Canada is struggling to reduce airport wait times and congestion
The Minister of Transport, the Honorable Omar Alghabra, the Minister of Health, the Honorable Jean-Yves Duclos, the Minister of Public Safety, the Honorable Marco Mendicino, and the Minister of Tourism and Associate Minister of Finance, the Honorable Randy Boissonnault, issued this update today on progress being made by the Government of Canada and industry partners to reduce wait times at Canadian airports.
Meeting between Minister Alghabra and air industry partners
On Thursday, June 23, Minister Alghabra and senior officials from Transport Canada, the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA), NAV CANADA, Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA), and the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC), met with the CEOs of Air Canada, WestJet and Toronto Pearson, Montréal Trudeau, Calgary and Vancouver airports. They assessed the progress being made by all partners to reduce congestion at airports and next steps.
Improvements to ArriveCAN
The Government of Canada continues to make improvements to ArriveCAN so it is faster and easier for travellers to use.
Travelers arriving at Toronto Pearson or Vancouver Airports will be able to save time by using the Advance CBSA Declaration optional feature in ArriveCAN to submit their customs and immigration declaration in advance of arrival. Beginning June 28, this option will be available on ArriveCAN mobile app in addition to the web version.Frequent travelers are also encouraged to take advantage of the “saved traveler” 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 traveler completes a submission, which makes it faster and more convenient.
Actions currently underway by the Government of Canada and the air industry include:
Since April, just over 1,000 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.CBSA is maximizing officer availability and additional Student Border Services Officers are now at work.CBSA and the Greater Toronto Airports Authority are making available additional kiosks at Toronto Pearson International Airport customs hall areas.CBSA and PHAC streamlined the process to identify travellers who are required to undergo testing at Toronto Pearson International Airport.As of June 11, mandatory random COVID-19 testing has been temporarily suspended at all airports until June 30.
As of July 1, all test swabbing, including for unvaccinated travelers, will be performed off-site.PHAC is adding additional staff on select days to verify that travelers have completed their ArriveCAN submissions on arrival and further inform air travelers about the importance of the mandatory requirements. ArriveCAN is mandatory for all travelers to Canada and is available for free as an app or through the website.
In addition, Canadian airports and airlines are taking significant action to bring on more employees quickly and to bolster core operations to respond to rapidly increasing traveller demands as the number of Canadians travelling by air continues to grow rapidly as we head into the summer.
The actions we’ve taken since the beginning of May have yielded significant gains. From June 13 to 19, across all larger airports combined, CATSA maintained the standard of over 85 percent of passengers being screened in 15 minutes or less. Toronto Pearson Airport maintained its strong results, with 87.2 percent of passengers screened in 15 minutes or less, slightly down from the previous week’s 91.1 percent. Calgary International Airport saw an increase to 90 percent of passengers screened within 15 minutes or less, from 85.8 percent the previous week. Vancouver International Airport and Montreal Trudeau International Airport saw declines in passengers screened in under 15 minutes, to 80.9 percent and 75.9 percent, respectively.
We are making progress, but we also recognize that there is still work to be done. We continue to take action with air industry partners to reduce the delays in the travel system and report back to Canadians on our progress.