Passenger Rail Car Accessibility and Terms and Conditions of Carriage by Rail of Persons with Disabilities

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Purpose of this Code of Practice

The purpose of this Code of Practice is to improve the accessibility of rail travel to persons with disabilities. In the 1995 TransAccess Information Base (Values in the TransAccess Information Base are age-adjusted projections of the figures for adults residing in households determined by Statistics Canada in its 1991 Health and Activity Limitation Survey.), it is estimated that 3.8 million Canadians 15 years of age and over have some level of disability. It is further estimated that 168,000 of these Canadians with disabilities travelled by rail in 1995. Since the incidence of disability increases with age, the demand for accessible transportation will be even greater as Canada's population ages.

Two sets of regulations regarding accessible transportation were implemented by the Canadian Transportation Agency's predecessor. One set -Personnel Training for the Assistance of Persons with Disabilities Regulations - ensures that personnel in the federal rail (as well as the air and federal marine) transportation network have the knowledge, skills and attitudes necessary to assist passengers with disabilities in an effective and sensitive fashion. The other - Air Transportation Regulations, Part VII, Terms and Conditions of Carriage of Persons with Disabilities - ensures that air carriers provide uniform services to passengers with disabilities travelling in Canada on aircraft with 30 or more passenger seats. In addition, the Canadian Transportation Agency has introduced a Code of Practice relating to the on-board accessibility of aircraft with 30 seats or more.

With this Code of Practice, the Agency is now addressing the provision of services and the equipment used in rail transportation. It deals with services that should be provided so that passengers with disabilities may expect to travel by rail with a reliable and consistent level of service. It also deals with features to make passenger rail cars more accessible to persons with disabilities. Where possible, it avoids rigid descriptions of exact procedures to be followed and precise measurements. Instead, it offers practical, functional, operations-oriented solutions to problems faced by persons with disabilities who travel by rail. Previous decisions and orders issued by the Agency and its predecessors, the National Transportation Agency of Canada and the Canadian Transport Commission, are reflected in this Code.

It should be kept in mind that safety on board rail cars is the responsibility of the Department of Transport (not the Agency). In this regard, the Department has made safety regulations and the Minister has approved safety rules under the Railway Safety Act. There is nothing in this Code of Practice that relieves any rail carrier from complying with the provisions of any of these safety regulations and rules.

It should also be emphasized that this Code presents minimum standards that rail carriers are expected to meet. Carriers are urged, however, to exceed these standards wherever feasible and to consult with consumer groups when developing and testing new designs.

This Code has been produced by the Agency in close consultation with its Accessibility Advisory Committee. This Committee is made up of representatives of organizations of and for persons with disabilities as well as representatives of industry, manufacturers and other government departments. Its mandate is to provide input toward the development of the Agency's regulations and standards on the accessibility of transportation.

Part 1: Passenger rail car accessibility

Section 1.1 - General

1.1.1 Carriers and rail cars covered by this part of the code

It is expected that this Part of the Code of Practice will be followed by VIA Rail Canada Inc., Algoma Central Railway Inc., Quebec North Shore & Labrador Railway Company, Hudson Bay Railway Company and Amtrak in respect of passenger rail services operated by them within Canada; by Canadian National Railway Company in respect of passenger rail services it operates on behalf of Ontario Northland Railway; and by any future rail carrier that the Agency requests to follow it. Although other rail carriers that transport passengers within Canada are not subject to this Part of the Code, they are encouraged to implement its provisions.

In general, this Part of the Code applies to all passenger rail cars such as coach cars, sleeping cars, lounge cars, food service cars, bar service cars and other service cars used to accommodate passengers. It only applies to those areas of these cars that may be used by the general public.

Section 1.2 sets out accessibility criteria for all types of passenger rail cars while Section 1.3 and Section 1.4 set out additional criteria for coach cars with a wheelchair tie-down ("Wheelchair tie-down" means a space to accommodate an occupied personal wheelchair and a service animal. Given the dimensions contained in the description of what is meant by a "personal wheelchair", in most instances this space will be large enough to accommodate a scooter.) and for wheelchair-accessible sleeping cars, respectively.

