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Saturday,  April 20, 2024 11:01 PM 

Belts on, laptops in: Ottawa revamps trusted-traveller program to speed up airport lines


Belts on, laptops in: Ottawa revamps trusted-traveller program to speed up airport lines
Transport Minister Omar Alghabra announced the new “Verified Traveller Program” on Tuesday (May 23). (File photo)
Michael Pihach

Michael Pihach is an award-winning journalist with a keen interest in digital storytelling. In addition to PAX, Michael has also written for CBC Life, Ryerson University Magazine, IN Magazine, and DailyXtra.ca. Michael joins PAX after years of working at popular Canadian television shows, such as Steven and Chris, The Goods and The Marilyn Denis Show.

The federal government announced a revamp of its trusted-traveller program on Tuesday (May 23) to help keep passengers moving at airports as the busy summer travel season begins.

Ottawa’s new “Verified Traveller Program” promises a faster and more efficient screening experience for eligible travellers at select airports across Canada.

The program will replace the current Trusted Traveller Program, according to a government press release.

Speaking at a press conference at Toronto Pearson airport on Tuesday, Transport Minister Omar Alghabra said eligible passengers will include NEXUS members, military personnel, Canadian police officers and aviation workers.

Transport Minister Omar Alghabra (centre) walks through security at Toronto Pearson. (Twitter/@OmarAlghabra)

Members of these groups will, for example, be able to pass through security checkpoints more quickly with certain allowances, such as being able to keep their shoes, a belt and a light jacket on.

Eligible travellers will also be allowed to keep laptops, large electronics and compliant liquids and gels in their carry on, the Minister added.

The program will be implemented between June 7 and 21, Alghabra said.

Upon completion, it will be available at select domestic and international checkpoints at the following airports:

  • Vancouver International Airport
  • Edmonton International Airport
  • Calgary International Airport
  • Winnipeg International Airport
  • Toronto-Pearson International Airport T1 and T3
  • Montreal-Trudeau International Airport

The program will also now allow children who are 17 and younger and adults who are 75 and older to accompany verified travellers through security “provided they are on the same reservation,” the Minister noted.

“Overall, as membership grows over time, the new Verified Traveller Program will help improve the screening experience for more and more passengers while supporting the highest standards of safety and security,” Alghabra told reporters.  

With that, the Minister said that he expects a “very busy” summer travel season, noting that the government, and its aviation and airport partners, “are ready” for what’s ahead.

The program builds on Ottawa’s $1.8 billion investment for the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA), which was presented in Budget 2023 as part of a promise to combat congestion at airports.

In addition, the government, last month, tabled an overhaul to Canada’s Air Passenger Protection Regulations (APPR) to address the issues of lost luggage and flight disruptions.

The beefed-up measures aim to tighten “loopholes” to traveller compensation and deliver harsher penalties for cancelled or postponed flights. 


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