In November 2010, the Federal Court declared that the federal government's websites were not accessible to blind persons.
Ottawa (17 November 2011) – This week, the Federal Court of Appeal will hear an appeal by the Canadian government of the landmark decision that was handed down by the Federal Court in the Jodhan case. In that November 2010 decision, the Federal Court ordered improved access to government information and services for the blind community.
Judge Michael Kelyn ruled in Donna Jodhan's favour when he declared that the federal government's websites were not accessible to blind persons and ordered the government to take immediate action to ensure better access. In addition, he ruled that the government's progress should be monitored by the court.
The government launched its appeal soon after and now it is seeking to have this decision overturned on the rationale that there is no need for monitoring.
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) profiled Jodhan’s victory in a report celebrating the United Nations' International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD) on Dec. 3, 2010. Jodhan was also a guest speaker at a NUPGE meeting of equality and human rights activists held in Ottawa in December 2010.
Jodhan, in an interview with NUPGE said, "It is extremely confusing to me as to why the government would spend so much money to appeal this decision rather than just making their websites accessible. All I want out of this is to have the government recognize and legitimize our right to equal access to information."
National support for this cause has been growing by leaps and bounds and has gained much press coverage internationally as well.
Jodhan is a Toronto business woman and is also the president of the Alliance for Equality of Blind Canadians.
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 340,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. NUPGE