10:30 a.m., Feb, 16)
man successfully lobbies Uber to accept service animals
By Mike Beasley
The Orléans Star
Frost has never turned down a challenge. For years, the
legally blind and deaf athlete has become renowned for his
speed skating, tandem bike and golf accomplishments. His
physical handicaps have been a challenge to the Orléans
resident but it hasn’t stopped him from living his life
to its fullest.
Frost with his service dog and loyal friend Louis. Photo supplied
his daily life included trips on the bus with Louis, his
loyal companion and service dog. The pair would regularly
make their way around town on OC Transpo without any hassles
or resistance from the bus drivers.
day Frost and Louis decided to call up Uber to get to
their destination but the dynamic duo were declined service
by the driver because of the Golden Lab.
happened two more times,” Frost explained. “I couldn’t
believe it, the company said my request had been declined
or the drivers attempted to deny service because of Louis.
On two occasions, I got in anyways, and refused to let
them decline me. I had to argue with them about my rights.”\
knew his rights had been violated and was not going to
remain silent. In 2016, the Legislative Assembly of Ontario
established Bill 80 which is an Act respecting the rights
of persons with disabilities who use service dogs.
also had the legislative support of the Blind Persons
Act (1990) and Canada’s Disability Act. Uber was in violation
of the government regulations and Frost wasn’t about to
let them get away with it. He
went straight to the top and contacted Sheldon McCormick,
Uber’s Ontario general manager.
approached McCormick in a very positive manner and told
him that this type of attitude and refusal of services
is unacceptable,” Frost explained. “He was genuinely dismayed
and discouraged and said that these incidents should never
have happened. He apologized for the inconvenience and
stress that it caused and vowed to change the application
process so that drivers would never be allowed to refuse
service dogs in their vehicles."
was happy that McCormick acknowledged the disrespect that
he and Louis were shown. In response, Uber Canada launched
a new policy in late November on how its drivers deal
with customers who have service animals.
new policy makes it mandatory for drivers to accept service
dogs in their vehicles, with some exceptions based on
health and/or religious grounds. Drivers could get an
exemption if they provide Uber with written evidence they
are either allergic to dogs, or their religion doesn’t
allow contact with canines.
that, Frost knows that his work is not done when it comes
to protecting service dogs and their owners.
(disabled persons) need to have a voice when our rights
are discriminated against. I don’t want this happening
to me or another person,” says Frost.
story was made possible thanks to the generous support
of our local business partners.)