Transport Canada (“TC”) is canvassing air carriers licensed by TC, both domestic and foreign, in regard to compliance with the Secure Air Travel Regulations, enacted under the Aeronautics Act. This circularization is labelled as the Passenger Protect Program, and is geared to the TC responsibility of passenger security in regard to passengers on aircraft operating into or out of Canada.
This TC program is separate and apart from the Passenger Protection Regulations recently enacted under the Canada Transportation Act, and administered by the Canadian Transportation Agency. Those Regulations are in regard to commercial air carrier responsibility to passengers in regard to operational matters such as tarmac delays, denied boarding, seating of minors and transportation of musical instruments. The unfortunate similar labelling of the separate regulations has caused considerable confusion in the industry.
In order for TC to determine the requirement for each air carrier to comply under their Passenger Protect Program, TC has circularized all air carriers possessing commercial authority from Transport Canada, requesting information regarding the carrier’s security screening of passengers.
Response is required to the following question among others:
5. Are all or some of your flights subject to screening (incl. screening of passengers, property, and personal belongings/baggage) that is carried out – in Canada under the Aeronautics Act or in another country – before boarding? (Y/N)?: _________
Needless to say, no commercial air carrier allows passengers, their baggage or cargo to be put on their aircraft without some security screening.
Under these Regulations, the application is imposed on air carriers “. . . if the passengers, the property in the possession or control of the passengers and the personal belongings or baggage that the passengers give to the air carrier for transport are subject to screening that is carried out – in Canada under the Aeronautics Act or in another country by the person or entity responsible for the screening of such persons, property and belongings or baggage – before boarding.” (Emphasis added)
It is our interpretation, which TC has not confirmed, that this criteria requires screening to be performed by entities responsible for aviation screening, and is not applicable to screening conducted on an internal basis. Our interpretation is that this screening must be performed by entities such as CATSA in Canada, the TSA in the USA or equivalent government entities.
We have pointed out to TC the lack of their completion in the above question, that it must be conducted “by the person or entity responsible for the screening of such persons”. Therefore, it is our opinion that business aircraft operators, not having their passengers and baggage screened by the country of origin entity responsible for their passengers, and that are only subject to internal carrier screening, need not be comply with the Canadian Passenger Protect Program.