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Posts Tagged "service"

12Aug

Lyft confirms plan to launch ride-hailing service in Vancouver

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Lyft plans to start serving the ride-hailing market in Metro Vancouver in the fall of 2019.


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The ride-hailing company Lyft intends to operate in Vancouver, according to a prepared statement released by the company on Monday.

Lyft, which competes globally in the ride-hailing market with Uber, has also appointed Peter Lukomskyj as its general manager in B.C. The managing director of Lyft in Canada is Aaron Zifkin.

In the prepared statement, Lukomskyj thanked the NDP government and provincial Green party for allowing ride-hailing in B.C.

Last month, Transportation Minister Claire Trevena revealed its long-awaited regulations on licensing and insurance for ride-hailing, saying it was now possible for ride-hailing companies to enter the market this fall “with vehicles on the road later this year, while ensuring the safety of passengers and promoting accessibility options in the industry.”

“British Columbians have been asking and waiting for these services after more than five years of delay by the former government,” Trevena said at the time. “We took action to allow for the services people want and we’re delivering on that promise. Our plan has made it possible for ride-hailing companies to apply to enter the market this fall.”

Ride-hailing companies have to apply to the Passenger Transportation Board for permission to operate, with applications being accepted starting Sept. 3. The board also sets guidelines for fares, boundaries and numbers of vehicles.

All drivers will have to have a Class 4 commercial driving licence in order to drive for one of these companies.

At the time of Trevena’s announcement, Zifkin said this ruling would limit the number of drivers available in the Vancouver market.

“Ninety-one per cent of the drivers on our platform drive less than 20 hours a week. These are people like single moms, students in school and people trying to supplement their incomes. As soon as you introduce that Class 4 commercial licence, these people tend not to apply for that type of work,” Zifkin said.

In Monday’s statement, Lukomskyj said the company would work with all levels of government in the region — including the Ministry of Transportation and the Passenger Transportation Board — “to be a part of the province’s transportation network and help create a frictionless experience for British Columbians.”

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Lyft was founded in the U.S. in 2012 and operates in Toronto and Ottawa.

18Jul

Blind man with guide dog denied service, arrested at Kamloops gas station

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A man who’s blind was told his guide dog wasn’t allowed inside a Kamloops gas station, and when RCMP arrived, he thought they would defend his rights, but instead, the officers put him in handcuffs.

“I was very shocked and appalled,” said Ben Fulton. “I was just really surprised at how quickly it spiraled out of control.”

The Toronto man was on a road trip to celebrate after graduating law school, but things took a turn when he made a pit stop at the Shell gas station on the Trans-Canada Highway around 11:30 p.m. on June 16.

All Fulton can see is a grey blur since losing his vision to a rare disorder called retinitis pigmentosa two years ago. He relies on his guide dog, Abbie, to be his eyes.

He said the gas station clerk was adamant his manager gave him “strict instructions” that pets were not allowed.

He said when he tried to show the guide dog identification card and explain that Abbie is not a pet, but rather a working dog, the clerk did not change his position.

“When I was showing him the card, he didn’t want to look at the card. He didn’t want to hear what I was saying about Abbie being a guide dog. He didn’t seem to understand the law,” Fulton said.

“He asked me if I wanted him to call the cops I responded by saying that I would love it if he called the cops. I was expecting them to show up and enforce the law.”
 

Fulton handcuffed and put in police cruiser

Kamloops RCMP said they received a call about a man and woman who were yelling and threatening the clerk.

“When the officers attended at first, they noticed the man and woman. The dog was off to the side and behind them; they didn’t even notice the dog, they were focused on the man and woman,” said spokesperson Cpl. Jodi Shelkie.

Shelkie said the two officers asked Fulton and his friend to step outside because there were other customers inside the store, and when they refused, Fulton was arrested.

“The man and woman began yelling at them and the man was unco-operative. So to prevent continuation of the offence, the officers arrested the male and took him outside,” she said.

