[Archive Home][Date Prev][Date Next][Index]
"Report underlines security gaps at Canadian airports"
Thursday, December 14, 2006
Report underlines security gaps at airports
By Andrew Mayeda
Canada - The Ottawa Citizen
OTTAWA - A Senate committee says a new report prepared for the federal
government on airport security doesn't go far enough in key areas such as
screening of airport workers.
Transport Minister Lawrence Cannon tabled the report in Parliament this
A panel of security and airport experts prepared the report as part of the
government's five-year review of the Canadian Air Transport Security
Authority, created in 2002 to oversee passenger screening and other duties.
The report recommends CATSA continue to conduct random security checks of
airport workers passing through restricted areas. But the Senate committee
on national security and defence believes workers and other non-passengers
should be screened every time they enter or leave such areas.
"They're missing the boat," said Liberal Senator and committee chair Colin
Kenny, an outspoken critic of Canada's airport-security measures. "Why are
we wasting all of our time and money searching passengers the way we are
when we're leaving the side door and the back door wide open?"
The committee says it has received evidence that, under the random-search
regime, only one to two per cent of workers are screened. It notes that in
countries such as Britain, all non-passengers entering restricted areas are
"We've had testimony from ground crews telling us how easy it is to evade
the random screening," said Kenny.
The Senators also object to a recommendation that Transport Canada continue
to serve as the regulator of "overall security" at Canadian airports.
"We don't think that Transport Canada has demonstrated the competence to
handle airport security," said Kenny, who would like responsibility for
airport security transferred to the Public Safety ministry and the RCMP.
His committee argues airports are "riddled with security gaps" more than
five years after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. It believes rigorous
passenger screening creates the illusion airports are secure, despite holes
in the surveillance of baggage and cargo and the screening of airport
The report does recommend Transport Canada accelerate the development of a
program for screening air cargo, screen vehicles entering restricted areas
and expand passenger screening to private airfields used for charter
But Kenny said Transport Canada has been dragging its feet on issues such as
cargo screening. "The government has been conducting a two-year study on how
to deal with air cargo. To put it kindly, that's a dollar short and a day
However, Jim Facette, president of the Canadian Airports Council, said he
was pleased with the general direction of the recommendations. It doesn't
appear that CATSA would overly encroach on the jurisdiction of the
non-profit authorities that manage the country's major airports. "The
balance would remain essentially the same."
But he said his organization has concerns about whether CATSA is adequately
"I'm not sure the recommendations address CATSA's financial requirements and
its ability to raise funding for the projects that need funding."
Natalie Sarafian, a spokeperson for Cannon, said the minister is still
studying the report and will likely table a response in the spring.
Do you have an opinion about this story?
Share it with other readers in our CAA Discussion Forums
Fair Use Notice
This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of political, human rights, economic, democracy and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.html. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.
If you have any queries regarding this issue, please Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org