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October 20, 2015

East Coast Rules

Congratulations to Liberals on their overwhelming victory!  And even more kudos to all Canadians who have now committed to this platform plank:
  • To eliminate systemic barriers and deliver equality of opportunity to all Canadians living with disabilities, we will consult with provinces, territories, and other stakeholders to introduce a National Disabilities Act.
Although Liberals did not commit to implementing the Optional Protocol of the UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities, they may do so anyway, and if not, a national disabilities act is a better idea.

As long as it isn't modeled on Ontario's failed Access for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, which flunked its five-year review not to mention its ten-year review and has a ludicrously long timeline.  By granting sweeping exemptions, it trivializes Charter rights.

Better it should be modeled on the forthcoming Access for All Nova Scotians legislation, which is focused on fair and equitable treatment for all, mindful of the promises of the Charter.  It is intended to be a courageous piece of civil rights legislation, more aptly named than the Americans with Disabilities Act, but equally far-reaching.

I have an abiding distrust of anybody who claims to know the needs of people with disabilities.  I've seen a thousand roll-under sinks where I couldn't reach the soap and ten thousand dangerous curb cuts.  So I was disappointed but unsurprised to see that newly-minted MP Andy Fillmore had a step at his campaign HQ on Quinpool.

Except for the little sign 'Ramp Available on Request'

Those four words make a difference.  There's a sign like that at Hali-Deli and Argyle Fine Art. They get it.  There isn't one at Epicurious Morsels or Jennifer's of Nova Scotia, both run by people who share Stephen Harper's parsimonious vision of Canada.

It'll be a tedious process, with foot dragging (and knuckle dragging), so here's a place to begin.  Put it on your calendar:

Halifax Accessibility and Inclusive Design Meetup
Wednesday November 4th at 6:30PM
Lindsay Children’s Room, Halifax Central Library

Accessible Media Inc. is hosting our first Accessibility and Inclusive Design Meetup in Halifax. AMI’s Accessibility Officer, Robert Pearson has hosted these events previously in Toronto and Vancouver as a means to promote a greater understanding of digital and media accessibility as well as inclusive design. This group is about regularly bringing together the accessibility community to share ideas, best practices, our experiences and hopefully to raise the bar when it comes to inclusion.

We look forward to starting the conversation to build, develop and grow the accessibility community on the east coast. Bring your questions, thoughts and curiosity about accessibility and inclusive design and how they can be used to serve the needs of persons with disabilities. This will be an open forum discussion to start and we will then plan out more meet-ups in the months to come.

Attendance is free, snacks and refreshments to be provided. Please RSVP to confirm your attendance via the meetup website: http://www.meetup.com/a11yHFX/events/222923289/

Contact Ryan Delehanty ryan.delehanty@ami.ca with any questions.

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