important
articles on topics pertaining to advocacy.

We are introducing this segment based on several requests that we have
received from readers.
Please feel free to send us your feedback and if you wish us to publish your
own articles then by all means send it along to info@sterlingcreations.ca

Please take a moment to subscribe to our newest newsletter:
‘Let’s Talk Tips’ is your monthly resource for the most current and reliable
informational tips available in the areas of Technology, Nutrition, Media,
Business, and Advocacy.
http://bit.ly/ADJSubscribe

With best wishes
From the business desk team
Follow us on Twitter @accessibleworld

+++++++++++++++

Oct. 29–
Hello there and welcome to our newest segment: Where we highlight important
articles on topics pertaining to advocacy.

We are introducing this segment based on several requests that we have
received from readers.
Please feel free to send us your feedback and if you wish us to publish your
own articles then by all means send it along to info@sterlingcreations.ca

Please take a moment to subscribe to our newest newsletter:
‘Let’s Talk Tips’ is your monthly resource for the most current and reliable
informational tips available in the areas of Technology, Nutrition, Media,
Business, and Advocacy.
http://bit.ly/ADJSubscribe

With best wishes
From the business desk team
Follow us on Twitter @accessibleworld

+++++++++++++++

Oct. 29–
Three blind Maryland residents and the National Federation of the
Blind are suing Walmart, alleging that the company violates the Americans
with Disabilities Act because its self-checkout kiosks are not fully
accessible
to blind customers.

The lawsuit, filed Thursday in U.S. District Court, also claims that an
employee at the Walmart in Owings Mills allegedly attempted to take money
from

one of the plaintiffs while she was checking out at the store.

The suit claims that a staff member at the Owings Mills store on
Reisterstown Road was assisting Cynthia Morales with a purchase at a
self-checkout kiosk

in July 2017 when the employee selected an option for cash back from her
debit card and took $40 without her knowledge.

“It’s important for blind people to be able to use the machines
independently … so that people are not stealing from us,” Morales, a
Parkville resident,

said in an interview. “We should be treated like everybody else — when we
come into the store we would like to check out at the self-checkout quickly

just like everybody else, and I know that the technology is out there.”

In addition to Morales, other plaintiffs include Linwood Boyd, a Pikesville
resident who was shopping with Morales when the alleged incident occurred;

Baltimore resident Melissa Sheeder; the National Federation of the Blind
Inc. and the National Federation of the Blind of Maryland.

The plaintiffs are seeking a permanent injunction that would require Walmart
to make its self-service kiosks throughout the U.S. accessible to blind
customers;

a declaration that Walmart has been violating the ADA; and court costs and
attorneys’ fees.

According to the suit, Morales and Boyd were checking out at a self-service
kiosk when Morales handed an employee her debit card and instructed the
employee

to enter her pin number on the keypad. She expected to pay about $80 for her
items, according to the suit. During the transaction, the screen prompted

the users to take money from the machine, the suit claims. When Morales and
Boyd left the store, they asked a bystander to read the receipt and realized

Morales was charged about $120.

They re-entered the store and called police, and the $40 was ultimately
returned, according to the complaint.

“Money was stolen from one of our members and certainly we deplore that,”
said Chris Danielsen, a spokesman for the National Federation of the Blind.

Danielsen said that even without the incident at Owings Mills, it’s
“unacceptable” that sight-impaired patrons can’t serve themselves. “The
technology

exists for Walmart and other entities that are using these kind of
self-service kiosks,” he said.

Sheeder claims in the suit that she shops at Walmart at least once a week,
and she and a friend attempted to use a self-checkout kiosk in July 2018.
When

they were unable to operate it, they were directed to a full-service
checkout lane, where they had to wait in line.

“We don’t tolerate discrimination, and we believe our checkout procedures
comply with applicable law,” Randy Hargrove, a spokesman for Walmart, said
in

an emailed statement late Friday. “When we learned of this specific
situation with Ms. Morales, we looked into the matter and as a result, the
associate

is no longer with the company. We take this matter seriously and will
respond as appropriate with the court.”

Danielsen said he’s not aware of any large retailers that incorporate
self-checkout kiosks that are fully accessible to blind people, but he
pointed to

self-service software for machines such as ATMs, Amtrak ticket booths and
taxicabs that allow blind people to operate the devices independently.

“We know that it’s possible to make a self-checkout kiosk accessible. It
just has to be thought of at the design stage,” said Jessica P. Weber, an
attorney

who is part of a team from the Baltimore firm Brown, Goldstein & Levy
representing the plaintiffs. The lawsuit says the National Federation of the
Blind

attempted to work with Walmart to address problems with the kiosks prior to
filing suit.

“The civil rights of blind people can’t wait indefinitely and so we’re going
to forge ahead,” Weber said.

smeehan@baltsun.com

twitter.com/sarahvmeehan

___

(c)2018 The Baltimore Sun

Visit The Baltimore Sun at

www.baltimoresun.com

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

alleging that the company violates the Americans
with Disabilities Act because its self-checkout kiosks are not fully
accessible
to blind customers.

The lawsuit, filed Thursday in U.S. District Court, also claims that an
employee at the Walmart in Owings Mills allegedly attempted to take money
from

one of the plaintiffs while she was checking out at the store.

The suit claims that a staff member at the Owings Mills store on
Reisterstown Road was assisting Cynthia Morales with a purchase at a
self-checkout kiosk

in July 2017 when the employee selected an option for cash back from her
debit card and took $40 without her knowledge.

“It’s important for blind people to be able to use the machines
independently … so that people are not stealing from us,” Morales, a
Parkville resident,

said in an interview. “We should be treated like everybody else — when we
come into the store we would like to check out at the self-checkout quickly

just like everybody else, and I know that the technology is out there.”

In addition to Morales, other plaintiffs include Linwood Boyd, a Pikesville
resident who was shopping with Morales when the alleged incident occurred;

Baltimore resident Melissa Sheeder; the National Federation of the Blind
Inc. and the National Federation of the Blind of Maryland.

The plaintiffs are seeking a permanent injunction that would require Walmart
to make its self-service kiosks throughout the U.S. accessible to blind
customers;

a declaration that Walmart has been violating the ADA; and court costs and
attorneys’ fees.

According to the suit, Morales and Boyd were checking out at a self-service
kiosk when Morales handed an employee her debit card and instructed the
employee

to enter her pin number on the keypad. She expected to pay about $80 for her
items, according to the suit. During the transaction, the screen prompted

the users to take money from the machine, the suit claims. When Morales and
Boyd left the store, they asked a bystander to read the receipt and realized

Morales was charged about $120.

They re-entered the store and called police, and the $40 was ultimately
returned, according to the complaint.

“Money was stolen from one of our members and certainly we deplore that,”
said Chris Danielsen, a spokesman for the National Federation of the Blind.

Danielsen said that even without the incident at Owings Mills, it’s
“unacceptable” that sight-impaired patrons can’t serve themselves. “The
technology

exists for Walmart and other entities that are using these kind of
self-service kiosks,” he said.

Sheeder claims in the suit that she shops at Walmart at least once a week,
and she and a friend attempted to use a self-checkout kiosk in July 2018.
When

they were unable to operate it, they were directed to a full-service
checkout lane, where they had to wait in line.

