Canada's New Government reiterates its commitment to passenger protect



    OTTAWA, June 28 /CNW Telbec/ - The Honourable Lawrence Cannon, Minister
of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, today reiterated Canada's New
Government's commitment to aviation security, specifically to the Passenger
Protect program.
    "Canada's New Government is committed to keeping Canadians safe and
secure, while protecting their privacy and their constitutional rights," said
Minister Cannon. "The Passenger Protect program does just that. In fact, we
continue to work extensively with the Office of the Privacy Commissioner and
have integrated proposals and comments by the Office of the Privacy
Commissioner, civil liberties groups and community groups to help ensure
privacy protection and accountability. This program has the benefit of having
learned lessons from countries all over the world with respect to watch
lists."
    This made-in-Canada program was developed to provide an additional layer
of security for the aviation system. Three years of Parliamentary
consideration and two years of policy design work have resulted in a program
that is effective, efficient and protects the privacy rights of Canadians.
    "The purpose of this program, along with other security initiatives, is
to safeguard our aviation system from any individual, who is or has been
involved in a terrorist group, or who has been convicted of one or more
serious and life-threatening crimes and who is suspected to endanger the
security of any aircraft," added Minister Cannon.

    
    Numerous safeguards to ensure accuracy were developed:

    - The Specified Person List is limited in scope and focused only on
      aviation security.
    - The list is reviewed and revised at least every 30 days to incorporate
      any new information in a timely and efficient manner.
    - The program and the Minister of Transport are accountable to Parliament
      and therefore subject to Parliamentary scrutiny.
    - Government-issued identification (ID) is required for all air
      travellers over 12 years of age to help with the verification of name,
      date of birth and gender.
    - A Transport Canada officer is available 24/7 to receive calls from
      airlines about any possible identity matches. It will then be the
      responsibility of the Government of Canada and not the airline to make
      the final decision on whether to deny boarding to an individual who is
      a match.
    - If an individual is denied boarding under the program, an application
      can be made to the Office of Reconsideration, which may arrange for an
      independent assessment of the case and follow up with a recommendation.
       - The Office of Reconsideration is independent from the group that
         recommends the inclusion of individuals on the Specified Persons
         List and it provides a non-judicial and efficient mechanism for
         review.
       - In addition to the Office of Reconsideration, a further option is to
         make an application to the Federal Court for judicial review.

    With respect to a foreign government obtaining a copy of the list,
Transport Canada would only consider sharing the list with a foreign
government if it:

    - could be done in compliance with Canadian law and policy;
    - could be done in a way that protects the rights of Canadians; and
    - meets our number one priority to have a safe and secure aviation system
      for the benefit of Canadians.
    

    The Passenger Protect program is just one component of a broader strategy
to enhance the protection of Canadians, while promoting a safe, secure,
efficient and sustainable system of air travel.
    For more information on the Passenger Protect program, including a list
of valid ID, please visit www.passengerprotect.gc.ca.




For further information:

For further information: Natalie Sarafian, Press Secretary, Office of
the Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, Ottawa, (613)
991-0700; Julia Ukrintz, Communications, Transport Canada, Ottawa, (613)
993-0055; Transport Canada is online at www.tc.gc.ca. Subscribe to news
releases and speeches at www.tc.gc.ca/listserv/ and keep up-to-date on the
latest from Transport Canada. This news release may be made available in
alternative formats for persons with visual disabilities.


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