Evidence of meeting #122 for Transport, Infrastructure and Communities in the 42nd Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was airport.

A video is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

Sheri Benson  Saskatoon West, NDP
Pam Damoff  Oakville North—Burlington, Lib.
Matt Jeneroux  Edmonton Riverbend, CPC
Michael Keenan  Deputy Minister, Department of Transport
Sheilagh Murphy  Assistant Deputy Minister, Lands and Economic Development, Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development
Jeff Knoll  Town and Regional Councillor, Town of Oakville and Regional Municipality of Halton, Halton Region
Hillary Marshall  Vice-President, Stakeholder Relations and Communications, Greater Toronto Airports Authority
Sandra Best  Chair, Toronto Aviation Noise Group
Renee Jacoby  Founding Chair, Toronto Aviation Noise Group
Robyn Connelly  Director, Community Relations, Greater Toronto Airports Authority
Arif Virani  Parkdale—High Park, Lib.
Robert Oliphant  Don Valley West, Lib.

10 a.m.

Renee Jacoby Founding Chair, Toronto Aviation Noise Group

I'd be happy to answer that question.

I'd like for the committee to know that we have been involved in the aviation noise issue for the last seven years. It is a temptation at the beginning of the process to chase headlines that invite solutions that we think might be beneficial to us. I can use as an example the Frankfurt Airport, which is often referred to with regard to its curfew at night. You'll hear many positive things about the night curfew; you'll hear equally negative things about it.

10 a.m.

Conservative

Kelly Block Conservative Carlton Trail—Eagle Creek, SK

I'm just wondering if you've put together a proposal.

10 a.m.

Founding Chair, Toronto Aviation Noise Group

Renee Jacoby

Our proposal is to support what Helios has recommended in its report, “Best Practices in Noise Management”. That would be to extend the night flight restricted hours and to form a new formula for the night flight cap.

10 a.m.

Conservative

Kelly Block Conservative Carlton Trail—Eagle Creek, SK

Thank you very much.

In the spirit of Tuesday giving, and with the number of colleagues on the other side of the table, I would like to give the rest of my time to one of those members, if they have any questions.

10 a.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Judy Sgro

That's why I love this committee. Everybody is so kind to each other.

All right, we have almost four minutes here.

Borys, go ahead.

10 a.m.

Liberal

Borys Wrzesnewskyj Liberal Etobicoke Centre, ON

Thank you so much, Mrs. Block. Merry Christmas to you, as well.

Ms. Marshall, in June 2013, Transport Canada increased the GTAA's budget for night flights, with a formula that would continue increasing the number of night flights in future years. Did the GTAA lobby government officials for this change?

10 a.m.

Vice-President, Stakeholder Relations and Communications, Greater Toronto Airports Authority

Hillary Marshall

Thanks for your question.

We undertook extensive consultation and engaged with government officials in the process.

10 a.m.

Liberal

Borys Wrzesnewskyj Liberal Etobicoke Centre, ON

Could you provide us with a list—I'm asking for an undertaking—of who was lobbied and by whom, which department officials and which elected officials?

10 a.m.

Vice-President, Stakeholder Relations and Communications, Greater Toronto Airports Authority

Hillary Marshall

The consultation documents are posted on our website, and we'd be happy to provide a link to that website. It's fully recorded.

10 a.m.

Liberal

Borys Wrzesnewskyj Liberal Etobicoke Centre, ON

On that same topic, was the minister lobbied on this particular night flight request?

10 a.m.

Vice-President, Stakeholder Relations and Communications, Greater Toronto Airports Authority

Hillary Marshall

I'd have to go back through the documents, but Transport Canada approved the change, so—

10 a.m.

Liberal

Borys Wrzesnewskyj Liberal Etobicoke Centre, ON

So you would undertake to provide us all the information that you have.

10 a.m.

Vice-President, Stakeholder Relations and Communications, Greater Toronto Airports Authority

Hillary Marshall

Yes, I'd be happy to.

10 a.m.

Liberal

Borys Wrzesnewskyj Liberal Etobicoke Centre, ON

Thank you.

I was glad to hear you state that you work—and this is your quote—“hand in hand” with our communities. Unfortunately, that wasn't reflected in the opening statement that we heard from one community group. I know that's not the feeling in our community.

Let me zero in on CENAC. There's great community dissatisfaction with CENAC. It's seen as a vehicle to manage and deal with complaints and not actually address the issues.

After going through all these processes, would you support an arm's-length noise committee beyond the control and perceived manipulations of the GTAA?

10 a.m.

Vice-President, Stakeholder Relations and Communications, Greater Toronto Airports Authority

Hillary Marshall

I think what you'll find is that in the coming months we'll be coming forward with a new proposal for CENAC. We've looked at other airports internationally, as I indicated, to understand how they've approached it, and found some great initiatives in terms of industry partnerships. We'll be coming back with those.

