It could soon be possible for passengers passing through Toronto’s Pearson International Airport to buy cannabis and even play casino-style slot machines within the airport if new revenue-generating ideas are approved by local officials.
The Greater Toronto Airports Authority (GTAA) has hired a lobbyist in an attempt to get approval for much-needed new cash-generating avenues and a recent disclosure to Ontario’s Office of the Integrity Commissioner has revealed some of the ways the airport plans to boost its coffers.
Lobbyist Clare Michaels says she wants to set up discussions with government officials to a number of core issues affecting the airport, as well as non-aviation activities like food and beverage outlets, cannabis and gaming.
Specifically, Michaels is looking to set up meetings to discuss the viability of cannabis retail stores at the airport, various gaming opportunities and the possibility of expanded beverage alcohol services at Toronto Pearson.
In 2018, Canada became the second only country to fully legalize cannabis for recreational use in all of its provinces and territories. As such, and in contrast with the United States where cannabis use is still illegal at the federal level, there shouldn’t be any problem with passengers buying Cannabis and having it in their possession when flying domestically.
Air Canada, however, warns customers this could be a risky business because flights do sometimes have to divert to the United States. The Canadian Border and Services Agency also has a ‘Don’t bring it in. Don’t take it out‘ policy for international passengers.
The GTAA has declined to comment on the specifics of its new revenue-generating plans, but a spokesperson told CBC: “As a private, not-for-profit, non-share capital corporation with revenues closely tied to passenger traffic, the Greater Toronto Airports Authority continues to look at options to diversify its revenue sources and provide a world-class passenger experience, competitive with other international airports.”
Toronto Pearson’s finances have been heavily impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and continuing travel restrictions continue to affect Canada’s tourism industry.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.