2017 Annual Public Meeting: Speaking Notes

December 11, 2017 - Video Presentation

Moderator's Remarks

Hello, Bonjour, and welcome to the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority’s Annual Public Meeting. 

I’m Mathieu Larocque and it’s a pleasure to welcome you to the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority’s Annual Public Meeting.

Our speakers today are Ms. Marguerite Nadeau, CATSA’s Chairperson and Mr. Mike Saunders, CATSA’s President and Chief Executive Officer. They will present CATSA’s accomplishments of the last fiscal year and discuss the organization’s challenges over the coming months and years. 

Our first speaker is Ms. Marguerite Nadeau, chair of CATSA’s Board of Directors.

Ms. Nadeau was appointed Queen’s Counsel in 1990. She has extensive experience as a Senior Executive in the areas of law, governance, strategic planning, human resources, and security. She was Vice President, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary at the Royal Canadian Mint and was a trustee on the Board of the Sisters of Charity of Ottawa Health Services. She is a member of the Board of the Sandy Hill Community Health Centre as well as the Board of Directors of the Centre d’exposition l’Imagier, a contemporary art gallery in Aylmer.

She joined CATSA’s Board of Directors in September 2017.

Madame Nadeau

Our next speaker is Mike Saunders. Mr. Saunders joined CATSA as Vice-president and Chief Technology Officer in July 2008 following a 28-year career with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police where he attained the rank of Assistant Commissioner and held such senior positions as Chief Information Officer and Director General of the Canadian Police College. He holds a BA in Professional Studies, Business Administration and Human Resources Management from Barry University, Miami, Florida.

Mister Saunders.

This concludes our Annual Public Meeting. I’d like to remind you to send any questions you may have to our website at catsa.gc.ca. You have until December 18 to do so. The responses will be posted on the website shortly after. 

Thank you. We hope to see you next year.

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Speaking Notes for Marguerite Nadeau, Chairperson of the Board of Directors

Thank you very much Mathieu. 

This year marks CATSA’s 15th year of operation.  The Government of Canada created CATSA following the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Its role is to secure critical elements of the air transportation system – from passenger and baggage screening to the screening of airport workers.

I have been CATSA’s Chair for three months now and I am very excited to be a part of the critical role the organization plays in safeguarding the security of over 60 million passengers travelling through Canada’s designated airports each year.

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, 4 out of 11 Board directors are nominated by industry.  Two directors are proposed by airlines and two are proposed by airports.

In the aviation sector, where collaboration is essential for success, the nomination of these directors helps ensure we have valuable expertise from two of CATSA’s key stakeholder groups.

In addition to industry representation, our current Board members bring a broad range of knowledge and experience in a variety of fields including law, security, policing, defence, transportation, finance, business and human resources.

This breadth and depth of expertise allows the Board to oversee the management of the businesses and activities of CATSA and to provide sound direction and advice to management in the pursuit of the organization’s vision to achieve excellence in air transport security.

Before I speak to the Board’s activities over the past year, I would like to highlight some changes to the Board membership in 2016/17.

Just over a year ago, the term of the Board’s previous Chair, Lloyd McCoomb, came to an end. Peter Wallis, as the Vice Chair, assumed the role of Acting Chair, and remained in that position until this past September. He has now returned to his duties as Vice Chair.

I would like to thank our previous Chair for his leadership on the Board and his contributions to CATSA.

Also, I would like to express my thanks to Peter Wallis for his important work and guidance during that time and for his ongoing commitment to the Board.

During his tenure as Acting Chair, the Board worked closely with CATSA’s senior management to ensure solid corporate governance and dynamic oversight, and worked with Transport Canada to address the requirement for a long-term funding strategy.

This work is ongoing.

The Board also provided oversight of the launch of CATSA Plus – CATSA’s vision for the future of pre-board screening. Several Board members were involved in positive engagement with industry stakeholders in advance of the first trial of CATSA Plus at Montreal Trudeau Airport, followed by the deployment of a full CATSA Plus checkpoint at Calgary International airport.

This oversight continued as preparations ramped up for CATSA Plus at select checkpoints at Vancouver International Airport and Toronto Pearson, and for the deployment of additional lanes in Montreal.

Other important initiatives overseen by the Board included the continued delivery of enhanced non-passenger screening to meet international obligations and CATSA’s large-scale, multi-year hold baggage screening recapitalization program.

As I look to the year ahead, it is certainly filled with exciting possibilities. 

In his mandate letter to the Minister of Transport – the Honourable Marc Garneau – the Prime Minister underlined that Canadians require a transportation system that is safe, reliable and facilitates trade and the movement of people and goods.

The Minister took this to heart, and announced – as part of his Transportation 2030 speech – that the Government would be exploring options to create sustainable long-term funding and service-level standards for CATSA, and reviewing CATSA’s governance.

My role, as relayed to me by the Minister, is to ensure the continuation of CATSA’s operations and to provide leadership and guidance as the Government continues this important work and through any transition period that may follow.

One of my first duties as CATSA’s new Chair has been to assist Minister Garneau with the selection processes for the appointments of directors to the Board and the appointment of a CEO. CATSA’s current CEO, Mike Saunders – who is with us here today – has been CEO on an interim basis since the departure of Angus Watt at the end of last year.

