Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale says airlines shouldn’t subject passengers under 18 years of age to additional security-screening measures.
Global News first reported on Syed Adam Ahmed, a young boy from Markham, Ont., who along with his father, Sulemaan, was delayed on the way to NHL Winter Classic in Foxborough, Mass., after Adam’s name was flagged by Air Canada’s security list, called the DHP, or “Deemed-High-Profile” list of potential threats to public safety.
Khadija Cajee, Adam’s mother, said in a statement to Global News that the family had a “productive meeting” on Wednesday with Markham-Stouffville MP Jane Philpott, who also serves as Canada’s Health Minister, to discuss the case.
“With her, we share concerns over the implications of the no-fly list,” Cajee said. “It is disturbing to all of us that a 6 year-old, along with other young Canadian children, are being targeted this way and we all believe it is an excellent opportunity to review the issue.”
Several families across Canada who have had children flagged as flight security risks have come forward since. Khudija Vawda-Ali said her son Naseer Muhammed Ali was just 10-weeks-old when he had trouble boarding a flight to Jamaica.
Cajee said Philpott has “communicated” with Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale over the last week and steps will be taken to “address our concerns.”
“It has been troublesome that over time, the line between national security and personal liberties has blurred,” she said.
Minister Goodale said he acknowledged how additional security screening can cause confusion and “feelings of stigmatization.”
“We fully understand the frustration of law-abiding travelers whose plans are interrupted as a result of false positives arising in the security screening of airline passenger manifests,” Goodale said in a written statement Thursday evening.
“Public Safety Canada officials have now contacted air carriers to clarify the application of the existing Secure Air Travel Regulations, emphasizing to them that additional security screening validation is not required for individuals under the age of 18.”
Canadian airlines maintain security watchlists which gather information from Canadian and U.S. security agencies.
Canada’s no-fly list, officially called the Passenger Protect Program, is maintained by Public Safety Canada.
Public Safety states on its website that “passengers who have the same name (or similar name) as a person listed under the Passenger Protect Program” may experience delays at check-in.
However, Cajee has said they have not heard back from Air Canada on the issue.
Ryan Fitzpatrick, a spokesperson for Air Canada, said they would not comment further on the matter.
“As a general policy we do not discuss security procedures as that could compromise them,” Fitzpatrick said in an email.
*With a file from Caryn Lieberman
© 2016 Shaw Media