WHEREAS the Department of Transport Canada has transferred ownership and operation of smaller regional airports to local municipalities; AND WHEREAS prior to completing the transfer of these airports, Transport Canada ceased operation of the Airport Emergency Services; AND WHEREAS emergency services for these airports are now provided by municipal fire and ambulance departments and the conditions for transferring operations did not require the provision of emergency services on site; AND WHEREAS the Department of Transport Canada has proposed new regulations to again require the provision of emergency services on site at smaller regional airports; AND WHEREAS this additional expense will significantly increase costs of operating these airports, which in turn will increase costs for all air passengers;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties request that the proposed regulations for the provision of onsite emergency services at regional airports not be approved by the Minister of Transport Canada.
In 1995, Transport Canada initiated a major change in the operation of airports across Canada by transferring the ownership and operation of regional airports to local municipalities. One advantage given for this transition was the increased autonomy and control which the local community would have over these airports. Under federal government control, the operation of these airports was heavily subsidized. A major saving could be realized by relying on local municipal emergency services rather than maintaining an independent emergency service on site. Prior to the transfer of airport ownership and operation, Transport Canada disposed of the onsite emergency services at regional airports. This, and other changes in operation, have substantially reduced the net cost of operations and in the case of the Lethbridge Airport, have allowed the County to operate the airport on a cost recovery basis. Transport Canada has recently proposed a new regulation, which if approved would again require a full-time emergency response service at these airports. This would result in an additional annual operating expense of approximately $250,000 for each airport affected by this change. The federal Transport Minister has recently stated that the department is carrying out a review and consultation process before a final decision is made regarding the proposed regulation.