Transportation 2030: The Traveller

“The Traveller” is one theme under Transportation 2030, the Government of Canada’s strategic plan for a safe, secure, green, innovative and integrated transportation system.

On this page

Our goal for this theme

To provide travellers with:

  • greater choice
  • better service
  • lower costs
  • enhanced rights

What Canadians told us

In 2016, we consulted Canadians about our transportation system. Here is what they told us about travel:

  • Canadians want lower costs for air travel in Canada
  • Lower costs will provide more opportunities for travel, and make it more attractive to come to Canada
  • Long-term sustainable competition would make room for new air services and improve travel options
  • We need faster processing at border and security checkpoints
  • Because persons with disabilities are being left out of our transportation system, better accessibility would increase overall traffic by allowing more people to travel
  • As competition increases, and air carriers look for ways to reduce prices, Canadians want better consumer protection

Where we go from here

To meet our goals for improving travel, we committed to:

  • Work with industry to create clear and fair consumer protection rules for air travellers
  • Change the rules on international ownership for Canadian air carriers to encourage more competition in the air sector, while ensuring we avoid risks
  • Develop public service standards to limit the amount of time travellers wait in airport security checkpoints
  • Make the transportation system more accessible for persons with disabilities
  • Make a decision whether to move forward with VIA Rail’s High-Frequency Rail proposal for the Toronto to Quebec City Corridor
  • Help eastern ferry operators and VIA Rail upgrade their fleets and offer reliable service
  • Make sure our actions support government priorities such as:
    • Canada’s progressive trade and investment plan
    • a federal tourism strategy
    • planned accessibility laws

Budget 2018 support

  • $8 million over 3 years to continue an in-depth assessment of VIA Rail’s High-Frequency Rail proposal in the Toronto to Quebec City Corridor
  • Funding for VIA Rail to replace existing coaches and locomotives in the Quebec City to Windsor Corridor with 32 new bi-directional trains. These trains will:
    • improve reliability
    • be able to run in two directions
    • improve accessibility of trains
    • help with VIA's continued access to congested stations in Toronto and Montreal
  • Funding to refurbish the Marine Atlantic Inc.'s aging vessel, the MV Leif Ericson

Budget 2019 support

  • $288.3 million to deal with longer wait times for the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority’s (CATSA) security screening services and the project to commercialize CATSA’s services. This includes:
    • $279.8 million for full-body scanner, and to help CATSA to maintain a service standard where 85% of passengers are screened in 15 minutes or less based on rising passenger volume
    • $8.5 million to fund a transition team as the Government negotiates the sale of CATSA’s assets to a private, non-profit corporation that will become responsible for security screening at Canada’s airports
  • $416.2 million for Marine Atlantic Inc. to buy a new Ro-Pax vessel using a lease-to-own approach and continue chartering a fourth vessel until the new vessel arrives

Support in 2020-2021

Although there was no 2020 federal budget to the COVID-19 pandemic, some off-cycle funding did occur to support Canadian travellers:

  • Budget 2020 set aside $1.3 billion over 5 years to stabilize VIA Rail as they deliver of the Corridor Fleet Renewal Project and de-risk the High Frequency Rail proposal
  • the 2020 Fall Economic Statement announced an extra $187.5 million in relief funding for pressures related to COVID-19
  • $187.1 million over 3 years to Marine Atlantic for the ferry service between the mainland and Newfoundland

Our progress

Eastern Canadian ferry services

As of May 5, 2017, we are consulting industry on a long-term approach to ferry services in Eastern Canada. We are seeking input on how:

  • these ferry services can be delivered more effectively and efficiently
  • new long-term ferry contracts could bring economic benefits to Canada

A long-term and reliable approach for Eastern Canada ferry services

Air passenger rights

The Transportation Modernization Act (the Act) received Royal Assent on May 23, 2018. Under the Act, the Canadian Transportation Agency is responsible for creating clear and fair rules for air passengers and air carriers and ensuring that air carriers flying to, within or out of Canada comply with the new obligations.

Phase 1 of the new Air Passenger Protection Regulations (APPRs) related to denied boarding, tarmac delays, lost or damaged baggage, musical instruments and communication requirements are in force effective July 15, 2019. Phase 2, which are specifically related to delays, cancellations and the seating of children, came into force on December 15, 2019. For more information, refer to the Air Passenger Protection website.

