On October 17 and 18, members of the Canadian Transportation Agency’s Accessibility Advisory Committee gathered in Ottawa to consult on several key initiatives.
The Committee brings together representatives from the community of persons with disabilities, industry and the federal government. With their specific expertise and backgrounds, the members support Agency efforts in developing and updating regulations, guidelines, standards and other tools with a view to improving the accessibility of the national transportation network.
During the meeting, the Agency sought input and advice in a number of areas, as described below.
Update of Part VII of the Air Transportation Regulations (ATR)
In its new three-year Strategic Plan, the Agency made a commitment to modernize its regulatory regime and to ensure that the regulations and standards affecting the federal transportation network are up-to-date, relevant and clear.
One of the regulations currently under review is Part VII of the ATR, which addresses the terms and conditions of carriage of persons with disabilities. The Regulations require air carriers to provide various services and information to travelers with disabilities. They apply to Canadian air carriers operating services in Canada with aircraft having 30 or more passenger seats.
Update of the Personnel Training for the Assistance of Persons with Disabilities Regulations (PTR)
As always when updating regulations, the Agency is taking a consultative approach to ensure that both the PTR and Part VII of the ATR reflect the dynamic nature of the federal transportation industry as well as the needs of travelers with disabilities.
New Resource Tool for the Carriage of Mobility Aids
The carriage of mobility aids is an essential part of any mobility aid user’s travel, and requires extra planning and preparation. Over the last decade, there has been a marked increase in the size of some types of mobility aids and the frequency in use of all mobility aids.
The Agency is in the process of developing a resource tool to address the carriage of mobility aids on board federally-regulated aircraft, trains and ferries. The tool will assist transportation service providers and passengers who use mobility aids to ensure that these aids are transported safely, efficiently and consistently.
New Resource Tool for the Resolution of Accessible Transportation Disputes
The Agency wants its clients and stakeholders to be aware of their rights and responsibilities in a transportation dispute. It is developing a new resource tool that will enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of the dispute resolution process, while ensuring that the process is well understood and transparent.
Specifically, the resource tool will:
Give an overview of the Agency and its mechanisms for resolving accessibility disputes;
Provide guidance to persons filing a complaint regarding the accessibility of the federal transportation network; and
Offer information to responding transportation service providers.
New Code of Practice for the Accessibility of non-National Airports System Terminals
Currently there are no standards that address physical accessibility, communications or services to persons with disabilities for terminals that are not part of the National Airports System (NAS). The NAS is comprised of 26 national airports linking Canada from coast to coast.
The existing codes of practice apply only to NAS terminals, which account for approximately 94 percent of passenger traffic. The Agency is developing a new code of practice for accessibility that will apply to all non-NAS terminals that handle more than 10,000 passengers a year.