Announcement on CATSA Funding and Budget 2010

The Government of Canada is committed to the safety of Canadians and will implement measures that enhance the security of Canada’s aviation system.  This new commitment of over $1.5 billion over the next five years for the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA) and Transport Canada provides long-term sustainable funding that will help to maintain a secure air travel security system, ensure air cargo security, enhance protection for air travellers and better align our measures with international security requirements.  With the approval of Parliament, the funds for passenger screening will be provided through the Air Travellers Security Charge.

Long Term Sustainable Funding

The announced funding will allow CATSA to replace aging and obsolete technology, and invest in the newest, most effective machines for screening passengers and baggage. Key investments include:

  • state-of-the-art certified computed tomography (CT scanners) and X-ray technology for checked luggage;
  • new body scanners as an option for passengers requiring secondary screening;
  • Passenger Trace, which detects explosives on passengers and in carry-on bags at screening points; and
  • detection capability for explosives concealed in shoes, to meet U.S. requirements.

These new technologies complement the upgraded technology and operational enhancements CATSA has made in recent years. For example:

  • In 2003, there were 3,300 screening officers, who screened over 36 million passengers and a very small sampling of luggage; in 2009, more than 6,000 screening officers screened over 48 million passengers and 62 million pieces of luggage.
  • Restricted Area Identity Card operational trials began in 2004 and involved four of Canada’s major airports. As of April 2009, approximately 336 wall-mounted biometric readers were installed, and each restricted area entry point was equipped with at least one reader and in many cases two (one for fingerprints; one for iris). In addition, 254 portable readers are currently in use at these airports, being used at bypass doors and pre-board screening points.
  • All baggage is now screened with advanced X-ray equipment, compared to select baggage scans in 2003 using basic X-ray equipment, and all 89 airports where CATSA operates have an explosives detection system for checked bags.

Air Cargo Security

Transport Canada’s two-pronged approach to enhancing air cargo security focuses on hardening the supply chain and improving air cargo screening.  The recommendations for implementation are based on this work.  Budget 2010 provides $37.9 million over two years to implement a comprehensive air cargo security program that will strengthen air cargo screening and the security of the supply chain.  The program will monitor and respond to priority risks and evolving threats on a continuing basis.

Air Travellers Security Charge

To sustain and strengthen Canada’s air security system and finance these new measures, the Government of Canada is proposing that Air Travellers Security Charge rates be increased as of April 1, 2010. The Air Travellers Security Charge is payable by air travellers, who principally and directly benefit from the Canadian air travel security system and will roughly offset expenses for air travel security through to 2014-15.

CATSA Review

To ensure that CATSA is fulfilling its mandate effectively, the Government of Canada will conduct a full review of the spending, efficiency and structure of CATSA.  The review will include significant stakeholder participation and will examine the effectiveness of the hundreds of millions of dollars invested annually in CATSA, in order to determine whether alternative models would better serve the needs of industry and the travelling public.  Further details of the review will be forthcoming.

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