“We don’t tolerate discrimination, and we believe our checkout procedures
comply with applicable law,” Randy Hargrove, a spokesman for Walmart, said
in

an emailed statement late Friday. “When we learned of this specific
situation with Ms. Morales, we looked into the matter and as a result, the
associate

is no longer with the company. We take this matter seriously and will
respond as appropriate with the court.”

Danielsen said he’s not aware of any large retailers that incorporate
self-checkout kiosks that are fully accessible to blind people, but he
pointed to

self-service software for machines such as ATMs, Amtrak ticket booths and
taxicabs that allow blind people to operate the devices independently.

“We know that it’s possible to make a self-checkout kiosk accessible. It
just has to be thought of at the design stage,” said Jessica P. Weber, an
attorney

who is part of a team from the Baltimore firm Brown, Goldstein & Levy
representing the plaintiffs. The lawsuit says the National Federation of the
Blind

attempted to work with Walmart to address problems with the kiosks prior to
filing suit.

“The civil rights of blind people can’t wait indefinitely and so we’re going
to forge ahead,” Weber said.

smeehan@baltsun.com

twitter.com/sarahvmeehan

___

(c)2018 The Baltimore Sun

Visit The Baltimore Sun at

www.baltimoresun.com

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Will the Canadian Government be able to keep their promise? We wait and hold our breaths

Greetings and ah yes! It’s a holiday weekend in my neck of the woods!
Today I am pleased to share our president’s weekly editorial with you and
for this week Donna J. Jodhan is wondering if the Canadian Government will
be able to keep their promise.
Have a great holiday weekend.
I’m Christian Robicheau

+++++++++++++++

Will the Canadian Government be able to keep their promise?
By Donna J. Jodhan

This is the million dollar question as we wait and watch anxiously and with
the fast approach of spring our anxiety and expectation can only grow. This
the timeline that the Canadian Government has set for the passage of the
Accessible Canada Act.

So what is this question?
Simply put! The Canadian Government has promised to hire 5,000 persons with
a disability within five years after the Accessible Canadian Act has been
passed. This works to about one thousand persons annually.

This indeed is an extremely generous promise but there are very legitimate
concerns about this that are very important especially so to the blind and
vision impaired community. It is all about a well known concern that about
95% of internal systems; both hardware and software systems are not
accessible or usable to blind and vision impaired Government employees.

Coupled with this is a growing concern that several internal Government
board and committees do not have any blind and vision impaired members as
sitting members. This means that the voices of blind and vision impaired
persons are probably not being heard loudly enough.

The other piece to this picture is this: In order to be able to fully
understand the needs and requirements of the blind and vision impaired
committee, we need to have more representation on boards and committees. If
internal surveys and forms continue to be circulated in an inaccessible
format then it means that the message is either not being heard or
understood or maybe and just maybe our message is being ignored? Or could
it be that the message is simply not filtering down from the Minister to the
troops on the ground?

Whatever the reasons; there are very tangent and legitimate concerns for let
us consider this: If at the present time internal systems are not
accessible to and usable by blind and vision impaired employees; then how
would the Government propose to make this an equal playing field for all
persons with all disabilities?

Let us add to this the important piece of accessible websites and accessible
and usable online forms. Blind and vision impaired persons simply cannot
compete on an equal footing if these pieces are not in place and the needs
and requirements of said community cannot be understood if legitimate reps
are not at the various round tables, committees and other decision making
entities. Asking persons with other disabilities to represent the interests
of blind and vision impaired persons will not work.

Just my two cents for today.

I’m Donna J. Jodhan wishing you a terrific weekend.
To reach me, please send an email to info@sterlingcreations.ca

Here is a complete list of where you can view Donna’s blogs and editorials.
Donna Jodhan! Advocating accessibility for all
http://www.donnajodhan.blogspot.com
Weekly features on how to increase your success with your business ventures
http://www.sterlingcreations.com/businessdesk.htm
Weekly articles and editorials on issues about accessibility
http://www.sterlingcreations.ca/blog
Learn more about Author Donna Jodhan and her campaign against bullying at
www.jodhanmysterybook.club
Now you can enjoy Donna’s detective DJ crime crushers Series by visiting
http://www.donnajodhan.com

And now her weekly podcast at www.donnajodhan.com/takeanother5.html
From recipes to apps, and from 5 minutes mysteries to tips for entrepreneurs
and alerts on the latest scams
Available for download from iTunes and Google music play.

You can follow me on twitter @accessibleworld
and chat with me on Skype at habsfan0526.
Like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/authordonnajodhan

Now you can subscribe to my monthly newsletter.
‘Let’s Talk Tips’ is your monthly resource for the most current and reliable
informational tips available in the areas of Technology, Nutrition, Media,
Business, and Advocacy.
http://bit.ly/ADJSubscribe

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

What Does “Blind” Have to Do with It?

Hello there and welcome to our newest segment: Where we highlight important
articles on topics pertaining to advocacy.

We are introducing this segment based on several requests that we have
received from readers.
Please feel free to send us your feedback and if you wish us to publish your
own articles then by all means send it along to info@sterlingcreations.ca

Please take a moment to subscribe to our newest newsletter:
‘Let’s Talk Tips’ is your monthly resource for the most current and reliable
informational tips available in the areas of Technology, Nutrition, Media,
Business, and Advocacy.
http://bit.ly/ADJSubscribe

With best wishes
From the business desk team
Follow us on Twitter @accessibleworld

+++++++++++++++

What Does “Blind” Have to Do with It?

The Right to Parent from a Sighted Daughter’s Perspective

by Joanne Gabias
Braille MonitorAugust/September 2018

From the Editor: As we struggle for the right to raise the children we have
brought into the world or have chosen to adopt,
many of us rely on our own experience to provide encouragement, counsel,
and the assurance that there are time-tested techniques that blind people
use in raising our children to be normal, happy adults. We think
we see this in our children and in the children raised by other blind
people,
but many of us long for a verbal affirmation that what we think we have
provided is really so
and that our children don’t feel that they have received a second-rate
upbringing. If ever there was an affirmation
that one sighted daughter believes that she got what she needed to become a
self-sufficient,
well-balanced adult, Joanne Gabias provided that testimonial to the
convention. Here is what the daughter of Paul
and Mary Ellen Gabias said on the morning of July 7, 2018:

Hello, everyone. My name is Joanne Gabias, and I am honored to speak to you
all today.
I was four months old when I attended my first convention. Although I’ve
missed some throughout the years,
this is my twenty-first. [applause] I have come to convention by plane, by
train,
by bus, and by car. I was hoping to go by boat next year, but it would be
hard to
accomplish going from Arizona to Vegas. Maybe 2020 will be in Hawaii or
Puerto Rico.

My convention experience has changed over the years. I used to be at NFB
Camp or what is now called NFB Child Care with my brothers Jeffrey, Philip,
and Elliott.

I remember at the Atlanta convention all of the kids went
to the Coca-Cola factory. I got really sick because I pigged
out on all the free soda from all over the world. My parents wouldn’t
normally let me drink soda.
That was an early lesson on how parental advice is worth considering even
when they’re not there to make you do
what they say.

