(Vancouver International Airport)

Canada’s Secure Air Travel Regulations Come Into Force

Canada’s Secure Air Travel Regulations have come into force. These provisions will deliver centralized screening and the Canadian Travel Number. 

Once in place, the regulations are designed to strengthen air travel security by taking over the responsibility of screening travelers against the Secure Air Travel Act (SATA) list (commonly referred to as Canada’s ‘no-fly list’) from air carriers and collecting additional information. Under the current system, air carriers use the SATA list as part of their screening process. The new centralized screening system places this responsibility in the government’s control. Collecting the date of birth and gender will also ensure effective, consistent and rigorous screening.

The new regulations are also intended to better protect the privacy of those who may have the same, or similar name, as someone on the SATA list by taking over the responsibility of screening from air carriers. Ultimately, the change aims to prevent check-in delays for people with the same, or similar, names to those on the SATA list by offering travelers a Canadian Travel Number – a unique number they can use at the time of booking air travel to help distinguish them from those on the SATA list. The centralized screening system will do an automatic check against the SATA list up to 72 hours before takeoff, allowing time to resolve any potential issues and prevent a delay at check-in.

Using an automated system that screens in advance also reduces to potential for bias.

Bill Blair, Canada’s Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, explained that some travelers felt they were being falsely flagged by the SATA list during air security screening, and it was causing them not only flight delays, but emotional distress.

Blair added that the new regulations are the result of a substantial undertaking that involved changing legislation and regulations, as well as developing, testing and implementing IT systems. 

The Canadian Travel Number online application is planned to launch on the Public Safety website by November 20. This will allow travelers to apply in advance of air carriers starting to transfer to the new centralized screening system from the end of the month.

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Kylie Bielby has more than 20 years' experience in reporting and editing a wide range of security topics, covering geopolitical and policy analysis to international and country-specific trends and events. Before joining GTSC's Homeland Security Today staff, she was an editor and contributor for Jane's, and a columnist and managing editor for security and counter-terror publications.

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