Press release

Fifteen therapy dog teams join the Welcome Team Volunteer Program at Canada's largest airport

February 20, 2019

TORONTO, CANADA – Toronto Pearson International Airport and the St. John Ambulance (SJA) Therapy Dog Program are partnering to bring the friendly faces of 15 therapy dog teams to YYZ. As part of the Toronto Pearson Welcome Team Volunteer Program, SJA Therapy Dog teams will roam Terminals 1 and 3 to bring enjoyment and help alleviate the anxiety that some passengers experience while travelling.

“At Toronto Pearson, passengers are our passion, and critical to that mission is ensuring all passengers feel relaxed and comfortable while travelling through our airport,” said Scott Collier, Vice President, Customer and Terminal Services, Toronto Pearson. “We know that travelling can be stressful, and a friendly visit with a therapy dog can make all the difference in the world to anxious travellers. Seeing people smile when they meet and experience the unconditional love of a therapy dog in our terminals is both comforting and rewarding.”

Engaging with a therapy dog has been known to have a positive effect in helping to reduce anxiety and create a sense of calm. Along with their handlers wearing the distinctive blue Toronto Pearson Welcome Team vests or jackets, SJA therapy dogs Bella, Cheyenne, Daisey, Ghost, Hunter, Kahlua, Luna, Pumpkin, Ringo Starr, Shep, Snickers, Sofia, and Zorie will roam Terminals 1 and 3 on a flexible, weekly rotation and can be easily spotted by their official red and white SJA Therapy Dog bandanas. Passengers are welcome to approach the dogs and pet them to help them relax while at the airport.

“We are proud to bring the St. John Ambulance Therapy Dog Program to Toronto Pearson as part of the Toronto Pearson Welcome Team,” said Larry Shack, St. John Ambulance Therapy Dog Toronto Pearson Program Coordinator. “Our therapy dog teams are honoured to continue our tradition of community service by bringing the benefits of therapy dogs to passengers at Toronto Pearson and helping them feel relaxed and comfortable while travelling through the airport.”

SJA therapy dogs and their handlers are the latest additions to Toronto Pearson’s Welcome Team, a group of over 300 volunteers who help travellers in our terminals every day. Recently celebrating its 5-year anniversary, Toronto Pearson’s Welcome Team together logs over 1,200 volunteer hours a week, helping innumerable passengers a year. By fostering a welcoming and relaxing environment, the Welcome Team contributed strongly towards Toronto Pearson’s 2017 Airport Service Quality recognition as the Best Large Airport in North America over 40 million passengers.

About Toronto Pearson

The Greater Toronto Airports Authority (GTAA) is the operator of Toronto Pearson International Airport. The GTAA’s vision is to make Toronto Pearson the best airport in the world. Towards this objective, the GTAA focuses on ensuring the safety and security of passengers and airport employees, enhancing the passenger experience and supporting the success of its airline partners. Toronto Pearson served more than 47 million passengers in 2017, making it Canada's largest airport and the second-busiest North American international airport.

The area around Toronto Pearson is the second-largest employment zone in Canada. The airport facilitates 6.3% per cent of Ontario's GDP, directly employs 49,000 people and facilitates more than 300,000 jobs throughout the province of Ontario. Toronto Pearson believes that being a good neighbour means growing together with the communities it serves. To this end, the airport invests in social good and community-building initiatives through its community investment program, The Propeller Project.

For more information please visit Toronto Pearson on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.

Contact:  GTAA Media Office | media.relations@gtaa.com | (416) 776-3709

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