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Accessibility Plan (2023-2026)

Easy Read Summary

Canadian National Railway Company (CN) is a transportation company that uses mostly trains to move goods all over North America. We work with other businesses to ship goods on time and safely. We do not transport people. We also educate our communities and the public on how to stay safe around the railway.

To build this plan we looked at seven different areas of our company to see how we could make it more accessible. We looked at:

  • Built environment (buildings)
  • Employment
  • Technology
  • Communications
  • Buying goods, services, and facilities
  • Programs and services
  • Transportation (for passengers)

We asked our employees and people with disabilities what barriers exist through a survey and a focus group. We then thought about how we could remove these barriers and wrote down goals as part of this accessibility plan.

In the next 3 years we will:

  • Launch an awareness campaign to all employees on accessibility.
  • Improve training for managers on disability and accommodations.
  • Update our emergency evacuation plans with clear instructions for people with disabilities.
  • Make all new buildings and major renovations as accessible as possible.
  • Update our equity statement and include it in all job postings.
  • Make it easy and safe for employees to tell us they have a disability.
  • Replace our careers website (where people can look for and apply to jobs) with a new one that is more accessible.
  • Make sure any new training material we use is as accessible as possible for people with disabilities.
  • Review our existing accommodation guidelines and processes for employees with disabilities, and make improvements where we can.
  • Consider accessibility when we purchase any new technology.
  • Provide digital accessibility training for employees that work with technology.
  • Redesign our public website so that it is as accessible as possible.
  • Publish public-facing documents in accessible formats as much as possible.
  • Add accessibility practices to our communications guides for communication inside the organization and with the public.
  • Review public messaging and make sure we are clearly including people with disabilities.
  • Learn more about how accessibility should be considered when buying goods, services, and facilities.
  • Find opportunities to include people with disabilities in future advertising campaigns.
  • Consider having a section of the new website that is for the public. This will include safety information that is helpful for the public.

Progress Report

We will publish a progress report annually to provide an update on our accessibility achievements and plans.

  Progress Report (2023-2024) 


We are open to feedback on our plan and about accessibility at Canadian National Railway Company. You can give us your feedback by contacting:

Contact, by position title: Manager, Equity and Reporting

E-mail at

Telephone number: 833-399-5979

Mailing address: 935 de La Gauchetière Street West, Montreal, Quebec, H3B 2M9

Table of Contents

1. General

1.1 Statement of Commitment

Canadian National Railway Company (CN) is delighted to be sharing our first accessibility plan with the public. Diversity and Inclusion are strongly held values at CN, and we are committed to being open and welcoming to everyone. We recognize that the nature of our industry can pose barriers for our employees and customers. We are dedicated to removing those barriers whenever possible. We are also committed to doing this work in consultation with people who have disabilities. We recognize that people with disabilities are the experts when it comes to accessibility and so we will listen to their feedback as we move forward with the goals outlined in this plan. We also recognize that accessibility is a process and does not have an end point.

To develop this plan, we proactively looked for accessibility barriers at our organization and made plans to remove the barriers that were discovered. We are also committed to making changes not outlined in this plan if new information about barriers becomes available. We will always try to do better and to improve accessibility across all aspects of CN.

1.2 Description of CN Rail

CN is a publicly-traded transportation and logistics company operating in Canada and the United States. We operate rail (trains), trucking, and marine (boat) transportation all over North America. CN works with its customers to ship goods on time and safely. CN does not transport people. We also educate our communities and the public on how to stay safe around the railway. Members of the public might interact with us through our website, through interactions with the CN police force,or through contacting us by e-mail or phone. CN has been operating trains in Canada for over 100 years. We have over 2,000 locations and more than 16,000 employees in Canada. Most of our employees work jobs that involve some manual labour. This includes people who operate the trains, and work in our railyards. Many of the locations that we work out of are industrial in nature and would be difficult to make fully accessible for all people. For example, in our rail yards, employees must be able to step over the train tracks to move around and service the train. Some employees work in our corporate offices. Office employees are currently working in a hybrid model, doing some work from home and some work from our office spaces.

1.3 Contact Information & Feedback Process

We are open to feedback on this plan and accessibility at CN from CN employees and the public. People can submit feedback anonymously, without giving their name or contact information. We will review the feedback and do our best to address the feedback.

Manager, Equity and Reporting is responsible for collecting, keeping, and responding to the feedback we receive.

You can contact us to give your feedback in the following ways:

  • By email:
  • By telephone: 833-399-5979
  • By letter mail: 935 de La Gauchetière Street West, Montreal, Quebec, H3B 2M9

We will also accept feedback through our social media channels.

We will respond to let you know that we received your feedback. We will not respond to feedback that is submitted anonymously (without providing a name or contact information). We will store a copy of all the feedback we receive, in a central location, for at least 7 years. We will report on the feedback we receive in our progress reports and will use the feedback to develop future accessibility plans.

