For people living with disabilities, travelling can be a challenge.
The Canadian Transportation Agency and federal accessibility minister announced new proposed regulations that promise to be a game-changer for travellers with disabilities.
The proposed regulations would affect communication, training, accessibility and service on large airlines, rail, ferries, buses and terminals.
For example, terminals would be required to help a passenger get from the curb to check-in.
Gabor Lukacs with the advocacy group Air Passenger Rights is critical of the changes since they don’t apply to smaller airlines.
“Swoop and Flair and some other startup airlines that may pop up in the coming years will not be subject to those regulations,” Lukacs said.
“If a passenger with disabilities wants to fly on those airlines, they will be completely at the airline’s mercy,” said Canadian Transportation Agency CEO Scott Streiner. “There will be a second wave, a second round of regulatory development to look at those smaller carriers.”
“But we thought it was important to move forward with this package that will cover the more than nine out of 10 travellers now.”
If a person with a disability requires a support person or a service dog, carriers would have to provide adjacent passenger seating at no extra cost. But critics argue that rule is already in place and only applies to travel within Canada.
The regulations would also protect people with allergies. Carriers would have to establish a buffer zone upon request to limit exposure from things to which those passengers are allergic.
There’s a 30-day comment period before proposed rules are finalized this summer.
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