New transportation industry Code of Practice and Guide to removing communication barriers for travellers with disabilities
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OTTAWA - June 4, 2004 - The Canadian Transportation Agency has released two innovative products for air, rail and ferry terminal operators and carriers designed to improve access to information for persons with disabilities who travel:
the Code of Practice Removing Communication Barriers for Travellers with Disabilities (the Communication Code); and
The new Communication Code is a blueprint for improving access to print, telephone, and Web-based information, as well as improved signage and announcements in terminals. Representing minimum voluntary standards that transportation service providers are expected to meet, it was developed in close consultation with the industry, and individuals and organizations representing persons with disabilities.
"The Communication Code will improve the ability of persons with disabilities to travel independently," according to Marian Robson, Chairman of the Canadian Transportation Agency.
The Agency created a companion document entitled the Guide to Removing Communication Barriers for Travellers with Disabilities. This Guide is a work tool that provides useful and practical information to transportation service providers to help them meet the provisions of the new Communication Code. The information enhancements contained in the Guide will also benefit other service providers who wish to improve the communication of information with all their clients.
The Communication Code and companion Guide were released on the occasion of National Transportation Week and following a panel discussion on "the Future of the Transportation Business in an Accessible World". This Agency-led panel discussion brought together industry leaders and users to discuss best practices in accessibility within the federally-regulated transportation network. This year, the Agency marks 100 years of service to Canada in the field of transportation regulation.
"Complementing and supporting existing Codes of Practice, the Communication Code is another important step towards a transportation network which is more accessible and responsive to the needs of persons with disabilities," Mrs. Robson added.
The Agency will conduct periodic surveys to monitor terminal operators' and carriers' progress in implementing the provisions of the code.
To obtain a copy of the Communication Code and the Guide call 1-888-222-2592 (TTY:1-800-669-5575) or visit the Agency's Web site at www.cta-otc.gc.ca. These publications are available in multiple formats upon request.
The Canadian Transportation Agency is an independent Government of Canada quasi-judicial tribunal. Its mandate includes the responsibility to eliminate undue obstacles to the mobility of persons with disabilities within the federal transportation network. Its mission is to administer transportation legislation, regulations and Government of Canada policies to help achieve an efficient and accessible transportation network.
For more information and to obtain a backgrounder on the new Code and its Guide, please contact:
Senior Communications Adviser
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Code of Practice:
Removing Communication Barriers
to Travellers with Disabilities
The purpose of the voluntary Communication Code of Practice for air, rail and ferry terminals and carriers is to improve access to transportation-related information for persons with disabilities. This Code represents minimum standards that transportation service providers are expected to meet. It offers practical solutions to the industry in order to solve systemic communication problems faced by persons with disabilities when they travel.
The Code applies to airports in the National Airports System and to air carriers that operate aircraft with 30 or more passenger seats. Rail carriers and ferry operators under federal jurisdiction are covered by the Code, as well as rail and ferry terminals where 10,000 or more passengers embark and disembark annually.
The Code includes general provisions for improving access to print, telephone, and Web-based information, as well as provisions related to improving signage and announcements in terminals. The following is a summary of the provisions in the Code.
A Multiple Format Policy is to be used to ensure that key travel information is available to all travellers in formats that are accessible to them.
Web sites are to be made accessible to persons with disabilities by following the W3C Web Content Accessibility Guidelines.
Where dispensing machines are used to provide a transportation-related service (such as checking in or paying an airport improvement fee), machines should also be available that allow persons with disabilities to operate them independently.
Where travel-related services or information are available by telephone, TTY lines are also to be provided. As well, automated voice messaging systems used on reservation or information lines should provide a link to an operator or the option of leaving a message to have the call returned.
Communication in Terminals
Public announcements for schedule, connection or gate changes are to be provided in both audio and visual formats.
Accessible public telephones and TTY machines are to be provided in each separate unrestricted and restricted departure and arrival area, 24-hours a day where other public telephones are provided.
Signage in all public areas of terminals are to be accessible to all passengers. The Code provides specifications on how to make signs more accessible.
Some or all departure and arrival monitors are to be installed at eye level in each area where monitors are used. The information displayed on the monitors is to be easy to read, avoiding acronyms where possible.
Where seating is provided, designated seating for passengers with disabilities is to be provided at boarding gates and departure areas within viewing distance of communication boards and personnel.
On-board personnel, upon request, are to give oral, written or visual information to passengers with disabilities about the equipment features of the aircraft, the vehicle or the vessel.
On-board safety videos should also present information both visually and verbally.
Carriers and terminal operators are to implement the provisions of the Code as soon as possible but by no later than June 1, 2007. However, the provisions related to dispensing machines are to be implemented by no later than June 1, 2009.
The Communication Code includes appendices that give further information on communicating with persons with disabilities. The Guide to Removing Communication Barriers for Travellers with Disabilities has also been prepared as a resource for all transportation service providers.
The Agency will conduct periodic surveys to monitor implementation of this Code, and will verify the information provided in these surveys using a variety of means. The Agency will also continue to exercise its authority to deal with individual complaints to determine whether there are undue obstacles to the mobility of persons with disabilities.
As this is a summary of the Communication Code, please refer to the Code itself for more details. To obtain a copy of the Communications Code:
TTY: 1-800-669-5575 (Canada only)
A Guide to Removing Communication Barriers
to Travellers with Disabilities
The Agency has created a Guide to assist transportation service providers in implementing the provisions of the new Code of Practice: Removing Communication Barriers to Travellers with Disabilities (the Communication Code), and in making their facilities more accessible to travellers with disabilities.
Who can use this Guide?
While the Guide was designed to help air, rail and ferry terminals and carriers implement the provisions of the Communication Code, all transportation service providers in all modes of transport should find the information and resources very useful. The Guide will be of particular benefit to carriers and terminal operators when improving communication tools in their facilities and operations to make them more accessible to persons with disabilities. It is meant to be used as a resource to make informed decisions about changes to signage, public announcements, Web sites, automated kiosks, public telephones, information monitors and other communication tools. As well, the Guide may be used in disability awareness training, as it provides examples and explanations of communication tools used by various groups of persons with disabilities.
What is in the Guide?
The Guide provides the rationale for implementing the accessibility criteria in the Communication Code, as well as technical specifications, manufacturers of accessible equipment, contacts with organizations and government departments that can provide expertise on accessibility. Wherever possible, Web site addresses have been included to provide easy access to further information. Examples of best practices highlight businesses or facilities that provide excellent communication tools that can be of benefit to persons with disabilities. The Guide was developed as a practical information resource and is not intended to restrict or specify any operational decisions to be taken by those who are implementing the Communication Code.
Further Editions to the Guide
As the Guide includes contacts, Web site addresses and other information that will change over time, it may be updated at a later date to respond to changes and suggestions from people who use the Guide. A questionnaire is included to encourage feedback on the Guide's usefulness and on changes that could improve the document. As well, readers are encouraged to submit suggestions of industry best practices that could be highlighted in future editions of the Guide.
As this is a summary of the Guide, please refer to the Guide itself for more details. To obtain a copy of the Guide:
TTY: 1-800-669-5575 (Canada only)