Section 1.3 and Section 1.4 take into consideration that structural limitations of existing coach cars and sleeping cars may prevent them from being made accessible to a person in a personal wheelchair ("Personal wheelchair" means a passenger-owned wheelchair that requires a minimum clear floor area of 750 mm by 1200 mm to accommodate the wheelchair and its occupant and a minimum clear turning space of 1500 mm in diameter.) even when they undergo a major refurbishment. However, any newly manufactured coach car or sleeping car specified by these sections to be wheelchair-accessible should be designed to be accessible to a person in a personal wheelchair.

A matrix which summarizes the accessibility criteria to be satisfied in each type of passenger rail car is available.

Rail carriers that lease a passenger rail car for longer than 60 days for operational requirements or to replace a rail car undergoing scheduled or non-scheduled maintenance or servicing are urged to make every effort to ensure that the rail car satisfies the criteria set out in this Part of the Code of Practice.

1.1.2 When and how carriers should follow this part of the code

In general, this Part of the Code of Practice should be followed in respect of any passenger rail car in service or coming into service on or after April 1, 2001. Exceptions to this generality relate to on-board wheelchairs, movable armrests and wheelchair-accessible sleeping cars, as well as to those sections dealing with public liaison and maintenance. The timing for the implementation of each accessibility feature contained in this Part is either set out in the section title or, for the exceptions to the general rule, is described in the section.

Although it is recognized that the Canadian Standards Association Standard CAN/CSA-B651-95 Barrier-free Design was developed as a standard for buildings, it contains many criteria that are just as applicable to accessibility features on passenger rail cars, such as accessible controls and operating mechanisms, handrails and grab bars. Therefore, rail carriers are invited to refer to this standard and, where it is appropriate to do so, to adopt the technical specifications contained in it.

Section 1.2 - All passenger rail cars

("All passenger rail cars" includes all coach, sleeping and lounge cars and all food service, bar service and other service cars.)

1.2.1 Identification (by April 1, 2001)

Each passenger rail car that can accommodate a wheelchair should be identified by the international symbol of access placed on the outside of both sides of the passenger rail car by the entrance.

1.2.2 Signage (by April 1, 2001)

Signage provided on a passenger rail car to aid passengers should satisfy the criteria set out below. (Since safety and crew signage are regulated by the Department of Transport, they are not covered by these specifications.)

  1. Signage should be positioned to avoid shadow areas and glare.
  2. Letters, numbers, symbols and pictographs should be glare-free and presented in contrasting colours ("Contrasting colours" means a light colour on a dark background or a dark colour on a light background, with light on dark being preferable for signage.).
  3. Letters and numbers should be sans serif, and numbers should be Arabic. Letters and numbers should have at least a width-to-height ratio between 3:5 and 1:1 and a stroke-width-to-height ratio between 1:5 and 1:10.
  4. When tactile signage or markers are used, letters, numbers, symbols and pictographs should be raised at least 0.8 mm and should be between 16 mm and 50 mm high. If a tactile sign is mounted on a wall, its centre should be at a height of 1500 mm plus or minus 25 mm above the floor.
  5. If signage is supplemented with braille, it should be located at the bottom of the sign and presented in Grade One Braille that meets the standards of the Canadian Braille Authority in English and in Braille integral that meets the standards of the Comite interministeriel sur la normalisation du braille in French.
  6. If electronic signage is used, letters, numbers, symbols and pictographs should be slowly scrolled across the screen. Red letters on a black background should not be used.

1.2.3 Lighting (by April 1, 2001)

Lighting on a passenger rail car, except reading and other lighting under the control of a passenger, should be directed and controlled so as not to create glare or shadows.

Lighting should not result in any sharp contrasts in intensity throughout a passenger rail car, but should be used to accentuate stairs and their handrails or grab bars.

1.2.4 Stairs (by April 1, 2001)

Stairs on a passenger rail car should have uniform, closed riser heights and uniform tread depths, and a first step up (a last step down) of a height that does not exceed the uniform riser height.

The tread surfaces of the stairs should be firm and non-slippery and should not create glare.

The top outer edge of each step should be marked by a contrasting colour strip that runs the full width of the step and is readily apparent from both directions of travel.

