YVR is committed to providing a positive airport experience for everyone. We focus on minimizing obstacles for people with disabilities and anyone requiring extra help.
In 2016, we held universal access working group meetings and we continued to train Airport Authority employees through a Disability Awareness Training program, in partnership with the Rick Hansen Foundation. Through this program, 55 per cent of our employees completed the Ramping Minds experiential training and 38 employees took our RespectAbility seminar.
We partnered with the Canadian National Institute for the Blind (CNIB) and we engaged the Western Institute for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (WIDHH) to provide a terminal audit, complete with focus groups on YVR facilities. We worked with the Pacific Autism Family Centre to offer employees the Autism Spectrum Disorder Awareness Lunch & Learn. And our popular tours for persons with spinal cord injuries and families living with autism continued throughout the year.
We also completed a new computer-based training program to complement existing training programs, which can be shared with our business partners. This includes language and communication, information on terminal services and assistance techniques.
In 2016, we continued to improve the terminal to be more welcoming for everyone under our multi-year accessibility plan. We updated our washroom design and installed new inclusive signage. To better assist passengers who experience hearing challenges, we upgraded our visual paging system to include some of our Flight Information Displays (FIDs). We installed high-contrast tiles to support people with vision loss, providing directional orientation from International Departures check-in to security screening. And to improve in-terminal transportation, we conducted an in-depth review of guest transportation operations in collaboration with UBC Sauder Centre for Operational Excellence, which we will use to explore future internal options and look at ways to improve existing operations.
Animal Relief Area
Traveling with service animals can be challenging, which is why YVR constructed and opened an animal relief area in the United States Departures area, making travelling with a companion animal more convenient and comfortable. The new area includes a range of accessibility features: touchless entry, lowered counters and an easy-to-maneuver interior, providing an easy and seamless experience for travellers with companion dogs, pets and assistance animals.