2015 Annual Public Meeting: Speaking Notes

2015 Annual Public Meeting: Speaking Notes

December 16, 2015 - Video Presentation

Moderator's Remarks

Hello, I’m Mathieu Larocque and it’s a pleasure to welcome you to CATSA’s Annual Public Meeting.

Today, you will hear from the Chair of CATSA’s Board of Directors and from  CATSA’s President and Chief Executive Officer. They will discuss the organization’s achievements of the past fiscal year and the challenges of the years to come.

Let me introduce our first speaker. CATSA’s Chair, Mr. Lloyd McCoomb, has more than 40 years’ experience in the fields of transportation and engineering. Prior to joining CATSA’s Board of Director’s, he was President and CEO of the Greater Toronto Airports Authority where he managed the airport’s billion dollar expansion program. Mr. McCoomb has a doctorate in civil engineering from the University of Toronto. 

Now I would like to welcome our CEO, Mr. Angus Watt. Before joining CATSA in 2012, Mr. Watt had a 37-year career with Canada’s Air Force.  During his military career, he trained as a pilot, flew Sea King helicopters and was a flight instructor.  Mr. Watt served in many staff positions, mostly focused on coordinating and supervising current operations.  He also commanded at several levels, including Chief of the Air Staff.  After his military service, he taught strategic leadership at the Canadian Forces College in Toronto for several years. Mr. Watt also holds two master’s degrees in public administration and business administration.

This concludes our annual public meeting. Members of the public have until December 23rd to submit their questions on our website at catsa.gc.ca. The responses will be posted on the website shortly thereafter.  

Thank you everyone. We hope to see you next year.

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Speaking Notes for Lloyd McCoomb, Chair of the Board of Directors

Thank you very much Mathieu. 

This year also marks CATSA’s 13th year of operation.  The Government of Canada created CATSA to secure critical elements of the air transportation system as assigned by government – from passenger and baggage screening to the screening of airport workers.

The Board of Directors works with CATSA’s senior management team to ensure proper corporate governance.  In recognition of the importance of representation from within our stakeholder community, four out of 11 directors are nominated by industry.  Two directors are proposed by airlines and two are proposed by airports.   

Each year we have some changes to Board membership.  I’d like to thank William Deluce and Joanne Whittle for their service and contribution and wish them all the very best.  I would also like to welcome Rafik Souccar, who brings with him an extensive background in security and policing, and Patricia Kennedy, who recently joined us as the Air Transport Association of Canada nominee.

This past year CATSA received the report from the Auditor General’s Special Examination. The OAG concluded that CATSA's assets are safeguarded and controlled, its resources are managed economically and efficiently, and its operations are carried out effectively. I would like to thank the CATSA staff for their hard work in supporting this in depth two-year program review and pledge the Board's commitment  to ensuring the recommendations from the Special Examination are implemented.  

As we did last year, the Board also provided guidance and oversight on the implementation of enhanced non-passenger screening as well as the continued delivery of the half billion dollar hold-baggage system recapitalization program. 

And we continued to work with Transport Canada to ensure that ongoing inflationary, passenger growth and airport expansion issues are effectively managed in both the long and short-term.  I am confident that CATSA will continue to meet the challenges that lie ahead in security and global travel. 

I am particularly proud of the innovation that has been demonstrated by CATSA employees over the last year, as CATSA continues to build on its past successes – using existing technologies such as the boarding pass security system in new ways. I look forward to what the next year will bring from these creative and resourceful minds as advances in, for example, queue management, parallel divesting, remote screening and x-ray analysis time limits are brought together to further fine tune and expedite the screening process.

I would like to now offer my appreciation and congratulations on a job well done to our screening officers in airports across Canada, and our screening contractors.  It has been three years since I joined the Board and I remain impressed by your commitment, dedication and expertise.

I also commend the members of the Board for their ongoing efforts to ensure CATSA’s mandate is carried out efficiently, effectively and in the public interest. 

In closing, I would like to offer sincere thanks to our partners in the aviation industry.  We are fortunate to have strong alliances that will allow us to continue to enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of our services to passengers.

Thank you.

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Speaking Notes for Angus Watt, President and CEO

Thank you Mathieu and thank you Mr. McCoomb.

I’m pleased to report to you today on CATSA’s recent achievements and to share our key priorities and plans for the year ahead. 

