Decision No. LET-MV-284-1999

November 8, 1999

Notice of Motion

File No.: 

By letter dated July 28, 1999, as amended by facsimile dated August 31, 1999, you filed a notice of motion requesting an Agency ruling regarding the application of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the Canadian Human Rights Act (the CHRA). The Agency notes that your letter of July 26, 1999, while it predates your motion, contains submissions related to the motion and, as such, the Agency has considered these submissions in its consideration of your motion.

The Agency's statutory mandate regarding accessible transportation is found in Part V of the Canada Transportation Act (the CTA). Upon receipt of a complaint, the Agency determines whether there is an undue obstacle to persons with disabilities. This mandate does not include a consideration of the issue of discrimination as found in the CHRA.

Section 5 of the CTA contains the national transportation policy and it makes reference to the regard to be given by the Agency to "legal and constitutional requirements". This section does not establish the Agency's substantive jurisdiction, but, rather, the overall objectives of the legislative scheme.

While subsection 52(1) of the Constitution Act, 1982 provides that "the Constitution of Canada is the supreme law of Canada", discrimination in the context of the Charter is limited to that caused by the application or operation of law and does not include that caused by private action. Terminal authorities and ground transportation providers, such as taxi and hotel shuttle bus operators, are private entities and, as such, their actions are not subject to challenge under the Charter.

The CHRA provides broad jurisdiction to the Canadian Human Rights Commission relating to discriminatory practices in the provision of goods, services and facilities and accommodation to persons with disabilities. Pursuant to the CTA, the Agency's jurisdiction with respect to disability issues is related only to accessibility in relation to transportation, and, specifically, to the elimination of undue obstacles to the mobility of persons with disabilities from the federal transportation network. Section 171 of the CTA requires "the Agency and the CHRC [to] coordinate their activities in relation to the transportation of persons with disabilities in order to foster complementary policies and practices". This provision reflects Parliament's recognition of the overlap in jurisdiction between the two bodies and this overlap does not mean that either body adopts the legislative mandate of the other in the exercise of its own mandate.

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