2018 Annual Public Meeting: Speaking Notes

January 15, 2019 - Video Presentation

Welcome Remarks and Speakers Presentation

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

I’m Christine Langlois 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 January 21 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, Christine.

This year marks CATSA’s 16th year of operation. The Government of Canada created CATSA to secure critical elements of the air transportation system – 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 Board directors are nominated by industry. Two directors are proposed by airlines and two are proposed by airports.

Five new members joined our Board this year, and I would like to acknowledge the work of government and our stakeholder partners to get those appointments in place.

Our current Board features better regional diversity from across Canada, and I’m also proud to share that five of our 11 members are women.

One of our new appointees is Diane Trenn, who was proposed by the Canadian Airports Council. Diane comes to us with 30 years of experience in the aviation industry, primarily in the area of airport operations.

Our other new members were recommended by the Minister of Transport. They include:

Jean-Philippe Brunet, who has served as an executive vice president with Ocean Group since September 2011, and serves on the boards of multiple marine organizations.

Sharon Duggan, who has enjoyed a long career of senior management in the telecommunications sector, and has served on the boards of Marine Atlantic Inc., a fellow Crown Corporation, and multiple non-profits in Newfoundland and Labrador.

Gilles Lalonde, who comes to us with an extensive high-tech and aerospace background, and recently completed a nine-year term on the board of the Ottawa International Airport Authority.

And Taleeb Noormohamed, who has served as an executive at multiple technology startups, and worked in key positions within the Government of Canada, including director of the review of the Air India Flight bombing.

Our Board has also seen departures in the past year. I wish to thank departing Board members Paul Benoit, Jean-Marc Dufour, Dora Koop and Peter Wallis for their dedication to the Board and the guidance they provided to CATSA during their tenures.

I particularly wish to acknowledge Peter’s excellent work as vice-chair, and as acting chairperson prior to my own appointment.

Beginning with the past year, the Board now holds two of its quarterly meetings outside the nation’s capital, to become familiar with the corporation’s operations in airports of various sizes and complexities, allowing us to meet with our employees and hear directly from airport stakeholders. So far we have met in Halifax and Kelowna – airports in the East and West of the country, one large and one mid-sized.

Also, all documentation that supports the Board meetings is now produced in both English and French, to allow for a fully bilingual Board and to demonstrate CATSA’s support for its Official Languages obligations.

At the Board retreat this past June, we undertook a review of our mission and vision to better align CATSA to its current reality and to its future goals. This renewal will be reflected in the organization’s next Corporate Plan.

With an eye on the future, the Board and senior management have worked closely with Transport Canada and Finance Canada on their review of CATSA’s governance model.

We look forward to continued collaboration to ensure that the final decision is aligned with the present and future needs of CATSA, passengers and stakeholders, and that, if required, the transition is well-planned and seamless.

In the past year, we also worked closely with airport stakeholders on the continued rollout of CATSA Plus.

Most notably, we oversaw its expansion to two additional Class One airports – Edmonton International and Halifax Stanfield.

My first full year as chair has been an exciting and challenging one.

It’s been a year of strong passenger growth – we screened 66.3 million passengers in 2017/18, and expect to reach 70 million this year.

I continue to be impressed by the performance and devotion of CATSA staff in carrying out their duties and helping to fulfill CATSA’s important mission. I truly believe that CATSA’s strength is its people and I thank them all for their efforts.

I also thank our Board members for their continuous good work, and for the knowledge and experience they have brought to bear in guiding this great organization into the future.

I look forward to another productive year working alongside them, and with CATSA senior management, our partners and stakeholders in the industry, and with government.


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Speaking Notes for Michael Saunders, President and CEO

Thank you very much, Christine, and thank you Madame Nadeau.

It is my pleasure to address you as I embark upon my third year as president and CEO of CATSA, to present to you CATSA’s recent achievements, and 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 the Restricted Area Identity Card program. 

I’m very proud of the success we’ve had in carrying out our mandate over the last year.

