Joint News Release - Travel with Confidence

Vancouver, BC (October 19, 1998): Today at Vancouver International Airport (YVR), the Canadian Transportation Agency and the Airport Authority launched two innovative products designed to make it easier for persons with disabilities to travel by air:

  • YVR's CD-ROM entitled Barrier Free Access.

The Agency's travel guide will be of particular benefit to persons with disabilities and senior citizens with little or no air travel experience. The Guide offers information on accessibility features and services available to travellers with disabilities. The booklet was developed jointly by the airline industry, the travel industry, the community of persons with disabilities and the Canadian Transportation Agency.

"Whether you are an experienced air traveller or taking a first trip, information provided in the Agency's new publication will help smooth the way when booking a flight, getting to the airport, moving from check-in to boarding, or when arriving at the airport of destination. We all want to travel with confidence," explained Mrs. Marian Robson, Chairman of the Agency.

The Agency Chairman complimented YVR on their efforts to enhance accessibility at the Vancouver International Airport. Mrs. Robson also pointed out that the joint launch of these the two products illustrates the co-operation that exists between the private and the public sectors to facilitate air travel for all Canadians.

In 1992, while the Vancouver International Airport Authority was in the process of designing its new international terminal, the Board of Directors decided the facility would be a model of accessibility for people with disabilities. They realised that being truly "barrier free" was not simply about adding a few additional features to a building - it meant creating a whole new corporate culture.

"Adopting a barrier free policy in all that we do is a sound business decision," said Larry Berg, YVR's President and CEO. "Barriers to people with disabilities exclude this large and growing market segment from YVR and air travel - that equates to a barrier to doing business. Our CD ROM is designed to help all businesses, not just airports, realise the importance of barrier free initiatives and attitudes. It just makes sense."

"We're proud to be able to share information with the Canadian Transportation Agency and will continue todevelopinitiativeswhich remove barriers for all travellers," added Berg.

Persons with disabilities, seniors and the public can get a copy of the air travel guide Taking Charge of the Air Travel Experience - A Guide for Persons with Disabilities, by calling 1-800-883-1813. The publication is also available in alternative formats.

YVR's CD-ROM Barrier Free Access is available from the Community Relations Group. Please call (604) 276-6308 to receive a complimentary copy. The CD itself is barrier free and can be modified at your computer terminal to accommodate users with varying disabilities.

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Laura Daley
Vancouver International Airport Authority
(604) 880-9815
Daniel Lavoie
Canadian Transportation Agency
(819) 997-0344

This communiqué is available in alternative formats and on Internet, in both official languages, at: (Canadian Transportation Agency Website) (Vancouver International Airport Authority Website)



Taking Charge of the Air Travel Experience – A Guide for Person with Disabilities



  • The 66 page Guide focuses on air travel within Canada and provides:
  • 38 essential travel tips
  • answers to 31 commonly-asked questions
  • a 23 point checklist of things to do every time one travels by air
  • a wealth of information in simple and clear language
  • The Guide uses a step-by-step approach to air travel
  • advice is given on a number of issues such as planning a trip, assistance made available at most airports, and what to do when arriving at the airport of destination
  • The Guide specifically addresses the needs of persons with disabilities who travel by air and will prove very informative to all travellers with disabilities, especially those who have little or no air travel experience
  • Because of interest in international travel, a brief section was added highlighting important issues for travel abroad, such as travelling with medication and service animals
  • The Guide is an excellent example of collaboration between the Agency, the air travel industry (air carriers, airport operators and travel agent organizations) and consumers
  • The Guide is being published in accordance with the action plan outlined in the Agency's Communication Barriers Report released in November 1997. This Report examined problems and made recommendations to improve communications within airports and on board aircraft in Canada


Vancouver International Airport (YVR)



Barrier Free Access


For More Information
please contact:

Airport Authority

Community Relations
Tel: (604)-303-3438


  • In 1992, the Vancouver International Airport Authority was in the process of designing its new International Terminal Building. The Board decided that facilities at YVR would be a model of accessibility for people with disabilities.
  • The Board knew not only was this the right thing to do—it was a sound business decision. Barriers for people with disabilities would mean excluding a large and growing market segment from the shops, restaurants, and air travel services at YVR.
  • The Authority recognised, however, that being "Barrier Free" was not simply about adding a few additional features to a building. To be truly "Barrier Free" meant creating a corporate culture "from the top down" where issues of accessibility are just part of doing business. It was not just about building design but also about training staff to think in broader terms.
  • In late 1996, Rick Hansen spoke at the opening of the airport's new runway and in the Spring of 1997, he addressed the Airports Council International –Pacific Region (ACI-Pacific) Conference about removing barriers for people with disabilities. In connection with these two events, we discussed putting together a handout for airports to share YVR's experience of creating a business culture committed to accessibility.
  • Our CD is not just a story but a resource. Accessible itself, the CD is equipped with special audio, video and text to allow persons with various disabilities to use it.

The CD is divided into sections:

  • "Why be Accessible?" covers the demographics of people with disabilities and presents economic arguments to support the case that "a barrier to a person with a disability is a barrier to making money."
  • "Making the Change" talks about changing your corporate culture and includes interviews with Authority management and staff and Rick Hansen.
  • "Breaking the Barriers" gets intobuilding features designed to help remove barriers not just for people with mobility impairments but also for people with hearing, vision or cognitive disabilities. This section also includes a game for children about how to communicate with people with disabilities.
  • "Access into the Future" discusses how to prevent "created barriers" once a facility opens and future products and testing.
  • "Resources" provides information sources—including hotlinks to useful Web sites.


  • The CD was a cooperative effort. The Authority produced the CD and developed the general concepts. Brad McCannell, President of Canadian Barrier Free Design, took the lead on script development and specific content. Kathryn Thompson, also from Canadian Barrier Free Design, liased with organizations for people with disabilities to gather their comments and input. The team at THE Media designed the art work, game concept and screen layout for the CD.
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