By Victoria Nolan, Head, Stakeholder Relations & Community Engagement
Many Canadians partnered with guide dogs still find themselves in challenging and frustrating situations when they’re trying to access public places and services, such as taxis, restaurants and stores.
Legislation varies across the country, however; in all provinces and territories it is against the law to deny someone access to a public place or service, because they are accompanied by a guide dog.
September is Guide Dog Access Awareness Month and in recognition, CNIB is working on a range of advocacy initiatives.
Throughout the month, we are working to raise awareness across Canada and educate the public on the rights of guide dog teams and the rights and legal responsibilities of business owners by:
- distributing an awareness video to police and RCMP across the country
- distributing an awareness video to taxi and rideshare companies across the country
- distributing an opinion-editorial by Victoria Nolan about her experiences as a guide dog handler
- distributing a letter-to-the-editor by Chris Trudell-Conklin about the need for more awareness about access rights of guide dog handlers
- sharing information and resources with businesses, including Guide Dogs Welcome window decals, through GuideDogChampions.ca,
- sharing access denial experiences from guide dog handlers through CNIB's Facebook, Twitter, Instagram & LinkedIn and the CNIB Guide Dogs website; and
- providing some helpful tips and advocacy resources to guide dog handlers, including information about their rights, tips for writing a complaint letter, and how to report a ride refusal from Uber. Access these resources at cnibguidedogs.ca/advocacy.
CNIB is committed to ensuring social attitudes shift to universal acceptance and appreciation for guide dogs. We also provide advocacy support for guide dog handlers across Canada, regardless of where their dogs are trained. For more information, please contact CNIB Guide Dogs at GuideDogs@cnib.ca.