About Air Transat
We are Canada’s number one leisure airline. We fly to some 50 international destinations in more than 25 countries in the Americas and Europe, offer domestic and connecting flights within Canada, and transport millions of passengers each year.
We are a business unit of Transat A.T. Inc., a leading integrated international tourism company specializing in holiday travel and offering vacation packages, hotel stays and air travel. Based in Montreal, Transat was awarded Travelife certification in 2018 in recognition of its commitment to sustainable development.
According to the 2017 Canadian Survey on Disability Will open in a separate browser window, one in five Canadians (6.2 million) aged 15 and over had at least one disability that limited their activities and full participation in society.
The Canadian Accessibility Act Will open in a separate browser window, which came into force in July 2019, aims to make Canada barrier-free by January 1, 2040. The Act requires federally regulated organizations to prepare and publish multi-year accessibility plans and annual progress reports.
We are committed to serving our customers with passion and friendliness, and to providing safe service, and we are committed to respecting the principles of accessibility set out in the Act, which are stated as follows:
- All persons must be treated with dignity, regardless of their disabilities;
- All persons must have the same opportunity to make for themselves the lives that they are able and wish to have, regardless of their disabilities;
- All persons must have barrier-free access to full and equal participation in society, regardless of their disabilities;
- All persons must have meaningful options and be free to make their own choices, with support, if they desire, regardless of their disabilities;
- Laws, policies, programs, services and structures must take into account the disabilities of persons, the different ways that persons interact with their environments, and the multiple and intersecting forms of marginalization and discrimination faced by persons;
- Persons with disabilities must be involved in the development and design of laws, policies, programs, services and structures;
- The development and revision of accessibility standards and the making of regulations must be done with the objective of achieving the highest level of accessibility for persons with disabilities.
At Air Transat, we live up to our obligations to our customers, our colleagues, society, and the environment. We work tirelessly to build and maintain an organization that remains united, focused, and true to its values across borders. Our vision is to innovate and provide a more sustainable, safe, and accessible transportation offer. By removing barriers, we improve the accessibility and safety of our passengers. We recognize the fundamental right of all passengers to be treated with dignity and respect and are committed to identifying, preventing and removing barriers to ensure, accessible air travel for persons living with a disability.
In accordance with the above, Air Transat is proud to present its first accessibility plan, which is meant to evolve and be implemented from 2023 to 2025. Our objective is to define and implement actions in the seven priority areas described in the Act:
- Information and Communication Technologies;
- Communication, other than Information and Communication Technologies;
- Design and Delivery of Programs and Services;
- Procurement of Goods, Services and Facilities;
- The Built Environment.
As part of our plan, we are committed to improving air travel for people living with disabilities, with concrete actions including:
- Consulting persons living with a disability, including disability organizations and their leaders, on how air travel services and infrastructure can be improved to ensure a safe and enjoyable travel experience for passengers living with a disability;
- Improving passenger transfers and the handling of personal mobility aids;
- Enhancing our accessibility services training for frontline workers and educating our employees about passengers living with a disability;
- Supporting the continued study and development of safe and feasible accessibility features that broaden air travel opportunities for passengers living with a disability;
- Working with federal departments and agencies such as Transport Canada, Employment and Social Development Canada, the Office of the Auditor General, the Canadian Transportation Agency, Accessibility Standards Canada, airport authorities and others to ensure that the needs of passengers living with a disability are addressed throughout the air travel experience.
As part of the continuous improvement of our accessibility and special services policies and procedures, we also make it our duty to collect feedback from our customers regarding their experiences. Any feedback on this accessibility plan and its subsequent progress reports is welcome.
Our feedback process is easy and effective. Simply provide your feedback to our Customer Relations team, anonymously or not, through one of the following communication channels:
Feedback will be acknowledged in the same way it is communicated to us. Our Customer Relations Specialists will collect the feedback so that we can take it into account and improve our accessibility practices and services.
Feedback will be treated in the same manner,; whether it is sent anonymously or not. However, we cannot acknowledge receipt of anonymous feedback.
Although our website provides access to print or large print versions, the above channels of communication can also be used to request a copy of this accessibility plan or progress reports in these formats or in audio format or braille.
