The Barrier-Free Canada – Canada sans Barrières November 2016 newsletter

Table of contents

  1. Summary of recent events
  2. How to become more involved in Minister Qualtrough’s public engagement hearings
  3. From around the country
  4. Question for consideration
  5. Next steps
  6. Contact info

Summary of Recent Events

For the month of October we attended tele conferences and one of our committee members David Lepofsky traveled to Halifax to lend support to groups who are working to help lobby for a Nova Scotia disability rights Act.

BFC-CSB also spent time expanding their committee in order to meet growing requests from various groups across the country to make presentations on such topics as how to become more active in lobbying for a Canadians with disabilities Act as well as how to become more pro active in advocating for provincial disabilities rights Acts.

In early November David Lepofsky will be speaking at a public forum on the need for strong provincial and federal accessibility in St. John’s Newfoundland. Here is the announcement of this forum.

Forum on Disability Accessibility in Our Community
Hosted by CNIB Atlantic INCA atlantique

Friday, November 4 at 2:00 PM – 4:00 PM in UTC-02:30
CNIB
70 the Blvd, St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador A1A 1K2

Would you like to help four million Canadians with disabilities tear down the many accessibility barriers that impede them from getting full access to jobs, public transit, education and all that our society has to offer its residents?

Join David Lepofsky, life-long disability rights advocate, blind lawyer, and chair of the non-partisan grassroots Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Alliance, for a public discussion. Everyone is welcome!

In mid November Marc Workman will be representing us at a face to face Canadian Access and Inclusion Project Council meeting.

Towards the end of November Donna Jodhan will be giving a presentation in Ottawa, to persons who are blind and vision impaired and her presentation will focus on the essentials of advocacy and how to become more involved in lobbying for a Canadians with disabilities Act. This presentation is being sponsored by Accessible Media inc and Getting Together with Technology (GTT).

This presentation will be held at 20 James Street Ottawa and more info will be posted to the relevant Ottawa lists in the coming weeks.


How to become more involved in Minister Qualtrough’s public engagement hearings

For information on how to attend the in-person consultation sessions on accessibility legislation that Employment and Social Development Canada is conducting, please go to this webpage.


 

From around the country

From our Ontario affiliate:

The AODA Alliance will be conducting forums across Ontario as follows. Burlington (November 6), and Whitby (November 12). For more information please contact AODA at aodafeedback@gmail.com

From our group in Saskatchewan:

Principles from our September 8 meeting have been approved at our October meeting. Our next meeting is for next steps including our Web site which is being built and how to spread the word to all of and for service organizations and individuals, media, MLA’s etc. So November 7 meeting is a strategy meeting to discuss all of this and to pick kick Off dates for community events in Saskatoon, Regina, and other cities around the province. We are a very forward and positive thinking group.

We are persons of various disabilities and we not only own our disabilities but believe that it is a characteristic of who we are.

Our web site that is not online yet will be BarrierFreeSaskatchewan.org

For more info please contact barrierfreesk@gmail.com

From our Halifax group:

They are presently anxiously awaiting the passage of their disabilities rights legislation which is scheduled to take place at any time. If you would like to know more then please contact Pat Gates at patricia.gates@bellaliant.net

Question for consideration

Do you think that a federally legislated Canadians with disabilities Act could help to improve services for traveling Canadian passengers with disabilities? Would it help that under this Act airport authorities and domestic airlines, bus and train companies, and all companies in the travel industry that provide both federal and provincial services would now be mandated to provide adequate and appropriate services to travelers with disabilities?

Tell us what you think. Tweet your response. Put it on Facebook, and write to us at info@barrierfreecanada.org.

Next steps

We urge you to complete the Federal Government’s online survey at www.esdc.gc.ca/en/consultations/disability/legislation/index.page

And we encourage you to read two informative documents at the following link. These documents will help you to be more prepared for the Minister’s hearings. http://barrierfreecanada.org/two-resources-for-canadians-with-disabilities-act/

We also encourage you to listen to Minister Qualtrough in a recent speech at this link http://www.cbc.ca/listen/shows/the-current/segment/10520891

We will continue to make presentations, attend tele conferences, as well as face to face meetings and we will be working to bring groups and organizations together for think thanks.