One of the most visible measures of our success is our wait-time service levels. We aim for a target of 85/15 – where, on average, 85 percent of all passengers wait 15 minutes or less to be screened at Canada’s eight largest airports during the fiscal year. We surpassed that target again in 2017/18, delivering a wait-time service level of 87.9 percent. 

I’m also pleased to report that we expanded our CATSA Plus screening concept to two more airports this year. CATSA Plus is proof of our devotion to innovation – a combination of higher-performance pre-board screening technologies that enhance security effectiveness and improve customer service and passenger flow.

CATSA Plus deployments have been a success at Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto and Montreal airports and the first of several lines are now operational at two more airports: Edmonton International and Halifax Stanfield International.

Strengthening our partnerships with the aviation industry has been a key priority this year. In the last quarter alone, I met the CEOs of 10 different partner organizations to discuss how we can help each other and to ensure we’re all on the same page. All of these organizations are pleased with the work CATSA is doing, which translates into further cooperation and success in the future.

Passengers are pleased as well. The security of the travelling public is always CATSA’s top priority, but as a public-facing organization we also measure our success in terms of the experience of passengers as they go through security.

Our quarterly passenger surveys showed that satisfaction hit an all-time high of 89% earlier in the year and remains elevated going into 2019.

A moment ago you heard Madame Nadeau say that CATSA’s strength is its people, and I couldn’t agree more.

I have toured our operations at airports across the country this year, and one of the great joys of my job is meeting the people who work in our regional offices and at our checkpoints and honouring the work they do. I had the pleasure of awarding several commemorative CEO coins this year to CATSA staff and to screening officers. I give these out for long-standing service or for going above and beyond in the performance of their duties.

I would also like to share that this year, we conducted the third iteration of our employee survey to examine CATSA’s organizational culture and identify our strengths and weaknesses as an employer. It showed an overall sense of satisfaction that is growing year over year, and it revealed that a lot of positive progress has been made on key areas identified in previous rounds of the survey. We will use all this valuable information to continue to improve even more in the future.

An innovative organization must always look to the future, and CATSA has plenty to look forward to in 2019.

The ten-year plan to recapitalize our hold-baggage screening, or HBS, systems is on track and on budget to be closed in 2021. As part of the program, CATSA upgraded its HBS systems with state of the art technologies to eliminate the need for duplicate screening and to facilitate travel for passengers departing from Canada and transiting through U.S. airports.

One of the technologies we’ve been incorporating into our HBS operations is Computed-Tomography X-ray, or CT-X, scanning, and this year we’ll also be trialling the use of CT-X at pre-board screening. The hope is that it will enhance our ability to detect threat items in carry-on luggage, and make screening more efficient as well.

Staying up to date on developments in technology is one way we maintain our screening effectiveness in the face of growing passenger numbers. We screened a record 66.3 million people in the last fiscal year, and that number is projected to reach 70.1 million at the end of this year, and more than 73 million by 2020.

That increase in passenger numbers impacts our finances, which is why Budget 2018 included supplemental funding for this year. The additional funds have allowed us to maintain our current wait-time service level targets, as well as our enhanced non-passenger screening program.

Moving forward, we continue to work with Transport Canada to secure sustainable and operationally effective long-term funding.

Also with an eye to the future, we continue to support the federal government’s ongoing review of CATSA’s governance model. The review was launched last fiscal year in an effort to achieve a more sustainable and predictable funding model for our organization. We are working with Transport Canada to evaluate the various options being considered.

Whatever the outcome of that review, and whatever challenges the next year brings, I’m certain we will continue to succeed. I feel privileged to lead this team into another year of fulfilling our mission to protect the public by securing critical elements of Canada’s air-transportation system.

I wish to thank everyone at CATSA for their efforts in the past year. I’m constantly impressed by the expertise and determination they bring to work each day.

I also want to extend my thanks to our screening officers. They are the face of our operation, and their hard work and dedication are critical to the security of the millions of people who travel through or work in Canada’s airports each year.

I also thank Madame Nadeau and the rest of our board for their devotion to CATSA’s success. We benefit from their experience and expertise, and I look forward to working alongside them for another year.

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

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