Tow truck driver charged after allegedly refusing to transport elderly couple with guide dog

By News Staff

Toronto police have charged a 30-year-old tow truck driver after he allegedly refused to transport an elderly couple because they had a guide dog with them.

CityNews has learned the driver was contracted by CAA.

Police say the couple’s vehicle broke down on Tuesday, June 20, in the Don Mills Road and Don Valley Parkway area just before 2 p.m.

The male driver called a tow truck. His wife is visually impaired and uses a guide dog which was with them at the time.

Police say when the tow truck driver showed up, he initially agreed to transport them.

But when he noticed the guide dog, a golden retriever named Quincy, he had a change of heart.

“What he tells her is he needs to speak to his dispatcher … because he may not be able to take a dog,” explained Const. Travis Pickett, who arrived on scene shortly after the couple called the tow truck.

“He comes back a couple of minutes later and says ‘I can’t take the dog because other operators may be allergic. It’s company policy. I can’t take the dog.'”

Const. Pickett says he spoke to the driver, who was adamant that the dog was not coming for the ride.

“I advised him he was going to be charged he still didn’t care,” Const. Pickett relayed in a YouTube video.

“He wasn’t taking this dog, no way, no how. The new tow truck came and was more than willing to take the dog.”

The tow truck driver, who hasn’t been named, was subsequently charged under the Blind Person Act with discriminate against a blind person accompanied by a guide dog.

The CAA released the following statement to CityNews:

We can confirm it did involve a driver from one of our service providers. It was an unfortunate and isolated occurrence and it is apparent, based on the charges, the driver did not behave in a manner consistent with our service standards.

It is against CAA policy to refuse service animals in the cab of our tow trucks. We take these types of allegations seriously and launched an internal investigation.

We immediately contacted the member and offered our sincerest apologies and reparations for their inconvenience. We have also made changes to how we triage service calls to ensure we can accommodate service animals without delay. We have also made additional commitments to further re-educate and train our employees on the importance of providing accommodations for those with disabilities.
We can also confirm the driver is no longer taking road service calls for CAA.


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