Toronto airport delays

Airport officials warn of long waits in Toronto this summer

Flying out of town at all this summer? You could be waiting on the tarmac for a lot longer than usual, I'm afraid, thanks to a shortage of customs agents.

You can thank U.S. President Donald Trump for that. 

The Globe and Mail reports that border personnel are being pulled out of Toronto and transferred to Quebec, albeit temporarily, to help guards there deal with "a significant increase in the number of refugee claimants" from the U.S. 

According to the RCMP, more than 7,600 asylum seekers have been caught illegally crossing the Canada-U.S. border this year alone — three times the amount we saw at this time last year — and many more are expected once the school year ends.

Most of these people are coming through Quebec, leading to an overload at the province's two main processing centres for asylum seekers in Montreal and Saint-Bernard-de-Lacolle.

Thus, border agents from Toronto are being moved to Quebec for four-week-long gigs, leaving Pearson International Airport — the country's busiest airport — seriously understaffed. 

An Air Canada memo obtained by The Globe reveals that pilots have been told "they may not be able to unload passengers immediately on international and trans-border flights on the tarmac because of CBSA staff shortages."

Sent on May 7, the memo includes an announcement to be read by pilots while passengers are on the tarmac:

"Customs is currently dealing with a staff shortage and the custom hall is at capacity. The GTA airport authority has therefore asked that we delay the fight and remain on board."

Lead photo by

CJ Burnell


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