Contact info

We would love to hear from you; via email, via twitter, via Facebook.

To contact us, please send an email to info@barrierfreecanada.org.

To keep abreast of our updates visithttp://www.barrierfreecanada.org/category/general

Visit us at www.barrierfreecanada.org and sign up to be a yes supporter or use the form provided to write to us with your organization’s letter of support.

Follow us on Twitter @barrierfreeca

And like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/barrierfreeca

Signed,

Donna Jodhan founder and chair

Our Barrier-Free Canada – Canada sans Barrières steering committee includes:
David Lepofsky, Jutta Treviranus, Steven Christianson, Marc Workman, Chris O’Brien, Robin East, Brad Saunders, and Diane Bergeron.

Our five initial founding organizations are CNIB, March of Dimes, the MS Society of Canada, the Canadian Hearing Society, and Accessible Media Inc.

A list of our supporting organizations is listed below.

  • The Low Vision Self-Help Association
  • West Island, Montreal Quebec
  • The Coalition of Persons with Disabilities – NL
  • Guide Dog Users of Canada (GDUC)
  • Canadian Council of the Blind (CCB)
  • Alliance for Equality of Blind Canadians (AEBC)
  • SPH Planning & Consulting Limited
  • The Rick Hansen Foundation
  • Quebec Federation of the blind
  • Communication Disabilities Access Canada (CDAC)
  • Community Living Toronto
  • Deaf Blind Ontario Services
  • Unifor
  • StopGap Foundation
  • Citizens with Disabilities Ontario
  • Spinal Cord Injury Alberta
  • Easter seals canada
  • Access for Sight-Impaired consumers
  • Every Canadian Counts Coalition
  • Québec Accessible
  • Centre for Equitable Library Access / Centre d’accès équitable aux bibliothèques
  • Deaf & Hear Alberta
  • Autism Canada
  • Mayor of Halifax Nova Scotia
  • Braille Literacy Canada

The Barrier-Free Canada – Canada sans Barrières October 2016 newsletter

Table of contents

  1. Summary of Recent Events
  2. News coverage
  3. From around the country
  4. Question for consideration
  5. Next steps
  6. We need your feedback
  7. Contact info

Summary of Recent Events

The month of September was a busy one for us as BFC-CSB created and posted two articles on its website which are designed to help you as you get ready to attend Minister Qualtrough’s public hearing engagements across Canada and you can read these two documents at http://barrierfreecanada.org/two-resources-for-canadians-with-disabilities-act/

They were both written by David Lepofsky of our steering committee.

The first document is a Canadians with Disabilities Act Consultation Tip Sheet: Detailed Points to Present to the Federal Government’s Public Consultation on What To Include in the Promised Federal Accessibility Law.

The second document What Should the Promised New Federal Disability Accessibility Law Include? – At a Glance

In September Donna Jodhan met with officials from the Canadian Transportation Agency and the purpose of the meeting was for her to share her views with them on the CTA’s accessible transportation discussion paper. Donna has submitted a written response to the CTA and will be posting this shortly to the BFC-CSB website.

We will note here that in its response to the CTA’s accessible transportation discussion paper, the Greater Toronto Airport Authority has stated the following.

“Toronto Pearson terminals meet all federal regulations regarding accessibility standards, and the CTA has advised us that the GTAA is fully compliant.”

We would like to know where may we find any public information to support this statement? Additionally; the GTAA does not want the CTA to have any role in new construction and assessment of plans for accessibility.

On September 23 Donna Jodhan made a presentation to members of a cross section of disabilities persons groups in Halifax Nova Scotia and the presentation centered on advocacy and seeking support for Barrier-Free Canada – Canada sans Barrières.

This trip was sponsored by CNIB and organized by Pat Gates and Louise Gillis president of CCB.

