Accessibility Compliance Service, AAAtraq, Has Teamed up With AbleDocs, Enabling Subscribers to Publish Accessible Documents More Easily on Their Websites.


April 01, 2021

TORONTO, Ontario & LONDON–(BUSINESS WIRE)–AbleDocs Inc. (https://www.abledocs.com) is the worldwide leader in document accessibility products and services, making document accessibility fast, easy, secure, and cost-effective.

By integrating AbleDocs’ class-leading technologies, subscribers will be able to manage all types of documents, including PDFs, directly from within the AAAtraq (https://www.aaatraq.com) platform.

“AAAtraq is creating an accessibility ecosystem by linking complementary technologies via intelligent automation to improve understanding and reduce the time and cost of compliance for organizations,” said Lawrence Shaw, CEO of AAAtraq. “AbleDocs is a highly respected document accessibility service provider, and we are delighted that their technology will be integrated into our platform.”

The COVID-19 pandemic has thrown content compliance firmly into the spotlight as the importance of accessing goods, services and information online has grown.

“AbleDocs’ leadership has been helping organizations improve their accessibility for over a combined 150 years. This partnership will expand our current reach and mean that thousands of people with disabilities from around the world will be able to take advantage of an accessible digital environment that has become so important to all our lives,” said Adam Spencer, President (GLOBAL) of AbleDocs Inc.

In only a few months of operation AAAtraq has already started to bring about change. Accessibility and the impact of content failure is now moving from an issue dealt with by a digital or IT team, to those managing risk.

“ADA compliance isn’t about uploading a plugin and then thinking you are compliant. It’s something that needs to be adopted throughout all levels of the organization and treated in the same way as any other regulatory requirement. AAAtraq is about making the compliance easier to achieve, and services like AbleDocs are central to that objective,” concluded Shaw.

“AbleDocs is excited to help existing and future AAAtraq customers achieve their accessibility, usability and compliance goals, by ensuring all content is accessible for all users, and supporting that in nearly 50 languages,” added Spencer.

To celebrate the partnership, AAAtraq are offering a 15% lifetime subscription discount for those signing up at https://AAAtraq.com/AbleDocs before the end of April 2021.

About AAAtraq

AAAtraq (www.aaatraq.com) is an InsurTech solution to shield organizations from unnecessary legal aggression and then remove unnecessary cost, reducing the time it takes to understand, achieve and maintain ADA website compliance.

Our intelligence-driven automation provides a strategic, principle-driven pathway with clear timescales and milestones to compliance along with $10,000 (rising to $50,000 as clients progress) of litigation cost coverage within just one month, all for a $99/month subscription.

Ongoing staff support, digital supply chain oversight and monthly reporting replace complexity with confidence. AAAtraq, for those managing risk, not digital.

For more information, visit https://www.AAAtraq.com

About AbleDocs Inc.

AbleDocs was founded in 2019 as a conglomerate of PDF accessibility remediation service providers and has grown to have operations in Canada, Denmark, Germany, Switzerland, and the United States. Its founders have been making documents accessible for over 150 years combined experience and has since expanded its offerings to include a completely new approach to document accessibility strategies to include products for high volume document accessibility, document accessibility testing.

AbleDocs is the only company in the world to guarantee the compliance of every file they produce and back it with a $10,000,000 liability guarantee. Current offerings include ADService, ADGateway, ADScan, ADStream, ADLegacy, ADForms, axesWord and axesPDF.

For more information, visit https://www.abledocs.com

Original at https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20210401005090/en/Accessibility-Compliance-Service-AAAtraq-Has-Teamed-up-With-AbleDocs-Enabling-Subscribers-to-Publish-Accessible-Documents-More-Easily-on-Their-Websites.




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Western University Students Hopeful New Report Will Lead to Accessible Campus


The university is establishing a new student advisory committee to help direct staff on programming Sofia Rodriguez , CBC News
Posted: Mar 03, 2021

Ashton Forrest says her experience as someone with a disability at Western University has been frustrating.

The master’s student uses a mobility scooter and encounters numerous barriers a day on campus. They range from physical ones, like trying to fit her scooter in narrow spaces just to access food services, to experiences with others, such as students moving her scooter without asking because it’s, “in the way.”

While she recognizes the university is a long way from eliminating these barriers, she says it is moving in the right direction. The university is adopting a set of recommendations from a report commissioned by its Student Experience department that addresses issues in its academic support and engagement department, including accessibility on campus.