Handrails or grab bars should be provided on both sides.

If structural limitations of a passenger rail car prevent any of the above criteria concerning uniform heights and depths, first (last) step, handrails or grab bars from being satisfied, a rail carrier should provide assistance, if requested, to a person with a disability in ascending and descending the stairs.

In addition, if the criterion concerning the first (last) step cannot be satisfied, a rail carrier should provide a step box. This step box should be sturdy and have a tread surface that is firm and non-slippery and does not create glare. It should also have its top outer edge marked by a contrasting colour strip that runs the full width of the box and is readily apparent from both directions of travel.

1.2.5 Handrails and grab bars (by April 1, 2001)

Handrails and grab bars on a passenger rail car should be sturdy and of a height and length that permit use by a person in a wheelchair.

Handrails and grab bars should be rounded and free of any sharp or abrasive element. They should have an exterior diameter and a clearance from the wall surface to which they are attached that permit easy grasping. They should not have any obstructions that could break a handhold.

Handrails and grab bars should be colour contrasted from their surrounding area or marked with a contrasting colour strip that runs the full length of the handrail or grab bar.

Handrails and grab bars should also return to a wall or floor in a smooth curve.

1.2.6 Floors (by April 1, 2001)

Floor surfaces on and between passenger rail cars should be slip-resistant. Glare from floor surfaces should be reduced as far as practicable.

If carpeting is used on a passenger rail car, it should be securely attached. It should have a short pile and a firm underpad or no underpad at all.

1.2.7 Emergency window exits (by April 1, 2001)

Emergency window exits on a passenger rail car should be clearly identified by a contrasting colour strip around the perimeter of the window or by a tactile sign or by both.

1.2.8 Seats with floor space to accommodate a service animal (by April 1, 2001)

Each passenger rail car (other than a sleeping car) should have a number of passenger seats that each provides enough floor space for a service animal ("Service animal" means an animal that is required by a person with a disability for assistance and is certified, in writing, as having been trained to assist a person with a disability by a professional service animal institution.) to lie down. This seating should be designated by signage for use by persons with disabilities.

1.2.9 Tactile seat markers (by April 1, 2001)

Tactile markers to indicate row numbers should be placed on passenger aisle seats in coach cars. If these seats can rotate, the tactile marker should be placed on both sides of the seat.

1.2.10 Means to communicate announcements (by April 1, 2001)

If a rail carrier makes announcements to passengers, such as announcements concerning stops, delays, schedule changes, connections, on-board services and claiming of publication/baggage, the carrier should have the means within the passenger rail car of visually and verbally providing these announcements to persons with disabilities.

1.2.11 Washrooms (by April 1, 2001)

Public washrooms on all passenger rail cars, other than a coach car that provides a wheelchair tie-down, should be accessible to persons with disabilities with the exception of persons in a wheelchair. This means that these washrooms should satisfy the criteria set out in Appendix B, i.e. that these washrooms should contain accessibility features other than those space and location features that would make them accessible to persons in a wheelchair.

1.2.12 Alarms (by April 1, 2001)

If a passenger rail car is equipped with an alarm system, the system should be visual and audible and, when activated, display continuously.

Visual alarms should be a flashing light that is strategically placed and significantly brighter than the ambient light.

1.2.13 Storage space for personal wheelchairs (by April 1, 2001)

A passenger train with only one wheelchair tie-down should have priority storage space on the train for one other personal wheelchair.

1.2.14 On-board wheelchairs provided by carriers

As of April 1, 1998, each passenger train should be equipped at all times with at least one on-board wheelchair provided by the rail carrier.

The on-board wheelchair should have a design that permits easy transfer of an occupant and easy manoeuvring of the chair with assistance in and between the passenger rail cars. It should have footrests, armrests that are movable or removable, an occupant restraint device and wheel locks.

Section 1.3 - Coach cars with a wheelchair tie-down

1.3.1 Number of wheelchair tie-downs (by April 1, 2001)

Each passenger train should have at least one wheelchair tie-down.

This tie-down should be in a coach car that satisfies the accessibility criteria set out in Section 1.3 in addition to those in Section 1.2.

