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Posts Tagged "accessibility"

18Oct

Vancouver to join conversation on accessibility, inclusion

by admin

People in Vancouver are invited to participate in a consultation meeting to discuss the development of accessibility legislation for British Columbia.

On Saturday, Nov. 2, 2019, Shane Simpson, Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction, will host an in-person session for people with disabilities, their friends and families, accessibility advocates and self-advocates, as well as organizations, experts, businesses and individuals to help define what future legislation to make B.C. a more accessible and inclusive province could look like.

The meeting will be held at the Sandman Vancouver City Centre, 180 West Georgia St., from 2:30 to 5 p.m. All are welcome to attend, participate and offer feedback about their experiences with accessibility, inclusion, barriers and what matters most in the development of accessibility legislation.

To register for a meeting or to learn more about the proposed legislation, visit: engage.gov.bc.ca/accessibility

People can also provide their feedback through an online questionnaire at the above link until Friday, Nov. 29, 2019, at 4 p.m. (Pacific time).

15Oct

Confusion over accessibility at polling stations could deter those with mobility issues, voter says | CBC News

by admin

A confusing trip to the advance polls has a Vancouver Island woman worried that others with mobility issues could be discouraged from voting. 

Margo Bok ​​​​​’s voter card said she could cast her ballot at a local church in the advance polls, or at a middle school on election day.

But Bok, who lives in the riding of Esquimalt–Saanich–Sooke, spotted a problem: the ballot card said both sites had no wheelchair access and provided a number to discuss other options.

She hoped to cast her ballot with her mother, Kathleen, at Esquimalt United Church on Friday. Bok, 56, has limited mobility due to cerebral palsy and her mother, 84, uses a walker.

“There was no place for me to safely take out the walker close to the church, because there’s no place to park temporarily,” Bok said.

“So we didn’t vote there.”

Instead, Bok and her mother drove about eight kilometres to an Elections Canada office in Victoria. They found a disabled parking spot and voted. 

Bok says both the church and Rockheights Middle School, the election day polling station, have been used in previous elections. She’s not sure why both were listed on her voter card as inaccessible for wheelchair users but worries that could turn those with limited mobility away from voting.

“I think having something like that on the card itself scares off a lot of people,” she said. 

In an email, Elections Canada spokesperson Andrea Marantz said both polling stations have functional ramps and are, in fact, wheelchair accessible.

Margo Bok’s voter information card showed both her polling stations were not wheelchair accessible. Both her and her mother have limited mobility, and weren’t sure where to go. (Facebook: B.C. Disability Caucus)

In this case, the ramps were steeper than the 4.8-degree incline Elections Canada has deemed acceptable for a polling station. That’s why the card said it was not wheelchair accessible.

These are often ramps at older buildings that people with mobility issues may already be familiar with and feel comfortable using, Marantz said. 

In most cases, the confusion can be cleared up with a quick call to the number on the card — and Elections Canada wants to ensure everyone who wants to vote has the opportunity to, Marantz said.

“In this case, the voter would have learned that the locations are accessible,” Marantz said. “In cases where they are not, other arrangements can be made for the disabled voter.”

Polling stations must meet list of criteria

Paul Gilbert, spokesman for the B.C. Disability Caucus, said he was also told by Elections Canada the locations are technically accessible — but the slope on the wheelchair accessible ramp is too steep by the election agency’s standards, so the sites were deemed inaccessible on voter cards.

According to Elections Canada, polling stations must meet a list of 38 criteria, several of which are mandatory, to be suitable as a polling station.

Mandatory criteria include having a level access to the entrance and having the voting room on the same level as the entrance. 

Having an exterior pathway free of a long slope or steep incline is not mandatory.

Bok said she was glad to sort out the issue early when she had the time to drive to the Elections Canada office to vote.

For voters with limited mobility who don’t look at their cards before election day, she worries the message could prove confusing for those who don’t call the listed number.

“I just hope that people aren’t dissuaded from voting and get the message out that there’s other ways to vote that is not putting the burden on them to go out of their way,” she said. 

