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Apr 22, 2024

4 min. read

Changing the Travel Sphere with the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower Initiative Image courtesy of Hidden Disabilities Sunflower.

Today, there are so many ways to get what you need when travelling. In that spirit, a new, simple global initiative called the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower is taking travel accessibility in the right direction. It uses sunflower lanyards to help identify—and reduce stress for—travellers with non-visible disabilities.

Those disabilities include neurological, cognitive and neurodevelopmental as well as physical, visual, auditory and sensory difficulties. Sunflower lanyards are free at customer service counters at more than 200 participating airports worldwide and can be worn throughout airport areas and on the plane. (Some airports now offer quiet rooms and noise-cancelling headphones, as well as assistance from airline staff.)

No questions are asked, as the lanyard alerts staff and crew to ensure passengers wearing one get help if needed. After all, everyone deserves smooth travels. —Melody Wren


If you are travelling with a disability, you’re entitled to proper accessibility, which must be provided by transportation service providers (TSPs), including those at airports. This is part of the Canadian Transportation Agency’s regulations that went into effect in 2021. TSPs who do not follow them could face up to $250,000 in penalties.

Here are some of those regulations:

  • TSPs are obligated to treat persons with disabilities with dignity.
  • Delays should be avoided for persons with disabilities during security screening.
  • TSPs should make “every reasonable effort” to accommodate persons with disabilities in proceeding through certain parts of their transportation experience.

Visit otc-cta.gc.ca/eng/accessible-transportation for more information. Visit hdsunflower.com to learn more about the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower initiative.