Letter Decision No. LET-AT-A-375-2002

December 31, 2002

Application by Roy Suthons against Canadian Airlines International Ltd.

File No.: 
U3570/99-41

By letter dated April 16, 2002, the parties were advised that the Canadian Transportation Agency (Agency) would now consider Mr. Suthons' application.

As you are aware, in its Decision No.646-AT-A-2001 dated December 12, 2001, the Agency concluded that obesity, per se, is not a disability for the purposes of Part V of theCanadian Transportation Act (CTA). The Agency found, notwithstanding this, that the evidence suggests that there may be individuals in the population of persons who are obese, who have a disability for the purposes of Part V of the CTA which can be attributed to their obesity. The Agency further concluded that it will continue to examine, on a case-by-case basis, whether a person who is obese is in fact a person with a disability for the purposes of the accessible transportation provisions of the CTA.

The first such application examined by the Agency was that filed by Linda McKay-Panos against Air Canada. In Decision No. 567-AT-A-2002 dated October 23, 2002, two of the three Members of the Agency panel assigned to consider Ms. McKay-Panos' application concluded, on the basis of the facts in the case, that Ms. McKay-Panos is not a person with a disability for the purposes of Part V of the CTA. Ms. McKay-Panos subsequently filed an application for leave to appeal this decision with the Federal Court of Canada, Appeal Division.

In light of the fact that the decision that the Agency will be required to make in Mr. Suthons' application is related to the issues raised in this appeal, the Agency finds it appropriate to stay the investigation into Mr. Suthons' complaint pending the completion of this appeal process.

The CTA requires the Agency to make a decision on an application no later than 120 days following receipt of a complaint, unless the parties agree to an extension. In this case, the parties' agreement to an extension of the 120-day statutory deadline was obtained and was acknowledged by Agency staff letter dated November 10, 1999.

You may obtain a copy of the above-mentioned decisions by visiting the Agency's Web site at www.cta-otc.gc.ca, under "Rulings".

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