Board Profile - Canadian Air Transport Security Authority

Canadian Air Transport Security Authority

CATSA's Mandate

CATSA's mandate is to take actions, either directly or through a screening contractor, for the effective and efficient screening of persons who access aircraft or restricted areas through screening points, the property in their possession or control and the belongings or baggage that they give to an air carrier for transport. Restricted areas are those established under the Aeronautics Act at an aerodrome designated by the regulations or at any other place that the Minister may designate.

CATSA's responsibilities fall into four major areas:

  • Pre-board screening of passengers and their belongings;
  • Acquisition, deployment, operation and maintenance of explosives detection systems at airports;
  • Implementation of a restricted area identification card;
  • The screening of non-passengers entering airport restricted areas.

Roles and Responsibilities

The Board of Directors has responsibility for the overall stewardship of the Authority. It has a duty to protect the long-term interests of the corporation, safeguard the Authorities assets and to practice due diligence in its decision-making. The Board is accountable to the Minister and the Government.

Key Roles and Responsibilities of the Board are to:

Strategic Direction and Public Policy

  • interpret and implement the corporate mandate and set the strategic direction of the Authority;
  • receive and implement written policy directives from the Minister;
  • ensure that the Authority communicates effectively with Government, other stakeholders and the public;
  • ensure full and fair reporting of the stewardship of the Authority.

Financial Oversight

  • ensure diligent financial management of the corporation;
  • establish an audit committee composed of financially literate directors;
  • ensure that the corporation has adequate resources and is efficient and effective in its operations;
  • approve audit plans and receive internal audit reports;
  • receive and review Annual Auditor’s Report and maintain ongoing contact with both the Internal and External Auditors.

Corporate Oversight

  • appoint the President and CEO and annually evaluate the President and CEO position and his/her performance and recommend performance pay;
  • develop an effective working relationship with management;
  • provide advice and support for the CEO, without interfering in day-to-day management of the Authority;
  • approve the Corporate Plan and Capital and Operating Budget submissions to Minister;
  • approve and submit Annual Report to Minister;
  • ensure that mechanisms are in place to identify corporate risks, specify the priority risks and to create and update risk management plans;
  • oversee management and corporate performance;
  • review and approve corporate-wide policies, such as codes of ethics and contracting;
  • make the critical strategic decisions that contribute to organizational effectiveness;
  • bring an outside perspective to corporate deliberations.

Challenges, Issues and Initiatives

Particular challenges include:

  • CATSA is transitioning from start-up to steady state;
  • Evolving aviation security landscape;
  • Sustainable financing for the organization;
  • Effective and focused planning, particularly regarding technology acquisitions for future security needs for the travelling public.

Core Attributes, Competencies and Experience

CATSA’s Board of Directors has created a Competency Profile. The Competency Profile provides a description of the abilities that a Director on CATSA’s Board of Directors should possess and establishes a set of skills, knowledge and judgments required for competent performance by members of the Board.

The Competency Profile is also designed to guide the Chairperson in determining the various committees’ members and to assist the Minister in making competent appointments when filing vacancies on the Board.

Core Competencies:

These competencies are used for the basic functions of the Board, in particular in their advisory tasks and represent the foundation for a competent performance.

  1. Previous Board Experience
  2. Business Experience
  3. Human Resources Management
  4. Financial Competency
  5. Legal knowledge

Technical Knowledge:

Although this knowledge is not indispensable to execute a Director's responsibilities, it is useful for Directors collectively, when participating in strategic decision-making and applying their judgment.

  1. Security Expertise
  2. Intelligence Expertise
  3. Aviation Experience
  4. Information Technology and Equipment Installations
  5. Knowledge of Government
  6. Labour Relations
  7. Media/Communications
  8. Computer Competency

Desirable Personal Traits:

The following traits are not formal requirements but are desirable for a competent Director.

  1. Ability to present opinions
  2. Adaptability
  3. Sound judgment
  4. Collegiality/Dependability
  5. Ability and Willingness to listen

Informed Judgment

The ability to provide wise, thoughtful counsel, to analyze, ask relevant questions at the strategic level, consider the different stakeholders’ perspectives, understand situations and problems by addressing underlying issues.

Integrity and Accountability

Demonstrating high ethical standards and integrity, being willing to act on and remain accountable for board decisions, meeting the accountabilities outlined in the law, by-laws and rules of the board, seeing oneself as serving the interests of Canadians.

Impact and Influence

The awareness of the impact of organizational issues, policies and decisions on the air transport sector and the travelling public. The capacity to be sensitive to the differing needs and agendas of multiple stakeholders and to act to convince or influence others in order to have a specific impact or effect.

Financial Literacy

The ability to read and assess financial statements.

Public Policy

Experience in or knowledge of public policy.

Specific Skills, Knowledge and Experience


  • Proficiency in both official languages is an asset, but not essential
  • Communication skills
  • Strategic thinking


  • Financial competency – ideally will have professional designation, or extensive knowledge through education or experience
  • Knowledge of good governance principles
  • Knowledge of Federal government
  • Knowledge of risk management and/or audit and/or human resource management


  • Previous experience reporting to, sitting on, or leading a Board of Directors
  • Major project management experience
  • Specialized knowledge, education or experience in any of the following:
    1. Legal or
    2. Labour relations or
    3. Public policy experience or
    4. Media/communications experience or
    5. Client services/marketing
  • Sector Experience in the following would be an asset:
    1. Aviation industry experience or
    2. Transportation (non-aviation) industry experience or
    3. Security industry experience or
    4. Intelligence industry experience


The CATSA Board will strive to be representative of the Canadian population and Canada’s geographic regions.

Working Conditions

  • CATSA directorships are part time appointments. The Board is required to meet at least four (4) times a year (and generally meet more often) and may be required to participate in Committees and teleconference meetings as required. There are currently four (4) standing committees which consist of the Audit Committee, the Corporate Governance and Human Resources Committee, the Pension and Benefits Committee and the Strategy Committee.
  • The average annual time commitment (excluding Chair) is 20 days. Committee work may require additional days.
  • Directors may be called upon to sit on two (2) or more Committees.
  • Directors must comply with the CATSA Board of Directors’ Code of Conduct and Ethical Behaviour.
  • Pursuant to the CATSA Act, a director:
    1. must be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident;
    2. cannot be a member of the Senate, the House of Commons or a legislature;
    3. cannot be a full time public servant of Canada or a province; and
    4. cannot be a mayor, councilor, officer or employee of a municipality.
  • Remuneration and expenses: the current per diem rate for CATSA directors is $390 and the annual retainer range is $4,600-$5,400. All reasonable expenses are reimbursed in accordance with CATSA policy.