Mobility Devices and Air Travel Forum

The Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA) will host an international forum on June 12-13, 2018, in Toronto, in order to address issues related to the storage and transportation of mobility aids on aircraft.

The CTA is Canada’s longest-standing independent, expert tribunal and regulator. One of its core mandates is to ensure that transportation services are accessible to persons with disabilities.

Over the last 18 months, we’ve undertaken a major initiative to modernize all the regulations, codes and guidelines we administer, starting with those in the area of accessible transportation. In the course of the consultations and analysis related to this initiative, it became clear that these issues are becoming more serious as mobility devices grow in size and complexity.

They are particularly acute for passenger transportation in smaller aircraft because of the inability to
transport large mobility aids in the holds of those aircraft. Given Canada’s large size and small population, smaller regional aircraft form a significant part of Canada’s scheduled air services. Thesesmaller aircraft may be unable to carry some of the larger mobility aids currently on the market. The result is that people who use larger mobility aids:

  • may be required to take more than one flight when a direct route is only serviced by smaller aircraft;
  • may need to fly from a different, less convenient airport; or
  • may not be able to travel at all with their aid, requiring them to make arrangements for the use of another aid at their destination, which may not be feasible depending on how highly customized their mobility aid is.

The Forum will serve as a catalyst for that dialogue and innovation. It will bring together airlines and
their associations, aircraft manufacturers, mobility device manufacturers, disability rights organizations, regulators and other interested stakeholders.

The Forum will have two parts. On the afternoon of June 12, senior leaders will lay out their vision for issues related to mobility devices and air travel. The following day, members of the international working group convened by the CTA will discuss practical ways of translating their vision into reality.
The working group will be facilitated by a recognized aviation expert, Dr. Hunter-Zaworski, leading figure in the field of transportation and storage of mobility devices.

In the months following this event, the international working group will continue its work and produce a report with recommendations for future action.

Protecting the rights of persons with disabilities

Since 1988, the Canadian Transportation Agency has had a mandate to protect the fundamental right of persons with disabilities to accessible transportation services.

The CTA’s jurisdiction includes travel by air, and extra-provincial rail, ferry and bus services and their terminals located in Canada.

Accessibility standards

The CTA sets standards for accessibility, including:

  • Technical requirements, such as the size of spaces and design features to accommodate persons with disabilities
  • Service requirements, such as assistance with check-in and wheelchair assistance
  • Training for employees and contractors

To promote best practices in accessible transportation, the CTA’s Centre of Expertise for Accessible Transportation develops guides and training materials.

Compliance monitoring

The CTA’s enforcement officers regularly visit air carriers, airports, train stations and ferry terminals to
ensure that they have the infrastructure, policies and procedures in place to serve persons with disabilities.

Dispute resolution services

The CTA offers facilitation and mediation services that are neutral, confidential and specialized. These processes allow parties to develop their own mutually-acceptable solutions.

Where that isn’t possible, the CTA’s Members can make binding decisions through formal adjudication, where the CTA functions like, and has the powers of, a court of law.

Through adjudication, the CTA can order transportation service providers to remove unnecessary or unjustified obstacles that prevent equal access to transportation services.

Decisions balance the right of persons with disabilities to be provided with services that meet their disability-related needs with the service provider’s operational, commercial and regulatory responsibilities.

For more information on our role in making transportation accessible, visit http://www.cta.gc.ca/accessibility or email info@otc-cta.gc.ca.