Summary of the Proposed Accessible Transportation Planning and Reporting Regulations

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Introduction

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The Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA) is proposing new regulations, called the Accessible Transportation Planning and Reporting Regulations (ATPRR).

The CTA is bringing forward these proposed regulations under the Accessible Canada Act (ACA), which came into effect in July 2019. The ACA sets out planning and reporting requirements on accessibility. The CTA has developed the ATPRR to implement these requirements for transportation service providers.

Transportation service providers include companies that operate planes, ferries, trains and buses that travel long distances, as well as terminals, like airports, ferry terminals, train and bus stations, and ports where cruise ships dock.

The CTA's proposed regulations set out important details – such as when transportation service providers must publish their accessibility plans and in what types of formats they must provide them to persons with disabilities.

ACA Framework

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The ACA sets out three planning and reporting requirements:

  1. Accessibility plans;
  2. Feedback processes; and
  3. Progress reports.

First, transportation service providers make accessibility plans, in consultation with persons with disabilities. The plans must address their policies, programs, practices, and services in relation to the identification and removal of barriers – and the prevention of new barriers – in transportation-related areas such as communication, services and equipment.

As they develop their accessibility plans, transportation service providers set up feedback processes so that persons with disabilities can let them know of barriers they face.

Transportation service providers then publish progress reports that provide updates on progress with their accessibility plans and the feedback they receive.

The ATPRR is needed to implement this general framework and to set out important details on how it will work.

Scope

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The ATPRR will apply very broadly – covering transportation service providers in all modes of transportation, foreign and domestic, operating, to, from and within Canada. Very small transportation service providers with less than 10 employees are not required to comply with the regulations.

Timelines

ASL version of this chapter
 

The ATPRR will phase-in the new planning and reporting requirements based on the ownership and size of transportation service providers.

Transportation service providers will have to publish their first accessibility plan on the following timelines:

  • Class 1: Publicly owned transportation service providers (e.g., Crown Corporations), by December 31, 2022;
  • Class 2: Large privately owned transportation service providers with 100 or more employees, by June 1, 2023;
  • Class 3: Small privately owned transportation service providers with less than 100 but at least 10 employees, by June 1, 2024.

Transportation service providers must also publish updated accessibility plans every three years – starting from when their first plan must be published – and publish progress reports during any year that they do not publish an accessibility plan.

ATPRR Requirements

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The ATPRR will establish some requirements for planning and reporting. Here are examples of what transportation service providers will have to do:

Accessibility Plans

  • Use headers for accessibility priority areas identified in the ACA (for example, information and communication technologies, delivery of services, and the built environment);
  • Publish plans in clear, simple and concise language where they can be easily found – usually on the transportation service provider's website – and in an accessible format (Level AA Web Content Accessibility Guidelines [WCAG]);
  • Allow persons with disabilities to request a copy of an accessibility plan by any means through which a transportation service provider communicates with the public.

Feedback Processes

  • Publish descriptions of feedback processes in simple, clear, and concise language where they can be easily found – usually on the transportation service provider's website – and in an accessible format (Level AA WCAG);
  • Allow persons with disabilities to provide feedback by any means through which a transportation service provider communicates with the public;
  • Acknowledge that feedback has been received;
  • Require that TSPs allow persons with disabilities to submit feedback anonymously if they prefer.

Progress Reports

  • Use headers for accessibility priority areas identified in the ACA;
  • Publish reports in clear, simple and concise language where they can be easily found – usually on the transportation service provider's website – and in an accessible format (Level AA WCAG);
  • Allow persons with disabilities to request a copy of a progress report by any means through which a transportation service provider communicates with the public.

Requesting Copies in Alternative Formats

Persons with disabilities can ask for a copy of an accessibility plan or progress report in print, large print, electronic format compatible with adaptive technology, braille or audio format.

Transportation service providers must make their plans or reports available in the requested format as soon as it is feasible, and no later than:

  • 15 days after a request is made for print, large print or an electronic format compatible with adaptive technology – or 20 days for a small (class 3) transportation service provider;
  • 45 days after a request is made for braille or audio formats.

How will the ATPRR be enforced?

ASL version of this chapter
 

The CTA employs a number of different tools and activities to monitor and enforce compliance, and to address instances of non-compliance.

The CTA's approach to compliance monitoring and enforcement is guided by its modern compliance monitoring and enforcement policy and enforcement process that was recently developed and published. In a situation where a TSP has violated a provision of the ACA that the Agency administers, a CTA enforcement officer may issue a notice with a warning or a monetary penalty. The amount of penalty for each violation, which can be up to $250,000, is based on the level of severity of the violation and whether there is recurring non-compliance.

Other Planning and Reporting Regulations

Under the ACA, Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) must also develop planning and reporting regulations for transportation service providers and other stakeholders in different federal sectors. These regulations will cover different issues, such as barriers to accessibility in employment.

To make sure the ACA's planning and reporting process runs smoothly, the CTA has worked with ESDC to align the two sets of regulations when possible, including on timelines.

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) is also bringing forward planning and reporting regulations under the ACA for telecommunications companies and other entities under their jurisdiction. While these will not apply to transportation service providers, the CTA has also taken into account the CRTC's approach in developing the regulations.

Next Steps

ASL version of this chapter
 

The CTA will develop final regulations, taking into account all input received during the consultation period.

A consultation period of 65 days has been set by Cabinet for both the CTA and ESDC's regulations, given the impacts of COVID-19 on persons with disabilities as well as industry.

The CTA will work, in lockstep with ESDC, to have final regulations in place as soon as possible.


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