CTA says total air travel complaints up last year on increased backlog

Roundtable calls on govt. for immediate relief at the border, here’s Trudeau’s take

OTTAWA — The Canadian Travel & Tourism Roundtable is calling on the federal government to provide urgent relief at the border by alleviating pressures currently facing travellers at Canada’s airports before June 15, 2022.

The Roundtable, comprised of industry leaders from sectors including airlines, hotels, tour operators, travel retailers and more, says it appreciates recent decisions by the federal government to increase the number of Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA) and Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) screening officers. However, as the Roundtable points out, these measures are longer-term solutions that will take weeks before materially impacting wait times for travellers at Canadian airports.

Here’s the list of asks from the Roundtable, aimed at alleviate pressure on the system, by no later than June 15, 2022 …

  • Remove vaccination mandates for CATSA and CBSA workers;
  • Remove the Public Health Agency of Canada’s duplicate health checks and questions through ArriveCan at government checkpoints
  • Relocate or remove on-site mandatory random testing from Canada’s airports; and,
  • Establish clear service standard benchmarks for security and customs processing of passengers travelling through Canadian airport

The Roundtable notes that Canadians can attend concerts, go to sporting events, and gather in significant numbers, and says travel should no longer be singled out with unscientific and unnecessary COVID policies which many countries around the world have rightfully removed.

The group adds that Canada’s airports simply do have the infrastructure or the space to provide on-site passenger testing for COVID-19. Canadians are ready to travel abroad, and international travellers are ready to travel to Canada. As demand for travel returns and other global economies re-open, Canada’s border policies and resources need to reflect the new reality.

“The Travel and Tourism industry has only just begun the long road to recovery after more than two years of uncertainty. Health restrictions first implemented at the beginning of the pandemic are contributing to the loss and postponement of business travel, conferences and events across the country, which has the potential for long-term impacts,” said Patrick Doyle, VP and General Manager at American Express Global Business Travel.

TRUDEAU’S TAKE

The Roundtable is the just the latest of many industry groups calling on the government to streamline processes at Canada’s biggest airports, to alleviate long lineups, delays and in some cases, missed flights.

Earlier this week the federal government outlined steps it will take to ease the bottlenecks. However it doesn’t look as though the border measures will be changing any time soon.

On May 31 the federal government announced that Canada’s border measures would stay in place until at least June 30.

And yesterday Prime Minister Trudeau told reporters that the ongoing measures are “anchored in science.”

As reported by CTV News, Trudeau said: “The reality is, as much as people would like to pretend we’re not, we’re still in a pandemic. There are Canadians who die every single day because of COVID-19. I know people are eager to get back to things we love but what will also further damage our tourism industry is if we get another wave.”