OTTAWA, March 28, 2013 /CNW/ - The Canadian Transportation Agency today released a new Accessibility Code of Practice and resource tool to improve the accessibility of Non-National Airports System (non-NAS) air terminals for persons with disabilities.
The National Airports System (NAS) is comprised of 26 national airports linking Canada from coast to coast. The Agency has a Code of Practice which applies to NAS terminals. However, as there are no current standards to address physical accessibility, communications or services to persons with disabilities for Non-NAS terminals, the Agency developed a new code of practice and a resource tool which will apply to over 90 Non-NAS terminals that handle more than 10,000 passengers a year.
Compliance assessments have demonstrated that voluntary codes of practice are effective in removing undue obstacles to the mobility of persons with disabilities from the federal transportation system. Voluntary codes are developed in consultation with the Agency's Accessibility Advisory Committee, which has representation from transportation service providers and disability associations, as well as other stakeholders.
In addition to providing the technical specifications for the physical aspects of terminals, the Code covers issues such as disability-related services, personnel training and communication. The Code sets out standards for the industry to follow which are intended to solve systemic problems faced by persons with disabilities.
The Non-NAS Terminals Code is applicable to public facilities located inside or outside the main terminal facility and services operated and maintained by terminal operators which contribute to the successful execution of a trip. This includes parking, passenger drop-off and pick-up areas and baggage claim areas. This also includes work which may be contracted out by terminal operators such as parking services or ground transportation.
"The Code will contribute to making the transportation network more accessible and responsive to the needs of persons with disabilities," said Geoff Hare, Chair and CEO of the Canadian Transportation Agency. "It presents minimum standards that air passenger terminal operators are expected to meet and are encouraged to exceed wherever possible."
The Agency will monitor the progress on the implementation of this Code using a variety of means. For example, the Agency may do site visits, have discussions with terminal operators, review websites, or use other methods deemed appropriate to obtain information on compliance by industry.
The Agency has also developed other series of Codes of Practice for transportation service providers which can be found at www.otc-cta.gc.ca/eng/codes-of-practice. Other resources currently available to provide guidance for those travelling with a disability include Carriage of Mobility Aids On Board Planes, Trains and Ferries and Take Charge of Your Travel: A Guide for Persons with Disabilities.
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About the Canadian Transportation Agency
The Canadian Transportation Agency is an independent, quasi-judicial tribunal and economic regulator of the Government of Canada. It makes decisions and determinations on a wide range of matters involving air, rail and marine modes of transportation under the authority of Parliament, as set out in the Canada Transportation Act and other legislation.
The Agency's mandate includes:
- Economic regulation, to provide approvals, issue licences, permits and certificates of fitness, and make decisions on a wide range of matters involving federal air, rail and marine transportation.
- Dispute resolution, to resolve complaints about federal transportation services, rates, fees and charges.
- Accessibility, to ensure Canada's national transportation system is accessible to all persons, particularly those with disabilities.
The Canada Transportation Act provides the Agency with a human rights mandate to eliminate undue obstacles to the mobility of persons with disabilities in the federal transportation network to ensure that persons with disabilities have equal access to transportation services.
In exercising its mandate, the Agency applies the fundamental principle of equality and balances the right of persons with disabilities to be provided with services that meet their disability-related needs with the service provider's operational, commercial and regulatory responsibilities.
SOURCE: Canadian Transportation Agency
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