News Release - Implementation Guides to Help Canadian Air Carriers Better Serve Travellers with Blind or Visual Impairment

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OTTAWASeptember 2, 2009 — The Canadian Transportation Agency has released two Implementation Guides to help Canadian air carriers better serve travellers who are blind or have a visual impairment.

The guides were drafted to help carriers meet two provisions in the voluntary Code of Practice: Aircraft Accessibility for Persons with Disabilities. These provisions are designed to ensure that passengers with disabilities who use service dogs, such as those who have visual, hearing or mobility impairments, can travel safely with their animals and can more independently locate their seat in the cabin of an aircraft.

"The Agency has a responsibility to foster an air transportation system to meet the needs of all Canadians," said Geoff Hare, Chair and CEO of the Canadian Transportation Agency. "We feel that these implementation guides will go a long way in helping air carriers meet the needs of passengers who are blind or have a visual impairment and other passengers with disabilities who use service dogs."

In developing the two new Implementation Guides, the Agency consulted Canadian air carriers, professional service dog training institutions, national organizations of the blind, and the Agency's Accessibility Advisory Committee.

Carriers have until December 1, 2009 to ensure sufficient space for service dogs, and until March 31, 2010 to implement policies for tactile row markers.

The Guides, and the Code they help to implement, are available on the Agency's Web site at http://www.otc-cta.gc.cacodes-practice-transportation-service-providers.

About the Agency

The Canadian Transportation Agency is an independent administrative tribunal. Its mandate includes the responsibility to eliminate undue obstacles to the mobility of persons with disabilities within the federal transportation network. Its mission is to administer Government of Canada transportation legislation, regulations and policies to help achieve an efficient and accessible transportation network.

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For more information:
Natalie Hanson
Canadian Transportation Agency
819-934-9042

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