FAQs - The Accessible Canada Act

Table of contents

The Accessible Canada Act

Q1. How does the Accessible Canada Act affect the CTA?

The legislation provided the CTA with additional tools to advance the accessibility of the national transportation system. This legislation came into force on July 11, 2019, and provided the CTA with:

  • own motion powers to initiate investigations, upon approval of the Minister of Transport, regardless of whether a formal complaint has been made;
  • new power to award compensation for lost wages, and pain and suffering, as well as compensation if the Agency finds that a barrier is the result of wilful or reckless practice. This power to award compensation aligns with that of the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal;
  • enforcement tools such as increase of inspection powers, compliance agreements and warnings;
  • the ability for a designated enforcement officer to levy Administrative Monetary Penalties up to a maximum of $250,000 for non-compliance with certain accessibility related requirements;
  • the ability for the CTA to determine that, even if industry complies with regulations, there is still an undue barrier to a person's mobility, and order corrective measures; and
  • a new mandate to make regulations on planning and reporting obligations for industry.

Q2. How is the CTA planning for the implementation of these new responsibilities?

The CTA has enhanced outreach, education, and compliance monitoring activities. It continues to work with other implementation bodies – the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, the Canadian Human Rights Commission, the Federal Public Sector Labour Relations and Employment Board, and the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal to ensure consistent approaches and a smooth, "no wrong door", experience for any person with a disability who wants to bring forward an accessibility-related complaint.

A Council of Heads of Accessibility Agencies was created, collectively committed to ensuring a smooth and effective implementation of the Act.

Q3. What is an own motion investigation?

The legislation provides the CTA with its own motion powers, enabling it to initiate an investigation, whether or not a complaint was filed, with the approval of the Minister. An own motion investigation may be appropriate when the CTA has a reason to believe an issue may exist, and where the issue may be urgent, or broad-based in nature, or the subject of a large number of complaints that can most efficiently be handled through a single process.

This measure allows the CTA to take measures to remove undue obstacles to accessibility in a proactive manner, rather than on a case-by-case basis, and take appropriate actions to remedy them.

Q4. What are the regulations that support the ACA?

The Agency sets out expectations for the accessibility of federal transportation. Our regulations provide clear, consistent, legally binding accessibility requirements for federally-regulated transportation. The regulations are:

The Accessible Transportation for Persons with Disabilities Regulations (ATPDR) apply to large carriers and terminals in modes of transport under federal jurisdiction – all air services, as well as most rail, bus, and ferry services that transport passengers across provincial/territorial or international borders – as well as the Canada Border Services Agency and the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority.

Small transportation service providers not covered by the ATPDR may be subject to the Air Transportation Regulations as well as the Personnel Training Regulations. They are also required to provide accommodations up to the point of undue hardship under Part V of the Canada Transportation Act. In meeting this commitment, they should consider the requirements of the ATPDR as well as these codes of practice.

Q5. How are the measures applied and enforced?

The CTA is able to apply and enforce the regulations using the tools provided by the new legislation.

For example, if a complaint is filed, the CTA can order compensation for pain and suffering arising from a transportation service provider's non-compliance with the regulations.

As well, the CTA will continue to undertake monitoring and compliance activities to ensure transportation service providers are complying with the regulations. These can include compliance agreements and AMPS of up to $250,000.

Q6. Can the CTA find an undue barrier to the mobility of persons with disabilities and order corrective measures even if the transportation service provider is compliant with the regulations?

Subsection 172(3) of the Canada Transportation Act provides clear direction to the CTA that, if it is of the opinion that there is an undue barrier for a particular individual, despite the compliance of a transportation service provider with a regulation, it will be able to require appropriate corrective measures.

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