Evidence of meeting #123 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 actually.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

Antonio Natalizio  As an Individual
David Kaiser  Medical Officer, Urban Environment Service and Healthy Lifestyle, Direction de santé publique de Montréal
Pierre Lachapelle  President, Les Pollués de Montréal-Trudeau
Matt Jeneroux  Edmonton Riverbend, CPC
Clerk of the Committee  Ms. Marie-France Lafleur
Stephen Fuhr  Kelowna—Lake Country, Lib.
Cedric Paillard  President and Chief Executive Officer, Ottawa Aviation Services
Johanne Domingue  President, Comité antipollution des avions de Longueuil

9:25 a.m.

Medical Officer, Urban Environment Service and Healthy Lifestyle, Direction de santé publique de Montréal

9:25 a.m.

Liberal

Ken Hardie Liberal Fleetwood—Port Kells, BC

There are cars, trucks, motorcycles; there are loud stereos; there are noisy neighbours and a lot of other things. It occurs to me that I've slept in a few hotels at airports, and I can sleep very well because they are built not to let that sound in. So we need to look at home construction standards. Perhaps, as well, there may be an experiment to be had with what you might call active acoustic sound control, like the noise-cancelling headphones you can wear that totally obliterate all outside noise. These are getting more sophisticated and more effective, and there could be a community experiment where we actually allow people to try these and see if their sleep improves, especially.

We have airports, flight paths and runway usage that have to be considered. We have aircraft, the flight techniques and the design. I understand there is one brand of Airbus that could use some retrofits, and Air Canada is going through that process with its fleet right now.

We have regulations with respect to operating hours, and that has to be part of the mix. You mentioned, Dr. Kaiser, that municipal planning, airport location and development along the flight paths have to be much better managed, and as we look at new airports we have to keep the municipalities from growing around them. We should have learned something by now.

Then, finally, when it comes to home construction, there is much more we can do with respect to soundproofing and, again, sort of acting on the personal and active sound control that you can apply in a building and individually.

Again, it's the other sources. This isn't just an airport thing. If the airplanes went away, you'd start to notice a lot of other noises as well.

I'll just conclude quickly here by saying that the challenge is for the complete circle of suggestions. This isn't just an airport issue. It's more a quality of life and community issue that needs a complete 360° look.

Okay, that's it. Thank you.

9:30 a.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Judy Sgro

Would you like to hear any response to your comments, or move on?

9:30 a.m.

Liberal

Ken Hardie Liberal Fleetwood—Port Kells, BC

Well, the challenge is out there to come back to us with something. We know what the complaints sound like.

Dr. Kaiser, we'll go back to you on this one.

9:30 a.m.

A voice

I would like to respond.

9:30 a.m.

Liberal

Ken Hardie Liberal Fleetwood—Port Kells, BC

Yes, sure, by all means.

9:30 a.m.

As an Individual

Antonio Natalizio

Just recently, I read a medical article from a sleep expert who says there isn't a major organ within the body or a process within the brain that isn't detrimentally impaired when we don't get enough sleep.

There is another article that I've also read recently: You can fool the conscious mind by masking noise, but you cannot fool the unconscious mind. It is the one that is affecting all our organs and body.

From my point of view, last night was the only night I got a good night's sleep in the last three nights, because the wind has been blowing from the northwest and our runway is being used frequently throughout the day. Two nights ago, there were more than 30 planes that went over. I couldn't get any sleep. The night before last, it was the same thing. The bags under my eyes are really not a reflection of my age. That is just sleep deprivation.

9:30 a.m.

Liberal

Ken Hardie Liberal Fleetwood—Port Kells, BC

You're 27, right?

9:30 a.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

9:30 a.m.

Liberal

Ken Hardie Liberal Fleetwood—Port Kells, BC

Seriously, sir, I do take your point. We've said this before. We are looking at balancing the environment—in this case the human environment—with the economy. We can't shut down the airports, and it isn't easy to move them, so we do have to look at all options, including, obviously, the ones you have raised.

9:30 a.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Judy Sgro

Thank you very much, Mr. Hardie.

We'll go on to Mr. Wrzesnewskyj.

November 29th, 2018 / 9:30 a.m.

Liberal

Borys Wrzesnewskyj Liberal Etobicoke Centre, ON

Thank you, Madam Chair.

I would like to underline a point you made, Dr. Kaiser, when you suggested the best time for a curfew. You said from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. I just wanted to make sure that point was underlined.

Mr. Natalizio, you've lived in Markland Wood for 44 years. Forty-four years ago there were no night flights. Along with your statement, you've provided an excellent brief with a number of different sections to it. I'd like to go to the section entitled “Pearson in perspective”. I believe it's quite informative.

No matter which airport you look at in Canada, the impacts of nighttime airplane noise are real for those who are experiencing it. It's fascinating that Pearson is the source of approximately 460,000 out of 1,200,000 flights in the country, which is about 38%, yet the level of complaints from Pearson.... When you take in all the complaints across the whole country, there were 175,540 complaints, and Pearson generated 168,000 of them, or 96% of all complaints in the country.

