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Compliance Report: Halifax Stanfield International Airport

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 the Halifax Stanfield International Airport (Halifax Airport).

This report describes the results of this monitoring.

What was assessed

The Agency assessed the Halifax Airport’s compliance with key provisions from the Code of Practice: Passenger Terminal Accessibility (Terminal Code) and the Code of Practice: Removing Communication Barriers for Travellers with Disabilities (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 Halifax Airport facilities;
  • administrative services (e.g., how information on available services is provided either on the day of travel or on the airport’s Web site);
  • accessibility awareness training of staff and contracted personnel at the airport.

How the monitoring was done

Agency staff conducted a site inspection to assess the Halifax Airport’s compliance with the above-noted Agency codes of practice. Agency staff also met with its 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 the Halifax Airport is compliant with the accessibility standards that were assessed.

In terms of the exterior features of the Halifax Airport, there is signage indicating accessible parking. The large revolving door to enter the airport in the check-in area can be slowed with the push of a button, improving access for everyone including persons with mobility disabilities. In addition, the airport has a clearly identified, designated area where service animals can be relieved and its location is provided on the airport's Web site. Airport staff and volunteers are also informed about the location of the relieving area and trained to assist people who use service animals. 

In terms of the interior features, there are ongoing renovations during which the airport is ensuring that accessibility is a primary consideration. For example, the airport included a provision in its contract with the contractor in charge of the renovations that requires that all renovations meet the standards contained in the Canadian Standards Association's (CSA) Accessible Design for the Built Environment (B651). The Agency recognizes the expertise of the CSA in establishing appropriate dimensions and design features for buildings and other facilities that are meant to ensure access and use by persons with disabilities. The CSA is an association engaged in the development of standards and certification activities. CSA standards reflect a national consensus of producers and users, including consumers, retailers, unions, governmental agencies, and manufacturers.

Some of the airport's washrooms have been fully renovated and have been made accessible with lowered counters, sinks closer to the edge of the counters, automatic faucets and soap dispensers, and have at least one designated accessible stall. Some of the older washrooms do not have the same level of accessibility, but will be renovated within the next few years to the same accessibility standards. Signage throughout the airport is well placed and easily visible and information telephones are consistently placed at regular intervals throughout the airport for passengers to obtain information or request assistance whenever needed. Wheelchairs are available throughout the airport and designated seating for persons with a disability is provided at boarding gates and departure areas within viewing distance of communication boards and/or personnel and is identified by the universal symbol of access. 

Arrangements for accessible ground transportation can be made at a staffed desk in the main entrance of the airport and the airport's Web site provides information on the availability of accessible transportation services. 

The airport also has a "prearranged special needs assistance" program, which allows passengers to request specific assistance from the airport on a prearranged basis, both in respect of departures and arrivals. Through advance discussions and planning with the passenger, the airport will customize services to meet a passenger's specific needs. For example, if needed, a passenger could be met and assisted from the Halifax Airport bus stop up to the check-in area or from the arrivals area to the passenger's car or other ground transportation. This includes assistance with luggage.

The Halifax Airport demonstrated a strong commitment to achieving a high level of accessibility. It 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. A recent Periodic Facility Inspection done by Agency staff revealed that the Halifax Airport complies with the applicable provisions of the PTR.

Future action

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.

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