Update on operations at Canadian airports ahead of the holiday season


December 16, 2022                    Ottawa                    Transport Canada

The delays experienced this summer at airports were unacceptable. The Government of Canada and its partners continued to work together this fall to ensure that the next busy season, the holiday season, goes smoothly. This included the holding of an industry Air Sector Recovery Summit that took place on November 24.

The Minister of Transport, the Honourable Omar Alghabra, issued this update today on the continued action and progress being made by the Government of Canada and industry partners to optimize air travel operations as Canadians head into the holiday season.

Best practices for travelling this holiday season

Before you go

  • Leave gifts unwrapped or in gift bags. Border agents and/or screening officers may need to inspect them.
  • Familiarize yourself with the latest carry-on and checked baggage size and weight restrictions.
    • Use CATSA’s What Can I Bring? tool to determine if an item can be packed in your carry-on or checked baggage.
  • View the details of your itinerary. Verify the date and time of your flight, as well as your assigned seat.
  • Make sure you have the correct travel documents and have them ready to present to Canada Border Services Officers when entering Canada.
  • Check in for your flight anytime within 24 hours of departure (online, with your mobile device, or at the airport).
  • Check your flight status online or sign-up to receive flight notifications from your airline.


  • Wait times at any airport can occur for various reasons, even when staffing levels are optimal, and can fluctuate throughout the day based on passenger volumes and the number of scheduled flights.
  • Arrive at the airport well in advance of your flight so you have plenty of time to check in, drop off your bags, and go through security screening. Many airlines advise passengers to arrive two hours in advance for domestic flights and three hours for U.S. and international flights.

Increasing staffing for security screening and collaborating with industry partners

  • Since April, the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA) has hired 2,192 screening officers across Canada and is well-staffed and prepared for the holiday travel season.

Advance CBSA Declaration

  • Travellers are encouraged to use the optional Advance CBSA Declaration to submit their customs and immigration declaration through ArriveCAN to save time at the airport. This feature is currently available to travellers arriving at Vancouver, Winnipeg, Toronto-Pearson, Montréal-Trudeau, Québec City and Halifax international airports. In the coming months, this feature will become available at the Calgary, Edmonton, Billy Bishop Toronto City, and Ottawa international airports.
  • Travellers who have used the Advance CBSA Declaration feature can take advantage of the express lane when returning to Vancouver International Airport. Advance CBSA Declaration express lanes will also launch at Montréal-Trudeau and Toronto Pearson international airports in the coming weeks.

Latest data

Flight completions

  • For the month of November, close to 97 percent of flights planned for Canada’s top four airports (Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto-Pearson, and Montréal-Trudeau) were completed (i.e., not cancelled).

On-time performance

  • In November, 85 percent of flights from the top four airports left on time, or within one hour of their scheduled departure.

Holding of aircraft at Toronto Pearson International Airport

  • For the month of November 2022, 0.1 percent, or 6 international flight arrivals, were held on the tarmac.

Passenger security screening wait times

  • In November 2022, close to 91 percent of passengers at the four largest airports were screened within 15 minutes by CATSA:
    • Toronto-Pearson International Airport: close to 92 percent
    • Vancouver International Airport: more than 89 percent
    • Montréal-Trudeau International Airport: more than 91 percent
    • Calgary International Airport: almost 90 percent

Associated Links


Nadine Ramadan
Press Secretary and Communications Advisor 
Office of the Honourable Omar Alghabra
Minister of Transport, Ottawa

Media Relations
Transport Canada, Ottawa

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