Travellers to Canada who require visas to face biometric testing
Published Wednesday, June 3, 2015 10:00PM EDT
Last Updated Wednesday, June 3, 2015 10:17PM EDT
Canada is expected to increase security measures placed on incoming travellers from countries that require visas by introducing a series of biometric tests, CTV News has learned.
The policy change, which is expected to be announced by Prime Minister Stephen Harper on Thursday, will add another layer of security to try to prevent criminals from entering the country.
Biometrics can involve a range of physiological testing, including fingerprinting, facial recognition, hand geometry, iris recognition, retinal scan and many others.
Travellers from nearly 30 countries -- including Afghanistan, Syria and Egypt –- are already required to undergo these types of security checks, but the new changes will see 148 nations added to the list.
The screenings will take place before a person enters Canada, and will only apply to foreign nationals with visas.
Security expert John Thompson told CTV News that the policy will help strengthen Canada's borders, and that other countries should follow suit.
"It will prevent the entry of people who shouldn't be here," said Thompson.
"Right now, this is something that just about every developed nation needs to be doing."
The practice is common in Europe, and among Canada's intelligence allies including the U.S., the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand.
However, Thompson says the new systems could come with a substantial price tag.
"Probably about $200 million in start-up costs, and then about 10 per cent of that in annual costs to maintain the program," said Thompson.
No data will be collected from Canadians or Americans visiting the country.