Air Performance Data Regulations

To monitor the APPRs and provide passengers with more detailed information to guide their travel to, from or within Canada, Transport Canada has implemented new air travel performance data regulations to allow it to collect information that will help inform travellers and shape future policies to improve the overall passenger experience.

The Data Regulations came into force on December 15, 2019. Phase I of the Data Regulations creates reporting obligations on the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA), NAV CANADA, and air carriers; the information provided will be disseminated in the form of dashboards.

International ownership of Canadian air carriers

The Transportation Modernization Act changed the rules on international ownership of Canadian air carriers.

The new rules allow international investors to own up to 49% of Canadian air carriers. To protect the competitiveness of Canadian air carriers, no single international investor, or a combination of international air carriers, is allowed to own more than 25% of a Canadian air carrier’s voting shares.

Higher levels of international investment mean that Canadian air carriers now have access to a larger pool of capital money and can be more competitive.

These provisions have been in force since June 2018.

Air carrier joint ventures

The Transportation Modernization Act also outlines a new voluntary process for air carriers to seek the Minister of Transport’s authorization of air carrier joint venture applications.

Joint ventures are becoming more common in global air transportation. They allow 2 or more air carriers to work together on specific routes. Joint ventures can open up new routes and markets for Canadian travellers, without the need to book tickets on different carriers.

This voluntary process allows the Minister of Transport to consider the impacts of competition (as assessed by the Commissioner of Competition) as well as the public interest of joint venture applications. Regulations created under the Transportation Modernization Act also allow Transport Canada to recover part of the costs from air carriers for reviewing these arrangements.

For more information about the application process and fees, refer to the joint venture guidelines.

The new joint venture provisions and cost recovery regulations came into force on April 3, 2019.

Commercializing CATSA

On March 19, 2019, the federal Budget announced funding for the Government to sell CATSA’s assets to a non-profit corporation that will become responsible for security screening at Canada’s airports. This decision was made help CATSA deal with the challenges it faces as a Crown corporation - its ability to respond to changes in passenger volume and the aviation sector.

Legislation related to the asset sale was included in the Budget Implementation Act, which received Royal Assent on June 21, 2019. The Security Screening Services Commercialization Act allows CATSA’s assets to be sold, and gives the Government permission to name the new private, non-profit corporation as the entity responsible screening services at Canada’s airports. The Act also sets out charging principles that the new corporation will need to follow when deciding on the price of its screening services, and gives permission for the winding up of CATSA. The Government decided on this approach after analysing security screening models used around the world, consulting industry in 2017, and successfully commercializing Canada’s air navigation services by creating Nav Canada in 1996.

Our priority during this change is the security of Canada’s air transportation system. The Minister of Transport will still be responsible for regulating aviation security and Transport Canada will continue to be a regulator.

The Government began negotiations with the air industry to commercialize CATSA during the 2019-2020 fiscal year. Given the significant impact COVID-19 has had on Canada’s air sector, negotiations are currently on hold.

VIA Rail’s High Frequency Rail Project

In December 2016, VIA Rail submitted its proposal to improve passenger rail service in the Toronto to Quebec City Corridor through its high frequency rail project. Following funding in Budget 2016 and 2018, and to support the Minister of Transport’s mandate letter commitment to create high frequency rail, we worked with VIA Rail and other partners on in-depth assessments.

In June 2019, the Minister of Transport and the Minister of Infrastructure and Communities announced a $71.1 million commitment to establish a Joint Project Office between VIA Rail’s high frequency rail proposal. Together we will de-risk the project proposal and undertake pre-procurement activities, like:

  • performing legal and regulatory work related to safety and environmental assessments
  • consulting with stakeholders and Indigenous communities
  • looking at required land and track acquisitions, and
  • completing technical, financial, and commercial analyses

As a major infrastructure project, the Joint Project Office’s work will be key to informing future decisions on high frequency rail.

If the government decides to move forward with VIA Rail’s proposal, the Joint Project Office’s will considering access to major urban areas and how high frequency rail could be integrated with existing transit systems.

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