THUMBS UP to British Columbia’s new travel supplement for PWDs. BC is providing a new payment to more than 110,000 people who receive disability assistance, to help with their transportation needs. Beginning January 1st, 2018, the added $52 monthly supplement can be used for a regional bus pass (the amount was chosen to match the cost of a TransLink pass in Metro Vancouver) or for other basic travel-related purposes.

THUMBS UP to Gabi & Jules Bakery of Port Moody, BC – where baking is not only accessible but inclusive. Of its 15 employees, seven identify as living with a disability; most of whom are on the autism spectrum. But the emphasis is on ability, as owners Lisa and Patrick Beercroft consider what is best suited to each employee, and what makes good business sense. And as it turns out, several of the job roles are ideal for routine- and detail-oriented employees. A win-win for both the bakery and its staff they’re really on a ‘roll’!

THUMBS DOWN to Yellowknife Accessible Transit Service (YATS), which is leaving residents with disabilities unable to attend public meetings. Many Yellowknife city council meetings and events happen in the evening but the accessible transit service finishes at 7:10 pm. YATS also made headlines last year, when a human rights complaint was filed against them for charging riders more for using their service, than those using regular transit.

THUMBS UP to making motherhood more accessible. The recently opened Accessible Care Pregnancy Clinic at Toronto’s Sunnybrook is North America’s first clinic for pregnant women living with invisible and visible physical disabilities. The clinic offers consultations, and is staffed with subspecialist physicians and advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs). Labour and delivery plans are drawn up with input from an entire interdisciplinary team, including the patient herself, to meet the individual needs of each mother-to-be.

THUMBS UP Niam Jain, of Toronto – the youngest recipient of the ANOKHI Awards, at 14 years old. Jain, who has autism, has been creating abstract expressionist artwork for two years, and it has given him a way to communicate with ease. His mother estimates he has sold 50 paintings worldwide, in addition to having numerous sold-out shows. Calgary gallery owner Andrew Cumming and Toronto’s KontemporaryArt director Marco Rosada are among the high profile collectors taking notice.

THUMBS DOWN to those fraudulently renewing disability-parking permits. The PEI Council of People with Disabilities is in the process of renewing parking permits but they are concerned about the number of people trying to renew permits that don’t belong to them. The council’s executive director, Marcia Carroll, said they renew up to 7,500 permits a year and fraudulent cases are caught up to twice a month. The council has to vigilantly check records and obituaries, as one of the most common cases are renewals of permits that belonged to relatives who have passed away.