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    Sandy Silver interview April 8, 2022 CHONfm

City of Whitehorse to implement public awareness campaign on taxi safety

A recent report shows Indigenous women are experiencing a higher severity of violence in cabs but the city says they are “not necessarily looking at demographics in isolation.”

The city of Whitehorse held a press conference this afternoon to announce their public awareness campaign. Pictured from left to right is city Manager of Strategic Communications Myles Dolphin, city Director of Community Services Krista Mroz, Mayor Laura Cabott, and Whitehorse RCMP Detachment Commander Inspector Lindsay Ellis (photo by CHONfm/Dylan MacNeil).

The city of Whitehorse says they will implement a public awareness campaign on taxi safety following a report that found women are experiencing violence in cabs and Indigenous women are being disproportionality affected.

 

Mayor or Whitehorse Laura Cabott says the campaign will focus on social media.

 

“We find that is a very effective venue to get messages out on what is happening, what individual’s rights are, where they can go for help, and where they can seek assistance,” says Cabott.

 

Related – Dozens rally outside Whitehorse city hall demanding improved taxi safety March 8, 2022

 

The city says they are looking at programs and policies to see what else can be done. They say there will likely be amendments to the vehicle for hire bylaw that covers taxis.

 

A new midnight shift of two bylaw constables has been implemented. The constables are driving around the city and puling over cabs to make sure they are following the bylaw. The new shift is not full time. It is scheduled randomly a few times a month.

 

Even though Indigenous women are experiencing a higher severity of violence in cabs compared to non-Indigenous women, the city’s Director of Community Services Krista Mroz says they are not taking that in to consideration.

 

“We’re considering the report as a whole and not necessarily looking at demographics in isolation. I think that the city needs to take look at improvements to the vehicle for hire bylaw and taxi safety for all citizens,” says Mroz.

 

17 reports of sexualized assault

Whitehorse RCMP Detachment Commander Inspector Lindsay Ellis says there have been 17 reports of sexualized assault in cabs in in the past five years (photo by CHONfm/Dylan MacNeil).

Whitehorse RCMP Detachment Commander Inspector Lindsay Ellis says that since 2017 there have been 17 reports of sexualized assault in cabs in the capital city.

 

“Even one report is too many,” says Ellis.

 

“All of these investigations involved engagement while bylaw services. Three of those investigations resulted in charges,” adds Ellis.

 

Inspector Ellis says the number of reports is not good news but there is a silver lining.

 

“It tells me that people are phoning the RCMP to report when they believe that they have received treatment that is gender-based violence or a criminal act has been committed against them,” says Ellis.

 

Taxi Licences revoked

The news of a new public awareness campaign comes about a week after two Whitehorse cab companies, Premier Cabs and Grizzley Bear Taxi, had their business licences revoked for multiple violations of the vehicle for hire bylaw.

 

The city says Premier Cabs had 18 taxis at the time of the licence removal and Grizzley had zero. The city also says that the violations stem from the owners and not every individual driver was committing infractions. Mroz says some of the drivers will go on to work for other taxi companies in the city.

 

Premier Cabs and Grizzley Bear Taxi will have until April 19 to appeal the decision to revoke their licences.

 

Published March 30, 2022.

Written by: Dylan MacNeil

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