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Compliance Report: Multiple Format Policy

Table of contents

The Canadian Transportation Agency is responsible for ensuring that undue obstacles to the mobility of persons with disabilities are removed from federally regulated transportation services and facilities, which include air, rail, and extra-provincial ferry and bus transportation. It seeks to remove such obstacles by:

  • developing regulations, codes of practice and standards;
  • communicating with the transportation industry and the community of persons with disabilities;
  • resolving individual accessibility-related disputes; and by ordering corrective measures as required.

The Agency follows the federal government's policy of setting standards using alternatives to regulations and therefore develops voluntary codes of practice and other standards. In 2004, the Agency released its Code of Practice: Removing Communication Barriers for Travellers with Disabilities (Code), which aims to improve the communication of transportation-related information for persons with disabilities. This Code was developed through consultation with industry and groups representing persons with disabilities.

Carriers in the air, rail and ferry modes of transport, and airports, passenger rail stations and ferry terminals were to be compliant by June 2007. Interprovincial bus operations are covered by a code of practice administered by Transport Canada and, as such, are not subject to the Communication Code.

Section 1.1 of the Communication Code states that service providers were to develop and follow their own multiple format policies. Multiple format policies help to ensure that information related to travel by persons with disabilities is available in a format they can use, such as large print or electronic files.

This report is on compliance by carriers and terminals operating air, rail and ferry passenger services with section 1.1 of the Code.

Process of the Agency's Compliance Initiative

The multiple format policy initiative is a multi-step project designed to increase the number of transportation service providers who develop and follow a multiple format policy. At the time that the Code came into effect, none of the transportation service providers subject to the Code had a multiple format policy.

The project, which began in 2007, consisted of a series of measures:

  • reminding carriers, airports, passenger rail stations and ferry terminals of the need to develop multiple format policies
  • providing assistance by way of multiple format policy templates that could be customized to meet the specific operational needs of the carriers and terminal operators
  • providing assistance by way of consultation with Agency staff.

While all 55 transportation service providers subject to the Communication Code were included in the above-noted measures, the Agency decided to focus its subsequent compliance efforts on the following ten key transportation service providers operating services in the 3 modes of transportation (i.e. air, rail and ferry).

  1. Air Canada and Air Canada Jazz
  2. WestJet
  3. VIA Rail
  4. Northumberland and Bay Ferries
  5. Marine Atlantic
  6. Lester B. Pearson International Airport (Toronto)
  7. Vancouver International Airport
  8. Pierre E. Trudeau International Airport (Montreal)
  9. Calgary International Airport
  10. Edmonton International Airport

Factors considered in deciding to focus on these transportation service providers were:

  • the key transportation service providers collectively provide 75% or more of the passenger services for the particular mode of transportation
  • the nature of many of the other carriers' operations is such that they either do not offer their services to the general public (i.e. they serve corporate clients) or the size of their operations is such that they do not produce written information for the public.

Findings: Compliant Transportation Service Providers

As of March 13, 2009, the following key transportation service providers have developed and submitted Multiple Format Policies that meet the objectives of the Code:

Air Terminal Operators

  1. Calgary International Airport
  2. Edmonton International Airport
  3. Lester B. Pearson International Airport (Toronto)
  4. Pierre E. Trudeau International Airport (Montréal)
  5. Vancouver International Airport

Air Carriers

  1. Air Canada and Air Canada Jazz
  2. WestJet

Rail Carriers

  1. VIA RailFootnote 1

Ferry Carriers

  1. Marine AtlanticFootnote 2

Although subsequent follow-up by the Agency to encourage compliance was limited to the key transportation service providers, the following also developed and submitted multiple format policies and are compliant with the Code:

Air Terminal Operators

  1. Charlottetown Airport
  2. Greater Moncton International Airport
  3. Halifax Stanfield International Airport
  4. Kelowna International Airport
  5. London International Airport
  6. Jean Lesage International Airport (Quebec City)
  7. Regina International Airport
  8. Saint John Airport
  9. Saskatoon John G. Diefenbaker International Airport
  10. Thunder Bay International Airport
  11. Victoria International Airport
  12. Erik Nielsen Whitehorse International Airport
  13. Winnipeg International airport
  14. Yellowknife Airport

Air Carriers

  1. Air Creebec
  2. Air Inuit
  3. Air Transat
  4. Calm Air
  5. Corporate Express Air
  6. First Air
  7. Hawkair Aviation Services
  8. Skyservice Airlines
  9. Sunwing Vacations
  10. Transwest Air

Findings: Non-Compliant Transportation Service Providers

As of March 13, 2009, the Agency has not received a Multiple Format Policy that meets the objectives of the Communication Code from the following key transportation service provider:

Ferry Carrier

  1. Northumberland and Bay FerriesFootnote 3

Future Action

The Agency will continue to work with the key transportation service providers that have not yet developed a multiple format policy to ensure that they can provide information to persons with disabilities in accessible formats. The Agency will, upon request, also provide assistance to other transportation service providers that wish to develop multiple format policies. The Agency will update this compliance report as additional transportation service providers submit multiple format policies that meet the objective of the Code.

To help transportation service providers, a generic Multiple Format Policy is available in Appendix A of the Communication Code on the Agency's Web site.

For further information:

Canadian Transportation Agency
Ottawa, Ontario  K1A 0N9

Web site:
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