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Town launches campaign on service animals for local businesses

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A latest incident at a Bradford restaurant relating to refusal of a service animal has stirred a lot debate amongst neighborhood members concerning the legal guidelines in place behind service animals and their coaching

The Town of Bradford West Gwillimbury just lately launched a service animal sticker campaign, after an incident that occurred  in August that resulted in a service animal being denied entry right into a local restaurant. 

The story stirred up a lot debate amongst neighborhood members on the legal guidelines behind service animals and their coaching.

In an ongoing effort to create extra consciousness about service animals, and in compliance with AODA (Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act) requirements, the Town of Bradford West Gwillimbury just lately accepted the acquisition of over 200 stickers that can be positioned in storefront home windows of local businesses, stating: “Service Animals Welcome”.

The city can even be making ready and handing out data pamphlets on service animals and accessibility for these with disabilities, in compliance with AODA requirements. The funds for the stickers and pamphlets will come from the Accessibility Advisory Committee (AAC) price range.

“We are looking to have compliance by the end of 2021,” shares Bradford’s Deputy Mayor James Leduc, Chair of the AAC. “(Local businesses) need to understand – any disability – they need to accommodate because it’s becoming a large market, with more growth potentially coming.”

The proprietor of local restaurant Golden Taste of Asia, Ganesh Ponniah, refused  entry to a local pastor and his service canine ‘Lily’ in August after claiming to be unfamiliar with the principles about service animals.

Since the incident, Ponniah has taken a number of initiatives to coach himself and his employees concerning the legal guidelines surrounding service animals and is working with the city to take further measures to make sure the restaurant receives the correct coaching required to serve folks with disabilities.

He admitted though English shouldn’t be his first language and he’s very restricted with vocabulary, as soon as he understood the gravity of the state of affairs and the legal guidelines in place relating to service animals and other people with disabilities, he instantly regretted all that had transpired and shared a proper apology with the neighborhood.

“I wish to humbly prolong my earnest apologies to all those that have been affected by this incident,” he expressed by way of translation from his daughter, Trussha Ganeshalingam. “After being educated on the AODA, the importance of service animals and the challenges people of the incapacity neighborhood face on a regular basis, we’re dedicated to fostering and implementing constructive, significant change inside our enterprise and the neighborhood.

“One of our quite a few initiatives consists of dedicating your entire month of October for free scrumptious meals to those that determine as members of the incapacity neighborhood and even dedicate a day for members of the family to take pleasure in a meal on us! We look ahead to proceed studying and rising with this neighborhood as a proud ally.

“We as a business and ally, acknowledge and appreciate differences and individualities of all members of society. We want to raise awareness to the lack of education and awareness regarding the AODA among businesses and are honoured to be an integral part of educating the community and setting a positive example going forward!” 

Disbursement of the stickers and knowledge handout will start this week, administered by the city’s bylaw enforcement and a few members of council.

For extra data, go to the Town of Bradford West Gwillimbury’s accessibility web page right here.