Canada and the United States have announced a joint aviation security measure that allows faster security screening for Canadian “trusted travellers” who are on their way to the U.S.
Transport Minister Lisa Raitt says that in addition to passengers who hold their Nexus card, trusted passengers will now also include members of the Global Entry program in the United States, uniformed air crew, and members of the Canadian and U.S. Armed Forces.
In Canada, these passengers will be able to access dedicated Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA) security screening lines. They will not have to remove their shoes, belts and coats, and will be allowed to keep their liquids in their carry-on bags as they pass through, Raitt said.
The program has already rolled out at four major Canadian airports: Toronto, Montreal, Calgary and Vancouver.
“What these lines do is they essentially provide a faster screening process because these travellers have been assessed as lower risk,” Raitt told a news conference held Wednesday morning at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport.
“They go through a very diligent background check to ensure that they are indeed trusted travellers.”
This dedicated lane will mean that “the whole system will move quicker,” Raitt said, particularly for passengers who are not members of these programs and still have to go through the arduous, timely security screening process.
Having a dedicated lane for “trusted travellers” means that “all passengers will then be able to move through security and to their destinations more quickly,” Raitt said.
“It’s a smart way of dealing with lineups.”
Canadian airports are coping with an increase in passenger numbers of 4 per cent per year, Raitt said, so dealing with overall traveller flow is a top priority.
However, she could not say exactly how much time the travellers going through conventional screening will save.
Security screeners working those lines, she added, will be able to focus on identifying high-risk passengers.
Meanwhile, the government also announced that upgraded kiosks have been installed in all Canadian airports where passengers can travel using their Nexus card to help those travellers clear customs more quickly.
More kiosks have also been installed at some airports to accommodate the 1.1 million Canadians who have Nexus cards.
“These upgraded kiosks will provide faster, more reliable and efficient service,” the government said.
Raitt also announced a new online holiday toolkit for Canadian families who may be travelling in the coming weeks.
The web page, Canada.ca/HolidayTravel, has information for travellers ranging from border wait times to vaccination advice.