Training videos on how to assist persons with disabilities

Federal transportation providers and terminal operators are required to train their staff and contracted personnel on how to assist persons with disabilities.

The standards for these services are set out in the Accessible Transportation for Persons with Disabilities Regulations, Personnel Training for the Assistance of Persons with Disabilities Regulations and the Agency's codes of practice.

Accessibility for All is designed to help service providers train their staff on these requirements. It’s a comprehensive, 45-minute training program which consists of several modules. Transportation service providers are, however, required to take other steps to meet their obligations, including training about the various types of barriers encountered by persons with disabilities and how to use special equipment.

Also see:

Modules – Accessibility for All


Transcript : Module 1 - Introduction and Sensitivities

My name is Richard Marsolais, and this is my guide dog Smithers.

I was born with retinitis pigmentosa, which is a progressively degenerative illness, which caused my vision to slowly deteriorate.

Most people who are considered legally blind or partially sighted, have some vision. I try not to let my disability stand in my way. Currently, I am training for a marathon this spring. I run with a human guide who warns me of obstacles and tells me what's going on. But because I rely on somebody else to be my eyes, communication is extremely important.

Some people like to lump us all together as 'the blind.' I prefer when people refer to us as a person who is blind or a person who is partially sighted, as I. I am a person first.

My name is Carole Willians and I have a profound biological hearing loss. It's the result of an accident when I was four years old. I basically fell on my head on a cement floor and damaged both of my cochleas. But I call myself hard of hearing because I use a lot of other strategies, like people who are hard of hearing, such as speech reading. I wear a hearing aid on my right, I wear a cochlear implant on my left - I'm very happy about that - and the two combined have really helped me to hear the world around me much better. Also, there's a lot of little problems that come with being hard of hearing that people are not always aware of. For example, I do have balance problems... many of us do. Others have tinnitus, which is kind of noise in the ears that we can have.

So all of this makes it difficult sometimes and we can be a little less steady on our feet, especially in the dark when we can't orient ourselves as well. So, that's a little bit about what hearing loss is like. Very often people could say that I'm deaf and dumb, or that I'm hearing impaired. Those are things that I don't like to hear. I really am a person first. So I'm a person and I'm hard of hearing. So I'm a person who is hard of hearing - that is the best way to describe what I am.

My name is Richard Ruest. I've been disabled for about 24 years now.

It was from a fall, 24 years ago I fell off a garage roof where I broke my neck. I became a quadriplegic, which means that my arms and legs are both affected, and I don't have any control of my arms, so I've lost a lot of ability to do things.

My wheelchair is all ordered for me alone... its all custom made for me. It's part of my environment, my little bubble if you want to call it. It is the way that I actually go around. I don't like people to touch it, in the sense that it is part of my environment, so ... very important for me.

I like that people always put the person first, so I am a person with a disability. One of the things that I don't like is people always referring to me as somebody who is a cripple, a handicap, or somebody that cannot do things for himself. I personally don't like that.

Services to be offered to persons with disabilities

Transcript : Module 2 - Services to be offered to persons with disabilities

Hello. Thank you for calling Air Canada. How may I help?

Hi, I'm flying from Ottawa to Winnipeg next week, and I'm partially sighted and I use an assistance dog, and I wondered what services were available for me?

We can help you from the time you arrive at the departure airport right through to when you leave the terminal at your final destination.

Great. I will need some help to get through the airport.

Sure, no problem.

We will assist you with getting through the airport. Let me just take down your details... Have you reserved your seat yet?

Not yet, no.

We need to find you a seat with enough space for your service animal.

That would be great. Could I also get close to the washroom and have an aisle seat?

OK, I can give you 2D, which is an aisle seat right behind the washroom.


Will you be requiring any of our other services during your trip?

I think I'll be fine.

Ok, then.

I'll make sure all of this is in place for you.

Thank you, and see you soon!

Communication best practices

Transcript : Module 3 - Communication best practices

Hi, my name is Matthieu.

Are you Penny?

Yes, I am.

Marie has helped me to come, and it's good to meet you.

Thank you Marie, bye.

Alright, I can take care of that.

How may I best assist you?

I'm taking a flight to Vancouver, and I have a hearing loss, but I can hear you as long as you are where you are right now, but no further than that away, but just repeat if I don't respond.

And if you want to pull my suitcase, that would help, and I could take your right arm?

Ok, just a second, I'll move the suitcase.

If you lift your arm my elbow is right there.

If you want to come this way, we'll go to your check-in gate.