Fulton denied he was confrontational, maintaining that he was speaking calmly and he had simply wanted to show the officers his guide dog identification card.

“I was very calmly standing at the counter when they came in. I wasn’t yelling, I wasn’t saying anything,” he said. “The female officer asked me, ‘Why don’t we go outside and talk about this?’ So, I answered her question and I said, ‘I don’t want to go outside because I’m standing at the counter trying to get service.'”

Soon after, the other officer stepped in and put him in handcuffs and he was told he was being arrested for mischief.

He said he was overcome with fear when they placed him in the back of the cruiser.
 

‘Deficiency’ in RCMP training: Fulton

Kamloops RCMP defended the actions of the officers, saying protocols were followed.

“We have a lot of diversity training both for accessibility, cultural and racial situation and we deal with these on an ongoing basis. In this situation, as soon as they found out he’s blind, they removed him from handcuffs and he went on his way without charges. In this situation, the training very much worked,” said Shelkie.

Fulton believes the situation clearly demonstrates a lack in training because the officers were not able to recognize immediately that Abbie is a guide dog.

“I really think they should have known that I was blind just by seeing me by my guide dog. They should’ve known that she’s a guide dog by the fact that she’s wearing a harness. The fact that they weren’t able to identify that shows a deficiency in their training,” he said.

The CEO of B.C. Guide Dogs believes the Mounties unnecessarily escalated the situation.

“To put a person who has a guide dog in a police cruiser is just beyond my comprehension. I can’t understand how that would be the first step taken by a police officer. It’s atrocious,” said Bill Thornton.

He said when Fulton offered the officers his guide dog identification card, they should’ve taken a look at it.

“We’ve had guide dogs and service dogs in Canada for such a long time. It’s very disappointing to hear this type of event taking place.”

According to the B.C. Guide Dog and Service Dog Act, a guide and service dog is allowed to enter and use any place where the public is invited or has access to.

A Shell Canada spokesperson said they are working to understand what happened in the situation.

“Sales associates are expected to treat all customers with care and respect…We have reached out to the independent retailer who operates this site, along with the local RCMP, to further understand this incident,” said spokesperson Kristen Schmidt.

To prevent a similar situation from happening to anyone else, Fulton is in the process of filing a complaint with the BC Human Rights Tribunal.

“It’s the best venue for having human rights enforced in the province. It’s important for me to not let this go unnoticed – for it to be swept under the rug,” Fulton said.


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8Jul

Uber in B.C.? Regulations give ride-hailing service the green light

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The B.C. government says the Passenger Transportation Board will start accepting applications as of Sept. 3 in order to have the service in place this fall.

ICBC says it will offer a blanket, per kilometer insurance product and will only apply when a driver is offering the service. All other regulations will come into force on Sept. 16, which means ride-hailing is a go once the PTB approves applications.

PTB will need to consider appropriate operating areas, fleet sizes, and rates.

Other regulations announced via a government release include requiring drivers to have criminal and driver record checks. Those operating illegal services could be fined up to $100,000 a day. A 30-cent “per-trip” fee is also being added to help fund programs to increase accessibility.

The regulations released today come after a number of studies and consultations into the issue of ride-hailing.

Earlier this year, a legislature committee issued recommendations including there be no boundaries or limits on how many ride-hailing vehicles are allowed on the road. The committee also suggested the minimum cost for ride-hailing needs to be more than the cost of taking transit.

Another recommendation – that drivers be required to hold a Class 5 license was previously rejected by the minister.

In June, a report from B.C.’s Passenger Transportation Board found there was a “public need and desire for ride hailing.”

In 2017, the NDP government commissioned Dan Hara to speak to the taxi industry and stakeholders about how to move forward.

Parties have fielded the issue as a political hot potato for years. The Liberals, in power for 16 years failed to introduce regulations and the NDP broke a promise to bring in ride sharing by the end of 2017. Observers and critics accuse politicians to bowing to the taxi lobby and refusing to alienate voters in key battlegrounds like Surrey.