CATSA is mandated to conduct the pre-board security screening of passengers, their carry-on bags and all checked baggage.  We also randomly screen air crews, construction workers and service personnel accessing restricted areas of Canada’s major airports.  Our final area of responsibility is the administration of the Restricted Area Identity Card Program. 

We deliver these services through three screening contractors who employ more than 6,000 screening officers across the country.  Security operations in airports are supported by 430 employees located both in our headquarters in Ottawa and in our regional offices. 

Last year, CATSA screened over 57 million passengers travelling through Canadian airports and we did so effectively, efficiently, consistently and in the public interest – exactly what the government has mandated us to do.  

Meeting our mandate requires that we embrace and incorporate a strong spirit of innovation, drive, focus and commitment in all that we do. 

New strategies and processes are critical, and we look for them in every aspect of our operations – whether it’s fresh thinking about the configuration of our screening checkpoints or adopting new ways of informing passengers as they prepare for air travel.

Employing innovative technologies has allowed us to better analyze data in order to create cost-savings and improve the passenger experience, while at the same time ensuring an unwavering standard of security. 

I’m also happy to tell you that overall, our investment and effort in a number of pilot projects and trials are leading to notable improvements in screening effectiveness and efficiency, and to the passenger experience. Wherever feasible, we’ve implemented these improvements nationally so that our operations continue to evolve.

This year, CATSA continued to collaborate with federal organizations to enhance the benefits of the NEXUS program. Following a successful trial at Toronto Pearson – where passengers were able to keep permitted liquids, aerosols and gels in their carry-on bags and leave shoes and jackets on – we are now offering these additional benefits at Transborder checkpoints at four of Canada’s busiest airports. This initiative supports “Beyond the Border” – a shared vision between Canada and the United States to promote security and facilitate trade and travel across our borders. We are continuing to work with Transport Canada to expand this program, and anticipate bringing these lines to Domestic/International checkpoints at the same four airports by the end of this fiscal year.

With regard to our ten-year hold-baggage screening replacement program, this year we continued deploying new systems at Canadian airports with U.S. pre-clearance facilities. We are nearing the half-way point of the program and I’m pleased to report that this significant undertaking remains on time and on budget. One key to our success thus far on this initiative and several others has been our close collaboration with the airports.

One partnership that I’m especially pleased with is our work with the Calgary airport to support their current expansion project. The new terminal construction will provide us with an opportunity to install screening lines that integrate technologies and processes from several successful pilots and trials. Some of the features of these new lines will include remote screening, automatic conveyors with bin return, split lanes, an enhanced repack area and parallel passenger divestiture.

This last feature, parallel divest, is currently being trialed at Toronto Pearson. The goal is to improve the divesting process by offering the opportunity for passengers who can divest quickly to pass ahead of those requiring more time and assistance at this point in the screening process, thus increasing efficiency and passenger satisfaction. CATSA is constantly striving to improve every aspect of its operation and will continue to do so in the year ahead.  With security as our top priority, our investment in pilot projects and trials to identify ways of improving screening effectiveness and efficiency is ongoing. 

With regard to service levels, we continue to face pressure due to the fact that CATSA’s budget does not increase in line with inflation and growth in passenger volumes. While we do not have a government-mandated service level standard in terms of passenger wait times, we remain conscious of the impact of wait times on the travelling public and industry. And we will continue to work with Transport Canada to identify potential long-term solutions to minimize the impact of longer wait times.

In our efforts to improve wait times and the overall customer experience, we continued to provide information to passengers through our website and traditional and social media channels to ensure they are as prepared as possible for screening before they arrive at the airport.

As Mr. McCoomb mentioned, we will also remain focused on the collaborative and strategic relationships we have been building with our partners and stakeholders in the aviation industry. Together with our screening contractors, we remain steadfast in our commitment to achieve the right balance between security and service. 

I would like to thank the members of our Board of Directors for their contributions to our efforts.  And to CATSA employees across Canada for the expertise and creativity they bring each and every day to ensure that we meet our mandate. I feel privileged to lead this team.    

Finally, thank you to our screening officers, who are at the very heart of our business.  They are the face of CATSA and a pillar of our operations.  Their dedication and hard work are critical to the security of the millions of people who travel through or work in Canada’s airports.  

On behalf of our senior management team, I thank you very much for joining us today.

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