In a highly contested case, the Canadian Transportation Agency issued a ruling today on the much contested “one person one fare” rule. At issue was whether “severely disabled” people should have to pay for an extra seat on Canadian domestic carriers, when their attendants travel for free on the bus, ferry and train systems throughout Canada.
I guess I’m not really surprised by the ruling as I’ve always felt that the CTA was more “disability friendly” than our own US agencies. They do seem to rule in favor of disabled groups or individuals, while our own government and court system usually takes the opposite approach.
But I digress.
What does this ruling mean?
Well basically it won’t take effect for a year, but the Canadian domestic air carriers must start planning for the transition now. In short it applies to Air Canada, Canada Jazz and WestJet flights that operate on domestic routes in Canada. For now charter flights are exempt. Basically these airlines must allow “people with severe disabilities” to travel with an attendant at no extra charge.
So who exactly is a “person with a severe disability”? Well according to the ruling it’s a person who must be “accompanied by an attendant for their personal care or safety in flight, as required by the carriers’ domestic tariffs, or require additional seating for themselves, including those determined to be functionally disabled by obesity for purposes of air travel.”
But that’s not all. It DOES NOT include:
*PWDs who “prefer” to travel with a companion.
*PWDs who only require an attendant at the destination but not during the flight.
*People who are obese but not disabled as the result of their disability.
So I’m thinking it will probably apply to high level quads.
I have no idea how they are going to deal with the definitions involved in the whole obese issue, as that’s a huge hot button topic. And to be honest, it’s beyond the scope of this blog.
In any case, it will be interesting to see how this is all implemented and what safeguards they will put in place to prevent abuse.
It definitely will be an interesting transition.