Canada's new no-fly list is ready to take off:
Air security strengthened - Passenger Protect ready to take flight
OTTAWA, May 11 /CNW Telbec/ - The Honourable Lawrence Cannon, Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, together with the Honourable Stockwell Day, Minister of Public Safety, today announced new regulations that will strengthen air passenger security screening. Once implemented, new measures under a program known as Passenger Protect will prevent persons who pose an immediate threat to aviation security from boarding a commercial aircraft.
This made-in-Canada program was developed to provide an additional layer of security for the aviation system and to enhance public safety in a way that complies with the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and federal privacy legislation.
"Canadians want to fly secure, and Passenger Protect is a significant step forward. We must remember that Canada is not immune to the threat of terrorism and we must remain vigilant," said Minister Cannon. "Passenger Protect will not only make Canada's aviation system more secure, it will also help keep the world's skies safe by reaching beyond Canadian borders to screen everyone getting on a flight to Canada."
Under the new program, the Government of Canada is maintaining a list of specified persons who may pose an immediate threat to aviation security should they attempt to board a flight. Air carriers will be able to screen passengers against the specified persons list through a secure online system. If the air carrier identifies a person as a possible match with an entry on the list, the air carrier will contact Transport Canada to confirm the passenger's identity, and obtain a decision whether or not to allow him or her to board the flight. "Canada has one of the best aviation systems in the world and is always looking for ways to increase the safety and security of the travelling public,"said Minister Day.
The Government of Canada has held discussions with airlines, airports, and labour representatives, as well as civil liberties and ethno-cultural groups in developing Passenger Protect, to create a program that enhances security, respects the needs and realities of the aviation industry and protects the rights of Canadians. As part of the consultations, Transport Canada has established a reconsideration process to provide a non-judicial, efficient way for any members of the public who have been denied boarding to have their cases reviewed by persons independent of those who made the original recommendation.
Transport Canada has worked closely with the Office of the Privacy Commissioner in order to further strengthen the privacy provisions of the program. Implementation for flights within Canada and international flights to and from Canada will begin on June 18, 2007.
As of this date, new Identity Screening Regulations will require air passengers within Canada who appear to be 12 years of age or older to present one piece of government-issued photo identification (ID) that shows name, date of birth and gender or two pieces of government-issued ID - one of which shows name, date of birth and gender - before boarding an aircraft. The boarding pass provided by the air carrier must match the name on the ID.
Canadians will not need a passport for travel within Canada but rather can present a range of government-issued ID to the air carriers including a health card, a birth certificate, a driver's licence and a social insurance card. Current requirements for international travel will remain in place. This practice is consistent with procedures currently in use by most major airlines, and will allow the air carrier and Transport Canada to confirm the identity of a passenger who is a possible match with an entry on the specified persons list.
These proposed regulations were first published in the Canada Gazette, Part I on October 28, 2006, after which a 75-day period followed to enable interested parties and the public to provide comments.
The final regulations will be published in the Canada Gazette, Part II on May 16, 2007.
A backgrounder with more information on the Passenger Protect program and the new Identity Screening Regulations is attached.
PASSENGER PROTECT PROGRAM
The Government of Canada began consulting with industry on passenger assessment in May 2004, and expanded consultations on a program proposal for Passenger Protect in the summer of 2005. Consultations with air carriers, airports, labour representatives, civil liberties and ethno-cultural groups as well as the Office of the Privacy Commissioner were essential to the successful design and implementation of a program that enhances security, respects the needs and realities of the aviation industry, and ensures that the privacy and human rights of Canadians are protected.
The Passenger Protect program adds another layer of security to Canada's aviation system to help address potential threats. Terrorist groups continue to target civil aviation, and seek means to defeat existing safeguards and measures.
Under the program, the Government of Canada is maintaining a list with the name, date of birth and gender of each specified person that will be provided to airlines in secure form. The airlines will compare the names of individuals intending to board flights with the names on the specified persons list, and will verify with the individual's government-issued identification when there is a name match. Identification will be verified in person at the airport check-in counter. When the airline verifies that an individual matches in name, date of birth and gender with someone on the list, the airline will be required to inform Transport Canada.
