Blind woman sues Canada over Web access

Sept. 18, 2010 at 4:31 PM
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TORONTO, Sept. 18 (UPI) -- A blind woman says she is suing the Canadian government because she is unable to apply online for a government job.

Donna Jodhan of Toronto has certified skills with computer programs and holds a master's degree in international business and finance from McGill University.

"I have a computer that is outfitted with special access technology, with a screen reader. I use my screen reader to surf the Internet," Jodhan told Canadian Broadcasting Corp. News.

But when it came to applying online for a job with the federal government, she said, that technology wasn't enough.

"I found out the forms were not accessible," she said. "I had to seek sighted assistance to do so."

After much deliberation, she decided to bring a lawsuit.

"We hoped the government would respond positively by committing to make their Web sites accessible, bring them up to standard as is the case in the United States," she said.

An e-mail message from the Treasury Board said Ottawa has complied with the Web accessibility standards in the government's own Common Look and Feels Standards for the Internet.

But that's not good enough if she can't even apply for a job online, Jodhan said.

"One of the saddest things is that government has spent a lot of money fighting this case," she said. "Why are you fighting me on this? Why are you spending taxpayers' money?"

Jodhan's suit will be heard in Superior Court in Toronto starting Tuesday, the CBC said.

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