2014 Accessibility Summit

Opening plenary

  • Possibility needs intention and action to become probability @richdonovannyc
  • “Make no mistake, it’s about justice, that’s where the fire comes from. ” A business case is rational, but you need the drive
  • It takes its power when it becomes OUR story, when it becomes about all of us
  • “Doubt is a lack of imagination” says @RandyNOGWOG @. This guy’s conviction is pretty contagious.
  • Accessibility is “that which enables people to reach their full potential” – David C. Onley ON Lt Gov
  • “Employers bought into a series of myths and misperceptions… nothing can be further from the truth”

TD Bank

  • Hiring people with disabilities who can’t currently find a job or have given up would be a $3.4B windfall for Ontario
  • Ontario will have 20k open jobs by 2020, 500k by 2030
  • Ontario is losing $3.7B in tax revenues

Lt Gov of Ontario

  • Hiring people with a disability makes business sense
  • “Return on Disability” àDisability is a global emerging market

Richard Donovan – RoD-group.com

  • Don’t develop solely for disability, integrate it in everything you do & “the game changes”
  • The RoD index beats the market by 2%/year (includes top 100 US and top 50 CDN disability focused enterprises)

Accelerating progress through global standards, systems, and tools

  • EU to include accessibility as one criterion for evaluating tender offers, not just cost. A step forward – Immaculada Placenia Porrero
  • “Knowing that is already too late, implementation time frames must still be realistic”
  • “A great idea on its own is not real progress if it’s not applied.” – David Capozzi

Immaculada Placencia Porrero – European commission

  • Behind US/CDN
  • Going from Can to Should to How
  • ANED: Academic network of experts on disability


  • “may” do something, i.e. emergency à no common laws yet
  • Annual city awards
  • Best practices, serve as role models


  • 60% said they’d pay more if accessible
  • 96% said the EU needs a common legal framework (Phone survey)
  • 74% said the EU needs a common legal framework (Net survey)
  • “Timeframes should be realistic”

David Capozzi – US Access Board

  • History of accessibility (mostly mobility) from innovations to social movements
  • Huge improvement of transportation accessibility


Q: which EU country apply mandate

A: Spain has national standards, need to change focus to EU standards

Q: When is a refresh due for 508?

A: Working on in (including telecom equipments). Under review by different .gov bodies. Hoping end of August. It<s mostly harmonized with EU standards à also refers to web & software accessibility

Q: Specific of disability in the US? Public reaction to increased ADA? ADA in 2025?

A: Not always amendments, but sometimes other Acts (Obamacare, Teaching Act, etc). Not all through ADA

Making web content accessible: sites, PDF, and video

  • The web is a daily reality for a mere 32% of humanity, right now, that’ll change – David Berman
  • Getting rid of PDFs as a way to fix the accessibility issue. Simple, but wrong-headed, approach that leads to bad places
  • “You can have visual appeal and accessibility together.”
  • “To really change something, make a new model that makes the old model obsolete”  – @mgifford
  • Making the web accessible is a conscious choice followed by action, it won’t happen by itself @mgifford
  • “How is it accessible” is often more important than “is it accessible”, particularly on the web @mgifford is not a checkbox!
  • Very interesting primer on CC by Tole Khesin of @3PlayMedia. Including interesting ideas on less expected uses and markets
  • Voice recognition is only about 70% accurate, a human being is still needed to ensure near perfection of  CC @3PlayMedia

Greg Pisocky (PDF)

Section 508 – Rehabilitation Act of ’73, challenge to be accessible

Mike Gifford (Drupal)

  • Accessibility comes from choice and effort
  • The Canadian Government framework is accessible

Tole Khesin – 3PlayMedia

  • Closed (embedded track) vs Open (burned in)
  • Post vs Realtime
  • CVAA à Burden is on content owner, not necessarily the broadcaster
  • WCAG Level AA in AODA à all content must be CC, even live. 2016 for .gov, 2021 for all
  • 4 criteria in the US
  • Accuracy: including leniency for live, “must match the spoken word”. 3Play assumes 99% for pre-recorded
  • Synchronicity
  • Completeness: must run from beginning to end
  • Placement: must not block content. 3Play scripts that part
  • As of 1 January 2014, in the US, must be user control for captions (size, opacity, color, placement) for full-length online content
  • CC as a navigational tool and as a CEO tool (increase of 7.3% of video views)