When I was too old to be babysat, I started working for NFB Camp, and
now I am a blindness professional. [applause] Before you all think that
my childhood is what got me into this field, I would like to point out that
I never even
knew that the field of orientation and mobility existed until I was
finishing my undergraduate degree
and didn’t know what to do with my life.

I love my degree in linguistic anthropology, and I wouldn’t
change it for the world. But I couldn’t make a living wage as an
anthropologist
unless I became a university professor,
something I definitely didn’t want to do. In fact I always said I would
never become a teacher or go into psychology because that is what my dad
does, and everyone assumed I would follow in his footsteps. Well, now I
know never say never, because I obtained my masters in guidance and
counseling,
and I am currently an orientation and mobility instructor at
SAAVI Services for the Blind in Tucson, Arizona.

I am here today for you, for your kids, and for the future children of
blind parents. I hope that my story will help you convince doubters that
children of blind parents can and do live wonderful lives. [applause]

People made a lot of assumptions about my life growing up—some true and some
not so true. Both of my parents are totally blind due to retinopathy of
prematurity. When people learn that, I get comments like,
“Oh, I’m so sorry;” or “Wow, how is life growing up with blind parents?;”
or “Oh, you must’ve been a big help around the house.”

Most children of blind parents can probably list off a bunch of other naïve
comments that we get all the time. My answer is always, “Well, I didn’t know
any different,
so it was normal to me.” And, quite frankly, my childhood was a pretty
typical one.

During my schooling at Louisiana Tech University, I attended immersion
at the Louisiana Center for the Blind. Even after my immersion ended, I
attended a
seminar at least once a week throughout my entire program.

One time the seminar question was “Who is the first blind person you met,
and how old were you?” Pam Allen called upon me to speak. I told the group
that
I was in kindergarten when I met my first blind person.
Clearly that’s an odd answer coming from a child whose parents are blind.

It was in kindergarten that I first realized what people meant
when they use the word. Before then, my parents were just my parents. My
parents fed me, dressed me, and took me to school. My experience wasn’t
any different from anyone else’s. I also thought it was weird at the age
of four that everyone would say to me, “Oh, you must be a big help
around the house.” Like what the heck was that supposed to mean; I’m
four! I’m pretty sure that those comments ingrained in me and my
brothers the determination to do the least amount possible around the house
outside of our chores. Even getting us to do those were hard; so
Mom, next time you need to yell at Elliott to take out the trash, blame
it on the world for making us want to prove that the stereotype of
saintly children helping their poor blind parents wrong. [applause]

I was spoiled. My mom made my breakfast and lunch every day until I
graduated
from high school. Even in university, if I asked or if she saw I was
stressed with work or school, she would make me food. When I go home to
visit, I have a list of favorite foods that I ask my mom to make.
As everyone knows, there are just some things that taste better when mom
makes them.

There were expectations, too. On each of our thirteenth birthdays, my mom
taught
us how to use the washer and dryer. She said, “You are a teenager now.
I’m no longer doing your laundry. If you want clean clothes, you’ll
have to do them yourself. [applause]

My family has always been very health-focused. My dad runs the Gabias
Wellness Center out of our family home. Some of you might have met him
in the exhibit hall talking about all the Nikken wellness products they
offer.
When I was younger, my dad was very strict about what we ate. My
brothers are so lucky that he let up as we got older, but, as you know,
parents are always the hardest and the most cautious with the first born.

I even have proof. All the pictures from my first birthday party show my
dad following me around making sure I was okay. I was running
away with an annoyed look on my face. I already wanted to be my own person.

By the time they had their fourth child, my parents were just satisfied that
the youngest was wearing clean underwear.

When I was in kindergarten, my mom made a cake to bring to my class for my
birthday. My parents had chosen not to have chocolate in our house, so my
mom tried to make a cake using carob. If you have never worked
with carob, it frankly tastes like dirt. My mom made carob frosting as
well, a double dose of yuck. Carob doesn’t spread well. The frosting
started clumping and breaking the cake. It was just a mess. I think
Apple must’ve seen a picture of this cake because they made an emoji
that looks exactly like it. [laughter] I think voiceover calls it the
smiling pile of poo.

I remember that day so vividly. The teachers tried to shush
the kids when they asked why the cake looked so weird.

The teacher assumed that it was because my mom was blind. I was annoyed,
because I knew it wasn’t my mom’s blindness or her cooking skills. It
was because of that stupid carob.

Mom can bake good stuff. I planned a surprise sweet sixteen party for my
best friend, and my mom made a giant chocolate (real chocolate) heart-shaped
cake with raspberry filling. Everyone loved it so much that all of
my friends asked her to make one for their birthdays as well.

Misconceptions and confusing problems caused by other factors with
problems caused by blindness happen all the time. My family lives in the
beautiful Okanagan Valley in Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada, minutes
away from a spectacular lake. When I was ten, my family bought a
speedboat. Growing up we spent most of our summer on the lake
waterskiing, tubing, wakeboarding, and swimming. Our family knew a man
who drove for us. It was only natural that he would also drive our boat.

When I was twelve our driver had a stroke and was in the hospital for
most of the summer. My dad tried to hire random people to drive the
boat. The cab driver he chose bent the propeller when he ran aground.
The twenty-one-year-old son of a friend gouged the side of the boat
while docking at a cost of $250. Dad was so annoyed with incompetent
boat drivers that he started looking into the boat licensing process. He
found out that twelve-year-olds can get a boat license in Canada.
Conveniently I had just turned twelve, so I was volunteered. He paid for
me and two of my friends to get our boat license. Dad sat in the class
as we learned nautical rules and took the licensing exam, which we all
passed.

The only problem was that we completed the class without ever
coming near a boat. The next day my dad took me out on the boat at 6
a.m. when there weren’t many boats on the lake and showed me what all
the controls did. His family owned a boat when he was growing up, so he
had been around them all his life. Whenever my dad gets a new gadget of
any kind, he figures out every button, lever, and widget. So he knew
exactly what to do with his boat.

I remember being extremely nervous because of my dad’s
high expectations. I remember my dad telling me, “Put it in full
throttle and turn the wheel.” That scared me.

I said, “We’re going to flip.”

Firmly he said, “If you don’t do it, I will. You need to know how the
boat will react to whatever you are doing.”

Everything I learned about boating, towing a waterskier, docking, and just
cruising
along I learned from my dad.

I would like to point out that I have
never put a scratch on our boat, and neither have my three
brothers who were also taught by my dad. [applause]

When we all started to learn how to drive cars, my dad insisted that we take
formal lessons. Dad went to every lesson with us. My dad went
through the program four times to be exact. If he couldn’t make it to a
lesson, he would have to reschedule because he wanted to make sure that
he knew what we were being taught and that we were doing what we were
supposed to do when we were driving alone. Even though he wasn’t the one
directly teaching us this time, my dad was very much at the center of
our driving experience.

