Government of Canada and airport and airline partners making progress on reducing traveller wait times at Canada’s major airports
June 15, 2022 Ottawa Transport Canada
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 progress being made by the Government of Canada and industry partners 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 continue to work with airports, airlines, baggage handlers, and other partners to implement solutions to reduce delays as we approach the summer peak season.
“Our efforts are having a positive impact. Current traveller wait times for pre-board passenger screening at Canadian airports continue to decrease.
“During the week of June 3-9, an average of 10 percent of departing passengers waited more than 15 minutes at Toronto Pearson International Airport, compared to 23 percent during the week of May 9-15. And for the same dates at Vancouver International Airport, this improved to 13 per cent from 26 percent of departing passengers who waited more than 15 minutes.
“Actions currently underway by the Government of Canada and the air industry include:
- Hiring of CATSA screening officers continues. Since April, nearly 900 CATSA screening officers have been hired across Canada. With this, CATSA has now effectively met its summer hiring target, and matched its pre-pandemic staffing levels at the four largest airports. CBSA is also maximizing officer availability and additional Student Border Services Officers are now at work.
- As of June 11, mandatory randomized COVID-19 testing has been temporarily suspended at all airports until June 30. As of July 1, all test swabbing, including for unvaccinated travellers, will be performed off-site.
- Transport Canada (TC), the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC), the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) and the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA), and key industry partners continue to meet regularly to find solutions to address bottlenecks at pre-board security screening and pre-clearance departure checkpoints, and customs halls.
- Prioritizing the issuance of Transportation Security Clearances and Restricted Area Identity Cards for CATSA screening officers is occurring to expedite the hiring process and build immediate capacity.
- CBSA and the Greater Toronto Airports Authority are making available additional kiosks at Toronto Pearson International Airport customs hall areas.
- Increasing communication with travellers and stakeholders through social media, signage and multimedia screens is better preparing them for the pre-board screening and arrival processing requirements and facilitating a smoother passage in and out of airports.
- 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.
“We recognize that there is still work to be done, particularly for international arrivals at our largest airports, and we will continue to work with partners to reduce the delays in the travel system.”
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