Barrier Free Canada-Canada Sans Barriers would like to thank you once again for your continued support and words of encouragement for it is only with you and through you that we as an organization can continue to thrive and to encourage others to speak up, speak out, and engage each other in meaningful discussion and constructive criticisms, feedback, and suggestions. Barrier Free Canada also wishes you the best during this time, and we hope that you and your family are staying safe and healthy.
A Message from Our President – Donna Jodhan
The world today is not what it was yesterday, and it will not be the same tomorrow. We are presently living in very challenging and troubled times but rest assured, that with our high propensity to create, innovate, and overcome we will get through this together!
We are facing times of uncertainty and unexpectedness; very rough seas but our propensity to survive will not allow our ships to sink! We have worked too hard to allow anything else but success to prevail.
I am very confident that as a committed and vibrant community we will continue to raise our voices in unison. We will continue to lobby all levels of Government to take action to respect, recognize, and protect our rights under the Canadian Charter of Rights. To ensure that our needs as Canadians with disabilities are met with dignity and to ensure that we are treated equally and not left behind.
We are still waiting to hear from Minister Qualtrough’s Covid Committee and Barrier free Canada – Canada sans Barrières will continue to push for this committee to start communicating and collaborating with Canadians with disabilities.
On November 29th 2020 Canadians with disabilities will take a few moments to remember our landmark victory on November 29th 2010. That splendid and glorious day when we were victorious at Court over the Canadian Government. When our fight to mandate the Canadian Government culminated in victory.
Then on May 30 2012 our second victory at the Canadian Court of Appeal that confirmed our victory at the Lower Court.
Now we need to build on ensuring that the Accessible Canada Act lives up to its hopes and expectations. These being that our Federal Government is made accountable for its promises.
We can do it and we will do it!
I wish everyone a safe fall season and encourage you to send us your questions and feedback. We are here for you!
Donna J. Jodhan, President
Announcement of New Board Members
Over the last few months, Barrier Free Canada has been in the process of finding additional board members. Five board members have been selected, and their bios are below.
Lorne Mackenzie was the Senior Regulatory Affairs Manager for WestJet Airlines based in Calgary Canada before being placed on inactive status effective October 30, 2020 due to the unprecedented impact of Covid 19.
Lorne started his 28 year career in commercial aviation in 1992 as City Ticket Office Manager for Canadian Airlines in Beijing China. He remained in China in a variety of capacities for several years before returning to Canada to oversee Airport operations and policy development with Canadian Regional Airlines and Air Canada after the merger, finally joining WestJet 16 years ago to help launch international destinations for the first time in WestJet’s history.
In Lorne’s previous capacity, he provided oversight of all of WestJet’s Accessibility related policies and programs. In addition, he supported ensuring passenger related regulatory compliance, and participation in bilateral air agreement negotiations.
Lorne remains current chair of IATA’s Accessibility Working Group and participates on the Passengers with Disabilities Task Force and remains on the Plain Language Technical Committee supporting Accessibility Standards Canada.
Betti-Jo Ruston is a federal public servant with over 20 years of experience in domestic policy and international affairs. As a parent to a child with physical and intellectual disabilities, she has become a passionate supporter of eliminating barriers to the full participation of persons with disabilities in Canadian society. She is eager to work with others to identify and concretely address the gaps in programs and services as a means to eliminate the poverty and marginalization faced by many across Canada. Caregivers of children and adults with disabilities face unique challenges and Betti-Jo works to profile this reality. She is focused on concrete, small actions that will hopefully over time lead to a more inclusive Canada for her son and others.
Penny Leclair lives in Kingston. She is a senior citizen who is deafblind. In 1984 Penny obtained a diploma in business management from the British Columbia Institute of Technology and since that time Penny has enrolled in several courses ranging from several communication courses to obtaining a instructor certificate in adult literacy.
Penny is an active advocate for equal rights for all. Encouraging society to do the right thing goes a lot further than calling people out for doing the wrong thing. Positive reinforcement is a powerful tool.
Megan has an innate passion for social justice, inclusion, and equality. She has been an advocate for the rights of persons with disabilities her whole life.
Megan has been involved in many equality-seeking initiatives, including the organization of the inaugural Manitoba Judicial Roundtable, bringing judges together from all over the world to discuss the importance of access to justice. She has also served on the Board of Directors of Winnipeg’s Legal Help Centre and volunteered with the Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund (LEAF).
During law school, Megan also worked with the International Humanitarian Law Division of the Canadian Red Cross, ARCH Disability Law Centre, and the Feminist Alliance for International Action (FAFIA). She was also a Student Fellow with the Global Health Law Clinic at the University of Ottawa and a clinic placement student at South Ottawa Community Legal Services.
Megan has had the privilege of speaking to a variety of groups on human rights issues and was honored to speak about disability rights at WE Day.
Megan is a practicing lawyer, currently specializing in the areas of human rights, labor, employment, and administrative law.
She is proudly from Winnipeg, Manitoba. She loves musical theatre and has had the opportunity to sing and travel with a number of choirs.
