Pearson Airport holds mock protest as part of emergency training exercise

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Toronto Pearson International Airport staged a mock protest Saturday to test its emergency preparedness.

About 300 people, a mix of staff and volunteers, acted as protesters during the demonstration on Electra Road near Convair Drive in Mississauga. The event was part of a mock emergency exercise organized by the Greater Toronto Airports Authority (GTAA), which operates the airport.

“We are testing our response to an emergency or security situation,” GTAA spokeswoman Tori Gass said Saturday.

“It is important that we test our response in as real a situation as possible so that we know when a situation like this arises that we are taking the right steps to react.”

Gass said the protest was peaceful. Peel Regional Police and Transport Canada also participated in the training exercise.

She said the emergency drill is the first held in person since the COVID-19 pandemic hit Ontario. The airport is a place where people like to gather to protest, Gass said.

The protesters, dressed in red t-shirts, were “very excited” to play their part, she said. They carried fake signs and chanted, “Freedom! Freedom ! Freedom !

A sign read: ‘Looks like I picked the wrong week to trust the government.’

In a press release, the GTAA said such drills are required by Transport Canada.

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