Trans­port agency asks for public in­put on air travel for dis­abled

The Peterborough Examiner - - CANADA & WORLD - MICHELLE MCQUIGGE

TORONTO — Two sep­a­rate fed­eral agen­cies is­sued an­nounce­ments Tues­day on life with a dis­abil­ity in Canada — one seek­ing greater in­put on hot­but­ton is­sues and the other urg­ing so­ci­ety at large to chal­lenge its pre­con­cep­tions.

State­ments from the Cana­dian Trans­porta­tion Agency and Sta­tis­tics Canada dif­fered in scope and con­tent, but both touched on is­sues that dis­abled

Cana­di­ans have long said lacked ad­e­quate at­ten­tion.

The CTA an­nounced it was launch­ing the next phase of its con­sul­ta­tions on ac­ces­si­bil­ity is­sues, say­ing it was look­ing to re­move fur­ther bar­ri­ers to travel across bor­ders.

StatCan, mean­while, is­sued a re­port sug­gest­ing Cana­dian so­ci­ety’s un­der­stand­ing of dis­abil­ity is at odds with the re­al­i­ties ex­pe­ri­enced by the ma­jor­ity of those iden­ti­fy­ing as dis­abled.

Both agen­cies noted that their an­nounce­ments came on the In­ter­na­tional Day of Per­sons with Dis­abil­i­ties, a United Na­tions ini­tia­tive.

In its call for public sub­mis­sions, the CTA iden­ti­fied a hand­ful of spe­cific and some­times po­lar­iz­ing top­ics on which it is keen to re­ceive feed­back.

Those in­clude the pos­si­ble ex­pan­sion of a pol­icy of­ten known as “one per­son one fare,” a rule that waives fees for those trav­el­ling along­side spe­cific types of wheel­chair users un­der par­tic­u­lar con­di­tions.

The pol­icy only ap­plies to do­mes­tic travel aboard flights with Canada’s ma­jor air­lines, but the CTA said it’s seek­ing feed­back on the idea of ex­pand­ing it to in­clude in­ter­na­tional travel and the coun­try’s smaller air car­ri­ers.

The agency also ex­plic­itly re­quested feed­back on how — if at all — air­lines should ac­com­mo­date emo­tional sup­port an­i­mals or ser­vice an­i­mals other than dogs. The public is also in­vited to weigh in on how to ap­ply ac­ces­si­bil­ity reg­u­la­tions to small trans­porta­tion providers, with con­sul­ta­tions open un­til Feb. 7, 2020.

Mean­while, in its re­port ti­tled “The Dy­nam­ics of Dis­abil­ity,” Sta­tis­tics Canada fo­cused on broader is­sues.

The re­port said while most Cana­di­ans pic­ture dis­abil­i­ties as static, sta­ble con­di­tions that do not change over time, the re­al­ity is very dif­fer­ent for the ma­jor­ity of dis­abled Cana­di­ans.

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