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Compliance Report: Bay Ferries Limited
Table of contents
The Canadian Transportation Agency (Agency) is responsible for ensuring that undue obstacles to the mobility of persons with disabilities are removed from the federal transportation system, which includes transportation by air, rail, and extra-provincial ferry and bus. It seeks to remove such obstacles by:
- developing regulations and codes of practice;
- communicating with the transportation industry and the community of persons with disabilities;
- resolving individual accessibility-related disputes and by ordering corrective measures as required.
In addition to enforcement measures, the Agency ensures compliance with its rulings, regulations and codes of practice through periodic monitoring exercises. The Agency has adopted a risk-based approach for monitoring compliance and works closely with industry and other parties to assist them in areas where compliance has not been achieved.
As part of its regular monitoring, the Agency assessed the compliance level of Bay Ferries Limited (BFL). More specifically, the Agency assessed the compliance level of the ferry terminal in Digby, Nova Scotia from which BFL operates ferry services between New Brunswick and Nova Scotia.
This report describes the results of this monitoring.
What was assessed
The Agency assessed BFL's compliance with key provisions from the Code of Practice: Passenger Terminal Accessibility (the Terminal Code) and the Code of Practice: Removing Communication Barriers for Travellers with Disabilities (the Communications Code), as well as provisions in the Personnel Training for the Assistance of Persons with Disabilities Regulations (PTR) that pertain to:
- accessibility features of the terminal in Digby, Nova Scotia;
- administrative services (e.g., how information on available services is provided either on the day of travel or on BFL's Web site);
- accessibility awareness training of staff and contracted personnel at the terminal.
How the monitoring was done
Agency staff conducted a site inspection of the Digby terminal to assess compliance with the above-noted Agency codes of practice. Agency staff also met with BFL personnel to review and discuss its policies and procedures regarding the provision of services to persons with disabilities.
Findings of the monitoring exercise
The results of the monitoring exercise show that BFL is compliant with the accessibility standards that were assessed.
In terms of the exterior features of the Digby terminal, there is signage indicating accessible parking. Also, prior to arriving at the ticket booth, there is signage advising passengers to make inquiries with the ticket agent for disability-related assistance. Given that there is no elevator from the car deck to the passenger deck on the vessel, the Princess of Acadia, passengers using wheelchairs board directly onto the passenger deck area from the terminal via a gangway, while BFL staff drive the passengers' vehicles on and off the vessel. Entrance to the terminal has automated doors allowing for easier access. The front of the terminal has an easily-accessible area where service animals can be relieved.
In terms of the interior features, washrooms in the terminal are accessible and have a designated accessible stall. Signage throughout the terminal is well placed and easily visible. In addition to an oral announcement signaling passengers to return to their vehicles for boarding, there is a visual signal. The terminal is equipped with manual wheelchairs and terminal staff will provide wheelchair assistance when required. The counter in the reception area has a lowered section to facilitate access for persons who use a wheelchair. An elevator provides an alternative to the stairs to access the boarding area and corridors and passageways are free of obstacles and have handrails throughout.
BFL demonstrated a strong commitment to achieving a high level of accessibility. BFL was knowledgeable of the Agency’s regulations and codes of practice and has put significant effort into its accessibility awareness training program for its employees and contracted personnel. BFL's recent Periodic Facility Inspection done by Agency staff revealed that it complies with the applicable provisions of the PTR.
The Agency will continue to monitor the accessibility of the federal transportation system to ensure that passengers with disabilities can travel without encountering undue obstacles to their mobility.