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Pearson Airport Labour Dispute Sparks Delays

Travellers moving through Terminal 1 at Toronto's Pearson International Airport ahead of the long weekend are reporting lengthy delays at security screening.

Passengers began to face delays Thursday when employees for a private security firm that handles passenger screening implemented a work-to-rule campaign because of a dispute with their employer, Garda Security.

Airport spokesman Scott Armstrong confirmed that people were waiting a long time for security screenings at Terminal 1 Friday morning because of a slowdown. He said the airport was working with the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority to find a solution, but couldn't indicate when that might happen.

The delays were affecting domestic and cross-border travellers, he said.

Armstrong advised travellers to check the status of their flights and to leave plenty of time to get to the airport.

In the meantime, extra staff have been called in and are handing out water to frustrated travellers stuck in the backlog.

Air Canada spokesman Peter Fitzpatrick told CBC News the labour disruption has caused a slowdown that was "especially pronounced on international flights."

He said some flights have been delayed by as much as two hours.

Thanksgiving long weekend

"What's really compounding this is that it's Thanksgiving long weekend," he said, noting that delays at Pearson could ripple through the entire system.

"We're really urging CATSA and the service provider to get this resolved as quickly as possible [to] avoid further disruptions."

Mathieu Larocque of CATSA said Friday there were reports that a slowdown at security screening that began Thursday was continuing, but did not provide details.

A report in the Toronto Star says Garda won an injunction from the Canada Industrial Relations Board Thursday that "prohibits workers from slowing down on the job." Garda could not be immediately reached for comment.

Craig Lathrop arrived at Terminal 1 at 6:30 a.m. ET for a 9 a.m. flight to St. Louis. At 8:50, he said he was still waiting in a long line.

"All of Terminal 1 is a line," he said. "It goes from one end to the other."

"I've been here all morning, and we are probably two hours, I'd say at least, before you get to where you would normally start."

Management has assembled people departing at the same time into groups, Lathrop said, so everyone who is supposed to leave at 9 a.m. is in a group, regardless of the destination.

Armstrong confirmed that passengers were being grouped together based on their departure time.

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