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Barrier-Free BC Bulletin – September 29, 2016

Barrier-Free BC Bulletin – September 29, 2016

Delegates at the UBCM convention passed Resolution B62 (details below) on Wednesday afternoon. Our profound thanks is extended to Councilor Jeremy Loveday
and the City of Victoria for sponsoring this resolution and promoting its support amongst his fellow delegates. We also wish to thank the City of Victoria’s
Access Working Group under the leadership of Linda Bartram for distributing Barrier-Free BC handouts to UBCM delegates as they arrived at the convention
on Monday morning.
While the passing of this resolution is a giant leap forward and makes the reality of a British Columbians with Disabilities Act that much closer, we still
have a significant challenge ahead and we mustn’t let up on our resolve. More than ever now is the time to contact your MLA, be it by telephone, Twitter,
email or a personal visit to encourage their support for disability legislation.

One supporter of the Barrier-Free BC campaign wrote a very personal letter to each party leader which they emailed earlier this week. The very same day,
Dr. Andrew Weaver, leader of the BC Green Party wrote back a personal response the same day in which he said, “Thank you very much for your personal letter
regarding enacting a British Columbians with Disabilities Act. I agree that the barriers facing British Columbians with disabilities must be removed and
the creation of new barriers prevented. We support providing economic support and accessibility measures for people with disabilities and will integrate
this policy into our platform.” Dr. Weaver’s response is evidence that your personal letter or contact will make all the difference and assist us all in
achieving our goal. Please make the effort to make that contact today.

Sincerely,

Rob Sleath
On behalf of The Barrier-Free BC Steering Committee

Text of Resolution

B62 – Legislation and Action for a Barrier-free BC – sponsored by the City of Victoria
Whereas British Columbians with disabilities encounter a variety of physical, sensory and technological barriers as well as ones related to communication,
education, employment, attitudes and many others on a daily basis;
And whereas the Government of British Columbia launched a non-mandatory, non-legislated initiative entitled “Accessibility 2024” in 2014 with the goal
of making BC the most progressive province in Canada for people with disabilities by the year 2024;
And whereas both the Province of Ontario and the Province of Manitoba have enacted disability legislation with the Province of Nova Scotia working toward
the introduction and enactment of disability legislation in 2016:
Therefore be it resolved that UBCM believes it is important to achieve a barrier-free province for all persons with disabilities and calls upon BC’s Legislative
Assembly to enact a strong and effective British Columbians with Disabilities Act.

Endorsed by the Association of Vancouver Island and Coastal Communities

UBCM Resolutions Committee recommendation: Endorse

UBCM Resolutions Committee comments:
The Resolutions Committee advises that the UBCM membership has not previously considered a resolution requesting specifically that the provincial government
enact a British Columbians with Disabilities Act. However, the Committee notes that members have consistently endorsed resolutions seeking to reduce barriers
and provide accessible places and services for individuals with disabilities (including but not limited to 2015-B8, 2015- B110, 2015-B118, 2014-B12, 2013-B55,
2013-B140, 2012-B43, 2011-A2, 2011-B62, 2011-B67, 2010-B70, 2010- B70, 2009-B145, 2009-B167, 2009-B174, 2008-B157, 2008-B158, 2008-B159, 2007-B106, 2007-B191,
2007-B199, 2006-B73, 2006-B132, 2002-B62, 2002-B94, 2000-B113).
If the Provincial Government were to proceed with legislation for a barrier free BC, UBCM would look forward to collaborating with the government to ensure
that the new legislation would provide communities with adequate flexibility and control to reflect local circumstances, and to ensure that local governments
are provided with adequate funding and other supports necessary to implement any new requirements.
Copyright © 2016 Barrier-Free BC, All rights reserved.
You are receiving this notice because you asked to be included as an interested party or supporter of the Barrier-Free BC campaign
To contact us, please send an email to
Info@BarrierFreeBC.org
Visit our web page at
http://www.BarrierFreeBC.org
Follow us on Twitter @barrierfreebc
Like us on Facebook at
http://www.facebook.com/BarrierFreebc
Our mailing address is:
Barrier-Free BC
c/o 200 – 5055 Joyce Street
Vancouver, BC V5R 6B2
Canada
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Winnipeg Resource: Public Transit and VIRN 

Albert A Ruel, 55 mins, BrandonThanks to VIRN for working out this sort of respectfull access to public transit. 

