30 Years Later

By Donna Jodhan
On April 17, 1982, the Canadian Charter of Rights was finally brought home to Canada. It was supposed to have marked the beginning of a new era for this country, but in retrospect, it would be interesting to ponder whether anything significant has changed since then. Or: whether or not the homecoming of the Charter of Rights has helped in any way to improve the lives of blind and partially sighted Canadians.

In some instances, some would say that technology has helped to improve our lives: the advent of the Internet and the efforts of Apple and the late Steve Jobs plus a few more mentionables. However, these two factors are not really made in Canada stories or Canadian solutions.

Societal attitudes have definitely changed over the last 30 years and now blind and partially sighted people can easily say that, in comparison to 30 years ago, society appears to be more open-minded towards us - what we can do and how we can do it. However, there are many of us who feel that the changing of attitudes is not being affected quickly enough.

It's true that the job market may be a wee bit more open to us and that educational facilities are much improved for us but the burning question is this: are these changes enough for us as a community to say that we are closer now to equality than we were 30 years ago? That we are being treated more equally and that more people are looking at us as contributors to society rather than people who need to be contributed to?

The one sobering piece to this puzzle is that Canada is not alone when it comes to this perspective. Almost all of the developed world is guilty of still treating us as not being fully equal to the mainstream person and it only gets worse when you look down the line to the developing world. So, could we really answer the question as to whether or not our Charter of Rights has really made a difference in the lives of blind and partially sighted people?

In late 2006, I felt it necessary to launch a Charter challenge against the Canadian government over their inaccessible websites. In late 2010, I won a landmark decision on behalf of all blind and partially sighted Canadians but the Canadian government has since appealed. If we use this as an example, I for one would say that we as a community still have to fight for our rights.

I’ll leave you to draw your own conclusions.
I'm Donna J. Jodhan your freelance writer and reporter wishing you a terrific day.
If you'd like to learn more about me, then you can visit some of my blog spots at:
(Donna Jodhan! Advocating accessibility for all)
(Weekly Saturday postings on issues of accessibility) http://www.sterlingcreations.ca/blog
(Weekly features on how to increase your success with your business ventures) http://www.sterlingcreations.com/businessdesk.htm


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