Canadian Transportation Agency Decision Ensures Sufficient Space for Service Animals



    OTTAWA, June 20 /CNW Telbec/ - The Canadian Transportation Agency issued
its Decision today ordering Air Canada and Air Canada Jazz to ensure
sufficient floor space is provided for certified service animals at the person
with a disability's seat.
    Today's Decision continues to ensure equal access to the federal
transportation network for persons with disabilities, regardless of the nature
of the disability. Travelling in a very constrained position has negative
implications for a service animal which may impact on its ability to function
and which may negatively impact a person's well-being and increase the risk of
injury, and therefore has safety implications for both the individual and the
service animal.
    The Decision applies only to the travel of certified service animals
within Canada on Air Canada and Air Canada Jazz aircrafts with 30 or more
seats. A service animal is any guide dog, assistance dog, or other animal
professionally trained and certified to provide assistance to an individual
with a disability.
    In accordance with section 149 of the "Air Transportation Regulations", a
carrier must accept a service animal for carriage at no additional cost to
accompany a person on board an aircraft and permit the animal to remain on the
floor at the person's passenger seat.
    Generally some discomfort may be caused when sharing seating floor space
with service animals. However, in some instances additional space is required
to prevent extreme discomfort to either the passenger or the animal. The need
for additional floor space could be due to factors such as the configuration
of the aircraft, the size of the animal and/or the duration of the flight.
    While Air Canada and Air Canada Jazz have provided sufficient space for
service animals in many instances, the carriers only confirm sufficient space
accommodation without additional cost just prior to departure and is subject
to space availability, thereby creating undue obstacles.
    The Agency has ordered both carriers to take the following corrective
measures within 90 days in order to remove undue obstacles to persons
travelling with a service animal:

    
    - Develop policies and procedures for domestic flights to ensure that, at
      the time of reservation and upon receipt of a request at least 48 hours
      in advance, seating with sufficient floor space will be provided for
      the person travelling with their service animal, at no additional cost.

    - Make a reasonable effort to provide the service when less than 48 hours
      advance notice is provided.

    - Enter into dialogue with the person travelling with a service animal to
      determine floor space requirements of the service animal and how best
      to accommodate these requirements.
    

    The Agency will also undertake a consultative process specifically on the
service animal provision contained in the Agency's "Code of Practice for
Aircraft Accessibility for Persons with Disabilities" in order to provide
guidance to air carriers on floor space requirements. This Code addresses the
physical accessibility of aircraft equipment and features, and offers
practical, functional, operations-oriented solutions to problems faced by
persons with disabilities.

    The Canadian Transportation Agency is an independent tribunal that
operates like a court to render decisions on a case-by-case basis. The
Agency's jurisdiction with respect to persons with disabilities, stated in
Part V of the "Canada Transportation Act", is to ensure that persons with
disabilities have proper access to effective transportation service. The
Agency makes decisions and orders to eliminate undue obstacles to the mobility
of persons with disabilities in the federal transportation network.




For further information:

For further information: News Media Enquiries: Jadrino Huot, (819)
953-9957 General Public Enquiries: 1-888-222-2592, info@cta-otc.gc.ca; The
Canadian Transportation Agency is online at www.cta.gc.ca. To keep up-to-date
with our latest news releases and other information, use our subscription
service available on our home page under "subscription."


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