An overview of the regulations provided by the government follows. Viewing this on our mobile beta site? Tap here for a compatible version.


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10Jun

Too many fake service dogs, with fake licences: B.C. charity

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Jon Woodward, CTV News Vancouver


Published Monday, June 10, 2019 6:38PM PDT


Last Updated Monday, June 10, 2019 6:55PM PDT

Too many incidents of “emotional support dogs” looking like trained service dogs but behaving badly – sometimes even going on the attack – has a B.C. charity issuing a public warning.

The untrained dogs can be a menace and can also give the service dogs that help people with disabilities a bad name, making it harder for their owners to be welcomed in shops and public services, says Laura Watamanuk, the executive director of Pacific Assistance Dogs (PADS_.

It’s so easy to get a vest for a dog that says “service dog” online – even plastic ID that looks comparable to the B.C. government certification – it can be hard to tell the difference between a dog and a glorified pet, she said.

“It is really disheartening when someone goes online and purchases a cape and an ID to get easy access for a personal pet,” said Watamanuk.

“It’s a danger for our clients. We’ve had too many incidents where someone’s dog has attacked our dogs. For someone who is sight impaired, to have an untrained dog in public that jeopardizes their personal safety – it’s unacceptable,” she said.

In May, a man on a flight from Atlanta sued Delta Airlines when he said he was mauled in the face by an “emotional support” chocolate labrador-pointer mix. And in February, the mother of a five-year-old girl who had been bitten in the face by an “emotional support” pit bill in the Portland Airport sued as well.

In 2016, the B.C. government passed a law that required service dogs to pass a test before they could identify themselves as service dogs and be treated like them in public spaces like transit or restaurants.

The dogs are given a card that looks like a B.C. drivers licence that they can present if questioned. Failure to register can result in fines.

The B.C. government has received two complaints a year about false representation of dogs. It couldn’t provide CTV News with any information about how many dogs had been licensed under those rules.

Online retailers appear to be ignoring the rules completely. Amazon.ca sells vests and ID kits that would allow a dog owner to outfit their untrained pet to appear to be a service dog.

And ServiceDogCanada.com offers a kit that shows an ID and purports to help a dog owner train their dog to a standard.

Paul Bowskill, who operates the website, told CTV News Vancouver from Hawaii that he rejects the provincial government’s definition of a service dog. He used the example of a dog that recognizes lower blood sugar in a diabetic – but might not be able to pass all of the B.C. government tests.

“The piece of paper has nothing to do with making a service dog a dog,” he said. “It’s a person’s disability and the help of the dog that qualifies it as a service dog.”

The B.C. Human Rights Tribunal has ruled against a woman who claimed her son’s pit bull was a service dog and removing it from a strata would compound her son’s disability.

The woman lost her case, but the tribunal was willing to consider the argument that someone with a disability may deserve to keep a pet even if that pet isn’t a certified service dog.

There’s also a supply issue: PADS says it trains about 30 dogs a year, but has heard expressions of interest from over 200 people.

But Watamanuk says it’s worth the wait, pointing to Gucci, a service dog on her way to a deserving owner.

“We ensure they’re not going to be a nuisance in the public. They’re well-behaved. Well-mannered. They’re seen and not heard. We want dogs that are bombproof in the community,” she said.


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22May

Nix the noise: WorkSafeBC worried about hearing loss for service industry workers | CBC News

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Exposure to continuous loud noise at work can cause permanent hearing loss and WorkSafeBC is telling service industry employees to beware.

Dan Strand, director of prevention services at WorkSafeBC, says noise levels above 85 decibels during an eight-hour shift can cause hearing damage and the levels in nightclubs and bars are often higher. According to Strand, employers are required to have a noise control program in place if volume in the workplace is a health risk.

Strand says WorkSafeBC officers routinely find noise levels in clubs, pubs and cafes between 90 to 95 decibels. He told CBC’s On The Island guest host Megan Thomas there’s an easy way to test whether the environment is above 85 decibels: If you have to raise your voice into a “sort of yelling mode” to communicate with someone a metre away, it’s too loud.