“The report was, for me, extremely validating,” Forrest said. “A lot of the recommendations in there are things that I and other students who have disabilities have said over and over again.”

The report contains 48 recommendations and calls for a more comprehensive approach in the way the university approaches accessibility.

“Accessibility is not defined by accommodations and access ramps,” said Jennie Massey Western University’s associate vice president of student experience. “An equitable, thriving campus really builds a culture where students with disabilities know that they matter, that they belong and that Western is a place that they can thrive.”

Massey said the university is taking immediate action with certain recommendations including, establishing a student advisory committee to help inform the implementation of the recommendations, recruiting someone to lead programming for students with disabilities and ensuring that students with disabilities are recognized as an equity-deserving group in the university’s Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) framework.

Forrest has been tasked with co-leading the student advisory committee. She believes having input from student with lived experiences will be paramount in making real change happen at Western.

“We have so many departments that deal with equity, diversity and inclusion, human rights and accessibility, yet they rarely reach out to students to hear what is going on, what we want, what we think our priorities are, what would help us be successful and thrive,” she said.

“Having this committee with students with a wide range of disabilities and experiences and backgrounds, we’re hoping, will help the Western community understand what our priorities are.”

The report also calls on the university to ensure its programming and services are implemented using an intersectional lens that takes into account each student’s particular experiences and factors such as race, ethnicity and sexual orientation, something students like Forrest and others have lauded.

“Here we have this report where the school is saying ‘We’re going to try and move forward and improve things on campus,’ which is really a rare undertaking,” said Lauren Sanders, a student outreach coordinator with University Student Council’s Accessibility Committee. “I think an important thing to focus on is how vital it is to have a report like this even created for this community … who is commonly underserviced and underrepresented.”

Sanders and Forrest said that while the report is still missing some specifics, it’s a good starting point to one day having a truly accessible campus.

“I think once we start thinking of people with disabilities as people who are deserving of human rights, who deserve to thrive and have equal access to all aspects of community life, … we can start moving in that direction of changing the culture,” said Forrest.

“There needs to be an understanding that accessibility is not a nice thing to have, it is a human right. It’s a need to have.”

Original at https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/london/western-university-accessible-campus-report-1.5932251




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Smitty’s pancake days charity for children with disabilities raises over $5000 this year – Kingston


Smitty’s Family Restaurant & Lounge hosted their 23rd annual Pancake Days in February, where a short stacks of pancakes were made available for $9.99, and all proceeds were donated to the Easter Seal Kids.

The restaurant announced in a statement Monday that their Pancake Days have raised a total of $5,083.53, which is over a thousand dollars more than last year’s charity.

“I know it’s a difficult time right now for people trying to raise money for good causes, the need is ongoing for these families,” says Smitty’s owner, Randy Loucks.

Loucks and his family donated $1,000 personally this year as well.

Read more:
Easter Seals amps up online fundraising as equipment requests climb

Pancake Days ran from Tuesday, Feb. 16 until Sunday, Feb. 28, with the very first day starting during a snowstorm.

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“It is what it is,” said Loucks of the weather to Global News that day, still prepared to serve pancakes for a good cause.

Easter Seals Ontario provides programs and services to children and youth with physical disabilities across the province, with the goal of helping them to achieve independence through integration.

The charity owns and runs two fully accessible summer camps where youth can enjoy a 10-day program away from home to take part in activities like its indoor climbing wall, sailing and kayaking. The Easter Seals also provide funding for accessible equipment of up to $3,000 per year, per child to help with purchases like wheelchairs and ramps.

The management and staff at Smitty’s ended their statement by thanking the residents of Kingston in helping them achieve this goal.

The restaurant has raised a total of $86,000 during the past 23 years of hosting Pancake Days.


Click to play video 'Kingston family turns a fun outdoor project into a local fundraising initiative'







Kingston family turns a fun outdoor project into a local fundraising initiative


Kingston family turns a fun outdoor project into a local fundraising initiative




© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.





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Halifax project set to create accessible sex toys for people with disabilities – Halifax


Sex should be part of any conversation and it’s already happening around people with disabilities, said the Atlantic regional coordinator of Tetra Society of North America.

“It’s a subject that is kind of seen as taboo,” said Andrew Jantzen, whose organization is working with Venus Envy on a project focusing on creating accessible sex toys for people with disabilities in Halifax.

The project is called “Adaptations for Accessible Sex Practices Project.”


Andrew Jantzen of Tetra Society.

