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e-2867 (Transportation)

Initiated by Ann Matejicka from Ottawa, Ontario

Original language of petition: English

Petition to the Government of Canada

  • Canada’s aviation industry continues to be negatively impacted by the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic. As the industry continues to struggle, aviation workers continue to be severely impacted with hundreds of thousands of highly skilled Canadian workers under threat of job loss;
  • The almost complete shutdown of the industry has made flight operations increasingly expensive and industry restart will be complex. Jobs in the industry will take several years to return, or worse, will disappear altogether;
  • Government measures, such as the recommendation to Canadians to avoid non-essential travel, border closures and mandatory 14-day quarantine on all travelers entering the country, combined with a lack of sector-specific financial support, jeopardize the sustainability of the Canadian aviation industry and offer an advantage to foreign airlines who receive massive financial support from their governments; and
  • COVID emergency programs, such as the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy, have assisted Canadian aviation workers but have stopped short of providing the necessary support to Canadian airlines.
We, the undersigned, aviation workers and other concerned citizens of Canada, call upon the Government of Canada to:
1. Implement an aviation-specific financial sustainability program with strong labour protections that provides direct support to airlines that have been significantly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic;
2. Lead and implement a national aviation strategy in relation to the recovery of the airline industry from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic to ensure the stabilization and continued viability of the aviation sector in Canada; and
3. Implement a sustainable approach to safe border controls that uses a dynamic, rigorous approach to ensure the border measures match the risk profile of the countries from which the travelers are arriving.

Response by the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

Signed by (Minister or Parliamentary Secretary): JOËL LIGHTBOUND, M.P.

Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA)

3. The CBSA is closely monitoring the situation and, just as we have done since border restrictions were introduced in March 2020, we will adjust our posture to implement important decisions and guidance that will come from the government as the situation evolves.

The CBSA works closely with the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) to prevent the introduction and spread of communicable diseases into Canada through the administration of the Quarantine Act at all international ports of entry into Canada.

PHAC is responsible for advising the CBSA of any required enhanced measures to be implemented at the Canadian border to help prevent the spread of serious infectious diseases into Canada. The CBSA works in close cooperation with PHAC to implement and operationalize the measures they recommend.

Response by the Minister of Transport

Signed by (Minister or Parliamentary Secretary): The Honourable Omar Alghabra

On November 8, 2020, the Minister of Transport announced that the Government of Canada is developing a package of assistance to Canadian airlines, airports and the aerospace sector. As part of this package, the Government is ready to establish a process with major airlines regarding financial assistance, which could include loans, and potentially other support, to secure important results for Canadians.  Any assistance the Government of Canada provides will come with strict conditions to protect Canadians and the public interest, including refunds for air travel cancelled due to the pandemic. Oversight will ensure that Canadians and regional communities retain air connections to the rest of Canada, and Canadian air carriers maintain their status as key customers of Canada’s aerospace industry. 

On November 30, the Government issued its Fall Economic Statement, which included the following commitment: 

 “The government is committed to ensuring that Canada’s air sector continues to connect Canadians and Canadian marketplaces, as part of a dynamic aerospace industry. However, since the beginning of the pandemic, we have heard from many Canadians who had booked travel and ended up stuck with vouchers for trips they could not take instead of getting refunds. The government is establishing a process with major airlines regarding financial assistance. As part of this process, the government will ensure Canadians are refunded for cancelled flights.

  • To support regional air transportation, including regional air carriers, the government proposes to provide up to $206 million over two years, starting in 2020-21, to the Regional Development Agencies for a new Regional Air Transportation Initiative.
  • To support small and regional airports in making critical investments in health and safety infrastructure, the government proposes to provide additional funding of $186 million over two years, starting in 2021-22, for the Airports Capital Assistance Program (ACAP). Small federally-owned airports, which are not currently eligible for ACAP, would also be eligible to access the program for 2021-22 and 2022-23.
  • To support large airports in making critical investments in safety, security and transit infrastructure, the government proposes to provide $500 million over six years, starting in 2020-21, to establish a new transfer payment program. Transit projects at large airports, such as the new Réseau express métropolitain station at the Montreal Airport, will be eligible for funding. The government will consider supporting further airport investments to help address the health, safety and economic impacts of COVID-19.
  • To continue supporting the operations of Canada's major airports, the government proposes to extend $229 million in additional rent relief to the 21 airport authorities that pay rent to the federal government, with comparable treatment for Ports Toronto, which operates Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport. This support to airports would be made up of repayable and non-repayable rent relief, with non-repayable support costing $29 million over 4 years, starting 2020-21. Rent relief would be provided as follows:
    • Waiving rent payments for small airports (i.e., those with passenger volumes of less than one million passengers in 2019) for 2021, 2022 and 2023;
    • Waiving rent payments for medium airports (i.e., those with passenger volumes between one million and ten million in 2019) for 2021; and,
    • Deferring rent payments for the largest airports for 2021, with repayment to occur over ten years, starting in 2024.
  • To further assist airports to manage the financial implications of reduced air travel, the government proposes to provide $65 million in additional financial support to airport authorities in 2021-22.”
Open for signature
September 28, 2020, at 3:07 p.m. (EDT)
Closed for signature
October 28, 2020, at 3:07 p.m. (EDT)
Presented to the House of Commons
Todd Doherty (Cariboo—Prince George)
November 18, 2020 (Petition No. 432-00237)
Government response tabled
January 25, 2021
Photo - Todd Doherty
Cariboo—Prince George
Conservative Caucus
British Columbia