Parents, Muslim group welcome budget’s $81 million for federal no-fly fixes

Federal money will be used to develop ‘rigorous centralized screening model’ and advocates are pleased

A pilot taxis an Air Canada Airbus A320-200 to a gate after arriving at Vancouver International Airport in Richmond, B.C., on Monday February 3, 2014. Parents of young children and a national Muslim group are welcoming a federal budget commitment to address fairness and privacy concerns with Canada’s no-fly list. (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press)

Parents of young children and a national Muslim group are welcoming a federal budget commitment to address fairness and privacy concerns with Canada’s no-fly list.

The budget sets aside $81.4 million over five years, starting in 2018–19, and $14 million a year ongoing, to remake the much-maligned no-fly program. The money will go to the Canada Border Services Agency, Public Safety and Transport Canada.

Families from the group known as the No Fly List Kids successfully pressed the government to redesign the system after many nerve-racking airport delays due to children being mismatched with people on the no-fly roster.

Zamir Khan, whose three-year-old boy Sebastian has been repeatedly delayed at the check-in counter, applauded the federal announcement. Khan said he looked forward to “that day where I can travel with my son without having to worry about him being flagged any more.”

The federal money will be used to develop “a rigorous centralized screening model” as well as a redress system for legitimate air travellers caught up in the no-fly web, the federal budget plan says.

Parents and children from No Fly List Kids came to Ottawa in November to make their case to MPs and ministers with the aim of ensuring that funding for a new system to end the glitches was included in the budget.

The group enlisted support from MPs of all stripes who wrote letters to encourage Finance Minister Bill Morneau to allocate the money.

Those affected say the mistaken matches frequently involve Muslim- or Arabic-sounding names, raising the question of charter of rights guarantees of equality under the law.

The National Council of Canadian Muslims called the federal plan “a welcome step forward,” noting the council has documented numerous cases of persons wrongly flagged on the list.

“In each instance, the inability of victims to access basic information about their file and to subsequently clear their names is deeply concerning,” council spokeswoman Leila Nasr said Tuesday.

Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale has said the overall solution entails passing legislation now before Parliament, enacting regulations and building a computer system from the ground up.

The revised program will help ensure that privacy and fairness concerns are addressed, while keeping Canadians safe, the budget plan says.

The legislation being studied by MPs would amend the Secure Air Travel Act to allow the public safety minister to tell parents that their child is not on the Canadian no-fly list, meaning the name simply matches that of someone who is actually listed. The government says this would provide assurance to parents about their child’s status.

The bill, part of a broad package of security-related measures, would also allow federal officials to electronically screen air passenger information against the list, a process currently in the hands of airlines.

The government says this would prevent false name matches by enabling it to issue unique redress numbers for pre-flight verification of identity. But it also means creating a new computer system to do the job.

Jim Bronskill, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Chilliwack art show fundraiser, One Foot by One Foot, helps mental health community

Sales from Chilliwack Visual Artists Association show benefit two local charities

Excel Martial Arts raises more than $5,000 for family of Chilliwack man killed in workplace accident

By-donation fundraiser event helps wife, three children of 28-year-old Nathan Appleton of Chilliwack

Seven Days in Chilliwack for the week of Dec. 17

A list of community events happening in Chilliwack from Dec. 17 to 23

Chilliwack Lions Club has a new place to call home

After more than five years without a headquarters, Chilliwack Lions Club moves into new hall

Sardis Falcons top Heritage Woods in field lacrosse opener

The Falcons rallied from a halftime hole to take a big win on the road in Port Moody.

Trudeau to make it harder for future PM to reverse Senate reforms

Of the 105 current senators, 54 are now independents who have banded together in Independent Senators’ Group

Canada’s ambassador meets with second detainee in China

Global Affairs says John McCallum, Canada’s ambassador to China, met with Spavor Sunday

B.C. VIEWS: Andrew Wilkinson on taxes, ICBC and union changes

Opposition leader sees unpredictable year ahead in 2019

5 tips for self-care, mental wellness this holiday season

Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions urging British Columbians to prioritize self care through festive season

Rescued B.C. cat with misshapen legs in need of forever home – with carpet

Mirielle was born with misshapen back legs and after a tough life on the streets, is looking for a forever home.

VIDEO: Craft growers will add to recreational market, cannabis producer says

Two B.C. men say their expertise in running small legal medical grow-ops a benefit to recreational market

World Sikh Organization demands Canada prove Sikh extremism is a threat

Sikh community says this is first time such extremism has been mentioned in federal terror-threat assessment

Risk of catching the flu increasing in B.C. this holiday season: BCCDC

Dr. Danuta Skowronski with the BC Centre for Disease Control says influenza will pick up during the holidays

Boeser has 2 points as Canucks ground Flyers 5-1

WATCH: Vancouver has little trouble with slumping Philly side

Most Read