1.3.2 Doorways (by April 1, 2001)

A coach car with a wheelchair tie-down should have doorways that are wide enough to permit a person in a personal wheelchair to access the tie-down.

If structural limitations of an existing coach car with a wheelchair tie-down prevent this criterion from being satisfied, the coach car should at least have doorways that are wide enough to permit a person using an on-board wheelchair to access the car.

1.3.3 Washrooms (by April 1, 2001)

A coach car with a wheelchair tie-down should have at least one washroom that is wheelchair-accessible. This means that the washroom should satisfy the criteria set out in Appendix C, i.e. that the washroom should contain features that make it accessible to persons with disabilities including features related to space and the location of fixtures so that they are usable by a person in a personal wheelchair. Carriers are encouraged to pursue the possibility of making this washroom large enough to accommodate a person in a wheelchair and their attendant.

If it is not possible, as a result of structural limitations of an existing coach car, for this washroom to be accessible to a person in a personal wheelchair, it should at least be accessible to a person in an on-board wheelchair.

1.3.4 Location of wheelchair tie-downs (by April 1, 2001)

The location of the wheelchair tie-down should permit easy access to the wheelchair-accessible doorways and washroom.

The tie-down should also have a tray or table available for serving meals to the person in the wheelchair.

1.3.5 Armrests

With respect to a newly manufactured coach car with a wheelchair tie-down that is ordered, purchased or leased by a rail carrier to be used on or after April 1, 2001, at least 10 per cent of the aisle armrests on the passenger aisle seats in the car should be movable. If possible, the passenger seats with movable aisle armrests should be evenly distributed throughout that coach car. This seating should be designated by signage for use by persons with disabilities.

For existing passenger seats in a coach car with a wheelchair tie-down that are being replaced with newly manufactured passenger seats on or after April 1, 2001, the aisle armrests on the newly manufactured passenger seats should be movable. This practice should continue until such time as the above criteria concerning 10 per cent movable armrests and even distribution are satisfied.

Section 1.4 - Wheelchair-accessible sleeping cars

1.4.1 How many cars should have what features and by when

Eventually, every passenger train that provides sleeping car facilities should have at least one sleeping car that has at least one wheelchair-accessible room that satisfies the criteria set out in Section 1.4.2. This room should be in a sleeping car that has doorways that are wide enough to permit a person in a personal wheelchair to access that room.

Until such time as this goal is reached, any newly manufactured sleeping car ordered, purchased or leased by a rail carrier to be used on or after April 1, 2001, or any existing sleeping car undergoing a major refurbishment to be used on or after that same date, should satisfy the accessibility criteria set out in the preceding paragraph in addition to those set out in Section 1.2.

In the case of existing sleeping cars, it is recognized that structural limitations of these cars could prevent some of the space requirements for accommodating a person in a personal wheelchair from being satisfied. In these instances, carriers are urged to strive to make the sleeping cars at least accessible to a person in an on-board wheelchair.

1.4.2 Accessibility criteria for sleeping car rooms

At least one room in at least one sleeping car on a passenger train that provides sleeping car facilities should satisfy the criteria that follow.

  1. The room should be identified by the international symbol of access in pictograph and tactile form by or on the door.
  2. Doorways should be wide enough to accommodate a person in a personal wheelchair. They should also have enough space to manoeuvre that wheelchair on both sides of the door.
    If thresholds are necessary, they should not be more than 13 mm high and they should be bevelled.
    Door handles, pulls, latches, locks and other operational devices should be mounted at a height that permits use by a person in a personal wheelchair. They should be operable with one hand and minimal force and should not require fine finger control, tight grasping, pinching or twisting of the wrist. They should also be colour contrasted from their surrounding area.
    If sliding doors are used, these operational devices should be exposed and usable from both sides when in a fully-open position.
  3. The floor space should permit a person in a personal wheelchair to enter the room and use all the facilities in the room.
  4. The room should include a washroom that satisfies the criteria set out in Sections 2 to 11 of Appendix C.
  5. The room should have a call button that sends a signal that can reach staff at all times.
  6. Controls and outlets, such as call buttons, electrical switches and electrical and communication wall outlets, should be located adjacent to a clear floor space at a height that permits use by a person in a personal wheelchair. They should be operable with one hand and minimal force and not require fine finger control, tight grasping, pinching or twisting of the wrist. They should also be colour contrasted from their surrounding area and capable of being adequately illuminated. Finally, at least the call button should be identified by a tactile marker.

