Parents, Muslim group welcome budget’s $81 million for federal no-fly fixes

Federal money will be used to develop ‘rigorous centralized screening model’ and advocates are pleased

A pilot taxis an Air Canada Airbus A320-200 to a gate after arriving at Vancouver International Airport in Richmond, B.C., on Monday February 3, 2014. Parents of young children and a national Muslim group are welcoming a federal budget commitment to address fairness and privacy concerns with Canada’s no-fly list. (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press)

Parents of young children and a national Muslim group are welcoming a federal budget commitment to address fairness and privacy concerns with Canada’s no-fly list.

The budget sets aside $81.4 million over five years, starting in 2018–19, and $14 million a year ongoing, to remake the much-maligned no-fly program. The money will go to the Canada Border Services Agency, Public Safety and Transport Canada.

Families from the group known as the No Fly List Kids successfully pressed the government to redesign the system after many nerve-racking airport delays due to children being mismatched with people on the no-fly roster.

Zamir Khan, whose three-year-old boy Sebastian has been repeatedly delayed at the check-in counter, applauded the federal announcement. Khan said he looked forward to “that day where I can travel with my son without having to worry about him being flagged any more.”

The federal money will be used to develop “a rigorous centralized screening model” as well as a redress system for legitimate air travellers caught up in the no-fly web, the federal budget plan says.

Parents and children from No Fly List Kids came to Ottawa in November to make their case to MPs and ministers with the aim of ensuring that funding for a new system to end the glitches was included in the budget.

The group enlisted support from MPs of all stripes who wrote letters to encourage Finance Minister Bill Morneau to allocate the money.

Those affected say the mistaken matches frequently involve Muslim- or Arabic-sounding names, raising the question of charter of rights guarantees of equality under the law.

The National Council of Canadian Muslims called the federal plan “a welcome step forward,” noting the council has documented numerous cases of persons wrongly flagged on the list.

“In each instance, the inability of victims to access basic information about their file and to subsequently clear their names is deeply concerning,” council spokeswoman Leila Nasr said Tuesday.

Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale has said the overall solution entails passing legislation now before Parliament, enacting regulations and building a computer system from the ground up.

The revised program will help ensure that privacy and fairness concerns are addressed, while keeping Canadians safe, the budget plan says.

The legislation being studied by MPs would amend the Secure Air Travel Act to allow the public safety minister to tell parents that their child is not on the Canadian no-fly list, meaning the name simply matches that of someone who is actually listed. The government says this would provide assurance to parents about their child’s status.

The bill, part of a broad package of security-related measures, would also allow federal officials to electronically screen air passenger information against the list, a process currently in the hands of airlines.

The government says this would prevent false name matches by enabling it to issue unique redress numbers for pre-flight verification of identity. But it also means creating a new computer system to do the job.

Jim Bronskill, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

100 Homes Penticton gets a new name after year of success

The campaign, run by the United Way South Okanagan, housed an additional 130 people in 2019

Penticton council urged to consider finding student housing options

Students with the Okanagan College Penticton campus presented at the regular meeting on Oct. 15

Is your business ready for when disaster strikes? Find out at FutureBiz Penticton 2019

The event for entrepreneurs to learn and connect returns for its second year on Dec. 4

Shinedown pumped to return to Penticton

The metal band stops at the South Okanagan Events Centre on Oct. 15

Celtic Illusion coming to Penticton in 2020

The show features contemporary Irish dance paired with grand illusions and magic

Election 2019: Connie Denesiuk – Liberal Party candidate for South Okanagan – West Kootenay

Connie Denesiuk is running for the Liberal Party in the South Okanagan – West Kootenay riding

Potent power play paces Canucks to 5-1 win over Detroit

Miller nets a pair as Vancouver wins third straight

Okanagan ski hills highlighted on website’s ‘most affordable’ list

HomeToGo looks at rentals, lift passes, accommodations and food to compile list of Top 50

UPDATE: British couple vacationing in Vancouver detained in U.S. after crossing border

CBP claims individuals were denied travel authorization, crossing was deliberate

After losing two baby boys, B.C. parents hope to cut through the taboo of infant death

Oct. 15 is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day in B.C.

Quantum 1 cannabis retailer scheduled to open in Similkameen Nov. 1

Owner Russ Rossi promises modern shopping experience

Cheating husband sues mistress for gifted ring after wife learns about affair

The husband gave his mistress $1,000 to buy herself a ring in December 2017

B.C. boosts legal aid funding in new payment contract

‘Duty counsel’ service restored in some communities, David Eby says

Okanagan man killed in head-on collision on Highway 1 near Salmon Arm

Police say 21-year-old died at scene after pickup truck collided with transport trailer

Most Read