Decision No. 567-AT-A-2007

November 5, 2007

November 5, 2007

IN THE MATTER OF Decision No. 563-AT-A-2004 dated October 25, 2004.

File No. U3570/00-41


In its Decision No. 563-AT-A-2004 dated October 25, 2004 (hereinafter the Decision), the Canadian Transportation Agency (hereinafter the Agency) made a determination with respect to an application filed by Theresa Ducharme concerning the difficulties she experienced as a result of Air Canada's refusal to allow the carriage of the gel-cell battery that she required for the operation of her respirator in flight, the seating arrangements that were provided to her and her five personal care attendants, and the lengthy flight delays when she travelled between Winnipeg, Manitoba and Ottawa, Ontario, on June 10 and 16, 2000.

The Agency found that Air Canada's refusal to accept the carriage and use of Ms. Ducharme's gel-cell battery in flight on June 10, and the initial refusal on June 16, 2000, was as a result of the lack of a clear policy regarding the carriage and use of gel-cell batteries for life support equipment and the lack of communication amongst carrier personnel and constituted undue obstacles to her mobility. As such, the Agency directed Air Canada to provide the Agency with the following, as set out in the Decision:

  • a copy of its policy with respect to the acceptance of gel-cell batteries for medical equipment, and
  • a summary of steps taken by Air Canada to ensure that its employees and particularly its flight crews are aware of the new policy.

The Agency indicated that upon its review of the requested information, it would determine whether further action was required.

The Agency was unable to process this file from January to August 2005 as a result of issues arising from Air Canada's corporate restructuring under the Companies' Creditors Arrangement Act.

Air Canada filed submissions in answer to the Decision on March 23 and June 29, 2007.

Air Canada initially indicated that it had prepared, and was waiting for Transport Canada's approval of, an "Inflight Bulletin" with respect to its policy regarding the stowage of batteries in the passenger cabin. In its June 29, 2007 submission, Air Canada added that it was experiencing delays in the implementation of the policy due to regulatory and other considerations. The carrier did, however, confirm that its general policy calls for the acceptance of gel-cell batteries for the operation of medical equipment in flight.

CONCLUSION

Although Air Canada has not met the corrective measures as it has not yet filed a copy of its "Inflight Bulletin", it has advised the Agency that its general dangerous goods policy does call for the acceptance of gel-cell batteries for the operation of medical equipment in flight. The Agency accepts that the regulatory approval process for changes to its flight attendant manual requires time to complete. As such, no further action is required; however, Air Canada is asked to advise Agency staff once the approval process has been completed and the "Inflight Bulletin" has been communicated to its employees.

Members

  • Gilles Dufault
  • Beaton Tulk
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