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.
A Message from our President – Donna Jodhan
We at BFC-CSB hope that everyone is staying safe given these troubling circumstances. The world as we know it today is definitely not what it was as we knew it yesterday and it will not be the same tomorrow after this horrific pandemic is over.
One thing is for certain however and this is that we need to continue our vigil to ensure that the rights of persons with disabilities are not forgotten. That they continue to be protected, recognized, and legitimize. In short, that we as a community are not forgotten or left behind.
All levels of government continue to hammer home that Canadians and the world at large need to be overly mindful when it comes to protecting the well-being of seniors and the vulnerable. We may choose to classify a person with a disability as one who is vulnerable. So, with this in mind, I’d like to offer the following thoughts.
- That social distancing may prove challenging for persons with a disability and as a result certain allowances should be made to accommodate the needs and limitations of persons with a disability.
- That due to several restrictions being placed on how we carry out our daily or weekly shopping tasks, it would be more difficult for persons with a disability to adhere to said restrictions and that all levels of government should consider providing additional assistance. This could be expanded to ensure that their access to said critical services be facilitated through funding access to devices, training and infrastructure aimed at ensuring their equal and safe access to the things and services they need in order to survive and participate in this changed world.
- In the spirit of equality, we must ensure that any and every Federal and Provincial website along with those websites of companies that are federally and provincially regulated are usable and navigable. That all information and content on said websites can be equally accessed by Canadians with disabilities.
- That all apps that are developed federally, provincially, and by companies under the federal and provincial umbrella are fully accessible to persons with a disability.
- That the voices of persons with a disability be heard and acknowledged.
I believe that it is vitally important for us as a community to ensure that our rights are not forgotten and if anything, that they are enhanced under certain circumstances.
We must not be left behind and the only way for us to ensure that this does not happen is for us to speak up, speak out, and to be there for each other.
I encourage everyone to stay strong! Be of good courage! If we stick together and work together then success will be ours!
“Nothing about us without us”
Now Blind People Say They Have Been Turned Away from UK Supermarkets
What is a ventilator and who gets one if COVID-19 turns catastrophic in Canada?
COVID-19 visitation bans for people in institutions put many at risk in other ways
How condo and apartment buildings are encouraging social distancing
News Items and Article Submissions Posted to our Website
The following is a list of news items that have been posted to our website from January to April, 2020.
The President’s Perspective For 2019. A Year of Revitalization. By Donna J. Jodhan:
The Barrier Free Canada – Canada Sans Barriers December, 2019 Newsletter:
No news items posted for this month.
No Dream Is Too Big:
What Happens When Deep Pockets Win:
What is the Fear?:
Let Us Come Together and Stand Together:
Hard Lesson for Us All
Statement by Minister Qualtrough on Canada’s Disability-Inclusive Approach to its COVID-19 Pandemic Response
This section of the newsletter contains brief descriptions of major barriers encountered.
Wi-Fi An Essential Service During The COVID-19 Pandemic, by Albert Ruel
With millions of dollars being spent to ensure that people survive the 2020 Pandemic so we can thrive again once the new normal begins, one area that has not yet made the headlines is the need for poor Canadians, and especially poor and disabled Canadians, to get access to vital information, services and supports from their homes through Wi-Fi connections they can’t afford. In addition to free and available Wi-Fi is the need for many to be given access to the accessible technology and training they need so they can independently access information, services and supports taken for granted by the rest of society.
Many who don’t have the financial means to have computer or smart phone access from their homes have in the past utilized accessible computer terminals in their public libraries, support groups in their communities or free Wi-Fi access from local coffee shops and restaurants, all or most of which are no longer an option. In addition, many have lost the family/friend/volunteer supports required to access shopping, recreational outings and support group gatherings as a result of the need for all of us to remain at a safe distance.
What are some of the solutions? How about governments cause the big Telecom Companies to provide free internet service to those poor Canadians who currently don’t have access, and who self-identify through the existing Federal and Provincial Government Emergency Pandemic support systems. In addition to the provision of Wi-Fi in their homes, many need access to the tools and training required to access online information, services and social/professional peer mentoring supports being made available by groups/organizations/Governments. Accessible and usable online information, recreation, services and supports are no longer a luxury, during this Pandemic and likely in the new reality to follow these have become basic necessities.
Social Media Initiatives
The BFC Advocating for Change Facebook group continues to have ongoing active chatter and posts. We have a total of 310 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 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:
Barrier Free Canada – Canada Sans Barriers Executive
Donna Jodhan – President, Ontario
Anthony Tibbs – Secretary/Treasurer, Quebec
Charlene Young – Director, Saskatchewan
Louise Gillis – Director, Nova Scotia
Albert Ruel – Director, British Columbia
Michelle Buckland – Director, Ontario
Respectfully Submitted By:
Charlene Young and Albert Ruel