The selection processes for these appointments is ongoing. As the organization heads into a period of change and renewal it is of the utmost importance that the appointees have the right mix of skills and experience and reflect Canada’s ,diversity, in terms of linguistic, regional, ethnic, cultural and employment equity representation .

I look forward to leading and facilitating CATSA’s Board in these exciting times as it carries out its duties over the coming years, and to working closely with CATSA’s senior management team and the Minister to ensure CATSA continues to provide effective, efficient and consistent screening services, while safeguarding the interests of the travelling public.

In the short time I have been Chair of CATSA’s Board I have been impressed by the commitment and expertise of the CATSA team. I thank them for their efforts and for the warm welcome I have received since joining the Board.

I would also like to thank CATSA’s current Board members, who have much to be proud of as they look back over their accomplishments of the past year.

And I express my gratitude to our partners and stakeholders including Transport Canada officials, airport and airline communities, and screening contractors and their employees – all of you work so diligently every day to ensure the security of air travel in Canada.

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Speaking Notes for Michael Saunders, President and CEO

Thank you Mathieu and thank you Ms. Nadeau.

It is my pleasure to address you for the first time as president and CEO of CATSA, to present to you 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, service personnel and other non-passengers accessing restricted areas of Canada’s major airports. Our final area of responsibility is the administration of a Restricted Area Identity Card program. 

I’m pleased to share that it’s been a year of successes for CATSA – successes achieved through innovation.

Over the course of 2016/17 we saw our highest-ever passenger volumes, and we were once again successful in meeting our wait time service level target – screening 85% of passengers in 15 minutes or less, on average, at Canada’s eight major airports. This is thanks to the hard work and commitment of both CATSA employees and screening staff.

It’s also thanks to innovations such as CATSA Plus – our new, high-performance concept for screening lines, which Ms. Nadeau has just mentioned.

Now in place at Canada’s four largest airports, CATSA Plus combines the latest technologies and processes successfully tested by CATSA at various airports over the last few years. It involves replacing standard screening lines with high-performance lines that improve customer service, passenger flow and enhance security effectiveness.

But it’s not just about technologies and processes. We also earned an all-time high customer-satisfaction level of 86% in the third quarter of 2016/2017. That focus on the passenger experience is reflected in our new Customer Service Commitment to Passengers, which we recently developed and launched.

Over the past year, we have also seen our share of challenges.

CATSA has been working with Transport Canada over the past several years to secure long-term funding to address its financial pressures. CATSA’s ongoing funding is not adjusted for passenger growth. Our operating funding levels also do not accommodate annual increases in screening contractor billing rates. As a consequence, our purchasing power for screening hours continues to decline.

We also face ongoing changes to our screening processes and regulations in response to evolving threats, and to maintain harmony of services with our international partners. The fact that we are able, time and again, to respond to these changes as they arise is proof of CATSA’s agility and flexibility, and our unwavering commitment to security.

Change has been a constant theme for CATSA internally as well.

I took on the role of CEO when my predecessor, Angus Watt’s, term ended on January 3 of this year. Mr. Watt had a great impact on our organization, joining it in 2012 after a long career in the Royal Canadian Air Force.

His time at the head of CATSA was marked by continued growth and many new initiatives. I worked closely with him as Vice-President and Chief Technology Officer, and so have been well-prepared to continue his vision for the organization while moving it still further into the future.

As you now know, we also have a new Board Chair. It is my honour to be standing here with Marguerite Nadeau, whose distinguished career and credentials make her highly qualified to lead CATSA’s Board. It is my pleasure to be working with Ms. Nadeau and I am excited to continue that good work in the months ahead.

As we look to the future, CATSA’s main challenge will continue to be ever-increasing passenger numbers. In 2016/17, CATSA screened nearly 62 million passengers at designated airports across Canada. As this fiscal year comes to a close, we anticipate that passenger volume will have grown to almost 64 million passengers, and by 2021/22, it is expected to reach nearly 69 million.

One of our responses to this challenge has been the recent and ongoing deployment of CATSA Plus lines in Toronto, Vancouver, Calgary and Montreal.

We will also continue our work with Transport Canada to develop a strategy to support the enhanced non-passenger screening program over the long term.

Additionally, CATSA has entered into Supplemental Screening Services trial agreements with the Greater Toronto Airports Authority and Vancouver Airport Authority for the provision of supplemental screening services.

To date, these agreements have proven beneficial in improving screening capacity and reducing wait times. We will continue to work with Transport Canada and interested airports to explore these cost-recovery agreements.
I would like to take a moment now to thank all the members of CATSA’s Board of Directors for their efforts over the last year, and to Peter Wallis in particular for ably taking the helm prior to Ms. Nadeau’s appointment.

I also want to highlight the hard work, expertise and steadfast determination shown by CATSA employees to ensure that we meet our mandate. It has been an honour and a privilege to work with them as Chief Technology Officer, and to now lead them as CEO.

I have had a very productive year meeting with many stakeholders and partners in the aviation community, and I want to thank each of them for their commitment to building strong, collaborative relationships – not only for our own benefit, but for the benefit of each and every passenger.  

Finally, I would like to thank our screening officers. As a critical pillar of our operations, their efforts and dedication are paramount to the security of all those who travel through or work in Canada’s airports every day.

On behalf of CATSA’s entire senior management team, I thank you very much for joining us today.

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