As I grew older, I became more and more independent. I traveled all over
Canada and the US. I even went to France, Guatemala, New Mexico, and
Belize in high school and in college. Even when you’re legally an adult,
sometimes you
still need help from your parents. When I came back from Guatemala,
my cell phone stopped working. I had insurance, so I brought it in to
get it fixed. I spent three months contending with loaner phones that
didn’t work and my original phone coming back to me more
broken than before. I was complaining to my mom that they kept giving me
the runaround, so she came to the store with me. But my mom is a very
calm person. She doesn’t really raise her voice, but when she’s mad, you
know it. My mother calmly but powerfully explained that this was
unacceptable, and they needed to figure things out. Just like that I got
a new upgraded phone at zero cost to me. If I had known that this
would’ve been the outcome, I would’ve brought her in the first place.

This skill is something I still don’t possess. I think my brother Jeffrey
inherited this
skill. Luckily for me I can still call on my mom when I’m in need.

Some kids are denied the chance to grow up learning from their parents,
especially children of blind parents. When I was in the fifth grade, my
life could’ve changed drastically. Some random lady came to school and
separately pulled my brother and me out of class. She started asking me
questions about my parents: whether my father hit my brother or if I was
safe at home. I thought they were the weirdest questions ever. I was
sure that they took the wrong kid out of class. These questions didn’t
even remotely make sense in my life. When I came home, my mom was very
upset. The random lady had been to our home too. I told her about my
experience. My mom became livid. She had not been given the courtesy of
being told that they would be interviewing us at school. The weird lady
was from social services.

Someone made an anonymous call about my
parents. The complaint was that my dad might—just might—have hit or spanked
my brother, our house was messy, and that my brother went to school
with a dirty shirt. Can anyone in the audience tell me that your
house is never messy and that your kids or you have never dirtied a
shirt? I sure can’t.

After talking to us kids and visiting our parents at home, they realized
that the complaint was unjustified. Luckily they never bothered us
again. [applause] But that one incident has lingered with my mother to
this day. All of her children are legal adults, yet she still wonders
who called social services. We all know that social services didn’t show
up because my dad might’ve spanked my brother or because of a messy
house or because of a dirty shirt. They came because the caller said that
both parents
were totally blind. That was the real issue. It didn’t matter that my
mother was a stay-at-home mom or that my dad was a
university professor. Even though we had a parent at home to take care
of us and a parent making sure we had the money to live a happy and
prosperous life, the thing that mattered to the social workers was that
my parents were blind. I know that many other parents have either
experienced this visit or live in fear of this visit.

I recently testified at the Arizona House of Representatives in favor of the
right
to parent bill which was passed and signed into state law this spring.
[applause]
One of the committee members was asking a lot of naïve
questions about how my parents knew when we were doing something wrong.
He seemed convinced that I probably got away with a lot of things
because my parents couldn’t see. I told him that when my brother Philip
was still in preschool, my mother took him to the store with her. While
she was busy in the checkout line my brother quickly grabbed a pack of
gum. On the way out mom noticed that he was being very quiet. She heard
him fiddling with something. She did a quick search of his pockets and
marched him right back into the store and asked for the store manager.

She made my five-year-old brother confess what he had done and
apologize. [applause] Then she paid for the gum. The store manager said,
“Well, you’ve paid for it now, so you can have it back.” My mom said,
“Absolutely not! I’m not rewarding this behavior; throw it out.” My
brother was so embarrassed that he never stole from a store again.
[applause]

The committee member seemed unconvinced. He said, “Well, he was young. I
have teenagers. It’s really hard to keep track of them.”

The ways that my brothers and I got caught may be unconventional, but no
matter what,
we always got caught.

In middle school the fad was to have your midriff showing,
a fad that happens to be coming back recently. It’s funny how many things
have come back from the 90s. Shout out to the 90s babies out there! [cheers]
Well, I wasn’t allowed to show off my belly, but I wanted to
be fashionable. Besides, it was hard for me to find shirts that fit
because I’ve always been tall. I’ve been five-foot-nine since the seventh
grade.

Before I left for school, my parents would ask for a hug.
This is how they would sneakily check to see that my shirt was long
enough. My dad would ask for a hug from my brothers to check their breath
to see if they had brushed their teeth. I could go on and on
about all the ways we got caught, so when someone says “Oh, you must’ve
gotten away with
a lot of things,” I just laugh because they are so, so wrong.

When I was in high school, I did an exchange program. Sara, a girl from
Québec, was to spend six weeks in my home, and I would spend six weeks
in hers. We had to fill out a profile about our life, interests, parents,
what they did for work, etc. There was no line asking if my
parents were blind, so I didn’t write anything. It wasn’t important. We
got each other’s paperwork in June, but Sara didn’t come until the end of
January.
On her way to our home, she met the program coordinator who remarked
on how brave Sara was to come to a home run by two blind
parents. Sara started freaking out. She even called her mom. Her mom
told her that she should just see what it was like before she panicked
and came home. When Sara arrived at the Kelowna airport, my dad and I were
waiting for her with a big sign saying, “Bienvenue Sara,” meaning
“Welcome Sara” in French. We picked up her luggage, which my dad carried.
When we got home, mom made her a snack, and we talked with my
parents for an hour before my new friend and I went to my room. She
finally told me about her conversation with the coordinator and said, “I
realized once I got here that your parents are supernormal, but why
didn’t you tell me before?” I told her it wasn’t important to me, so I
didn’t really think it was necessary to say anything.

As things developed, I was happy I hadn’t told her. When I asked her what
she
would’ve done if she had gotten this information in advance, she
admitted that she wasn’t sure she would’ve even come.

Sara had a great time. It became so much more than a nice trip. We call each
other
sisters to this day. [applause]

When she had a semester off a few years later, Sara decided to come back
to Kelowna and live with us for three months. Not only do their flesh and
blood
love my parents, but so do my friends.

Sara was not the only one who lived with us either. I had four different
friends live with my
parents over the years. My house was the place to be. I wish my
grandparents could see our family now.

My grandmother was very upset when my dad
married a blind person. She didn’t have a problem with him
being blind, but she was scared that if he married another blind person,
their children would grow up socially awkward because they wouldn’t learn
any visual
social cues. My grandmother died when I was one, so she
didn’t get to see any of us grow up. I know my grandmother is biting her
tongue up in heaven right now.

My mother, Mary Ellen Gabias, used to work at the national office in the
80s. She was in charge of the Job Opportunities for the Blind. My
father, Paul Gabias, met my mother through that program briefly and then
again while attending a leadership seminar. My mom happened to be one of
the ones giving a tour for the seminar group. If you have ever been to
the national office, you know that everyone helps out where they are
needed no matter what their position may be. Well, my mom says that that
was the worst tour she ever gave. Anything that could go wrong did. The
ancient freight elevator got stuck with everybody onboard, among other
minor disasters. My father, however, knew he had found his future wife
even if she didn’t know it yet.

So I would like to thank the National Federation of the Blind. Because
if it wasn’t for this community, I would not exist. [applause] Although
I may not be blind, this is my family, I am a Federation baby, and this
is my family reunion. [applause] I am part of the next generation of
Federationists. The next generation may not all be blind, but we know
that blindness is not the characteristic that defines you, me, or your child’s
future. Every day we live with high expectations of blind people.
We don’t understand why there are low expectations. We are the
result of the dreams of blind people. We live the lives you fought for.
We know that blindness doesn’t hold you back because you have taught us.

