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In early February 2012, a certain Canadian Federal agency decided to run some very important surveys but there was a bit of a twist to this.  For whereas these surveys should have been made accessible and available to all Canadians, it was not and why not?  Because it appears that some blind persons and persons with hard of hearing challenges were turned away. 

This survey was titled "International Study on Adults" and applicants were randomly chosen to participate.  The survey in question focused on employment, education, the use of technology, and volunteerism.  What makes this picture very disturbing and concerning is that here we have a federal agency seeking input from the country’s population and it decided to garner participants randomly.  All well and good, but when it chooses not to allow blind and deaf persons to participate, then something does not compute. 

In the normal scheme of things, surveys are carried out whenever unbiased opinions are being sought.  No group is normally excluded from the process and everyone is allowed to take the survey if it is open to all persons.  In the case of random participation, the same logic applies. 

I think that the time has come for blind persons to start speaking out about this.  They need to tell anyone who wants to run a survey that their opinions, experiences, and evaluations count in the same way that it would for anyone else.  To exclude any group from participating in a survey means that the survey is flawed and biased and why?  Because those running the survey are deliberately choosing to exclude certain groups.   

Maybe this federal agency in question should be gently reminded that with a rapidly aging population, there are going to be more persons afflicted with challenges of blindness and deafness due to the natural progression of age related afflictions that cause blindness and deafness.  What will this agency do when in say about 20 years from now they will be faced with a pool of participants who are not of the mainstream variety?  Will they continue to shut them out or will they take the appropriate steps to provide accessibility for all?

Just my two cents worth for today.

Disclaimer:

This blog is curated by the AEBC, but welcomes contributions from members and non-members alike. The thoughts, views, and opinions expressed in the Blind Canadians Blog are those of the contributing authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the AEBC, its members, or any of its donors and partners.