Last week, Sheila* — a visually impaired woman who requires the use of a service animal — was taking her daughter to an appointment.

Rather than booking a taxi by telephone or online, like she normally does, Sheila and her daughter, along with her service dog “Barnsley*”, opted to go to a nearby taxi stand.  They approached the first cab in line with hopes of getting a ride, however, the driver refused to let them enter the cab because of the dog.

Sheila’s daughter explained that Barnsley was a service animal and pointed to a sign on the window of the cab that indicated people with service animals were to be accommodated.

Still, the cab driver refused to give them a ride and locked the doors of his car.

The Saskatchewan Human Right Commission was made aware of the incident and, soon after, contacted the cab company in order to get both sides of the story and better understand the situation.

The cab company was aware of the situation. It acknowledged the seriousness of the matter and promised to take action. The company then held a meeting with the driver. Afterwards, the company suspended the driver for a period of time and mandated that he retake the World Host training program.

One week from when the incident took place, Sheila called the SHRC to discuss her feelings about how the issue was resolved. She informed the Commission that she was satisfied with the actions the cab company had taken and didn’t wish to pursue any further action against the cab company.

The Commission would like to remind individuals and business that The Saskatchewan Human Rights Code requires the accommodation of persons who use service animals in employment, education, and access to public services and places. For more information about service animals, go to: http://saskatchewanhumanrights.ca/learn/policies/policy-on-service-animals

*Names have been changed