Thank you.
https://nfb.org/images/nfb/publications/bm/bm18/bm1808/bm180812.htm

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Big brother or big trouble?

Greetings and a somewhat late welcome to the short month of February.
Yes, winter is still here but not to worry; just a few more weeks and we
will be into spring.
Today, I am delighted to share our president’s weekly editorial with you and
for this week Donna J. Jodhan shares a very interesting opinion with you.
It’s all about either being a big brother or being big trouble.
Please read on and I wish you a great weekend.
I’m Scott Savoy

+++++++++++++++

Big brother or big trouble?
By Donna J. Jodhan

This is probably the big question of the day after the recent acquisition of
Frontier Computing by the CNIB. I will state here that not having many
facts to go on and only the one that states that this acquisition has taken
place; I am going to write this editorial whereby I have many questions
instead of answers.

Frontier Computing was founded in 1986 and over the years I have done
business with them, purchasing a variety of products but I have never had
the need to purchase any of their training services. I also know that they
have been struggling financially over the last few years but this being said
this came both as a surprise as well as a bit of a disappointment to me.

Two different types of emotions at each end of the spectrum if I may say so.
However, I am only trying to be as honest as I can.

Surprise? Because I did not think that the CNIB would want to buy such a
company. So, did they buy Frontier Computing in order to save it from a
financial demise? Or did they buy it as part of an effort to gain control
over our consumer market?

Disappointed? Because I had hoped that somehow Frontier Computing could
either have managed to save itself or maybe that a consumer based company
would have been able to save it thus safeguarding the independence of our
consumer market.

Big brother or big trouble? If we take the view that the CNIB acquired
Frontier Computing in order to save a pillar of our community then the
answer may be big brother. However if they purchased it in order to gain
control of our consumer market, then the answer may probably be big trouble.

I guess that only time will provide us with some sort of conclusion. As for
me, I cannot and will not provide a response as I do not have many hard
facts to go on.

Just my two cents for today.

I’m Donna J. Jodhan wishing you a terrific weekend.
To reach me, please send an email to info@sterlingcreations.ca

Here is a complete list of where you can view Donna’s blogs and editorials.
Donna Jodhan! Advocating accessibility for all
http://www.donnajodhan.blogspot.com
Weekly features on how to increase your success with your business ventures
http://www.sterlingcreations.com/businessdesk.htm
Weekly articles and editorials on issues about accessibility
http://www.sterlingcreations.ca/blog
Learn more about Author Donna Jodhan and her campaign against bullying at
www.jodhanmysterybook.club
Now you can enjoy Donna’s detective DJ crime crushers Series by visiting
http://www.donnajodhan.com

And now her weekly podcast at www.donnajodhan.com/takeanother5.html
From recipes to apps, and from 5 minutes mysteries to tips for entrepreneurs
and alerts on the latest scams
Available for download from iTunes and Google music play.

You can follow me on twitter @accessibleworld
and chat with me on Skype at habsfan0526.
Like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/authordonnajodhan

Now you can subscribe to my monthly newsletter.
‘Let’s Talk Tips’ is your monthly resource for the most current and reliable
informational tips available in the areas of Technology, Nutrition, Media,
Business, and Advocacy.
http://bit.ly/ADJSubscribe

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Harsher Penalties to Stop Workplace Discrimination, Boost Accommodation

Hello there and welcome to our newest segment: Where we highlight important
articles on topics pertaining to advocacy.

We are introducing this segment based on several requests that we have
received from readers.
Please feel free to send us your feedback and if you wish us to publish your
own articles then by all means send it along to info@sterlingcreations.ca

Please take a moment to subscribe to our newest newsletter:
‘Let’s Talk Tips’ is your monthly resource for the most current and reliable
informational tips available in the areas of Technology, Nutrition, Media,
Business, and Advocacy.
http://bit.ly/ADJSubscribe

With best wishes
From the business desk team
Follow us on Twitter @accessibleworld

+++++++++++++++

Harsher Penalties to Stop Workplace Discrimination, Boost Accommodation

by Stuart Rudner

The Lawyers Daily, August 30, 2018

Human rights legislation across the country prohibits discrimination on the
basis of various protected
grounds. Accessibility legislation such as the Accessibility for Ontarians
with Disabilities Act (AODA) in
Ontario seeks to remove barriers to employment for people who have
disabilities.

The message seems clear: in 2018, people should not be prevented from
working due to barriers that
have no relation to their ability to do their job. And yet our courts and
tribunals continue to award
nominal compensation when organizations discriminate against candidates or
employees in
contravention of human rights legislation.

As part of the training required in Ontario to comply with the AODA, we are
to review videos such as
this. The video is a well-written, simple yet powerful reminder of the
challenges that people with
disabilities face in the workplace. One of the examples is an individual who
was interested in applying
for a position as a disability counsellor. Unfortunately, he was not able to
review the details of the
position, as the website was not accessible, and his screen reader could not
read it. When he called to
inquire, he was told that they were busy and that someone would call back.
No one ever did.

So, here’s my concern: if he had filed a claim with the Human Rights
Tribunal of Ontario, he would likely
have been told that his claim is worth something in the range of
$5,000-$10,000. And, of course, to
obtain that, he would have to go through a lengthy proceeding and, while
having a lawyer is not
necessary, it is certainly advisable, and would probably cost as much if not
more than what he would
receive. Is that really consistent with the message that we are trying to
send?

In recent years, our firm has represented many individuals who have been
discriminated against on the
basis of grounds protected by human rights legislation. They include
individuals with physical and
psychological disabilities, pregnant employees, mothers with young children,
and in one case, an
individual who was discriminated against because she had an abortion. We
have attended many
mediations at the tribunal, which are typically presided over by
vice-chairs, who could otherwise be the
“judge.”
And we have repeatedly been told that this type of case, where there is no
harassment or assault, is
worth closer to $0 than $30,000, so settlement should be in the
$5,000-$10,000 range.

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, it is time for courts and
tribunals to put their money where
their mouth is by awarding substantial damages when there is a breach of
human rights. The costs
associated with such discrimination cannot be seen as a cost of doing
business. I said the same thing last
fall in the context of workplace sexual harassment.

So how does this change? We have seen positive change in recent years. As I
have said before in a
previous The Lawyer’s Daily article: “Harassment is not tolerated as it once
was. However, before we can
take even more significant strides toward eliminating harassment and sexual
harassment in the
workplace, we have to remove any notion that allowing such conduct, the
damage it does to the victims
and others, and the risk of liability, is all simply a cost of doing
business. Harassment should never go
unpunished, no matter who the harasser is.”

Currently, there is little to dissuade an employer from discriminating
against a pregnant employee, or an
applicant with a disability. After all, the odds are that the individual
will simply walk away. If they file a
claim, you can simply throw a few thousand dollars at them to make it go
away.

At the same time, human rights tribunals need to have the authority to award
costs as our courts do.
Under the current model, there is nothing to discourage frivolous
complaints. We have represented
many employers that have been the victim of such, having done nothing wrong
but facing the reality
that they may have to spend tens of thousands of dollars in legal fees in
order to obtain a relatively
hollow victory. That is not right.