1.4 Alternative Formats

Alternative formats of this plan and a description of our feedback process are available by request. If you require an alternative format, please contact:

Manager, Equity and Reporting

  • By email:
  • By telephone: 833-399-5979
  • By letter mail: 935 de La Gauchetière Street West, Montreal, Quebec, H3B 2M9

A digital version of this plan that works with assistive technology is available right now on our website:

We will respond to requests for other formats as soon as possible. For each alternative format, CN commits to providing them within a certain number of days:

  • Print: available within 15 days of the initial request.
  • Large print (Increased font size): available within 15 days of the initial request.
  • Braille (a system of raised dots that people who are blind or who have low vision can read with their fingers): available within 45 days of the initial request.
  • Audio (a recording of someone reading the text out loud): available within 45 days of the initial request.

1.5 Definitions

The following definitions apply throughout this plan:

  • Disability: Any impairment, or difference in physical, mental, intellectual, cognitive, learning, or communication ability. Disabilities can be permanent, temporary, or can change over time.
  • Barrier: Anything that might hinder people with disabilities' full and equal participation. Barriers can be architectural, technological, attitudinal, based on information or communications, or can be the result of a policy or procedure.
  • Accessibility: The design of products, devices, services, environments, technologies, policies, and rules in a way that allows all people, including people with a variety of disabilities, to access them.

  • 2. Areas Described under Section 5 of the ACA

    2.1 Organization-wide Initiatives

    As we worked on this accessibility plan, we realized that everyone at CN had different levels of knowledge about accessibility and disability. To successfully achieve the goals that we have outlined in this plan, we recognize that our workforce needs to have a shared understanding of these topics.


    • By June 2026, CN will launch an awareness campaign to all employees on accessibility.
    • By June 2026, CN will improve training for managers on disability management and accommodations.

    2.2 The Built Environment


    We have more than 1,200 facilities in Canada. These facilities can be very different from each other and include office buildings and train repair shops. We maintain and repair our facilities as needed, and all new and renovated buildings meet the current Building Code. Some of our older buildings are less accessible because they were built to follow older versions of the Building Code (older versions have less focus on accessibility). Our newer buildings tend to be more accessible. We make accommodations, like installing ramps at an entrance, when employees tell us they are needed and when it is reasonable to do so. Some of our facilities, such as railyards, cannot be fully accessible because of the type of work that is done there. For example, employees need to be able to step over train tracks to service the trains, and ramps would not be possible.

    Our employees told us that people with disabilities are not always included in evacuation plans and emergency drills. We commit to updating our emergency evacuation plans and making sure everyone, especially employees with disabilities, will know what to do in an emergency.

    CN recognizes that it will take time and investment to increase accessibility in all our facilities. We commit to increasing accessibility in the built environment, especially in our new buildings and during major renovations.


    • Over the next 3 years, CN will review and update our emergency evacuation plans and share them with all employees. The updated procedures will include instructions for what people with disabilities should do in the event of an emergency.
    • Starting in June 2025, CN commits to making sure that all the new buildings we build, acquire, or lease will be as accessible as possible. We will consider accessibility through all stages of planning, procuring, designing, and building the new location. We will also make sure that accessibility is a primary consideration anytime we do a major renovation in one of our existing locations.

    2.3 Employment


    We have more than 16,000 employees in Canada, and about five percent of them self-identify as having a disability. In the last year, we created a new employee resource group called Allies of Diverse Ability Partnering Together, also known as ADAPT. ADAPT is working towards making more resources available to employees and reducing stigma around disabilities.

    At CN, we want to encourage more people with disabilities to become employees. We have been working with two organizations to work towards this goal. With Project LIFE, CN employs people with disabilities at our training campus. We have also collaborated with Specialisterne Canada, an organization that focuses on employment for people with autism. We will continue to work with these organizations and will strive to hire more people with disabilities.

    We commit to making the job application process more accessible. We heard from people with disabilities that there are some barriers on our careers website, including small font size and poor colour contrast.

    Regarding employee accommodations, we have some important improvements to make. We try to follow best practices to accommodate employees who are injured on the job. Our process for accommodating employees who have disabilities not related to their job is not as clear or well-documented. When we consulted with our employees, some of them told us that they did not understand how to request accommodations or did not understand why certain accommodations were denied. We want to make sure that all employees with disabilities have equal access to accommodations and that all managers know the accommodations process.


    • By the end of June 2023, we will update our equity statement and make sure that it appears in all job postings.
    • By June 2024, we will improve our process for employee self-identification and reporting. This is the process we use to find out how many people in our workforce have a disability. We will make improvements to this process by making sure employees know why we are asking these questions, telling employees what will be done with the information, and making sure employees know that their information is confidential. We will also make sure that we give opportunities for employees to self-identify multiple times.
    • We have plans to replace our careers website (where people can find and apply for jobs) with a new one. This is a big project that will take many years, and we do not have an exact timeline yet. When we redesign this website, we will consult with a digital accessibility expert to make sure that the new site is accessible.
    • Starting immediately, whenever we design or acquire new training material, we will take steps to make sure the new materials are as accessible as possible.
    • By June 2025, CN will conduct a review of our existing accommodation guidelines and processes for employees with disabilities. Based on this review, CN will make recommendations on how to improve our guidelines and processes.