Among those attending were: CCB, CNIB, Canadian Paraplegic Association Nova Scotia, Muscular Dystrophy Atlantic, March of Dimes, CARP or the Canadian Association of Retired Persons, Mt. St. Vincent University, MS Society, NS Health Authority, Municipal Office of Diversity and Inclusion, and a number of individuals representing themselves.

Earlier in the day Donna along with Pat and Louise met with Mike Savage; Mayor of Halifax and the Mayor has since written a letter in support of BFC-CSB.


News coverage

Taken from http://thestarphoenix.com/news/local-news/new-legislation-to-give-more-options-for-people-with-disabilities-and-employers-minister-says

New legislation to give more options for people with disabilities and employers, minister says

Jonathan Charlton, Saskatoon StarPhoenix

Published on: September 28, 2016 | Last Updated: September 28, 2016 9:15 PM CST

Carla Qualtrough, minister of sport and persons with disabilities, says upcoming disabilities legislation is important.

Wayne Cuddington / Ottawa Citizen

The federal government is creating legislation to protect people with disabilities, and Saskatchewan residents will be able to participate in consultations this week. A public meeting was held in Regina on Wednesday, followed by a private round table in Saskatoon Friday. Carla Qualtrough, minister of sport and persons with disabilities, spoke with reporter Jonathan Charlton about why the legislation is important. This interview has been condensed and edited.

What are you trying to accomplish with this legislation?

“In short, we’re trying to create a law that proactively requires businesses, services providers, program deliverers within federal jurisdiction to remove barriers for people with disabilities,” she said. Instead of waiting until someone is discriminated against and human rights law kicks in, the legislation will create a systemic approach to dealing with inclusion. It would cover the government itself as well as federally regulated businesses such as banks, telecommunications and Via Rail.

Why is legislation required, as opposed to something like a code of conduct or a mission statement?

“First of all it shows federal leadership in this area. It sends a clear message to Canadians that disability issues, disability policy, accessibility, are priorities for our government,” she said. Legislation also tends to survive through successive governments, she said. “More than 50 per cent of the complaints to the Human Rights Commission of Canada are on the grounds of disability. So there is a gap there. A lot of people with disabilities are being denied jobs and services and so we felt a legislative response was warranted. And quite frankly Canadians with disabilities and their advocates have been calling for this legislation for a decade.”

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What sort of situation would the legislation prevent?

Qualtrough gives the example of a person who applies for a job, then in the interview it’s realized they have a disability, and they don’t get the job. “That person, at that point of denial, the only recourse they have is to file a complaint with the Human Rights Commission. With our law in place, that employer would have been advised well before the denial happened, here’s how you include someone with a disability in your application process, here’s how you make the interview accessible, here’s the benefit of hiring someone with a disability, the unique perspective they will bring to that job. There will be opportunities systemically to avoid that denial from even happening in the first place.

Might some businesses simply might not know how to accommodate, or see accommodation as time or resource intensive?

“I think that’s happening everywhere. A lot of what we’re seeing is people having a genuine interest in being inclusive but not knowing how, so again a lot of the work we’re doing is around educating and giving employers and businesses the tools to be more inclusive. And it’s also dispelling a lot of myths about the costs of hiring someone with a disability, explaining the business case for hiring someone with a disability, to be frank. About the untapped labour market aspect, about the creativity and innovation, the employee loyalty.”

jcharlton@postmedia.com

If you would like to see how security personnel interact with travelers with disabilities at Pearson International Airport then we invite you to visit http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/catsa-airport-travellers-complaints-security-1.3779312

Here you will get a flavour for some of the types of challenges being faced by the passengers with disabilities public.


From around the country

From British Columbia comes the following from the Barrier-Free BC Steering Committee.

At the annual convention of the Union of British Columbia Municipalities (UBCM) held in Victoria this year from September 26 – 30, Resolution B62 containing the following text, passed unanimously:

Whereas British Columbians with disabilities encounter a variety of physical, sensory and technological barriers as well as ones related to communication, education, employment, attitudes and many others on a daily basis;

And whereas the Government of British Columbia launched a non-mandatory, non-legislated initiative entitled “Accessibility 2024” in 2014 with the goal of making BC the most progressive province in Canada for people with disabilities by the year 2024;

And whereas both the Province of Ontario and the Province of Manitoba have enacted disability legislation with the Province of Nova Scotia working toward the introduction and enactment of disability legislation in 2016:

Therefore be it resolved that UBCM believes it is important to achieve a barrier-free province for all persons with disabilities and calls upon BC’s Legislative Assembly to enact a strong and effective British Columbians with Disabilities Act.

