Pablo Rodriguez is set to be sworn in as the new transport minister at Rideau Hall today, taking charge of a host of complex issues as the aviation sector continues to recuperate from a prolonged period of crisis.
Previously Minister of Canadian Heritage, Rodriguez now assumes the responsibilities formerly shouldered by Omar Alghabra, who took on the cabinet post in January 2021, during the peak of the pandemic's devastating impact on the travel industry.
Alghabra had just announced his retirement as Minister of Transport.
Under Alghabra's leadership, the government navigated crucial negotiations with airlines to provide financial aid, implement COVID-19 testing protocols at airports, and establish a new passenger rights charter.
Advocates and airlines alike continue to raise concerns over various aspects of the new system, with the traveller complaint backlog at a record high topping 52,000 grievances, according to the Canadian Press.
Among the top items on Rodriguez's agenda are early plans for a high-frequency railway connecting Toronto and Quebec City, addressing ongoing supply challenges, and the need to reinforce infrastructure against natural disasters in the face of increasingly extreme weather events.
Additionally, the cabinet shuffle also sees Soraya Martinez Ferrada, a newcomer to the cabinet, assuming the role of Minister of Tourism, taking over from Randy Boissonnault.
Meanwhile, Boissonnault has been appointed Minister of Employment, Workforce Development, and Official Languages.