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Get Inspired

An introduction to the life of Helen Keller
"Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement; nothing can be done without hope."
Helen Keller, American social activist, public speaker and author (1880-1968)

Stevie Wonder, the UN Messenger of Peace
"Just because a man lacks the use of his eyes doesn't mean he lacks vision."
December 3, 2009

Confronting The Accessibility Challenge

Celebrate Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD) On May 18

The purpose of the day is to get people talking, thinking and learning about digital (web, software, mobile, etc.) accessibility and users with different disabilities. The best way to unlock human potential is through the power of creative collaboration to find solutions that will transform lives and communities from what they are today to what they can be, tomorrow. The power of smart phones with accessible apps like BlindSquare is changing lives. Why making your apps accessible is just the right thing to do.

Canada National AccessAbility Week, May 28 to June 3

National AccessAbility Week will celebrate, highlight and promote inclusion and accessibility in our communities and workplaces across the country. We have made great strides in promoting inclusion for Canadians with disabilities, but there is still much work to do. We need to change the way we think, talk and act about barriers to participation and accessibility and we need to do it right from the start, not as an afterthought. An inclusive Canada is one where all Canadians can participate and have an equal opportunity to succeed in their workplaces and communities.

Join the usability revolution in celebrating World Usability Day (WUD) on November 9

A single day of events occurring around the world that brings together communities of professional, industrial, educational, citizen, and government groups for the common objective to ensure that the services and products important to life are easier to access and simpler to use. the user experience is a key to making technology work better for people. technology must be designed to help human beings truly realize their potential, so that we can create a better world for ourselves and future generations. Technology should enhance our lives, not add to our stress or cause danger through poor design or poor quality. It is our duty to ensure that technology is effective, efficient, satisfying and reliable, and that it is usable by all people. Technology should be developed knowing that human beings have certain limitations. Human error will occur if technology is not both easy-to-use and easy-to-understand. We need to reduce human error that results from bad design. We must put people at the center of design, beginning with their needs and wants, and resulting in technology that benefits all of us. Learn about World Usability Day (WUD)

Support the Barrier-Free Canada (BFC) initiative

The Barrier-Free Canada initiative is advocating for the Canadian Parliament to enact a strong and effective Canadians with Disabilities Act (CDA) to achieve a barrier-free Canada for all persons with disabilities. BFC is seeking endorsements from national disability organizations to build a non-partisan community coalition, and encourages your support.

Ontario Launches Accessibility Action Plan

To be successful in creating a society where everyone can reach their full potential, accessibility must become a way of life for all Ontarians. The AODA has transformed the lives of people with disabilities by establishing standards in key areas of daily life, including customer service, employment, information and communications, transportation and the design of public spaces. The Path to 2025, Ontario's Accessibility Action Plan, was Introduced on the 10 Year Anniversary of Landmark Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Legislation. The Path to 2025 Accessibility Action Plan focuses on three key priorities: Creating an inclusive Ontario, a place where everyone can participate, contribute and succeed, requires leadership from government, the broader public sector, business and not-for-profit organizations. Ontario Launches Accessibility Action Plan, News Release, June 3, 2015

The Digital Economy And Accessibility

Digital disruption in the business world first occurred in the 90's, when the rise of the Internet upended traditional forms of distribution and commerce, with consultants in tow. As we continue to move toward an economy, driven largely by Big-Data, work will be defined by our ability to make better decisions with better information, and power will eventually concentrate in those companies that take advantage of the technology trends. Once again the rules of business are changing at exponential rates, with competition being driven by a new wave of technologies lead by mobile devices, cloud computing, and interactive software tools.

All organizations are struggling to keep up with the changes, and understand the new rules, of the emerging global economy. A paradigm shift in society, driven by miniaturization and wireless mobile devices, is placing greater power in the hands of consumers. A society of smarter consumers is shaping the corporate enterprise of the future, by demanding greater Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and greater cultural awareness. To reduce chaos and confusion, governments around the world are implementing legislative regulations, to establish standards and guidelines of expectations for societal behaviour.

The unregulated digital transformation has created enormous barriers for disabled people in participating in many societal activities. Access to information and communication systems is critical to the quality of life in our information technology driven society. To help create a barrier free society, governments around the world, are implementing accessibility standards based on four core principles; dignity, independence, integration, and equal opportunity. There are over one billion people with disabilities in the world, of who between 110-190 million experience very significant difficulties. This corresponds to about 15% of the world's population. The prevalence of disability is growing due to population ageing and the global increase in chronic health conditions.

In 2005, Ontario became the first jurisdiction in Canada, and a world leader in implementing proactive, enforceable, compliance-based accessibility legislation. The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) goal is to make Ontario accessible for people with disabilities by 2025. The standards require Ontario organizations to identify, remove and prevent barriers for people with disabilities in key areas of daily living. Fundamentally, accessibility is about expanding market opportunities to achieve sustainable growth in revenue, return on investment, and profitability; And not just about legal compliance. The ability to use new emerging technologies is currently at the heart of social inclusion, with those excluded being left out of many work, entertainment, communication, healthcare and social benefits. As the population ages and as governments enact accessibility regulations, all organizations need to understand what accessibility is and how it impacts their services, customers, employees, and facilities.

Overlooking the AODA requirements can expose organizations to the threat and cost of litigation, public relations issues, loss of government contracts, and hefty penalties. Economic prosperity studies show that, by integrating the AODA Standards into the Ontario fabric, not only is it the right thing to do, but that there are definite economic growth benefits. The business benefits are proven; stronger leadership and more productive employees, more effective talent recruitment, more innovative products and use of new technology, stronger customer relationships and a better overall reputation. As Ontario organizations become more aware of the benefits, there will be a shift in attitude from Compliance to Competitive Advantage. Not only will they experience business growth by including the disabled sector, but they will also gain customer loyalty from their colleagues, friends, and family members, in which they have influence. Don't be left behind!

Half of the world's population now uses the Internet to connect, communicate and interact. But basic access to the Internet is under threat, the technology that underpins it is increasingly unstable, and a growing number of people don't trust it to be secure. The Global Commission on Internet Governance provides recommendations and practical advice on the future of the Internet. Its primary objective is the creation of "One Internet" that is protected, accessible to all and trusted by everyone. In its final report, the Commission puts forward key steps that everyone needs to take to achieve an Open, Secure, Trustworthy, and Inclusive Internet. Read the Global Commission on Internet Governance report, And join the discussion at Developing an inclusive Canadian innovation accessibility digital communication strategy.