Assisting a traveller who is blind or partially sighted

Transcript : Module 4 - Assisting a traveller who is blind or partially sighted

Hi Richard, my name's Rudy.

I work for WestJet.

Hi Rudy, nice to meet you.

Nice to meet you too!

How may I assist you?

Yes. I called ahead to get help going through security and getting to my gate.

Ok, I can absolutely help you with that.

Now, I see you have a service dog.

Would you prefer to follow my verbal directions or would you like to take my arm?

Oh, an arm would be great.

Perfect. So I'll just go to your right here and place my arm right beside you.

Great, thank you.

Ok, Richard, so were going to walk about five paces forward here.

Ok, sounds good.

Is this a good pace for you?

Yeah, it's perfect. Great. And then were going to turn to the right here.

We have to go past that roped area, it's a little crowded over here.

Ok, thanks for telling me.

I'm just wondering, is there a place I can take my dog to do his business before we get on the plane?

Yes, absolutely.

There's a relieving area right by your gate I can take you to.

Good, sounds great.

Oh, an arm would be great.


So we're approaching the escalator to go down to security.

We'll just take a moment and pause here.

Is there any way I can assist you?

Yeah, well Smithers will get me down the escalator...if you can just take my hand and place it on the railing so that I can find it?

Ok, absolutely, so it's right about two steps forward.

Ok, there you go.

And I'll be about two steps behind you.

Ready to go Smiths?

Let's go!

Come on, good boy.

And we're probably about two seconds away from the bottom...

Ready to go?

Let's go!

Yes, absolutely.

Halt, halt.

We're at the bottom now and security is to our

left about eight metres away.

Do you have your boarding pass and your passport handy?

Yes, my ticket and that are in the front pocket of my knapsack.

Would you mind getting it out for me?

Absolutely, is it alright if I go in your bag?

Yeah, that's great, thanks!

Ok, so here's your passport and your boarding pass.

Ok, great.

And we can head over through security now, just to our left about eight metres.

Ok great, thank you!

So we're at the gate.

If we walk about fifteen steps forward, there's a row of seats that are four metres away from your gate.

Would you like me to seat you there?

Yes, that would be great.


If you lean your hand forward, you'll feel the back of the seat, and if you put your knee forward, that's the actual seat.

Great, thank you.

Lay down, buddy.


Good boy.

So Richard, your flight's on time.

It's in about one hour.

Is it O.K. with you if I come back in about twenty minutes before your flight to check up on you?

Yeah, that's perfect. Thank you.

Alright. Thank you very much.

Take care, I'll see you soon.

May I have your attention please?

This will serve as a pre-boarding announcement to any of our guests that require assistance or extra time at boarding the aircraft.

Votre attention s'il vous plaît....

Ok Richard, we're just about to step on the threshold to the aircraft, and then we're making a hard right.

So your seat is located in 2D.

I'm going to put my hand right here, there you are.

And there's plenty of room for Smithers.

Would you like me to put your bag in the overhead compartment?

That would be great, thank you.

Ok, go ahead and do up your seatbelt.

Now Richard, I'm just going to get you to raise your right arm for me.

I want to indicate the call button which is right above your'll feel two buttons here.

The button closest to the left is your call button.

You can press that at anytime to let me know if you need some assistance.

Great. Thank you.

So the washroom is located directly in front of you.

It's about two metres on your left hand side.

If you feel the handle and if it's in a vertical position, the washroom will be occupied.

Great, thank you Lora.

You're very welcome.

I will come back and see you in about twenty minutes before take off.

Ok, thanks.

Hi Richard, I have some snacks today, would you be interested in anything?

Yes please, that would be great.

Ok. I'm just going to lower your tray table.

Your drink will be on your right hand side and your snack will be on your left.

Is there anything else I can get for you today?

Yeah, could you help me open those packages of cookies, they tend to be really hard to do.


There you are, the open end is facing away from you.

Great. Thank you so much!

You're very welcome.

Assisting a traveller who is deaf, deafened or hard of hearing or who has another disability

Transcript : Module 5 - Assisting a traveller who is deaf or hard of hearing

Hello, Bonjour. How can I help you?

Hi, I'm hard of hearing.

I can speech read, but I need for you to look at me when you're speaking.

And if there is any key information maybe you could write it down for me, to be sure I understood properly.


So, where would you like to go to today?

I would like to go to Montreal at two...there's a two o'clock train?

Ok, at 14:13, we have a train today.

Oh, 2:13, ok that's the one I want to do.

Yes, please.

