National News

Canada has announced changes to airport screening

February 3, 2011

Canada has announced changes to airport screening that will increase convenience for the travelling public while maintaining a consistently high level of security.

Chuck Strahl, Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, and Rob Merrifield, Minister of State (Transport) made the announcement.

“Our government takes aviation security seriously, and we are unwavering in our determination to keep Canadian travellers safe and secure from terrorism,” Minister Strahl said. “We’ve listened to travellers and the aviation security community, and we believe these initiatives achieve the best balance of aviation safety and security, and passenger convenience.”

The initiatives announced today are the result of the recently completed review of the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA), announced in spring 2010. They also reflect investments in aviation security arising from The Government of Canada Response to the Commission of Inquiry into the Investigation of the Bombing of Air India Flight 182 (the Air India Inquiry Action Plan).

“CATSA’s screening will be smarter, and more efficient and effective by modernizing passenger and baggage screening,” Minister Merrifield said. “Harmonizing our prohibited item list closely with international standards will improve the passenger screening experience.”

As a result of the CATSA review, air travellers can now bring in their carry-on baggage small scissors and tools that are no longer than six centimetres (excluding the handle). Knives of any size or length remain prohibited. New equipment and lane configurations will enhance the flow of passengers and bags at the security screening checkpoint.

For example, CATSA will be installing equipment that will automatically separate suspicious bags from cleared bags, reducing congestion. In addition, CATSA is expanding the use of the Trusted Traveller CATSA Screening Line for pre-approved travellers who hold a valid NEXUS card.

There will also be new dedicated lanes for families and those with special needs with equipment specifically designed for bigger items like strollers. Both of these new lane configurations will facilitate travellers’ convenience at the screening checkpoint.

In June 2010, the Government of Canada launched a full review of CATSA, the agency responsible for screening people and baggage at Canadian airports. This review, which followed the announcement of five-year funding for CATSA was undertaken to ensure that travellers are getting value for their money.

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