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Government of Canada reaches key milestone to strengthen air travel security

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From: Public Safety Canada

November 4, 2020 – Ottawa, Ontario

The Government of Canada is committed to keeping Canadians safe while protecting their rights and freedoms.

Today, the Minister for Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, the Honourable Bill Blair, announced that the final provisions of the Secure Air Travel Regulations have come into force. These provisions will deliver centralized screening and the Canadian Travel Number. Once in place they will:

  • Strengthen air travel security by taking over the responsibility of screening travellers against the Secure Air Travel Act (SATA) list (commonly referred to as Canada’s ‘no-fly list’) from air carriers and collecting additional information. Under the current system, air carriers use the SATA list as part of their screening process. The new centralized screening system places this responsibility in the Government’s control. Collecting the date of birth and gender will also ensure effective, consistent and rigorous screening.
  • Better protect the privacy of those who may have the same, or similar name, as someone on the SATA list by taking over the responsibility of screening from air carriers.
  • Prevent check-in delays for people with the same, or similar, names to those on the SATA list by:

    • offering travellers a Canadian Travel Number – a unique number they can use at the time of booking air travel to help distinguish them from those on the SATA list.
    • screening travellers against the SATA list before they arrive at the airport for their flight. The centralized screening system will do an automatic check against the SATA list up to 72 hours before takeoff, allowing time to resolve any potential issues and prevent a delay at check-in.
  • Reduce potential for bias in air security screening against the SATA list by having an automated IT system that is done in advance, instead of when the traveller presents themselves in person at the airport.

The Canadian Travel Number online application is planned to launch on the Public Safety website within two weeks. This will allow travellers to apply in advance of air carriers starting to transfer to the new centralized screening system beginning in late November. 


“Canadians should feel safe and free of discrimination at all times, but especially during security screening – a system designed to ensure their protection. That’s why I’m pleased to announce today that we have reached this key milestone in our commitment from Budget 2018 to strengthen our air travel security.”

– The Honourable Bill Blair, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

Quick facts

  • The Canadian Travel Number is not for everyone. It will only help reduce air travel delays in situations where the traveler’s name is the same, or similar, as someone on the SATA list.
  • The CBSA already receives data from air carriers, and screens international travellers, in support of its border management.