Urban leaders call for airport reform


OTTAWA, Ontario—The Canadian Global Cities Council (CGCC), a coalition of Canada’s eight largest urban regional chambers of commerce, is calling for airport policy reform to align Canada with global best practices, and for our international airports to be factored into transit infrastructure planning by all levels of government.    

According to the council, economic performance is increasingly tied to global relevance. Airports, and the communities they serve at home and abroad, are prime economic engines that require supportive policies and robust government services. They create vital access to high growth markets and facilitate significant economic benefits for tourism, trade, and overall business productivity.

Canada’s international airports play a pivotal role in supporting our economy by facilitating the movement of people, goods, services and ideas,” said Adam Legge, president and CEO of the Calgary Chamber of Commerce and chair of the Canadian Global Cities Council.

“While our airports drive a collective $59-billion in economic activity, our current state hinders our economic potential, and affects Canada’s profile and ability to remain relevant in the eyes of foreign investors, international business travellers and tourists.”

The CGCC has identified five recommendations for Canada’s airports policy across three categories:

1)     Airport Screening

  • Adopt an internationally competitive service standard
  • Implement a targeted screening approach

2)     Border Entry & Visa

  • Foster the development of global air transit hubs
  • Strategically align immigration and border facilitation for target tourism, investment and education priority markets

3)     Airport Transit Connectivity

  • Develop airport transit and multi-modal hubs (where volumes warrant)

Members of the CGCC and CAC discussed these recommendations December 8 at an Economic Club of Canada event in Ottawa. CGCC members will also spend the day on Parliament Hill to meet with federal ministers and share their point of view on Canada’s International Airports Policy.

Canada’s airports contribute significantly to the prosperity of our metropolitan centres by creating jobs and helping businesses to connect to national and international markets,” said Michel Leblanc, president and CEO of the Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan Montreal.

“But these strategic assets are facing operational challenges that need to be taken care of quickly. Security screening is one of the biggest sources of frustration for travellers, so the Federal Government must ensure passengers are screened efficiently and achieve globally competitive performance standards. Canada’s reputation and the well-being our international airport passengers, is at stake.”

The CGCC’s full position paper is available here.

The members of the CGCC are: Jan De Silva, president & CEO of Toronto Region Board of Trade; Michel Leblanc, president and CEO of the Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan Montreal; Adam Legge, president and CEO of the Calgary Chamber of Commerce; Iain Black, president and CEO of the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade; Janet M. Riopel, president and CEO of the Edmonton Chamber of Commerce; Loren Remillard, president and CEO of the Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce; Todd Letts, CEO of the Brampton Board of Trade; Patrick Sullivan, president and CEO of the Halifax Chamber of Commerce.

Founded in 2015, the Canadian Global Cities Council (CGCC) is a coalition of Presidents and CEOs of the eight largest urban regional Chambers of Commerce/Boards of Trade in Canada. Representing 52 percent of Canada’s GDP and more than half of the country’s population, CGCC collaborates on international and domestic issues impacting our regions’ competitiveness.