Government of Canada continues to work with airports and air carriers to reduce traveller wait times
The Honourable Omar Alghabra, Minister of Transport, the Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Health, the Honourable Marco Mendicino, Minister of Public Safety, and the Honourable Randy Boissonnault, Minister of Tourism and Associate Minister of Finance, issued this statement today to provide an update on actions the Government of Canada and industry partners are taking to reduce wait times at Canadian airports:
"The Government of Canada recognizes the impact that significant wait times at some Canadian airports are having on travellers. We are working with airports, air carriers, baggage handlers, and other partners to implement solutions to reduce delays as we approach the summer peak season. The goal is to streamline services for inbound and outbound passengers, so Canadians can travel smoothly and safely as the sector recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic.
"Our efforts are having an impact – as wait times for security continue to decrease at all major airports. While we are seeing some issues at Toronto Pearson International Airport that we have raised with the Greater Toronto Airports Authority, the vast majority of airports across the country are not seeing similar delays. Even then, thanks to the efforts of Pearson Airport, Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA), and air sector workers, only three per cent of all passengers at Pearson and Vancouver International Airport are now waiting more than 30 minutes in line.
"The Government of Canada, in collaboration with the air industry, has taken the following action in response to airport delays:
Transport Canada (TC), the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC), the CBSA CATSA, and key industry partners have created a task force to find solutions to address bottlenecks at pre-board security screening and pre-clearance departure checkpoints, and customs halls.
The number of CATSA screening officers has steadily increased and is almost 100 percent of summer targets at both Toronto Pearson International Airport and Vancouver International Airport, where wait-times have been greatest. Hiring continues, with 644 new CATSA recruits in the four largest airports, and 865 total across Canada. Almost 2,000 applications for screening positions are being processed.
The use of ArriveCAN by travellers before coming to the airport helps remove unnecessary delays. PHAC is adding additional staff on select days at airports to verify that travellers have completed their ArriveCAN submissions on arrival and further inform air travellers about the importance of the mandatory requirements. PHAC staff will assist travellers in completing ArriveCAN if they were unable to do so.
PHAC is working with CBSA and partners to streamline operations, and has already removed the requirement for Mandatory Random Testing on the International to Domestic Connections Process at all airports as of June 1.
TC and airports are issuing Transportation Security Clearances and Restricted Area Identity Cards for CATSA screening officers to expedite the hiring process and build immediate capacity.
Airports, airlines, and security providers are working with CATSA to adjust scheduling to ensure screeners are available during peak periods.
CBSA and the Greater Toronto Airports Authority have made 25 kiosks available in the customs hall areas at the Toronto Pearson International Airport.
CBSA has increased officer availability, and Student Border Services Officers are now at work.
TC, airports and airlines have increased communication with travellers and stakeholders through social media, signage and multimedia screens to better prepare passengers for the pre-boarding screening and arrival processing requirements, facilitating a smoother passage in and out of airports.
"The Government of Canada is committed to welcoming new visitors, supporting the air transport sector, and growing the Canadian economy. We will continue to take quick and decisive actions to ensure that Canada is ready to welcome back domestic and international tourists while prioritizing their safety and well-being.
"We recognize that we have more work to do, particularly for international arrivals at our largest airports, and we will continue to work with all orders of governments and partners to reduce the delays in the travel system."
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SOURCE Transport Canada