Leaders from Destination Toronto, the Ontario Chamber of Commerce, and the Greater Toronto Airports Authority (GTAA) announced last week the formation of a coalition advocating for enhancements to air travel through Toronto Pearson and airports across Canada.
The coalition – Innovate. Travel. Canada. (“ITC”) – includes more than 15 business leaders in sectors ranging from events and tourism, to business and city building. It will advocate for long-term innovative and technology-bases initiatives to help Toronto Pearson remain a world-class airport.
At a press conference on March 2, 2023, hosted at Toronto Pearson, a group of ITC members, including Deborah Flint (president and CEO of GTAA), Rocco Rossi (president and CEO of Ontario Chamber of Commerce), and Scott Beck (president and CEO of Destination Toronto), announced the coalition’s first policy objective – the rapid rollout of an expanded Canadian trusted-traveller program, and government’s commitment to expedite digital solutions at borders to ensure seamless traffic through Canada’s airports. Secondary initiatives include enhanced digitization processes at the border and Canadian involvement in the Global Entry program.
“Air travel in Canada has faced significant challenges restarting business following the COVID-19 pandemic. The GTAA is committed to advocating for a better travel experience for international and local travellers through Toronto Pearson and other Canadian airports,” said Flint. “ITC is encouraging the federal government to rapidly roll out an expanded trusted traveller program to streamline pre-board screening, digitize cross-border travel and make it easier to arrive.”
The ITC understands that the implementation of an opt-in and Canadian-led trusted traveller program that would reduce security inspection of shoes and laptops and allow more passengers to be safely vetted, is on the government’s radar. The coalition encourages the federal government to expedite expansion of this program.
“Toronto is a city on the world stage, with a stellar reputation in the area of technology, it’s vital that our airport reflects that reputation,” said Beck. “To continue attracting globally relevant meetings, conferences, concerts and sporting events, we must work together to innovate and transform the experience for the traveller.”
“Trusted-traveller programs have been implemented worldwide. They provide a sae and efficient way to clear low-risk travellers and offer a quick solution for reducing lines at airport security. Canada is years behind its peer countries in the G7 and G20 in implemented digital solutions at the border. Now is the time for Canada to announce the rapid rollout of an expanded Canadian-led trusted-traveller program,” said Rossi.
The GTAA and ITC are calling for the federal government to introduce the new national program to begin in the summer of 2023, identifying Budget 2023 as an excellent opportunity for the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance to tackle these issues head-on.