    2.4 Information and Communication Technologies (ICT)


    We are a large company and have a lot of different technologies and systems. Some of them are standard products we purchase off the shelf, and others were customized or built by us. We have not placed an emphasis on accessibility when buying or setting up new technologies, but we will commit to considering accessibility in the future.

    The public is most likely to interact with our public website. Our website is old, and we heard from people with disabilities that it has some barriers. We are replacing the website in the next few years, and we will make accessibility a priority in its design.


    • Starting immediately, we will consider accessibility whenever we purchase a new Information Technology (IT) product. We will make sure that off-the-shelf products have built-in accessibility features and that anything we design in-house is built to be as accessible as possible.
    • By June 2024, CN will roll out digital accessibility training for IT staff that is specific to their job functions. For example, all IT staff will receive digital accessibility awareness training, while Product Managers and User Experience (UX) Designers will receive more detailed training.
    • By June 2026, CN will redesign our public website with accessibility as a primary goal. We will prioritize accessibility throughout the entire design process, by including accessibility requirements in our procurement process and involving accessibility specialists in the project. We will also make sure we consult with people with disabilities, such as employees, to give feedback on the design.

    2.5 Communication, other than ICT


    Recently, we have made our communications more accessible, especially our public-facing social media. We do our best to include captions on videos and add descriptions when we post pictures. While we are working to make communications accessible, we can do better and make sure our efforts are more consistent. For example, many of our social media posts are accessible; however, not all of them are. More staff training and accessible communication guidelines could help us improve.


    • Starting immediately, CN will publish documents in HTML format wherever possible. When we must publish documents in PDF format, we will take steps to make sure those PDF documents are accessible.
    • By June 2024, CN will add accessibility practices to the existing corporate branding guide to make sure that all communications include accessibility considerations. This will apply to both internal communications within CN and external communications like our social media posts. We will train our employees on these new guidelines and make sure that everyone who creates communications is aware of best practices for accessible communications.
    • By June 2024, CN will review all diversity content on CN's public website and make sure our messaging is consistent and clearly includes people with disabilities.

    2.6 The Procurement of Goods, Services and Facilities


    As a large company, we procure (buy) a lot of goods and services. We do not always consider accessibility in our procurement process because most of the goods we procure, like fuel, do not have related accessibility considerations. We want to set up a process to help us know when accessibility should be considered in procurement and when it doesn't have to be.


    • By June 2024, CN's procurement team will learn about how accessibility should be considered in procurement. This will include learning about when and how accessibility should be considered in the procurement process. Once we have a good understanding of best practice related to accessible procurement, we will make changes to our procurement procedures and documentation to reflect those best practices.

    2.7 The Design and Delivery of Programs and Services


    CN's services mainly relate to the transportation of goods. Our customers are primarily other businesses, and individual people with disabilities who work for our customers may interact with us through our website or direct contact with our customer service and sales team. We have never received a complaint about the accessibility of our programs and services by any of our customers. We hope to gather additional information about the accessibility of our services through the public feedback process which is being launched alongside this plan.

    Some feedback we got from employees and people with disabilities was that our public website and public advertisements are not always inclusive of people with disabilities. Our website has a lot of technical information, and it is not clear what is meant for the public and what is meant for industry professionals. We also do not have people with disabilities present in our advertisements. We will do our best to be clearer and more inclusive in the future.


    • By June 2026, CN will seek opportunities to include representations of diverse people, including people with disabilities, in future advertising campaigns.
    • By June 2026, CN will consider having a section of the new website that is clearly for the public. This section of the website will be written in plain language and will include important safety information, contact information, and any other information that the public might need to know. This section will be linked prominently from the home page.

    2.8 Transportation


    CN transports many goods but does not transport people. The ACA focuses on the transportation of people, and so we do not have any actions in this area.

    3. Consultations

    CN knows how important it is to listen to people with disabilities. We consulted with people with disabilities when making this plan and will continue to consult with them. Different groups of people were consulted in different ways, which is described in the next sections.

    We put together an online survey for employees to tell us about barriers they have experienced or noticed at CN. We invited all employees to fill out the survey confidentially (without giving their names) in both English and French. We got responses from almost 600 employees. The most important barriers employees noted were in the accommodations process and evacuation plans.

    We held a focus group to consult with people with disabilities who are not our employees. This focus group consisted of ten Canadians with different disabilities who met with us, virtually, for one hour. Before the meeting, we asked them to look at our public website, social media channels, careers website, and to try and contact CN. The group was able to point to some minor accessibility barriers on our website (for example, poor color contrast) and told us that information on our website is sometimes confusing because it’s meant for a professional audience. The group gave us feedback that our social media posts are not consistently accessible, and we sometimes don’t include alternative text for images. They also told us that many of the reports on our website are published in PDF format and cannot be read by a person using a screen reader. We want to thank this group of Canadians for consulting with us and helping us learn more about accessibility barriers at CN.

    4. Conclusion

    This accessibility plan is our first step towards making CN more accessible. Through talking with our employees and people with disabilities, we identified barriers and are committed to removing these barriers. We will also prioritize accessibility so we can avoid creating new barriers in the future. We know that this is just the first step and are committed to continuing to improve accessibility into the future, in consultation with people with disabilities.