Posts Tagged "isnt"


Pat Carney: Helping people with disabilities isn’t just kind — it’s the law

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Seniors using walkers and others struggling with disabilities need others, including policy makers, to help them and be throughtful about their unique needs. (Brian Thompson/POSTMEDIA FILES)

Brian Thompson / Brian Thompson/The Expositor

Recently, I have been using a walker to avoid falling. It’s a different world out there when you use a walker, canes or other mobility devices.

In my mind and dreams I am still agile, moving swiftly and without thought. In reality, I have slowed to a walk. It is dawning on me that limits to my mobility are now my world, a scary one, and I must get used to it. Falls are a leading cause of death and disability among Canadian seniors and are increasing dramatically as baby boomers age.

I am sharing my new world because the federal government has proclaimed May 27 — June 2 as National AccessAbility week, to increase awareness of barriers that prevent people with disabilities from participating in society.

The federal Accessible Canada Act is scheduled to become law before Parliament rises in June, requiring public and federally regulated private companies to make their services accessible for Canadians with disabilities. Provinces should follow.

Barriers involve buildings, technology and even attitudes. Here are some I encounter.

Pedestrian crossings are terrifying as warning lights count down the time. Can I make it across?

Sidewalks are minefields of cracks and raised cement slabs. That tiny slope I once crossed in one stride has become a ski hill.

Curbs separating sidewalks from streets seem insurmountable. My Vancouver condo’s fire door is a struggle to open when I cart groceries. So are most store doors.

Many public events effectively exclude the disabled. I didn’t attend a recent Walrus magazine lecture on “Inclusion,” featuring advocate Rick Hansen, because the outside parking lot organizers directed me to was too far away to manage with my walker.

Peoples’ attitudes can be obstacles for the disabled. Struggling to lift my walker to the sidewalk from a rain-soaked gutter, I called for help to a young woman approaching me. “I can’t stop,” she answered as she hurried by. “I am going to a job interview.” Not in customer service, I hope.

A woman behind me in a café line up demanded: “Please move over” as I tottered on my urban poles on an inclined entry. As if I could.

Able-bodied people use handicapped bathrooms. They have a choice. We don’t.

One B.C. Ferries deckhand threatened to leave me ashore at the terminal when I asked to park on the upper deck alongside a B.C. Ferries van, refusing to go into the hold under a lowered ramp, afraid I could drown in the dark if the elevators broke down in an emergency.

Ferries are a challenge. Two of three elevators were not working on a recent voyage. On the return, I was parked by the broken midship elevator, forced to thread my walker through the packed cars, hoping the aft elevator worked. Another passenger cried because she couldn’t get her mother’s wheelchair out of their car.

Still, I am amazed at the kindness of people who volunteer to stow my walker into my car and stop to open doors.

The Shoppers Drug salesperson who picked up a cosmetic item her store didn’t stock and delivered it to my door on her day off.

Our condo janitor, who checks the swimming pool to ensure I am OK. The storekeeper who came to help me out of that soggy gutter. A ferry deckhand who took my keys and parked my car in a safe place.

Friends who pick up groceries and volunteer to drive me to events. HandiDART buses with their helpful drivers. Events that advertise accessibility options. People who are aware that removing barriers enable all Canadians to participate in society.

People who are AccessAbility challenged must speak up. We have the right to “reasonable accommodation” under human-rights laws. We are still ourselves, the people we always were. Others, be aware. Think how you would walk in our shoes. Chances are you will.

Pat Carney, author and retired federal politician, is an arthritis research advocate and lives on Saturna Island.

Letters to the editor should be sent to The editorial pages editor is Gordon Clark, who can be reached at

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In the toilet: when your ‘water-resistant’ phone isn’t covered for water damage

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It’s every smartphone owner’s nightmare. You go into a washroom and accidentally drop your phone into the bowl.

Your photos, contacts, texts — your life — in the toilet.

