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Canada’s airports welcome new border service policy

April 1, 2009 – The Canadian Airports Council today welcomed the Government of Canada's new Air Services Policy Framework, which will mean increased border service hours.


April 1, 2009
By CNW Group

The Canadian Airports Council today welcomed the Government of Canada's new Air Services Policy Framework, which will mean increased border service hours for several Canadian communities and improved clarity around the provision of new or increased airport border services in the future. The policy framework represents a key request of the government under the CAC's 2007 submission to the Canada Border Services Agency's core service review.

"For several years, the CAC has called on the government to provide a clear and equitable process for requests for new or expanded border services at airports in recognition of the important role these services have in the ability of a community to take advantage of opportunities available for international air services," said CAC President and CEO Jim Facette. "Today's announcement is an indication that the government has heard our call." Coming into effect April 1, the CBSA's new Air Services Policy Framework will enable the agency to assess, on a case-by-case basis, whether the addition or expansion of publicly funded border services at a requesting airport is "viable and sustainable."

The CAC will continue to work with government to ensure that the new policy framework is implemented effectively. Today's announcement was accompanied by news that the CBSA will be providing new levels of publicly funded services at Toronto City Centre Airport, Deer Lake Regional Airport, Saskatoon John G. Diefenbaker International Airport and Regina International Airport. It comes in addition to the July 2008 announcement that Charlottetown, Fredericton and Moncton airports also would receive extended border service hours.        

"Our economy is highly dependent on international trade and tourism," said Mr. Facette. "A community's ability to attract international air service means increased economic activity and jobs. Today's announcement tells Canadians that the CBSA understands the economic importance of border services to Canadian competitiveness."         

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Airports Support Customs Act Amendments In testimony before the Senate Standing Committee on National Security and Defence, the Canadian Airports Council also today will reiterate its call for the government to swiftly pass amendments to the Customs Act. Canada's airports say these amendments are crucial to both improving border security and the efficient passage of travellers and goods through Canada's borders.        

"The practical implementation of Customs Controlled Areas represents a natural progression for the border agency, allowing officers to exert control over a much wider area," said Mr. Facette. "For airports, we see this extension as both an improvement in security and an improvement in service efficiency."        

Bill S-2 is the third time since early 2008 that the government has attempted to table amendments to the Customs Act to will allow for the proper implementation of "Customs Controlled Areas." These would expand the jurisdiction of the Canada Border Services Agency to a larger area of the international arrivals area than the current limited responsibility for only certain designated exit points. Upon request, officers would be able to question travellers and search goods within the CCA, and not just upon exit from the customs area as currently is the case. 

About the Canadian Airports Council The Canadian Airports Council (CAC) is the voice for Canada's airports. Its 45 members represent more than 180 airports, including all of the National Airports System (NAS) airports and most significant municipal airports in every province and territory. Together, CAC members handle virtually all of the nation's air cargo and international passenger traffic and 95% of domestic passenger traffic. They create in excess of $45 billion in economic activity in the communities they serve. And more than 200,000 jobs are directly associated with CAC member airports, generating a payroll of more than $8 billion annually.