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uber-ASSIST driver pleads guilty, fined for refusing passenger with a guide dog

For Immediate Release
FEBRUARY 5, 2018

TORONTO: Provincial Offences Court

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.

The driver arrived, and Nolan attempted to open the passenger door, but it was locked. The driver then fled. A few minutes later, the driver phoned Nolan and asked if she had a dog. She explained to the driver that her dog was a guide dog and that refusing to pick her up was illegal but the driver cancelled the ride and hung up on her.

Following the incident, Nolan filed a police report with Toronto Police Service, and the driver was formally charged.

On Monday, the driver plead guilty to the charge of Discrimination Against Blind Person Accompanied by Guide Dog Section 2 (1)(b) Blind Persons Rights Act and fined $250. The maximum penalty for this offence is $5000. The driver apologized to Nolan and said that he didn’t intend to discriminate.

“I have mixed feelings. I’m glad he was found guilty but what I really want is for this to stop happening,” said Nolan. “It’s the drivers training that’s got to change,” she added.

The use of guide dogs for Ontarians who are blind or partially sighted is protected with three pieces of legislation: The Blind Persons’ Rights Act, Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act and the Ontario Human Rights Code.

About CNIB

CNIB is a registered charity, passionately providing community-based support, knowledge and a national voice to ensure Canadians who are blind or partially sighted have the confidence, skills and opportunities to fully participate in life. To learn more, visit http://www.cnib.ca or call the toll-free CNIB Helpline at 1-800-563-2642.

For more information, please contact:

Karin McArthur,
Specialist, Marketing, Communications and Outreach
437-922-7353
Karin.McArthur@cnib.ca