The "Public Eye"

Noun. public eyepublic eye - a focus of public attention; "he enjoyed being in the limelight"; "when Congress investigates it brings the full glare of publicity to the agency"

Say what you will the news is what counts when it is information you need.


Ottawa appeals court ruling on accessible websites

Visually-impaired activist Donna Jodhan asks, 'Should we be interpreting this to mean that the government does not consider us as equal?'

Ottawa (24 Jan. 2011) – The federal government is appealing a December 2010 ruling of the Federal Court of Canada ordering it to make its websites accessible to visually impaired users.

The appeal is against a landmark victory by Donna Jodhan in a case against the federal government regarding accessible websites. The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) profiled Jodhan's victory in a report celebrating the United Nations' International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD) on Dec. 3, 2010.

Jodhan was also a guest speaker at a NUPGE meeting of equality and human rights activists held in Ottawa in December. She talked about her successful Charter challenge and her decade-long mission to challenge Ottawa to make federal websites more accessible to vision-impaired Canadians.

NUPGE applauded Justice Michael Kelen's ruling that Canada's federal government must deliver key websites in a usable format for blind and partially-sighted Canadians [here]

During the court case, federal lawyers argued that no discrimination was occurring because those same services are provided in other formats such as on the phone, in person or by mail. Jodhan, however, was successful in convincing the court to side with her view that, "visually impaired people should have equal access to services and information on federal government websites."

Commenting on the federal government's decision to appeal the court's ruling, Jodhan told NUPGE:

"On the one hand I am not very surprised to see that this government has decided to appeal but on the other I am extremely disappointed, saddened and tremendously disturbed. This government knows exactly what needs to be done and I do not understand why they would continue to spend so much money to fight us for something that is our right under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms," she said.

"At a time when this government continues to preach economic restraint, it can somehow justify the need to spend taxpayers' money to deprive our community of our rights. Should we be interpreting this to mean that the government does not consider us as equal? Are we being told in so many words that we are nothing more than second class citizens?" she asked.

"This is probably one of the saddest days for our community. We seldom have much to celebrate and now this government has slapped us in the face through their actions. We are not going to go away. Rest assured that there are others who are willing and ready to walk the walk with me to ensure that our future becomes a better one. I go in the name of all of us and for our kids of the future."

Donna Jodhan sitting at her computer Donna Jodhan

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