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Craig's Corner: Accessible YVR

Accessibility is at the very heart of our all of our decision making at YVR. When we talk about connecting BC proudly to the world – we really do mean everybody. We want to make sure we are doing our part to make you to feel comfortable flying and confident that the airport experience will be pleasant and barrier free. And that’s all very easy to say. But we don’t just pay lip service to accessibility at YVR, we take action.

We’ve recently launched initiatives that we believe make YVR even more accessible. Things like the I CAN Fly sticker program at YVR makes travel easier for families living with autism. We’ve also installed adult change stations throughout the terminal to ensure that travellers who need these facilities are accommodated. Last year we also installed a pet relief area in US Departures for passengers travelling with an assistance animal.

We are also always trying new things in the field. We are currently trialing two new initiatives at YVR that we think will improve the travel experience for people with disabilities. Our curbside ambassador ensures that any passenger who needs assistance on the curb will be helped during peak hours, and we are also testing out new Staxi wheelchairs, which we think could be better for people travelling through the airport with space for a carry on built right in to the equipment.

YVR is also focused internally on creating a diverse and inclusive workforce, setting specific hiring targets for persons with disabilities. With September being Disability Employment Month, this is a great opportunity to shine a light on some of the challenges people with disabilities have in finding employment, but also some of the challenges faced by employers in this regard. It’s also a chance for me to promote the President’s Group, a network of 22 change-driven BC business leaders committed to improving employment outcomes for people with disabilities in BC and create a more accessible consumer marketplace. These champions for more accessible, inclusive workplaces have just launched a new website, accessibleemployers.ca, which provides resources and information on ways to diversify your work force and ensure you have an inclusive workplace for all your employees. I urge you to have a look. It is something I am extremely proud to be a part of.

There are millions of Canadians living with disabilities, and our goal is to make sure every single one of them can fly stress free through Vancouver by trying to make YVR the most accessible airport on the planet. How do we do that? Well, one of the big lessons in our RespectAbility training that all Vancouver Airport Authority employees go through is Just Ask, Just Listen. So this is me asking – Are there ways we can be improve? I’m sure there are. Do you have an idea for how YVR can be more accessible? Let us know. Now it’s time for me to listen.

For more information on accessibility at YVR visit our website, and for info on President’s Group go to accessibleemployers.ca and learn how you can be a part of the solution.

Happy travels, everybody.

Craig.