YQB is an unusual and dynamic workplace, and we wouldn’t be able to run our operations so efficiently without the people who work tirelessly for us. Today, we’re putting the spotlight on a vibrant, hard-working, and honestly fascinating team: airport security.
We sat down with Catherine Côté, our Assistant Manager, Training and Standards, to talk about a career that calls for quick reflexes, strong communication skills, and a fair amount of patience.
How long have you been working at YQB? And what positions have you held at YQB?
I’ve worked at the airport for 9 years, and I’ve always been with the airport security team. Over time, I’ve gone from patrol officer to lieutenant (team leader) to training coordinator. And for the past year, I’ve been the Assistant Manager, Training and Standards.
Why did you decide to come to work at YQB?
I completed my police diploma in 2011, but decided not to continue after that. After much thought and research, I discovered airport security. I became a patrol officer and decided to pursue my career in the field, since it was still related. Even though I didn’t become a police officer, it’s a field that interests me greatly.
Describe your responsibilities at YQB in three sentences.
I’m responsible for training, so I create courses, update them if the situation changes, and then share that information in the courses I give. I also create and update our many safety procedures and make sure everything we do is compliant. Finally, I’m responsible for airside vehicle operations permits, liaising with the court for statements of offence, and running the simulation training program.
What does your typical work day look like?
On a typical day, I process new permit applications, make sure reports are compliant, correct statements of offence, and create or change training and procedures. No two days are ever the same; they can change depending on the security team’s activities and the many different requests we receive.
What has been your greatest moment or accomplishment on the security team?
Without a doubt, my greatest moment was the G7 arrival at the airport in 2018. I’m proud to have coordinated the security team on the ground and handled numerous requests from various parties, as well as flight management, escorts, and more. The days were long and I got very little sleep, but I barely noticed. It was an unforgettable, rewarding experience.
Can you tell us what you like most about your environment or workplace?
I love everything about my environment! I love the fact that even after 9 years, I’m learning new things every day. I love my team, I love training people, I love being part of events and responding to situations. I’m very passionate about my work!
What is your fondest memory at YQB?
The day I got my job as Assistant Manager, Training and Standards (and the G7, of course!).
If you had one piece of advice for someone who would like to do the job you do, what would it be?
Believe in yourself! It may sound cliché and easy to say, but if I hadn’t believed in my skills and abilities, I wouldn’t be where I am now. In the past, the environment was more male-dominated and very regimented, so it could sometimes be harder to break through as a woman—even for someone as outgoing as me. Now, we’re seeing more and more women in the field. Even with the challenges, I always wanted to train and break into this exciting field; I believed in my dream and in myself. To anyone who’s interested I say: go for it!
As a pro, do you have any travel tips or tricks for passengers?
Check what you can bring before you travel! We often have to deal with passengers who bring items that can’t be carried on. Also, just because you can carry it on in the United States, for example, doesn’t mean you can carry it on in Canada. So you need to check the specific requirements for your destination before you leave to prevent complications.
To find out about all the jobs available at the airport, visit our Careers page.