Cellphone manufacturers are selling more “water-resistant” models — including most recent Apple iPhones, Samsung’s Galaxy 5 and Huawei’s P20 Pro — that are supposed to remain sealed for up to half an hour at a depth of one metre.

But Elianne Abramovich of Vancouver says she found out the hard way that those promises aren’t exactly water-tight. She dropped her new Huawei P20 Pro into a toilet, and it died. She’s been fighting for a replacement ever since.

“First I thought, ‘Oh crap,'” says Abramovich, 24. “But I had bought this phone knowing that it can withstand water.”

Instead, she says she was told she would have to pay for potentially costly repairs, or buy a new phone.

Huawei Canada now says it “welcomes the opportunity” to look into her complaint.

Abramovich’s Huawei phone was supposed to be water resistant for 30 minutes in one metre of water; instead, it failed after 40 seconds under some 12 centimetres. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

Warranties are void

CBC News checked warranties from Huawei, Samsung and Apple. All state the limited warranties are void if their water resistant models get water damage.

“I think most people can understand it makes no sense,” says Abramovich. “You’re saying you have a feature, but then if it doesn’t work, well sorry, that’s too bad for you.”

Abramovich says since she lives in “Rain-couver,” she thought it was a smart move to buy a phone plan through service provider Fido that included a Huawei P20 Pro.

Water resistance was a “selling feature, for sure,” she says. 

Abramovich was on a Mexican vacation in March when her phone dropped briefly into a toilet. (Submitted by Elianne Abramovich)

To be extra cautious, Abramovich held off using it until she got a protective case and a screen protector.

But in March, one month after getting her P20 Pro, she accidentally let it slip into a toilet while on a Mexican vacation.

She immediately placed it upright in a bag of rice — as recommended on the internet — and kept it in her air-conditioned hotel room. But it was dead.

‘Completely water resistant’ 

Huawei’s P20 Pro is billed on the company’s website as being “real world ready.”

“Don’t let location or weather curb your creativity,” it says over a photo of a water droplet-covered phone. “Go wild with … IP67-rated P20 Pro, that’s completely … water resistant up to 1m.”

The “IP” stands for “international protection,” a standard agreed upon by the cellphone industry; the six is the dust rating, the seven is the second-highest water-resistance rating, promising protection in up to one metre of freshwater for 30 minutes.

Abramovich wants to know why her P20 Pro died after just 40 seconds in some 12 centimetres of water.

She insists it didn’t ricochet off the toilet rim or take a hard hit.

“I take responsibility that it was an accident,” says Abramovich. “But the fact that this is supposed to be able to go underwater for one metre for half an hour, that’s not what happened. It killed the phone.”

Huawei responds

Vancouver-based tech expert Graham Williams doesn’t think the problem is with the general IP67 rating.

He believes some individual phones might not be sealed properly — and manufacturers have to acknowledge that.

“Water damage should not occur to that phone during that time,” says Williams. “So if water damage does [happen], we’re looking at a manufacturer’s defect.”

Abramovich has fought to have her phone replaced.

When she returned to Vancouver, she says Fido passed the problem to Huawei because it was outside the carrier’s 15-day “satisfaction guarantee.”

Samsung promotes the water resistance of its Galaxy 5, even recommending it be rinsed with tap water after contact with other liquids. (Samsung/YouTube)

In turn, Huawei representatives told her she could send the phone to an independent repair centre in Ontario, but that water damage isn’t covered.

That’s echoed in the warranty posted online and in a small booklet included with the phone. Both state it “does not cover damage resulting from …exposure to liquid, moisture or dampness.”

An email from Huawei Support Canada to CBC News also reinforced that position.

“If [our authorized service centre] finds any indicator of …water damage, according to the policy, the warranty gets voided,” stated the email.

But a spokesperson for the company issued a conflicting statement.

“Huawei Canada honours warranty claims for liquid damage to all P20 products unless there is clear misuse or customer induced damage to the product,” says Benjamin Howes. “It should also be noted that the benefit of any doubt for these types of cases always goes to customer(s).”

Howes has promised to look into Abramovich’s case.

Of the other cellphone makers contacted by the CBC, Apple would only say its website “is a good resource” for questions about its warranty. Samsung did not supply a comment by deadline, although its website recommends rinsing its IP67 cellphones under a tap if exposed to liquid.

While Fido also didn’t respond, Abramovich says after our enquiries the service provider offered what amounted to a half price discount on a new phone.

But given her experience, she wants to see all cellphone companies revise their “water resistant” promises.

“I really think there’s a bigger issue with the warranty. And until that starts getting looked at, I’m not really going to be happy,” says Abramovich.

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Trish Garner: The real issue isn’t Mable Elmore but how we value different people

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Parliamentary Secretary and co-chair Mable Elmore discusses details about members of an advisory forum on poverty reduction as Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction Shane Simpson looks on during a press conference from the Rose Garden at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Monday, October 30, 2017.


MLA Mable Elmore has been blasted in the media recently for claiming reimbursements for food while she was taking the Welfare Food Challenge in November last year, trying to survive on $19 for the whole week.

A mistake by her and her staff has garnered far more attention than the fact that the Welfare Food Challenge is not able to run this year because the amount left over for food is only $6 per week. Once rent is subtracted from the deeply inadequate rate of $710 per month, only $23 remains to cover all other basic needs. This is using the average rent of $687 for an SRO in the Downtown Eastside.

The B.C. Liberal party released a copy of Elmore’s expense report last week and highlighted expense claims during the week of the challenge of meal per diem payments of $61 a day.

Perhaps the Liberals wanted to highlight the hypocrisy of the situation. The real hypocrisy is that the welfare rates were frozen at $610 per month for 10 years and have only been increased by $100 in the last year. That is less than half of the official Canadian poverty line, a measure that calculates what is actually needed to live.

And the real issue is what this reveals about how we value different people.

For food alone, MLAs are allowed to apply for reimbursement of $1,220 per month, if we consider four full 5-day weeks of work at the Legislature. Their housing allowance on top of that is at a minimum $1,000 per month for a total of $2,220.

So the amount the government provides an MLA for food and housing is over three times the amount the government provides for those in desperate need on welfare. They seem to value themselves far more than they value those on welfare in the deepest poverty.

And, for the most part, we stand by watching while people are devalued and dehumanized through a government system that should be part of a strong social safety net ready to support us when we need it.

Elmore has now promised to pay back the amount she should not have claimed in an attempt to remedy the hypocrisy; and she adds that the Welfare Food Challenge highlights why the province needs a poverty reduction plan. I look forward to seeing the real hypocrisy remedied in the upcoming poverty reduction plan with a significant increase in the welfare rates.

The way to address the real issue is by valuing people in deep poverty and recognizing their humanity.

Government itself has done the math and found that increasing income and disability assistance rates to 75 per cent of the poverty line (using the Market Basket Measure) costs only $372 million. The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives has gone further and calculated the cost of lifting those folks out of poverty entirely, and found that increasing the rates to 100 per cent of the poverty line costs $1.16 billion.

This sounds like a lot to most of us — an impossible, out of reach amount — but we have to remember that the provincial government has $50 billion of our public money in its budget so this amounts to only two per cent of this. Completely possible and within our reach.

And we have to remember that this is fundamentally about valuing people and their humanity.

Trish Garner is the community organizer of the B.C. Poverty Reduction Coalition, a broad-based network of over 400 organizations across B.C. calling for an accountable, bold and comprehensive poverty reduction plan for B.C.

Letters to the editor should be sent to The editorial pages editor is Gordon Clark, who can be reached at

CLICK HERE to report a typo.

Is there more to this story? We’d like to hear from you about this or any other stories you think we should know about. Email


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