‘Once it’s gone, it’s gone’

WorkSafeBC wants employees and their bosses to be aware of the risk and has created a new safety bulletin to help them take action.

The bulletin has tips for employers on how to reduce noise, such as using plastic containers instead of metal for dropping off dirty dishes. It is also recommended that staff rotate during shifts so that no employee is continuously positioned where the noise is loudest.

 

To protect themselves, WorkSafeBC suggests employees wear hearing protection and get a baseline hearing test withing six months of working in a loud bar or club.

“You do not want to see degradation of hearing. Once it’s gone, it’s gone and it doesn’t come back,” said Strand.

Jeff Guignard, executive director of the Alliance of Beverage Licensees, said WorkSafeBC’s focus on educating employers about the health impact of noise has been positive because many don’t know it’s a hazard.

Guignard said there are hearing protection devices that employees can wear that will cancel out background noise, but still allow them to hear customers who are speaking to them.

Between 2008 and 2017, WorkSafeBC accepted 3,343 disability claims for noise-induced hearing loss in B.C.




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21May

WorkSafeBC imposes new guidelines to prevent hearing loss among service industry workers

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Meagan Gill, CTV News Vancouver


Published Tuesday, May 21, 2019 1:16PM PDT


Last Updated Tuesday, May 21, 2019 1:21PM PDT

WorkSafeBC has released a new safety bulletin with noise control regulations for workers in the service industry.

The safety organization says many people working as servers and bartenders are reluctant to use hearing protection devices because they believe it will make it difficult to communicate with customers. 

“Studies show that when noise levels reach 90 decibels or higher, hearing protection actually improves your ability to hear speech,” said Dan Strand, WorkSafe BC’s director of prevention services. “We need to change how we think about hearing protection in the service industry.”

Repeated exposure to noise levels above 85 decibels can cause permanent hearing loss in unprotected people. But studies by WorkSafeBC show that many pubs and nightclubs in B.C. exceed that level during a regular shift.

If noise exceeds the 85 decibel limit within an eight-hour shift, employers are now required by regulation to have a noise control and hearing conservation program.

Between 2008 and 2017, WorkSafeBC accepted 3,343 disability claims for noise-induced hearing loss in the province.

“Noise is a serious and widespread problem in many workplaces, and this includes the service industry,” said Strand. “Our research has found that most service sector workers and employers are not aware of the risk of hearing loss in their industry.”

The new safety guidelines urge workers to find hearing protection tools that work best for them and to get annual hearing tests. In addition, WorkSafeBC is also providing employees in the service industry with several online resources to better raise awareness on noise-induced hearing loss.


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12Mar

B.C. Ferries building more boats and seeking input on how to improve the service on them

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BC Ferries is replacing some of its aging vessels — and it’s asking for ideas to help improve the customer experience on the new ferries.

Customers have a month until April 12 to submit their suggestions online at  bcferries.com/about/nextgen or take part in the pop-up sessions on board the vessels themselves on some of the Metro Vancouver – Vancouver Island routes.

“There is still a lot to be decided as we work to keep fares affordable, reduce our environmental impact, plan for future flexibility and enhance the onboard experience for customers” said a statement from Mark Collins, BC Ferries’s president and CEO.

The Queen of New Westminster, Queen of Alberni, Queen of Coquitlam and Queen of Cowichan, serving Metro Vancouver – Vancouver Island routes are all being replaced.

“We want to hear your thoughts on the project, and your ideas about how we can improve your experience when travelling with BC Ferries,” said Collins.

The ferry operator is interested in hearing from customers about how to make improvements to

  • Accessibility.
  • Food and beverage options.
  • Family and pet areas.
  • Pedestrians and cyclists.
  • Deck spaces.

BC Ferries says it is also interested in hearing about any new or innovative ideas that would enhance the public’s experience.

The new vessels are expected to set sail by the mid 2020s and will service Swartz Bay-Tsawwassen, Departure Bay-Horsheshoe Bay and Duke Point-Tsawwassen.

