Canadian Transportation Agency Reaffirms Independent Travel Rights of Passengers with Disabilities

  • December 10, 2015
  • Kimberly Srivastava

A recent case decided at the Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA) has affirmed that deaf-blind persons have the right to determine their own need for an attendant during air travel. The case arose when Ms. Carrie Moffatt was told by Air Canada that she could not travel as a deaf-blind person without an attendant. According to Air Canada’s policy, the status of being both deaf and blind automatically required the traveller to have the assistance of an attendant. Ms. Moffatt complained that this policy was discriminatory; the CTA agreed. To read the CTA decision click here (link).

This ruling is welcome, however, it is surprising because in a very similar case in 2005, the CTA denied Eddy Morten the same right (to read the case click here (link)). Mr. Morten lost at the CTA but went on to the Canadian Human Rights Commission. He won at the Commission; however this was overturned by the Federal Court upon review. You can read that decision here (link to case).

The decision made in Moffatt’s case brings the CTA back into line with its predecessor the Canadian Transportation Commission’s decision from the mid-1980s where David Baker of bakerlaw was counsel to Ruth Adelia. In that case, the CTA ruled that passengers with disabilities have a right of self-determination, meaning the individual could determine for him or herself whether the assistance of an attendant was required.

To read the CBC Story on Ms. Moffatt’s experience click here (link to story).

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