“Sex toys are not designed for people with disabilities, just like most other things that exist out there, so it’s trying to fill that gap,” said Jantzen.

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“And out there, people are talking about it. People want this to happen. So I’m just saying, how can we adapt things? How can we use some of the the handy skills that come with Tetra volunteers to be able to fill this gap?”

Read more:
People with disabilities still want sex, according to U of R research

The purpose of Tetra is to recruit skilled volunteer engineers and technicians to create assistive devices for people with disabilities, and creating adaptive and innovative equipment for sexual practices is just one of their many projects.

The education coordinator at Venus Envy, a sex shop and bookstore, said that the first phase of the project is to interview a group of people from the disabled community who want to talk about their sex lives, and to test out some of the devices that the project will be making.

“A lot of sex toys up until sort of five, 10 years ago were made for like straight penetrative sex. It’s not just disabled bodies that are being left out of kind of the thoughts around sex toys. It’s a lot of bodies,” said Rachele Manett.

Read more:
Young people with disabilities aren’t being taught sex-ed — and it’s putting them in danger

She said certain kinds of sex toys are just not working for people with disabilities.

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“Sometimes they’re too heavy. Buttons don’t work specifically when it comes to certain kinds of mobility limitations,” said Manett.

This is why she said the first phase of the project will look into what kind of sex toys people have access to that have made things better or more difficult, so that in the second phase the team of engineers and design specialists will have the information they need to create the equipment.

Manett said 40 people have applied as participants in just three weeks since the project has been announced.


Click to play video 'N.B. people with disabilities call for priority in COVID-19 vaccine plan'







N.B. people with disabilities call for priority in COVID-19 vaccine plan


N.B. people with disabilities call for priority in COVID-19 vaccine plan – Feb 8, 2021

She said they’re now in the process of creating a diverse group of participants to interview for the project.

“We’re trying to create a group of people that is quite diverse in the types of disabilities (they have), but also in terms of identities. We are looking to prioritize people with intersecting marginalized identities. So really making sure that we’re including voices who are sort of often left on the margins,” said Manett.

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She said that as a society, “we have very much infantilized people with disability and we treat them like children.”

“It’s really easy for us to say, well, that means disabled people aren’t having sex, which is not true … or that disabled people have more important things to worry about than sex,” Manett added.


Click to play video 'Adaptive clothing for people with disabilities'







Adaptive clothing for people with disabilities


Adaptive clothing for people with disabilities – Jan 2, 2021

But that’s not what the project is all about, she said.

“We already know that people with disabilities are having sex and want to be having sex. That’s the part that we’re not exploring,” said Manett.

“What we’re literally saying is how can we make sex better or more accessible or more inclusive and how can we as sort of a society, change our views instead of sort of asking more questions?”

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Tetra Society is asking anyone who would like to volunteer for the project to complete the online volunteer intake application here. 




© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.





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Canada and Ontario Invest in Accessible Public Transit Infrastructure for Residents of Peel Region


From: Infrastructure Canada

Region of Peel, Ontario, January 27, 2021-The safety and well-being of Canadians are top priorities of the governments of Canada and Ontario. Investments in Ontario’s infrastructure during this extraordinary time provides an opportunity to create jobs, stimulate economic growth, and to make our communities more inclusive and resilient.

That is why, together, these governments are taking decisive action to help families, businesses and communities as they adapt to the realities of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ontarians need safe and reliable public transit to get to work and home, to appointments, to shop for essentials, and to conduct business. Strategic investments in accessible public transportation infrastructure play a key role in delivering this service.

Today, The Honourable Catherine McKenna, Canada’s Minister of Infrastructure and Communities; Sylvia Jones, Solicitor General of Ontario and Member of Provincial Parliament for Dufferin-Caledon, on behalf of The Honourable Laurie Scott, Ontario’s Minister of Infrastructure; and Nando Iannicca, Regional Chair and Chief Executive Officer of the Corporation of the Regional Municipality of Peel, announced funding for two projects that will modernize and improve accessibility for Peel Region’s public transit system.

The Government of Canada is investing more than $3.5 million in these projects through the Public Transit Infrastructure Stream (PTIS) of the Investing in Canada plan. The Government of Ontario is providing close to $3 million, and the Region of Peel is contributing more than $2.3 million.

One project involves the replacement of existing specialized transit buses with 69 new, specialized, 8-metre buses as the current fleet reaches the end of its planned service lifecycle. The new propane-powered buses, with side-mounted lift, will provide accessible transit in Brampton, Mississauga, and Caledon, and are capable of carrying as many as six wheelchair passengers.

