Speaking notes for the Honourable Marc Garneau Minister of Transport – Celebration of Toronto Pearson's 40 millionth passenger in 2015


Toronto, Ontario
December 14, 2015

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Thank you for that introduction and thanks to the Greater Toronto Airports Authority for inviting me to this important event.

I’m pleased to be here today to celebrate Toronto Pearson’s 40 millionth passenger in 2015 – the first time a Canadian airport has reached this milestone.

This means that more people have passed through this airport this year than actually live in Canada. And when holiday traffic spikes in just over a week, it may feel like the entire country is here. In fact, it isn’t just Canada that passes through Toronto Pearson...it’s the world.

This facility continues to grow as a hub in global air transportation. Even before the end of this year, international traffic through here has grown by 10 percent in 2015. After JFK in New York City, Toronto Pearson handles the second highest number of international travellers in North America.

Just last week, the first Syrian refugees that Canada welcomed started their new lives in this country at a special section of Toronto Pearson.

One last thing to mention. Of course, this is the busiest airport for people coming to Canada, but it also serves this continent and is one of the top five busiest air points of entry into the United States.

That’s like having a baseball team from Toronto with one of the top five records in America’s national pastime.

Oh right, we also had that this year.

All in all, the activity at Toronto Pearson is pretty impressive.

Another thing that is impressive is Canadians’ interest in protecting the environment. I then applaud efforts to reduce the impact of air transportation on our environment, both in terms of air quality and noise.

The International Civil Aviation Organization is working to develop both standards to reduce carbon and particulate matter emissions from aircraft and a global market-based measure to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from international civil aviation.

And in terms of ground operations, I want to congratulate Toronto Pearson for reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by almost 50 percent since 2006.

The airport now uses cleaner electricity and has improved the efficiency of numerous operations such as baggage transport and its cooling and heating systems.

In closing, let me say that Toronto Pearson will always be an important economic generator for this region and this country.

As a nation whose economy relies on connecting to the world, we will continue to need airports, such as this one, to stay competitive and to attract air travellers and traffic from around the world.

Thanks again for inviting me.

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