CTA rules obesity is a disability

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CALGARY, Alta. — The Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA) has ruled that obesity is a disability under the Canadian Transportation Act.

The ruling follows a week-long tribunal held in Calgary this fall. The tribunal centered around a complaint by Linda McKay-Panos against Air Canada for their policy of charging extra to large passengers who require more than one seat.

The CTA ruled that each case in the future must be examined individually, and airlines won’t be forced to provide extra seats to obese travellers in the near future.

McKay-Panos was elated with the decision, telling local media that “This decision recognizes that being obese can impact on a person’s activities and their ability to participate in Canadian society.” She adds “For the first time, there is a decision that says obesity can be a disability depending on the circumstances of the individual.”

While some have speculated this case could open the floodgates and bring forth hundreds of complaints from other areas of the transportation sector, but Air Canada lawyer, Peter Engelmenn doubts that will happen.

The CTA will examine the issue further and develop new policies relating to obesity in transportation.

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