Both the Trudeau & Harper governments have been cutting back on resources for airports, even as wait times at security lineups are increasing.
Airport security line wait times are reaching such high levels that some airports are now paying the government for more security staff.
Since 2014, wait times have been increasing due to government budget cuts.
According to a report, the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority’s (CATSA) “three service providers screened 47.7 million passengers in 2010-11, and the agency projects 69.5 million will need screening in 2020-21, a 46 per cent increase over a decade even as its budget has been cut.”
CATSA’s budget was cut by the Harper government between 2009 and 2015. In 2015, the Harper government gave a one-time top-up of $26.8 million to deal with wait times – while leaving the baseline budget the same. In 2016, the Trudeau government gave a one-time top-up of $29 million – representing a $2.2 million increase from the year before.
However, in the latest budget the Trudeau government cut that top-up to just $19 million, a $10 million cut from the year before.
As a result of the cuts, the number of Canadians getting through airport security in fewer than 15 minutes has dropped from 95% in 2014, to under 90%, and with more travelers going through screening each year, it’s only going to get worse unless more funding is given.
CATSA was created by the Chretien government in 2002 after the 9/11 attacks. The government has contracted the job of managing security to three separate private security companies. According to a report, the companies are “G4S Secure Solutions (Canada) Inc., Garda Security Screening Inc., and Securitas Transport Aviation Security Ltd. — each of which recently signed new five-year contracts with payment escalators that will regularly add to CATSA’s costs through to 2022.”
One of the things that causes people to lose trust in the government is the totally misplaced priorities of those in power. With an increasing population, airport security funding cuts make zero sense. Especially as we’ve seen spending grow by billions in countless other areas.
Of the few things government should actually be spending on – especially in today’s world – security is one of them. Government needs to get their priorities in order, and ensure our security is given top priority.