The Government of Canada and air industry taking more action to reduce congestion at Canada’s busiest airports
July 6, 2022 Ottawa Transport Canada
The Minister of Transport, the Honourable Omar Alghabra, the Minister of Health, the Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, the Minister of Public Safety, the Honourable Marco Mendicino, and the Minister of Tourism and Associate Minister of Finance, the Honourable Randy Boissonnault, issued this update today on progress being made by the Government of Canada and industry partners to reduce wait times and congestion at Canadian airports.
On Monday, July 4, Minister Alghabra met with the CEO of Air Canada to discuss current and planned actions being taken by the airline to quickly bring on more employees and to bolster core operations to better respond to the challenges of rapidly increasing demands. This meeting followed similar meetings that Minister Alghabra had with the CEOs of the Greater Toronto Airports Authority and WestJet last week.
Transport Canada is also regularly meeting with Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA), airports, and airlines alongside the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC), the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA), and NAV CANADA to find solutions to address bottlenecks affecting travel.
Global phenomenon and actions taken
In Canada, June 2022 air departure traffic was 58 times higher than it was in spring 2020. In comparison, global travel volumes are up more than eight times since the low point during the pandemic, and airports across the world are feeling the impact. From too many flights, to not enough staff, there is no single reason for these delays – but the Government of Canada and air industry partners continue to make significant efforts to add resources and streamline processes to ease congestion and help keep travellers moving, including:
- Since April, close to 1,200 CATSA screening officers have been hired across Canada. With this, the number of screening officers at Toronto Pearson International Airport and Vancouver International Airport is now over 100 percent of the targeted requirements for this summer based on projected traffic.
- Prime Minister Trudeau announced on June 25, 2022, the creation of a new task force to improve the processing of passports and immigration applications, as well as to monitor the situation at Canadian airports.
- CBSA is maximizing officer availability and additional Student Border Services Officers are now at work.
- The Greater Toronto Airports Authority is working with CBSA to make available additional kiosks and eGates at Toronto Pearson International Airport customs hall areas.
- Mandatory random COVID-19 testing will remain temporarily suspended at all airports, for travellers who qualify as fully vaccinated, until mid-July, when the random testing will return, and tests will be completed outside of the airports.
- CBSA and PHAC streamlined the process to identify travellers who are required to undergo testing at Toronto Pearson.
- The Canadian Transportation Agency has developed a new information resource to help passengers who are experiencing flight cancellations, delays or lost luggage issues during their travel.
- On June 27, Transport Canada updated its Interim Order Respecting Certain Requirements for Civil Aviation Due to COVID-19 to enable the department to impose additional obligations on airlines that have repeated cases of the same flight occurring with high levels of ArriveCAN non-compliance. These additional obligations, including the need to report potential non-compliances shortly after take-off, will support the Public Health Agency of Canada’s (PHAC) continuing enforcement efforts on non-compliant travellers, particularly those who refuse to come into compliance.
- The Government of Canada continues to make improvements to ArriveCAN so it is faster and easier for travellers to use.
- Travellers arriving at Toronto Pearson International Airport or Vancouver International Airport will be able to save time by using the Advance Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) Declaration optional feature in ArriveCAN to submit their customs and immigration declaration in advance of arrival. As of June 28, this option was available on the ArriveCAN mobile app in addition to the web version. This feature will be expanded to other airports in the future, including Montréal-Trudeau International Airport this summer.
- Early usage data shows that it is 30 percent faster at the kiosk when travellers use ArriveCAN to declare in advance instead of paper – shaving approximately 40 seconds off a 2-minute transaction. With the thousands of travellers who go through Toronto Pearson International Airport and use the Advance CBSA Declaration option in ArriveCAN, this has the potential of saving hours of processing time each day.
- Frequent travellers are also encouraged to take advantage of the “saved traveller” feature in ArriveCAN. It allows a user to save travel documents and proof of vaccination information to reuse on future trips. The information is pre-populated in ArriveCAN the next time the traveller completes a submission, which makes it faster and more convenient.
- As of June 28, travellers receive a digital handout explaining their entry and post-border requirements based on their ArriveCAN submission so they have easy and quick access to the latest health and travel measures information.
We are making progress, but challenges remain. A significant number of travellers continue to face travel delays, flight cancellations and issues with airport check-in and baggage services. We continue to take action with air industry partners to reduce the delays in the travel system and update Canadians on our progress.
Office of the Honourable Omar Alghabra
Minister of Transport, Ottawa
Transport Canada, Ottawa
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