My Activities 2016

Join me at the TechWell STARCANADA Conference 2016

Being held the week of October 23-28, 2016, at the Hyatt Regency hotel, 370 King Street West, Toronto, Ontario. Come learn why accessibility is now becoming a valued, integral part of the design process and much different from usability of twenty years ago. Accessibility Standards and Testing Techniques: Be Inclusive or Be Left Behind. While Information and Communication Technology (ICT) accessibility for a wider spectrum of users, including the blind, and their interfaces is being required by law across more jurisdictions, testing for it remains limited, naive, and too late. The consequences of staying ignorant include increased exposure to litigation, penalties, and loss of contracts and revenue. Ensure compliance for your organization and clients by familiarizing yourself with the regional and international standards and their criteria, and find out what testing tools and inclusive design practices you can use. Take away an understanding of the three core guidelines for accessibility (components of authoring tools, web content, and user agent accessibility) for mobile, web browsers, and media players, and understand their impact on assistive technologies.

Canadians with Disability Act Moncton Round Table Discussion Feedback

Canadians with disabilities continue to face barriers in their daily lives. Persistent gaps remain in areas such as employment, income and social inclusion. As Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities, Carla Qualtrough have been asked to lead a consultation process that will inform the development of new accessibility legislation. The Government of Canada is conducting consultations to gather input on options for the new legislation, and I was asked to participate in the Communication and Information round table discussion. Please read my round table discussion feedback, and share it with your friends and member of parliament to encourage active participation in this important process.
What does an Accessible Canada mean to you?
- What are the main barriers to accessibility that Canadians with disabilities face?
- What would it take to fix those barriers?
- How can we change attitudes in Canada to better include and respect people with disabilities?

Let's Get Digital - Accessible or Not?

Earlier this year, the Ontario Government unveiled a new Digital Government program that will accelerate innovation, leverage big data, and put users first. That is, making online digital services simpler, faster and easier-to-use for all people. The Digital Government team is committed to accessibility, but the launched website fails the most basic AODA Information And Communication standards, and the team has failed to answer accessibility enquiries. There appears to be no team accessibility strategy or assistive technology user experience on the team. On October 17, 2016, the Brookfield Institute for Innovation + Entrepreneurship and Ontario's Digital Government Team will co-host the Let's Get Digital Event. This event will bring together digital leaders across industry, community, non-for-profit, and government to infuse new ideas and voices as Ontario accelerates its digital change strategy. However, accessibility is not on the agenda. Despite Ontario government promises, disability and accessibility issues are not a priority concern. The Digital Government Team statement clearly shows the mindset:
Read the AEBC Blog post, David Best, April 22, 2017.

While the Medium platform is not, at this time, accessible, we continue to advocate for more accessibility features; as per the Ontario Public Service Accessible Customer Service policy, we are happy to send plain-text, accessible versions of all pieces of content posted on Medium upon request.

CANADIANS CONNECTED 2016 Conference - Building a Better Online Canada

Join us to hear from some of Canada's top digital thinkers and learn about CIRA's latest initiatives. The Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA) is the organization that manages Canada's .CA domain name registry, develops and implements policies that support Canada's Internet community and represents the .CA registry internationally. Taking place on September 22, 2016 at the Allstream Centre, Room 206, 105 Princes' Blvd., Toronto, Ontario, M6K 3C3, location. Are Canada's top digital thinkers thinking about accessibility and universal inclusion?

CDA Discussion Paper feedback comments

A strong, effectively enforced Canadians with Disabilities Act (CDA) must be designed from the inside out, with an integrated government strategy based on accountability. An effective CDA will be shaped by Canadians, but responsibility of implementation and delivery will rest with each Ministry and enforced by legislation. It is critical that Information Communication Technologies (ICT) expectations be clearly defined in the CDA proposal. The communication barriers created by modern digital infrastructures was high lighted in the AODA Alliance discussion paper introduction, but did not explicitly define the need for an accessibility ICT strategy. The Ontario government lead the way with the AODA comprehensive inclusive legislation, but government leaders failed to understand the paradigm shift in societal responsibility trends.