The second project involves the adoption of the PRESTO electronic fare collection system across the Regional Municipality of Peel’s TransHelp fleet. This project includes the design, planning, purchase and hardware installation of up to 145 portable, tablet-based, electronic payment units.

These projects will result in increased capacity, and improved quality, safety and access to the public transit system in the Region of Peel.

All orders of government continue to work together for the people of Ontario to make strategic infrastructure investments in communities across the province when needed most.

Quotes

“These investments will help make sure there’s accessible public transit, powered by lower-emissions propane, for residents across Peel Region, throughout Mississauga, Brampton and Caledon. And by modernizing the public transit payment method to one already in use in other Ontario cities, we’re giving TransHelp bus riders more options to make fare payment easier. Canada’s infrastructure plan invests in thousands of projects, creates jobs across the country, and builds cleaner, more inclusive communities.”

The Honourable Catherine McKenna, Federal Minister of Infrastructure and Communities

“The modernization of public transit is vital to ensure that the system is accessible for all residents of Peel Region. These investments will expand accessibility to transit, improve payment efficiency and give all residents the option to get around quickly and affordably.”

The Honourable Omar Alghabra, Federal Minister of Transport

“Increasing accessibility to transit in our community is welcomed and exciting news. Many residents of Caledon and across our region rely on Peel Transhelp to get to work, school and appointments. Our government’s close to $3 million investment will greatly improve the quality of life for many individuals and families.”

Sylvia Jones, Solicitor General of Ontario and Member of Provincial Parliament for Dufferin-Caledon, on behalf of the Honourable Laurie Scott, Ontario’s Minister of Infrastructure

“Making it easier for families to travel in, out, and around Peel region is a priority of our government. Improving public transit accessibility by expanding the Peel Transhelp fleet with more energy efficient buses will help keep Peel moving safely and efficiently for all who call our Region home.”

Prabmeet Sarkaria, Associate Minister of Small Business and Red Tape Reduction, and Member of Provincial Parliament for Brampton South

“Peel’s goal is to create a place where everyone enjoys a sense of belonging and has access to the services and opportunities needed to thrive. This funding supports initiatives that directly improve the service experience for passengers with disabilities and advances the modernization of specialized transit in Peel. It’s an example of all levels of government working together to directly benefit the community by ensuring residents with disabilities can continue to travel without barriers.”

Nando Iannicca, Regional Chair and Chief Executive Officer of the Corporation of the Regional Municipality of Peel

Quick facts

Through the Investing in Canada plan, the Government of Canada is investing more than $180 billion over 12 years in public transit projects, green infrastructure, social infrastructure, trade and transportation routes, and Canada’s rural and northern communities.

Across Ontario, the Government of Canada has invested more than $8.1 billion in over 2,750 infrastructure projects.

$28.7 billion of this funding is supporting public transit projects.

Ontario is investing over $10.2 billion under the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program to improve public transit; community, culture and recreation; green, and rural and northern community and other priority infrastructure.

Across the province, Ontario is investing more than $7.3 billion in public transit infrastructure over 10 years through the

Contacts

Chantalle Aubertin
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Infrastructure and Communities
613-941-0660
[email protected]

Christine Bujold
Press Secretary
Office of the Honourable Laurie Scott, Ontario’s Minister of Infrastructure 416-454-1782
[email protected]

Sofia Sousa-Dias
Communications Branch
Ontario Ministry of Infrastructure
437-991-3391
[email protected]

Amie Miles
Manager, Strategic Client Communications
Region of Peel
416-209-4317
[email protected]

Media Relations
Infrastructure Canada
613-960-9251
Toll free: 1-877-250-7154
Email: [email protected]

Original at https://www.canada.ca/en/office-infrastructure/news/2021/01/canada-and-ontario-invest-in-accessible-public-transit-infrastructure-for-residents-of-peel-region.html




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Accessible Employment in Ontario and Manitoba


Many separate accessibility standards development processes exist in Canada. Ontario, Manitoba, and Nova Scotia all have laws that mandate creation of provincial accessibility standards. In addition, the Accessible Canada Act mandates accessibility standards that apply to organizations under federal jurisdiction. However, the government of Canada intends to coordinate federal and provincial accessibility laws. Moreover, the third review of the AODA recommends that the Ontario government should support this aim by aligning its accessibility law, the AODA, with the laws of other provinces and the country. If the governments work together to make these laws more similar, the AODA standards may change to align with laws in other places across the country. In this article, we will explore accessible employment in Ontario and Manitoba.

