More than 2,000 people registered for a job fair at Toronto Pearson Airport following nearly three years of turbulence in the travel sector brought on by COVID-19.
“The air industry was hit hard by the pandemic, but travel is back and the industry is roaring back and we can’t fly without boots on the ground and in the sky,” Karen Mazurkewich, Vice President, Stakeholder Relations and Communications, Greater Toronto Airports Authority (GTAA), said at a news conference Tuesday.
“This is an incredible industry to be in and this job fair is just a small window on the size of this dynamic economic zone here in the GTA.”
Jobs up for grabs at Canada’s busiest airport include 400 positions in customer service and hospitality, as well as security and baggage handling.
The GTAA said it employed just 1,500 of the 50,000 people who worked at Pearson before the pandemic.
Tuesday’s job fair, which saw registrations top 2,300, looks to fill the spots laid bare in the last three years to set the airport up for future success.
Accompanying the mass-hiring event, which was funded by Ontario’s Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development, is a new job portal and pilot project, which Mazurkewich said will fast-track security clearances for employees who need them.
Gurvinder Singh is one of the many prospective employees at Tuesday’s fair and said he will take any work he can get.
“I don’t have any preference. Anything that I find suitable for me, I will go for that,” Singh told CP24.
Toronto Pearson made headlines for all the wrong reasons last summer following months of delays and flight cancellations. At one point, the airport was ranked as the worst airport in the world for delays by CNN.
The unenviable ranking, brought on by staffing issues and COVID-19 travel measures still in effect at the time, seems now to be a thing of the past and the introduction of new tools in recent months have allowed travellers to get through the airport faster.
Charmaine Williams, Associate Minister of Women’s Social and Economic Opportunity, was in attendance Tuesday and celebrated the turnout at the airport northwest of the city, which she described as a major “facilitator of the economy in southern Ontario.”
“A job fair is nothing but excellent economic news for the local community and for the people of Ontario who make such great use of this airport,” Williams said.