Extension of exemption and review of ID requirements for air travellers under 18



    OTTAWA, Sept. 14 /CNW Telbec/ - The Honourable Lawrence Cannon, Minister
of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, today stated that the exemption
to the Passenger Protect program announced in June will be modified and
extended to March 31, 2008, pending regulatory consultations on identification
(ID) requirements for air travellers under the age of 18.
    "As with any new program, we are carefully monitoring and evaluating
Passenger Protect to ensure its effectiveness," said Minister Cannon. "The
consultations on ID requirements for those under 18 years of age, which begin
this month, will aid in this process. "
    As of Tuesday, September 18, 2007, Transport Canada will not require
travellers between 12 and 17 years of age to present ID before they are
allowed to board an aircraft. However, passengers are strongly advised to
check with their air carrier before they travel, as air carriers may have a
policy of requiring passengers to present ID prior to boarding.
    "Based on discussion with air carriers and travellers, and taking into
consideration security needs, we have determined that we can continue the
program with an exemption to the provision of ID requirements for
12-to 17-year-olds while we consult with the public," added Minister Cannon.
"We are fully committed to achieving the appropriate balance between effective
security, the need to respect privacy and other individual rights, and an
efficient transportation system that does not unreasonably inconvenience
travellers."
    Implementation of the Passenger Protect program for domestic flights and
for international flights to and from Canada, began on June 18, 2007.

    For more information on the Passenger Protect program, including a list
of valid ID for travellers aged 18 and over, please visit
www.passengerprotect.gc.ca.

    
    Backgrounder
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                          PASSENGER PROTECT PROGRAM
                          -------------------------

    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.
    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.
    Under the program, the Government of Canada is maintaining a list to be
provided to airlines in secure form, with the name, date of birth and gender
of each specified person. The airlines compare the names of individuals
intending to board flights with the names on the specified persons list, and
verify with the individual's government-issued identification when there is a
name match. Identification is 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 is required to inform
Transport Canada.
    A Transport Canada officer is 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 verifies information with the airline,
confirms whether the individual poses an immediate threat to aviation security
and informs 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 was 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 assesses individuals on a
case-by-case basis using information provided by the Canadian Security
Intelligence Service and the RCMP, and makes 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 of 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;
    - 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

    Since June 18, 2007, new Identity Screening Regulations 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 is required to check the name on the ID against
the list.
    Transport Canada is working with air carriers to provide training for
agents and staff who will be involved in implementing the ID-verification
requirement, and has established procedures that respect the rights of
passengers.
    The ID requirement under the Passenger Protect program is for one piece of
valid government-issued ID with a photo 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 without photo, at least one of which shows name, date of
birth and gender, such as a birth certificate.
    An exemption for Canadian air passengers who appear to be between 12 and
17 years of age has been modified and extended to March 31, 2008, pending
consultations on the need for ID requirements for travellers of this age.
During this time, Transport Canada will not require that air travellers under
18 show ID before boarding a flight. It is important to note, however, that
verification of passengers' ID is already a practice followed by most major
air carriers in Canada, and passengers are advised to check with their
individual carriers.

    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.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.htm.

    More details on the Passenger Protect program and the Identity Screening
Regulations are available on Transport Canada's website at
www.passengerprotect.gc.ca.
    

    September 2007




For further information:

For further information: Karine White, Press Secretary, Office of the
Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, Ottawa, (613) 991-0700;
Media Relations, 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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