Travelling with disabilities to Canada

Updated: Mar 13, 2021 | Tags: Canada Entry Requirements, Flying to Canada

As a traveller with mobility, hearing, visual, or any other form of disability, it’s important to understand that different countries will have different disability standards. Many aren’t in a position to offer wheelchair access or other services that disabled travellers may need. It’s recommended that before traveling you review the kind of disability services offered on airlines and at airports. This guide provides a summary of these services as well as provides information on how you can ask support from airlines.

Travelling with disabilities to Canada
Travelling with disabilities to Canada

Should speak with my doctor about flying to Canada?

Consult with your physician on whether it’s ideal for you to pass through the metal detectors at the airport. It helps you determine whether to request for a physical search or to have a security officer hand-wand you as an alternative.

What should I do if I am disabled and flying to Canada?

During the flight booking process, ensure that you inform the airline of your needs to guarantee that it will have sufficient time to make available the assistance you require. This is meant to facilitate your comfort during the flight as well as your safety.

What notice do I need to give for taking my medical equipment with me?

Advance arrangements should be made with the airline to have your mobility aids or the battery-operated chair transported. Call the travel agent or the airline beforehand to establish its policy when it comes to allowing disabled passengers to travel with their service animals.

How should my medication be packed?

All medication should be placed in the carry-on luggage to make the screening process simpler. Confirm that all medicine has clear identifiers which will include your full name. Airlines generally tend to exempt prescription medication from the liquid restrictions. You will, however, need to ensure that you present this to the screening officers.

What level of assistance can I receive at the airport?

Passengers that need additional assistance to pass through the pre-board screening checkpoint should contact the airline earlier. Any person that will offer assistance to you ought to obtain an authorization or gate pass from the check-in counter. They will also be expected to undergo the same screening process as all the other travellers.

In case you aren’t in a position to lift the carry-on luggage, make it a point to communicate the same information to the check-in personnel when collecting your boarding pass. Typically, the air carrier staff that are familiar with luggage handling processes should be the ones offering the assistance you require. This is part of the health and safety measures instituted by airlines around the world.

How will I be screened at airport security?

The screening process at the airport will be streamlined if you have documentation supporting your current condition readily available for inspection.

On arrival at the airport, proceed to the Special Needs/ Family security line. The screening officers stationed at these particular lines are properly trained and are capable of providing any assistance you may require. Inform the screening personnel of any medical, mobility, speech, hearing, vision, or other special needs that you may have. You should not hesitate to request assistance from the air carrier regarding your carry-on items and mobility aids as you go through the various checkpoints. When it comes to passengers with special needs, several pre-board screening options have been made readily available. Travellers with disabilities can completely bypass the metal detectors and instead get to receive a full-body scanner or a physical scan using a handheld wand. Alternatively, officers at security screening stations may perform a physical search.

In case you have an implant (such as an insulin pump or a pacemaker) or a disability that you don’t want to become public knowledge, ensure that you request the screening officer to exercise some discretion. Airlines can provide private search rooms within a moment’ notice whenever it becomes necessary to conduct a physical search.

Security personnel will conduct a physical inspection of the mobility scooter or wheelchair. For security purposes, they may also need to undertake explosive trace detection of your cushion. This involves taking some samples from it. If you have trouble getting in and out of your scooter or wheelchair, these inspections can be carried out while you continue to remain seated.


Researching and consulting in advance is the surest way to ensure that you will not encounter any unpleasant surprises upon arriving to Canada. The tips discussed above should make it easier for you to travel from and into Canada with ease when you have a disability. Try to make use of all the benefits offered by the priority boarding passes issued by different airlines.