Did you know: One Deaf lawyer helped increase access for all Deaf Canadians?

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In 2000, Vancouver lawyer Henry Vlug lodged a complaint against the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) in the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal (CHRT) for not including closed captions on all of its television programs.

Vlug stated he could not enjoy programs such as major league baseball playoff games without the inclusion of captions, arguing that Deaf Canadians are equal to those who can hear since their taxes funded the broadcaster, entitling them to the full experience of CBC programming.

The case was won and the lawyer granted CAD$10,000 by the CHRT for pain and suffering. CBC appealed the tribunal’s settlement but later dropped the bid when it settled with Vlug out of court for a lower amount.

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Disney being sued over lack of accessibility


Three women in the United States are suing Disney for discrimination against those who are blind or vision impaired.

According to the press release about the class action suit, the plaintiffs are claiming that the parks themselves are discriminatory against people who are blind and vision impaired by “refusing to reasonably accommodate the needs of guests with guide dogs, refusing to provide functional audio technology, refusing to provide Braille menus, schedules and maps, and more”.

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Canadian disability service providers appalled at government appeal


The Canadian National Institute for the Blind (CNIB) and the Alliance for Equality of Blind Canadians (AEBC) have come out with strong statements against the Canadian government’s appeal of a court ruling that federal government websites are to be made accessible to sensory impaired users by 2012.

John Rafferty, President and CEO of CNIB, said, “The fact that it took a court case to plead for full web accessibility in the first place is bad enough, but to learn that the government plans to spend more time and taxpayer money fighting the court’s ruling is just appalling.”

Robin East, President of the nationwide Alliance for Equality of Blind Canadians, echoed these sentiments, saying, “we are outraged by the government’s decision to appeal this landmark decision”.

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