The passing of this Resolution is a giant leap forward for the supporters of the Barrier-Free BC campaign in that it now captures the support of every city, municipality, district, town and village in the province. But the road ahead is still one we must travel and with the provincial general election just over 7 months away, we must all pick up the pace to achieve our goal. Now, more than ever is the time to make contact with your MLA through a letter or email telling your personal stories about the barriers you still face despite the Government’s ‘Accessibility 2024’ initiative. Personal stories get the most attention and greater response from politicians. Telephone your MLA and relay your story or better still, pay him or her a visit. And social media such as Twitter or Facebook are yet additional methods of letting your MLA know of the need to support disability legislation in BC. Visit www.barrierfreebc.org for additional information and write to info@barrierfreebc.org if you need assistance or direction. Our Steering Committee is here to help!

Rob Sleath

On behalf of the Barrier-Free BC Steering Committee


Question for consideration

We at Barrier-Free Canada – Canada sans Barrières have a question for you today.

At the present time there are several Federal Government departments that do not offer accessible and user friendly online complaints systems and mechanisms. Most of them are extremely difficult to work with, navigate, and there is not enough support from said departments. Accordingly, Canadians with disabilities are at a tremendous disadvantage when it comes to being able to lodge complaints.

Do you think that a Canadians with disabilities Act could help to remedy this in any way?

If you do then please speak up and speak out now as it is the best time for you to do this and why? Because Minister Qualtrough has started her public engagements to hear from Canadians to give input into this very important piece of legislation.


Next steps

In the coming weeks BFC-CSB will be continuing its efforts to be a part of the public engagement process and to this end our committee is planning to play a more active role. We will be working more closely with our founding organizations and supporting organizations to speak up and speak out and we will be attending round table engagements when invited to do so.


We need your feedback

If you are an individual wishing to speak up and speak out then by all means; send your thoughts and comments to your MP, your MPP, and to us at info@barrierfreecanada.org.

If you are a supporting organization then we would like to hear from you too. Let us work more closely together to ensure that a Canadians with disabilities Act is passed in a timely way.


Contact info

We would love to hear from you; via email, via twitter, via Facebook.

To contact us, please send an email to info@barrierfreecanada.org.

To keep abreast of our updates visit http://www.barrierfreecanada.org/category/general

Visit us at www.barrierfreecanada.org

and sign up to be a yes supporter or use the form provided to write to us with your organization’s letter of support.

Follow us on Twitter @barrierfreeca

And like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/barrierfreeca

Signed,

Donna Jodhan founder and chair
On behalf of the BFC-CSB steering committee

The Barrier-Free Canada – Canada sans Barrières steering committee includes David Lepofsky, Steven Christianson, Chris O’Brien, Marc Workman, Jutta Treviranus.

Our five initial founding organizations are CNIB, March of Dimes, the MS Society of Canada, the Canadian Hearing Society, and Accessible Media Inc.

A list of our supporting organizations is listed below.

  • The Low Vision Self-Help Association
  • West Island, Montreal Quebec
  • The Coalition of Persons with Disabilities – NL
  • Guide Dog Users of Canada (GDUC)
  • Canadian Council of the Blind (CCB)
  • Alliance for Equality of Blind Canadians (AEBC)
  • SPH Planning & Consulting Limited
  • The Rick Hansen Foundation
  • Quebec Federation of the blind
  • Communication Disabilities Access Canada (CDAC)
  • Community Living Toronto
  • Deaf Blind Ontario Services
  • Unifor
  • StopGap Foundation
  • Citizens with Disabilities Ontario
  • Spinal Cord Injury Alberta
  • Easter seals canada
  • Access for Sight-Impaired consumers
  • Every Canadian Counts Coalition
  • Québec Accessible
  • Centre for Equitable Library Access / Centre d’accès équitable aux bibliothèques
  • Deaf & Hear Alberta
  • Autism Canada
  • Mayor of Halifax Nova Scotia

Individual supporters

Below are the supporters who agreed to have their names listed.

