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Pearson Grounds Flights During Ice Storm

Business Continuity and IT Disaster Recovery Blog


In any BC Plan, it is critical to define when and how a disaster should be declared.

Was the GTAA correct in making the decision to impose ground stop during frigid temperature of -25 to -45 Celsius?”

News Article 1:

Pearson right to ground flights during ice storm

These are the facts from those of us who were working on the ground when this decision was made:

Simply put, there is a very good chance that the GTAA’s decision saved people’s lives. In the proceeding 30 hours before the ground stop, there were two airplane crashes in similar conditions at New York’s JFK Airport and Aspen, Colorado. Two days later, an aircraft slid off the runway shortly after landing in Saskatoon.

Years of two-tiered wages and contracting out has forced thousands of our co-workers into precarious, near-minimum-wage jobs. This is creating a high turnover rate and a lost opportunity to retain the experience needed to work in irregular operations. Many airports around the world, particularly in the U.S., are implementing Living Wage Ordinances in recognition that skilled, properly paid people on the ground are necessary for your safety.

Most importantly we need to remember that we are all people first. None of us can control bad weather in an industry with zero room for error. Nothing is achieved when we are abusive to each other — worker or passenger. After all, these decisions are made for both of our groups’ safety.

Sheri Cameron, Martyn Smith and Sean Smith are airline workers and representatives on the Toronto Airport Council of Unions encompassing over 20,000 airport ground handlers and flight attendants in both Terminals 1 and 3 at Pearson Airport.

Source Article (Toronto Star News):

News Article 2:

GTAA criticized for “Ground Hold” at Pearson International Airport

The Greater Toronto Airports Authority is being harshly criticized for their decision to stop all arriving North American flights for more than eight hours at Pearson International Airport, which literally stranded thousands of frustrated passengers and caused serious delays since that day.

As a result, more than 50 per cent of all 774 arriving flights, i.e. 381, had to be cancelled as of Tuesday evening. Consequently, hundreds of weary travelers slept on seats or trudged forward in hours-long lines to rebook their cancelled or missed flights.

Vice President of strategy development for the GTAA, Toby Lennox, revealed that the decision to impose ‘Ground Stop’ at the airport is the CEO’s first in his 15-year career. He alleged that usually stops are only imposed due to snowstorms or lightning and last only a few hours. Although, he also admitted that “it’s just never been this extreme,” and “no matter how much you prepare, you’re not going to be able to make the event go away. I can’t prepare to make the weather go away.”

Source Article (Oye! Times):

BRCCI – Business Resilience Certification Consortium International (

We are thankful to the author for allowing us to post this insightful article on our website. BRCCI provides a comprehensive training and certification program in business resiliency, continuity and IT disaster recovery planning:

1. 3-day CBRM (Certified Business Resilience Manager) is a comprehensive, all-in-one, 3-day Business Continuity Planning and Management Training and Certification course which is designed to teach practical methods to develop, test, and maintain a business continuity plan and establish a business continuity program.

2. 3-day CBRITP (Certified Business Resilience IT Professional) is a comprehensive training on how to assess, develop, test, and maintain an information technology (IT) Disaster Recovery Plan for recovering IT and telecommunications systems and infrastructure in the event of a disaster or business disruption. The training provides a step-by-step methodology to ensure a reliable and effective IT disaster recovery and continuity plan consistent with the industry’s standards and best practices.

3. 2-day CBRA (Certified Business Resilience Auditor) It provides 2 days of intensive, Business Continuity Audit training to enable students to determine the effectiveness, adequacy, quality and reliability of an organization’s Business Continuity Program. Students will learn an audit methodology to evaluate compliance of Business Continuity and IT Disaster Recovery Programs with the current industry’s best practices and standards including:

  • ISO 22301: Business Continuity Management Systems – Requirements
  • NFPA: Standard on Disaster/Emergency Management and Business Continuity Programs
  • ITIL: Information Technology Infrastructure Library

For information on the above program, please contact BRCCI (www.brcci.org1-888-962-7224).

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