A former Toronto city councillor has filed a human rights complaint against Niagara Casinos. Howard Moscoe claims the Ontario casinos are failing to live up to their legislative duties to accommodate people with disabilities.
The 83-year-old Moscoe detailed a visit he and his wife made to Fallsview Casino Resort. He says the casino did not keep up with the requirements of Ontario accessibility law or even the casino’s commitment to accessibility.
Moscoe says scooters are only available to high rollers at Fallsview Casino
Moscoe claims his complaint is due to limitations he says the Fallsview Casino has placed on scooter loans for patrons. He says the casino appears to reserve scooters for people with disabilities who they deem high rollers.
He said he and his wife decided in December to visit the casino. However, when they called ahead to book a scooter, Moscoe says he was told he was not eligible to pre-book a scooter because his ‘Momentum’ rewards program status was too low.
“In other words, disabled patrons who are ‘high rollers’ can reserve a scooter in advance (but) others cannot,” said Moscoe.
Moscoe, who was a Toronto City councillor from 1998 to 2010, says he enjoys gambling and has been a frequent visitor to the Fallsview Casino. He is disabled and needs a scooter. His wife uses a power wheelchair.
Moscoe says his wife has Parkinson’s disease and can’t walk. He adds that they used the program frequently before the COVID-19 pandemic simply by calling ahead of time to reserve two scooters. He also says he was instrumental in convincing the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG) to start a scooter program at Fallsview Casino.
Moscoe filed his complaint with the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario. In the complaint, he named Niagara Casinos president Richard Taylor and OLG vice-president of legal and compliance, corporate secretary Tony Wong as respondents.
Before filing the complaint, Moscoe says he requested that Taylor remove the restriction while also enlarging the scooter program. He says he waited three months for a response before writing a second letter. Both letters were “ignored,” he said.
Niagara Casinos’ response
Jennifer Ferguson is the Niagara Casinos’ senior director of marketing services. She says the organization cannot comment on any open or pending legal matters. However, she says the organization takes all guests’ concerns seriously and works with them to meet their accessibility needs.
“We are one of the only casinos in the province that offers guests electric mobility scooters to use free of charge,” said Ferguson.
Ferguson says Fallsview Casino has specific parameters under its scooter policies. However, they still try to work with every guest to understand their mobility needs and attempt to accommodate them accordingly. She also adds that a program allows them to arrange additional electric mobility scooters to be delivered on-site to meet guest needs at their own cost.
Meanwhile, Moscoe says the OLG has an accessibility policy. It is designed to create an inclusive culture. Moscoe says he wants an apology. He also wants Niagara Casinos to donate $50,000 to the Ontario March of Dimes as compensation.
He expects the human rights case to drag on for several years. There is a backlog of cases before the tribunal.