A parliamentary committee is launching an investigation into accessibility at Canadian airlines, with a focus on the country’s two largest carriers.
Following a motion put forward on Monday by NDP MP Taylor Bachrach, who represents the riding of Skeena-Bulkley Valley in British Columbia, the federal transport committee voted to undertake a study on the state of accessible transportation for Canadians living with disabilities as well as the regulatory regime surrounding it.
The committee cited recent news reports of air travellers “facing discrimination and unacceptable treatment” on board, and invited the CEOs of Air Canada and WestJet to testify along with Transport Minister Pablo Rodriguez, Auditor General Karen Hogan and other experts and industry players.
Those reports include two stories by CBC News: the case of Rodney Hodgins, a Prince George, B.C., man who uses a wheelchair and was forced to drag himself off an Air Canada plane in Las Vegas due to a lack of assistance; and that of Ryan Lachance, a comedian with cerebral palsy who says he was dropped and injured by Air Canada crew members after landing in Vancouver.
The motion further calls on the government to table a response to a committee report slated to be presented to the House of Commons.
Earlier this month, Air Canada CEO Michael Rousseau apologized for the airline’s accessibility shortfalls and announced new measures to improve the travel experience for hundreds of thousands of passengers living with a disability.
WATCH | Rodney Hodgins says he will keep pushing for change on Canadian airlines:
Featured VideoAir Canada has apologized to a B.C. man after staff told him he would need to get to the front of the plane without any assistance. The airline has also admitted it violated Canadian disability legislation. Rodney Hodgins hopes the situation will lead to systemic change.
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