"People with disabilities have the fundamental right to travel with as little obstacle as possible," said Scott Streiner, President of the Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA), announcing new measures to protect the rights of travellers with disabilities.
The “most accessible network in the world”
The Accessible Transportation of Persons with Disabilities Regulations (RTAPH) have some 200 provisions to "make Canada's national transportation system the most accessible in the world," said Mr. Streiner.
While most of these provisions are now in effect, some more technically and operationally complex provisions have been postponed until January 1st, 2021 due to COVID-19. The last provisions of the RTAPH will come into effect in 2022.
- Carriers must let travellers take transport with their service dog .
- Carriers should let people with severe allergies sit far from the things that they are allergic to.
- Carriers must provide additional seats for travellers who travel within Canada, if they need to because of their disability. [For example, a traveler may need a seat for the accompanying support person.]
- Security screening officers (including border officials) must assist a disabled traveller if requested.
- They must allow a disabled traveller to go in a faster queue if waiting in a queue is difficult for the traveler because of his or her disability.
- If possible, they should also not separate the disabled traveller from his functional assistance. And if they have to do it (for example to pass the X-ray aid), they must give it back to the disabled traveler as soon as possible.
- Carriers must ensure that the new equipment they purchase is accessible.
- From January 1st, 2021, carriers will make available the in-flight entertainment systems to play movies and music.
- Carriers should indicate how they can assist travellers with disabilities, and what sizes of mobility aids (for example, wheelchairs) they can carry.
- Carriers must make their websites, applications, reservation systems, and counters that are used to check in or obtain boarding passes available.
In addition, various provisions concerning the training of employees come into effect on January 1st.
Fines and indemnities
The CTA can levy an administrative monetary penalty of up to $250,000 .
Offender may also have to provide compensation to a person who has suffered physical or psychological pain and suffering because the supplier has not respected the rules.
However, it should be noted that RTAPH targets mainly large suppliers of transport services. This means that small carriers, for example, will not have to comply with the regulations.
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