The Minister of Transport, the Honourable Omar Alghabra, the Minister of Public Safety, the Honourable Marco Mendicino, the Minister of Health, the Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, and the Minister of Tourism and Associate Minister of Finance, the Honourable Randy Boissonnault, issued this update today on the actions being taken to ease congestion at Canada’s airports, reduce wait times and delays and help keep travellers moving.
Rights of air travellers
It is never acceptable to make passengers sleep on the floor of an airport as a result of a delayed or cancelled flight. To protect travellers, there are regulations in place from the Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA), which is the independent, quasi-judicial tribunal and regulator of Canada’s national transportation system.
The Government of Canada strongly encourages Canadians to know their rights when they travel by air under the Air Passenger Protection Regulations. Through each part of their travel journey, passengers should document any incidents that occur as they may be eligible for compensation.
In a recent ruling, the CTA found that the cancellation of a traveller’s flight, which was due to a crew shortage, was within the airline’s control, and therefore eligible for compensation. Airlines must follow the requirements of the Air Passenger Protection Regulations. Otherwise, they will be subject to potential enforcement action by the CTA.
In addition to the current regulations that already apply to cancellations and delays due to staff shortages, new regulations taking effect on September 8, 2022, will apply to future flights that are cancelled for reasons outside an air carrier’s control, including major weather events, a pandemic, as well as situations where it is not possible for the carrier to complete the passenger’s itinerary within a reasonable timeframe.
Increasing staffing for security screening and customs processing
Since April, more than 1,600 CATSA screening officers have been hired across Canada.
Efforts to increase screening officer staff levels at all airports continue, including at Montréal-Trudeau International Airport and Calgary International Airport.
Streamlining customs processing at Toronto Pearson International Airport
To further facilitate entry and expedite traveller processing, there are now 12 eGates and 30 new primary inspection kiosks (PIKs) at Toronto Pearson International Airport.
There has been a significant decrease in the number of aircraft holds at Toronto Pearson International Airport, in part due to the Canada Border Services Agency’s continuous efforts to reduce border processing wait times. Further, nearly 1.5 million travellers successfully used the ArriveCAN application last week.
Collaborating with industry partners to find solutions
In recent weeks, Minister Alghabra has met with senior leadership of several airlines and airports of all sizes across the country to ensure ongoing collaboration and continued action that will help further reduce delays and ensure travellers can efficiently get to their destination. Similar meetings will continue over the coming weeks.
Officials at Transport Canada also meet regularly with airports and airlines alongside the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA), the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC), the CBSA and NAV CANADA to find solutions and address congestion issues affecting travel.
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, Vancouver or Montréal-Trudeau international airports can save time by using the optional Advance CBSA Declaration feature in ArriveCAN to submit their customs and immigration declaration in advance of arrival.
- Early usage data from Toronto Pearson and Vancouver airports indicates that using the optional Advance CBSA Declaration cuts the amount of time a traveller spends at a kiosk by roughly one third.
- In the coming months, the optional feature will also become available to travellers arriving at the Calgary, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Billy Bishop Toronto City, Ottawa, Québec City and Halifax international airports.