Irene Lambert
Karin Godin
Dawn Lambert
Peter Sharp
Sandra Hobson
Dana Levanto
Paula Kilburn
Katherine Jaconello
Gordon Hein
Louis Pereux
Nancy Newton
Michelle Bruneau
Synove Gelinas
Gary Stockden
Yvette Gelinas
Danielle Bruneau
Anita Squire
Wilma Houston
Bonnie Sherr Klein
Gordon J. Hein
Scott Hunter
Patrice Philion
John Ohberg
David Best
Roger P Gervais
Dan Shire
Suzanne Santyr
Kate Chung
Daryl Thomas
Cavita Sharma
Jerry Ford
Victor Schwartzman
sarah moore
Penny Leclair
Karen Bell
Brian Kon
Sue Morgan
Derek Giberson
Lorin MacDonald
Anne and Dave Marsden
Jim Hamilton
Edward Rice
Stephen Trumper
Cindy Ferguson
Robert Gaunt
Shane Holten
Catherine Roy
Jason Tomesch
Johnny To
Lauri Sue Robertson
Josephine (Joey) Hewitt
adam cohoon
David Layton
JOYCE MAIN
Omar Burey
Alicia Jarvis
Sandra Kinder
Marisa Page
Pierre Nadeau
Lucienne Lehouillier
Karen Fleck
Lisa Rocha
Deborah MacGillivray
Nicole Stefaniszyn
Jennifer & Darryl Hoskins
Nicole Borthwick
Michael Hannan
Colleen Henriksen
Paul Belhumeur
Brad Dunn
Debra Hinksman
Meaghan Lawrence
Frances Miller
Marian Alexander
Nora Gallagher
Janis Thompson
Laurel Pearse
Dale Odberg
Jodi Marsh
LINDA NEARING
Dianne Scrivens
NOREEN PYLATUK
Melissa Nickerson
William Hopper
Karen mohr
Taylor Hyatt
Patricia Storteboom
Sandy Wheeler
Pamela Gignac
Vera Peters
Jeannie Privet
Michelle Shalinsky
Rachelle Chiasson-Taylor
Shara Grice
Bobbie King
Jeff McBride
Brenda Mac Farlane
Mandy Sky
Melissa Graham
Lorna Barrett
Tracey mcPhail
Camella Ross
Adreanna Dollman Downing
marg Priebe
Peggy Kennard
Brenda Chinn
Michele Gardner
Joanna Pohl
Grant De Boer
Kasey Aiello
Mike Jennings
Nadine Badry
Tim Varro
Spring Hawes
Barbara Maynard
Susan Moore
Claire Cram
Nicolle Guillen
Terry Foster
Sarah Mitchell
Sabina Cragg
Dave Davis
Brian Martin
Chelsea Sharkey
Harmanie Taylor
Rachel Nelson
Andrea Dodsworth
Tammy DaSilva
Karen Cavalier
Nicole Nys
Letitia Hinkley-Roach
Nadia Olynyk
Ian MacLaine
Marie Soudre
Gail Ashuk
Arista Haas
Adam O’Neill
Helen Berarducci
Geoff Ryan
Susan McKenzie
Jamie M. Hicks
Melanie Telford
Barbara Dearden
Joanne Odjick
Tracey Roetman
Stephen Cull
Wendy Hansen
Daniel Rosen
Arvid Kuhnle
Casey McNally
Jeff Bourne
Jake Beaton
Jo Kelly
Shannon Gowans
Kevin Harvey
Deborah Kennard
D. Abraham
David Ramsden
Kyle Vose
jonda Hopper
Steven Wessels
Tyler muller
Sarah Kozoriz
amber B
Lana Phillips
Cara Crawford
jason pleaddafith
Carol S. stringer
Darren Mackay
Glyn Ganong
Robin Artemis
Jurgen Wiechmann
Jurnee
Sharon McBride
tracy curley
Cheryl White
Darlene Jay
Kyle Jay
Patricia Denneny
Sandra Paluc
Jacqueline Waybrant
Sheryl Ann Wilson
Sarah Nixon-Suggitt
Diane Morrell
Lynn Dunkley
Jo-Anne Nykilchyk
Tiffany Schier
Diane Ladouceur
Kent Oxford
Carrie Lapensee
Peter Beam
Janice Laurence
Lisa Boynton
Sandra J. Yetman
Mark Nicoll
Brenda Lush
carolyn kassinger
Jennifer Elizabeth Macdonald
Lynn Clark
Gillian Burns
Dawn Campbell
mike barrett
Sharon Kilkenny
Jeff May
Liz Allchin
tia sweeney
Roland Hengst
sherry palmer
Jacquie Munro
Russ Weaver
Mike Grady
Juliana Lepoutre
Wayne and joy reycraft
Heather Crossman
Sean VanHorne
Denise Sheedy
Lisa Bendall
Bilha Nativ
Phil McKenzie
Rebecca Therrien
Patti wheeler
Wendy Beckett
Jade Fraser
Kevin Steele
Carolyn Hirschfeld
Martha Russell
Lisa McCallen
Dalten Campbell
Jodi Fisher
Tracey Walshaw
Christina Chasty
Nicole Morley
debra Mcdonald
Hertha Shalinsky
Candyce Virgin
Kim Angell-McCormick
Radical Access Mapping Project
Cheryl Webster
Kelly-Lyn Webster
Doug Webster
Sue Beare
Sharon Shalinsky
Dawn Stinson
marty newstead
Lois harris
Theresa H Beard
Jamie Lauzon
Desiree Bauer
Derek Belbin
luc perron
Naomi Glenvad Teramoto
David Berman
Jason Dyok
Patrick Fougeyrollas
Nic deGroot
Chantelle Bernardo
Angela Finkbeiner
Dean Fey
marilyn stratton-zimmer
Cornelia Bryant
Marcel Matte
Bruce A Johnson
Judith Flatt
Stacey Upson
Lacey Fontaine
Christine Flynn-James
Philip Bobawsky
Susan Wagar
Dawn Howell
Sabrina Gould
Laura farres
Amie Kiddle
Jason Finkbeiner
Cheryl Benson
Colleen Davis
Pauline Fraser
Jacki Andre
Aaron Broverman
Taylor Short
Laurel Ryan
Brittany Lang
Bill Hopper
Sam Fulton
Paula Swirla
Geoffrey Olsen
Pamela Shelton
Megan Turpin
Pamela Kent
Ian A. Greaves
Susan Bowman
D Veglia
Diana Veglia
Anchel Krishna
Geoff Egan
meghan nugent
Bonnie S. Manning-Jones
Suzanne Nurse
Kimberly Prattis
Jeffrey Preston
Sandra Yetman
Jaimie Smith-Windsor
William Cowie
Cindy Kennedy
Kathryn Bremner
Thea Kurdi
Mike Cocteau
Gerry harris
Sarah Smith
Aislinn Burkholder
Stephen Higham
Dan Angell
Amelia Murphy-Beaudoin
Jeff Stark
Jamie Burton
Jennifer Miller
Michael Racette
Michael Hughes
kimberly m murphy
Majid Turmusani
Roger B Jones
Ida Fong
David Chojnacki
S Fong
Miguel Aguayo
Melissa mailman
Sean Bouffard
Mylee Nordin
Faith Bodnar
Peter Busciglio
NAN MARKS
Tony Marrelli
Judy Hemming
Luke Anderson
P. Campbell
Anna Hlinomaz
Jessie Coaten,
Gerry Gill
Bjorg Mathiessen
Elizabeth Nimijean
Rene Coloucci
Sandra watts
Phillip McCorkell
Julie Perez
Alan Dean
Mark Smith
Nahla Bechara
Sandra Johnston
Shirley Skilling
Gordon Crann
Pauline Walsh
Muriel Hill
Citizens With Disabilities – Ontario
Heather Rupert & Michel Ciarciello
Maria Friozzi
William Rudkin
Kenneth Southall
Diane Aubin
Dianne McLeod
Lisa Figge
Walter Wittich
Kat Clarke
Beulah Aubin
Ron Pelletier
Lauri Brunner
Robert Trudel
Brian Heaney
Jeanette Poulsen
Louise Russo
Philippa Wrobel
Yvonne Kalybaba
Bradley Pottinger
Chris Webster
Jon Polley
Marguerite Rose Larade
PROF ALAN LEVY
Amanda Cape
Bet Tuason
Kim Gill
Yolanda Munoz
Wendy Boutilier
David McKay
Prince Amponsah
Tracy turnetfoxx
DIANA E LEBLANC
Kelly Mihaichuk-Ball
Mike Kirby
Paul Soucy
Casey Gallagher
Clay MacKenzie
David Winchester
Doug Poulsen
Kory Heyland
Virginia Knowlton Marcus
A Harwood
Cherise Craney
Geordie Graham
JOseph Jova
Julie Lane
Michele McDonald
David Dyer Lawson
K Stirling
Linda Crabtree
Tim Tentcher
Carol-Ann Chafe
Kelly McKeen
Michelle Hewitt
Alan Nixon
Melanie Bernard
Darryl Flasch
Susana Scott
Abidah Shamji
david shannon
Alexis Dickson
Michael R. Racette
Joann Anokwuru
Barrier Free Saskatchewan
Julia Oliver
Michel Paquin
Michelene Deck
Teresa Morishita
Marie-Eve Veilleux
Michel Lemay
StopGap Ottawa
Pierre Lemay
Shane Harnden
Bill Adair
Rebecca Borton
Patrick Falconer
info@virn.ca
Yvette Werenka
Samantha Mitra
Louise Johnson
Ronny Wiskin 
Gavin Bamber
Sue Cawsey 
Daryl Rock
Jessica Geboers
Amanda Lubyk
Rhonda Josifov
William Goursky
Jeff Bourne
Guy Coulombe
Karyna Laroche
Jada Pumphrey
Doreen Machado
Richard Marion
Cathy Moreau
Sheldon M. Werner 
Colin Brown
Christina Johnson
Steve Kean
Michael Racette
Christina Nemeth
Susan Creer
Derek MacLeod
Marc W. Mullo
Susanne Kunkel

