Accessible Transportation Planning and Reporting Regulations Highlights

Table of contents

Overview

Accessible Canada act Framework

The Accessible Canada Act (ACA) came into effect on July 11, 2019. In order to remove and prevent barriers in matters falling within federal jurisdiction, including some transportation, the ACA sets out three planning and reporting requirements:

  1. Regulated entities must prepare and publish accessibility plans every three years, in consultation with persons with disabilities, that address their policies, programs, practices, and services in relation to the identification and removal of barriers – and the prevention of new barriers – in priority areas set out in the ACA.
  2. Regulated entities must establish feedback processes so that persons with disabilities can inform them of barriers.
  3. Regulated entities must prepare and publish progress reports that provide updates on the implementation of their accessibility plans and feedback they have received.

The Accessible Transportation Planning and Reporting Regulations (ATPRR) specify how these obligations apply to transportation service providers (TSPs).

The ATPRR guidance material explains what obligations those TSPs have with respect to their accessibility plans, feedback processes and progress reports. The guides also include best practices, examples and sources that TSPs can consult when developing and implementing their accessibility plans, feedback processes and progress reports.

Who does the ATPRR apply to?

Classes of TSPs

The ATPRR apply to TSPs that operate in the federal transportation network and are required to comply with any provision of regulations made under subsection 170(1) of the Canada Transportation Act (i.e., any CTA accessibility-related regulations), notably:

These include Crown corporations and agencies, such as VIA Rail Canada, Marine Atlantic, Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA) and the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA), and private sector entities, including airlines, ferry operators, passenger railways, and bus carriers, airports and other terminals.

Information regarding the application of these regulations to foreign carriers can be found in the section titled How the ATPRR and the ACA apply to foreign TSPs.

The ATPRR establishes four classes of TSPs:

  • Class 1: consists of publicly owned TSPs (e.g., Crown corporations, such as VIA Rail and Marine Atlantic; and, agencies, such as the CBSA) required to comply with any CTA accessibility-related regulations;
  • Class 2: consists of every large private sector TSP that is required to comply with any CTA accessibility-related regulations and whose average number of employees in the current calendar year is 100 or more;
  • Class 3: consists of every small private sector TSP that is required to comply with any CTA accessibility-related regulations and whose average number of employees in the current calendar year is 10 or more but fewer than 100; and
  • Class 4: consists of every small private sector TSP that is required to comply with any CTA accessibility-related regulations and whose average number of employees in the current calendar year is fewer than 10. Note: This class does not have planning and reporting obligations under the ATPRR. 

Publications Timelines

Publication Timelines for Existing TSPs

The ATPRR recognizes that TSPs have different means to develop and implement their initial accessibility plans and feedback processes. As a result, the ATPRR staggers the coming into force of the requirements to publish the initial accessibility plan and the progress reports, based on classes of TSPs.

TSPs are required to publish an initial accessibility plan one year from the date fixed for their class. Accessibility plans are published in a three-year cycle, with progress reports published in any year a TSP is not required to prepare and publish an accessibility plan.

The timelines for publication of accessibility plans for TSPs that are established and subject to the ACA at the time the ATPRR come into force are set out below.

Class 1 TSPs (departments, agencies, and Crown Corporations)

These TSPs are required to have their initial accessibility plans published by December 31, 2022.

TSPs will be required to publish a progress report for each of the following two years, and an updated accessibility plan by December 31, 2025.

The Class 1 reporting cycle would be as follows:

  • December 31, 2022 – Initial accessibility plan
  • December 31, 2023 – Progress report
  • December 31, 2024 – Progress report
  • December 31, 2025 – Updated accessibility plan

Class 2 TSPs (private sector TSPs with 100 or more employees)

These TSPs are required to have their initial accessibility plans published by June 1, 2023.

TSPs will be required to publish a progress report for each of the following two years, and an updated accessibility plan by June 1, 2026.

The Class 2 reporting cycle would be as follows:

  • June 1, 2023 – Initial accessibility plan
  • June 1, 2024 – Progress report
  • June 1, 2025 – Progress report
  • June 1, 2026 – Updated accessibility plan

Class 3 TSPs (private sector TSPs with fewer than 100 but 10 or more employees)

These TSPs are required to have their initial accessibility plans published by June 1, 2024.

TSPs will be required to publish a progress report for each of the following two years, and an updated accessibility plan by June 1, 2027.

The Class 3 reporting cycle would be as follows:

  • June 1, 2024 – Initial accessibility plan
  • June 1, 2025 – Progress report
  • June 1, 2026 – Progress report
  • June 1, 2027 – Updated accessibility plan

Publication Timelines for New TSPs

As stated above, TSPs are required to publish an initial accessibility plan one year from the date fixed for their class. Accessibility plans are published in a three-year cycle, with progress reports published in any year a TSP is not required to prepare and publish an accessibility plan.

