Launched in 2007, the Passenger Protect Program (PPP) is an air passenger security program. The PPP works with air carriers to screen commercial passenger flights to, from and within Canada, and uses measures to mitigate the threat in a proportionate manner if a listed individual attempts to board an aircraft. If an individual poses an immediate threat, the Minister of Transport may issue an emergency direction, including the denial of boarding, to respond to the threat.
Since 2011, the PPP is administered by Public Safety Canada and Transport Canada, in cooperation with several federal departments and agencies. It allows the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, or his/her delegate, to list individuals on the Specified Persons List if there are reasonable grounds to suspect they pose a threat to transportation security.
There is a growing number of individuals travelling from Canada to participate in foreign conflicts such as those in Syria, Somalia, Iraq and Afghanistan. It is essential to identify and respond effectively to individuals who may be traveling to engage in terrorism in order to enhance the security of millions of legitimate travelers. As such, the Government of Canada committed to enhancing the PPP as part of its response to the Final Report of the Air India Inquiry.
These changes would enable the Government to fulfil that commitment and to confront the challenge of terrorist travel by air. Key elements of the Bill include:
- expanding the program mandate to address both threats to transportation security and terrorist travel by air;
- defining the authorities of the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness and the Minister of Transport under the PPP in a new statute specifically designed to support the Program;
- establishing clear authorities for protecting information and how it is shared with domestic and foreign partners; and
- legally defining the recourse mechanisms and judicial review process for people who are affected by decisions made by the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness under the PPP; and
- leveraging new and upcoming systems to centralize and reduce commercial airlines’ burden of screening passengers against the Specified Persons List.
Taken together, these changes would complement existing tools and measures, including the RCMP’s High Risk Travel Case Management Group, various Passport Canada security measures, as well as immigration and border control programs. Ultimately, these changes will support a more effective Passenger Protect Program that could counter a wider range of threats using proportionate measures, while maintaining safeguards to promote privacy and accountability.