Response to the CTA’s regulatory modernization initiative

Written by Donna J. Jodhan
On behalf of Barrier Free Canada – Canada sans Barrières

Introduction

I am submitting my comments as a vision impaired person who is a regular air traveler and as someone whose organization is actively pursuing the call for the passage of a Canadians with Disabilities Act.

On a personal level, it is my sincere hope that any future regulations that fall under the jurisdiction of the Canadian Transportation Agency would be ones that protect, recognize, and legitimize the rights of Canadian travelers with disabilities and on behalf of my organization I hope that the Canadian Transportation Agency would support the passage of said legislation.

I believe that the Federal Government’s mandate to enact a Canadians with disabilities Act is an important step in the right direction but in addition, more work needs to be carried out by the Canadian Transportation Agency.

The following is a list of suggestions and comments.

Binding regulations

Systemic changes can only be achieved through the use of stricter regulations that would be binding. Codes of practice can only be affective if they are stricter and laid out more clearly so that transportation companies can follow them more easily.

Regulations and codes of practice should be mandated and consequences for not following codes and regulations should be clearly spelled out and implemented and here is where a Canadians with disabilities Act can help to make it happen. In addition, the Canadian Transportation Agency could be given more power to ensure that these regulations and codes of practice are adhered to and penalties for non compliance are enforced.

End to end accessibility services

Accessibility services would commence as soon as a passenger starts their preparations for a trip; via air, rail, ferry, bus, etc. Companies should be mandated to make their websites and phone support fully and equally accessible.

