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Direction provided to Air Canada on accommodating travellers with peanut or nut allergies

Ottawa – October 19, 2010 –

The Canadian Transportation Agency today issued a decision providing direction to Air Canada on how to accommodate travellers disabled by peanut or nut allergies.

In a decision issued earlier this year (Decision No. 4-AT-A-2010), the Agency found that buffer zones are the appropriate accommodation for persons aboard aircraft who are disabled due to their allergy to peanuts or nuts. Air Canada was required to provide submissions on buffer zones and on the advance notice to be provided by travellers requiring this form of accommodation. The complainants in the case were given the opportunity to comment on Air Canada's submissions.

Today's decision sets out the Agency's assessment of Air Canada's submissions and the Agency's determinations as to the accommodation of travellers with a disability due to an allergy to peanuts or nuts.

Specifically, the Agency has determined that the appropriate accommodation for these travellers, when at least 48 hours advance notice is provided to Air Canada, is as follows:

  • Air Canada will create a buffer zone for the passenger, in line with specific parameters set out in the decision.
  • Only peanut- and nut-free foods will be served by Air Canada within the buffer zone as part of its onboard snack or meal service.
  • Personnel will brief passengers within the buffer zone that they can only eat foods that are peanut- and nut-free.

As the next step in this process, the carrier must now inform the Agency whether it intends to implement this appropriate accommodation. If Air Canada chooses to do so, it is required within 30 days of the date of this decision to submit a formal policy on peanut and nut allergies for the Agency's review and approval.

If Air Canada chooses not to implement the appropriate accommodation, it will have 30 days to:

  • File its arguments demonstrating that providing this accommodation would result in undue hardship; or
  • Submit a proposal for a reasonable alternative that is equally responsive to the needs of persons disabled by their allergy to peanuts or nuts.

The complainants in the case will then be given 10 days to provide their comments in response to Air Canada's submission.

Following this step, the Agency will review the submissions received and issue a final determination in the case.

About the Canadian Transportation Agency

The Canadian Transportation Agency is an independent administrative body of the Government of Canada. It performs two key functions within the federal transportation system:

  • As a quasi-judicial tribunal, the Agency, informally and through formal adjudication, resolves a range of commercial and consumer transportation-related disputes, including accessibility issues for persons with disabilities. It operates like a court when adjudicating disputes.
  • As an economic regulator, the Agency makes determinations and issues authorities, licences and permits to transportation carriers under federal jurisdiction.


For more information, please contact:
Media Relations
Canadian Transportation Agency

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