The Association of Canadian Travel Agencies (ACTA) wrote a letter to the Canadian government on 11MAY, urging feds to address the issue of lengthy delays at airports and passport offices across the country.
“Canada’s travel industry, including travel agencies and independent travel agents, is just beginning the long road to recovery,” said Wendy Paradis, President, ACTA. “It is essential that travellers have an efficient airport and passport process. ACTA has received reports of travellers cancelling reservations or deferring travel because of these delays, creating a further obstacle to recovery.”
The letter comes after recent reports of hours-long delays at passenger screening in Canada's major airports, including YYZ and YVR. Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA), which handles incoming passenger security screening, cited the delays as a result of ongoing staff shortages combined with a rise in travel demand.
Separately, Canadians reported waiting hours in line at passport centres across Canada waiting for a chance to get their documents renewed, sometimes returning day after day. Those calling or mailing in to book an appointment have reported wait times of weeks or even months for book.
In the letter, ACTA said it is "expressing serious concern over these reports" and is urging the Government of Canada, including the Minister of Transport; Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship; as well as and the Minister of Tourism, to act "expeditiously to relieve airports and passport offices from unnecessary administrative burdens"
In addition, ACTA is calling on Ottawa to and divert human resources from other programs "until labour normalizes."
“Considering the devastation that travel agencies and independent travel agents experienced throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, with most experiencing revenue losses of over 90%, administrative hurdles such as these are unacceptable,” said Paradis. “The onus is on the government to fix this without delay, so that a travel and tourism recovery can recover.”
ACTA added that it engaging government on these issues and continues to advocate for removing barriers to travel and tourism recovery.