Compliance Report: Accessible Ground Transportation at Airports

Table of Contents

Background

The Canadian Transportation Agency (Agency) is responsible for ensuring that undue obstacles to the mobility of persons with disabilities are removed from air and federal rail, ferry and bus services and facilities. It seeks to remove these obstacles by:

  • administering regulations and codes of practice;
  • educating the transportation industry and the community of persons with disabilities about their rights and responsibilities; and
  • ruling on accessibility-related disputes and by ordering corrective measures as required.

The Agency ensures compliance with its regulations and codes of practice through periodic monitoring exercises.

The Agency has adopted a risk-based approach for monitoring compliance and works closely with industry and other parties to assist them in areas where compliance has not been achieved.

What was assessed

As part of its regular monitoring, the Agency assessed compliance by airports within the National Airport System (NAS airports) with requirements pertaining to accessible ground transportation, including training of contractors.

Ground transportation is a key element of the successful execution of a trip.

When terminal operators enter into contracts with ground transportation service providers – including bus, shuttle, taxi and car rental companies – they are expected to include accessibility requirements and standards.

The Agency assessed compliance with:

The Agency also assessed provisions related to training of contracted personnel, which are set out in:

Scope

The Agency focused its monitoring on the NAS airports, with the exception of Montréal–Mirabel International Airport, which does not currently serve passengers.

Additionally, although Iqaluit Airport and Yellowknife Airport do not have any contracts with ground transportation service providers, the airports confirmed that taxi companies provide accessible transportation upon request. Additionally, accessible transportation in Yellowknife is available through the City of Yellowknife Accessible Transit Service.  The airport also has "Artic Ambassadors", volunteers who provide assistance to passengers with obtaining accessible transportation.

How the monitoring was done?

The Agency sent a questionnaire to the airports and followed up with them, as required.

Findings

Overall compliance with the monitored ground transportation provisions was very good. 

Of the 23 NAS airports that were monitored, 15 airports were found to be fully compliant with the provisions that were assessed and, as reflected below, areas for improvement are expected to be addressed as contracts are updated.

It is also of note that most airports employ best practices that go beyond their obligations and demonstrate their commitment to ensuring greater accessibility at their terminals for persons with disabilities.

Additional observations

Contracts can meet accessibility requirements in different ways

Depending on the location of the airports and their business models, there are differences in the manner in which contracts are established with ground transportation service providers to ensure the provision of accessible ground transportation.

For example, the Terminal Code requires terminal operators to include in their contracts with ground transportation service providers that they either:

  •  have adapted vehicles that can accommodate large mobility aids; or
  • have an agreement with an alternate provider which can provide this service.

However, some smaller airports which are served by a limited number of taxi companies, do not have the option of alternative providers, and therefore, do not include this clause in their contracts.

The Terminal Code sets out that in cases where an equivalent level of service is not available but another means of accessible transportation is available in the community, terminal operators are to advise the public of the means to access these other service providers.

Airports that do not have contracts with alternate providers confirmed that they provide information to the public on how to access an alternative means of transportation.

Many NAS airports handle directional signage requirements themselves

The Communication Code requires that contracts with ground transportation service providers specify that accessible directional signage must be placed by the service providers in the arrivals area, indicating the locations of each type of available ground transportation.

The monitoring exercise revealed that this function is largely being handled by the airports themselves, thereby making this clause unnecessary in the contracts with ground transportation service providers.

Airports were deemed to be compliant as long as directional signage was available, no matter who provided it.

Some contracts didn't specify that services must be provided at no additional cost

With one exception, all airports include clauses in their contracts with ground transportation companies that require the provision of services such as the carriage of small mobility aids, service animals, and the availability of cars with hand controls.

However, some contracts do not include a clause that these services must be provided at no additional cost to persons with disabilities.

Upon follow-up by Agency staff, all airports confirmed that there is no charge for these services. Airports were reminded to include an 'at no additional cost' clause in future contracts.

