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Transport committee  An airport ecosystem is quite complex. Airports don't actually hire ground crew. That is done by the airlines, but there are a number of vendors throughout the airport, a number of companies and people from Nav Canada and government agencies, and a RAIC, which is your authority to get through to the secure area, is certainly a hot commodity these days.

May 16th, 2022Committee meeting

Monette Pasher

Transport committee  I'm certainly not a health expert. I would stress that we should look to review all regulations that were brought in during the pandemic to better understand what's still needed. We're seeing countries like the U.K. move to other models. We're not seeing testing like this in many countries other than some in Asia, so why are we keeping these measures in Canada?

May 16th, 2022Committee meeting

Monette Pasher

Transport committee  Thank you for the question. I'll answer to the best of my ability, but I'm not CATSA or the government. It's a government agency, but I guess I can speak to the challenges. CATSA is facing hiring challenges like many in the tourism and hotel industry across the country. We're hearing it in terms of getting some of those frontline workers back to work.

May 16th, 2022Committee meeting

Monette Pasher

Transport committee  There are a number of issues facing us in terms of efficiency and screening as well as throughput at peak times. That's why we need to create a trusted traveller program in Canada that has benefits like PreCheck in the U.S. We did face these challenges pre-COVID, but, yes, it would be my view that staffing has been our number one concern.

May 16th, 2022Committee meeting

Monette Pasher

Transport committee  First, I want to be clear that the airport is not able to hire CATSA staff. It's under the purview of CATSA to hire CATSA staff, and they're working on that to get back to their regular volume, so we're not in a position where we can fund additional staff. That's just to be clear on that one.

May 16th, 2022Committee meeting

Monette Pasher

Transport committee  Thank you for that great question. Airports are never able to hire CATSA staff, but they are able to invest in CATSA to increase their staff complement at their airport. In the past, Pearson has done this when it wasn't able to get the number of screeners needed at its airport in order to meet their traffic volumes, as CATSA did not have the budget to deliver on those service volumes.

May 16th, 2022Committee meeting

Monette Pasher

Transport committee  I think I might have stated this a few times already, but really, it's removing the mandatory random testing that's happening in our airports. That would be the most cumbersome burden that we're facing right now. That's leading to bottlenecks. Our airports have stood up this testing quite quickly, worked alongside the Public Health Agency of Canada when our borders needed these measures, and we will be prepared to do that again, but really as we ramp back up to travel and want to support economic development throughout the summer, we really need to move this testing off-site.

May 16th, 2022Committee meeting

Monette Pasher

Transport committee  I think the minister is right in saying that there are a number of factors at play here. We certainly would share that view. I think staffing is a big piece, and certainly staffing for peak times, as well as efficiency and the need to move towards a trusted traveller program in order to speed up security, which was also an issue prepandemic.

May 16th, 2022Committee meeting

Monette Pasher

Transport committee  I think we're certainly seeing that there's a lot of pent-up demand for travel, which is great news and I think we don't want to hurt that at a time when we need it most in our recovery, both airlines and airports and our entire tourism industry. There are a number of actions that could be taken.

May 16th, 2022Committee meeting

Monette Pasher

Transport committee  Yes, and that's not a message we want to send for our transportation assets. We really want to make sure that we're competitive and that we're operating efficiently, and we're certainly working with the government very closely on that. The minister has struck a number of working groups.

May 16th, 2022Committee meeting

Monette Pasher

Transport committee  Yes, the funding provided to our airports for pandemic relief announced in the FES in 2020 has been so beneficial. The program RATI, the regional air transportation initiative, provided liquidity support to help restore some of the regional routes across the country. The airport capital assistance program, which is normally funded at $38 million, was funded at $186 million over two years, and that was really helpful for a number of airports to do things like runway rehabilitation and to afford new airport emergency safety vehicles for their fire trucks.

May 16th, 2022Committee meeting

Monette Pasher

Transport committee  I think we have a good model in Canada now, but if you look at the airports in the U.S., they are federally owned and operated airports, which are invested in quite heavily. That's our competition. The cost of travel there is lower, and at times Canadians drive across the border so that they can get lower fares.

May 16th, 2022Committee meeting

Monette Pasher

Transport committee  I think our city—

May 16th, 2022Committee meeting

Monette Pasher

Transport committee  Thank you for the question. There are absolutely immediate measures that can be taken. One is that we're seeing the staff shortage at CATSA. The government, our airports and CATSA are working very hard immediately and have been for some time to address those staffing challenges.

May 16th, 2022Committee meeting

Monette Pasher

Transport committee  It needs government support and government approval. Security screening is completed by government. In addition to that and in addition to CATSA, there are a number of things that need to be done at the border. There are legacy public health protocols that are in place here that need to be removed.

May 16th, 2022Committee meeting

Monette Pasher