10:05 a.m.

Liberal

Borys Wrzesnewskyj Liberal Etobicoke Centre, ON

Okay. My question is, do you support an arm's-length noise committee that would deal with these issues so that the perceived control and manipulations that the GTAA has over this process would no longer be the reality that communities live with?

Do you support an arm's-length noise committee?

10:05 a.m.

Vice-President, Stakeholder Relations and Communications, Greater Toronto Airports Authority

Hillary Marshall

The new CENAC, the new approach that we're going to be coming forward with, has industry partnerships. It has more direct community outreach, government outreach.

We think that's a good first step. That's the step we're going to be moving forward with.

10:05 a.m.

Liberal

Borys Wrzesnewskyj Liberal Etobicoke Centre, ON

So you're not comfortable with a fully arm's-length noise committee to oversee noise complaints?

10:05 a.m.

Vice-President, Stakeholder Relations and Communications, Greater Toronto Airports Authority

Hillary Marshall

We think that this approach is a good first step, and we look forward to bringing it forward to discuss with members of the community.

10:05 a.m.

Liberal

Borys Wrzesnewskyj Liberal Etobicoke Centre, ON

Members of the community—

10:05 a.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Judy Sgro

Sorry, Mr. Wrzesnewskyj—

10:05 a.m.

Liberal

Borys Wrzesnewskyj Liberal Etobicoke Centre, ON

Thank you.

10:05 a.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Judy Sgro

Ms. Damoff, go ahead.

November 27th, 2018 / 10:05 a.m.

Oakville North—Burlington, Lib.

Pam Damoff

Thank you, Chair.

Thank you to all the witnesses for being here. In particular, I want to thank my former colleague, Jeff Knoll. We served together on council.

I know you've been engaged in this issue for many, many years—well, since 2012, when the flight paths were changed—and have seen some positive steps over the last few years.

There have been multiple studies and technical reviews done by Nav Canada, the GTAA, Helios consulting. I had arranged for them to do one of the consultations in Oakville North—Burlington. Community members have been engaged, in particular David Inch and Richard Slatter, from my riding—your ward.

I'm wondering, in all of that, what role the federal government should be playing. We're talking about arm's-length agencies here. How do you see us becoming engaged to ensure that some of the...? There are pilot studies that are being done right now.

I'm wondering if you could comment a little further on that.

10:05 a.m.

Town and Regional Councillor, Town of Oakville and Regional Municipality of Halton, Halton Region

Jeff Knoll

I'd be happy to. Thank you for the question, Ms. Damoff. I appreciate my member of Parliament asking me a question.

There are a couple of things here. First of all, I acknowledged in my presentation that there have been these studies. There has been some good work and great recommendations coming out of them. As my friends from TANG indicated earlier, there are a number of initiatives left on the cutting room floor—to use a film term—that need to be embraced, specifically the night flight restrictions and the restructuring of the noise advisory committee, which, of course, is apparently in process, and I understand that it's about to be announced.

To get directly to your question of what the government could be directly involved in, I think it would be in potentially taking back some of the responsibility from Nav Canada in terms of addressing these issues. Nav Canada is an independent agency. I understand the formation of an independent organization to deal with difficult issues and decisions. Certainly the issues around safety are paramount and need to be kept at arm's length. Safety should never be a political or neighbourhood decision. Certainly, issues around quality of life and the impact of the operations of any federally regulated service or organization need to be taken into account in decision-making. I would urge your committee to consider changing the terms of reference for Nav Canada so that there can be more direct involvement by the government and the people's representative in some of those decisions.

While we have some terrific ideas on the back burner and things that are working, they're not moving fast enough. There are not enough teeth to make them happen quickly enough. GTAA is certainly doing their level best, but there needs to be more involvement by both Nav Canada and Transport Canada.

I understand you asked a question earlier today about Air Canada, and that's a great example. There was a big flurry about the announcement and press release, and everybody was very happy, but the implementation of the retrofit with the noise-reducing vortex generators is happening at a molasses-like rate. Getting involved and basically having Nav Canada take a more direct role in considering community impacts needs to happen.

The last thing, of course—I mentioned it in my comments and I want to re-emphasize it, because I don't want to see this ignored—is thinking beyond. Those of us who are elected sometimes have to think in terms of what we can accomplish in our term. We need to think of a multi-term solution to this, which is potentially a second airport. Most major jurisdictions around the world have multiple airports in their jurisdictions. The federal government, in its wisdom of the day, 50 years ago, assembled lands for that purpose. It's time to dust them off and start moving in that direction.