Would you want that in economy or business?

I'll go with economy please.

Economy is good?


And is this a one-way?

Yes, one-way please.

And how would you want to pay for this today?

I'm going to pay by credit card.

Credit card, thank you.

So that is a 2:13, economy, one-way.

That's correct.

For Montreal?

Montreal, yeah.

There's your ticket.

So as you can see, it's train 54.

You're in car 3, 8D, leaving at 2:13, the arrival time is down here.

Ok, thank you.

You're welcome.

And if you want to have a seat over there, we'll be boarding from that side today.

Ok, will somebody come and get me in case you do announcements?

There is a twenty minute delay today.

I'll have someone come and warn you when it is time to board.

Ok, thank you very much.

You're welcome.




We're ready for boarding for Montreal.

Ok, thank you very much.

Would you mind helping me with my bag?

No problem.

Thank you.

Right this way.




You must be Leah?


Do you have your train ticket with you?


Yes? May I see it please?

It is in your bag perhaps?

It's in the bag...

Yea, its like a little yellow, rectangular...

There it is!

Ok, and where are you going today?

To the movies.

And where exactly are you going to see the movies?

In Kingston?


You're going to Kingston?


Ok, would you like to follow me then?

Would you like to come with me?

I'll bring you down to the train.


Ok, just give me your hand.


The Kingston car is right over here.

Just up here to your right.

Just over here Leah.

Just over here to your left.

It's the aisle seat.

Right here.

There's a little place underneath your seat if you want to put your handbag there, so you won't be stepping on it.

We'll be departing in about five minutes, and we will be in Kingston in approximately two hours.

And in the meantime you can take off your coat.

There's a compartment just above your seat.

I'll be coming to check on you periodically.

Ok, if you need anything, just let me know.

I'll be right in the back here.


Alright so I'll see you in a few minutes.


Hi Leah.


We're going to be arriving in Kingston in about ten minutes.

Ten minutes.

So it might be a good idea to start getting ready.


Make sure you have all your belongings.


Get your tuque on and your coat on.

And your coat on.

Make sure you have all your toys and everything ready to go.

I'll come back and get you when its time for... when we arrive, ok?

And be very careful when you're walking down the steps, it's very slippery.

There we go.

There we go.

Mobility assistance

Transcript : Module 6 - Mobility assistance

Hello there, Sir.

Good day.

Are you checking in today?

Yes, I am.

May I see your passport please?

There you go.

Thank you very much.

And how many bags will you be checking-in?

I have one bag, and I believe I have to check-in for my chair as well?

Yes, please.

But your chair is no additional cost, it doesn't count towards your checked baggage allowance.

Ok, great.

If you prefer, you can remain with your mobility aid all the way to the gate of departure, and we will transfer you only when you board the aircraft.

Ok, now is there going to be enough time for them to put the actual wheelchair in the aircraft?

Yes, absolutely, we will treat your electric wheelchair as priority baggage.


And as it is an electric wheelchair, it has to go in the aircraft's cargo hold.

Can you make sure that the batteries are well disconnected or removed please?

Because I believe they cannot put it inside the belly of the aircraft.

Yeah, we will make all arrangements; I'll set it all up here for you so it will all be ready for you when you get to the gate of departure.


And we do also invite you to board the aircraft before everybody else, so we can get you comfortably seated.


And this is your bag here?

That's the one, yes.

May I just weigh it for a moment?


Thank you.

Great, now here's your boarding card, and your passport back.

And you'll be departing from gate number 12.

Would you require any assistance to get there?

No, because I'm in my chair, I'm going to be O.K.

Is there going to be somebody there to help me in the aircraft?

Yes, the gate agent will be able to assist you, and everything will be ready for you when it's time to go.

Perfect, thank you very much.

Have a great day, Sir!

You too.

My pleasure.

Bye bye.

As you probably know, assisting with a transfer on-board the aircraft can be tricky.

If the transfer looks like more than you and your partner can handle safely, get another person or use a transfer aid, such as a sling or transfer board.

The same considerations for transfers on a flat surface apply to transfers on-board the aircraft.

But there are additional things to consider.

Talk the transfer through with the traveller and your lift partner before beginning.

Are there any sensitive areas I should be aware of?

Do you have any preference on how we're going to transfer you?

Just get under the knees, and under the arms.

If possible, stand so that you are directly between the aisle chair and aircraft seat with your feet wide apart - ideally further apart than the middle of each seat, and get as close to the traveller as possible.