4Oct

‘We’re all in this together’: a push for accessibility for all British Columbians | CBC News

by admin

Chris Marks loves his hometown, Victoria, but he can only explore so much of it.

After a spinal injury over a decade ago, Marks gets around using an electric wheelchair. Every day he encounters design flaws that stop him from getting where he wants to go: things likes stairs, curbs, and even raised doorways get in his way. 

He’s been advocating for more accessibility in Victoria. Now, B.C. is asking the public to help write new legislation that would make the province more accessible. 

To Marks, it’s not just about people with disabilities. 

“We’re all in this together. It’s not [just] a special interest group.  It’s … for everybody at any age. Any healthy person could have an injury. A mom could have a stroller, trying to get on a bus or to a business. This is everybody.” 

These sets of stairs are connected by a short elevated sidewalk, effectively blocking people who use wheelchairs from that section of Victoria’s Market Square. (Kathryn Marlow/CBC)

He understands that some changes would be expensive — so he’d like to see grants provided to help businesses upgrade. 

Different kinds of accessibility 

Elizabeth Lalonde, who is blind, sees accessibility another way. She says it’s often about access to information: people who are visually impaired use special tools to read websites, and if those websites aren’t designed properly, they can’t get the information or the services they need. 

“So, for example you could be going on a government website and you get through half of it, say a form, but it doesn’t work for the rest of it.”

Both Lalonde and Marks are also looking for the legislation to enshrine the rights of people with disabilities — so that they don’t have to fight for accessible buildings or access to housing or employment.

Public consultation  

Shane Simpson, the minister of social development and poverty reduction, says his government is focusing on five main areas of accessibility: employment, service delivery, information and communication, built environment, and transportation.

But he also wants to hear from British Columbians with disabilities.

“I’ll be very interested to see whether there’s advice to us to add to that list.”

Community town halls take place across the province this fall, and online consultation is open until Nov. 29. 

3Oct

Central Island joins conversation on accessibility, inclusion

by admin

People on central Vancouver Island are invited to participate in a community meeting to discuss the development of accessibility legislation for British Columbia.

On Friday, Oct. 18, 2019, Shane Simpson, Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction, will host an in-person session for people with disabilities, their friends and families, accessibility advocates and self-advocates, as well as organizations, experts, businesses and individuals to help define what future legislation to make B.C. a more accessible and inclusive province could look like.

The meeting will be held at the Royal Canadian Legion Comox Branch No. 160, 1825 Comox Ave., Comox, from 5:30 to 8 p.m. All are welcome to attend, participate and offer feedback about their experiences with accessibility, inclusion, barriers and what matters most in the development of accessibility legislation.

To register for a meeting or to read the document that provides information on how the meeting will be structured, visit: engage.gov.bc.ca/accessibility

People can also provide their feedback through an online questionnaire at the above link until Friday Nov. 29, 2019, at 4 p.m. (Pacific time).

2Oct

Surrey to join conversation on accessibility, inclusion

by admin

People in Surrey are invited to participate in a community meeting to discuss the development of accessibility legislation for British Columbia.

On Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2019, Shane Simpson, Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction, will host an in-person session for people with disabilities, their friends and families, accessibility advocates and self-advocates, as well as organizations, experts, businesses and individuals to help define what future legislation to make B.C. a more accessible and inclusive province could look like.

The meeting will be held at Civic Hotel, 13475 Central Ave., Surrey, from 6 to 8:30 p.m. All are welcome to attend, participate and offer feedback about their experiences with accessibility, inclusion, barriers and what matters most in the development of accessibility legislation.

To register for a meeting or to read the document that provides information on how the meeting will be structured, visit: engage.gov.bc.ca/accessibility

People can also provide their feedback through an online questionnaire at the above link until Friday Nov. 29, 2019, at 4 p.m. (Pacific time).

1Oct

Peace region to join conversation on accessibility, inclusion

by admin

People in the Peace region are invited to participate in a community meeting to discuss the development of accessibility legislation for British Columbia.

