The Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade presents its compliments to Their Excellencies the Heads of Diplomatic Missions and notified Chargés d'Affaires, a.i. accredited to Canada and has the honour to clarify the matter of air carrier security measures at Canadian airports.
Under the existing Canadian Aviation Security Regulations set fourth by Transport Canada, Heads of State, Heads of Government and accompanying members of their immediate family only may apply for exemption from airport pre-board passenger screening. Transport Canada will subsequently facilitate the exemption provided that the air carrier agrees. Exemption from passenger screening does not currently apply to members of their immediate entourage, members of diplomatic representation accredited to Canada, as well as to visitors, including those at the Ministerial level1.
Security measures have also been enhanced by Transport Canada so that passengers' footwear, including insoles, and electronic equipment may be subject to a thorough inspection, as well as any footwear in the carry-on baggage. For U.S. flights, similar searches may be conducted immediately prior to boarding. To expedite screening, passengers should be prepared to demonstrate that electronic devices in their possession operate when submitting themselves to security screening.
The Department would further like to inform the Heads of Diplomatic Missions and notified Chargés d'Affaires, a.i. that airports have enhanced restricted area access controls. At present, the area near Canada Customs is consequently no longer an area for VIP greeting. Further, kindly note that the authorities at Macdonald-Cartier Airport in Ottawa have reinstated the special parking area for the diplomatic corps.
The Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade avails itself of this opportunity to renew to Their Excellencies the Heads of Diplomatic Missions and notified Chargés d'Affaires, a.i. accredited to Canada the assurances of its highest consideration.
OTTAWA, February 27, 2002
1 The policy of random screening of passengers instituted at Canadian airports is part of the normal measures aimed at safeguarding the security of the public and the air transportation system. In this regard, members of diplomatic representations accredited to Canada are not generally exempt from such measures, nor can Canada obligate private air carriers to accept unscreened passengers on board their aircraft. It follows that the Department does not view the random search requirement as a violation of Canada's international obligation.