World of good practices

  • “The power of a dream. Dreaming of joining others on the beach” Stefanie Barber on retrofitting Cadboro Bay Beach
  • Segregation is NOT accessibility. Being “special”, often means lesser. Integration and inclusion is the way. –  Keenan Wellar
  • The stage is important to school accessibility, that’s where talents are showcased, that’s where graduation happens.  – S. Yantzi
  • Described video relies on science (guidelines) and art (perception) to have the full impact and usefulness
  • Interesting questions on the meaning and associated perceptions of assistive devices through time by Dorothy Smith

Stefanie Barber – Retro-fitting Cadboro Bay Beach
Stephanie Gamache – The measure of accessibility
Dorota Grudniewicz – Heritage buildings
Keenan Wellar – Integration in a normal life
Nicole Yantzi – Evaluating accessibility in schools
Robert Pearson – AMI – Soon to be online
Dorothy James-Smith – Disability history through assistive devices
David Lepofsky

The promise of technology: finding solutions for a more accessible and inclusive world

  • David Berman with disability simulation devices, not the same, but it gives an idea
  • Canada as accessibility leader.
  • “When we design for the extremes, everyone benefits” @davidberman
  • traffic signals in Quebec is a good example of accessibility @davidberman
  • Cool to learn how the origins of tech we all use today (eg email, siri) had roots in overcoming disability challenges
  • “By the end of this decade, the majority of humanity will be online” roughly 32% at this point @davidberman
  • Great audio description of slides by @davidberman, just like yesterday. Now that’s accessibility!
  • Mainstream development allows easier creation of accessibility tools, as accessibility focus helps mainstream @davidberman
  • Triple bottom line sustainability is: financial, environmental, and social. All three are needed @davidberman
  • Web accessibility is part of a whole, it needs to (and does) overlap with best practices from other disciplines @pjackson28
  • Web Standards for the Government of Canada @pjackson28
  • Web Experience Toolkit @pjackson28
  • 3rd annual CodeFest for the Web Experience Toolkit, for devs, communicators, and SMEs @pjackson28
  • Improving accessibility at the source to impact as many sites as possible has been mentioned everyday here
  • Do we want to be part of the game, or do we want to change the rules of the game? @juttatrevira
  • The real world is not an homogenous mass with outliers; we all get left behind in some ways with mass thinking @juttatrevira
  • Thank you @juttatrevira: The greatest promise of technology is the disruption and opportunity for fundamental change
  • Technology can make “special” the norm @juttatrevira
  • Standards are essential, they provide a common meeting space so we can diverge @juttatrevira
  • Assert your diversity, refuse to be a mass… @juttatrevira

David Berman

  • Accessibility for MB Act
  • 1st screen – Movies
  • 2nd screen – TV
  • 3rd screen – PC
  • 4th screen – Mobile
  • 1 July 2014 àPrivate sector WCAG Level AA
  • Icograda – New accessibility standard, sustainability standard

Paul Jackson – .gov accessible framework

  • Can’t focus only on Accessibility à it’s part of a whole
  • Web exterience toolkit (by .Gov, MIT License)
  • CodeFest August 14-15

Jutta Treviranus – IDRC of OCAD

DEEP conference

Town Hall: Technology

  • It’s not just about accessible design, it’s also about customer service – Sharlyn Ayotte
  • Should @apple add an accessibility criteria to approving apps for their app store? @davidberman
  • Accessibility for pdf in general hasn’t changed much in the last few years, the accessibility standards have – Adam Spencer
  • you can’t assume your PDF is accessible from the automated check, you need to look at your document – Adam Spencer
  • The #1 misconception about making something accessible is “I can buy a tool and my job is done” –  Tim Springer
  • There is a difference between checklist accessibility and accessible content – Adam Spencer
  • .@pjackson28 is back on the stage to discuss the importance of including accessibility from the start rather than adding later
  • Interesting suggestion by Adam Spencer: after best efforts for accessible content, put in place on demand accessibility
  • @TouficSbeiti of the utmost importance considering how much of the web can be considered “archived” or static
  • Efforts and limited resources should be focused on most likely useful (often most recent) content @pjackson28
  • Reduce Redundant, Outdated and Trivial Content
  • User preference, limiting someone’s ability to choose, will slow down the adoption of some tech unless accounted for – Adam Spencer
  • Diversity is being aware but inclusion is actually hiring people –Mark Wafer
  • A clear trend @: #accessibility tools and technology are far from perfect and require human effort to improve.
  • Organizational compliance is more likely with the threat of governmental penalty – Tim Springer
  • What’s your one wish for accessibility in the next 2 years? @davidberman
  • For all framework and tools to agree on a single standard @pjackson28
  • People knowing what to ask for in procurement, actual awareness of needs and solutions – Adam Spencer
  • If society was as outraged at things being inaccessible as they are able privacy. If they valued or that much -Tim Springer
  • For greater enforcement of civil rights in the digital space, especially wrt accessibility -Tim Springer
  • Stepping back 20yrs, more people talking. 10 yrs,  it was growing. Now, we’re talking about it. Future: Equality -Sharlyn Ayotte

