Report of the committee
Thursday, June 6, 2019
The Standing Senate Committee on Transport and Communications has the honour to table its
Your committee, which was authorized to examine the subject matter of those elements contained in Divisions 11, 12, 13 and 14 of Part 4, and in Subdivision I of Division 9 of Part 4 of Bill C-97, An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on March 19, 2019 and other measures, has, in obedience to the order of reference of Thursday, May 2, 2019, examined the said subject matter and now reports as follows:
On May 28 and 29, 2019, as well as June 4, 2019, the Standing Senate Committee on Transport and Communications (the committee) held three meetings on this order of reference, hearing from federal government officials, as well as stakeholders in the pilotage and air transport sectors.
Your committee supports the changes proposed in Division 11 of Part 4 of Bill C-97 to the Pilotage Act. Witnesses from the pilotage sector were generally supportive of these changes, telling the committee that the proposed Pilotage Act amendments would address many of the challenges in Canada’s existing pilotage regime.
Your committee is concerned, however, with the changes proposed in Division 12 of Part 4 of Bill C-97, which would dissolve the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA) and replace it with an independent not-for-profit screening authority.
Your committee agrees with witnesses who suggested that the existing Air Travellers Security Charge (ATSC) should be repealed once the new designated screening authority is operational and able to set its own charges and collect fees. Without this repeal, the committee is concerned that consumers would be burdened with paying the ATSC on top of the fees charged by the new designated screening authority.
Your committee also agrees with witnesses who were concerned about the $500 million cost associated with the sale of CATSA’s assets to the new designated screening authority. According to these witnesses, the travelling public has already paid for these assets – twice, if surpluses from the ATSC are taken into account.
Your committee agrees with the suggestion from Hope Air – a registered Canadian charity that provides free flights for people who are in financial need and must travel long distances to reach specialist medical care – that it should be exempt from any fees charged by the new designated screening authority.
Your committee also has one general observation regarding the new designated screening authority: once it is setting its own charges and collecting fees, the authority should be transparent about where those fees are being invested.
Your committee supports the other parts of Bill C-97 included in its order of reference, namely the amendments to the Aviation Industry Indemnity Act (Division 13 of Part 4), the Transportation Appeal Tribunal of Canada Act (Division 14 of Part 4) and the Canada Transportation Act (Subdivision I of Division 9 of Part 4.)