Jul 19, 2019
GATINEAU, QC: Bill C-81, the Accessible Canada Act, which received Royal Assent, will provide the Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA) with new tools to help advance the accessibility of the national transportation system.
Once in force, this legislation will provide the CTA with
- own motion powers to initiate investigations, upon approval of the Minister of Transport, regardless of whether a formal complaint has been made;
- new power to award compensation for lost wages, pain and suffering, and willful or reckless practice when an adjudication finds that there was an undue barrier to the mobility of persons with disabilities. This power to award compensation aligns with that of the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal;
- Enforcement tools such as increase of inspection powers, compliance agreements and warnings;
- the ability for a designated enforcement officer to levy Administrative Monetary Penalties up to a maximum of $250,000 for non-compliance with certain accessibility related requirements;
- the ability for the CTA to determine that, even if industry complies with regulations, there is still an undue barrier to a person’s mobility, and order corrective measures; and
- a new mandate to make regulations on planning and reporting obligations for industry.
As the CTA prepares to implement this legislation, it is working closely with other organizations responsible for receiving accessibility-related complaints – the Canadian Human Rights Commission, the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, and the Federal Public Service Labour Relations and Employment Board – to provide a no wrong door experience for persons with disabilities who want to submit complaints.
In parallel to this legislation, the CTA is developing new Accessible Transportation for Persons with Disabilities Regulations. The final regulations, expected to be published in Part II of the Canada Gazette by summer 2019, will mark a major step forward for travellers with disabilities. The CTA will administer – and enforce – the new regulations in part by using the new authorities provided by the Accessible Canada Act.
In addition, the CTA will develop additional regulations by summer 2022 to cover the planning and reporting obligations of transportation service providers, as well as accessibility requirements for small carriers.
In support of protecting the fundamental right of persons with disabilities to accessible transportation services, the CTA’s existing dispute resolution services will continue to serve Canadians as a mechanism to resolve accessibility complaints via facilitation, mediation, or adjudication.
Accessible transportation is a human right whose realization is essential to achieving equality, inclusion, and dignity for Canadians with disabilities. The legislation provides the CTA with new tools to advance the accessibility of the national transportation system to help achieve our vision to make the national transportation system the most accessible in the world.
– Scott Streiner, Chair and CEO of the Canadian Transportation Agency.