Information Technology Strategic Plan 2016-2020 Consultation Submission

Please support my consultation submission to the Information Technology Strategic Plan 2016-2020:
Chief Information Officer of the Government of Canada
Chief Information Officer Branch
Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat
90 Elgin Street, Ottawa, ON K1A 0R5
Send email to Chief Information Officer of the Government of Canada
August 26, 2016
Subject: Information Technology Strategic Plan 2016-2020
After reading the Information Technology Strategic Plan 2016-2020 I am shocked at the total absence of a clearly defined accessibility strategy. Business and government reports have identified innovation as a driver of economic growth through enabling people to achieve greater levels of productivity. Yet Canada's IT strategic plan is missing two critical components that are required for leadership in the digital global economy.
-- 1. A clearly defined accessibility strategy.
Statement: "Digital collaboration refers to the skills and mindset needed to work effectively in an open digital environment. Tools that respect government requirements such as accessibility, privacy, security, information management and official languages will be used to promote digital collaboration."
Recommendation: The importance of accessibility is acknowledged, but a strategic plan to achieve this goal is not important enough to be a part of the Implementation Roadmap. I would recommend that you review Canada's Accessibility Advisory Committee report, and use the submissions as groundwork in creating an Accessibility Strategy for success.
Ensuring Accessibility in Canada's Digital Economic Strategy - Digital Canada 150
Prepared by: Beverley Milligan of Mediac Inc., on behalf of the Minister of Industry's Advisory Committee on Assistive Devices for Persons with Disabilities.

-- 2. Create a Chief Accessibility Officer position.
Statement: "To fully embrace an enterprise IT approach, departments and agencies need clear direction on agreed-upon priorities and approved approaches, which comes from an authoritative source. Oversight is required to ensure sustained progress in advancing shared objectives. Roles and responsibilities must be documented for effective implementation of an IT governance structure."
Recommendation: An Authoritative source and Oversight is acknowledge, for effective implementation of an IT governance structure, but a critical role of responsibility is not part of the Implementation Roadmap. In a rapidly changing and increasingly complex digital world, an Information Technology Infrastructure must be based on universal design and technology standards. Enabling technologies is the key to greater prosperity for all, but the challenge to create effective machine-to-people interfaces is a talent skill now recognized by most large companies. I recommend that you create a Chief Accessibility Officer (CAO) position to ensure Canada's IT infrastructure is fully inclusive. See what the private sector is doing to ensure global economic leadership.
What Is a Chief Accessibility Officer? - By JJ Hanley, February 22, 2016
What Being A Chief Accessibility Officer Means - By Ruh Global Communications, June 24, 2016

pre-budget consultation feedback submission

Please support my consultation submission to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance:
Honourable Wayne Easter, Chair of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance
pre-budget consultation feedback submission
July 21, 2016
As an innovative Accessibility Information Technology Specialist entrepreneur living with vision loss, and with more than 30 years of project management, diversity leadership, disability advocacy, with a comprehensive background in software design and development, I have digital communication technology skills and experiences with workplace barriers. As an Appointee to the Ontario Accessibility Standards Advisory Council and member of some Ontario organizations Advisory Board, I understand the accessibility challenge confronted by Canadian business and blind persons. The challenge for the federal government is to establish an accessibility inclusive vision, with an inter-ministry collaborative strategy, that defines budget commitment and accountability for funding, and engages blind Canadians in an inclusive forum. Please consider the economic budget costs of creating a more accessible and inclusive Canada.
Read my federal budget consultation submission (MS-Word).

Developing an inclusive Canadian innovation accessibility digital communication strategy

Canada's Innovation Agenda
We're committed to making Canada a global innovation leader, and we want to hear from you. Please support my innovative idea!
Question:How can Canada become the best country in attracting and developing talent?
Submitted: June 22, 2016
The digital economy is driving economic prosperity through increased productivity and market growth,, but 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. About 15% of the world's population live with a disability, and 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 standards requireOntario organizations to identify, remove and prevent barriers for people with disabilities in key areas of daily living. Fundamentally, accessibilityis about expanding market opportunities to achieve sustainable growth in revenue, return on investment, and profitability; And not just about legal compliance. Due to the life challenges, people with disabilities tend to be creative thinkers and problem solvers in innovation technologies. Many of the mainstream technologies we enjoy today were initiated by research and development in resolving a disability challenge. Unfortunately, much of the digital communication systems being implement throughout Canadian organizations is inaccessible to blind and deaf Canadians. This is revealed in statistics that show more than 80% of Canadians with vision loss are unemployed, and about 25% live below the poverty line. To reverse this trend we need greater participation of skilled blind professionals in the decision making process of government strategies that will build a more prosperous Canada.
Currently Canadian digital communication strategies present barriers in the participation of Canadians with disabilities.We need an integrated accessibility growth strategy that link the Ministries of Innovation, Employment, Infrastructure, and Persons With Disabilities. We need competent and well informed leaders, who understand the impact of digital communications on the quality of life for all Canadians. We need a prosperity strategy that maximizes the skills of disabled Canadians, and promotes greater inclusion. We need to enable Canadian innovators by stimulating creativity, and enable disabled Canadians by getting smart technologies into their hands as soon as possible.

