Almost one year ago, Victoria Nolan (and her guide dog Alan) was refused a ride by a Toronto Uber driver. Nolan, a medal-winning Canadian Paralympic rower, finished training at the Toronto Pan Am Sports Complex when she hailed a ride with UberAssist (designed to provide additional assistance to seniors and people with disabilities) for the first time.
Public transit is an integral part of urban metropolitan areas and relied upon by millions of citizens. Blind or low vision transit riders are frequently uncertain that they’ve caught the right train or that the bus they’re waiting for will take them where they need to be. Be My Eyes and Moovit want to challenge obstacles relating to vision and access to make traveling individually with public transit more accessible for blind and visually impaired people.
CNIB is calling on the Senate of Canada to make amendments to strengthen requirements to accommodate Canadians with sight loss. As the Senate resumes sitting at the end of January, they will continue their study of Bill C-49, the Transportation Modernization Act. CNIB supports the passage of this important piece of legislation, specifically the creation of an airline Passenger Bill of Rights.
Imagine if you were told you could read anything you wanted but, unfortunately, all the books were in a protected library. If you had the correct lock-picking kit (or lock-picking friends), you could get to all the books but not all of them would be readable: the words would be jumbled, the print might be too small, or the pages impossible to turn. A library of horrors.
Many small businesses establish vision statements that detail their objectives and strategies. Toronto-based eSight Corp., however, gives the concept new meaning.
Silly me. All this time, I have believed that our justice system was based on proof.
At no time in the Graeme McCreath/Victoria Taxi case – I was present throughout both the human-rights tribunal and the
Supreme Court hearings – was any “proof” of driver allergy presented. At the original rights hearing, the driver in question
was absent (“unavailable”) and the Victoria Taxi manager neither produced nor was asked to produce medical documentation for his driver. The transcript doesn’t mention it, either.
Guide dogs can greatly increase accessibility for the blind, but
unfortunately they can also result in them being discriminated against and refused services. As a result, governments have passed legislation (e.g., Guide and Service Dog Act) to explicitly protect the rights of the blind and to prohibit anyone from denying them access to public buildings or public services. There are no exceptions or exemptions in the legislation.
CNIB pilot project plans to install 200 wayfinding beacons in Toronto stores, restaurants By Emily Chung, CBC News, September 19, 2017.
Susan Vaile enjoys her order at 9 Bars Coffee in Toronto. An app on her phone communicated with a beacon in the coffee shop to give her directions to the counter. (Dean Gariepy/CBC News)
If you were blind and walked into a coffee shop, how would you find the counter so you could order?
That’s easy for Susan Vaile at 9 Bars Coffee in Toronto – she just needs to listen to her smartphone: “Walk forward six metres to carpet. Service counter at 9 o’ clock.”
‘It’s allowing you to have some autonomy.’
– Susan Vaile, CNIB volunteer
Graeme McCreath stood in the B.C. Court of Appeal, his German shepherd guide dog at his feet, and asked the judges to imagine being refused hotel or rental accommodation or having taxis deliberately pass by.
Many blind and partially sighted Canadians still find themselves in challenging and frustrating situations when trying to access public spaces such as cabs, B&Bs, restaurants and shopping establishments.
In all of Canada’s 13 jurisdictions, human rights legislation prohibits discriminating against a person with a disability working with a service animal. Discrimination includes denial of access to any premises to which the public would normally have access.
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