Municipal opposition mounting against airport selloffs

Municipalities are starting to add their voices to the growing opposition to the idea of selling Canada’s airports. Opposition to the move has already been voiced by the cities of Vancouver, Victoria, and Richmond, BC, while Calgary’s mayor has publicly spoken out against the plan. Toronto City Council is considering a motion to oppose the plan as well.  

“Despite rising opposition from municipalities, airports, and the public, the Liberal government continues to pay private consultants to look into the possibility of selling Canada’s airports,” said Robyn Benson, PSAC National President. “Profitizing airports would only raise prices and municipalities could lose their voice in how their airports operate.”

The Ottawa International Airport Authority and the Vancouver International Airport have already voiced their opposition. Airlines have also reacted negatively to the idea, raising concerns that it could increase the cost of air travel.

Airport authorities currently incorporate municipal, provincial, and federal representation as they are considered critical infrastructure to communities across Canada. Cities are speaking out against for-profit ownership, as airport operation will become less transparent and accountable to the communities they service.

Travelers will also likely pay more if Canada’s not-for-profit airport entities are sold to private corporations. As an example, when Australia sold off its airports, passenger fees doubled.

“If airports are sold to investors who need more and more profits, Canadians will pay the price,” said Dave Clark, National President of the Union of Canadian Transportation Employees, a component of PSAC.


November 20, 2017