April 26, 2018 – Councillor joins visually impaired Torontonians calling for improvements to WheelTrans.
TORONTO – Jim Karygiannis, City Councillor for Ward 39, Scarborough-Agincourt, joined Ms. Donna Jodhan and Ramla Abukar from CNIB, as they flag concerns with the Wheel-Trans application process for visually impaired users.
“Recently, Ms. Jodhan, who is visually impaired, brought the issues with respect to the Wheel-Trans application to my attention.” said Councillor Karygiannis. “I spoke with officials at Wheel-Trans and also took the problems to the City of Toronto Ombudsman, but was unable to obtain a resolution to this matter.”
Several months ago, Ms. Jodhan tried applied to receive services from Wheel-Trans. Unfortunately, Ms. Jodhan found that she could not read or complete the 18-page application form, as it is not in a format accessible to those who are visually impaired.
“I had to ask my sighted friend to print the document and spend over an hour with me as we filled it out. Then I had to take it to my family physician to fill in the physician’s section.” Ms. Jodhan stated. “Finally, my friend had to address the envelope and accompany me to the Post Office to mail the completed form to Wheel-Trans.”
The application contains 5 categories: Physical; Sensory; Mental Health; Cognitive; and, Other. There is no category for a blind or vision impaired person to identify their needs. The category to identify a blind or vision impaired person’s needs is Sensory. Ms. Jodhan’s physician also expressed concern that she could not appropriately identify my needs because of the lack of an appropriate category.
“CNIB has heard from blind and partially sighted individuals about the difficulty submitting the Wheel-Trans application. As it stands now, the submission process is not accessible, lengthy and blind or partially sighted peopleare unable to independently submit their applications. “ stated Ramla Abukar from CNIB
“We understand that Wheel-Trans is aware of the shortcomings of the submission process and is upgrading their infrastructure to address accessibility and ease of access. “concluded Ramla Abukar from CNIB