Blind Canadians Applaud Decision in Landmark Website Access Case

“Blind persons all across Canada join in celebrating the landmark decision in Donna Jodhan’s victory in her Charter of Rights case against the federal government for its failure to provide “equal access to, and benefit from, government information and services provided online to the public,”” says Robin East, President of the nationwide Alliance for Equality of Blind Canadians.

This Charter challenge was all about access to information and usability of federal information and websites.

“It is very regrettable that rights holders of Canada were forced to go to court and fight to gain access to information. This should not be an issue in 2010,” added East. “Blind, partially sighted, and deaf-blind Canadians must not be closed off from accessing Government information forms and applications.”

“I launched this case for all blind Canadians and for the kids of the future,” says a jubilant Donna Jodhan upon hearing of the successful outcome of her case.

“Blind Canadians want to be able to access information on websites independently and privately, just as our sighted counterparts can,” added Jodhan. “Today an increasing number of job applications and purchases are carried out electronically, and we must not be left on the sidelines,” added Jodhan.

“We hope this decision will send a signal to all website designers and organizations that it is time that accessibility gets included in all websites,” said John Rae, 1st Vice President of the AEBC.”It is time that governments used taxpayers dollars to remove barriers to our equal participation in society rather than wasting time and money fighting individual Canadians with disabilities like Jodhan,” added Rae.

The Alliance for Equality of Blind Canadians (AEBC) is a national organization of rights holders who are blind, deaf-blind and partially sighted whose work focuses on improving public attitudes and providing input on public policy issues that affect the lives of members of ourcommunity. For further background, visit our fully accessible website, www.blindcanadians.ca.

For interviews, please contact:

Robin East, President, Alliance for Equality of Blind Canadians (AEBC), 306-934-1547
John Rae, 1st Vice President, Alliance for Equality of Blind Canadians (AEBC), 416-941-1547
Donna Jodhan, 2nd Vice President, AEBC and complainant: 416-497-7306

City of Vancouver Budget Consultation with Disability Community

Disability Consultation: City of Vancouver Budget
Priorities for People with Disabilities
Date: Wednesday, November 17th

Location: Vancouver City Hall, Media Room, 453 West 12 Ave, Main Floor

Please join us to discuss the priorities of people with disabilities for civic spending.  This is an important opportunity to let the City know how you think funds should be allocated to meet the needs of people with disabilities in Vancouver. 

This consultation is co-sponsored by the City of Vancouver Persons with Disabilities Advisory Committee and the BC Coalition of People with Disabilities.

New Guide Animal Act Proposed

photo of guide dogIn July 2010, a working group formed by BCCPD submitted a draft Guide and Assistance Dog Act (GADA) to the Honourable Michael de Jong, BC’s then-Attorney General, requesting a meeting.

Our working group continues to work hard on this initiative and are hopeful we will meet with Attorney General Shirley bond to discuss our proposals.

For years, BCCPD and other disability organizations have been gathering information on the shortcomings of the current Guide Animal Act and preparing a workable alternative. As the working group says in its Briefing Note on the Act to the Minister:

“Our organizations and clients have experienced the impact of the inadequacy of [the current Act] for years. Guide dog and assistance dog users badly need new legislation to help ensure they are never turned away from a restaurant, mall, refused entry by taxi drivers, or challenged by Strata Councils. Certified dog trainers, instructors and licensed puppy raisers also need their right of access clearly enshrined in legislation.”

See more on GADA here.