Usually, this isn't possible for the front assistant, as he or she has to stand in the aisle.

If this is the case, we recommend that the front assistant stand at an angle, facing halfway between the aisle chair and the aircraft seat, with his or her feet spread as wide apart as possible.

Get as close to the traveller as possible, but also be careful to leave a clear path for the traveller's feet.

Unless otherwise instructed by the traveller, the front assistant should hold the traveller beneath the thighs, just above the knees, palms facing up, wrists locked.

With the traveller's arms folded, the rear assistant should reach under the shoulders and grasp the traveller's forearms.

Centre your body with the traveller's by shifting your hips sideways, bend your knees, and keep your back straight.

After checking with the lift partner and the traveller to make sure that they are ready, the assistant in charge should count One, two three, lift.

Be especially careful here - the initial lift can be the most dangerous.

On the word lift, lift together smoothly; don't jerk as you lift.

Use your legs, not your arms or back.

Keep your back as straight as you can, and lift only as high as needed.

Be careful not to hit your head on the overhead bins as you lift.

Once the traveller is raised off the aisle chair, shift him or her to the seat by moving your hips sideways while shifting your weight smoothly from foot to foot.

The front assistant may also have to spin at the hips in shifting the traveller.

However, avoid twisting your back, bending your back to the side, or stepping.

In such a small space, it may be more convenient for you to twist or bend your back to the side during the transfer, but this may put you at greater risk of a back injury, and may be unsafe for the traveller you are transferring, since you will be less stable.

Rear assistants should also avoid reaching around the side of the seat back.

Be careful to protect the traveller's feet and buttocks from bumping against anything.

As you lower the traveller, bend your knees and hips and keep your back straight..

Place the traveller gently in the aircraft seat and make sure he or she is comfortable.

See if he or she needs the seat adjusted, or if they need to be adjusted in their seat.

Ask the traveller, Can I assist you in buckling your seat belt?

Transfers on-board the aircraft are never easy due to narrow aisles, low headroom, stationary armrests and an assortment of other challenges.

It is important, though, that travellers be transferred safely despite these challenges.

Unfortunately, research suggests that to do so, transfer assistants take many of the dangers of a difficult transfer setting on themselves.

Transfer assistants therefore need to be very careful when performing transfers on-board an aircraft.

This is especially true when transferring heavier travellers, as research suggests that such transfers put you at greater risk of back injury.

Biomechanics research has identified the most common mistakes front and rear transfer assistants make.

You can learn from this and reduce your chances of getting injured.

The most common mistakes made by both front and rear assistants are: to bend forward and curve their lower back instead of keeping their back straight, to lift with their back and arms instead of with their legs, to hold the traveller off-center from their body or too far away from their body and to raise their heels off the ground, which makes it easier for them to lose their balance.

Outside the aircraft setting, front assistants also frequently step during the transfer because they didn't place their feet wide enough apart beforehand.

Stepping places them at risk of losing their balance and injuring themselves or the traveller.

In general, front assistants make more lifting mistakes during transfers on-board an aircraft.

Many of these are because they have to stand in an aisle and reach around the seat in front of the travellers.

However, other mistakes result from incorrect positioning and you can avoid these by making sure that you perform the transfer properly.

Many of the mistakes made by the rear assistant during a transfer are due to the need to lift over or around the high back of the aircraft seat.

For this reason, it is an advantage for the rear assistant to be tall.

However, rear assistants who are very tall can have problems too, because they have to bend far forwards to grasp the traveller.

Again, you can avoid some of these mistakes by making sure that you perform the transfer properly.

Although it is difficult for either transfer assistant to perform transfers in the confined space of the aircraft cabin using perfect body mechanics, having knowledge of common errors may reduce the chances of injury.

Knowing what to watch out for should make you more careful when it comes to transfer assists.

We keep mentioning slings, transfer boards or other transfer devices as good alternatives when an assist looks like more than you and your partner can handle safely.

These devices allow you to use a more upright and safer lifting posture, or they eliminate the need for manual lifting altogether.

Even though, for various reasons, some travellers would prefer that these devices not be used, most travellers will be open to talking about it, especially if they understand how devices like these can make your job so much safer.

If transfer devices are available, think about using them when a transfer situation looks dangerous.

Before you try them though, you must get training in their proper use.

This video has shown you how to reduce the risk of injury and embarrassment to you and your customers during physical transfers.

An aircraft is not the best place to be lifting someone, so you need to think ahead, communicate, practice good body mechanics and plan and be aware of your surroundings when assisting with physical transfers.

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