By Stephen Pate
Since I was quoted on camera by CTV using the word “cripple”, some have questioned the political correctness of that statement. It is perfectly acceptable for a person with a disability to use the term “cripple” in the proper context.
CTV News coverage of UPEI removing disabled parking from the inner campus.
Amanda Ferguson, CTV Edmonton.ca Mon Jul. 07 2008 16:23:27
A popular family restaurant vowed to give their staff sensitivity training Monday after an employee kicked out a family because their autistic child was making too much noise. The ordeal began shortly after Sarah Seymour took her family, including her autistic daughter Eowyn, to a Smitty’s Restaurant in west Edmonton on Saturday. Continue reading Restaurant vows to give staff sensitivity training after autism incident
The speed with which Smitty’s Restaurant turned around the gaffe at an Edmonton restaurant can be attributed to the power of the media and social media like Facebook.
Kicked out of a restaurant because the manager didn’t feel the autistic child was normal enough, the mother Sarah Seymour, fought back with a media campaign. She gave interviews to CBC, CTV and the Edmonton Journal. Seymour formed a Facebook group that grew to almost 500 members in a few days.
Smitty’s turned the problem around almost on a dime and will be developing more appropriate policies towards people with autism, even participating in a fund raiser.
Kudo’s to Smitty’s and to Seymour for using social media and regular media to achieve a positive outcome.
Under a Canadian Transportation Agency ruling, travellers who need additional seating because of their disabilities will no longer have to pay more than a single fare for domestic flights.
Air Canada, Air Canada Jazz and WestJet have one year to bring in a “one-person-one-fare” policy for people with severe disabilities — including the severely obese — who require two seats to accommodate them.
The ruling also applies to disabled persons who need a medical attendant seated with them on flights.
The CTA stresses the ruling applies only to people with severe disabilities. “It’s not for persons without disabilities who might, for example, feel uncomfortable in an aircraft seat,” CTA senior communications advisor Jadrino Huot told CTV Newsnet on Thursday.
The CTA estimates the new policy will cost Air Canada about $7 million a year, and WestJet about $1.5 million a year. That amounts to about 77 cents a ticket for Air Canada and 44 cents for WestJet.
But Huot told Newsnet it would be “very hard” to predict exactly what will happen with air ticket prices, as it’s up to the individual air carriers on how they would implement the one-fare policy. “Air carriers will be the only ones that could answer that question,” said Huot.
A complaint was brought against Air Canada, Air Canada Jazz, WestJet and the Gander International Airport Authority in 2002 by Joanne Neubauer, Eric Norman and the Council of Canadians with Disabilities. Neubauer said the ruling means she can finally hold her “head up high.” “I’m an equal Canadian now,” she told CTV News.
Linda Mckay-Panos, who had fought more than 10 years for the obese, was unable to fly because she couldn’t fit into one seat. “I’m really looking forward to being able to say to my husband, ‘let’s go on a holiday where we don’t have to drive. We can actually fly somewhere.'”
Some in the airline industry, meanwhile, are complaining the industry is now faced with making some complicated decisions, including who is obese enough to qualify under the ruling. “They’re imposing new regulatory obligations which also add to the cost of doing business,” Air Transport Association policy vice-president Fred Gaspar told CTV News. “Our check-in agents are not nurses. Our flight attendants are not doctors, so we think it’s a slippery slope.”
Most Canadian bus, ferry and train companies already have policies to accommodate disabled travellers. People travelling with attendants or who have equipment or mobility aides that take up more than one seat do not have to pay additional fares while on board most a buses, trains or ferries.
Currently, Air Canada offers a 50-per cent discount for some attendants travelling with disabled customers on flights within North America.
The CTA’s decision could have far-reaching implications as Canada’s population ages. The case has also sparked the interest of advocates for obese travellers who are often charged extra fares for additional seating. In December 2001, the CTA ruled that some obese passengers could be considered disabled. In its ruling, the agency said complaints issued by obese travellers should be considered on a case-by-case basis.
With a report from CTV’s Roger Smith in Ottawa
Eugene Levy says national autism strategy needed
Updated Wed. Jun. 13 2007 CTV.ca News Staff
Comedic actor Eugene Levy has thrown his celebrity status behind a national strategy for autism.
Alberta is currently the only province in Canada that pays up to $60,000 each year for intensive autism treatment, covering eligible children up to the age of 18. Continue reading Eugene Levy says national autism strategy needed
Canada’s highest court will not hear an appeal from a group of Ontario families fighting to have the government pay for specialized treatment for their autistic children
CTV News -The 28 families argue that costly Intensive Behavioural Therapy — which falls under the umbrella of Applied Behavioural Analysis (ABA) — should be covered by the provincial government.
Earlier, the families won a court ruling in favour of their position, but the decision was overturned by the Ontario Court of Appeal. Continue reading SCC won’t hear appeal for autism treatment funding
Canada’s highest court is expected to rule today on whether Ontario should offer therapy for autistic children in schools across the province.
CTV News- Critics say Intensive Behavioural Therapy, or intensive behaviour initiative (IBI), is far too costly for most families.
“That’s the terrible thing,” Taline Sagharian, who has a 10-year-old autistic child, told CTV.ca on Wednesday.
“Parents who can’t afford to pay for it, they can’t provide it for their children, and their children are not progressing the way they could be, and they should be.” Continue reading Canada’s Supreme Court to rule on therapy for autism
Pat Danfroth of the Council of Canadians in the Supreme Court of Canada lobby after victory over Via Rail
The Supreme Court of Canada has upheld a decision by federal regulators that will force VIA Rail to make their passenger rail cars more wheelchair accessible. CTV News
“Basically the judges have upheld the right of the Canadian Transportation Agency to order VIA Rail to make changes to accommodate disabled people, specifically those in wheelchairs, on their fleet of (French-built) Renaissance cars,” CTV’s Roger Smith said from the SCC.
“That means VIA rail will have to make changes on 40 of the 139 cars to ensure that there’s at least one car that can accommodate disabled people on each train.”
The judges ruled 5-4 in favour of the changes.
The Crown rail corporation said the ruling will cost them between $48 million to $92 million.
In 2003, the transportation agency called for upgrades on the cars including better bedroom and washroom access and expanded tie-down areas for wheelchairs.
In 2005, a Federal Court ruled that VIA Rail did not have to make the upgrades to the cars.
But the decision was appealed by the Council of Canadians with Disabilities, who have been fighting for the changes since 2000.
The cars are used in the busy Toronto-Ottawa-Montreal corridor and on routes between Montreal and the Maritimes.
“I’ve been on those cars and the difficulty with them is that they’re very narrow trains,” council member Pat Danforth told Canada AM. “The door widths are not wide enough to accommodate a standard wheelchair.
“As well there’s not enough room to allow for a standard wheelchair to be tied down on the rail cars.”
Danforth said the washrooms are also too small to accommodate a standard wheelchair.
Lawyer David Baker said Canadian standards are far behind U.S. regulations.
“There’s not a single wheelchair accessible rail car in the country at the present time,” said Baker. “In the United States there is not a single rail car that is not wheelchair accessible.”
Advocates say the ruling could be key in establishing a legal precedent in other areas like airline and bus services.
VIA has argued that incidents where a disabled person has encountered an obstacle on their passenger cars is rare.