We will take received feedback into consideration when publishing our progress reports and implementing the accessibility plan.
At Transat, we foster an environment where inclusiveness, respect and equity reign. We strive to have a workforce that reflects the diversity of our customer base as well as the communities we serve. We encourage people from designated and under-represented groups to apply for our positions.
That said, we are aware that we still have limited knowledge of our employees living with disabilities. We also need to review our recruitment practices to ensure that they facilitate the hiring of people living with a disability.
To achieve our goal of a diverse and inclusive workplace, we are committed to:
- Implementing and promoting the new self-identification questionnaire;
- Reviewing available data on our workforce to better understand our gaps for people living with disabilities;
- Analyzing our human resources practices to identify potential barriers and correct our exclusionary mechanisms;
- Promoting mechanisms for employees living with a disability to share their experiences and concerns;
- Providing learning opportunities for employees, managers and specialists on accessibility.
Information and communication technologies
We recognize that it is essential to make our telecommunication systems, computer systems and network, including our website and mobile app, accessible to all.
Our website already meets WCAG 2.0 Level AA accessibility criteria, including ensuring that navigation and presentation mechanisms are consistent and easily accessible. For example, text can be enlarged to 200% without any readability loss and colour alone is never used to transmit information.
To ensure that we are always compliant with Level AA accessibility standards, we developed a quality assurance process through the Siteimprove tool. An accessibility committee monitors the accessibility rating of our website monthly and takes the appropriate actions to fix any issues.
In August 2020, we also mandated an external firm, Consultation Boréale, to evaluate the level of accessibility of our mobile application. The vast majority of identified issues were corrected, and we conduct an ongoing audit to ensure we remain compliant.
We also ensure that communication with our passengers can be readily achieved through several channels including phone, mail, email, social media, chat or an online form. Communication can be in the official language of the passenger's choice.
People who are deaf, hard of hearing or have a speech impediment can contact us for any past or future travel-related inquiries by accessing the Bell Relay Service.
We also ensure that our internal websites and digital communications for our employees meet accessibility standards.
Regarding airport operations, announcements are made in an audio format when passengers are present at the boarding gates. In addition, our published ground services procedures include instructions to stations to update our departure control system (DCS) in case of disruption or gate change, so the information is updated on the airport’s on-screen display. As we continue to focus on the new technologies available to both our customers and employees, we must ensure that these technologies are accessible to avoid adding barriers for people living with disabilities.
In the area of information and communication technologies, we are committed to:
- Continuing to ensure that new systems (internal and publicly facing), including hardware and software purchased or developed in-house, meet modern accessibility standards;
- Keeping abreast of new communications technologies and taking them into account in the development and acquisition of new software;
- Making essential information on our website and mobile application available in accessible formats.
Communication, other than information and communication technologies
At Air Transat, communication between our staff and our customers is at the heart of what ensures the excellence of our services. This communication must be adapted to the particularities of our diverse clientele. Therefore, we ensure that our employees communicate using language that is clear, respectful and accessible to people living with a disability. To this end, our customer facing employees receive complete accessibility related training.
In addition, our website has a section dedicated to accessibility and special needs that contains all the information our customers may need to plan their trip with Air Transat.
As mentioned above, our customers can reach us through several communication channels that we strive to make accessible.
On board our aircraft, we ensure that safety features cards are available in large print and in Braille. Passenger safety information in also available in an audio and visual format and permits a person living with a disability to adjust the volume of the audio output and the size of the font.
We need to review our various internal and external communications to ensure that they are easy to understand and meet the needs of people living with a disability.
In terms of communications, we are committed to:
- Developing and implementing accessibility practices for clear written and verbal communication;
- Developing continuous accessibility training;
- Equipping our staff to support internal and external communication in plain language;
- Continuing to implement a process to request and receive documents and materials in accessible formats.
Design and delivery of programs and services
We plan to integrate accessibility into the design of our services and programs and in their delivery to our customers. As such, assistance can be provided by specially trained staff at any stage of the customer journey.
In developing our training program for front-line staff, we consulted Kéroul, an organization that specializes in providing services to people living with a disability.