Sharlyn Ayotte

  • Biggest problem is getting information people needed in accessible formats

Timothy Springer – SSB Technology

  • Infrastructure à testing of web, etc
  • Standards management
  • 57% of blind use iPhones

Adam Spencer


  • Tim: 24.9% of issues with the web that are detected can be automatically fixed
  • Adam: add “on demand” accessibility for archived content to minimize initial costs of upgrading a system
  • Paul: Most recent content is often the most currently important content
  • Sharlyn: .gov should mandate à if it is available, it must be provided and accessible. The only way forward
  • Tim: without penalties, compliance is limited. CVAA. The stick is essential.

Tools for taking community engagement to a higher level

  • Standards involve the people &amp; communities it affects. It’s more flexible than regulations – Jeffrey Kraegel of CSA Group
  • Presentation by @AccessForward, including @AmyCoupal, on developing accessibility online training
  • Accessible online resources can be beautiful – Lyndsey Breslow of @AccessForward
  • Learning, especially mandated learning, must be validated to ensure long term, actual impact @AccessForward
  • Good design is accessible design, and vice-versa -Danijel Martetic of @AccessForward
  • Accessible content made for Canada, for Ontario, is being used around the world as a reference @AmyCoupal
  • Showcasing resources to make engagement and meetings accessible by @DiyaGill
  • We need to make sure that we’re using the same definition of accessible before going into details &amp;  planning @DiyaGill
  • @ISAccessibility Intention to Action – Talk about a ramp you just built instead of a strategic report you just read. Steve
  • On the registration form, your should list available supports instead of assuming clarity, it opens the discussion @DiyaGill

Mike Nemesvary

Jeffrey Kraegel – CSA group

  • Standards involve the people & community it affects
  • B480-02 à CS
  • 21 members on accessibility (buildings)

François Routhier

  • Co-design

Amy Coupal & 2 associates – Moving Access Forward

  • eLearning on getting AODA compliant, online, for free

Diya Gill – OMSSA

  • Accessible meetings

Towards an accessible Ontario

  • Towards an accessible Ontario, the (good) arms race of provinces to get there first!  – Alfred Spencer
  • Glad to see that is fully accessible, even for service animals.
  • AODA standards development committees must include 50% representing disability needs to ensure proper representation
  • Education is the first step to compliance, it must then be proved through reports, with enforcement as necessary
  • Three success factors: make it important, make it happen, make it last – Yvonne Defoe of OPS diversity services
  • Accessibility is a collaborative effort, happens at the source, is everyone’s responsibility, and legislation is working – Y. Defoe
  • Standards are the minimum, companies would go ahead and exceed them – Ann Hoy Going above and beyond should be the norm, right?
  • Interpretation of regulations would be done through a forum to build our common understanding together –  Monica (?)

