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Toronto Mayoral Candidates Join Online Social ResponsAbility Initiative

Friday, October 15th 2010 8:00:56am

Smitherman and Ford feature eSSENTIAL Accessibility™ for online disabled voter outreach

Toronto (Ontario), October 15, 2010 – With only 10 more days to decide who will lead Toronto for the next four years, one issue many voters will be considering is the accessibility of city services to the disabled.

More than 100,000 Toronto residents have trouble typing, moving a mouse or reading a screen.  They can’t access the Toronto.ca portal, or any other e-government services for that matter, without expensive assistive technology.

“The disability community wants to elect a mayor who understands and responds to their unmet online needs,” says Spiro Papathanasakis, Director eSSENTIAL Accessibility Inc. “The two leading candidates have demonstrated their commitment to digital inclusion and e-participation in the election process, which means Toronto will soon see the elimination of barriers to online government services that many disabled residents face.”

eSSENTIAL Accessibility™ is an innovative application that makes online environments instantly accessible to individuals with physical limitations.  It is effectively a virtual wheelchair for any website.  Anyone with a physical disability can easily access any website that carries the eSSENTIAL Accessibility icon - the blue wheelchair and keyboard symbol.

George Smitherman and Rob Ford have reinforced their messages of citizen engagement by featuring eSSENTIAL Accessibility™ on their campaign websites.

"I am the only candidate with an accessibility plan that's fully funded in my balanced budget blueprint,” says George Smitherman. “Toronto needs to be accessible and work for everyone and I would continue to press for every measure possible under my $65-million plan to make Toronto e-accessible."

"The City of Toronto needs to do a better job of making all of its resources more accessible,” says Rob Ford. “I've done this on my website to show my support for this cause, and if I'm fortunate enough to be elected Mayor on October 25th, I will always be looking for ways to improve accessibility to all the city's resources."

As the first mayoral candidates in the world to embrace this technology, Ford and Smitherman are participating in an Online Social ResponsAbility initiative sponsored by March of Dimes Canada.  Their Toronto will be an e-City that institutionalizes these practices to achieve top rank on the global stage.

Organizations across all sectors can enable online freedom and empower the disabled by featuring eSSENTIAL Accessibility™.  This solution is a valuable resource for online community involvement and outreach activities.

For more information, please visit www.essentialaccessibility.com
www.georgesmitherman.ca and www.robfordformayor.ca

About eSSENTIAL Accessibility™

eSSENTIAL Accessibility Inc. is the provider of a software-based service that makes online environments instantly accessible to individuals with physical disabilities. Our solution, eSSENTIAL Accessibility™, is a Community e-Involvement application that helps individuals with dexterity limitations that arise from a variety of conditions including stroke, paralysis, arthritis, multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy and Parkinson’s disease among others.  Moreover, it also helps those who have difficulty reading because of literacy deficiencies, limited English proficiency, dyslexia, or mild visual impairment.  The symbol displayed on the homepage acts as a clickable icon through which any visitor can download the assistive technology they require free of charge. For more information visit www.essentialaccessibility.com.

About March of Dimes Canada
March of Dimes Canada is a nationally registered charitable organization providing support services to people with disabilities, their families and caregivers across Canada. For more information about the organization, please visit the website at www.marchofdimes.ca.


For further information contact:
Spiro Papathanasakis            

Simon Dermer

Lauren Wolff