United States to introduce rules affecting Canadian travel to the US and in transit

Many people flying out of Canada can expect even more scrutiny and delays as the United States government is implementing new rules that would pull the personal information of Canadian passengers who are flying over the United States – for example, from Canada to Mexico.

According to Canada’s assistant privacy commissioner, the Canadian government is pretty much powerless and unable to prevent the new rules as the United States effectively controls their own air space and everyone else must abide by U.S. law when they enter into it.

The new rules come into effect in December and go by the name of Homeland Security’s Secure Flight Policy.

These rules will make life even more difficult for those with names similar or identical to those on the No Fly List – which many innocent people do, from children to military personnel – and the list has come under fire before for including mostly ethnic or foreign-sounding names and has been accused of giving rise to racial profiling.

If someone is unfortunate enough to create a false positive and flag the system, it can take up between 50 and 60 days to reverse and resolve it. Hopefully travelers won’t take their vacations, business trips and family visits too seriously, as this will effectively cancel any trip they planned on taking.

Even if there is no match to the name of someone on the No-Fly List, important private information such as your passport and itinerary information, sex, birthdate and name will be kept by the government for an undetermined amount of time and disclosed to anyone they see fit for purposes such as law enforcement, immigration and other security reasons.

Meanwhile, while many United States flights fly over Canada, the government of Canada is not considering any similar action.

Michael Niren

About Michael Niren

Michael is a graduate of Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto. He is a member of the Law Society of Upper Canada, the Canadian Bar Association’s Citizenship and Immigration Section and the Associate Member of the American Bar Association. Read more

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