(Flickr/FirstAmerican)

Court rejects discrimination suit from Victoria guide dog owner

The man claimed discrimination when a driver with Victoria Taxi said he could not allow dogs in his car because of his allergies.

A blind Victoria man has lost his discrimination complaint in British Columbia’s highest court.

In a unanimous ruling, a panel of the B.C. Court of Appeal finds Graeme McCreath and his guide dog, Adrienne, were not discriminated against when they were refused a taxi ride in July 2014.

McCreath claimed systemic discrimination when a driver with Victoria Taxi said he could not allow dogs in his car because of his allergies.

The driver refused to transport McCreath and his dog, but arranged for another taxi that arrived within minutes.

Both Human Rights Tribunal and the B.C. Supreme Court rejected the man’s complaint, finding the taxi company had demonstrated there was a valid and reasonable justification for the discrimination.

McCreath took the matter to the Court of Appeal, but it has now dismissed the case, ruling the taxi company is also required to meet the special needs of its own drivers.

“It was the duty to accommodate drivers with disabilities that provided the bona fide and reasonable justification for the discrimination against Mr. McCreath because any further effort to accommodate Mr. McCreath would have resulted in discrimination against the drivers,” Justice David Tysoe said on behalf of the panel.

Justice Gail Dickson and Justice Gregory Fitch concurred with Tysoe’s reasons which dismissed the appeal without costs.

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