September 27 is World Tourism Day. Tourism spending in Canada was $21.8 billion in the first quarter of 2018. Our work at Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) directly supports this billion-dollar industry. As such, it’s important we devise and implement improved processes to increase efficiency to support seamless connections while maintaining security and compliance.
From April 1, 2017 to March 31, 2018, we welcomed more than 14.5 million non-Canadian air travellers into our country. For travellers flying into Canada for the first time and transferring domestically, it came as a bit of a surprise that they had to pick up their bags, clear customs, find the connections desk, re-check their bags and head through airport security again. But that has since changed. For passengers arriving into Toronto Pearson International Airport, Vancouver, Calgary and Montréal on certain airlines from specific locations, the experience is now a bit more straightforward.
Supporting smoother connections
A new International to Domestic process means that eligible travellers no longer have to pick up their baggage and bring them to the Connections desk – unless advised otherwise by CBSA personnel.
For example, in Toronto, the travellers using the new procedure still clear Border Services when they first land but their bags are now transferred directly to their final destination. Eligible passengers in Terminal 1 can also skip the security line and use the Satellite Primary Inspection Line on the arrivals level. After clearing CBSA, they remain in a secure area and are transported by bus directly to the domestic flights pier to connect to another Canadian city.
“With Toronto Pearson International Airport positioning itself as a major connecting hub, the International to Domestic process represents the next step in strengthening the airport’s position as a gateway to Canada,” says A/Director Jennifer Nicholson, Toronto Pearson International Airport, Passenger Operations District. “All while preserving CBSA’s commitment to excellence in client service, as well as our capacity to enforce Canadian legislation and protect Canadians.”
Security and compliance remain top priorities. CBSA personnel are still able to examine any individual or good it requires. During the first eight months of 2018, over one million bags went through the new International to Domestic process at Toronto Pearson, 2,688 of which were manually recalled by CBSA personnel.
CBSA also has the option of selecting all eligible bags from a predetermined flight in order to examine them in the Secure Baggage Inspection Area, where an x-ray workstation connected to the baggage system and an examination area are available to Border Services Officers.
Baggage containing firearms and live animals are still not eligible for International to Domestic.
There are plans for the International to Domestic baggage process to be expanded to more airlines and routes as well as to other airports.
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