Category Archives: News

MEDIA RELEASE – International Summit on Accessibility

April 9, 2014



Guelph, Ontario, Monday April 9, 2014 – Local accessibility firm Roll a Mile will be presenting two sessions at the International Summit on Accessibility 2014 by Carleton University with support from the Province of Ontario and the City of Ottawa that will promote access and inclusion for persons with disabilities in all aspects of life. Leaders from around the globe will showcase innovation, celebrate best practices and enable collaborative dialog and action toward accessible and inclusive communities. With a major theme of ‘Making it Happen – Intention to Action’ and three primary streams; Innovation, Technology and Accessible Communities. Each stream will address issues of accessibility in education, communication, employment, recreation, mobility health and the physical environment with a special emphasis on employment.

Roll a Mile’s first session, “Accessibility into Perspective” approaches accessibility as a movement of social change, comparing it to historical examples of accommodation and puts accessibility into perspective by analyzing return on investment and evaluating items such as:  the societal and economic benefits and opportunities of accessibility and inclusion including the positive impact on education, employment, marketplace and community; the curb-cut effect; implementation costs; cost of non-compliance; and the value of preserving dignity and independence.

The second session, “The Importance of Accessibility Educational Curricula” will be presented as part of the panel discussion “Accessibility in Higher Education” and address how making teaching accessible is as important as teaching accessibility and how strategic implementation of accessibility into curricula across all disciplines can create a future generation of accessibility minded individuals creating accessible products, services and spaces. The session will explore the importance of including accessibility in the curriculum, looking at examples of global accessibility education models and the opportunities and experiences of accessibility curriculum models that have strategically implemented accessibility in a broad range of curricula.

Session speaker and Roll a Mile President, Donna Jack, says major obstacles to accessibility implementation include lack of awareness and misperception about the costs involved in complying with regulations. “There is a huge misperception about the true cost” she says,  “current regulations under the A.O.D.A. simply require most businesses to implement accessible customer service policies and procedures, and train staff. It’s really not just about having a ramp, though having a ramp is helpful.”

“As well,” she continues, “the benefits and opportunities presented by accessibility and inclusion for businesses, institutions and society far outweigh the costs. One recent study estimates that the implementation of the AODA could generate retail sales increases ranging from $3.8-$9.6 billion in 5 years. A chance at that piece of the pie is a pretty good return on the cost of becoming accessible”.

For information on the International Summit on Accessibility 2014 visit  or #ISAccessibility @ISAccessibility on Twitter

Roll a Mile will also be presenting for the third consecutive year at the University of Guelph’s 6th Annual The Accessibility Conference with this year’s topic “Strength In Numbers: Collaborative Accessibility Advocacy”. More information at

· · · · · · · · · · · · ·  · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · ·

For more information:        519-823-3046        @rollamile

 # #


Turns out the TTC has been using video- surveillance from their Wheel-Trans vehicles to conduct ‘investigations’ into misuse by riders and not notifying riders that they were doing so. Reviews have been conducted by an independent panel using only visual observation of a small fragment of a rider’s true lived-experience to determine eligibility for service use. No medical evidence, no interview of the rider, nothing. They just looked at someone for a few minutes and formed an opinion of that person and their abilities.

I would be interested to learn whether the panel even considered where the riders traveled to using the service. I would bet that the majority of use was to medical appointments, banking, groceries, work, or other necessities. Not that this matters in the slightest, if a person with a disability wants to use the service for purely social matters like visiting friends, that should not be an issue, but I would just bet that the majority of use was for necessity purposes and would serve as additional material in defense of rider.