Section 1.5 - Public liaison

As of April 1, 1998, whenever a significant improvement is made to the accessibility of any passenger service in a rail carrier's network, the carrier should prepare a statement to announce the change and should send it to both print and electronic media, and to organizations of and for persons with disabilities in the communities served by the train service.

Section 1.6 - Maintenance

As of April 1, 1998, a rail carrier should have procedures in place to ensure that all existing passenger rail car accessibility features are maintained in good working order. These procedures should be updated as new accessibility features are introduced.

Part 2: Terms and conditions of carriage by rail of persons with disabilities

Section 2.1 - General

2.1.1 Carriers covered by this part of the code

As with Part 1, it is expected that this Part of the Code of Practice will be followed by VIA Rail Canada Inc., Algoma Central Railway Inc., Quebec North Shore & Labrador Railway Company, Hudson Bay Railway Company and Amtrak in respect of passenger rail services operated by them within Canada; by Canadian National Railway Company in respect of passenger rail services it operates on behalf of Ontario Northland Railway; and by any future rail carrier that the Agency requests to follow it. Although other rail carriers that transport passengers within Canada are not subject to this Part of the Code, they are encouraged to implement its provisions.

2.1.2 When carriers should follow this part of the code

Rail carriers should begin to follow this Part of the Code of Practice as soon as possible after April 1, 1998, and preferably no later than July 1, 1998.

Section 2.2 - Services to be provided

2.2.1 Services to be provided automatically

A rail carrier should accept a service animal for carriage without charge and permit the animal to accompany the passenger on board.

2.2.2 Services provided on request that do not require advance notice

  1. When a reservation is being made or a ticket is being purchased for a person with a disability, a rail carrier should describe, if requested, the services that it provides to persons with disabilities and any conditions in respect of those services. The carrier should also ask which services that person would like to have provided.
  2. At all staffed stations, if a person is in a wheelchair, boarding chair or any other device in which the person is not independently mobile and has made themselves known to staff, a rail carrier should inquire periodically about the needs of the person and should attend to those needs where the services required are usually provided by the carrier.
  3. If a rail carrier makes announcements to passengers on a train, the carrier should communicate such announcements either visually or verbally to a passenger with a disability if requested to do so.
  4. If a rail carrier furnishes menus, the carrier should provide assistance, if requested, to a person with a disability by either reading the menu or making available a large print and/or braille version of it. The large print version should be in 14 point or larger sans serif type with dark characters on a light background. The braille version should be in Grade Two Braille that meets the standards of the Canadian Braille Authority in English and in Braille abrege etendu that meets the standards of the Comite interministeriel sur la normalisation du braille in French.

2.2.3 Advance notice

If a passenger with a disability would like one or more of the services described below in Sections 2.2.4 to 2.2.6 to be provided, the passenger should make a request at least 48 hours before the scheduled time of departure of the train.

If less notice is given, a rail carrier should make a reasonable effort to provide the services needed. Also, if a rail carrier's policy in effect on April 1, 1998 specifies that less than 48 hours notice is required, the carrier is expected to continue with that policy.

2.2.4 Arrival and departure services that require advance notice

If requested in advance to do so by a person with a disability, a rail carrier should provide assistance with the following:

  1. registering at the ticket counter, except where stations are unstaffed;
  2. moving to the boarding area, except where stations are unstaffed or staffed with only one person;
  3. entraining (If assistance is requested, a carrier may require a person to preboard the train.) and detraining;
  4. transferring between the person's own wheelchair, scooter or other mobility aid and a wheelchair, boarding chair or other mobility aid provided by the rail carrier;
  5. retrieving checked publication/baggage; and
  6. moving to the general public area, except where stations are unstaffed or staffed with only one person.

