For immediate publication
Toronto - A settlement has been reached between six complainants with disabilities who use Wheel-Trans services and the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC).
The complaints arose out of the TTC’s decision in 1996, following cuts to its operating budget, to change the eligibility criteria and application process for Wheel-Trans service. As part of the process, those who applied for Wheel-Trans were required to attend an in-person eligibility interview. Those who met the criteria and were found eligible to receive Wheel-Trans service were required to pay a one-time $25 fee. As a result, the complainants, who all use wheelchairs for mobility and are long-time riders of Wheel-Trans, were required to attend for an interview to determine their continued eligibility for Wheel-Trans, and to pay the $25 fee.
As part of the resolution of the complaints, the TTC will immediately cease charging the $25 fee to those who successfully apply for Wheel-Trans service. The TTC will also refrain in the future from charging to those who apply for and receive Wheel-Trans any fees associated with determining eligibility for this service.
Under the Ontario Human Rights Code, every citizen of Ontario has a right to equal treatment in receiving services including public transit services. The Code requires that the accessibility needs of persons with disabilities be accommodated to the point of undue hardship.
Chief Commissioner Keith Norton stated that, "Accessible public transit services are important human rights issues because they provide individuals opportunity to participate in work, education and community activities as well as gain access to health care and other services. Too often, difficulties in accessing public transit services are a daily reality for persons with disabilities."
He continued, "The OHRC is pleased with the agreement reached by the parties and that the TTC is taking steps to ensure its services respect the rights and dignity of persons with disabilities. We are especially encouraged by the TTC’s recent resolution to approve in principle that the TTC will not charge additional fees to riders with disabilities for the use of Wheel-trans that are not charged to all other riders on the conventional system. In keeping with the Commission’s Policy and Guidelines on disability and the duty to accommodate, procedures and requirements related to accommodation should be reasonable and dignified and not burdensome to persons with disabilities."
Chair, Toronto Transit Commission
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