And, as Toronto Ombudsman Fiona Crean stated in The Toronto Star’s “TTC suspends use of Wheel-Trans security camera footage to weed out ineligible users” by Paul Moloney*, “There are lots of diseases where one day you’re okay and the next day you’re not.”  Many people with disabilities, specifically those incorporating chronic pain, are often only able to be seen ‘in public’ on ‘good days’, so basing a decision on eligibility simply on one short video is a ridiculous assumption that this would be standard representation of that rider’s mobility or eligibility. On days where a rider might ‘appear’ eligible, the rider is most likely unable to use the service at all. There is no video evidence of those days. Basing an opinion solely on visual observation of only a few minutes in a riders entire lived-experience is ridiculous beyond words. Not allowing ‘suspect-riders’ the opportunity to even present medical evidence or address the independent panel doing the review is problematic on a multitude of levels.

Obviously there are other serious issues with questionable issues including: failure to adequately notify riders of the true use of such video surveillance; failure to notify riders of investigations against them; and questionable resource allocation on behalf of the TTC on investigations rather than on barrier removal and increasing overall accessibility. According to The Star, 54 out of 47,000 riders were found to be ineligible during the TTC’s investigations. Hardly a high-percentage of TTC deemed ineligibility and certainly not enough misuse of service to warrant the allocation of such resources. Considering the fact that other than door-to-door service, there are no additional benefits to Wheel-Trans usage over their conventional modes of transportation, including cost it is not surprising to find such a low percentage of misuse. In fact, there are so many disadvantages to using Wheel-Trans that it seems obvious use would be only by those requiring it, with no other options.

Fortunately, the TTC has accepted the Toronto Ombusmen recommendations and has suspended the practice of using the video surveillance for review of eligibility for the time being. It will also be notifying all riders deemed ineligible since 2011 to invite re-application for usage. Not good enough by a long-shot.

Simply observing someone for a few minutes before forming an opinion of them and their abilities is wrong. Affecting someone’s quality of life based on this opinion is unconscionable.


*The Toronto Star: TTC suspends use of Wheel-Trans security camera footage to weed out ineligible users, By: Paul Moloney City Hall Bureau reporter, Published on Wed Jul 10 2013.


Sometime back about the beginning of the year, a tweet came up on my feed about IgniteGuelph accepting applications for speakers at their inaugural event. I knew nothing about IgniteGuelph, but as I had spent the day working on pitches for other speaking opportunties, I figured, “why not”, and submitted my application to be a speaker. Had I done any research about Ignite, I most likely would have intimidated myself out of even applying.

The inaugural event was held April 23rd, and was such a blast!  There were 16 speakers, presenting 15, 5-minute talks. I was first up after the intermission break, which meant I missed hearing the first half of the speakers over the beating of my own heart. The speakers who followed me were fantastic, and I have a feeling those before me were as well. Now that the videos for all speakers have been posted to the Ignite Guelph You Tube account ( I can finally see for myself. And so can you.

Our talk on why we think everyone should spend some time in a wheelchair can be found here



If you are a resident of the Province of Ontario, we would love to include your original signature (ie. Non-electronic) on the petition that will be presented to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario. To do this, please print and sign a hardcopy of the petition (any additional signatures provided are greatly appreciated) and mail to: Roll a Mile, 933 Kelsowood Lane, Fergus, ON N1M 3R8.

Please only sign one version of this petition, either the electronic petition or the hardcopy petition.

Thank you for your support of accessibility.


To: The Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

And to: The Minister of Community and Social Services

And to: Accessibility Standards Advisory Council (Standards Development Committee)

And to: Municipal Accessibility Advisory Committees

And to: Accessibility Directorate of Ontario

WHEREAS, it is the duty and responsibility of the Ministry of Community and Social Services to oversee and enforce accessibility standards and requirements set forth under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 (AODA)

WHEREAS, the AODA sets out compliance enforcement powers and processes as well as administrative penalties for non-compliance with the Act, and grants the power to appoint inspectors for the purposes of the Act and regulations setting out the power, authority and process of inspectors and inspections

WHEREAS, the undersigned petitioners desire to have accessible places, spaces and products and recognize that accessibility requirements will be more widely adapted if proper enforcement and penalties are enforced

NOW THEREFORE the undersigned hereby request that the recipients of this petition establish the necessary programs and procedures for the enforcement, reporting and increased awareness.

WE the undersigned petition the Legislative Assembly of Ontario as follows:

“That the Province of Ontario request that the Ministry of Community and Social Services expand current AODA enforcement activities beyond the assessment of voluntarily submitted Accessibility Reports, and use the powers, authority and penalties set forth under the Act to ensure compliance with the requirements therein”


“That the Province of Ontario request the Ministry of Community and Social Services set up a feedback / reporting process for non-compliant and / or inaccessible businesses in Ontario similar to the feedback requirements required of businesses under the Act”


That the Province of Ontario request the Ministry of Community and Social Services increase awareness efforts pertaining to the AODA, accessibility and compliance”

Open Letter to The Honourable John Milloy, Minister of Community & Social Services regarding the AODA


September 10, 2012

The Honourable John Milloy, Minister

Ministry of Community & Social Services

6th Floor, Hepburn Block

80 Grosvenor Street

Toronto, Ontario

M7A 1E9

Re: Endorsement of Accessibility Firms

Dear Honourable Minister:

As the Minister in charge of the Ministry overseeing the AODA, I am writing to address the warning on your Ministry’s website advising that the Ministry does not endorse accessibility firms, and in fact warns using such firms “at your own risk”.

Interestingly, it was only this week that the Financial Post featured an article on the World Economic Forum’s annual report which “ranks a country’s competitiveness according to factors such as the state of its infrastructure and its ability to foster innovation” and said “Canada’s economic competitiveness on the world stage is being pulled down by — among other things — government handling of the innovation file”. The non-support of your Ministry of an innovative industry, and an industry that supports and implements your accessibility regulations, is a perfect example of how, “too often, Canada fails to commercialize its good ideas into marketable products and services or capture the value from growth” as the article outlines.

In “Releasing Constraints: Projecting the Economic Impacts of Improved Accessibility in Ontario”, The Martin Prosperity Institute (MPI) & Adaptive Technology Resource Centre (ARTC) at OCAD University & The Institute for Competitiveness & Prosperity (ICP) report that the improved educational attainment, workforce participation and societal access combined with the curb-cut effect and reduction on reliance of social programs, community and family resources that result from the implementation of accessibility leads to more innovative, productive and healthier societies.

With inclusion and diversity driving growth, and the combined purchasing power of persons desiring accessible products and services estimated at $2 trillion dollars, the increase in spending in the next five years in the Tourism Sector projected to increase up to $1.5 million dollars and Consumer Retail Sector up to $9.6 billion dollars, the assistance of accessibility firms that improve accessibility seems like a positive thing to be encouraged, not publicly discouraged.

Accessibility firms, in addition to having extensive experience implementing accessibility programs and having expansive knowledge of the A.O.D.A., its Standards and compliance requirements as well as Federal and Provincial Building Codes, accessibility firms know accessibility. And we don’t just advise on legislated accessibility, we focus on actual accessibility. No legislation is ever going to advise big box stores to wash the wheel handrails on their courtesy wheelchairs, but such small, cost-effective solutions demonstrate the difference between legislated and actual accessibility.

We train staff and businesses to provide adaptive, accommodating service to all customers. We modify website layouts and programming to ensure they are accessible and compatible with assisstive technologies. We go ‘Beyond the Building Code’ and explain the rationale behind the regulations, providing practical strategies and solutions for accommodation. We improve accessibility by increasing awareness with informative seminars, speaking engagements, training sessions, workshops, and marketing and publicity efforts to explain obligations and compliance requirements. In addition, as a fledgling industry, we also have to spread awareness and demonstrate the need for, and benefits of, accessibility. Since most barriers to access exist simply as a result of lack of awareness, accessibility awareness is key to accessibility and can greatly improve understanding and accommodation.

And accessibility firms are comprised of teams including: professional trainers; architects, engineers and designers; disability specialists, project managers, technical specialists, and persons with disabilities. Certainly there may be a few bad apples in the bunch, and businesses can implement the AODA without assistance, however many businesses recognize the opportunities and benefits of accessibility and choose to hire accessibility professionals with practical experience to advise them and help ensure their business is accessible to everyone.

We are not looking to exploit the law and make a quick buck, we are just looking to make Ontario accessible for all. We are also employees with disabilities looking to earn a living at an accommodating, adaptable career in accessibility that highlights our unique skill-sets, and quite frankly, feel it is unfair of the overseeing government body to try and limit the ability of it’s citizens, particularly those with disabilities, from the ability to earn a living.

Accessibility firms aren’t actually expecting your endorsement, but does any other government website warn against a person, product, business or industry sector? Perhaps it is time to read up on Human and Charter Rights. It should also be noted that while your Ministry does not endorse private accessibility firms, it does endorse Accessibility Works, an arm of the government entity Industry Canada. In addition, many Human Resources firms are also assisting businesses to implement accessibility, yet you do not warn against these, or any other firms on your site. Rather than supporting private accessibility firms advocating for, and assisting with making Ontario accessible to all, firms that employ and improve conditions for persons with disabilities, you specifically discourage businesses from using such firms.

The possibilities and opportunities accessibility and inclusion provide are immeasurable and benefit everyone, not just persons with disabilities. Accessibility addresses the core principles of independence, dignity, integration, and equality of opportunity so encouraging and enabling participation and integration for all citizens in all aspects of society including employment, consumerism, and recreation, accessibility is becoming increasingly important as our population ages. For businesses, accessibility expands the reach of their product or service to the entire market resulting in improved and repeat sales while improving corporate perception, customer satisfaction and consumer loyalty. Accessibility firms are working to achieve all of this for Ontario.

And while accessibility firms recognize and appreciate the benefits of the AODA and any efforts the Ministry makes in increasing awareness and improving accessibility, we also understand that the true accessibility involves more than just the implementation of your regulations. Under the regulations currently required, businesses have to provide accessible customer service. Quite frankly, accessible customer service doesn’t help those of us still stuck in the parking lot and lip-service doesn’t get us in the door.

So it’s okay that your Ministry doesn’t endorse accessibility firms, because here at Roll a Mile, we endorse ourselves. We pride ourselves on the fact that in addition to our professional designations, all of our consultants and accessibility professionals have first-hand knowledge of disabilities providing a unique ability to advise clients on barriers to access, adaptation, accommodation and accessibility from a unique perspective. In the words of one of our consultants, “You have to live it to know it”, and this unique perspective is incorporated into all of our accessibility efforts. And really, who better to advise on accessibility than those who encounter barriers to access on a daily basis?

At Roll a Mile, we don’t need government endorsement, we have our PwD’s.

Yours Sincerely,

Donna M. Jack

President, Roll a Mile

Accessibility ~ That’s how we roll

(519) 823-3046


Media Release – May 17, 2012


Fergus, Ontario, May 17, 2012 – Local accessibility firm Roll a Mile will be presenting a session at the 4th Annual The Accessibility Conference at the University of Guelph, May 29th and 30th. The theme of this year’s conference is Possibility • Opportunity • Action to move attendees beyond awareness or only a theoretical understanding of accessibility to engage delegates with innovative research and practical strategies for taking action.

Roll a Mile’s session, “Putting the Cost of Accessibility into Perspective” performs a cost-analysis of accessibility by analyzing return on investment. Comparing such items as: the societal and economic benefits, possibilities and opportunities of accessibility and inclusion; implementation costs; cost of non-compliance; and value of preserving dignity and independence. The session runs Wednesday, May 30th from 8:45 – 9:45 a.m.

Participants will: examine the cost of accessibility relative to other recent advances and expenditures in business and institutions; examine historic examples of business evolution and advancement to accommodate everything from social movements to technological advancements; go ‘Beyond the Building Code’ to understanding the rationale behind the regulation and compare regulated accessibility to actual accessibility; and learn cost-effective ideas and practical strategies for implementing and improving accessibility.

Session speaker and Roll a Mile President, Donna Jack, says her business faces one major obstacle, lack of awareness and misperceptions about the costs involved in implementing accessibility and complying with regulations. “There is a huge misperception about the true cost” she says, “current regulations under the A.O.D.A. simply require most businesses to implement accessible customer service policies and procedures, and train staff. Right now, it’s not even about having a ramp, though having a ramp is helpful.”

“As well,” she continues, “the benefits and opportunities presented by accessibility and inclusion for businesses, institutions and society far outweigh the costs. One recent study estimates that the implementation of the AODA could generate retail sales increases ranging from $3.8-$9.6 billion over the next 5 years. A chance at that piece of the pie is a pretty good return on the cost of becoming accessible”.

For more information on the 2012 Accessibility Conference visit

· · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · ·

For more information:, 519-823-3046 or

# #

Letter to the Editor

A win and a win

Dear Editor:

Re: Preposterous Law

There is a focus on cost and inconvenience of accessibility, when the cost for most to comply is negligible, establishing customer service policies and training staff.

The banking industry spent billions reinforcing floors for ATMs and most businesses have retrofit to accommodate technological advancements. Business is not static and change is often required to remain competitive. With one in seven Canadians having a disability, spending upwards of $25 billion dollars a year, why wouldn’t businesses want to be accessible to their entire market?  Plus, accessibility improves corporate perception, customer satisfaction and consumer loyalty. Win, win.

As the recent letter demonstrates, there is an obvious need for increased awareness. As with all movements of social change, we not only have to overcome barriers, but ignorance and resistance. As a person with a disability, I understand most barriers to access exist simply as a lack of awareness, not an act of malice.

Training staff in accessibility awareness provides adaptive service skills to improve interactions. All staff don’t have to know sign-language, but front-end staff knowing simple signs like “thank-you” can be beneficial.

Training won’t significantly impact the bottom line, but improved communication creating increased and repeat sales will.

The laws were not designed to inconvenience or bankrupt businesses. Restaurants spend thousands a year on crayons to entertain children, yet independence and dignity can be preserved for a few dollars for Braille and large-print menus so patrons need not be read to like a child. And it’s not just about shopping.

Frequently, I have been prevented from performing my job and earning a living, and others have been critically injured, stuck or stranded as a result of inaccessibility.

I am appreciative of people who offer their assistance, but I really don’t want help, just access so I can do it myself. But I am appreciative of any act of courtesy, disability or not.
Donna Jack,

Owner, Roll a Mile


in response to:

‘Preposterous’ law

Dear Editor:

I am not disabled, but I have travelled many places with a baby stroller on my own. I know it is frustrating when the handicap buttons on doors don’t work, or worse, aren’t even there. I know it is difficult when there is no ramp. However, I have never assumed that any business was discriminating against me or my children.

The Disabilities Act, which forces businesses to prepare to deal with all types of disabled customers, is preposterous. The problem is not that we lack laws to help those in need. The problem is our society is increasingly amoral. It used to be most people would rush to the aid of a mom struggling with a baby carriage, a blind man crossing the street, or a wheelchair-bound woman trying to reach something from the shelf in a store. And it used to be that those in need would graciously accept the help.

No one would cry, “Discrimination” because everyone knew there wasn’t any. Real discrimination is a sign in the window that reads, “No colored allowed” or “Public swimming pool: Whites only.”

It is impossible to accommodate every situation. Should grocery stores have shelves no taller than four feet so someone in a wheelchair or scooter can reach all the items? Should all businesses have someone on site who is trained in sign language? Should every restaurant offer menus in braille?

Legislating morality rarely works. Common sense, humility and kindness should suffice in all situations.
Andrea Black, SALEM