At the time of booking, a rail carrier may inquire whether acquaintances or accompanying attendants of a passenger with a disability could assist the carrier's personnel, if necessary, with entraining and detraining the passenger.

2.2.5 Services related to the carriage of aids that require advance notice

  1. When advance notice is given, a rail carrier should accept for carriage an electric wheelchair, a scooter, a manually-operated rigid-frame wheelchair, a manually-operated folding or collapsible wheelchair, any device that assists a person to communicate better and any prosthesis or medical device. The carriage of these aids should be without charge and in addition to the free publication/baggage allowance permitted to a passenger.
  2. When advance notice is given and unless the wheelchair or scooter has to be carried in a rail car other than the one in which the person is travelling, a rail carrier should permit a person who uses a wheelchair or scooter to remain in it:
    • where facilities permit, while the person is moving between the station and the train;
    • where space and facilities permit, while the person is moving between the station and the passenger seat; or
    • where facilities permit, and a tie-down is available, while the person is moving between the station and the tie-down.
  3. When advance notice is given and space permits, a rail carrier should permit a person who uses a wheelchair or scooter to store it in the passenger rail car in which the person is travelling. Also, a carrier should permit a person who uses a small aid to retain the aid in their custody during the trip.

If space does not permit the carriage of a wheelchair or scooter in the passenger rail car in which the person is travelling but it can be carried on the same train, a rail carrier should carry the aid on that train and return it to the person promptly on arrival at the person's destination.

An exception to the above provisions relates to the carriage of an electric wheelchair, a scooter or a manually-operated rigid-frame wheelchair. A rail carrier is not required to carry one of these large mobility aids if it cannot be transported on the same train on which the person is travelling because that train does not have either a passenger rail car or a publication/baggage car that can accommodate it. In this instance, however, a rail carrier should advise the person about other arrangements that can be made to transport the aid.

2.2.6 On-board services that require advance notice

If requested in advance to do so by a person with a disability, a rail carrier should provide the following services on a train:

  1. assisting with putting away (If assistance is requested, a carrier may require a person to preboard the train.) and retrieving carry-on publication/baggage, including oxygen cylinders;
  2. assisting with transferring between a wheelchair, boarding chair or other mobility aid and the person's passenger seat (If assistance is requested, a carrier may require a person to preboard the train.);
  3. assisting, other than by carrying, with moving to and from a passenger rail car washroom, including assistance with using an on-board wheelchair;
  4. serving food and beverages available from passenger rail cars that are not accessible to the person;
  5. assisting with meals, such as opening packages, identifying items and cutting large food portions;
  6. if appropriate facilities and/or supplies are available, storing medication at cool temperatures and serving special meals provided by the carrier; and
  7. inquiring periodically during the trip about the person's needs, and attending to those needs where the services required are usually provided by the carrier.

2.2.7 In case of cancellation of rail service

If a person has requested that one or more of the services mentioned in Sections 2.2.4 to 2.2.6 be provided by a rail carrier, and that person has to travel on a train of a different rail carrier or by a carrier of a different mode of transportation because of cancellation of rail service, the original rail carrier should provide all reasonable cooperation to enable the substitute carrier to provide the requested service.

Section 2.3 - Administration

2.3.1 Handling requests for service

If a rail carrier has the facilities to do so, it should indicate in the record of the reservation for a person with a disability any services that it has undertaken to provide to that person.

Along with their ticket, a rail carrier should provide a person with a disability with a confirmation written in plain language, e.g. without the use of abbreviations or codes, of the services that it has undertaken to provide to that person.

A rail carrier should ensure that its appropriate personnel are made aware of the services that are to be provided.

If a rail carrier has agents operating on its behalf, it should inform these agents of the matters set out in this section.

2.3.2 Assigning seats and rooms

If a person identifies the nature of their disability, a rail carrier should, before assigning a passenger seat or room to them, inform the person of those passenger seats or rooms in the passenger rail car to be used that are considered to be most accessible for them. Further, the rail carrier should determine with the person if those seats or rooms are compatible with their needs, and if they are not, the carrier should be flexible in assigning another seat or room.

If a rail carrier assigns passenger seats or rooms before a trip, accessible passenger seats or rooms should be the last seats or rooms assigned to passengers without disabilities.

