OTTAWA — The Canadian Transportation Agency has released a decision outlining how Air Canada should accommodate travellers with peanut or nut allergies.
It says that when the airline has at least 48 hours advance notice of a traveller with these allergies, it must create a buffer zone around the person.
The onboard snack and meal service would not provide nuts or peanuts to any passengers within the buffer zone, and airline personnel would inform those passengers that they can only eat peanut-free and nut-free foods.
The airline’s next step is to let the transportation agency know within 10 days whether it intends to implement these accommodation plans.
If it does intend to introduce them, the airline has 30 days to submit a formal policy on peanut and nut allergies for the agency to review and approve.
If Air Canada decides not to go along with the agency decision, it must file arguments within 30 days demonstrating that the accommodation would result in undue hardship, or submit a proposal for a reasonable alternative.
In economy class seating, the buffer zone would include the bank of seats in which the person with allergies is seated, as well as the banks of seats directly ahead and behind.
If there is a bulkhead in front, then the buffer zone would just include the bank of seats in which the person is seated, as well as the bank of seats behind.
The decision released Tuesday addresses applications to the agency by Dr. Sophia Huyer and Rhonda Nugent, on behalf of her daughter Melanie Nugent, regarding difficulties they’ve experienced related to peanut and nut allergies while travelling with Air Canada.
“Simply put, it is neither practical nor possible to ban all substances to which any person may be allergic in a mass transportation system, nor is it feasible to eliminate all risks,” the agency said in its recent ruling.
“Taking this into account, the nature of reasonable accommodation is that the carrier, recognizing the severity of allergy, must take such measures as are effective to reduce the probability of contact with an allergen.”