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Handi-Transit must now accommodate people with episodic disabilities

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It took four years, but a human rights complaint has forced Handi-Transit to start giving rides to people with "episodic" disabilities caused by diseases like arthritis and lupus.

The Manitoba Human Rights Commission said Monday that the City of Winnipeg agreed to change its assessment rules to better serve people who suffer occasional pain and fatigue that make taking regular transit impossible.

The deal came following a complaint by Diane Driedger, former director of the Manitoba League of Persons with Disabilities, who suffers from fibromyalgia. In 2009, after she recovered from breast cancer, her Handi-Transit service was cut off even though chronic fibromyalgia still caused frequent pain and fatigue that made travelling by conventional transit impossible some days.

It’s not clear how many new people may now apply to use Handi-Transit or how that may affect the service’s budget.

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