Re: “Tribunal dismisses blind man’s complaint against taxi,” Oct. 27.
B.C. Human Rights Tribunal member Jacqueline Beltgens has erred in ruling against guide-dog user Graeme McCreath. McCreath was not seeking a special “accommodation,” but rather the protection of his lawful rights.
The Guide Animal Act clearly states that “a person with a disability accompanied by a guide animal may, in the same manner as a person not accompanied by an animal, enter and use an accommodation, conveyance, eating place, lodging place or any other place to which the public is invited or has access so long as the guide animal is prevented from occupying a seat… and held by a leash or harness … A person must not interfere with the exercise of [this] right.”
It is the taxi driver who is seeking a special accommodation, not the guide-dog user. If such an accommodation is warranted, it is up to the taxi company to do the accommodating — not McCreath.
It is outrageous that the company thinks denying McCreath his access rights under the law is an acceptable way to accommodate its employee. It must find another way — one that does not break the law. (Perhaps the installation of a Plexiglas barrier between front and back, which would also be beneficial for drivers’ security and ventilation. Perhaps a desk job.)
McCreath’s rights are crystal clear and have been violated. He has now been doubly victimized, once by Victoria Taxi, and once by the Human Rights Tribunal.