Air Travellers Security Charge (ATSC)

To sustain and strengthen Canada’s air security system and finance the new measures announced in February 2010, the Government of Canada is proposing that Air Travellers Security Charge (ATSC) rates be increased as of April 1, 2010.

For air travel within Canada, it is proposed that the charge be raised from $4.90 to $7.48 for one-way travel, and from $9.80 to $14.96 for round-trip travel.  For transborder flights to the continental United States, it is proposed that the charge be raised from $8.34 to $12.71, and for other international air travel from $17.00 to $25.91.  The proposed rates are lower than the initial rates in 2002.  Where applicable, the total charge includes the goods and services tax (GST) or the federal portion of the harmonized sales tax (HST).

For transborder and international travel, the ATSC generally applies only to flights departing from Canada. Foreign governments may impose similar security charges on return travel, but those charges are not affected by this announcement.

Proposed ATSC Rates ($)

  Current Initial Rate in 2002 April 2010 and Ongoing
Domestic (one-way) 4.90 12.00 7.48
Domestic (round trip) 9.80 24.00 14.96
Transborder 8.34 12.00 12.71
Other international 17.00 24.00 25.91
Note: The above rates include the GST or the federal portion of the HST where applicable.

With this increase, it is expected that ATSC revenues will roughly offset expenses for air travel security through to 2014-15, including new funding announced in Budget 2010, as set out in the table below.

ATSC Revenues and Expenses for Enhanced Air Travel Security ($ millions)

Fiscal Year 2010-11 2011-12 2012-13 2013-14 2014-15 2010-15
ATSC revenues 590 624 658 691 722 3,284
Expenses for air travel security 682 654 651 649 648 3,284
Annual balance (92) (30) 7 42 74 0
Cumulative total (92) (122) (115) (74) 0 n.a.
Note: Totals may not add up due to rounding.

The ATSC applies to flights between the 89 airports in Canada where air travel security services are provided by CATSA.  The charge does not apply to flights that arrive at or depart from other airports in Canada.  The ATSC also applies to transborder flights to the continental United States and other international flights that depart from Canada’s airports.  The charge is payable by the purchaser of an air transportation service and is collected by the air carrier at the time of payment for the service.

The ATSC came into effect in April 2002 to fund the air travel security system, including the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA) — the federal authority responsible for the security screening of air passengers and their baggage.  In addition to CATSA, the air travel security system includes Transport Canada regulations and oversight, and Royal Canadian Mounted Police officers on selected domestic and international flights. 

The ATSC is payable by air travellers, who principally and directly benefit from the Canadian air travel security system.  ATSC rates have been adjusted a number of times since it was introduced to ensure revenues that are roughly equivalent to expenses for air travel security over time.  All proceeds from the ATSC, including any applicable GST or the federal portion of the HST, are intended to fund the air travel security system.

The government will continue to review and adjust ATSC rates to ensure that ATSC revenues remain in line with expenses for enhanced air travel security over time.

The proposed new ATSC rates will apply to air transportation services that include a chargeable enplanement on or after April 1, 2010, for which any payment is made on or after that date.