Friday, February 12, 2016

Non-Drivers Should (Formally) Have Rights

If ethical veganism is a human right, so too is the right not to drive.


The clarification of creed in Ontario's Human Rights Code offers a unique opportunity to correct job discrimination against non-drivers, and set Ontario apart as a policy leader in human rights and poverty reduction. The rights claim of ethical vegans and non-drivers is the same; reasonable personal decisions shouldn't be grounds for discrimination.

As an environmentalist and minimalist, I am ethically opposed to personal vehicle ownership. Further, vehicle ownership isn't financially feasible for me and millions of other Ontarians.

Ontarians don't drive for any combination of three reasons: economic constraint, structural ableism, and reasonable personal choice.

Being poor, (dis)abled, and/or principled are not legitimate grounds for discrimination. Yet, many job postings list vehicle access or ownership as a condition of employment. This editorial was actually inspired by a particularly agitating tutoring job application that stated bluntly: "Only candidates with regular access to a car will be considered for an interview" on the third section of the application, after open-ended written responses.

Why is that legal? If a company can't be profitable without exploiting it's employees, then it should fail. If the job requires a vehicle, a vehicle should be provided. Car-sharing services are widely available; the burden of vehicle access is an employer's responsibility.

Driving is a privilege, not a right; let's enforce that.


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