A new coalition of travel and business leaders has formed to advocate for improvements to air travel at Toronto Pearson (YYZ) and other airports across Canada.
The group, called “Innovate. Travel. Canada,” or ITC for short, involves more than 15 representatives from sectors ranging from events and tourism, to business and city building.
Announcing themselves Thursday (March 2), the coalition is advocating for long-term innovative and technology-based initiatives to help Pearson remain a world-class airport.
At a press conference hosted at YYZ Wednesday morning, 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 (Nexus and Global Entry).
They’re also calling on the government to expedite digital solutions at borders to ensure seamless traffic through our 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 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," stated 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 said it understands that the implementation of an opt-in, cost-free 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," stated 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."
The GTAA and ITC are calling for Ottawa to introduce the new national program to begin in the summer of 2023, identifying Budget 2023 as an opportunity for the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance to tackle these issues head-on.
Don't miss a single travel story: subscribe to PAX today! Click here to follow PAX on Facebook.