What is fairness – The CATSA Petition?

What is fairness – The CATSA Petition?

Toronto, ON – Passengers using Toronto’s Pearson International Airport are being asked to sign the IAM CATSA petition to amend the Canadian Air Transportation Security Act. It’s the legislation that gives the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA), ultimate and unchallenged authority over workers employed as airport pre-board security screeners at airports across Canada.

Screening officers are certified by CATSA in the performance of their duties under a recurrent learning and recertification program. While CATSA is not the employer, rather a certifying body, it has the power to render decisions that adversely affect our members both professionally and personally. CATSA imposes disciplinary directives without providing a fair appeal process and access to union representation. “It is an outrageous violation of the principles of natural Justice, when CATSA can hold our members off the job with no recourse to an effective Appeal process,” said IAM Canadian General Vice President Stan Pickthall.


Tools that exist for other workers to defend their position when wrongfully accused, are non-existent for Screening Officers. “We demand a fair process, where a member has the ability to appeal to CATSA, and to bring a Union Representative to assist them in that Appeal,” said Pickthall.

The IAM, representing pre-board screeners in Toronto and British Columbia, began circulating the petition amongst its members May 1st and this week began seeking public participation with petition signing tables at the entrance to Pearson Airport. This petition will be presented to Parliament. It spells out clearly what is wrong with the current legislation:

  • When there is a performance or operational issue, workers cannot challenge a CATSA decision at the local airport
  • Appeals moving from the local airport to the national level take a long time, in some cases, leaving workers out of work for a number of months without pay
  • Workers do not have access to union representation and may face disciplinary action if they disagree with CATSA’s decision
  • While workers are covered by a collective agreement with a third party employer, CATSA, who does not have jurisdiction, issues disciplinary directives without providing for a fair appeal process and access to union representation

The IAM has raised these concerns directly with CATSA in Ottawa and they have been slow to act and respond. Accordingly, we are taking a different approach by coordinating efforts between IAM Transportation District 140, Local Lodge 2921 and Local Lodge 16 to engage in lobbying and political action to have these concerns addressed in Parliament. The petition is the first step.