In the case of air travel, accessible services should begin at curb side and continue on through check in, up to the doors of the aircraft and continue on board the aircraft. The same should be mandated upon arrival; from aircraft right through to exiting the terminal.

A similar offering should be mandated for those traveling via rail, ferry, and bus; from arrival to the end of the voyage.

The use of technology for better communication

Airport terminals should be equipped with wai finder technology so as to enable passengers who are blind and vision impaired to be able to navigate more independently. Example, to be able to find restaurants, washrooms, shopping areas, and more without having to seek assistance.

Kiosks at airports should be made accessible to blind and vision impaired travelers. Screens at airport terminals should be outfitted with close captioning, and airlines should be mandated to provide accessible apps that can assist passengers with disabilities to be aware of such things as flight delays and gate changes.

Other suggestions: Suitable relief areas for service animals, public announcement systems that are easy to hear.

Appropriate training for personnel

All personnel employed by airports, airlines, railways, and bus and ferry companies should receive regular training and all companies should be mandated to do this on a regular basis.

Suggestions: How to communicate such things as gate changes and flight delays to passengers with disabilities, and how to provide related assistance when requested.

They should be mandated to provide proof that the appropriate training has been carried out and annually would be a good time frame. These reports should be lodged with the Canadian Transportation Agency and penalties should be handed down if companies fail to comply.

Appropriate manuals should be developed to cover employee training for the various types of disabilities and input from travelers with disabilities should be mandated to be a part of this manual.

Training sessions should be a joint venture between industry and persons with disabilities. Regular presentations should be mandated to take place; annually would be a good time frame and proof of these face to face sessions should also be a part of the training mandate.

Accessibility-related services

These types of services would include: Curb side assistance, escort assistance, check in assistance, porter assistance.

Improving service standards

Industry, along with the Canadian Transportation Agency and stakeholders from the disabilities persons community should be given the task to work together to set up a suite of standards so that accessibility services can be improved.

This committee should be mandated to meet face to face at least every two years, six monthly tele conferences could be held, recommendations made, and taken to the appropriate lawmakers within a reasonable period of time. Or the Canadian Transportation Agency could be given the task to monitor and ensure that they are implemented.

Website accessibility

Every company that resides in the travel industry along with the Canadian Transportation Agency should be mandated to make their websites fully accessible and this would meaning adhering to W3C standards. All online complaints processes should also be made fully accessible and should be tested by persons with disabilities before implementation.

Training and communication

All industry stakeholders should be mandated to provide regular bulletins to stakeholder organizations for and of persons with disabilities with regard to their training efforts, changes to their services with emphasis on accessibility services. If there are any new website announcements then these too should be communicated.

Partnerships with stakeholder organizations should be developed and these announcements could be filtered through these partners.

Greater involvement by persons with disabilities with regard to regulatory changes pertaining to disability issues

The Canadian Transportation Agency should also be mandated to include persons with disabilities as part of their members panel and these stakeholders should be given the opportunity to give input in to regulations and codes of practice.

Other suggestions for the Canadian Transportation Agency

A revamp of their complaints system so that it becomes more accessible, user friendly, and easy to understand.

More support for those lodging complaints; to provide explanations and guidance.

Some sort of legal resource for complainants if they are being taken to court by respondents.

The Canadian Transportation Agency to be given the power to initiate investigations into accessibility issues, to issue interim orders and to order compensation for harm.

A Canadians with disabilities Act could help to make this possible. Additionally, it would be a way to strengthen the powers of the Agency.

A need for consistent and systemic enforcement

Consistent penalties to be implement and enforced whenever legal regulations and codes of practice are not adhered to and penalties to be made meaningful Example; not just a steep appropriate monetary penalty but also some sort of public notification for those who break the regulations and codes of practice.

A monitoring system

An appropriate monitoring system to be set up and managed by the Canadian Transportation Agency. This system would monitor such things as training, number of complaints that are lodged with companies (complaints settled and those headed for other action) A regular monitoring of companies websites and phone services for quality assurance.

A regular reporting system

This is where companies would be mandated to provide annual reports on the following: Training, accessibility services, accessible websites, and complaints.