Under the Passenger Protect Program, commonly known as the “No-Fly List”, you can be prevented from boarding a plane if you are deemed to be an immediate threat to aviation security. Prior to boarding, all airlines must screen all passengers who appear to be over the age of 12, by comparing their identification documents with the names on the list. When the airline employee at check-in finds that a passenger’s name, date of birth and gender match with someone on the list, the airline is required to immediately inform Transport Canada, which decides whether to issue an order preventing the person from boarding the plane.

According to the Passenger Protect information published by Transport Canada, the following types of individuals may be found to pose an immediate threat to aviation security:

  1. 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;
  2. An individual who has been convicted of one or more serious and life-threatening crimes against aviation security;
  3. 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.

According to Travelwatchlist, in the first year of the Passenger Protect Program, Transport Canada reported approximately 100 cases of false-positive matches based on a list that is said to contain between 500 and 3,000 names.

The No-Fly List poses a threat to privacy rights in Canada because the process for putting you on and taking you off the list is not transparent, no information about why or when you were put on the list is given to you, you do not find out until you try to board a plane that you are on the list, and although you can file papers to ask the Office of Reconsideration to take your name off the list, you have no right of appeal if they refuse to do so. According to the Privacy Commissioner of Canada, Transport Canada has provided her office with no evidence showing that no-fly lists actually make us safer. *