On-board entertainment : A Guide

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1. Purpose

This guide explains requirements for on-board entertainment under the Accessible Transportation for Persons with Disabilities Regulations (ATPDR). In particular, this guide explains carriers’ obligations concerning:

  • the accessibility of on-board entertainment equipment;
  • services for passengers with disabilities who want to access on-board entertainment;
  • publishing information on on-board entertainment services and any related conditions; and
  • personnel training related to on-board entertainment.

Most of these requirements apply to Canadian carriers only. However, the service requirements apply to both Canadian and non-Canadian carriers. Information on the applicability of these requirements to carriers can be found in the document Transportation service providers covered by the Accessible Transportation for Persons with Disabilities Regulations: A guide .

Transportation service providers not covered by the ATPDR may still have obligations regarding on-board entertainment for persons with disabilities. For more information consult Accessible transportation guides - Introduction.

This is not a legal document. The explanations and definitions it provides are for general guidance purposes only. The obligations for providing assistance to passengers with disabilities due to severe allergies are established in the Accessible Transportation for Persons with Disabilities Regulation (ATPDR) and reflected in Annex A of this guide.

In case of differences between this guide and legislation or regulations, the legislation or regulations prevail.

2. Carriers’ obligations

Transportation that is accessible to persons with disabilities respects principles of accessibility, including equal access.

Persons with disabilities have the same need to travel as others and should be able to expect the same travel options that are provided to others, including those which are designed to enhance the travel experience and ensure the inclusion and full participation of persons with disabilities in society.

The ATPDR requirements concerning on-board entertainment reflect the principle of equal access and set out obligations for carriers concerning equipment for on-board entertainment and related services.

3. Equipment requirements for accessible on-board entertainment

All Canadian carriers must meet requirements regarding on-board entertainment equipment:

Ensure on-board entertainment systems are accessible

On-board entertainment systems, except those on a pre-existing aircraft, train, ferry or bus, must permit a passenger with a disability to:

  • access entertainment content. The content must offer closed captioning and audio description and should be the same entertainment content that is offered to the other passengers or, if that is not possible, it must be comparable; and
  • start, stop and pause the entertainment content, turn on and off the closed captioning and audio description, change the language of choice, control the volume and select channels through an interface that is accessible and meet the requirements of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines.

If the interface is not in an accessible format, a tactile template overlay must be affixed over the interface. A tactile template overlay is an overlay which provides tactile feedback to a person with a visual disability so that an on-board entertainment system can be used independently.

Clarification of “comparable content”:

“Comparable content” can be understood to mean content with closed captioning and audio description that is reasonably similar to the content offered to other passengers. For example, if newly released movies are offered, the content should include newly released movies or, if this is not available, it should include movies that are as recently released as possible. Also, the content should reflect the same variety, or as similar as possible, as that offered to other passengers; for example, movies, television shows, news and podcasts.

Note:Pre-existing aircraft, train, ferry or bus means an aircraft, train, ferry or bus that was

(a) purchased or leased before June 25, 2020; or

(b) purchased or leased on or after June 25, 2020, if the carrier submitted a call for tenders in respect of that aircraft, train, ferry or bus before that day.

 

Web Content Accessibility Guidelines means the World Wide Web Consortium Recommendation, dated December 2008, entitled Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0, published by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), as amended from time to time.

Ensure that modifications to pre-existing on-board entertainment systems meet the ATPDR requirements

Canadian carriers are required to ensure that modifications to an on-board entertainment system, like all modifications to pre-existing transportation equipment, meet the requirements for an accessible on-board entertainment system.

Provide personal electronic devices with accessible content when on-board entertainment systems on pre-existing transportation equipment do not meet the ATPDR requirements

  • If an on-board entertainment system on a pre-existing aircraft, train, ferry or bus does not offer content with closed captioning and audio description, the aircraft, train, ferry or bus must have enough personal electronic devices to satisfy requests by passengers with disabilities. Canadian carriers must provide a personal electronic device to a passenger with a disability who requests one;
  • These carrier-provided personal electronic devices must be pre-loaded with — or the aircraft, train, ferry or bus must provide wireless streaming of — entertainment content that offers closed captioning and audio description.
  • The content available on the personal electronic devices must be the same as the content available through the on-board entertainment system or, when this is not possible, it must be comparable to that content.

Note: A carrier cannot charge a passenger for a personal electronic device. However, the carrier can charge the passenger for using the device to access on-board entertainment content on the same basis that it charges other passengers who access on-board entertainment content and who are travelling in the same class of service as the passenger who needs the device.

