Decision No. 63-AT-A-2018

December 4, 2018

DETERMINATION regarding Air Canada’s compliance with Decision No. LET‑AT‑A‑80‑2017, pursuant to section 25 of the Canada Transportation Act, S.C., 1996, c. 10, as amended (CTA).

Case number: 
18-05094

SUMMARY

[1] This decision addresses whether Air Canada has complied with the Canadian Transportation Agency’s (Agency) direction in Decision No. LET-AT-A-80-2017 to develop or implement either a homegrown special service request (SSR) code for Mr. Kruger or an alternative accommodation measure that is as responsive to his needs.

[2] For the reasons set out below, the Agency finds that the interim measure proposed by Air Canada addresses Mr. Kruger’s needs. As such, the Agency finds that Air Canada is in compliance with Decision No. LET-AT-A-80-2017.

BACKGROUND

[3] Mr. Kruger filed an application with the Agency pursuant to subsection 172(1) of the CTA against Air Canada, concerning difficulties that he experienced in relation to his disability-related needs during his travel between Toronto, Ontario, and Dubai, United Arab Emirates, departing on November 15, 2016 and returning on November 25, 2016.

[4] In Decision No. LET-AT-A-29-2017, the Agency found that Mr. Kruger is a person with a disability and that he encountered an obstacle related to the boarding process during his travel with Air Canada. In Decision No. LET-AT-A-80-2017, the Agency also found that the obstacle could be removed without causing Air Canada undue hardship, and directed Air Canada to:

  1. Develop and implement either (a) a homegrown SSR code that denotes a need for pre‑boarding, automatically generates a Zone * on a boarding pass, and does not prevent a person from using self-serve check-in or (b) an alternative accommodation measure for the applicant that is as responsive to his needs as a homegrown SSR code; and,
  1. Ensure that an announcement is made, with due regard to the privacy of persons with disabilities, advising passengers when Zone * boarding commences.

[5] These corrective measures were to be fully implemented by April 1, 2018.

[6] On March 16, 2018, Air Canada filed with the Agency a description of the measures adopted in compliance with Decision No. LET-AT-A-80-2017. The Agency’s Monitoring and Compliance Division (MCD) shared Air Canada’s submission with Mr. Kruger.

[7] On May 2, 2018, Mr. Kruger filed with MCD his comments on Air Canada’s submission.

[8] In Decision No. LET-AT-A-76-2018, dated October 25, 2018, the Agency granted the parties an opportunity to supplement the information already on file with MCD. The parties responded on November 1, 2018.

THE LAW

[9] The initial application was filed pursuant to subsection 172(1) of the CTA, which reads as follows:

The Agency may, on application, inquire into a matter in relation to which a regulation could be made under subsection 170(1), regardless of whether such a regulation has been made, in order to determine whether there is an undue obstacle to the mobility of persons with disabilities.

[10] Pursuant to section 25 of the CTA, the Agency has, with respect to all matters necessary or proper for the exercise of its jurisdiction, including the enforcement of its orders, all the powers, rights and privileges that are vested in a superior court.

[11] Pursuant to section 33(4) of the CTA, the Agency may, before or after one of its decisions or orders is made an order of a court, enforce the decision or order by its own action.

POSITIONS OF THE PARTIES

Air Canada’s position

[12] Air Canada explains that it is implementing a new reservation system (permanent measure) that will have the necessary functionality to address Mr. Kruger’s disability-related needs with respect to pre-boarding and seat assignment. Air Canada confirms that the implementation of the new reservation system is on schedule and should be completed by the end of 2019.

[13] In the meantime, Air Canada proposes the following interim measure to address Mr. Kruger’s disability-related needs:

  • Have a dedicated ACpedia page to allow for any agent interacting with Mr. Kruger to access his information, including his accommodation needs. This page will be accessible upon presentation by Mr. Kruger of a laminated card to be provided by Air Canada;
  • If Mr. Kruger so chooses, have an Air Canada agent escort him upon arrival at the airport and through the whole airport process; and
  • Have an Air Canada agent meet Mr. Kruger at the gate to prevent any exceptional, inadvertent failure to follow normal pre-boarding policy.

[14] Air Canada submits that this interim measure is, at the very least, equivalent to a personalized SSR code. The personalized ACpedia page confirms and explains Mr. Kruger’s disability-related needs while protecting his privacy, and the option to be accompanied by an Air Canada agent ensures that any unexpected issue can be handled by the agent in a timely fashion.

Mr. Kruger’s position

[15] Mr. Kruger states that he is satisfied that Air Canada’s procedure “should be acceptable to permit [him] safe passage”.

ANALYSIS AND DETERMINATION

[16] The interim measure proposed by Air Canada addresses Mr. Kruger’s disability-related needs insofar as it ensures that he will immediately be assisted by an Air Canada agent should a problem arise while he is at the airport and that he will not have to explain his disability‑related needs every time he requires assistance from a different member of Air Canada personnel. Despite the fact that the interim measure affords Mr. Kruger less independence in his travel than a homegrown SSR code, the Agency notes that Air Canada’s proposed measure is only temporary in nature, given that it will be in place on an interim basis until Air Canada’s new reservation system is implemented, and that Mr. Kruger indicates being satisfied with the measure.

CONCLUSION

[17] In light of the above, the Agency finds that Air Canada is in compliance with Decision No. LET‑AT-A-80-2017 at this time, and reminds Air Canada of the importance of timely implementation of the permanent measure required by this Decision.

Member(s)

Scott Streiner
Elizabeth C. Barker
Date modified: