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Accessibility

We offer an environment where everyone can travel autonomously and confidently. To ensure the greatest ease and comfort of travel, we also provide special assistance services. Do you have a disability or reduced mobility? Here’s what we can do for you.

Travel tips

Our special?and adapted services may vary from one region to another, depending on the station facilities and train cars. To help ensure that your individual needs are met and that your trip is as comfortable and pleasant as possible, please keep the following guidelines in mind:

  • Book your trip at least 48?hours in advance.
  • You can purchase your tickets by calling us at 1 888 VIA-RAIL (1 888 842-7245) or TTY 1 800 268-9503 (for the persons who are deaf or hard-of-hearing) or by visiting one of our ticket counters at the station nearest you.;
  • When booking your trip, let the agent know whether you require any special services.
  • VIA suggests that all customers with special service requests arrive at their departure station early for safe and timely access to the correct platform. Please validate VIA station hours, as some stations open 30?minutes prior to scheduled departure times.

Travel resources

Travelling with disabilities or specific needs is not always easy, but the information on this Government of Canada website will help make your trip as easy and safe as possible. This resource offers a wealth of information about accessible transportation and travel across the country.

Canadian Transportation agency’s websiteis also a useful resource to know every about the regulations, codes of practice and guidelines for accessibility.

Have you thought of everything?

Please note that our special and adapted services may vary from one region to another, depending on the station facilities and train cars. To help ensure that your individual needs are met and that your trip is as comfortable and pleasant as possible, please keep the following guidelines in mind:

  • Book your trip at least?48?hours in advance.
  • Contact a VIA agent to get all the information you need to plan your trip, such as details about station equipment and accessibility or assistance getting on and off the train. When booking your trip, please let the agent know if you require special services.

Reservations involving specific needs and/or accessibility services must be done through a VIA agent (no online booking). To plan your trip and purchase your tickets, call us at 1 888 VIA-RAIL (1 888 842-7245) or TTY 1 800 268-9503 (for the persons who are deaf or hard-of-hearing).

VIA suggests that all customers with special service requests arrive at their departure station early for safe and timely access to the correct platform. Please validate VIA station hours, as some stations open 30?minutes prior to scheduled departure times.

Special seating requests

If you require more seat space due to a disability, you may reserve two side-by-side seats at no additional cost.?Please contact our Customer Centre at least 48?hours before your departure. VIA Rail may require up to 96 hours advance notice for requests requiring a medical certificate.

A Customer Relations Specialist will ask you for medical documentation, and accommodations will be made according to your needs and feasibility.

We provide the following booking options to passengers with disabilities to ensure they receive the assistance they need:

  • Purchase your ticket by telephone at 1 888 VIA-RAIL (1 888 842-7245).
  • Persons who are deaf or hard-of-hearing or who have speech disabilities, contact us via teletypewriter : 1 800 268-9503.
  • Purchase your ticket in person atone of our ticket counters.

We require a minimum of 48?hours' notice for special service requests.

To help us ensure you receive the services you need and have a smooth travel experience, please let us know if you have specific needs when you purchase your tickets, whether by phone or in person. Here are some examples of accessibility requests you may have:

  • You need assistance getting to the train platform
  • You need assistance with your journey that involves a transfer or connection
  • You need help boarding the train
  • You would like to confirm that your wheelchair fits within the size restrictions
  • You are travelling with a guide dog or service dog

Passengers who cannot travel alone may travel with a companion capable of providing the required assistance. The support person must be at least 12?years old and may travel free of charge in the same class of service.

If a passenger requires ONLY luggage and/or boarding assistance, VIA?Rail will not offer a free ticket for a support person, as we already provide these services.

Where necessary, support persons are expected to assist VIA personnel with helping passengers get on and off the train and move about while on board.

Passengers who wish to travel with a support person have two options:

Option 1
Provide a completed copy of our medical certificate form and ensure it meets the following criteria:
a)?It is signed by a licensed medical doctor or mental health professional (e.g.,?a psychiatrist or psychologist).
b)?It states that the passenger cannot travel without a support person.
c)?It is dated no more than one year prior to the date of travel, unless the passenger’s functional limitation is indicated as permanent.

Medical certificate template: Please download the Confidential Medical Certificate for Passengers Requiring a Support Person and have it completed by your physician. Once completed, the form must be submitted by email (support_person@viarail.ca) or fax (506-859-3943) for approval. We will contact you within 48?hours to provide confirmation of approval and instructions on how to book a complimentary ticket for your support person.

Option 2

Present, for each trip, a valid card from a recognized association or institution for persons with disabilities.

Important notice: In cases where a child cannot travel alone, a support person is not allowed.

Examples:

  • Children under the age of 8.
  • Children ages 8 to 11 on a trip where they are not entitled to travel alone according to our "unaccompanied children" service (travelling in Sleeper class or overnight for example).

Make sure to consult our Medical Needs section if you plan to travel with medical supplies such as the following:

  • Medication that needs to be taken during the trip
  • Oxygen bottles
  • Stretchers

Our stations are equipped with accessible features, infrastructure, and services that vary greatly from one station to the next. For example, some provide direct access to elevators or suitable public transportation.

To learn more about the accessibility services available in?our stations, including adapted public transportation, use our Find a Station tool.

VIA?Rail has a limited number of stations equipped with elevated platforms or mechanical lifts. Where such facilities are available, VIA?Rail will help passengers with disabilities board and disembark from the train, subject to limitations on the size and weight of the passengers and their equipment.

Stations with no stairs or elevators

At many of our stations, the maximum weight that VIA can safely handle is 272?kg (600?lb.). This is the case when passengers and/or their wheelchair or scooter need to be lifted from the station platform to the train door.

Stations with stairs

At stations with stairs that go down to the platform (e.g.,?Montréal Central Station and Kingston), the maximum weight that the inclined stair lift can safety handle varies from 204?kg (450?lb.) to 225?kg (495?lb.). VIA may be able to provide alternative options at these stations to accommodate a weight of up to 272?kg (600?lb.).

Wheelchair lifts are not required at our Montréal, Ottawa and Québec City stations, where the platforms are level with the train doors. All other wheelchair-accessible stations have devices used to lift the wheelchair and/or the passenger from the station platform to the train door.?These lifts can safely handle a maximum weight of 272?kg (600?lb.)?and mobility aids up to 56?in. (142?cm) long.

On the request of a person with a disability, VIA?Rail will provide curbside assistance without delay at designated stations. Curbside assistance includes wheelchair assistance, guiding assistance, and assistance carrying baggage between the station and the curb.

More specifically, it includes the following:

  • Assisting with the customer’s baggage or mobility aid and providing a wheelchair if needed
  • For departures: Helping the customer from the curbside zone into the station
  • For arrivals: Helping the customer proceed from the station to the curbside zone

This service is available at the following 10?VIA?Rail stations:

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For information about the location of curbside zones, please select any of the stations above to view its profile.

For more details or to make a request for curbside assistance, please call us (toll-free) at 1?888?VIA-RAIL (1?888?842-7245) or TTY 1 800 268-9503 (for the hearing-impaired). A 48hrs advance notice is required however if a person with a disability makes a request less than 48 hours before the scheduled time of departure, VIA will make a reasonable effort to provide the service.

Service animals are welcome on board VIA trains, and we understand that making sure they have a safe and clean place to relieve themselves is a very important consideration for those who travel with them.

Some of our stations are equipped with a service animal relief area (SARA): a quiet place where service animals can relieve themselves, which is essential before and after a train journey with their owners!

To check which stations have a SARA, please use our Find a Station tool..

Our personnel offers special services to passengers with reduced mobility. These services vary from one region to another, depending on the station facilities and train cars.
In most locations where we have personnel, our staff can do the following:

  • Escort you to the platform
  • Assist with a wheelchair
  • Help you board and disembark from the train
  • Assist with loading and unloading your baggage
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You can also take advantage of pre-boarding, which begins five minutes before regular boarding.

To benefit from these services, we suggest that you make a request in advance or identify yourself to VIA personnel once you arrive at the station and as soon as you get on board. If you are speech-impaired, please bring written instructions to inform station and onboard personnel of your itineraries, connections, and needs.

You are welcome to familiarize yourself with the following announcements generally heard in our stations. Get ready to board!

Station announcements:

Baggage check

Your attention, please. Passengers travelling on VIA train no.?XX bound for X are invited to check any baggage they won’t be needing on board. A check-in service is available at our baggage room up to 30?minutes before departure.

Pre-boarding

Your attention, please. VIA train no.?XX bound for (final destination) will soon be ready for general boarding. We would like to invite passengers with young children and passengers requiring additional assistance to board now on track no.?X. Please check your boarding pass for your car and seat numbers and proceed to the platform.

General boarding call

Your attention, please. VIA train no.?XX bound for X is now boarding all passengers on track no.?X. Please check your boarding pass for your car and seat numbers and proceed to the platform.

General boarding last call

Your attention, please. This is the final boarding call for VIA train no.?XX bound for X. All aboard!

Security: Baggage

Your attention, please. We would like to remind VIA?Rail Canada passengers to keep their baggage with them at all times. For your safety and security, please do not leave your belongings unattended. Thank you.

Minor boarding delay (15?min or less)

Your attention, please. Boarding of VIA train no.?XX bound for X has been delayed due to X. Please stand by for further announcements and check the Departures and Arrivals monitor for updates, or contact the VIA Customer Centre. We apologize for any inconvenience this situation may cause and thank you for your understanding.

Arrival delay

Your attention, please. The next VIA train has been delayed due to X. Please stand by for further announcements and check for train information updates on the Departures and Arrivals monitor, or contact the VIA Customer Centre. We apologize for any inconvenience this situation may cause and thank you for understanding.

Carry-on baggage reminder: Staffed stations

Your attention, please. We would like to remind VIA?Rail Canada passengers of our carry-on baggage policy. For a safer and more enjoyable travel experience, please make sure your baggage complies with our policy. For more information, please see a VIA attendant. Thank you.

Stairs, escalators, elevators

Please use the stairs or elevator to access the platform.
Please use the stairs or escalator to access the platform.
Please use the stairs to access the platform.

Trains at high speed

Your attention, please. We would like to remind VIA?Rail Canada passengers that trains may pass at high speed in either direction at any time. For your safety, please stand behind the yellow platform lines and do not cross the tracks. Thank you.

Security measures on the platform

Your attention, please. For those passengers still on the platform, we ask that you please leave the platform immediately, as the platform and train are now locked down for servicing. Please stay behind the black fences or inside the station. We will make a general boarding announcement as soon as we have permission to do so. Thank you for your cooperation.

All VIA trains are accessible to travellers in wheelchairs. The washrooms are equipped with grab bars, and narrow wheelchairs are available for boarding, detraining, and accessing the washrooms. However, the availability of this equipment, as well as door widths, can vary by train car. Click here to view diagrams of cars that are wheelchair-accessible.

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VIA Rail aims to provide sustainable, inclusive, and accessible mobility for all Canadians. For this reason, we are constantly monitoring industry best practices, especially in relation to universal accessibility.

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Some trains have baggage cars, which offer an additional storage option for wheelchairs or scooters during trips. Once on board, passengers cannot travel on the train with their mobility aid due to the narrow corridors.

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To find out which train cars will be used on your trip, feel free to call us (toll-free) at 1 888 VIA-RAIL (1 888 842-7245) or TTY 1 800 268-9503 (for the persons who are deaf or hard-of-hearing).

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On VIA’s transcontinental trains, travellers who are unable to go to the dining car or snack counters may have their meals served at their seat.

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Some VIA sleeping cars can accommodate passengers travelling on stretchers, provided a minimum of 48?hours’ notice.

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Due to the narrow aisles, passengers cannot move around the train with their mobility aids once on board.

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To avoid causing damage and to ensure the safety of all passengers on board, wheelchairs and scooters must be equipped with brakes.

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Some passengers are able to leave their wheelchair or scooter to board the train independently, while others must remain seated. In either case, there are maximum weights that VIA can safely handle. Please note that scooters with four wheels are only accepted in our baggage cars.

Our menus

The menus for all our destinations are available in PDF format on our Food and Drinks page (with the exception of our Business class menu, available only on board). Once on the train, you can also ask a VIA?crew member for a menu in braille or large print.

If you have allergies or would like to order a special meal, whether for medical or other reasons, we invite you to consult the?Special Meals and Allergies section prior to your trip.

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Onboard announcements:

You are welcome to familiarize yourself before your trip with the messages generally heard aboard our trains.

Pre-departure: Onboard policies

Good afternoon, everyone. Boarding of VIA Rail train no.?XX will begin shortly. We would like to take this opportunity to inform passengers of our onboard policies.

  • Smoking tobacco, e-cigarettes, or cannabis is strictly prohibited on board the train and on station platforms.
  • Unsafe or disrespectful behaviour towards passengers or crew members will not be tolerated.
  • Please take note that VIA?Rail does not accept debit or prepaid credit cards as a method of payment on board.

Departure: Major terminals

On behalf of VIA?Rail Canada, we’d like to welcome you aboard train no.?XX.

Please note that all seats on this train are assigned. Out of consideration for travellers boarding at other stations, we ask that all Economy class passengers occupy the seat indicated on their ticket.

For your safety, we ask that you familiarize yourself with the safety pamphlet located in your cabin or seat pocket. Please take a moment to locate the emergency exits and equipment in your car. There’s a minimum of four emergency windows per car.

We’d also like to remind you that standing in the vestibule is not permitted and that footwear is mandatory when circulating on board the train.

Our crew will tend to your safety and well-being.

We invite you to sit back, relax, and enjoy your journey with us.

We’ll soon be coming around for ticket validation, so please have your passes ready.

Thank you and have a pleasant trip.

Backing out of the station

Your attention, please. In the next few minutes, we will be backing out of the station in order to change tracks and turn the train around. This is a normal procedure. Thank you.

Service announcement: The Great Western Way, the Maritime Way

Ladies and gentlemen, for your comfort and convenience, we wish to inform you of the following facilities and services available on board this train.

Service cars are located on either side of the dining car and are available to all passengers. These cars offer takeout meal service until 11:00/11:30?p.m., a selection of souvenirs, movie showings, complimentary newspapers, and a lounge area. Free WI-FI is available in both service cars; please consult one of our crew members for full details and instructions. As space is limited in the service cars, please allow fellow passengers to use the facilities as well. We also ask that all phones be set to vibration mode and that headphones be used with all electronic devices to avoid disturbing other passengers. Your cooperation in this matter is greatly appreciated.

For passengers travelling in our sleeping class(es), our dining car is available by reservation for lunch and dinner service and on a first come, first serve basis for breakfast service. Should there be sufficient space available, reservations will also be extended to Economy class passengers. Please ask one of our crew members for further details.

For passengers travelling in Sleeper Plus class, the Park car is available to you at all times. The Park car is located at the rear of the train and offers bar and snack service with complimentary coffee and tea, newspapers, and magazines.

Today’s Learning Coordinator, X, invites you to join him/her in the Park car, where he/she will be happy to guide you throughout our journey (if applicable).

We are pleased to provide you with a smoke-free environment, as this train is entirely non-smoking, including the washrooms and between cars. Your cooperation is appreciated. Should you wish to smoke, there will be three designated smoking stops: Moncton, Campbellton, and Sainte-Foy. Please consult your attendant for specific times.

It is strictly forbidden to consume personal alcoholic beverages in open areas while on board. Disrespectful and unsafe behaviour on board VIA?Rail trains will not be tolerated. Your cooperation is appreciated.

If you require any assistance, a crew member will be glad to help you. We now ask that you have your ticket or e-boarding pass ready for validation. Thank you and have a pleasant trip.

Beverage menu

Your attention, please. We will be starting our beverage service shortly. To familiarize yourself with our selection, please consult the beverage menu located in the seat pocket in front of you. Thank you.

Meal service: The Great Western Way, the Maritime Way

Ladies and gentlemen, an attendant is now making their way through the sleeping cars to take meal reservations.

If you would like to make a reservation, please have your door open to facilitate this process. Thank you for your cooperation.

Meal seating: The Great Western Way, the Maritime Way

Ladies and gentlemen, this is the first call for breakfast in the dining car. The dining car is located ahead of the service car. Thank you and enjoy your meal.

Meal seating, last call: The Great Western Way, the Maritime Way

Ladies and gentlemen, this is last call for breakfast in the dining car. The dining car, located ahead of the service car, will be closing in 45?minutes. Thank you and enjoy your meal.

Economy class cart service: The Great Western Way, the Maritime Way

Your attention, please.

An Economy class service attendant will be circulating with their cart throughout the trip to offer you snacks and beverages at your seat.

LThe first service will begin shortly. Please have your credit card or cash ready. Full meals are available for purchase at the takeout counter in the service car.

Evening announcement: The Great Western Way, the Maritime Way

Please note that the takeout counter will be closing at 11:00/11:30?p.m. and will open again tomorrow morning at 6/7?a.m.

Recycling program

Recycling bins are located in the service cars. We invite you to use them to dispose of aluminums cans and bottles. Thank you for supporting our recycling program.

Wireless internet service interrupted or unavailable

Interruption: Ladies and gentlemen, we are experiencing problems with our wireless internet service. The connection will be interrupted for a few minutes so that we can reset the system. Thank you for your understanding.

Unavailable: Ladies and gentlemen, we would like to inform you that, due to technical adjustments to our current system, our wireless internet service will not be available on this train. We apologize for the inconvenience and thank you for your understanding.

Upgrade

Your attention, please. If you wish to upgrade to Business/ Sleeper class, please speak to a crew member. They will be happy to provide you with more information.

Unscheduled stop

Ladies and gentlemen, may I have your attention, please. We are still waiting to learn the exact reason for our stop. I will get back to you as quickly as possible with this information. We apologize for the inconvenience and thank you for your understanding.

Late train with a connection upon arrival

Ladies and gentlemen, we apologize for our late arrival at X.

Passengers with connections to X, train no.?XX, please note

  • that train no.?XX will be holding at gate no.?XX.
OR
  • the train will be held. Please follow the directions provided by the station staff.
OR
  • that train no.?XX cannot be held. A VIA representative will be available to assist you.

Thank you for your understanding.

Arrival (prior to each stop)

Ladies and gentlemen, we will be arriving at X in approximately X?minutes.

For your safety, we ask that you remain seated until the train comes to a complete stop in the station.

Please ensure that you have all your personal belongings with you before exiting the train.

Thank you for choosing VIA?Rail Canada today.

On board, you can ask a VIA agent for a readable version of the audio announcements.

Safety card

On board, you can ask a VIA agent for the safety cards in braille or large print.

We’re always ready to help

Once you’re on board, we’ll be pleased to provide you with information about our menus and services. If you like, we can notify you of any schedule changes and let you know when you arrive at your destination.

To benefit from these services, we suggest that you identify yourself to VIA personnel once you arrive at the station and as soon as you get on board. If you are speech-impaired, please bring written instructions to inform station and onboard personnel of your itineraries, connections, and needs.

Our trains are designed to accommodate passengers with functional limitations or disabilities and their attendants. Since our train cars will vary according to your destination, please contact our?Customer Centre at 1 888 VIA-RAIL (1 888 842-7245) or 1 800 268-9503 (for the persons who are deaf or hard-of-hearing) if you have specific questions about seat dimensions or the facilities that will be available during your trip.

Please refer to the table below to view diagrams of our accessible train cars. The type of equipment varies and may be subject to availability.

Dimensions of mobility aids

Our wheelchair-accessible stations are equipped with devices for lifting wheelchairs and/or the passenger from the station platform to the train door.

  • The maximum weight that the wheelchair lift can safely handle is 272?kg (600?lb.)
  • The maximum length of a mobility aid that the wheelchair lift can safely handle is 56?in. (142?cm)

Wheelchair lifts are not required as our Montréal and Québec City stations, as the platforms are level with the train doors.

Only three-wheeled scooters can board rail cars in our current fleet. Due to narrow passages when boarding, the majority of scooters with four wheels cannot be accommodated on board. However, they can be transported in baggage cars when these are available.

The table below indicates the dimensions (width and length) of mobility aids that can safely board each train car type.

Ontario and Quebec

Route

Toronto-Ottawa
Toronto-Windsor
Toronto-Niagara Falls
Toronto-Sarnia
LRC cars This link open a windowThis link open a window
71 cm/28 in. Door width
142 cm/56 in. Maximum length
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Stainless-steel cars (HEP 2)This link open a windowThis link open a window
66 cm/26 in. Door width
142 cm/56 in. Maximum length

Route

Montréal-Quebec city
LRC cars
71 cm/28 in. Door width
142 cm/56 in. Maximum length
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Renaissance cars
74 cm/29 in. Door width
142 cm/56 in. Maximum length

Route

Montréal-Senneterre
Stainless-steel cars (HEP 1)
61 cm/24 in. Door width
119 cm/47 in. Maximum length

Route

Toronto-Montréal
LRC cars
71 cm/28 in. Door width
142 cm/56 in. Maximum length
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Renaissance cars
74 cm/29 in. Door width
142 cm/56 in. Maximum length
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Stainless-steel cars (HEP 2)
66 cm/26 in. Door width
142 cm/56 in. Maximum length

Route

Sudbury-White River
RDCs
65 cm/25,5 in. Door width
142 cm/56 in. Maximum length

Route

Montréal-Gaspé
Stainless-steel cars (HEP 1)
60 cm/23.75 in. Door width
119 cm/47 in. Maximum length

Route

Montréal-Ottawa
LRC cars
71 cm/28 in. Door width
142 cm/56 in. Maximum length
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Renaissance cars
74 cm/29 in. Door width
142 cm/56 in. Maximum length
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Stainless-steel cars (HEP 2)
66 cm/26 in. Door width
142 cm/56 in. Maximum length

Route

Montréal-Jonquière
Stainless-steel cars (HEP 1)
61 cm/24 in. Door width
119 cm/47 in. Maximum length

Western Canada

Route

Toronto-Jasper-Vancouver
Stainless-steel cars (HEP 1)
61 cm/24 in. Door width
119 cm/47 in. Maximum length
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Park Car (Accessible cabin)
81 cm/32 in. Door width
142 cm/56 in. Maximum length

Route

Jasper-Prince Rupert
Stainless-steel cars (HEP 1)
61 cm/24 in. Door width
119 cm/47 in. Maximum length

Route

Victoria-Courtenay
Service Suspended
RDCs
65 cm/25.5 in. Door width

Route

Winnipeg-Churchill
Stainless-steel cars (HEP 1)
61 cm/24 in. Door width
119 cm/47 in. Maximum length

Atlantic Canada

Route

Montréal-Halifax
Renaissance cars (Economy)
74 cm/29 in. Door width
119 cm/47 in. Maximum length
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Renaissance cars(Sleeping)
74 cm/29 in. Door width
119 cm/47 in. Maximum length
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Stainless-steel cars (HEP 1)
61 cm/24 in. Door width
119 cm/47 in. Maximum length
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Sleeping cars (HEP 1)
61 cm/24 in. Door width
119 cm/47 in. Maximum length

All service and guide dogs are welcome on board. But before your trip, please read the following to make sure that both you and your dog have a smooth travel experience.

Please note that the following policy applies only to guide dogs, service dogs, and training dogs. If you wish to travel with your canine pet, we invite you to visit our Travelling with Pets section.

This information applies to the entire Service Dogs section:

If your particular circumstances are not covered in the policy, please contact our Customer Relations group by telephone 1 888 VIA-RAIL (1 888 842-7245) or 1 800 268-9503 (TTY for the persons who are deaf or hard-of-hearing), email (customer_relations@viarail.ca), or fax (514-871-6104), and we will review your request.

Guide or service dog

A dog that has been individually trained and certified to provide assistive tasks related to a person’s disability (e.g.,?motor, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, and cognitive disabilities).

Examples:

  • Autism service dogs
  • Diabetic alert dogs
  • Hearing ear dogs
  • Special skills dogs
  • Guide dogs (specifically trained for guiding a person who is blind or partially sighted)
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder dogs
  • Seizure response dogs

Emotional support dog

  1. Provides support or comfort through its presence alone to a person with a mental health disability, diagnosed in accordance with the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.
  2. Has not received certified training to perform specific tasks to assist a person with a disability.

In either Economy or Business class, a second seat will be booked at no additional cost to make sure both you and your guide, service or emotional support dog are comfortable. On certain departures, you may also occupy a two-person cabin at a reduced fare.

You may be required to produce documentation indicating that your dog has been certified by an accredited institution to work as a guide or service dog.

You may purchase your tickets by telephone at 1 888 VIA-RAIL (1 888 842-7245) or in person at one of our ticket counters to let us know which special services you require.

If you are deaf, hard of hearing, or have speech disabilities, please contact us via teletypewriter (TTY) at 1 800 268-9503, or by email at customer_relations@viarail.ca.

Your first trip with your emotional support dog

If you are travelling on a VIA?Rail train with your emotional support dog for the first time, you must do the following:

  1. Provide a signed medical certificate from a licensed medical doctor or mental health professional (e.g.,?a psychiatrist or psychologist).
  2. Ensure the medical certificate states that you cannot travel alone without an emotional support dog.
  3. Ensure the medical certificate is dated no more than one year prior to the date of travel, unless it states that functional limitation is permanent.
  4. Provide a signed and dated Conditions for Travel with an Emotional Support Dog form.

Template for the medical certificate and conditions for travel documents: Download the Confidential Medical Certificate for Passengers Requiring an Emotional Support Dog and Conditions for Travel with an Emotional Support Dog and have them completed. PDF 527Ko

Once completed, the forms must be submitted by email (support_services@viarail.ca) or fax (506-859-3943) for approval. VIA Rail may request up to 96 hours advance notice for all new requests requiring a medical certificate. We will contact you within 48 hours to provide confirmation of approval and instructions on how to book a complimentary ticket for your emotional support dog.

Service animal trainers and volunteer handlers

What you’ll need to travel with a service dog in training:

  • If you are a service animal trainer or a volunteer handler working with puppies that have yet to begin formal training, we ask that you provide us with proof of your occupation as a trainer or volunteer handler (e.g.,?a business card or letter from the training agency).
  • You will then be permitted to bring one (1) guide dog, service dog, or foster puppy on board with you, free of charge.
  • All animals must be housebroken to ensure they can make lengthy trips and wear a harness and leash.
  • In either Economy or Business class, you will be assigned a second seat free of charge so that both you and your dog are comfortable. On certain departures, you may also occupy a two-person cabin at a reduced fare.

Possible stops for service animal relief breaks during the trip

  1. Corridor trains: No breaks available.
  2. Long-haul trains: If the train is running on time, we will stop at the stations listed below.

The Canadian (Trains?01 and 02):

  • Caperol
  • Hornepayne (no designated relief area)
  • Sioux Lookout
  • Winnipeg
  • Saskatoon
  • Edmonton
  • Jasper
  • Kamloops

The Ocean (Trains?14 and 15):

  • Moncton
  • Campbellton
  • Sainte-Foy

Important notice: If the train is not running on schedule or if the length of time between stops is unreasonable, arrangements must be made with the Service Manager on board to have the locomotive engineers stop the train at intermediate locations, when it can be done safely.

Passengers are advised of the applicable stops, and arrangements are made on board during the trip and before arrival at the stations. These guidelines are validated with each passenger’s itinerary, and adjustments are made if needed.

In-station service animal relief area

Some of our stations may have service dog relief areas and/or quiet areas. Because our stations’ infrastructure may vary, check the information about your departure and arrival stations beforehand using our Find a Station tool.

Travelling with a guide or service dog

  • VIA?Rail allows one (1) service dog per passenger on board its trains.
  • Only dogs are accepted.
  • Certain provinces and regions refuse pit bulls. VIA Rail therefore does not allow this breed of dog system-wide.
  • For operational reasons, we require 48?hours’ notice for passengers intending to travel with a guide or service dog. If notified less than 48?hours in advance, VIA will make a reasonable effort to accommodate the passenger and their dog.
  • Certified guide and service dogs always travel free.
  • Your dog must remain on the floor or on your lap.
  • Your dog must accompany you everywhere on board, including where food is served.
  • In either Economy or Business class, a second seat will be booked at no additional cost to make sure both you and your dog are comfortable. On certain departures, you may also occupy a two-person cabin at a reduced fare.

Travelling with an emotional support dog

  • VIA Rail allows one (1) emotional support dog per passenger on board its trains.
  • Only dogs are accepted.
  • Certain provinces and regions refuse pit bulls. VIA?Rail therefore does not allow this breed of dog system-wide.
  • Mature animas only: the dog must be at least 18?months old.
  • For operational reasons, we require 48?hours’ notice for passengers intending to travel with an emotional support dog. If notified less than 48?hours in advance, VIA will make a reasonable effort to accommodate the passenger and their dog.
  • Your dog always travels for free.
  • Your dog must remain on the floor or on your lap.
  • Your dog must accompany you everywhere on board, including where food is served.

Control measures

Guide, service, and emotional support dogs must be harnessed, leashed, or tethered, unless these devices interfere with the dog’s work or the individual’s disability prevents the use of these devices.

VIA personnel may require you to remove your dog from the train or from the station premises in the following cases:

  1. The dog is not properly controlled and effective action is not immediately taken to control the dog (e.g.,?it barks repeatedly and uncontrollably or is not housebroken).
  2. The dog poses a threat to the health or safety of others.

Important notice: If you are asked to remove your dog but would like to remain on the premises and/or continue to travel without the dog, you must make arrangements at your own cost for another person or local animal control to assume custody of the animal. You may be required to continue your VIA train trip at a later time or on a later date.

You also have the option of placing your dog in the baggage car, if applicable. In this instance, you must have a cage for the dog.

Other passengers

Some passengers may be uncomfortable with the presence of an assistance dog due to factors such as allergies, cultural reasons, personal discomfort, or fear. To respond to conflicting needs, VIA personnel will consider options such as relocating passengers to separate areas of the train.

Accessible travel regulations

VIA?Rail Canada complies with the Accessible Transportation for Persons with Disabilities Regulations?(ATPDR) of the Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA).

As required by the ATPDR, VIA Rail

  • meets the communication needs of travellers with disabilities,
  • trains its workers to provide assistance to travellers with disabilities,
  • complies with technical requirements regarding its trains and stations,
  • provides accessible services, and
  • makes its security screening accessible.

Visit our corporate website to learn more about some of our accessibility initiatives across Canada.

VIA Rail Universal Accessibility Policy

At VIA Rail we do more than move passengers. We strive to be Canada’s most accessible national and intercity mode of transportation. Our vision is to be a smarter way to move people by ensuring access to a sustainable, affordable and accessible means of transportation. By promoting better accessibility, we are improving the customer experience for all our passengers as part of a barrier-free Canada.

Principles of Universal Accessibility at VIA Rail

VIA Rail acknowledges and strives to provide service that:

  • is welcoming for all our passengers;
  • provides a safe, comfortable and convenient journey;
  • respects each individual’s autonomy, dignity and independence;
  • enables full participation through an inclusive and intuitive environment; and
  • offers meaningful options for passengers.

Our Commitments

VIA Rail values all our passengers and we pledge the following commitments:

  • Our Culture: We will continue to be agents of transformation to foster a culture of respect and dignity.
  • Leadership: We aim to integrate accessibility into decision-making processes at all levels of our organization so that we can continually improve the passenger experience.
  • Continual Engagement: We value the experience of our passengers and will seek their input to imagine new possibilities for travel on our network. We will report back to you regularly regarding the progress we make.
  • Training: We will equip ourselves with the training and tools needed to serve you well.
  • Communications: We will provide clear and consistent information in a timely manner for all our passengers.
  • Listening to You: We recognize that you know what is best for you and we strive to create an environment where you feel comfortable requesting those services.
  • Barrier-Free Access: We strive to remove barriers and avoid creating new barriers across all our stations, trains and digital platforms.
  • Proactive Design: We will work to provide you with flexible options to access our services.
  • Collaboration: We will create community partnerships to continuously improve accessibility to our services.

Accessibility complaint form

We are sorry your experience didn’t go as planned. Please answer the following questions to help us determine the best way to resolve your complaint.