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Locked Checked Baggage

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Transport Canada is always looking for ways to improve the efficiency of the screening process at airports. In Canada, screening of people and their bags has been the responsibility of the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA) for over 15 years. That is why we are proposing to have the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA), rather than airlines, cut locks and seals on checked bags it needs to open and search. The current requirement to have airlines do this is out of date and goes back before CATSA was created.

To protect air travellers, we are also proposing regulations that would require CATSA to:

  • notify passengers that their bag was opened and searched
  • keep a record of each time this happens (e.g. CCTV footage, data log)

This isn’t a question about whether or not bags need to be opened, but rather who is best placed to do so in a way that protects the safety and security of travellers.

Cutting locks and seals on checked baggage

CATSA screens all checked baggage with x-ray equipment before it is placed on an aircraft. Sometimes the x-ray finds a suspicious item in a bag. Although this is not common, when it happens, CATSA must open the bag for a physical search before clearing it for safe transport.

If you lock your bag with a type of lock CATSA can’t unlock, or if the bag is sealed (for example, with a cable tie or plastic wrap), CATSA must contact the airline for help. An airline representative either cuts the lock or seal so CATSA can search the bag, or holds the bag at the departure airport until you return. In this situation, a delay in reaching CATSA might mean that a traveller goes to their destination without a bag.

Some travel locks are designed to be opened and relocked by security authorities. Follow this link to learn more about acceptable travel locks.

For more information, you can also refer to our Frequently Asked Questions.

How to participate

We want to hear from you! Provide your feedback by July 8, 2019.

  • Fill out a short survey to help us learn more about air travellers
  • Join the discussion forum via the “Have your say” tab, or
  • Send a formal written submission via the “Submissions” tab

Transport Canada is always looking for ways to improve the efficiency of the screening process at airports. In Canada, screening of people and their bags has been the responsibility of the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA) for over 15 years. That is why we are proposing to have the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA), rather than airlines, cut locks and seals on checked bags it needs to open and search. The current requirement to have airlines do this is out of date and goes back before CATSA was created.

To protect air travellers, we are also proposing regulations that would require CATSA to:

  • notify passengers that their bag was opened and searched
  • keep a record of each time this happens (e.g. CCTV footage, data log)

This isn’t a question about whether or not bags need to be opened, but rather who is best placed to do so in a way that protects the safety and security of travellers.

Cutting locks and seals on checked baggage

CATSA screens all checked baggage with x-ray equipment before it is placed on an aircraft. Sometimes the x-ray finds a suspicious item in a bag. Although this is not common, when it happens, CATSA must open the bag for a physical search before clearing it for safe transport.

If you lock your bag with a type of lock CATSA can’t unlock, or if the bag is sealed (for example, with a cable tie or plastic wrap), CATSA must contact the airline for help. An airline representative either cuts the lock or seal so CATSA can search the bag, or holds the bag at the departure airport until you return. In this situation, a delay in reaching CATSA might mean that a traveller goes to their destination without a bag.

Some travel locks are designed to be opened and relocked by security authorities. Follow this link to learn more about acceptable travel locks.

For more information, you can also refer to our Frequently Asked Questions.

How to participate

We want to hear from you! Provide your feedback by July 8, 2019.

  • Fill out a short survey to help us learn more about air travellers
  • Join the discussion forum via the “Have your say” tab, or
  • Send a formal written submission via the “Submissions” tab
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