If a rail carrier does not assign passenger seats or rooms before a trip, it should make a reasonable effort to ensure that accessible passenger seats or rooms are the last seats or rooms made available to passengers without disabilities.

2.3.3 Publishing system timetables

If a rail carrier publishes a system timetable, it should set out in that timetable the services that it provides to persons with disabilities and any conditions in respect of those services.

If a rail carrier publishes timetables other than a system timetable, these other timetables should include a reference that services provided to persons with disabilities are set out in the system timetable.

If, in addition to being set out in a system timetable, the services provided to persons with disabilities are set out in a separate publication, all timetables should make reference to this other publication.

2.3.4 Accepting a passenger's judgement

A rail carrier should accept the determination made by or on behalf of a person with a disability that the person does not require any extraordinary service during a trip, that is, does not need any service related to a disability that is not usually provided by the carrier.

Section 2.4 - Damaged or lost mobility aids

2.4.1 Provision of a temporary replacement

If a rail carrier accepts a mobility aid (i.e. a wheelchair, a scooter, a walker, a cane, crutches or braces) of a person with a disability for carriage and the aid is damaged during carriage or is not available to the person upon their arrival at their destination, the carrier should, without charge, immediately provide the person with a suitable temporary replacement at their destination.

2.4.2 Damaged aids that can be repaired

If a rail carrier accepts a mobility aid of a person with a disability for carriage and the aid is damaged during carriage and can be repaired, the carrier should, in addition to providing a temporary replacement aid, immediately arrange for the prompt and adequate repair of the aid at the carrier's expense and return it to the person at the carrier's expense as soon as possible.

2.4.3 Damaged aids that cannot be repaired and lost aids

If a rail carrier accepts a mobility aid of a person with a disability for carriage and the aid is damaged during carriage and cannot be repaired promptly and adequately or the rail carrier cannot locate the aid within 72 hours after the scheduled time of arrival of the aid at the person's destination and return it promptly to the person, the carrier should, in addition to providing a temporary replacement aid, either replace the damaged or lost aid with one that is identical in all material respects or with one that is different but satisfactory to the person, or reimburse the person for the full replacement cost of the aid despite the limits of liability respecting goods contained in any applicable tariff.

2.4.4 Use of a temporary replacement aid

If a rail carrier provides a person with a temporary replacement aid, that person should be able to continue to have the use of the replacement until the time their aid is returned to them (if the aid is to be repaired) or until a reasonable period for the replacement of the aid has elapsed (if the carrier has taken steps to replace a damaged or lost aid or has reimbursed the person).

About the Agency

Our role in making transportation accessible

The Canadian Transportation Agency is a quasi-judicial administrative tribunal and economic regulator of the Government of Canada.

Under Canadian legislation, the Agency has the responsibility for ensuring that persons with disabilities obtain access to this country’s federal transportation system by eliminating unnecessary or unjustified barriers. One way to achieve this goal is to develop and administer accessibility standards covering the transportation system under federal jurisdiction. Other ways include resolving disputes through facilitation, mediation or adjudication, and by consulting with stakeholders.

Under subsection 170(1) of the Canada Transportation Act, the Agency may make regulations to eliminate undue obstacles in the transportation network under federal jurisdiction. For example, the Agency may regulate:

  • the design, construction or modification of means of transportation and related facilities and premises and their equipment;
  • signage;
  • the training of personnel interacting with persons with disabilities;
  • the tariffs, rates, fares, charges and terms and conditions of carriage of persons with disabilities; and
  • communication of information for persons with disabilities

How we monitor compliance

The Agency will conduct periodic surveys to monitor the progress on the implementation of this Code, and will report the findings to its Accessibility Advisory Committee.

In addition to these surveys, periodic reviews of the Code will also be undertaken. Any problems identified will be addressed through consultations with the Accessibility Advisory Committee, and any proposed amendments to be distributed by Agency staff to the public for comment will be made with input from this Committee.

Throughout this process, the Agency will continue to exercise its authority to deal with individual complaints to determine whether there is an undue obstacle to the mobility of persons with disabilities.

Additional references

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