All personnel interacting with passengers must successfully complete initial and recurrent training relating to their specific duties to assist passengers with disabilities. This includes contact centre agents, ground service agents and flight attendants.
With the reality of labour shortages, we need to work with our service providers to ensure that accessibility training is ongoing and completed on time.
To strengthen the evaluation of accessible and inclusive programs and services, we are committed to:
- Incorporating accessibility principles into new and existing programs and services;
- Incorporating accessibility principles into our agreements with our various product and service providers;
- Continuing to train our front-line staff and emphasizing a personalized approach to service delivery;
- Continuing to train and educate our various handlers on the handling and storage of mobility equipment.
Procurement of goods, services and facilities
We seek to continually adapt our practices to make our services as inclusive as possible for people living with a disability. It is with this in mind that we must always consider accessibility criteria in all our decisions and operations.
We need to consider accessibility early in all procurement processes to reduce potential barriers.
To this end, we are committed to:
- Providing a comprehensive evaluation process in which accessibility will be an essential element in future acquisitions of goods, services and facilities;
- Developing a supplier code of conduct which includes accessibility;
- Developing a list of resources to facilitate the procurement of required accessibility services (e.g. Braille, digital audio, etc.);
- Equipping our procurement staff to integrate accessibility into procurement agreements.
We do not manage ground transportation as part of our regular operations. However, we recognize that it is essential to address the barriers that our customers living with a disability may encounter in the transportation used to access our services.
In the area of transportation, we are committed to:
- Considering accessibility principles in any future transportation agreements with third parties;
- Working with our partner airport authorities to identify and remove transportation barriers throughout the customer’s airport experience.
We recognize the importance of ensuring the accessibility of any built environment to persons living with a disability. We ensure that we meet accessibility standards on board our aircraft and in our workplaces.
We have implemented a flexible work-at-home policy to provide our employees with as much flexibility as possible to find the work arrangement that best suits them. In addition, our employees have access to best practice guides and advice on how to adapt their workstations both in person and remotely.
To identify and prevent any obstacles that may exist, we are committed to:
- Evaluating our built environment to determine its level of accessibility and to design a standardization plan where possible;
- Identifying and addressing accessibility criteria in any new design or renovation;
- Making our automated self-service kiosks compliant with the requirements of the Canadian Standards Association's National Standard CAN/CSA-B651.2-07 by January 1, 2024.
Consultation with various stakeholders is the basis for improving our practices. We consider it essential to consult with our customers and staff living with disabilities to identify barriers and develop solutions that will meet their specific needs.
We are an active member of the Accessibility Advisory Committee chaired by the Canadian Transportation Agency's Centre of Expertise on Accessible Transportation (CEAT). This participation allows us to discuss with various industry players, as well as organizations representing persons living with a disability, to better understand and address their accessibility related challenges.
In developing this plan, we consulted with employees and clients living with a disability to gather and incorporate their feedback. This consultation also helped to ensure that our plan was written in plain language.
Finally, the comments and feedback received through various channels, from our customers and employees, allow us to better identify and understand the barriers they face.
In keeping with this approach, we are committed to:
- Consulting with people living with a disability, developing an ongoing dialogue and prioritizing their participation in work groups;
- Communicating our accessibility commitments and action plans;
- Establishing an accessibility work group that will be responsible for evaluating the progress of our accessibility plan.
We firmly believe that accessibility is an organization-wide issue. It is important to us that accessibility be a priority at all levels and for all services offered, with the goal of eliminating and preventing obstacles that could be encountered by our clients living with a disability. The accessibility plan presented here is a continuation of the concrete actions that our organization is taking to satisfy our diverse clientele. In addition, we are striving to continue to adapt our practices in light of the feedback we receive. Our dedicated Accessibility Work Group will allow us to continually monitor and improve the actions outlined in this plan and in subsequent progress reports.
Provisions of the Canadian Transportation Agency's Accessibility regulations
The accessibility requirements are derived from legislation and regulations made by the Canadian Transportation Agency under section 170(1) of the Canada Transportation Act Will open in a separate browser window.
We will be classified as a large carrier as of January 1, 2024, and we already aim to meet and exceed all obligations to which we are or will be subject to, with the objective of meeting best practices.
Relevant legislation and regulations can be listed as follows: