Bill C-81 - The Accessible Canada Act

Implementation of Accessible Transportation under Bill C-81, an Act to Ensure a Barrier-Free Canada

The Act to Ensure a Barrier-Free Canada (Accessible Canada Act) improves accessibility by amending the Canada Transportation Act to provide the Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA) with new tools to help with the proactive identification, removal, and prevention of barriers to accessibility for persons with disabilities within the national transportation system.

New Tools

Own motion powers to initiate investigations

The CTA now has own motion powers, enabling it to initiate an investigation, whether or not a complaint was filed, with the approval of the Minister of Transport. An own motion investigation may be appropriate when the CTA believes an issue that is urgent or broad-based in nature may exist, or when it receives a large number of complaints that can best handled through a single process.

This new provision allows the CTA to take measures to remove undue barriers to accessibility in a proactive manner, rather than on a case-by-case basis, and take appropriate actions to provide remedies to affected persons with disabilities.


This provision is now in effect.

Compensation powers

The CTA has new powers to award compensation of up to $20,000 for lost wages, pain and suffering, and willful or reckless practice, when it finds that there was an undue barrier to the mobility of persons with disabilities. This power to award compensation aligns with that of the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal.


This provision is now in effect.

Order corrective measures if there is undue barrier

If the CTA is of the opinion that there is an undue barrier for a particular individual, despite the fact that a transportation service provider has complied with a regulation, it is able to order corrective measures.


This provision is now in effect.


The CTA has new monitoring and enforcement tools to help it ensure that federal transportation service providers are complying with their regulatory accessibility obligations. This includes the ability to issue Notices of Violation (with warnings or penalties for the violation), and enter into compliance agreements.


This provision is now in effect.

Administrative Monetary Penalties (AMPs)

CTA designated enforcement officers will have the power to levy AMPs to a maximum of $250,000 for non-compliance with certain accessibility related regulations and certain obligations under the Accessible Canada Act. This is an increase from the current maximum of $25,000.


The CTA is developing a new framework for the issuance of AMPs of up to $250,000 per violation to be implemented by summer 2020. This is expected to coincide with the coming into force of the CTA's new Accessible Transportation for Persons with Disabilities Regulations.

Regulations on planning and reporting

The CTA's regulatory authority will be extended to set out transportation service providers' obligations pertaining to accessibility plans, feedback processes, and progress reports. The CTA will develop regulations for those new obligations, which will also set out how it will monitor and ensure compliance. 


The CTA will be launching stakeholder consultations in fall 2019, with the goal of publishing these regulations in Part II of the Canada Gazette by summer 2021.

No wrong door

The Accessible Canada Act requires collaboration and coordination across federal organizations to ensure the fast and efficient referral of accessibility-related complaints. Organizations include the Accessibility Commissioner, the CTA, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, the Canadian Human Rights Commission and the Federal Public Sector Labour Relations and Employment Board.

These organizations have developed a common approach to allow for the simple treatment of accessibility complaints, regardless of which organization receives it.

This approach, referred to as the "no wrong door," will minimize burden and confusion for complainants. The organization that receives a complaint outside of its mandate will be responsible for quickly referring the complaint to the correct organization. 


The organizations responsible for enforcing the Accessible Canada Act announced the establishment of the Accessible Canada Council. The Council is taking steps to engage stakeholders, including persons with lived-experience, to ensure that the voices of persons with disabilities inform the Council’s work.

More information

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