On Aug 27, 2016, at 9:55 AM, Vic Pereira <vic.pereira@virn.ca> wrote:
Hello everyone

 

VIRN has reached another milestone in the realm of inclusion for our community. As a bit of background, in Winnipeg anyone who is eligible to use Handi-Transit services is able to right “regular” transit at no cost. This concession is offered to everyone with a disability not just those of us defined as legally blind.

 

As smart card technologies advanced VIRN worked with Transit to have us included as they moved forward to using these cards to replace conventional bus passes, tickets and paper transfers. Of course the fare boxes still accept cash.

 

Winnipeg Transit didn’t want to do away with concessions, because it is more economical for them to allow people with disabilities to use conventional transit instead of their parallel service. The fleet was replaced with easy access buses, operators are permitted to let people off between stops if it is safe to do so and providing a concession removes another barrier. Out of 6000 registered clients using Handi-Transit they estimate only 900 people are taking advantage of no charge public transit on the “regular” system. They would like to improve on these stats to reduce the burden on the parallel service.

 

After working and testing with Transit they have been able to issue PegGo cards that recognise the fact there are people eligible to have concessions. To avoid fraud, our cards have a photo, but since the readers detect the card regardless of how it is placed on the sensor it is possible to be discrete. Not a problem for me of course, because I use a guide dog or mobility cane. This is a significant step forward for those people in our community whose disability is not quite as obvious. Now they are no longer singled out, thus making some people feel less vulnerable.

 

Another advantage of Transit issuing smart cards to all of us is ridership data is now tracked. This means that city departments who are responsible to maintain sidewalks, streets, accessible pedestrian signals and other components of the city’s infrastructure can get reports from the system. They can then see what areas have the highest usage of people with disabilities. They can then prioritise work on snow removal, infrastructure repairs and updates to make getting from points A to B and all in between easier for more people. In addition there is no personal information visible on the PegGo cards. For people visiting Winnipeg Transit operators are very good about recognising guide dogs, mobility canes and other aids such as wheelchairs. For our community who have a significant amount of useable vision other cards are still recognised as well, but they are just shown to the operator.

 

It is a wonderful feeling to be included with the masses. No more listening to people asking why didn’t that person pay or having to engage in those types of conversations with people at transit stops who say how lucky we are being able to ride transit for free. And the list goes on. Although this might be seen as a small step or even an insignificant one by some people it is one that brings us a little closer as being seen as part of society. Winnipeg Transit is to be commended for not taking the easy route by offloading the granting of concessions. All of us working with VIRN are proud of this accomplishment.

 

Vic

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Resource Article: Canadian Copyright Bill for the Blind in Need of Fine Tuning

Michael Geist

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Canadian Copyright Bill for the Blind in Need of Fine Tuning

Posted: 19 Apr 2016 11:04 AM PDT

As the political world was focused on the Liberal government’s inaugural budget last month, Navdeep Bains, the Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, introduced his first bill as minister by quietly moving ahead with plans to reform Canadian copyright law to allow for the ratification of an international treaty devoted to increasing access to copyrighted works for the blind.

The World Intellectual Property Organization’s Marrakesh Treaty expands access for the blind by facilitating the creation and export of works in accessible formats to the more than 300 million blind and visually impaired people around the world. Moreover, the treaty restricts the use of digital locks that can impede access, by permitting the removal of technological restrictions on electronic books for the benefit of the blind and visually impaired.

My weekly technology law column (Toronto Star version, homepage version) notes that the Canadian decision to ratify the Marrakesh Treaty is long overdue. The Conservatives announced plans to do so in last year’s budget but waited to table legislation days before the summer break and the election call. With that bill now dead, the Liberals have rightly moved quickly to revive the issue.

The treaty (and the Canadian bill) addresses three key issues. First, the bill establishes a new rule that permits non-profit organizations acting on behalf of persons with a print disability to reproduce copyright works in accessible formats without the need for permission from the copyright holder. This ensures that more accessible works will be created and distributed in Canada.

Second, once an accessible version of the work is created, the bill also allows the non-profit organization to make it available upon request to persons with print disabilities in other countries that are part of the treaty. With many countries signing on, this approach offers the potential to significantly increase the availability of accessible works with exchanges across borders.

Third, the bill amends the overly restrictive digital lock rules enacted in the 2012 copyright reforms. The Conservative government claimed that an exception for the blind addressed concerns that the law could create significant access restrictions, but the reforms represent a tacit admission that the exception is ineffective. Interestingly, the same restrictive language is used in an exception designed to address privacy concerns, suggesting that further copyright reforms are needed.

While the introduction of the bill represents an excellent first step, upcoming committee hearings offer the opportunity to fine tune the Canadian approach, which is more restrictive than required by the treaty. For example, the Canadian bill envisions the possibility of establishing additional fees payable by the non-profit organization to copyright collectives. The Marrakesh Treaty does not require adding royalty payments and many countries (including the United States) do not have such a provision.

The Canadian approach to exporting accessible works to other countries is also unnecessarily complex. The export exception does not apply to works that are “commercially available” “within a reasonable time and for a reasonable price” in the other country.

The limitation seems likely to create uncertainty and legal risks for those using the exception, creating the danger that some organizations may be reticent about exporting works for fear of running afoul of the law. The limitation is not found in proposed implementing legislation developed by international groups representing libraries and those with print disabilities.

Despite its shortcomings, the decision to focus on the world’s first user rights treaty sends a strong signal that the government recognizes the importance of ensuring that the law does not unduly restrict access to copyright works. With the Marrakesh Treaty nearly reaching the 20 ratifications necessary to take effect, the government must move quickly if it wants Canada to stand as one of the original group of ratifying countries.

The post Canadian Copyright Bill for the Blind in Need of Fine Tuning appeared first on Michael Geist.

Copyright Bill for the Blind Needs Fine Tuning

Posted: 19 Apr 2016 11:01 AM PDT

Appeared in the Toronto Star on April 18, 2016 as Copyright Law for the Blind Needs Fine-Tuning

As the political world was focused on the Liberal government’s inaugural budget last month, Navdeep Bains, the Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, introduced his first bill as minister by quietly moving ahead with plans to reform Canadian copyright law to allow for the ratification of an international treaty devoted to increasing access to copyrighted works for the blind.

The World Intellectual Property Organization’s Marrakesh Treaty expands access for the blind by facilitating the creation and export of works in accessible formats to the more than 300 million blind and visually impaired people around the world. Moreover, the treaty restricts the use of digital locks that can impede access, by permitting the removal of technological restrictions on electronic books for the benefit of the blind and visually impaired.

The Canadian decision to ratify the Marrakesh Treaty is long overdue. The Conservatives announced plans to do so in last year’s budget but waited to table legislation days before the summer break and the election call. With that bill now dead, the Liberals have rightly moved quickly to revive the issue.

The treaty (and the Canadian bill) addresses three key issues. First, the bill establishes a new rule that permits non-profit organizations acting on behalf of persons with a print disability to reproduce copyright works in accessible formats without the need for permission from the copyright holder. This ensures that more accessible works will be created and distributed in Canada.

Second, once an accessible version of the work is created, the bill also allows the non-profit organization to make it available upon request to persons with print disabilities in other countries that are part of the treaty. With many countries signing on, this approach offers the potential to significantly increase the availability of accessible works with exchanges across borders.

Third, the bill amends the overly restrictive digital lock rules enacted in the 2012 copyright reforms. The Conservative government claimed that an exception for the blind addressed concerns that the law could create significant access restrictions, but the reforms represent a tacit admission that the exception is ineffective. Interestingly, the same restrictive language is used in an exception designed to address privacy concerns, suggesting that further copyright reforms are needed.

While the introduction of the bill represents an excellent first step, upcoming committee hearings offer the opportunity to fine tune the Canadian approach, which is more restrictive than required by the treaty. For example, the Canadian bill envisions the possibility of establishing additional fees payable by the non-profit organization to copyright collectives. The Marrakesh Treaty does not require adding royalty payments and many countries (including the United States) do not have such a provision.

The Canadian approach to exporting accessible works to other countries is also unnecessarily complex. The export exception does not apply to works that are “commercially available” “within a reasonable time and for a reasonable price” in the other country.

The limitation seems likely to create uncertainty and legal risks for those using the exception, creating the danger that some organizations may be reticent about exporting works for fear of running afoul of the law. The limitation is not found in proposed implementing legislation developed by international groups representing libraries and those with print disabilities.

Despite its shortcomings, the decision to focus on the world’s first user rights treaty sends a strong signal that the government recognizes the importance of ensuring that the law does not unduly restrict access to copyright works. With the Marrakesh Treaty nearly reaching the 20 ratifications necessary to take effect, the government must move quickly if it wants Canada to stand as one of the original group of ratifying countries.

Michael Geist holds the Canada Research Chair in Internet and E-commerce Law at the University of Ottawa, Faculty of Law. He can be reached at mgeist@uottawa.ca or online at http://www.michaelgeist.ca.

The post Copyright Bill for the Blind Needs Fine Tuning appeared first on Michael Geist.

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