Queer Competency Training

Customer Service Programs - Medium Airport

As a community-based organization, our success hinges on our connection to the people we serve. Universal Access and inclusion at YVR are of paramount importance. We strive to offer an airport environment that is welcoming for everyone. Listening closely to our customers and working with community partners has been critical in delivering a remarkable customer experience.

We recently connected with QMUNITY, the local Queer Resource Center, to seek their guidance on how we could offer the best airport environment for our LGBTQ customers. We discussed how we could offer washroom environments that were welcoming, accessible and inclusive for all of our customers as well as participating in their LGBTQ awareness training program, Queer Competency Training (QCT). The QCT is an experiential workshop that helps organizations understand diversity and become more inclusive for lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and queer customers and staff.

After very insightful meetings with QMUNITY we enhanced our washroom signage and terminology to be more inclusive and welcoming for all of our customers. We also piloted the QCT program to a cross-departmental group of Airport Authority employees.

Working with QMUNITY we were able to dive deeper into the nuances of the LGBTQ community, learn key concepts to understand LGBTQ identities, inclusive language and terminology, and find ways to keep working together in the future. We tailored the interactive and practical workshops by providing the facilitators with scenarios that were related to airport operations - everything from what could be encountered within our offices to that which may be encountered by airport employees and customers on the terminal floor. The result was a training course that broke down barriers, created a safe place to ask questions and enabled our employees to be even better versed in inclusivity and diversity.

The intended audience for this particular program was Airport Authority employees. We would eventually like to open the training up to our business partners including airlines and other front line employees.

Entry Statement

1. Project Goals: 

• To be aware and sensitive to the needs of the LGBTQ community.
• Create a safe and inclusive environment for all of our YVR customers and employees.
• Remove barriers for everyone involved.
• Further enhance YVR’s reputation as being an inclusive and accessible airport for everyone.

2. Production

The training program was designed and facilitated by QMUNITY, BC’s Queer Resource Centre. YVR’s Customer Care Department worked closely with QMUNITY to tailor the course to YVR’s needs and make it as relatable and usable in the context of an international airport.

Washroom signage was developed through YVR sign shop in conjunction with design guidance from QMUNITY.

3. Evaluation: 

We’ve updated signage on all washrooms that were previously referred to as Family Washrooms. They are now referred to as Private, Single Stall washrooms and available for use by all genders. This is particularly beneficial for those from the transgender community as they are most often the target of gender policing or unsafe situations in washrooms/restrooms.

The pilot program was well attended by a cross-departmental group of employees. After the first pilot session, participant’s feedback was overwhelming positive so we’ve decided to further tailor the course and roll it out as a regular, quarterly offering for all employees.

Participants who enrolled in the training program were asked to provide feedback through an anonymous survey. When asked if they found the training program valuable, 100% of participants said YES. When asked if they thought the training program would be valuable for all Vancouver Airport Authority employees, 100% of participants said YES.

Examples of feedback received:

“I think the training was great and the instructor was awesome. I did not feel any judgment from him for not knowing facts or having my own perception on things. He worked with the class in providing history, which is the foundation of anything, and then providing where the changes need or are happening to support change.” – Participant

“As we continue to try to make the airport and work environment inclusive, it is valuable to have these conversations as many of the issues addressed in the course are things I would have previously never considered.” – Participant

“I am more aware of the barriers facing this community and feel better prepared to support them.” – Participant

“I really liked how it was just open if you had a question or if you had something to share to just do it. Joel said right off the bat to ask questions and be curious. It was great to just put that up and then allow everyone to be more involved.” – Participant

Anecdotally, we’ve watched and listened to the conversations that took place between those who took the course and those who haven’t. Concerted effort was given to help break down barriers and spread awareness and understanding.

We’ve seen an increase in awareness to frontline employees who are better educated on LGBTQ issues and able to support their needs. This includes knowing the most appropriate terminology to use and understanding how best to provide assistance.

4. Budget: 

The Queer Competency Training costs are $1,440 per year. This includes four sessions per year (one per quarter), all of which are facilitated within YVR’s own training rooms and facilities.