By Geof Collis
August 24, 2011
Note: By Blind I mean anyone from the Partially Sighted on up to total Blindness and of course I dont mean all of Society.
What prompted my current thoughts is the recent article Some Voters Will Cast Ballot at Home where Elections Ontario is launching a new program allowing Home Visits for electors who meet the necessary criteria.
Where did this come from?
I have done searches in my Publication, Accessibility News as far back as 2006 when I first launched it, performed Google searches on the subject and have come up empty.
On the other hand the Blind Community has been lobbying for Online Voting for what seems like forever.
So how come an idea like this sees the light of day without any lobbying yet the Blind cant the same respect? Does Society hate us that much?
Elections Ontario is going to sen people to Voters houses who qualify and help them vote, here’s an idea, why dont they implement Phone and Internet Voting and they can send a similar service there by this new fangled invention called a Telephone Line or Cable System!
Not only would Elections Ontario be reaching out to Shut Ins they would allow the Blind to vote as well.
Rather than catering to each Disability on a separate basis we should be implementing strategies that encompass the needs of as many Groups as possible some by the technology at our disposal, Phone and Internet Voting could accomplish this.
Banking by Phone and Internet is secure enough, why not Voting?
However, that would make Voting accessible for the Blind and it seems obvious that Elections Ontario hate the Blind.
Since I’m on the topic of why Society hates the Blind so much let’s take a look at website accessibility.
Recently a Blind woman Sued the federal Government to Court on website accessibility, the Judge ruled in her favour and the Government was ordered to comply within 15 months, they hated us so much they appealed it and now we have to wait, yet again.
The Provincial Government under the Integrated Accessibility Standards(IAS) has until 2016 to fix existing Government Internet sites and 2020 for Internet and Intranet sites.
The Provincial Government hates us so much they have no problem making us wait years for Equal Access.
So now we move onto documentation
According to the Integrated Accessibility Standards(IAS):
12. (1) Except as otherwise provided, every obligated organization shall upon request provide or arrange for the provision of accessible formats and communication supports for persons with disabilities,
- (a) in a timely manner that takes into account the person’s accessibility needs due to disability; and
- (b) at a cost that is no more than the regular cost charged to other persons.
(2) The obligated organization shall consult with the person making the request in determining the suitability of an accessible format or communication
Sounds reasonable until you look at the timelines given for Government and Business to comply:
- 1. For the Government of Ontario and the Legislative Assembly, January 1, 2014.
- 2. For large designated public sector organizations, January 1, 2015.
- 3. For small designated public sector organizations, January 1, 2016.
- 4. For large organizations, January 1, 2016.
- 5. For small organizations, January 1, 2017.
So just when you think we cant be hated any more I leave you with this:
If you break your leg you go to the Hospital and get taken care of from that point on by the Health Care System until you are healed, get diagnosed with Blindness and you are sent to a Charity, the Canadian National INSTITUTE FOR THE BLIND (CNIB) to look after you.
Now that is hatred!
Surveys show that Americans and Canadians fear Blindness the most over other Disabilities. I wonder, is that because of the Disability or the way Society treats the Blind?