TSPs that are established and/or become subject to the ACA after the ATPRR come into force must prepare and publish their initial accessibility plans according to the following timelines:

Scenario 1: TSP qualifies as a Class 1 transport entity

  • Fixed Date: June 1st of the year after which the entity qualifies as a Class 1
  • Initial Plan Due: June 1st of the year after the Fixed Date

For example:

  • A public sector TSP is established during the year 2025 and qualifies as a Class 1 transport entity on December 31, 2025.
  • Fixed Date: June 1, 2026
  • Initial Accessibility Plan Due: June 1, 2027
  • Progress Report: June 1, 2028
  • Progress Report: June 1, 2029
  • Updated Accessibility Plan: June 1, 2030

Scenario 2: Private sector TSP qualifies as a Class 4 transport entity during the year it is established and/or becomes subject to the ACA and qualifies as a Class 2 or 3 transport entity in the following year:

  • Fixed Date: June 1st of the year after which the entity qualifies as a Class 4
  • Initial Plan Due: June 1st of the year after the Fixed Date

For example:

  • A private sector TSP is established during the year 2025. It has an average of 8 employees during that year and therefore qualifies as a Class 4 transport entity on December 31, 2025. Its workforce increases to an average of 11 employees and it qualifies as a Class 3 transport entity on December 31, 2026.
  • Fixed Date: June 1, 2026
  • Initial Accessibility Plan Due: June 1, 2027
  • Progress Report: June 1, 2028
  • Progress Report: June 1, 2029
  • Updated Accessibility Plan: June 1, 2030

Scenario 3: Private sector TSP qualifies as a Class 2 or 3 transport entity during the same year it is established and/or becomes subject to the ACA.

  • Fixed Date: June 1st of the year after which the entity qualifies as a Class 2 or 3
  • Initial Plan Due: June 1st of the year after the Fixed Date

For example:

  • A private sector TSP is established during the year 2025. It has an average of 11 employees during that year and therefore qualifies as a Class 3 transport entity on December 31, 2025.
  • Fixed Date: June 1, 2026
  • Initial Accessibility Plan Due: June 1, 2027
  • Progress Report: June 1, 2028
  • Progress Report: June 1, 2029
  • Updated Accessibility Plan: June 1, 2030

Scenario 4: Private sector TSP qualifies as a Class 4 transport entity for a number of years. Its workforce subsequently increases such that it qualifies as a Class 2 or 3 transport entity.

  • Fixed Date: June 1st of the year after the last year in which the entity qualifies as a Class 4
  • Initial Plan Due: June 1st of the year after the Fixed Date

For example:

  • A private sector TSP is established during the year 2022. It has an average of 8 employees during the year 2022, 2023, and 2024 and therefore qualifies as a Class 4 entity on December 31 of each of those years. Its workforce increases such that it qualifies as a Class 3 transport entity on December 31, 2025.
  • Fixed Date: June 1, 2025
  • Initial Accessibility Plan Due: June 1, 2026
  • Progress Report: June 1, 2027
  • Progress Report: June 1, 2028
  • Updated Accessibility Plan: June 1, 2029

Special Scenario: A private sector TSP is established after the ATPRR come into force during 2021 and qualifies as a Class 4 regulated entity on December 31, 2021. Its average number of employees increases such that it qualifies as a Class 3 regulated entity on December 31, 2022.

  • Fixed Date: June 1, 2022
  • Initial Plan Due: June 1, 2023

Note: The fixed date in this scenario is one year earlier than the fixed date set out in the ATPRR for existing TSPs that qualify as Class 3 regulated entities.

Therefore, any entity that falls into this category may request a one-year exemption in order to adjust its publication timelines.

Deemed Class

If a TSP’s average number of employees drops enough to result in the TSP being reclassified to a lower class, the TSP will be required to meet the planning and reporting requirements and timelines for their new class. However, if the TSP has already published an accessibility plan, the TSP will have to complete the reporting cycle relating to the feedback process and progress reports associated with that accessibility plan before being subject to the requirements of its new class.

For example, consider a TSP with an average of 20 employees in the calendar year that qualified as a Class 3 regulated transport entity. If this TSPs workforce decreased to an average of 8 employees in the following calendar year, that TSP would be considered to have always been a Class 4 regulated entity and would therefore no longer have planning and reporting obligations.

However, if that TSP previously published an accessibility plan as a Class 3 regulated transport entity, it would be required to complete the three-year reporting cycle (i.e., the feedback process and two progress reports) before no longer having planning and reporting obligations.

How the ATPRR and the ACA apply to foreign TSPs

The ATPRR applies to foreign transportation service providers under the Agency’s jurisdiction. This includes:

  • Foreign air carriers;
  • Foreign rail carriers;
  • Foreign ferry carriers; and
  • Foreign bus carriers.

This does not include foreign terminal operators.

In general, the CTA expects that foreign carriers would report on the priority areas as they relate to the following:

  • The operation of services to and from Canada, and ancillary services provided in relation to such transportation;
  • Ancillary services provided directly by the carrier or through arrangements with third parties at Canadian terminals;
  • Ancillary services provided directly by the carrier or through arrangements with third parties at foreign terminals where they are offered in connection with transportation from Canada.
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