Thanks to some flight delays on a recent trip, I ended up with an unplanned trip through Toronto Pearson airport. I needed to be in Montreal for work, and after my originally planned flights got messed up, was rebooked on Air Canada, connecting in Toronto. I’ve connected there several times, but transiting from the US to a Canadian destination was a new experience for me. I hold a NEXUS card, so I normally can get expedited security in Canadian airports. In this case, I didn’t.
What is ITD OSS?
My Montreal boarding pass said “ITD OSS” above the barcode. I wasn’t sure what that meant. It is actually 2 separate acronyms. “International to Domestic” and “One Stop Security”. OSS allows for passengers arriving into Canada from certain destinations to avoid being re-screened. This includes arrivals from the US, Japan, and most countries in Europe. OSS is available in many large Canadian airports, but in Toronto, only in Terminal 1 (primarily Star Alliance flights), and not Terminal 3.
My arrival into Toronto arrived at gate F91. Nearly the end of the F pier, and no jet bridge, so walking on the tarmac…in Toronto…in January. While annoying, at least I got some steps in. Unfortunately, no express travelator in the F pier for regional jets. Once in the transit area, there are various options, depending on destination. Arrivals head towards the customs hall, but passengers connecting to domestic or international flights follow signs to the appropriate gates. At Toronto T1, F gates are for flights to the US, E are international departures, and D gates are for Canada flights.
Connecting in Toronto to D (Domestic) gates at YYZ Terminal 1
I followed the signs to the D gates. Out of habit, I almost walked towards the customs hall, but figured it out, and found myself with no line in front of a few CBSA agents. Keep in mind, despite most Canada arrivals no longer requiring a customs form, there are no NEXUS or other kiosks at the International to Domestic customs area in Toronto, so all passengers must fill out customs forms. I’d like to think this would change, but I have no further information. All passengers must visit an agent. I can see this being a choke point in this process. In my case, there were 3 or 4 agents working and I had no wait. Not as fast as using NEXUS, and during a busy period, I can see there being a more significant wait.
Here is the process for US to Canada connections on Air Canada:
Please ensure your Canada Customs Declaration Card is completed prior to deplaning.
You do not need to claim your checked baggage.
- Follow purple signage for Connections and D Gates
- Proceed as directed through Canada Customs
- Turn right and take escalator down to bus bay
- Board bus to domestic gates
- Proceed to your departure gate
A long walk, to a connections area, through customs, and then a bus isn’t particularly efficient, but when I passed through, it wasn’t busy, and things mostly went fast. I even had time to visit the Maple Leaf Lounge (though this link is to the lounge serving international gates, not domestic) before heading to my gate.
This process has changed from the last time I had a connection like this. The One Stop Security is quick and easy, and certainly an improvement. The combination of only a few agents, and no kiosks seems like a potential choke point at Canada’s busiest airport. Have you used the OSS at Toronto Pearson? What was your experience?