MONTRÉAL, Dec. 3, 2018 /CNW Telbec/ - Today, on International Day of Persons with Disabilities, celebrated annually around the world since 1992, VIA Rail Canada reiterates its commitment to make travelling an easy, sustainable and enjoyable experience for all passengers. This commitment was recently reflected in VIA Rail's support for Project C-81, a law aiming to make Canada a barrier free country, when it appeared before the Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities in October.
"One of our most important pillars of inclusion and sustainability includes the recognition of the equality of all Canadians, the contribution to the development of people with disabilities, in this case the right to move freely, and the promotion of their full participation in our society," said Yves Desjardins-Siciliano, President and Chief Executive Officer of VIA Rail, "That's why, at VIA Rail, we are all committed to ensuring that we not only achieve the goals of the legislation, but exceed them."
One person in seven lives with a disability in Canada, and inclusive and sustainable mobility is at the heart of VIA Rail's commitment to better serve Canadians.
In recent years, our commitments in this direction have been numerous:
- Addition of more than 1,450 accessible spaces on board our trains since 2014, which meets six times the current demand.
- A $54 million investment to convert 17 Heritage HEP cars into fully accessible cars.
- A $20 million project to renovate the Ottawa Station and bring the building up to international accessibility standards, including an elevated train platform with a side access ramp, which will enable wheelchair users to board at the door level.
- An access policy allowing people with disabilities to travel accompanied, free of charge for the support person.
- Establishment of a modern, user-friendly online reservation ecosystem and an accessible application for passengers with disabilities.
- Under the auspices of the International Union of Railways (UIC), the leadership of a pilot project at our train stations establishing an international standard for the full autonomy for people living with a visual impairment.
VIA Rail wants to go even further and become a world leader in accessibility. We will raise international standards with our future train fleet in the Windsor-Quebec City corridor, which will offer our passengers modern, accessible cars that meet the highest universal standards by 2022.
As an employer, VIA Rail also recognizes the importance of integrating people with disabilities into its workforce. Currently, over 3% of employees are people with disabilities. VIA Rail is also committed to supporting the goals of the federal public service to hire 5,000 new employees with disabilities by 2025 to meet the standards of excellence in accessibility and inclusion in the workplace.
About VIA Rail Canada
As Canada's national rail passenger service, VIA Rail (viarail.ca) and all its employees are mandated to provide safe, efficient and economical passenger transportation service, in both official languages of our country. VIA Rail operates intercity, regional and transcontinental trains linking over 400 communities across Canada, and about 180 more communities through intermodal partnerships, and safely transports nearly 4.4 million passengers annually. The Corporation has been awarded five Safety Awards and three Environment Awards by the Railway Association of Canada since 2007. Visit the "About VIA Rail" section at www.viarail.ca/en/about-via-rail.
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For further information: Marie-Anna Murat, Media Relations, VIA Rail Canada, 1 877 393-8787, [email protected]