On Tuesday, Oct. 15, 2019, Shane Simpson, Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction, will host an in-person session for people with disabilities, their friends and families, accessibility advocates and self-advocates, as well as organizations, experts, businesses and individuals to help define what future legislation to make B.C. a more accessible and inclusive province could look like.

The meeting will be held at North Peace Cultural Centre, 10015 – 100th Ave., Fort St. John, from 5 to 7:30 p.m. All are welcome to attend, participate and offer feedback about their experiences with accessibility, inclusion, barriers and what matters most in the development of accessibility legislation.

To register for a meeting or to read the document that provides information on how the meeting will be structured, visit: engage.gov.bc.ca/accessibility

People can also provide their feedback through an online questionnaire at the above link until Friday, Nov. 29, 2019, at 4 p.m. (Pacific time).

28Sep

Victoria to join conversation on accessibility, inclusion

by admin

People in Greater Victoria are invited to participate in a community meeting to discuss the development of accessibility legislation for British Columbia.

On Saturday, Oct. 5, 2019, Shane Simpson, Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction, will host an in-person session for people with disabilities, their friends and families, accessibility advocates and self-advocates, as well as organizations, experts, businesses and individuals to help define what future legislation to make B.C. a more accessible and inclusive province could look like.

The meeting will be held at Central Middle School, 1280 Fort St., Victoria, from 2:30 to 5 p.m. All are welcome to attend, participate and offer feedback about their experiences with accessibility, inclusion, barriers and what matters most in the development of accessibility legislation.

To register for a meeting or to read the document that provides information on how the meeting will be structured, visit: engage.gov.bc.ca/accessibility

People can also provide their feedback through an online questionnaire at the above link until Friday Nov. 29, 2019, at 4 p.m.

16Sep

Join the conversation on accessibility and inclusion

by admin

Le gouvernement de la Colombie-Britannique demande aux Britanno-Colombiens de contribuer à la définition des futures dispositions législatives qui rendront la province plus accessible et plus inclusive.

« L’intégration de l’accessibilité à chaque domaine de la vie est au cœur de la création de communautés où il fait bon vivre, dont les milieux de travail, les immeubles, les quartiers et les entreprises, a déclaré Shane Simpson, ministre du Développement social et de la Réduction de la pauvreté. J’attends avec impatience cette consultation qui éclairera les efforts que nous déploierons pour élaborer des mesures législatives qui feront toute la différence pour les Britanno-Colombiens handicapés. »

Les Britanno-Colombiens pourront participer au processus de consultation de plusieurs façons. Nous les invitons à lire le cadre d’accessibilité, à remplir un questionnaire en ligne, à soumettre un mémoire écrit et à assister à une réunion.

Les groupes communautaires, les bibliothèques et autres organismes pourront solliciter une subvention de 2 000 dollars pour accueillir des séances de discussion ouverte dans leurs communautés et pour communiquer leurs commentaires.

Il sera possible de communiquer des commentaires du lundi 16 septembre au matin jusqu’au 29 novembre à 16 heures (heure du Pacifique). Ces commentaires aideront à l’élaboration des mesures législatives.

Ces mesures législatives permettront de créer une Colombie-Britannique sans obstacle. Elles promouvront l’inclusion et l’accessibilité en éliminant les obstacles (notamment physiques, technologiques et comportementaux) dans les domaines de compétence provinciale où ils empêchent la participation pleine et égale des personnes qui vivent avec un handicap dans les communautés de la Colombie-Britannique. Les domaines visés pourraient être la prestation de services, l’emploi, les édifices et les espaces publics, la technologie de l’information et les transports, entre autres.

Le gouvernement de la Colombie-Britannique s’engage à élaborer des mesures législatives en matière d’accessibilité selon le principe de « rien sur nous sans nous ». Il soutiendra la Convention des Nations Unies relative aux droits des personnes handicapées et son protocole facultatif qui ont pour objet l’amélioration de l’accessibilité et des possibilités offertes aux personnes handicapées, conformément aux valeurs de la dignité intrinsèque, de l’autonomie individuelle, de la non-discrimination, du respect de la différence, de l’égalité des sexes et du respect des droits des enfants handicapés.