Join me at the Canadian Internet Forum, June 1, 2016

The Canadian Internet Forum (CIF) is a national discussion about Canada's Internet future, hosted by the Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA). It consists of in-person meetings, a national event that brings together Canada's Internet leaders and a year-round discussion in social media on topics of interest to Canadians. With CIF you can support the advancement of Internet in Canada and exercise your digital rights nationally and internationally. Let's make Accessibility a .CA priority!

Join me at the University of Guelph Open Learning Accessibility Conference: May 30-31, 2016.

In partnership with Inclusive Media and Design, Toronto we will demonstrate Integrating Accessibility in the Web Design Process from the Get-Go. Why would you, and how do you include disabled users effectively in the Web design development process? We will review testing a work in progress, discuss different checkpoints that are good spots to stop and test, and explain the impact that ARIA can have on accessibility. Attendees of this session will learn about a workflow for accessible web design that takes the needs of various users (including those who are blind) into account.

Celebrating the Third Global Accessibility Awareness Day

The Accessibility Camp Ottawa will be celebrating the third edition of the the Global Accessibility Awareness Day. This event is about bringing together the web accessibility community to share ideas, best practices, experiences and hopefully to raise the bar when it comes to digital inclusion. If you're interested in accessibility and inclusive design then please join me at this event. The third edition of A11yYOW will be held on May 19th, 2016 at the Carleton University Human Computer Interaction Building (HCI), 1125 Colonel By Drive, in Ottawa, Ontario. Activities will take place on the 4th and 5th floors. For more information you can reach the organizers by email at View photos from this event.
Accessibility online: A neglected frontier for people with disabilities, By EVELYN HARFORD, OTTAWA CITIZEN.

Ontario Centre of Excellence Innovation Showcase

In partnership with Inclusive Media and Design (IMD), I have been invited to exhibit at the second Accessibility Innovation Showcase at the OCE Discovery Conference on May 9 and 10, 2016. As one of thirty-five Ontario-based companies invited by Ontario Centres of Excellence and the Ministry of Economic Development, Employment and Infrastructure (MEDEI), I will be demonstrating the enhanced innovative features of the BlindSquare navigation system for blind persons. We are crossing a new frontier in the evolution of computing and entering the era of cognitive systems. scientists and engineers around the world are pushing the boundaries of science and technology to create machines that sense, learn, reason, and interact with people in new ways to provide insight and advice. The OCE 2016 Discovery Innovation Conference is expected to draw 3200 attendees and 500 exhibitors. This is an excellent opportunity to showcase emerging Digital Media and Information & Communications Technologies, that is changing the quality of life for persons living with sensory disabilities. The OCE Venue will be held at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre (MTCC), South Building, Level 800. Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE) is a member of the Ontario Network of Entrepreneurs (ONE), and funded by the Government of Ontario.

AEBC 2016 Building Bridges Conference

2016 AEBC Conference and AGM - Building Bridges - Montreal, Quebec - April 29 to May 1, 2016 The AEBC's 2016 National Conference will take place in Montreal, Quebec, at the Best Western Montreal Downtown Hotel Europa, from Friday, April 29th to Sunday, May 1st, 2016. Join me, as I speak on "Knowledge Is Power - Shifting the Digital Mindset". Are those without sight out of sight? Canadians living with vision loss have been marginalized in society by good will intentions, but it is time we take charge of our destiny by leveraging technology. Accessible digital communications is bridging the gap between the blind and sighted community.
View the speaker presentation material.

CSUN 2016

Join me at the 31st CSUN Annual International Technology and Persons with Disabilities Conference. The 2016 CSUN Conference will be held in San Diego from March 21 to March 26, 2016, at the Manchester Grand Hyatt Hotel. The CSUN Conference is the largest of its kind in the world, and provides a forum that showcases cutting edge technology and practical solutions that can be utilized to remove the barriers that prevent the full participation of persons with disabilities in educational, workplace and social settings. I will present on the topic Making SharePoint Usable for the Blind and Vision Impaired, Sponsored by Discover Technologies. Discover Access is a SharePoint enterprise accessibility solution, that was developed to meet the growing demand from disabled professionals, that serves as a digital bridge between the SharePoint environment and the users assistive technology. Discover Access SharePoint Usability Mode provides ease of access for users who live with vision loss (blind screen reader users and low vision screen magnifier users), users that have a cognitive disability or age related limitations, and most anyone else who prefers the simpler user interface interaction. The Discover Access SharePoint Accessibility Solution can transform your SharePoint environment into a user friendly platform with immediate productivity gains, and avoid all though time consuming customization requirements.

My Activities 2020

My Activities 2019

My Activities 2018

My Activities 2017

My Activities 2015