Activists, lawyers, and academics met at Concordia University on Saturday to tackle the issue of systemic discrimination in Quebec, particularly how it affects disabled people.

The idea is that bad service is actually a form of discrimination.

Onhand were several community leaders, including Fo Niemi of the Centre for Research-Actions on Race Relations.

Niemi cited a recent example of a blind McGill law student who said he was denied reasonable accommodations for his disability. 

He also talked about public transit.

“Our metro stations and buses are not accessible for people in wheelchairs and other physical limitations,” Niemi said.

“At the same time, the Supreme Court certified the class action for almost 20,000 users. The Quebec Human Rights Commission dismissed complaints from some disabled users, saying that it’s not discrimination that you can’t access the metro station or buses, it’s just bad service on the part of the STM,” he added.

The next steps, according to Niemi, are to challenge the policies that hinder victims of discrimination in court.