And, of course, in some cases employers take advantage of the reality that
they have deeper pockets
than the complainant and know that the complainant will not be able to fund
a claim all the way to
hearing and will ultimately have to accept less than they are entitled to.
Cost awards should be used in
those circumstances as well.

Discrimination on the basis of personal characteristic that are entirely
unrelated to employment is
reprehensible. Barriers should be eliminated, not created. That is true
whether we are discussing an
individual who cannot get to the second-floor office because they are in a
wheelchair, a female
employee dismissed because she is pregnant or an applicant unable to proceed
through the hiring
process because it is not accessible.

Employers will take their duty to provide accessible workplaces, accommodate
their employees and not
discriminate when the penalties for breaching those duties are more than
token amounts.

Stuart Rudner is a leading Canadian employment lawyer and mediator at Rudner
Law. He can be
reached at 416-864-8500 or stuart@rudnerlaw.ca.

https://www.thelawyersdaily.ca/articles/7194/harsher-penalties-to-stop-workp
lace-discrimination-boost-accommodation-stuart-rudner

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

When companies fail to use human testers

Greetings and indeed! January is not behaving in any unusual way! Cold,
cold!
Today, I am pleased to share our president’s latest editorial with you and
for this week Donna J. Jodhan talks about what happens when companies fail
to utilize human testers.
I wish you a great weekend.
I’m Scott Savoy

+++++++++++++++

When companies fail to use human testers
By Donna J. Jodhan

This is a problem/challenge that continues to plague us in a big way and I
am afraid that the only way to make a dent in the number of times that
companies do this may probably come down to us persisting in the raising of
our voices about the whole thing.

What am I referring to today? It is this!
Companies continue to use automated tools instead or in addition to the use
of human testers when dealing with the development or maintenance of their
websites. And even when they do use human testers; too often it is sighted
users and not testers with a disability.

Whatever happened to the famous concept of “walk a mile in my shoes?”
Whatever happened to the proven technique that the human touch reaches far
beyond the automated tool’s ability to navigate in the corners whenever
tight spots are encountered?

It is very hard to explain why companies continue to resist using users with
disabilities whenever it comes to testing for usability, accessibility, and
navigability. Some of these companies have even dared to say that it would
cost too much to hire users with disabilities whenever they need or require
to work on accessibility. However the truth and reality is this!

At the end of the day it costs much more to hire users with disabilities
because the use of automated tools has failed to zero in on glaring glitches
that could have been found by human testers to start with. The use of
automated tools definitely has its place in the scheme of things but the use
of human testers with disabilities has an even more important part to play.

It is time for companies to realize this and to start taking action. Too
much money is being spent on correcting errors that can be avoided if human
testers with disabilities are employed to carry out said types of testing.

It is time to stop using the excuse of being too costly or not having the
budget to hire the right type of users. It is time to correct this
situation ad to realize that cost can be avoided by using more human testers
with disabilities.

Just my two cents for today.

I’m Donna J. Jodhan wishing you a terrific weekend.
To reach me, please send an email to info@sterlingcreations.ca

Here is a complete list of where you can view Donna’s blogs and editorials.
Donna Jodhan! Advocating accessibility for all
http://www.donnajodhan.blogspot.com
Weekly features on how to increase your success with your business ventures
http://www.sterlingcreations.com/businessdesk.htm
Weekly articles and editorials on issues about accessibility
http://www.sterlingcreations.ca/blog
Learn more about Author Donna Jodhan and her campaign against bullying at
www.jodhanmysterybook.club
Now you can enjoy Donna’s detective DJ crime crushers Series by visiting
http://www.donnajodhan.com

And now her weekly podcast at www.donnajodhan.com/takeanother5.html
From recipes to apps, and from 5 minutes mysteries to tips for entrepreneurs
and alerts on the latest scams
Available for download from iTunes and Google music play.

You can follow me on twitter @accessibleworld
and chat with me on Skype at habsfan0526.
Like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/authordonnajodhan

Now you can subscribe to my monthly newsletter.
‘Let’s Talk Tips’ is your monthly resource for the most current and reliable
informational tips available in the areas of Technology, Nutrition, Media,
Business, and Advocacy.
http://bit.ly/ADJSubscribe

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Blind juror was almost rejected

Hello there and welcome to our newest segment: Where we highlight important
articles on topics pertaining to advocacy.

We are introducing this segment based on several requests that we have
received from readers.
Please feel free to send us your feedback and if you wish us to publish your
own articles then by all means send it along to info@sterlingcreations.ca

Please take a moment to subscribe to our newest newsletter:
‘Let’s Talk Tips’ is your monthly resource for the most current and reliable
informational tips available in the areas of Technology, Nutrition, Media,
Business, and Advocacy.
http://bit.ly/ADJSubscribe

With best wishes
From the business desk team
Follow us on Twitter @accessibleworld

+++++++++++++++

Blind juror was almost rejected

Disability advocates seek removal of courtroom barriers

Betsy Powell Toronto Star

The Toronto Star Dec. 29, 2018

A recent criminal trial at Toronto’s downtown Superior Court featured what
may be a first in Ontario: a
blind juror.

The fact that is, if not a first, an extremely rare occurrence in Ontario
underscores that much more
needs to be done to remove the barriers to equal treatment in the criminal
justice system, disability
advocates say.

“Certainly this applies to ensuring adequate representation of persons with
disabilities on juries,” says
Luke Reid, a lawyer with ARCH Disability Law Centre in Toronto.

The Criminal Code allows people with vision or hearing disabilities to serve
on juries. However, an
accused may challenge a juror’s service and the Juries Act deems jurors
ineligible if they have “a physical
or mental disability that would seriously impair his or her ability to
discharge the duties of a juror.”

“However, human rights law would demand that this (or any) requirement not
be interpreted in an
overbroad way and that persons with disabilities have the right to the
necessary accommodations,” Reid
wrote in email.

Juror 29743 almost didn’t get picked. While there are likely numerous
reasons preventing people with
impaired vision from sitting on juries, there is still a “very active
debate” around the ability of a “trier of
fact” to see a witness’s demeanour in order to assess credibility, Reid
noted in an email.

“I think courts tend to err on the side of caution where the right of an
accused to a fair trial is potentially
at issue.”

This fall, a day before jury selection in an impaired driving causing death
trial, prosecutor Marnie
Goldenberg told the judge she and defence lawyer Carolyn Kerr had some
concerns about a prospective
juror, who had shown up at the courthouse with a service dog. Goldenberg
told the judge numerous
photos would be introduced during the two-week trial.

Ontario Superior Court Justice Rob Goldstein told the lawyers while it was
entirely appropriate to raise
the issue, he didn’t intend to treat Juror
29743 any differently than other jurors.

“I think it’s something we canvass and we treat her the way we treat any
other juror who has a health
issue,” Goldstein said. The next day, after Juror 29743 entered the
courtroom with her service dog, the
judge asked her how she would “deal” with all the photos in the case.

“It would be through description … I cannot see them,” the woman, who
works in human resources, told
Goldstein.

“OK, all right, so if they are described – you can absorb what’s in them?”
the judge asked. She said yes.

The jury selection process continued in the normal course with two already
selected jurors, designated
as “triers,” deciding whether or not she was an acceptable pick.

