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Conservatives Block Amendments Aimed at Increasing Access for Canadians with Perceptual Disabilities

On March 13, the legislative committee considering Bill C11 finished its clause-by-clause review of the bill. Some forty or so amendments were proposed altogether, the majority of which came from the opposition parties. Approximately half a dozen of the amendments were directly related to the ability of people with perceptual disabilities to access copyrighted works. All but one of these amendments—the one put forward by the Conservatives—were defeated by the Conservative members of the committee.

Are blind adults being ignored?

This is the question that I am asking myself as I write this.  I know!  In so many cases, society tends to gravitate much more easily towards the needs of our kids—and rightfully so.  They are our future, and we need to do all in our power to ensure that theirs will be a bright one, nurtured and jealously safeguarded and protected at all cost. 

Access technology versus mainstream technology

This topic is very near and dear to my heart.  To put things into perspective:

  • Access technology is much more expensive than mainstream alternatives, and much less available on the market.   
  • It is extremely challenging to have access technology repaired as opposed to its counterpart.
  • There are few manufacturers of access technology hardware and even fewer developers of access technology software.
  • The profit to be made for those who develop and sell access technology is much less than for those who do the same for mainstream technology.
  • Access technology has to be developed in such a way as to adapt to the mainstream world.

So there is the picture.  Now where do we go from here?

Please Sign the Petition on Bill C11

The Federal Liberals have started an online petition regarding Bill C11. The recommendation promoted by the petition matches one of the recommendations the AEBC made in its presentation to the committee considering Bill C11 on February 27.

Here is the link to the petition, which I found very easy to fill out: https://petition.liberal.ca/user-rights-trump-digital-locks/.

And here is the related recommendation from the AEBC presentation to the committee.

Recommendation 1: Technological Protection Measures

Fix the World, Not the Person

It seems as though every dozen or so tweets I read on Twitter is another link to an article describing some new technology (for example, retinal implants, gene therapy, stem cell treatments) that is eventually going to lead to a cure for many forms of blindness. This BBC story describes the use of gene therapy to restore some vision to three Americans with Leber's Congenital Amaurosis. The media are full of similar stories.

Why Accessibility is an Essential Ingredient for the iPad's Success in Education

Today, Apple announced some new tools that are likely to revolutionize textbook publishing and education in the same way that iTunes and the iPod changed music and the music industry and in the way the Appstore and the iPhone changed mobile phones. Specifically, Apple announced:

Be Sure To Sign Up To Have Your Say To The Pinto Human Rights Code Review

The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Alliance is calling on interested parties to sign up to have their say to the Pinto Human Rights Code Review by January 23rd.

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