Vision for Accessible Transportation in Canada
Americas, Transportation, June 22 2017
GATINEAU, QC: Scott Streiner, the Chair and CEO of the Canadian Transportation Agency, today shared his vision of a national transportation system that is the most accessible in the world. He outlined this vision in a speech to representatives from disability rights associations and industry.
Since 1988, the Agency has been protecting the fundamental right of persons with disabilities to an accessible transportation network. It does so by making and administering regulations and standards, resolving complaints about accessibility, and undertaking proactive education efforts and audits of transportation service providers.
Last year the Agency launched its Regulatory Modernization Initiative – the most ambitious regulatory review in its history, with the goal of bringing all its regulations in line with current business models, user expectations and best practices in the regulatory field. To date, as part of the consultation phase dedicated to accessible transportation, the Agency has conducted 30 face-to-face meetings and received over 200 submissions from disability rights organizations, industry, and other interested Canadians.
While the Agency is still looking at the input, it found broad support for:
- creating a comprehensive set of accessible transportation regulations – in place of the current patchwork of regulations and voluntary codes — that apply across the national transportation system;
- emphasizing staff training and education on how to better serve and interact with persons with disabilities; and
- having service providers develop multi-year accessibility plans that encourage proactive rather than reactive strategies to advance accessibility.
Details on the feedback received are provided in the Agency’s What We Heard Summary Report.
Following the Chair’s speech, he held an all-day meeting with the Agency’s Accessibility Advisory Committee, to further share his vision and receive input on the Agency’s regulatory modernization initiative. Made up of representatives from the community of persons with disabilities, the transportation industry and other interested parties, the Committee provides a forum for engagement and dialogue, helps the Agency develop regulations and guidelines on accessibility, and allow stakeholders to offer feedback on the effectiveness of the Agency’s accessibility-related activities.
“Travel on a plane, train, bus, or ferry is not just a convenience – it’s an essential part of modern life. We should move as close as possible to universal accessibility, with individual accommodation as the failsafe, not the default. We should design for accessibility, build for accessibility, and train staff for accessibility. One in seven Canadians has a disability and this proportion is rising as the population ages, so this is both an ethical and a business imperative.” said Scott Streiner, Chair and CEO of the Canadian Transportation Agency