Some contracts didn't specify the proper advance notice for the availability of hand controls

While all airports include a clause in their contracts with car-rental agencies requiring the availability of cars with hand controls, some airports do not require any advance notice period while others require an advance notice of 72 hours for ensuring availability.

The Terminal Code sets out that hand control systems should be available to meet requests received at least 48 hours in advance.  

Airports whose contracts contain a 72-hour advance notice requirement have committed to correct this as contracts are updated.

Summary of NAS airports' compliance with the accessible ground transportation provisions

Province or territory Airport Compliance
Alberta Calgary International Airport Full compliance.
Alberta Edmonton International Airport Full compliance.
British Columbia Kelowna International Airport

A high level of compliance, except:

  • contracts with taxi companies do not include a clause that requires them to carry small mobility aids and service animals at no additional cost to persons with disabilities.
  • contracts with car rental agencies require that all contractors receive training appropriate to the requirements of their function with respect to the carriage of persons with disabilities. However, they do not include a clause that requires such training to be undertaken within 60 days of commencement of their duties, as required by the PTR.

The airport has committed to amend its contracts with ground transportation providers to include these clauses when the contracts are renewed in August 2017.

British Columbia Prince George Airport

Full compliance, except they require a 72-hour advance notice period for ensuring the availability of rental cars with hand controls.

The airport has committed to amending contracts to require a 48-hour advance notice period.

British Columbia Vancouver International Airport

Vancouver Airport indicated full compliance with the standards that were assessed with the exception of the following:

  • contracts with car rental agencies do not include a clause that requires them to provide cars with hand-controls without additional cost to persons with disabilities.

The airport confirmed that, although not set out in its contracts, car rental agencies do not charge any additional fees for cars with hand controls. Vancouver Airport has committed to including a clause which reflects this when existing contracts are renewed or new ones are implemented.

British Columbia Victoria International Airport Full compliance.
Manitoba Winnipeg James Armstrong Richardson International Airport Full compliance.
New Brunswick Fredericton International Airport Full compliance.
New Brunswick Greater Moncton International Airport

Full compliance except they require a 72-hour advance notice period for ensuring the availability of rental cars with hand controls.

The airport has committed to amending contracts to require a 48-hour advance notice period.

New Brunswick Saint John Airport

Full compliance except they require a 72-hour advance notice period for ensuring the availability of rental cars with hand controls.

The airport has committed to amending contracts to require a 48-hour advance notice period.

Newfoundland and Labrador Gander International Airport Full compliance.
Newfoundland and Labrador St. John’s International Airport

Full compliance, except contracts with car rental agencies do not include a clause which requires that cars with hand controls be provided at no additional cost.

The airport confirmed that despite this, passengers are not being charged additional fees for cars with hand controls and it has committed to include a clause which reflects this when contracts with car rental agencies are renewed in March 2017.

Nova Scotia Halifax Stanfield International Airport Full compliance.
Ontario London International Airport Full compliance.
Ontario Ottawa Macdonald-Cartier International Airport Full compliance.
Ontario Thunder Bay International Airport Full compliance.
Ontario Toronto Pearson International Airport Full compliance.
Prince Edward Island Charlottetown Airport Full compliance.
Quebec Quebec City Jean Lesage International Airport Full compliance.
Quebec Montreal-Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport Full compliance.
Saskatchewan Regina International Airport

Full compliance, except they require a 72-hour advance notice period for ensuring the availability of rental cars with hand controls.

The airport has committed to amending contracts to require a 48-hour advance notice period.

Saskatchewan Saskatoon John G. Diefenbaker International Airport

Full compliance, except they require a 72-hour advance notice period for ensuring the availability of rental cars with hand controls.

The airport has committed to amending contracts to require a 48-hour advance notice period.

Yukon Erik Nielsen Whitehorse International Airport Full compliance.

Future action

While the overall results of the monitoring exercise demonstrate a high level of compliance with the standards that were assessed, the Agency will continue to work with airports to ensure full compliance with the Agency's codes of practice and regulations.

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