[nfbwatlk] Graeme's victory; human rights complaint; radio interview and newspaper article
wt329 at victoria.tc.ca
Mon Feb 25 21:29:59 UTC 2013
F Y I
re. Graeme's human rights complaint victory re. running event
The link to get to the radio interview with Graeme seems to be as follows,
Also find below the link to and text of the newspaper coverage of it in
the Saanich News, a local Victoria paper.
House of Common w/ Frank Stanford
February 22, 2013 2pm
Frank Stanford: 2:00-2:30 pm Barrie Agar Cont; 2:30-3:00pm Graeme
McCreath, on his human rights victory, concerning accomodation in the T-C
10k community run
Published Date: Feb 22, 2013
Listen Download MP3
Blind runner wins discrimination case against TC10K
Blind runner (black shirt) Graeme McCreath with his guide Carlos
Castillo run in the inaugural McNeill Bay Half Marathon in September
2011 (The duo finished 2:06). The B.C. Human Rights Tribunal ruled
that the TC10K discriminated against McCreath for not allowing him to
start that race ahead of the main pack. Sharon Tiffin/News staff
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By Edward Hill - Saanich News
Published: February 21, 2013 6:00 PM
Updated: February 25, 2013 12:09 PM
The B.C. Human Rights Tribunal ordered the TC10K organization to pay
damages and accommodate a blind runner from Saanich, in a written
ruling handed down today.
Graeme McCreath, a Broadmead resident and running enthusiast who is
legally blind, lodged a human rights complaint against the Victoria
International Running Society and TC10K race director Jacqui Sanderson
for not allowing him to start five minutes early in the popular April
Tribunal member Marlene Tyshynski ruled that McCreath's complaint of
discrimination is justified. She ordered the race society should
accommodate blind runners, that McCreath should have an early start
time and that Sanderson must take anti-discrimination training. The
society must also pay the 66-year-old physiotherapist $2,500 in
damages for injury to his dignity and $590 for lost wages.
"It's quite a victory. I'm very pleased with what they did. Justice
and common sense prevailed," McCreath said in an interview. "It's been
quite an ordeal for two years. I just want to work with these guys and
put it behind us now."
McCreath, who has a prosthetic left eye and only light perception in
the other, and who runs with a guide, had asked the VIRS to allow him
to start the 2011 race at the same time as the wheelchair racers to
avoid the heavy congestion within his pace group. The race, which has
seen up to 10,000 runners, launches hundreds of participants onto the
route in waves based on expected finish times.
The VIRS denied his request for an early start, and argued the new
route through Fairfield established in 2011 should ease congestion and
do a better job of spreading runners out.
During the four-day hearing in October, McCreath testified that the
crush of runners for the first two kilometres of the race had made it
dangerous and frightening for him and his guide.
A veteran runner, he has competed in six TC10K races in all, including
runs from 2006 to 2010. But as a two-person team in the packed 50 to
55 minute group, McCreath and his guide were unable to quickly adjust
course or stop in response to unpredictable moves by sighted runners,
while amid hundreds of people.
In 2009, his guide Carlos Castillo tripped over a runner who had
stopped to tie a shoelace and fell onto a curb. "Although I love
running, it has become a real ordeal. It is too unsafe. Most blind
people would never do it," McCreath said during the hearings.
The running society had suggested in its testimony that McCreath's
request was too close to the rollout of the new route in 2011, and
would have possibly changed the structure of the race as approved by
the City of Victoria, which could require more liability insurance,
volunteers and special permits.
The ruling showed there was some debate within the running society
board on allowing an early start time for visually impaired people - a
similar running category to what the Victoria marathon started in 2010
- but the request was ultimately denied. The society argued that the
new route was in fact reasonable accommodation to McCreath's request
to avoid congestion.
Tyshynski didn't buy it. She wrote that Sanderson's testimony at times
was vague and inconsistent, and that overall, the society didn't show
any compelling reason why McCreath couldn't start the race the same
time as the wheelchair group.
The tribunal judge wrote that the society's concerns about liability
and extra permits were "speculative" and offered without evidence. The
society also didn't offer evidence that the new route in 2011 actually
reduced runner congestion, she wrote.
Shannon Kowalko, vice-president of the VIRS, said the organization
won't appeal the ruling and would abide by all the orders set out by
the tribunal, including establishing an early start time for visually
"The issues for us were in the interest of safety for Mr. McCreath and
other participants on our decision not granting an early start.
Certainly it was nothing to do related to being discriminatory,"
Kowalko said. "It was about doing research to confirm an early start
for visually impaired runners could be done safely."
VIRC will be working with the City of Victoria to establish a visually
impaired runners category with a start time before the main gun for
this year's race on April 28. "No one likes to see this happen," she
said. "We respect the tribunal and its decisions."
McCreath is still running regularly, and he expects to run the TC10K
"I'm glad of the ruling. I don't know why (the running society) pushed
it so far," he said. "It's just a run. It's not the Olympics. I'm glad
the tribunal got it."
Read the tribunal ruling here.
editor at saanichnews.com
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