Sean is an accessibility and universal design industry expert and an inclusion collaborator. After breaking his neck in 2004 from a diving accident, he now utilizes a wheelchair to optimize his independence. Sean attended university with a focus in mathematics. As an entrepreneur, Sean developed proprietary internationally recognized accessibility standards and used them to launch Universal Access. Today Universal Access is a self-sustaining profitable business. Sean has dedicated the better part of his professional career committed to bettering accessibility and inclusion in society. As the co-founder of Included by Design, Sean’s goal is to create communities where all people feel comfortable conducting daily tasks, participating in social events, and contributing to their economic well-being as though spaces were designed to accommodate all people regardless of their unique characteristics. He currently sits on three boards of not-for-profit organizations to ensure they continue moving the needle in the right direction. In addition, Sean is an advisor on two advocacy committees, as well as provides workshops and speaks at different engagements on accessibility and inclusion.
➜ Heart of the Community award.
➜ Social Economy Leader award.
➜ What’s Next YYC
Important Articles Related to Barriers
Here are some important articles related to barriers. These are just some examples of barriers that persons with disabilities face on a day-to-day basis.
Toronto restaurant discriminated against woman who uses mobility aids, tribunal rules
A new chance for disability reforms
COVID-19 causing long delays for guide dogs, charity says
New Brunswick woman concerned about ballot secrecy at returning office
Why some parents of kids with disabilities are making the ‘heart-breaking’ choice of at-home learning
Deaf During Coronavirus – Why We Need Clear Masks
Advocates say people with disabilities ‘disproportionately’ impacted by unemployment amid pandemic
News Items Posted to our Website
The following is a list of news items that have been posted to our website from July to October, 2020.
The Barrier Free Canada – Canada Sans Barriers July 2020 Newsletter – Second Quarter
Are Your Virtual Meetings Accessible for People with Disabilities? Start with This Checklist
Doctors Issuing Unlawful ‘Do Not Resuscitate’ Orders For Disabled Covid Patients ‘Outrageous’
No Accommodation Available. One Blind Man’s Account of His Experience at the COVID Assessment Centre at Toronto Western Hospital
Ontario Has No Plan for Kids with Disabilities, Critics Say
Report: Impacts of COVID-19 on Persons with Disabilities
The Right To Accessible Information
Pandemic Has Changed The Way We Shop Grocery Stores Tracking Buying Patterns to Adapt to Consumers’ Needs
The BFC Third Quarter Monthly Mini Survey
In August, we introduced a new feature on the BFC advocating for change group page to encourage visitors to take our mini survey with the goal to have persons provide their feedback on certain topics of the day.
We have named our survey the Truthful Thursday survey whereby on the first Thursday of each month we will present visitors with a list of three questions. We will ask them to rank these questions and on the last Thursday of each month we will post the results.
So far so good! Several persons have participated for August and September, and below you will find the questions that we have asked along with the results for each month thus far.
For August 2020
Here are your choices for August 06.
Which of the following do you believe has been the biggest challenge for you during this Covid19 virus?
1. Self isolation.
2. Social distancing.
3. Running errands.
The results were as follows:
Self isolation was the number 1 choice of most but social distancing was not too far behind. Self isolation did not have any second choice votes and few third choice votes.
Social distancing was the most consistent choice. Its first choice votes was not too far behind self isolation and it had the most second choice votes with no third choice votes.
Running errands had the fewest first choice votes. It had the most third choice votes and but 1 second choice vote.
For September 2020
Persons were asked to rank the choices listed below With 1 being the highest and 3 being the lowest.
1. To have easy access to Covid testing
2. To have access to online grocery shopping
3. To be able to use apps to obtain up to date info on Covid and other
The results were as follows:
#2 To have access to online grocery shopping was the overwhelming choice of participants.
#1 To have easy access to Covid testing was the distant second choice of participants.
#3 To be able to use apps to obtain up to date info on Covid and other related news was the third choice of participants.
Here are your choices for September 03.
In order of importance, with 1 being the most important, and 3 being the least important, please rank the following:
1. To have easy access to Covid testing.
2. To have access to online grocery shopping.
3. To be able to use apps to obtain up to date info on Covid and other related news.
Question of the Quarter
Please help us to better understand your concerns/challenges by answering the question below. Please send your response to firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll include them in our fourth quarter newsletter.
Do you think that Minister Qualtrough is doing enough to support the requirements and concerns of Canadians with disabilities? (Please answer Yes or No)
Social Media Initiatives
The BFC Advocating for Change Facebook group continues to have ongoing active chatter and posts. We have a total of 347 members. We have also been continuing to use twitter for both @BFC4Change and @Barrierfreeca to tweet and retweet relevant articles and messages.
If you are interested in making your voice heard, please join our Facebook group, BFC4change at the following address: https://bit.ly/3juptOY.
If you are a person who would like to stay up-to-date in the disability world, we would like to invite you to contact us in one of the following ways:
Twitter: @barrierfreeca or @bfc4change
Barrier Free Canada – Canada Sans Barriers Executive
Donna Jodhan – President, Ontario
Albert Ruel – Vice President, British Columbia
Anthony Tibbs – Treasurer, Quebec
Charlene Young – Secretary, Saskatchewan
Louise Gillis – Director, Nova Scotia
Michelle Buckland – Director, Ontario
Respectfully submitted by Charlene Young, Secretary for Barrier-Free Canada