Privatization of Canada’s airports rejected by Commons committee

In a recent report to Parliament, the House of Commons Finance Committee has told the federal government not to privatize Canada’s airports.

The report of the committee’s pre-budget consultations for the 2018 federal budget states that the government should “limit passenger and operational costs by preventing the privatization of Canadian airports.”

“We are glad to see that the Finance Committee has made this important recommendation,” said Robyn Benson, Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) National President. “Privatizing Canada’s airports would be bad news for travelers and for the communities where airports are located.”

Airport selloffs being considered

Currently, airports are owned by not-for-profit airport authorities. The federal government has been studying whether to sell off the airports, but there has been opposition to the idea from several municipal airport authorities, airlines, and municipalities. Most Canadians also oppose selling off Canada’s airports, according to an Angus Reid poll.

The Committee was told that the sale of airports to private companies would result in higher costs for airlines and passengers. The Union of Canadian Transportation Employees (UCTE), a component of PSAC, represents workers at most federally regulated airports in Canada.  UCTE-PSAC and its members have been actively lobbying members of parliament since the 2016 Emerson Report proposed the sell-off of airports. 

“UCTE-PSAC is pleased with the committee’s recommendations.  It is thanks to our members who have actively been involved in making a difference,” said Dave Clark, National President of UCTE.

The Finance Committee made additional recommendations to support the air transportation sector, including the introduction of duty-free stores upon arrival and limiting the rents paid by Canada’s airports.

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December 14, 2017