Aviation Security

Since the September 11, 2001, tragedy in New York, Canada has acted proactively to enhance security in aircraft and airports and ensure passengers' safety. The Government recognised that a legislated authority with trained professionals was needed to address new security challenges. In May 2002, a Crown Corporation, the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA) formally came into being and took responsibility from the airlines for screening their passengers and bags. With smuggled explosives posing the greatest risk to life and equipment, CATSA quickly developed a National Deployment Plan for explosives detection systems (EDS), to screen baggage destined for planes' cargo holds.

CATSA employs more than 4,000 screening officers to process about 150,000 passengers daily. Each year, CATSA typically identifies and intercepts more than 700,000 prohibited items, including weapons, to make air travel more secure.

The CATSA Act also created the Canadian Air Carrier Protective Program (CACPP). CACPP's goal is to enhance the safety and security of aircraft cabins and passengers by placing specially trained, armed RCMP officers onboard aircraft. Known in Canada as Air Protective Officers or APOs, these officers are mandated with preventing a person or group from illegally seizing control of an aircraft.

Canada contributes to International efforts through the G8 and the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). Aims are to bring about change by promoting standards to secure cockpit doors on passenger planes, sharing information on high-risk passengers and developing better tools to screen cargo. Through the Wassenaar Arrangement, Canada also advocates for effective controls on low-cost, man-portable-air-defence-systems (MANPADS) which can easily be used against civil aircraft. We also continue to work with our international partners to set global standards for transportation security, through such bodies as the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), the Organization of American States (OAS) and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).

In March 2006, Canada ratified a Treaty with the European Union to share air passenger information to identify air passengers who may pose threats to fellow passengers or aircraft, while protecting most individuals' privacy.