I just wanted to bring that perspective, because I'd like you to talk about what kind of neighbour and what kind of corporate citizen the GTAA is. They testified before committee earlier this week, and we've experienced in the past how they provide a very rosy picture, especially to elected officials. You call their night impact study “gratuitous”, and you have a section you call “My Experience at Dialogue with the GTAA”.

Could you perhaps tell us succinctly how they deal with the neighbours?

9:35 a.m.

As an Individual

Antonio Natalizio

That's a very important question. I've heard the statements made by the GTAA here two days ago. Basically, they tried to leave the impression that they were making progress. The fact remains that airport complaints have been increasing by 50% each year in the last three years. How can you tell me, as a resident, that the airport is making progress in addressing noise issues?

I have tried to engage with the GTAA over the last couple of years, but it's not meaningful dialogue. In their noise management action plan, which I'm sure the committee has heard about, they say:

With our new Noise Management Action Plan, the culmination of two years of extensive study and consultation, we intend to make Toronto Pearson an international leader in aviation noise management.

That's music to everyone's ears, but it's simply not true. Toronto Pearson is starting from the bottom of the heap, and everyone who's read the Helios best practices report will know that. The action plan talks about more studies and more consultations. There is very little that's concrete, and what little there is may lift Pearson from last place to second-last place, but certainly not to the top.

For example, they talked about the A320 noise fix, which is really a very small thing. Many airlines did it years ago, because it's really a cheap fix. Despite that, we have to wait until 2020, and we're not even sure they will all be done, because Air Canada is not the only one.

9:35 a.m.

Liberal

Borys Wrzesnewskyj Liberal Etobicoke Centre, ON

Thank you, Mr. Natalizio.

Could you provide us with a full copy of your correspondence, just so we can see how the GTAA tends to deal with citizens with concerns such as yours?

9:35 a.m.

As an Individual

Antonio Natalizio

I would really be delighted to do that.

9:35 a.m.

Liberal

Borys Wrzesnewskyj Liberal Etobicoke Centre, ON

Also, in your brief—

9:35 a.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Judy Sgro

There are 45 seconds remaining.

9:35 a.m.

Liberal

Borys Wrzesnewskyj Liberal Etobicoke Centre, ON

—you called the night budget “a strange creation”. It's now allowing close to 20,000 night movements per year, which amounts to 53 per night and nine per minute.

You've talked about your personal experiences. How is it impacting the community in general?

9:35 a.m.

As an Individual

Antonio Natalizio

All you have to do is look at the number of complaints. When I moved into this community—

9:35 a.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Judy Sgro

Please give a very brief response, Mr. Natalizio.

9:40 a.m.

As an Individual

Antonio Natalizio

—there were 250 noise complaints. Now we have 168,000. They have gone up 64,000%.

In 1974, there were 12 complaints per 1,000 flights. Now there is one complaint for every three flights.

9:40 a.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Judy Sgro

Thank you very much.

We will go on to Mr. Liepert.

9:40 a.m.

Conservative

Ron Liepert Conservative Calgary Signal Hill, AB

Thank you, Madam Chair.

I'm going to try to get in two questions, so I'll ask you to try to be as brief as you can.

I represent a Calgary riding that is a half-hour's drive from the airport. However, they opened a new runway a couple of years ago, and they changed the flight path. All of a sudden, I'm getting all of these complaints about aircraft noise.

I decided to organize a town hall meeting so people would have the opportunity to raise these concerns. We had the heads of the airport authority and Nav Canada in attendance. I couldn't believe the number of people who lived on the same street as the individual complaining about aircraft noise who were telling me, “Why am I wasting everybody's time? Yes, sure, there are a few more aircraft, but the noise is just part of life.” I don't want to downplay the significance of aircraft noise, because I have full confidence in the people who have made the complaints to me.

How do we, as a committee, balance the views of those folks who seem to be a lot more affected by noise than maybe their neighbours are?

I'll throw in my second question at the same time, and then each of you can respond accordingly.

We've heard a number of presentations asking for banning night flights. I think the other thing that this committee has to balance is the noise issue with the changing economic times. We all know that a high percentage of shopping today is done online. People want their product the next day, whether they are in business or whether they are consumers. That's another thing we have to balance, as a committee, in our recommendations.

I would just ask all three of you, briefly, to comment on what I have just stated.

9:40 a.m.

As an Individual

Antonio Natalizio

Well, there are those who want overnight deliveries for everything they buy online, and those of us who want a good night's sleep. There are those who would profit from night flights, and there are those who suffer from them. There are both economic benefits and costs.

What if the net benefit is zero, or even negative? Should night flights be allowed if they have a net financial cost to society? More importantly, should night flights be allowed if they have a net benefit to society, even though a segment of society is deprived of sleep, which is a basic human right?

One recent night, 37 planes flew over my house, as I mentioned earlier. Each—

9:40 a.m.

Conservative

Ron Liepert Conservative Calgary Signal Hill, AB

Sir, I'd like you to help us make a recommendation. Is your recommendation, regardless of what I said, that night flights have to be banned?