VINCE Miele, who uses a wheelchair and has been a longtime advocate for people with disabilities, has settled his human rights accessibility complaint against Pat Quinn’s Restaurant & Bar in Tsawwassen.
This complaint stems from an incident where Vince made a reservation for four, informing the restaurant that one in the party uses a wheelchair. However, when Vince arrived, he found his friends had been seated at a table in the main lower area of the restaurant, but that he was unable to independently join them due to three stairs. A server offered to assist him, but that was not feasible.
Vince alleged the incident attracted undue attention and was an “incredibly embarrassing experience”. He alleged that the restaurant’s subsequent response and remedial actions were not satisfactory. The restaurant made an application to dismiss the complaint that was denied by the Tribunal. In its decision, Miele v. Pat Quinn’s Restaurant and Bar, 2019 BCHRT 13, the Tribunal, at paragraph 39, noted:
“For many people with mobility-related disabilities, the physical environment is what excludes them from full and equitable participation in public life: Council of Canadians with Disabilities v. VIA Rail Canada Inc., 2007 SCC 15 (CanLII),  1 SCR 650 at para. 181. They are the one of very few groups of people protected by human rights legislation who could be excluded, by design, from a public space because of their protected characteristic. This is important context for understanding whether Mr. Miele has any prospect of proving the barrier itself creates an adverse impact on him, and in particular why a barrier that may seem benign to a person without disabilities is not experienced as such by a group which has long faced exclusion from public spaces.”
The parties agreed to the following joint statement pursuant to the settlement that was reached:
“We are pleased to announce that the complaint has been settled. The parties are delighted that a change to the configuration of the restaurant will result in permanent, independent access to every level of the restaurant.”
Vince was represented by the Community Legal Assistance Society’s BC Human Rights Clinic.