The Canadian Transportation Agency is a leading federal government quasi-judicial administrative tribunal and economic regulator. The Agency is highly respected for its fairness and balance, and significantly contributes to making the country's transportation system more competitive, efficient and accessible. The Annual Report highlights our work during 2009-10, which saw the Agency issue more than 2,600 rulings.
As the Agency enters the final year of its first-ever multi-year strategic plan, it will continue to assess progress achieved to date, while remaining focused on its current priorities and defining those it will pursue in the future.
In tune with the needs of our clients and stakeholders
The free flow of information between the Agency and parties outside the organization is of critical importance to enhancing its service to clients. This year, the Agency continued to modernize its external communications by implementing a more efficient and all-encompassing client-centred inquiry system.
Furthermore, we began surveying key stakeholder groups on a wide range of measures of satisfaction with Agency services. This year's benchmark surveys will be complemented by automated online survey tools targeted at an even wider range of stakeholder groups in 2010-11.
Addressing complaints through dispute resolution
The Agency is keenly aware of the negative impact which disputes between parties can have on transportation services. In order to resolve these issues as efficiently as possible, the Agency has developed a diverse range of approaches for facilitated settlements and for making timely decisions.
A significant proportion of disputes brought before the Agency were resolved via informal mechanisms, especially in the passenger air travel sector.
There were also a significant number of decisions made by the Agency in such areas, among others, as rail noise and vibration, allergies, public passenger rail cost determinations, airline tariff clarity and railway level of service.
Monitoring and, where necessary, enforcement of compliance with licensing and permitting requirements as well as previous Agency decisions, continued to be a priority.
Updating regulations in support of a more efficient government
With a view to modernizing and simplifying the regulatory environment, in 2009-10 the Agency pursued or undertook consultation-based reviews of numerous functions under its authority.
A review of the Railway Interswitching Regulations entered its final phase during the year, and consultations got underway on the cost of capital methodology used by the Agency for a number of economic regulatory purposes. Also under review were Agency guidelines for coasting trade licence applications for the use of foreign ships in Canadian waters.
The Agency has been working closely with air carriers on the use of plain language so that consumers can better understand the terms and conditions found in tariffs, the contracts between airlines and passengers.
Improving accessibility for persons with disabilities
In 2009-10, the Agency continued to show leadership in accessible transportation. For example, it reissued Take Charge of Your Travel, a trip planning guide for persons with disabilities, via innovative electronic applications such as DAISY, and as an audio book.
Two implementation guides for air carriers were also published on the topics of tactile row markers and spaces for guide dogs.
As well, the year saw the Agency release two reports that found near-total industry compliance with its code of practice on communication barriers faced by travellers who have sensory impairments.
Investing time and energy to ensure our legacy continues
In light of the increasing number of expected retirements, a targeted corporate recruitment strategy was implemented to ensure that the Agency can continue to deliver high quality, responsive services. The Agency has also been particularly active on the succession planning, mentoring and professional development fronts, all of which contribute to supporting the Agency's objective to be an employer of choice.
We have acted quickly to address any issues raised in employee surveys, and our staff and management worked collaboratively to address them and find solutions that work for everyone.
Finally, we continued with our examination of the Agency's business processes as we seek opportunities to do things better, and to make effective use of available information technology systems and process management techniques.
Looking forward, I am confident that we are continuing to build on the Agency's legacy as a leading tribunal and economic regulator by making important contributions to a competitive, efficient and accessible national transportation system.
Geoffrey C. Hare Chair and Chief Executive Officer