By Victoria Nolan, Head of Stakeholder Relations and Community Engagement, CNIB Guide Dogs
Guide Dog Awareness Month (GDAM) wrapped up on September 30 with a joint message from the CNIB Foundation and Toronto Police Service – guide dogs belong everywhere. It's the law. Victoria Nolan, Head, Stakeholder Relations and Community Engagement, CNIB Guide Dogs and Constable Jason Peddle, Toronto Police Service spoke with members of the media about the rights of guide dog teams and the legal responsibilities of business owners, as well as best practices when interacting with guide dog teams.
In all of Canada's 10 provinces and three territories, human rights legislation prohibits discriminating against a person with a disability. Five provinces (British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario, Nova Scotia & Newfoundland) have additional legislation that allows police to investigate a complaint of discrimination against a guide dog handler, which could lead to a fine up to $5000.
As part of Guide Dog Awareness Month, we handed out business cards with a QR code that directs you to a webpage with all the pertinent legislation relating to guide dog handler rights in Canada. These cards have been given to businesses and organizations that are unclear about their legal responsibilities.
Given that incidents of discrimination continue to happen daily across the country, we are urging everyone to raise awareness year-round. If you'd like to order business cards, please contact Victoria.Nolan@cnib.ca.