Citations :

Val Litwin, président, Chambre de commerce de la Colombie-Britannique −

« Le moment est venu d’approfondir la conversation sur l’accessibilité en Colombie-Britannique. C’est un important “devoir à la maison” qui nous incombe à tous sur le plan humain, en tant que membres de la société civile, mais l’inclusion au sein du milieu de travail et la dynamisation des économies − et des communautés − sur la voie de l’avenir offrent de gigantesques possibilités économiques. »

Yat Li, gestionnaire des communications et de la commercialisation, Wavefront Centre for Communication Accessibility −

« Je suis ravi que les résidents handicapés de la Colombie-Britannique puissent jouer un rôle actif dans la mise en place des normes d’accessibilité de nos communautés locales. Tous ensemble, nous pourrons créer des possibilités d’emploi diversifiées, augmenter l’autonomie des personnes handicapées et renforcer leur participation à la communauté. »

Kya Bezanson, conseil d’administration d’Inclusion BC, auto-intervenante −

« Ce changement ouvrira la porte à de nombreuses possibilités, pas seulement pour moi, mais pour toutes les personnes handicapées de notre province. »

Faits en bref :

  • Plus de 926 000 Britanno-Colombiens âgés de plus de 15 ans vivent avec une forme de handicap, soit presque 25 p. cent de la population.
  • Avec le vieillissement de la population, le nombre de personnes handicapées et la gravité de leur handicap vont vraisemblablement augmenter.

En savoir plus :

Lisez le cadre, remplissez un questionnaire en ligne ou renseignez-vous sur les autres façons de participer : www.engage.gov.bc.ca/accessibility

Traductions :

Traduction en anglais: https://news.gov.bc.ca/20596

Traduction en chinois (simplifié) : https://news.gov.bc.ca/files/NR_Accessibility_Legislation_Consultation_Launch_16SEPT19_FINAL_SC.pdf

Traduction en chinois (traditionnel) : https://news.gov.bc.ca/files/NR_Accessibility_Legislation_Consultation_Launch_16SEPT19_FINAL_TC.pdf

Traduction en farsi : https://news.gov.bc.ca/files/NR_Accessibility_Legislation_Consultation_Launch_16SEPT19_FINAL_FA.pdf

Traduction en punjabi : https://news.gov.bc.ca/files/NR_Accessibility_Legislation_Consultation_Launch_16SEPT19_FINAL_PUN.pdf

Traduction en tagalog : https://news.gov.bc.ca/files/NR_Accessibility_Legislation_Consultation_Launch_16SEPT19_FINAL_TAG.pdf

30Aug

Province won’t change Robson Square steps despite accessibility complaints | CBC News

by admin

The ramp that zigzags across the steps at Robson Square in downtown Vancouver will not be modified to address accessibility concerns because of the “architectural significance of the site.”

Accessibility consultant Arnold Cheng says the ramp, which was designed in the 1970s by Vancouver architect Arthur Erickson, is too steep to safely navigate in a wheelchair or while pushing a stroller.

Cheng says the ramp is also a tripping hazard for people with visual impairments because the stairs are all the same colour, which makes it difficult to determine where one step ends and the next one begins.

“A lot of people use architectural significance to justify not making any changes, but historically it has not been a problem for many, many buildings,” he said.

“The Louvre in Paris has more historical significance than Robson Square, but they have changed a lot of things over the years.”

Any changes to the design would have to be approved by the provincial government.

Arnold Cheng, accessibility assessor for spectrum ability, rolls his wheelchair up the ramp he says is unsafe at Robson Square in Vancouver on Tuesday, Aug. 20, 2019. (Maggie MacPherson/CBC) (Maggie MacPherson/CBC)

Changes coming

The province conducted accessibility audits of Robson Square in 2010 and 2018, both of which determined the stair ramps may be difficult for some people to use.

Despite the findings, the B.C. government will not alter the design.

“There are no plans to update the ramps and as such they should be primarily considered ornamental,” the Ministry of Citizens’ Services said in an emailed statement.

“Access to the building can be attained through a number of other means.”