A contract to build the new vessels is expected to be issued next year.


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3Jan

Trampoline park apologizes for denying entry to B.C. boy’s service dog

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A Langley, B.C. trampoline park is apologizing to a local family after refusing entry to a boy’s service dog.

Danica Dutt said she took her brother, Kai Chand, to Extreme Air Park Wednesday. The 11-year-old has autism, and has a registered, professionally trained service dog named Rosie who came along.

Rosie, who Kai describes as his best friend, has tags, permits and paperwork in her vest, and Danica told CTV News she and Kai had photos of their service ID cards on them.

But before Kai could even get to the trampolines, a staff member told them the dog would have to leave as she was not needed, Danica said.

She said she was told the facility only allowed dogs with a “purpose,” such as seeing-eye dogs, are allowed in the facility.

“I explained to her, ‘Oh no, the dog’s going to sit with me in the waiting area,’ and she says, ‘No, your dog’s not allowed,'” Danica said in an interview Thursday.

She told CTV staff didn’t look at their paperwork or IDs, and when she tried to get a refund, staff refused. Instead, she said, they offered a credit so Kai and Danica could return without Rosie.

“But what good is a credit when Kai’s service dog is denied access because she’s not ‘needed?'” Danica wrote in a Facebook post which has been shared nearly 3,000 times. 

Her brother, who did not understand what was happening, then began to cry, Danica said.

She told CTV he was so excited he even begged her to buy him a T-shirt with the park’s logo on it. The one-hour visit was supposed to be his reward for “being really good that day,” she said.

In the end, his mother came and brought the dog home so Kai’s day wasn’t ruined, but Danica said she felt the situation was not handled professionally.

“The fact that they said Kai’s dog wasn’t needed broke my heart because they don’t get to decide who needs a service dog and who doesn’t,” she said.

She explained that the dog’s role is to help keep him calm.

“When he gets overstiumlated he self-hurts and he screams and cries, and having this dog there can just give him a moment to step back and have some relief,” she said.

“I just want Kai to be treated as an equal. That’s all I want. And I want people to know that his service dog is there to help him.”

Kai’s mother, Tara Allen, ended up recording part of her interaction with an employee.

“It was just kind of mindblowing that they turn them away and wouldn’t refund their money,” she said.

She told CTV she’d called and asked to speak to the manager, but staff wouldn’t provide contact information.

“I think they just need to educate themselves on kids with special needs or service dogs,” Tara said.

William Thornton, CEO of BC and Alberta Guide Dogs, said the organization will be following up with the company about their policy. Rosie was trained by BC and Alberta Guide Dogs, one of the only accredited schools in the province.

“Wherever the public has access or is paying to go in is a public domain by definition and these dogs are allowed to enter that building,” he explained.

“I think the public are still playing a little bit of catch-up, that there are other types of dogs and the need is not as obvious to a person that has a hidden disability.”

B.C.’s Guide Dog and Service Dog Act makes it an offense to deny a certified dog and handler team access or accomodation, and those convicted could be fined up to $3,000. More information about the act is available on the province’s website

In an email, Extreme Air Park told CTV services dogs are welcome, and staff do their best to accommodate all customers’ needs. In the statement, staff said that the issue arose during a conversation about the dog going into the trampoline area.

They said they’d reached out to Danica but had not heard back.

Kai’s sister confirmed that she did receive an apology over social media, as well as an offer for free access for a year. She showed CTV a screen grab of a message from Instagram sent by an account called “extremeairparkscanada” which read in part, “The person that our staff talked to on the phone regarding your service dog was misinformed.”

The sender, who appeared to be one of the owners of the park, said he was sorry and that he knew the year jump pass wouldn’t make up for their experience, but that he wanted to provide a positive experience in the future for all, including Rosie.

“I know how important animals are and how much of a difference they can make in people’s lives,” the message read.

Despite the offer, the family doesn’t think they’ll return.

With a report from CTV Vancouver’s Maria Weisgarber


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