4. Service requirements for passengers with disabilities who want to access on-board entertainment

All carriers, both Canadian and non-Canadian, must meet obligations regarding assistance for the use of on-board entertainment equipment for travel within Canada or from a point to or from Canada. In particular, carriers must assist passengers with disabilities in accessing onboard entertainment content, including providing assistance in using a carrier-supplied personal electronic device (if applicable) and tactile template overlay.

Publishing information on accessing on-board entertainment

Passengers with disabilities need to be aware of what accessibility services they can request and the level of accessibility of transportation equipment and facilities they can expect.

Canadian carriers must publish the services they offer to passengers, including accessing on-board entertainment, and any conditions on those services. Additional information on the communication requirements can be found in Communicating with Persons with Disabilities: A Guide.

Personnel training obligations

Canadian carriers must ensure that their personnel who are required to use, or to assist a passenger with a disability in using, any special equipment receive training to carry out that function, including in relation to on-board entertainment systems that are accessible to passengers with disabilities.

5. We’re here to help

For more information and guidance about accessible travel and the CTA’s dispute resolution services, please contact us at info@otc-cta.gc.ca.

Annex A: On-Board Entertainment Requirements in the Accessible Transportation for Persons with Disabilities Regulations

Part 1: Publishing and Training Requirements Applicable to On-board Entertainment

5 A transportation service provider must publish, including on its website, the following information:

(a) a notice that it is subject to these Regulations and the provisions of these Regulations that apply to it; and

(b) the services that it offers to persons with disabilities and any conditions that apply to those services

Using or assisting with special equipment

19 (1) If a member of personnel may be required to use, or to assist a person with a disability in using, any special equipment in the course of carrying out their functions, they must receive training that provides an adequate level of knowledge and skills to carry out those functions.

Definition of special equipment

(2) In this section,special equipment includes

...

(e) an on-board entertainment system that is accessible to persons with disabilities

Part 2 – Service Requirements Applicable to On-board Entertainment

35 A carrier must, on the request of a person with a disability, provide the following services to the person without delay and in a manner that respects their dignity:

...

(j) assisting the person in accessing any entertainment content that is offered on board, such as by providing them with a personal electronic device and assisting them in using that device;

Part 3 : Requirements Applicable to On-board Entertainment Equipment

Note: The requirements in the ATPDR concerning on-board entertainment equipment are organized into Divisions according to carriers operating in the different transportation modes (air carriers, rail carriers, marine carriers and bus carriers). The requirements for on-board entertainment equipment are identical for the different modes. These are set out below, with the applicable provision numbers noted in bold.

The requirements by transportation mode are as follows:

  • Sections 80 and 81 – Air carriers
  • Sections 116 and 117 – Rail carriers
  • Sections 163 and 164 – Marine carriers
  • Sections 204 and 205 Bus carriers

On-board entertainment system

Sections 80,116,163,204

An on-board entertainment system on an (aircraft, train, ferry, bus) must be equipped to permit a person with a disability to

(a) access entertainment content that offers closed captioning and audio description and that is the same entertainment content that is offered to the other passengers or, if that is not possible, that is comparable entertainment content; and

(b) start, stop and pause the entertainment content, turn on and off the closed captioning and audio description, change the language of choice, control the volume and select channels

(i) through an interface that meets the requirements for an interface that are set out in Web Content Accessibility Guidelines, or

(ii) if the interface has not been designed to be used with the on-board entertainment system, through a tactile template overlay affixed to the interface

Subsection 66(4),87(4),135(4),185(4)

In this section, a pre-existing (aircraft, train, ferry, bus) means an (aircraft, train, ferry, bus) that was

(a) purchased or leased by the carrier before the day on which this section comes into force; or

(b) purchased or leased by the carrier on or after the day on which this section comes into force, if the carrier submitted the call for tenders in respect of that (aircraft, train, ferry, bus) before that day.

Pre-existing (aircraft, train, ferry, bus)

Sections 81,117,164,205 (1)

If a pre-existing (aircraft, train, ferry, bus) referred to in subsection (66(4), 87(4), 135(4), 185(4)) has an on-board entertainment system that does not offer closed captioning and audio description, the (aircraft, train, ferry, bus) must be equipped with personal electronic devices in a number that is sufficient to accommodate the number of persons with disabilities who have made a request for such a device.

Personal electronic devices

(2)The personal electronic devices must be pre-loaded with — or the (aircraft, train, ferry, bus) must provide wireless streaming of — entertainment content that offers closed captioning and audio description and that is the same entertainment content that is offered to the other passengers or, if that is not possible, that is comparable entertainment content.


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