Carla Qualtrough promises to act on the problem of wheelchairs on planes

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Carla Qualtrough promises to act on the problem of wheelchairs on planes

Disability Inclusion Minister Carla Qualtrough says she is concerned about airlines' lack of care for passengers with disabilities.

Federal Inclusion Minister People with Disabilities promises to help reform air travel for people using wheelchairs after an advocate in the field was 'totally damaged' while under the care of custody of Air Canada employees.

Carla Qualtrough this week responded to the story of Maayan Ziv, whose $30,000 wheelchair was unusable after landing in Israel for an international accessibility conference.

For Ms Qualtrough, this incident illustrates a long-standing problem that airlines mistreat people with disabilities and their mobility devices.

We need to find a way to end it once and for all, says Carla Qualtrough, who is also Minister of Jobs and Workforce Development.

“I promise you, we've got it covered.”

— Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion

The Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA), which regulates air travel, says in an email to CBC Toronto that it cannot comment on the incident.

Ms Qualtrough says she will meet with the CTA and Air Canada over the next week to raise concerns and develop an action plan to prevent further incidents of this type.

This summer, US Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said his department would work in the months and years to come on a rule that would allow passengers to remain in their wheelchairs during their flight.

Maayan Ziv's story has sparked an outpouring of support on social media from people who have also witnessed or experienced airline mishandling of mobility aids.

Maayan Ziv, CEO of accessibility app AccessNow, expressed his distress and feelings of outrage on Instagram after his Air Canada flight to Tel Aviv.

I seek accountability that recognizes not only the harm that has been done to me, but also that done to the thousands of people I have now heard of who have lived similar stories, argues Ms. Ziv.

Kristin Hayes is one of them.

The Torontonian says her wheelchair was repeatedly damaged in flight.

She particularly remembers her worst experience on a trip to Hawaii four years ago, when American Airlines misplaced her wheelchair and took 30 hours to find and return it.

And that was after a lot of phone calls, a tremendous amount of stress, panic. I felt completely helpless and for many of those hours I received no response, she said in an interview with CBC.

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Kristin Hayes, who uses a wheelchair, travels frequently. For her, the airline industry needs to change the way it treats people with disabilities and their mobility aids.

How many times does this have to happen for someone& #x27;anyone other than us cares enough to try to help us do something about it?

Steve Kean's worst flying experience happened on a 2009 trip with EasyJet to Venice, Italy. The Torontonian says that when he got his wheelchair back, his right front wheel was still three inches off the ground.

I'm thousands of miles away from home and my wheelchair is unusable, summarizes Mr. Kean.

What am I supposed to do?

Steve Kean, 54, is calling for a “major change in attitude” from airlines. He wants to stay in his wheelchair during flights so he doesn't have to leave it with someone who “won't know how to handle it”.

Steve Kean recalls also having, a few decades earlier, almost fell three times on an Air Canada plane while returning to his wheelchair from an aisle seat.

I think they were more afraid of the trial than of helping a human being.

Mr. Kean and Ms. Hayes hope the spotlight on Ms. Ziv's story will spur the federal government to crack down.

For her part, Minister Qualtrough called on people with disabilities to continue to push the government to do better.

Keep helping us hold businesses to account, because that's the only way to get the change we need need.

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