blindness, Independent Mobility

Re-Post: Blind Canadians’ Battle For Justice Needs Your Support.

Blind Canadians’ Battle For Justice Needs Your Support.

As a 50 year guide dog user I am disgusted how our protected rights are discounted. After experiencing a blatant taxi refusal and being told 15 cabs out of a fleet of 43 did not take guide dogs I felt it was vital we challenge this illegal violation of 3 laws designed to prevent exactly this scenario that the BCHRT has failed to honour.

In 1996, the Guide Animal Act of British Columbia replaced the Blind Person’s Rights Act and was updated in January, 2016 becoming The Guide Dog and Service Dog Act.
The Guide Dog Act guarantees freedom of movement absent of any barriers and is not
subject to “accommodation” or affected by the choice of mobility aid.

On Tuesday, September 19th at 10:00am the Victoria Court of Appeal will hear, over two hours, why stringent, clear protective access laws for blind citizens using guide dogs must be recognized, honoured and applied. This historic court hearing will benefit from an audience of conscientious citizens savvy to the need to protect the democratic cultural rights of the vulnerable and so your presence will make a difference.

Most of us are familiar with the importance of maintaining our legislated access rights. Most, but not all, encounters with access barriers have occurred over transportation and in particular, taxi companies. Despite clear legislation to ensure unimpeded access, guide dog users are still suffering illegal barriers. Unfortunately, at present, redress through the B.C.Human Rights Tribunal results in further injustice. It is vital we challenge this injustice to correct a bureaucratic error.

We, at the CFB, call on all of you who believe in Canadian justice to stand beside us over this difficult and hard fought appeal. Please remember that right of public access is a guaranteed right for all Canadians and to condone, accept or excuse any barrier limiting public access is a step towards conspicuous, deliberate prejudice.

We hope you are willing and able to stand with us in September at the Victoria court house when this important appeal is heard.

For further information or if we can be of help or advice please contact me at 250-479-2679, or the CFB line at 1-800-619-8789. e-mail: info@cfb.ca

Graeme McCreath, CFB Treasurer.

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