According to a briefing note, titled Airport And Flight Delays, Transport Minister Omar Alghabra knew since last spring that security workforce at federal airports were short-staffed by 25%. At that time, Alghabra was blaming those same airport delays on Canadians who were just trying to travel.
Was it that the feds didn’t want the public to know that they were the ones who were partially responsible for delays by putting tons of employees on on unpaid leave due to their vaccination status? Or did they just wanted to continuously blame the ‘massive’ number of people who were travelling all at once?
According to Blacklock’s Reporter, the briefing note told Alghabra that the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority was short a quarter of its employees due to COVID layoffs:
“The Authority retained 75 percent of its workforce during the pandemic to assist with recovery,” wrote staff. “Screening contractors called back all available personnel in preparation for the summer peak.”
Even though Alghabra was given this information, he refused to disclose it to the public as fiascos at airports became commonplace. Instead, he told the House of Commons that, “we are witnessing delays across all sectors of our economy that are a result of increasing demand imbalance.”
“We are seeing an increased demand and appetite for people who want to travel,” Alghabra said June 6. “The supply is trying to catch up.”
Blacklock’s said that “short-staffing in airport security was first publicly disclosed June 7 in testimony by Security Authority managers at the Senate national finance committee:”
“The problem at the airports today and specifically the busiest airports in Canada relates to the labour market and the staffing of screening officer positions by our third party screening contractors,” testified Nancy Filchett, vice president of the Security Authority. “At this time it is not a funding problem.”
Before the pandemic, there were 7,400 screening officers, according to Kelsey MacTavish, senior director of operations. “Right now we have 6,800 and recruitment is ongoing. In the year to come we’re trying to recruit 1,000 screening officers,” MacTavish added.
Trudeau's cabinet hasn't communicated with the public on why they have not hired more employees and Minister Alghabra said continued disruptions in air travel were unacceptable:
It is never acceptable to make passengers sleep on the floor of an airport as a result of a delayed or cancelled flight.
In a statement put out on August 10, the Government of Canada touched base on the delays happening still in airports:
As of September 8, 2022, amendments to the Air Passenger Protection Regulations will come into force to ensure passengers are compensated for flight delays, cancellations, and other incidents that may be out of an air carrier’s control. This will ensure Canadian travellers are protected in nearly every circumstance.
Travellers have rights, and these must be respected by airlines and airports through each step of the travelling experience.