The province says there is signage to direct people to more than 20 elevators that are located at Robson Square, but more signs and assistance for people with a variety of disabilities will soon be added to the site.

Cheng says he welcomes the changes but he doesn’t think they go far enough. 

“The signage definitely has to be better,” Cheng said.

“For some reason, people think you automatically know where everything is.”

Accessibility consultant Arnold Cheng wants to see improvements to the steps at Robson Square. (Maggie MacPherson/CBC) (Maggie MacPherson/CBC)

Erickson’s vision

Erickson’s father lost both of his legs in the First World War.

Arthur Erickson Foundation director Simon Scott says accessibility was an issue that was always close to the architect’s heart.

“He wanted to make public spaces accessible and enjoyable,” Scott said.

“The steps here, which are part of this wonderful public space, have stairs and ramps so that everybody can enjoy it.”

29Aug

High school should prioritize accessibility, B.C. mom says | CBC News

by admin

Maya Bosdet says she’s excited for the beginning of classes next week because it means continuing a family tradition of attending high school at Claremont Secondary, in Saanich, B.C.

But a tour of the school this week has her concerned the building won’t be accessible enough to meet her needs as a wheelchair user.

A previous visit to the school revealed a lack of ramps and an unreliable elevator. Maya also says the door to the accessible bathroom is really heavy, while the lock and light are situated too high for her to reach.

Maya has a rare genetic disease called mucopolysaccharidosis, which causes sugar molecules cells to build up in her body. She has joint pain, a dislocated hip, and regularly sees specialists and undergoes surgery. 

Accessibility problems

Lisa Bosdet, Maya’s mother, said the pair took a tour of the school in June and were disappointed to learn that the “archaic” elevator regularly breaks down, the desks are too high, and there aren’t any wheelchair ramps.

Bosdet said the elevator is currently being repaired, but is still concerned it will be unsafe.

“We expressed lots at that tour about what we saw [were issues],” she said. “I don’t want [Maya] to have to ask a friend to take her to the bathroom at 14 years old.

“I feel like it’s a basic human right for her to be able to use the bathroom.”

On a second tour of the school this week, the pair said they found not much had been improved for the start of the school year.

Bosdet said Maya’s therapists expressed concerns to the school staff about the lack of accessibility, but the response was that it would cost too much money.

CBC was not granted access to the school, and requests for interviews with school staff were declined. 

Maya Bosdet says Claremont secondary is the school her father went to, and the closest to her home. Her mother is adamant that accessibility issues at the school won’t stop her from attending classes there. (Mike McArthur/CBC)

A B.C. government document says the school was built in 1961.

Justina Loh, the executive director of the Disability Alliance B.C., says that was long before buildings were designed with accessible features. 

“In the last few years accessibility has become more of a buzzword and more important … especially as our population ages,” Loh said.

‘Most of my friends are going to this school’

Maya said she doesn’t want to attend another high school because Claremont is close to her home. 

“My dad went here,” she said. “Most of my friends are going to this school.”

She added that her friend, who also uses a wheelchair, attends the school with a caregiver who helps him move around and use the restroom.

Maya said she wants to maintain her independence.

Dave Eberwein, the superintendent for the Saanich School District, said while retrofitting an older building isn’t easy, “that doesn’t mean we don’t make them accessible. All of our schools are accessible.”

“Our goal is to, within reasonable amounts, accommodate all … students’ needs in each building,” he said, adding that things such as a light switch that’s too high, or a door that is too heavy, can be fixed relatively quickly.

He noted, however, that “sometimes it’s just not physically possible to install every accessibility [measure] in every building [because it’s] just not going to fall within our budget.”

‘We need to progress’

Bosdet said it seems accessibility issues often don’t take priority in a school’s budget, and the change needs to come from the higher ranks in the school district. 

“It’s almost 2020, and I really believe we need to step up now … We need to progress,” she said. 

She’s adamant that Maya will not attend another school.

“I resist changing a school because … the path I’d rather take is speak up and get them to make these changes so [my daughter] can have a choice.

“We’ll find a way to make it work.”

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