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Fight continues for Toronto man denied access to Air Canada flight in 2016

A Toronto man is vowing to fight on, after learning that Air Canada is looking to appeal a recent judgment by the Canadian Transportation Agency.

Tim Rose is an accessibility consultant, making travel paramount to his profession. In 2016, he was looking to book a flight to Cleveland, Ohio, to give a presentation on disability awareness and big business.

Instead, he says he was told that his power wheelchair was too large to fit into the cargo hold of the Air Canada aircraft.

“Their exact words were, ‘It’s just like a piece of oversize luggage. If it doesn’t fit, it doesn’t fit,’” he told Global News’ Shallima Maharaj.

“To equate my independence with oversize luggage was one of the most hurtful things I have heard.”

Rose went public with his situation, and eventually took his case to the Canadian Transportation Agency. On Aug. 11, after a hard-fought battle, the agency sided with Rose.

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In its judgment, it issued a set of corrective measures, and ordered Air Canada to have them implemented by no later than Dec. 20, 2023.

Among them, if the airline receives at least 21 days’ notice that a person’s wheelchair won’t fit within the assigned aircraft’s cargo door, it is up to the airline to find a way to transport that passenger with their wheelchair.

However, a month after the judgment was issued, Rose says he learned Air Canada had filed a motion for leave to appeal.

“Very few airlines have recognized the opportunity, the business opportunity that exists in effectively serving the disability market,” said Rose. “And I really wish our national airline was one of them, but clearly they’re not.”

An email response from Air Canada late Monday afternoon reads, in part, “As this matter is currently before the court, that is where our comments will be shared.”

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