Juror 29743 said she had not heard about the case involving a man charged
with impaired driving
causing death on April 23, 2016, near Jane St. and Humberview Blvd. She also
indicated she could
consider the evidence without prejudice or bias after being told the accused
was a visible minority and
Muslim. Nevertheless, the triers immediately rejected her.

Goldstein, however, wasn’t satisfied. He told the triers he was going to
reread their instructions and
asked them to consult each other again. The test to decide is if a juror
would approach jury duty with an
open mind and decide the case based solely on the evidence and his legal
instructions, the judge told
them.

This time, the triers found Juror 29743 acceptable while counsel on both
sides said they were “content”
with the choice. After a few days of deliberations, the jury returned to
court with a guilty verdict. The
Star’s attempts to speak to Juror 29743 were unsuccessful.

Lawyer David Lepofsky, a retired Crown attorney who is blind and was not
involved in the case, said
having a blind juror not only makes the legal system more representative of
society, it makes lawyers
more effective.

There’s a lot of stuff that goes on in a courtroom that is visual and needs
to be explained for the
transcript, or audio recording, so having a blind juror will help ensure
that happens, “so you get a better
record, and it’s better for everybody,” Lepofksy said.

But there are some exceptions where a visually impaired juror might have to
be excluded, he added. If,
for example, the guilt or innocence of an accused is entirely based on
whether a jury believes an accused
looks like an assailant captured in a surveillance video.

Lepofksy, now a visiting professor at York University’s Osgoode Hall law
school, said traditionally, appeal
courts said trial judges were in a superior position to assess the
credibility of witnesses, because they,
unlike appeal judges, can access demeanour.

That view has evolved, and now appeal courts are increasingly warning “it’s
wrong to over emphasize
visual demeanour when assessing credibility.” He uses himself as an example
to explain how everyone
has different ways of doing that.

“Sighted people use eyes. I listen to a voice … and the whole idea of a
jury is it’s a bunch of different
people … pooling their different ways of assessing credibility and then
voting as a group. Well, who’s to
say visual is the only way to do it,” he said.

“Those of us who experience the world non visually, have our own experience
too.”

While jurors don’t have to be statistically representative of society, there
is an expectation that they
bring to the courtroom their own life experience, “drawn from different
parts of the community, and
they pool to form a collective assessment, a very difficult assessment, who
to believe about what
happened.”

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

More human testers needed

Greetings everyone and welcome to the second weekend of January.
Happy to be back with you and for today I am pleased to share our
president’s weekly editorial with you.
For this week, Donna J. Jodhan zooms in on the concern of more human testers
need to be used by companies.
I wish you a great weekend.
I’m Christian Robicheau

+++++++++++++++

More human testers needed

This is probably one of the most difficult challenges facing us today; this
being that we need to work extra hard to convince companies that when it
comes to website testing we need to ensure that live or human testers are
included in the testing process and not just automated tools.

It is all well and good to use these automated tools as they offer a solid
indicator to whether or not websites are navigable, usable, and accessible.
However nothing can really beat the input of the human tester.

Human testers and what I wish to emphasize is that we need to take advantage
of the expertise and skills of testers with disabilities. Using sighted
testers is not an alternative.

This is what I call the walk a mile in my shoes strategy. There is no way
that a sighted user can be used to simulate the expertise and skills of a
tester with a disability.

Too many companies continue to use automated tools and sighted users to
carry out their testing process. Too many companies use the above as part
of their simulation testing and I am often left at a loss to offer a
plausible explanation as to why they continue to disregard the expertise of
users with disabilities.

There is one piece of advice that I would like to offer and it is this: If
companies are using automated tools and in house sighted testers in order to
keep costs down by not hiring testers with disabilities it is not a good
strategy and why? Because in the long run these companies will only be
forced to pay more when they realize that at the end of the day their
websites are not as usable, navigable, and accessible as they should be.

Just my two cents for today.

I’m Donna J. Jodhan wishing you a terrific weekend.
To reach me, please send an email to info@sterlingcreations.ca

Here is a complete list of where you can view Donna’s blogs and editorials.
Donna Jodhan! Advocating accessibility for all
http://www.donnajodhan.blogspot.com
Weekly features on how to increase your success with your business ventures
http://www.sterlingcreations.com/businessdesk.htm
Weekly articles and editorials on issues about accessibility
http://www.sterlingcreations.ca/blog
Learn more about Author Donna Jodhan and her campaign against bullying at
www.jodhanmysterybook.club
Now you can enjoy Donna’s detective DJ crime crushers Series by visiting
http://www.donnajodhan.com

And now her weekly podcast at www.donnajodhan.com/takeanother5.html
From recipes to apps, and from 5 minutes mysteries to tips for entrepreneurs
and alerts on the latest scams
Available for download from iTunes and Google music play.

You can follow me on twitter @accessibleworld
and chat with me on Skype at habsfan0526.
Like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/authordonnajodhan

Now you can subscribe to my monthly newsletter.
‘Let’s Talk Tips’ is your monthly resource for the most current and reliable
informational tips available in the areas of Technology, Nutrition, Media,
Business, and Advocacy.
http://bit.ly/ADJSubscribe

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

CRTC Mandates Standards for TTY, IP Relay Accessibility Messaging Services

Hello there and welcome to our newest segment: Where we highlight important
articles on topics pertaining to advocacy.

We are introducing this segment based on several requests that we have
received from readers.
Please feel free to send us your feedback and if you wish us to publish your
own articles then by all means send it along to info@sterlingcreations.ca

Please take a moment to subscribe to our newest newsletter:
‘Let’s Talk Tips’ is your monthly resource for the most current and reliable
informational tips available in the areas of Technology, Nutrition, Media,
Business, and Advocacy.
http://bit.ly/ADJSubscribe

With best wishes
From the business desk team
Follow us on Twitter @accessibleworld

+++++++++++++++

CRTC Mandates Standards for TTY, IP Relay Accessibility Messaging Services

Individuals who are deaf, hard-of-hearing or deafblind will soon have access
to faster, better message
relay services By Sameer Chhabra

Dec 14, 2018

Canada’s telecommunications watchdog has
issued a decision mandating standards for
message relay services.

According to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications
Commission’s (CRTC) December
14th, 2018 decision, groups that provide text-based message relay services
(MRS) like teletypewriter
relay (TTY) and internet protocol relay (IP relay) will be required to
implement quality of service
standards, as well as a standard for call answer time and typing speed.

As per the CRTC’s latest telecom decision, 80 percent of all calls each
months will need to be responded
to by a live MRS operator within 20 seconds.

The CRTC will raise the standard to 85 percent and 10 seconds in 12 months.

“MRS providers that engage a third-party service provider must ensure that
the provider meets these
requirements,” reads an excerpt from the CRTC’s December 14th decision.

In addition to setting a standard for call answer time, the Commission
determined that every MRS
operator will need to achieve a typing speed of 45 words-per-minute, with a
95 percent transcription
accurate rate.

“MRS providers must monitor the typing speeds of the MRS operators and may
measure typing speeds
once a year using a statistically random sample of MRS operators,” reads
another excerpt.

“Alternatively, MRS providers that engage a third-party service provider
must ensure that the provider
meets these requirements.”

Wireless service providers across Canada have also been ordered to “make
enhanced functionality
available to IP relay users.”

“The Commission also directs Bell Canada et al., Cogeco, Eastlink, RCCI,
SaskTel, Shaw, TCI, and
Videotron to consult accessibility groups to determine how the minimum
functionality requirements will
be achieved for IP relay service, and to file a report with the Commission,
within six months of the date
of this decision, that describes the outcomes of discussions and that lists
the accessibility groups that
were consulted,” the CRTC wrote.

The Commission also ordered any group that provides mobile wireless voice
services to provide IP relay
to their customers within six months of the December 14th decision.

“WSPs will be responsible for recovering their costs and may use their own
discretion to determine how
to do so,” said the CRTC.

“The Commission does not expect that a separate fee for IP relay service
would be identified on
subscribers’ bills, but rather that the cost of offering IP relay service
would be included in the cost of
providing the subscribers’ telecommunications services.”

Canada’s larger carriers have until the end of 2019 to provide the CRTC with
plans to support relay
service based on real-time text, “which can be transmitted over modern
wireless networks.”

“IP relay service will continue to be offered to all home phone subscribers
and will also be offered to all
cell phone subscribers,” reads an excerpt from a December 14th, 2018 CRTC
media release.

“Any cell phone subscriber who wishes to access IP relay service will not be
required to subscribe to a
home phone service.”

The CRTC added that its latest decision doesn’t affect video relay services.

MobileSyrup has reached out to the Deaf Wireless Canada Committee (DWCC) for
comment. This story
will be updated with a response.

“Our group believes in providing all telecommunications options possible,
unfortunately, the CRTC
decided to focus on only one of the options IP-browser web-based relay
services and did not mandate
IP-Relay apps because they would rather wait until Real Time Text becomes
available.

Once again, we are left to wait until everything becomes accessible, again
we are left behind in
stagnation and waiting to catch up with others in Canadian society.”

https://mobilesyrup.com/2018/12/14/crtc-decision-accessibility-mrs-tty-ip-relay-services/

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Full digital banking by 2020

Greetings and a very happy 2019 to everyone.
We are pleased to be back with you and we want to thank all of our customers
for their continuing support and words of encouragement.
Today I am delighted to share our president’s weekly editorial with you and
for this week Donna J. Jodhan focuses her attention on digital banking by
2020.
Enjoy your first January weekend.
I’m Scott Savoy.

+++++++++++++++

Full digital banking by 2020
By Donna J. Jodhan

The topic of full digital banking continues to be a hotly debated topic in
Canada but this subject not only affects Canadians, it affects all customers
doing business with banks around the Globe.

On the one hand, we have banks that strongly submit that digital banking is
the way to go and that in the medium to long run it is going to benefit all
customers; even if they are blind and vision impaired. However, on the
other hand we have blind and vision impaired customers who strongly argue
that they are being left out.

No matter who is right; only time will tell but we need to keep in mind that
to no one’s surprise, technology continues to set the pace and tone of the
landscape.

True rumours
In late 2017, it was rumoured that Canadian banks had set a deadline for
going entirely digital and this was somewhat confirmed shortly after these
rumours started circulating. At first, Canadian banks were hesitant to
confirm this date but as time marches on we believe that this date may
indeed be true. However, as it goes; Banks often wear their caustious
costume until they feel that it is the right time to disclose.

In a recent interview with one official of the Royal Bank of Canada, they
offered up this quote:
“I see many benefits for customers who are blind and low vision. New
technology like voice and AI are already opening the doors for independence
and inclusion in a lot of ways. So, I think the
biggest advantage for customers who are blind and low vision is that new
technology will continue to equalize the playing field, and accelerate their
entry into mainstream banking.”

Present Canadian environment
Despite the push to full digital banking in Canada by 2020, it is hoped that
banks would recognize that there are a few important pieces to this picture
that need to be addressed and if these missing pieces are not addressed and
dealt with in an efficient manner, then equal digital banking may be
extremely difficult to accomplish.

Most banks are still working to make their websites usable and accessible to
persons who are blind and vision impaired. Forms are still a challenge for
said groups of persons to complete independently and as a result blind and
vision impaired persons have major concerns about their privacy.

There are many sighted persons who continue to complain that online banking
is a challenge for them so what should we think it would be for blind and
vision impaired persons?

In addition, banks are not providing adequate customer service to assist
blind and vision impaired persons to learn and understand how to take
advantage of digital banking.

Ramifications and benefits
There are arguably two sides to this; the ramifications and the benefits.

The ramifications could be that not only would blind and vision impaired
persons be left behind; seniors and those who did not grow up in the
technology era would also be affected.

Why would this be so for blind and vision impaired persons? Let’s just say
that access technology is not known for keeping up with technological
evolution so why now would this be different? In short, access technology
is continually having to catch up with technological changes and the gap
continues to widen.

The argument for benefits would be that blind and vision impaired persons
would now be able to conduct their online banking more freely and
independently without having to depend on sighted assistance and that their
privacy would be guaranteed.

Peaking into the future
The future of digital banking as seen through the lenses of blind and vision
impaired persons could be described as an upcoming nightmare that will
become reality before they know it. There does not seem to be any way to
stop this nightmare except to make their voices heard but we are left to
wonder what could be done in order to soften the blow?

Banks will argue that the consumer market made up of blind and vision
impaired persons is not large enough to be a concern to them but blind and
vision impaired persons could counter argue that it is their right to have
their privacy and confidentiality protected no matter what.

Conclusion
If banks really want to ensure that the playing field is equal for all of
their customers, they will need to address the following:
* Ensure that their online banking facilities are usable and navigable.
* Ensure that access technology is fully capable of interacting with their
facilities.
* Carry out meaningful testing to ensure the above; this means partnering
with users who are blind and vision impaired.
* Work with manufacturers of access technology to develop mobile apps,
computer programs, and phone applications.

Just my two cents for today.

I’m Donna J. Jodhan wishing you a terrific weekend.
To reach me, please send an email to info@sterlingcreations.ca

Here is a complete list of where you can view Donna’s blogs and editorials.
Donna Jodhan! Advocating accessibility for all
http://www.donnajodhan.blogspot.com
Weekly features on how to increase your success with your business ventures
http://www.sterlingcreations.com/businessdesk.htm
Weekly articles and editorials on issues about accessibility
http://www.sterlingcreations.ca/blog
Learn more about Author Donna Jodhan and her campaign against bullying at
www.jodhanmysterybook.club
Now you can enjoy Donna’s detective DJ crime crushers Series by visiting
http://www.donnajodhan.com

And now her weekly podcast at www.donnajodhan.com/takeanother5.html
From recipes to apps, and from 5 minutes mysteries to tips for entrepreneurs
and alerts on the latest scams
Available for download from iTunes and Google music play.

You can follow me on twitter @accessibleworld
and chat with me on Skype at habsfan0526.
Like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/authordonnajodhan

Now you can subscribe to my monthly newsletter.
‘Let’s Talk Tips’ is your monthly resource for the most current and reliable

informational tips available in the areas of Technology, Nutrition, Media,
Business, and Advocacy.
http://bit.ly/ADJSubscribe

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment