Blind woman sues Ottawa over website accessibility

Federal government given 15 months to make sites accessible


The visually impaired will soon be able to use the federal government’s websites thanks to one blind Toronto woman. Donna Jodhan, a special needs consultant, sued the government for discrimination in September because she was unable to apply for a job on its website. Government lawyers attempted to argue that she could have applied on the phone, in person or by mail, but had their reasoning rejected by a federal judge, who ruled the website itself must be made accessible within 15 months. “One of the saddest things is that government has spent a lot of money fighting this case,” said Jodhan. “Why are you fighting me on this? Why are you spending taxpayers’ money?”

CBC News

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Blind woman sues Ottawa over website accessibility

  1. Jodhan's final comment shows her stupidity. Spendig taxpayers' money? We now have to spend money regardless to have the website restructured to accomodate someone that shouldn't be using the internet in the first place. Is she planning on doing the same for every website she visits in the future? Instead of wasting everyone's time with her inane rubbish (the taxpayers', the government's, the judicial system's, the author of this articel's, and mine), find a different job, or go back to the U.S. where it's commonplace to sue a corporation because you suck at life…

    • ignorant moron

      • What type of job is she intending to do? Does it require her to work on the internet? How is that going to work? Perhaps she is applying to fly one of those fancy F-35s, when we get them. Once again the whole world is supposed to stand on it's head as yet another "hard done by" type expects the nanny state to regig everything to accomodate them. Lady, here's a news flash. No one ever said the world is fair. If it were Sarah Palin would be slinging hash in Alaska. To even more annoyed: when all you have is name calling, you have already lost the argument.

      • I'm not even going to bother explaining your stupidity to you because you would be lost anyway.

        • that applies to "even more annoyed"

    • I concur, you are ignorant! And that's a bloody good question – why is the government fighting her on this!!!!

      • same goes for you

  2. A question to those who know — isn't there computer hardware and software available for a computer to "read aloud" to the user? Does it require any special prior programming on the part of the author of online content?

    • No answer…

      So, after a couple minutes of googling and selecting a few web pages, one finds:
      The Blind Can Now Use the Web from Anywhere: Inventor's Web browser is open-source and free

    • even if there is , how is she supposed to do the work ?
      If her job is designing the website , how is she supposed to see it to design it ?
      what other job COULD she do when she's visually impaired ? I just don't understand ..

  3. I'm cut down the middle with this one. I don't think she should have sued them when there were various other ways that she could have applied for the job, BUT, don't get me wrong, I think that the government shouldn't have fought this so hard against her rights as not only a human being, but one with a disability. But this makes me kind of wonder why she sued the government when most other sites usually aren't able to support the needs of visually impaired.

    • I don't think it was unreasonable for the government to fight this; it was probably cheaper to dispute it rather than change. Somehow I think that even if they do make the website accessible to blind people it would still be a lot easier for a blind person to pick up a phone than navigate the website.

  4. I don't think this judge has any comprehension just how incredibly expensive this will be. This is not the slightest bit a reasonable expense of taxpayer money. This is an unimaginable sum of money that could have spent on other means. The government would be better off just shutting down the entire government web site.

  5. Well if the technology exists to make the website accessible to blind people, than just do it. Its probably some form of technology like someone said above, it reads the webpage aloud. The reason why the woman was able to win her case is because the government of Canada is "an equal opportunity employer", so it is supposed to provide the same means of access to all Canadian citizens, and if someone is disabled, the government is supposed to adjust to the best of their ability to accomodate them. Its just the law and im almost sure its in the constitution as well.

  6. The new Mac and Windows operating systems come with voice-activated controls and text-reading software designed specifically for the physically impaired.

    • They do, but the author of a website must use a specific format to allow it to be read. The govt was just not using the correct formatting on its sites…they did it on some but not others. Thats just sloppy work on the part of the govt.

  7. This person is an arrogant, self absorbed drone. How dare she demand everything in the world be made "accessible" to her when there are already three options for the issue she raised.
    She is blind. There are going to be some limits to work around. Get over it.

  8. Just let me get this straight: A blind person suing because she can't see to use such a highly visual medium as the Internet? And she won't pick up the phone (once she finds it) to use the other communication service that the federal government provides because she feels that would be discrimination?
    And she wins the suit!?
    Look out, fellow Canadians, soon the out-of-touch looney left activists that wpass for judges in our federal courts will be issuing them driver's licenses as well.

    • did u read the Macleans story about that lady who sued MacDonalds in the HUMAN RIGHTS TRIBUNAL even though she was medically unfit to wash her hands as required by the hygiene standards of the company. MacDonalds gave her 2 whole years to get the condition checked/fixed. That din't work so they (justifiably) let her go. SHE WON the suit, even though she was medically unfit to work there!!
      This problem has been here for a long time already!! It is embeded in our social system, like those damn flash ads in some websites!! :-(

  9. If she was doing this for ALL the blind out there why didn't she just make a huge stink? She saw a get rich quick scheme. Unfortunately I have to pay for her lazy ass.

    • Get rich quick? How? The GoC has to pay her legal costs – she's not getting any money in her pocket. She did "make a huge stink" – she filed a Human Rights complaint – you can't get much bigger than that.

      Seriously – I'm shaking my head at your ignorance.

  10. According to her:
    "I am a certified Microsoft systems engineer, and a Novelle network administrator, one of the first blind persons in the world to obtain these certifications."

    Not quite sure how a blind person administers networks. Our network administrator has to physically work with things that, if improperly used (ie: because you can't see them), you could get zapped. So if she ends up in that position, how would she be able to do it? Would someone do it for her because she's blind and could be seriously injured? If so, this means the job isn't the same if the person has sight. Removing part of the job to allow a blind person to do it is not fair. They shouldn't be treated any differently than someone with sight. Yes, that is unsympathetic, but it's fair.