Alfred Spencer

Ann Hoy

  • 1/7 have disability, in 20 years, could be 1/5
  • AODA affects 360k businesses

Yvonne Defoe

  • Policy must be backed by legislation
  • How to make it last?
  • Make it a core value
  • Embed in all corporate practices

The future of assistive technologies

  • Rafik Goubran gets the show started on the future is assistive devices
  • An overview of sensory assistive technology by James Green
  • Sensory assistive devices are complicated with children, they move, all the time, raises new challenges – James Green
  • The devices everyone carries nowadays make many assistive solutions software based, updates will be easier and cheaper
  • Building assistive devices is a multidisciplinary challenge, researchers and students want those –  James Green
  • Mojtaba Ahmadi is walking is through the field of biorobotics. Fascinating! He’s aiming for more affordable solutions
  • Resources on #accessibility from the Ontario Council of Canada @OntUni
  • The changing face of #assistivetechnology. Let’s talk Robotics!!
  • Interesting look at some bleeding edge mobility assistive devices currently researched by Mojtaba Ahmadi
  • Go vote before July 21 for an accessible baseball field in #Ottawa
  • Assistive devices should be multitaskers to minimize the number of devices needed @AdrianDCChan
  • Usability depends on universal interaction tools, from universal remotes to universal pointers @AdrianDCChan
  • The end of disability is not that it won’t exist, but rather that it’ll no longer be a source of exclusion @AdrianDCChan
  • @dinamoati recent statistics quote 55% of Canadians. Certainly not all, but climbing fast.
  • @dinamoati 2014 Catalyst data. Haven’t looked at their methodology for these stats, but they’re generally trusted

James Green

  • Future: Solutions are more software based

Mojtaba Ahmadi

  • 50k strokes in Canada
  • 300k living with symptoms à 1st cause of disability

Adrian Chan

Rafik Gouleran

A business perspective on the benefits of accessibility

  • A business perspective on the benefits of accessibility should be packed
  • Ruth Wright starts by recapping some stats and facts on accessibility &amp; employment
  • 1/8 cdn has a disability. 10% of working age. 58% classif’d as mild or moderate. Rises with age. 80% use assistive tech – R. Wright
  • Different disabilities ate more prevalent in different age groups. Caveat, it’s self identification. – Ruth Wright
  • The education gap has narrowed (50% w/ college/uni, as opposed to 59%). Job training could be better. – Ruth Wright
  • Aon Hewitt survey shows less work engagement, the question is why
  • Moving from strategy to practice is the real challenge, another speaker will address soon.
  • The business benefits of accessible workspaces, freely accessible by @confboardofcda
  • The @confboardofcda also has employers toolkits and other resources, go check them out
  • 800k job-ready w/ disa looking for work. 43k in ON higher ed. 70% actually unemployed. 53% cdns have disa family – Kathy Martin
  • Kathy Martin convering myths: accidents, health insurance costs, extra supervision, education, and cost of accommodation
  • Common mistakes: lack of tone from the top. If you don’t measure, you don’t get results
  • Common mistakes: it’s a small market.
  • Common mistakes: it’s about being nice or doing the right thing. It just makes business sense
  • Common mistakes: roles limited by disability, not by personal skills
  • Common mistakes: gov regulations will ensure inclusion. It’s just the baseline, do more, go beyond
  • (sorry for the flood, key elements we should all keep in mind and Kathy Martin was going fast!)
  • Needs involvement from all stakeholders: government, academia, community partners, and actual, live Canadians, ALL of them.
  • Kathy Martin: “Don’t lower the bar. Keep it high, you’ll see us rise to the challenge”. Inspiring!
  • Amy Hanen takes the stage to give insight as to how TD Bank approaches accessibility.
  • “Inclusion is a business imperative” – Amy Hanen
  • 5 areas : productivity, employee engagement, cost avoidance, “the other 90%”, and the customer imperative
  • 1-2% of payroll saved by productivity gain from accommodations – Amy Hanen
  • Retrofitting is 10x as expensive as planning from the start and doing it now, that’s cost avoidance at its best!
  • Canadian employers! Watch for senseability.ca coming soon.
  • Get employees involved in the discussion, more heads, more passion, more engagement. Everyone wins
  • Get managers and execs to sit with actual persons with disability, change their perspective, one individual at a time – A. Hanen
  • IAAP International Association of Accessibility Professionals
  • Employee engagement scores for people with invisible disabilities less engaged than visible. Amy Hanen hiding pressure?
  • “We can partner with a for profit organization and feel like we’re not selling out” Amy Hanen
  • Change needs to come from the top AND the bottom. – Kathy Martin

Ruth Wright – Conference Board of Canada

Kathy Martin – Canadian Business SenseAbility

Amy Hanen – TD Bank

Closing plenary

  • Great innovations are often fueled by scarcity