blindness, Comparison, Disability, Independent Mobility

Letter to MP Gord Johns, Re: Draft Service Dog Standards Now Before the Canadian General Standards Board

August 1, 2017

Gord Johns, MP
House of Commons
Ottawa ON K1A 0A6
Email:
Gord.Johns@parl.gc.ca

Dear Mr. Johns:

Re: Draft Service Dog Standards Now Before the Canadian General Standards Board

I am writing to you as a concerned citizen with a vision-related disability and as a former guide dog user.

Several years ago, the Department of Veterans Affairs requested that training standards be implemented before they allocated $75,000 towards lifetime training and care for each service dog provided to our Canadian veterans.

Public Works Canada, through the Canadian General Standards Board (CGSB) formed a committee that has now drafted standards not just for veterans’ dogs, but standards to be applied to every service dog and guide dog in Canada.

In reviewing the draft standards, it is obvious that the CGSB has completely ignored the existing standards followed in over 40 countries, including Canada, as written by the International Guide Dog Federation (IGDF). These excellent standards are followed and committed to by 93 guide dog schools in 32 countries.

Further, rather than ensuring that any proposed standards were consistent with current human rights legislation, Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms, or the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, the CGSB has drafted standards that are completely contrary to any of them.

It should also be noted that Hon. Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Sports and Persons with Disabilities, is currently drafting a Canadians with Disabilities Act, which will certainly take into account all the documents mentioned above.

If guide dog users do not get an exemption from these draft standards, for our dogs from schools here, the USA, and elsewhere, we will be subject to regulations that degrade us, demean us, and take away our basic human rights as citizens of Canada, as well as tourists with vision loss who might visit our beautiful country from other nations.

Here are some examples drawn from the draft standards, which are very long and very, very detailed:
· Our guide dogs would, regardless of which IGDF-compliant school they’re from, have to be retested by government inspectors.
· Inspectors would have the right to visit our homes at any time, demand financial records, obtain veterinarians’ records, etc.
· Our guide dogs would be required to perform obedience drills out of harness and off-leash – things that they are simply never expected to do.
· We would also be required to carry an identification kit containing a photograph, full name, address, name of the guide dog school, and other personal information to be presented on demand to members of the public to prove the dog’s certification.

To see what a coalition of Dog Guide users across Canada are saying about this travesty,
Please visit our Blog Hands Off Our Harnesses at,
Follow us on Twitter with the Hashtags, #HOOH or #IGDFFreeChoice
Check us out on Facebook at,

I am asking you, as my Member of Parliament, to support me and all vision-impaired people in Canada, by making your voice heard to
a) Ask that all guide dogs from IGDF-compliant schools be exempted from the draft standards now under consideration by the CGSB, or
b) Simply see that the entire draft standard is scrapped.

Thank you,

Albert A. Ruel
702 Ironwood Ave
Parksville BC V9P 2S2
Cell: 250-240-2343

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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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blindness, Deaf-blind, Disability, Independence, Independent Mobility, Low Vision, Victoria BC

Accessibility Working Group Survey, City of Victoria

Greetings from the City of Victoria,

The Accessibility Working Group (AWG), a City Council working group, was brought together to consider the needs of persons with a diverse range of disabilities including, but not limited to, physical, sensory, developmental, learning and mental health challenges. The AWG aims to recommend solutions which best meet the “wants” of all without compromising the “needs” of any.

If you are a person with a disability, and live in or visit the City of Victoria, you are invited to complete the following survey:

Accessibility Working Group Survey, City of Victoria.

The aim of the survey is to determine the accessibility barriers persons with disabilities face when travelling, shopping, working, living, and playing in Victoria. The AWG recognizes that accessibility challenges do not stop at municipal boundaries, but for the purposes of this survey, the AWG would like to hear about your experiences within the City of Victoria.

If you are unable to complete the survey yourself, you may have someone assist you. If you are assisting an individual with a disability to complete this survey, please indicate the answers of the person you are assisting.

Privacy Information and Considerations:
Please do not provide your name and address or any other personal information that identifies yourself or other individuals. Personal information that is submitted will be treated as though the City has received your consent to disclose it to the Mayor and Council, appropriate staff and the public. If you require further information about this survey, please contact
engineering@victoria.ca

Information about the Accessibility Working Group can be found on the City website here.

Brad Dellebuur
Manager, Transportation
Engineering and Public Works
City of Victoria
1 Centennial Square, Victoria BC V8W 1P6

T 250.361.0325 F 250.361.0311

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