TORONTO — The federal government’s Budget 2023 includes $1.8 billion over five years to improve airport operations and passenger screening, and to address a backlog of complaints to the Canadian Transportation Agency.
The news confirms Minister of Transport Omar Alghabra’s announcement earlier this month that the CTA would recieve funding to the tune of $75.9 million over three years starting in 2023-24. The agency is working through a backlog of more than 42,000 air passenger complaints.
Budget 2023 is also proposing to strengthen the rules around compensation for Canadians whose travel plans are disrupted, and to give the CTA more authority to resolve passenger complaints.
REACTION FROM ACTA & CAC
ACTA issued a statement yesterday afternoon after Budget 2023 was unveiled, saying ACTA was “discouraged but not surprised” by the budget, as all indications leading up to the budget were that it would be an austerity budget based on the current economic environment and the massive relief expenditures during the pandemic.
The statement went on to say that “ACTA is concerned that there are ongoing critical issues that affect travel agencies and travel advisors – especially debt relief from pandemic support. ACTA will continue to lay the groundwork for debt relief and ramp up grassroots advocacy efforts at the appropriate time. And ACTA will be conducting a thorough review of the budget in the coming days to identify any other items that are perhaps not top of mind but still could provide some relief – or opportunity.”
The Canadian Airports Council (CAC) also issued a statement, saying the CAC is “encouraged by the practical, incremental policy steps taken in the 2023 federal budget to assist our sector and improve the passenger journey. Airports across the country welcome these new measures — they underline our vital role in the economy and will make a tangible, positive impact on the journey ahead. However, there is still more work ahead to get airports fully down the runway to recovery. The leaders of Canada’s airports are looking forward to building on their long-standing partnership with the Government of Canada to achieve just that.”
With file from The Canadian Press