An Ottawa circus artist has filed a human rights complaint against that city, alleging that a bylaw discriminates against female street performers.
Stephanie Wheaton has taken the City of Ottawa to the Human Rights Tribunal, arguing that a rule that bans Byward Market buskers from using voice amplification equipment, such as microphones, adversely affects women.
Female street performers tend to be less able to project their voices without using microphones than men, Wheaton argues.
Wheaton’s solo show runs about 45 minutes. She juggles, does contortions and tells jokes. Yelling for 45 minutes at a time is challenging and can cause throat irritation, Wheaton says. The bylaw means she can no longer sustain her own performance and has taken a non-speaking role in another street show.
She says male street performers have been able to continue their shows, and she feels discriminated against.
The city’s application for dismissal at a summary hearing, held to determine if a case has a reasonable prospect of success, failed.
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