Kelsey Le Coure, 19, of Mississauga has a rare bone condition that leaves her susceptible to fractures. She said her service dog, Troy, functions like a medical device — the same for her, she said, as a wheelchair or walker — but she's had several difficulties with cabs since getting him five months ago.
She said that, on Tuesday, a driver with Blue and White Taxi — one of three companies contracted by the Region of Peel's TransHelp program — refused to drive her, saying he was allergic to dogs. The cab company, when confronted about the complaint, showed CBC News the driver's medical records, which back up the allergy claim.
Le Coure said that when she booked the ride 24 hours in advance, she indicated she would be travelling with her dog. The refusal also contravenes Ontario's regulations.
"I know I'm always going to face problems in my daily life, but at the same time I really wish I didn't have to," Le Coure told CBC News.
Le Coure said she was so taken aback by the driver's rejection that she broke down and cried. Now, she's angry.
"I realized this is against the law, and I was violated, and my human rights were violated," she said.
"You think they would expect service animals. I know I'm not the only one with a service animal that uses the services."
TransHelp's manager Mark Castro called the incident a "black mark" against the cab company and warned its contract could be severed if changes aren't made.
"This is not acceptable, under any circumstance," Castro said.
Le Coure is seeking an apology from the cab company as well as a refund of the $3.50 she spent ordering the taxi she never rode in.
Troy, she said, is staying. "I don't remember what I did without him," she said.