Accessible Employment in Ontario and Manitoba

The Employment Standards under the AODA and the Accessible Employment Standard under the Accessibility for Manitobans Act both require service providers to make their employment practices accessible for workers with disabilities. Moreover, both standards require many of the same processes and practices to ensure accessibility. For instance, both standards require employers in the public and private sectors to:

Differences Between Standards

However, Manitoba’s standard includes additional requirements mandating further accessibility training for workers who are in charge of:

  • Recruiting, hiring, or training new workers
  • Supervising, managing, or coordinating workers
  • Promoting, redeploying, or terminating workers
  • Creating or overseeing employment policies and practices

Training must cover the following topics:

  • How to make employment opportunities accessible to workers with disabilities
  • Communicating with workers who have disabilities
  • Interacting with workers who have:
    • Service animals
    • Support persons
    • Assistive devices
  • Requirements of:
    • The Human Rights Code
    • The Accessibility for Manitobans Act
    • The Accessible Employment Standard

Workers must be trained as soon as possible after they are hired. Furthermore, workers must have training whenever their organizations’ employment accommodation policies are updated. In addition, all public-sector organizations and private sector organizations with fifty or more workers must document every time they train workers. Documentation must include a summary of the training that workers received.

Manitoba’s accessibility training for supervisors has many elements similar to required customer service training in both provinces. Nonetheless, this training could offer guidance about how accessibility applies to the employment context. In contrast, Ontario’s standard does not require additional accessibility training that covers accessible employment. However, the addition of this employment-specific training could help to dispel many harmful myths about workers who have disabilities. In other words, accessibility training that focuses on the workplace could help employers learn that people with disabilities can be not only customers, but workers.

The employment standards in the AODA and the Accessibility for Manitobans Act may change to improve accessibility in both provinces. To do so, the standards can exchange best practices, or learn them from standards that develop in other Canadian regions or jurisdictions.




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Accessible Customer Service in Ontario and Manitoba


Many separate accessibility standards development processes exist in Canada. Ontario, Manitoba, and Nova Scotia all have laws that mandate creation of provincial accessibility standards. In addition, the Accessible Canada Act mandates accessibility standards that apply to organizations under federal jurisdiction. However, the government of Canada intends to coordinate federal and provincial accessibility laws. Moreover, the third review of the AODA recommends that the Ontario government should support this aim by aligning its accessibility law, the AODA, with the laws of other provinces and the country. If the governments work together to make these laws more similar, the AODA standards development process may change to align with laws in other places across the country. In this article, we will explore accessible customer service in Ontario and Manitoba.

Accessible Customer Service in Ontario and Manitoba

The customer service standards under the AODA and the accessible customer service standard under the Accessibility for Manitobans Act both require service providers to make their goods and services accessible for customers with disabilities. Moreover, both standards require many of the same processes and practices to ensure accessibility. For instance, both standards require service providers in the public and private sectors to:

Differences Between Standards

However, Ontario’s standard requires providers to notify customers about disruptions to any accessible service. In contrast, Manitoba’s standard only requires providers to notify customers about disruptions involving the built environment. In other words, customers in Manitoba may not find out about disruptions to services they need, such as:

Moreover, while both standards apply to providers that offer goods and services, Ontario’s standard also applies to providers that operate facilities.

On the other hand, Manitoba’s standard requires providers to comply with the rules in their customer service policies. In contrast, Ontario’s standard requires providers to create policies, but does not directly state that providers must perform the tasks their policies describe.

In addition, Manitoba’s standard also requires providers to ensure the accessibility of public events, such as:

  • Public meetings
  • Public hearings
  • Consultation processes that the law requires

Under the standard, providers planning or hosting these events must:

  • Hold them in physically accessible locations
  • Ensure that notice of the events appears in accessible formats
  • Meet people’s needs for physical and communication accessibility, upon request
  • Notify the public that people can request accessibility support

In contrast, Ontario’s standard does not designate additional accessibility guidelines for public events. However, a higher degree of accessibility for these events could benefit Ontarians, because these events may have a large impact on the lives of the people who attend.

The customer service standards of the AODA and the Accessibility for Manitobans Act may change over time to improve accessibility. To do so, the standards can exchange best practices, or learn them from standards that develop in other Canadian regions or jurisdictions.




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