A Transport Canada officer will be on duty 24 hours a day, every day, to receive calls from airlines when they have a potential match with a specified person on the list. Transport Canada will verify information with the airline, confirm whether the individual poses an immediate threat to aviation security and inform the airline, if required, that the individual is not permitted to board the flight. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) would be notified immediately in the event of a match, and police of jurisdiction at the airport would be informed and take action as required.
The Passenger Protect program will be implemented for Canadian domestic flights and international flights to and from Canada on June 18, 2007. Creating the Specified Persons List
The Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities has the authority under the Aeronautics Act, to specify an individual who is a threat to aviation security and to require airlines to provide information about the specified person.
A Transport Canada-led Advisory Group will assess individuals on a case-by-case basis using information provided by the Canadian Security Intelligence Service and the RCMP, and will make recommendations to the Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities concerning their designation as specified persons or the removal of that designation. The Advisory Group includes a senior officer from the Canadian Security Intelligence Service and a senior officer from the RCMP (as advised by the Department of Justice), with input from representatives from other Canadian government departments and agencies.
Individuals are added to the specified persons list based on their actions, which lead to a determination that they may pose an immediate threat to aviation security, should they attempt to board an aircraft. Guidelines in making that determination are focused on aviation security, and may include:
- an individual who is or has been involved in a terrorist group, and who, it can reasonably be suspected, will endanger the security of any aircraft or aerodrome or the safety of the public, passengers or crew members;
- an individual who has been convicted of one or more serious and life-threatening crimes against aviation security; and
- an individual who has been convicted of one or more serious and life-threatening offences and who may attack or harm an air carrier, passengers or crew members.
Identity Screening Regulations
As of June 18th 2007, new Identity Screening Regulations will require airlines to screen each person's name against the specified persons list before issuing a boarding pass, for any person who appears to be 12 years of age or older. The regulations take into account the various ways in which the boarding pass may be obtained: at a kiosk, through the Internet, or at an airport check-in counter.
Where there is check-in via Internet or kiosks, airlines will not allow printing of the boarding pass when there is a name match with the specified persons list. Passengers refused a boarding pass at a kiosk or through the Internet will be directed to the airline agent for in-person verification of government-issued identification (ID). ID verification will determine whether the name, date of birth and gender match those of a listed person.
The regulations also require air carriers to screen individuals at the boarding gate by comparing the name on government-issued ID with the name on the boarding pass. If the name on the ID is not the same as the name on the boarding pass, the air carrier will be required to check the name on the ID against the list.
Transport Canada will work with air carriers to provide training for agents and staff who will be involved in implementing the ID verification requirement, and establish procedures that respect the rights of passengers.
The ID requirement under the Passenger Protect program is for one piece of valid government-issued photo ID that shows name, date of birth and gender, such as a driver's licence or a passport, or two pieces of valid government-issued ID, at least one of which shows name, date of birth and gender, such as a birth certificate. The verification of passengers' ID is already a practice followed by most major air carriers in Canada.
The regulations will be published in the Canada Gazette, Part II on May 16, 2007.
Reconsideration and Appeals
The Passenger Protect program also includes a reconsideration process for individuals who wish to contest the denial of boarding. An individual who has been denied boarding under the Passenger Protect program will be able to apply to Transport Canada's Office of Reconsideration (OOR), which may arrange for an independent assessment of the case and make a recommendation. The goal is to provide a non-judicial, efficient mechanism for any member of the public to have their case reviewed by persons independent of those who made the original recommendation to the Minister. Individuals have the further option of making application to Federal Court for judicial review. Privacy and Human Rights
The protection of privacy and human rights is a core element of the Passenger Protect program. In developing the program, Transport Canada worked with stakeholders and consulted with civil liberties and ethno-cultural groups, and the Office of the Privacy Commissioner on privacy aspects.
A summary of the Privacy Impact Assessment conducted on the Passenger Protect program is available on the Transport Canada website at www.tc.gc.ca/vigilance/sep/passenger_protect/executive_summary/menu.htm. In addition, the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada posed a series of questions to Transport Canada about the Passenger Protect program in August 2005. The questions and the answers shed light on the privacy protection features of the program and are available on the Web at www.tc.gc.ca/vigilance/sep/passenger_protect/Q&A/menu.htm.
More details on the Passenger Protect program and the new Identity Screening Regulations are available on Transport Canada's website at www.tc.gc.ca/vigilance/sep/passenger_protect/menu.htm.