National AccessAbility Week – Message from the Chair
The Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA) commemorates National AccessAbility Week which takes place May 28 to June 3, 2023. It is an opportunity to:
- celebrate the valuable contributions and leadership of Canadians with disabilities;
- highlight the work of people, organizations and communities that are removing and preventing barriers; and
- reflect on ongoing efforts to become a better, more accessible, more inclusive Canada.
On behalf of the CTA, I would like to reaffirm our commitment to one of our core mandates: to protect the fundamental human right of persons with disabilities to accessible transportation services.
On May 25, I moderated a panel at the Canadian Congress on Disability Inclusion: Disability Inclusive Transportation: Challenges and Change makers. Thanks to the panellists, Isabelle Ducharme from Kéroul, Catherine Langlois from VIA Rail Canada and Kerianne Wilson from Air Canada, the discussion was constructive and insightful. A video recording of the panel discussion will be available on our website soon. During this event, the CTA also held a virtual kiosk at the job fair for persons with disabilities. We are committed to making our workplace inclusive and to reducing barriers.
Accessibility is a CTA priority. We make regulations and develop guidelines for accessibility, promote them through proactive communications and outreach, and prioritize the resolution of individual complaints about accessibility. We are proud to say that there is no backlog with accessibility complaints.
We also raise awareness about the importance of an accessible transportation system.
We are proud of the work we are doing but recognize that action must be taken beyond our authority to eliminate barriers in transportation.
We have therefore taken a leadership role on the international stage. For example, in order to improve the handling of mobility aids, we have led three research projects since 2018, and our work has been an important contribution to the recent International Air Transportation Association (IATA) New Guidance to Improve Transportation of Mobility Aids.
Additionally, as a Canadian member of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), the CTA launched an initiative to develop a compendium of the accessibility statutes, regulations and best practices of various countries. The compendium could be used as reference for countries looking to develop or improve their regulations and will inform ICAO's future direction on improving accessibility.
In closing, barriers still exist for persons with disabilities in the transportation sector and there is still work to be done. I believe it is important for all of us, regulators and transportation service providers, working with people with disability, to build a culture of accessibility at all levels of our organizations, and to equip ourselves with the policies, programs, services, and training to make it real.
Chair & CEO of the Canadian Transportation Agency