Georgia Pike, a student at York University, said she has traveled through Pearson many times, but her last experience was the worst.
She said that today she wants to increase awareness about
A system that discriminates against persons with disabilities.
I paid the same amount for my flight as any other passenger, but I and other people with disabilities were treated as inconvenienced weights by Air Canada ground staff.Said a person who defines himself as visually impaired.
Air Canada says it is studying Georgia Pike’s case and is committed to providing available transportation.
For the main interested party, the reality is far from the promise.
I am a blind man trying to get to my house from the airport, and the number of obstacles I encounter is getting worseshe said.
She sailed from Phoenix, Arizona to Toronto on January 31. His guide dog Maggie accompanies him. She describes telling Air Canada employees on multiple occasions that she needed a companion so she and her dog could get through border crossings and reach their boarding gate.
She explains that after several delays and having to follow airport employees pushing passengers in wheelchairs, things got complicated once again when going through security.
As the employee accompanying him was not authorized to proceed further, he was told to proceed to the control area
After repeatedly saying that her condition was bothering her, she finally managed to follow another employee who was accompanying the man in a wheelchair. She said the employee gave in to her request somewhat reluctantly.
Finally, she managed to reach her gate… an hour and a half after checking into the plane.
Chaotic arrival at Pearson
Coming to Toronto wasn’t very good, she said.
Georgia Pike explained that she had to wait until everyone who was able had left the plane before she could go on.
She indicates that she followed the company employee for about twenty steps before waiting again. The employee told her to wait until the staff came out so she could close the door.
Then Georgia Pike said she handed her over to another employee, who brought her to a large area where other people in wheelchairs were also waiting.
She claims that she too has seen derogatory comments.
After I cleared customs, I overheard an employee of the company I was following explain that many people in wheelchairs could walk, but was using this method to get priority. This surprised me. Obviously, these people in wheelchairs are no one’s priorityshe said.
After the airport, it’s just as difficult
After more ups and downs, Georgia Pike was able to get out of the airport, but the problems didn’t end there.
She explained that a security guard told her that no taxi would take her unless her dog was caged.
I repeated that I needed Maggie to get around and that it was illegal to deny service to someone with a disability.
She finally managed to find the vehicle, but the driver asked to keep his dog with him. Maggie says she is a guide dog and has to explain again that she sits on the floor of the car.
She said she was disheartened by the experience and the obstacle course she faced to get home.
This creates weight on the shoulders. We feel that we are the last priority and that people make the least effort to get us in the door.
Air Canada said it was doing the necessary
In a press release, Air Canada indicates it is pursuing the case.
Directly with the client.
We are committed to providing accessible transportation to all of our customers, and we have many policies and procedures in place to help those in need.A spokesperson explained.
Highly recommended though To contact their medical assistance service 48 hours before departure.
Georgia Pike said she did and received confirmation that she would be assisted to and from the gate.
Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA) spokesman Tom Oomen said the agency is looking into the Georgia Pike case.
He said there are prerequisites for airline and airport training
How to interact with people with disabilities in a way that respects their autonomy and dignity.
If a passenger believes they have not acted on these rules, they should contact the airline, he added. If there is no response after 30 days, the person can complain to the OTC.
Lack of accountability
Marcia Yale is president of the Alliance for Equality of Blind Canadians. Georgia Pike accidents are common and part of the problem is understaffing, she said.
Other determining factors, according to her, are lack of accountability and clear designation of the person responsible.
Is it the responsibility of the airline, terminal, terminal operator? The OTC rules introduced a few years ago say that unless an airline takes care of it, it is the responsibility of the terminal operatorMarcia Yale explains.
Georgia Pike said she has complained to Air Canada and the CTA, but has yet to hear back.
With information from Shanifa Nassar and Ryan Jones
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