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YVR Introduces New Training Initiatives to Support Neurodiverse Travelers

Vancouver International Airport (YVR) and the Pacific Autism Family Network (PAFN) have announced two new initiatives designed to support neurodiverse travelers. 

Hoping to ease the high-stress elements of navigating an airport, YVR, PAFN and autistic advocacy organization AIDE Canada have created a series of on-demand travel training videos detailing the journey “from curb to cloud” — including guidance on check-in, the security screening process, boarding procedures and customs processes — for neurodiverse travelers, allowing passengers to familiarize themselves with the airport and practice interacting with personnel before arrival. 

“YVR is a diverse global hub, and we remain committed to meeting the highest standards of accessibility and inclusion,” says Tamara Vrooman, president and CEO of YVR. “A little bit of planning ahead can make all the difference to a travel journey. Through our partnership with PAFN and AIDE Canada, YVR is proud to offer a valuable resource to neurodiverse individuals and others, enabling anyone who may feel anxious about the experience to prepare for air travel with confidence.”

“We are delighted to support neurodiverse communities by introducing the wonder of travel and what they can expect through these interactive travel training videos,” adds Christianna Scott, director of diversity, equity and inclusion at Air Canada.“By seeing an Air Canada aircraft and staff in these videos, and together with our adoption and recognition of the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower program, we hope neurodiverse people and their families can develop the confidence to take a trip soon.” 

Additionally, YVR has launched a comprehensive neurodiverse inclusion training program for airport and customs staff, focusing on best practices to create a welcoming, safe, and supportive travel environment for all passengers. 

“The Canada Border Services Agency welcomes thousands of travelers to Canada each day and we understand that crossing the border can present unique challenges for neurodiverse individuals,” says Linell Redmond, director of the agency at YVR. “We have an important role to play in helping remove existing barriers and appreciate the opportunity to have our border services officers take part in this training through YVR, PAFN and AIDE Canada.”

“The Canadian Air Transport Security Authority  endeavors to create a barrier-free security screening experience that is inclusive and respectful of all travelers,” adds Jim Doucette,  the authority’s director of service delivery. “Participating in this training allows screening officers to learn how to best support neurodiverse passengers through the screening process and we are grateful for this opportunity.”