Not-Quite-Recommended Reading for Saturday, May 15

I’ve got a collection of Canadian news stories that are disability-related, and I don’t want to hold on to them for later.

Calling out bus stops now a human right

Regional council hopes this will fend off a potential prosecution by the Ontario Human Rights Commission. The commission says announcing stops is an immediate need and itโ€™s not good enough for drivers to call stops on request, as they do now. This follows a landmark ruling won by a blind Toronto passenger in 2007.

[The case they’re referring to is Lepofsky vs the Toronto Transit Commission, which I found very interesting when I learned about it. Lepofsky first brought suit against the TTC in 2005, which resulted in the stops on the subway being called. After that case was won, he contacted the TTC and said “So, you’re going to do this on the buses as well, right?” and they said no, so he had to bring suit against them a second time.]

Airline apologizes for forgetting blind teen

The 18-year-old was waiting for flight attendants to escort her to a connecting flight to Florida when she heard the plane door seal shut. Ten minutes later two maintenance staff happened to find her on an unscheduled check of the plane.

She panicked in the plane, calling for help.

After a series of complaints, Cabot received a $250 airline voucher and the promise of an apology. Five weeks after her flight and a series of news stories later, she finally got one.

Why yes United is the airline that treated LJ-user Evilpuppy so shabbily, and then sent her a letter explaining that they’re really sorry, but this situation was at least in part her fault.

Wanted: People with disabilities to work in high-level banking jobs

Patey gives examples of the range of “invisible” disabilities that might qualify, “Someone who has had a heart attack who is no longer able to work at the same level as he did prior to the heart attack or individuals that experience prolonged feelings of anxiety or depression. These are the kinds of folks that we want to reach and interview for these banking jobs.”

[I admit to looking sideways at that article and its particular focus on the “right” type of disability. I haven’t sorted what I think of it at all.]

NEADS has put out their Studying and Pursuing a Science or Technology Career as a Post-Secondary Student with a Disability Guide. Not being a Science or Technology Person, I can’t really speak to it myself, but I know NEADS is an awesome resource for post-secondary students with disabilities across Canada.

From the press release:

While research has been conducted on factors affecting the inclusion of the general student population in science and technology-related programs, very little work has been done to highlight the issues and challenges faced by students and employees with disabilities within this sector. Furthermore, the identification of role models or success stories in science and technology is not encouraged every student and educator, or every employer and employee, facing these issues may well believe that they are the first, ever, to do so. Our new Success in STEM guidebook meets our initial project goals and is a unique and invaluable resource for students, teachers, service providers and employers.

By 15 May, 2010.    recommended reading   



7 Comments

  1. Oh the Lepofsky v. Toronto Transit Commission… please indulge me, I’m in the legal field and I love this case. It should certainly be listed under the worst defenses in history.

    At first they actually did say they would call surface routes (buses/streetcars) then they scaled it back to only major stops on major routes and it was on this inconsistency that Lepofsky was actually able to challenge on.

    It is interesting that in The Record article they claim that having drivers call out the stop would be “too distracting”. Which is exactly what the TTC was not able to prove (they claimed undue hardship by causing safety issues) and thereby lost the case.

    Why the TTC lost

    1. At no point did the TTC call any witnesses that could attest to the danger of calling out stops and support their claims. (They didn’t even bring in a driver to say it would be distracting.)
    2. It was documented that some drivers did make a point to call all stops but they were never discouraged from this behaviour due to possible danger, in fact some were commended.
    3. The TTC did require that their drivers call out major intersections within the surface fleet
    4. Finally and perhaps what was the most devastating to the TTCโ€™s case was that fact that they require that their drivers call out all stops when there are poor weather conditions or there is any other reason “passengers may have an obstructed view of the street.”

    Seriously! That last one is actually in their policy book for drivers. Wallow in that irony TTC; to see the adjudicators face when that one crossed the desk.

    Plus the adjudicator was pretty clear in his “This is the second time this individual has has to drag your obstinate asses in here I am so slamming you this time.” So he gave Lepofsky $35,000 which is pretty much unheard of considering no monetary compensation was requested.

    Anyways, fantastic case if you like seeing the unreasonable get the beat down. Though right now I’m waiting for the TTC to start working on actually getting accessible… well everything.

  2. I am so so so happy to see the NEADS resource aimed directly at my field. I knew there was a reason I loved this site ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. The ‘announcing stops’ bit reminds me… I discovered on a recent trip that London taxis are equipped with telecoil functionality. It didn’t work 100% for me – it really depends on where your hearing aids are vis-a-vis the relevant wiring, but it worked great for me on the cab trip to the airport express. I’ve never before understood so clearly what a cabbie was saying – it was kind of fun in the ‘new experience’ sense, even though I’m usually the “shut up and drive and let me think” type in cabs.

  4. hypatia, I’m really fascinated by the TTC case. I hadn’t heard much about it until my recent trip to Toronto, and then when I learned of it my eyes went all wide in shock at the sheer audacity of the TTC’s defense. Really? I mean… really???

    Ami, NEADS has a mailing list that you may be interested in. I think the contact info for it is on their website. I find they are awesome.

    P.G., I hadn’t ever thought about the telecoils much except to note their existence. I’m glad they work so well. ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. I wish all bus drivers everywhere would call out the stops. I have massive anxiety about public transport because I panic too much about where to get off or going past my stop which might sound ridiculous but is pretty unpleasant when it builds up. Surely it’s the kind of thing that would be helpful to everyone, not just disabled people?

  6. On the buses in DC, there’s a screen at the front of the bus that says what the next stop is, and a recorded voice that reads the next stop. The Metro (subway) cars have the same thing. (Well, the newer Metro cars do. I think the older ones don’t have the screen, but they’re gradually phasing those out and bringing in the newer ones.)

  7. @jeneli I also wish they all would, I think people in the US have successfully sued as well, but I really wish folks didn’t have to sue to get things done.