Canada is one of the best places in the world to travel if you have mobility problems or other physical disabilities. All Canadian public buildings are required to be wheelchair accessible and provide suitable toilet facilities, almost all street corners have dropped kerbs, and public telephones are specially equipped for hearing aid users.
The Canadian Paraplegic Association (CPA) can provide information on traveling in specific provinces, and most of its regional offices produce a free guide on the most easily accessed sights. Canadian provincial tourist offices are also excellent sources of information on accessible hotels, motels and sights.
Canada offers great possibilities for outdoor adventures catering to special needs individuals including hunting and fishing adventures specifically for men and women with disabilities.
Nearly all bus companies accept the two-for-one "Helping Hand" certificates, and drivers are usually extremely helpful.
Car rental companies, like Hertz and Avis, can provide cars with hand controls at no extra charge but be sure to book one as far in advance as you can, at least a week.
Most Canadian airlines will usually allow attendants of more seriously disabled people to accompany them at no extra charge.
All VIA Rail trains can accommodate wheelchairs that are no larger than 81cm by 182cm and weigh no more than 114kg. Via Rail offer an excellent service, including served meals, roomettes at no extra charge for blind people traveling with a guide dog, as well as help with boarding and disembarking. More information on Via Rail travel for persons with disabilities.
In order to obtain a parking privilege permit , disabled drivers must complete the appropriate form from the province in question. The permit once obtained from one province is valid across Canada.
Travelers with disabilities will also find the Canadian Transportation Agency's brochure and travel website very helpful when planning to travel by air. Even if you are not flying on a flight regulated by the Canadian government, much of the information from the Canadian Transportation Agency will come in handy when flying as, or with a disabled passenger.
Air Canada is the major airline carrier in Canada and offers a number of services for customers with disabilities. If traveling by air, the identification of your special needs at the time of booking, will enhance their ability to offer the services that best meet your requirements. Their customer service personnel will gladly describe services available and help make arrangements. They do however request at least 48 hours notice (72 hours for certain destinations). Customers should arrive early at the airport to allow ample time for check-in and boarding.
Travelers need not discuss personal details about their disability. Carriers require only information related to the services to be provided.
The wise traveler knows that going through a trip in his or her own mind will help identify omissions and oversights which might otherwise jeopardize a great journey. For travelers with disabilities, such a trial run should cover every step of the trip, from selecting the appropriate flight to acquainting themselves with the destination.
In Canada, federal government set the guidelines that apply to the different provinces and territories of the country in health matters, but the system comes from public funding on a territorial or provincial basis.
Does Canadian health care cover visitors to Canada?