Message from the Chair for International Day of Persons with Disabilities - 2023
The International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD) is marked every year on December 3rd, to promote the integration and access to economic, social and political life of persons with disabilities.
This year’s theme, Beyond the stigma: Building an inclusive Canada, represents the kind of environment that we’re striving for, one where no one faces barriers or discrimination based on their abilities.
Protecting the human right of persons with disabilities to an accessible transportation network is a core mandate of the Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA), one that I take very seriously. I want to highlight some of my aspirations for accessible transportation, and how the CTA will continue to contribute to a Canada without barriers and to be a model accessible workplace.
As a regulator and a tribunal, the CTA has played an important role in establishing and implementing Canada's transportation accessibility regime, and in rendering decisions that have been pivotal in shaping accessible transportation services for Canadians.
There is no doubt that progress has been made, however there is clearly still work to be done. For example, the CTA is currently looking proactively at issues related to travelling with mobility aids, and is exploring all of the tools it has available to ensure the safe and timely transport of these critical devices. This includes continuing to prioritize all accessibility complaints that are submitted and proactively investigating incidents even when no complaints are filed.
In addition to implementing its regulations, I have urged CEOs of transportation service providers to nurture a culture of accessibility at all levels of their organizations, one that recognizes the dignity of all travelers, and their right to services that respond to their needs. To that end, transparency regulations, such as the Accessible Transportation Planning and Reporting Regulations help because they shine a light on best practices and they require transportation service providers to work with persons with disabilities to improve the accessibility of their services.
The CTA will also continue its efforts to be an inclusive and accessible workplace for all of our employees. We recognize our responsibility to include people with disabilities in all aspects of our organization. This includes the work that we do, the plans that we make, the projects we undertake, the infrastructure in which we work, and the services we provide.
We designed our offices by collaborating with the Rick Hansen Foundation and received the gold accessibility certification standard. In 2022, we also won a Digital Community Award for Excellence in Diversity, Accessibility, Equity and Inclusion for work on our project, “Digital service transformation – Accessible Transportation for all”. We are committed to listening to people with disabilities as we work towards our goal of becoming even more accessible, as outlined in our 2023-2025 Accessibility Plan.
Please take a moment on the International Day of Persons with Disabilities to reflect on the progress to date, and what remains to be done to truly make Canada barrier-free and to make transportation accessible to all. These are objectives which we all have a role in achieving.
Chair & CEO
Canadian Transportation Agency