Canada Not Adopting US-Style Airport Patdowns

November 25, 2010

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Canada has no plans to introduce airport patdowns for domestic flights that have angered passengers in the United States, the country's senior transport official said on Wednesday.

The federal government co-ordinates with the United States on airline security but also recognises Canadians have a right to be "treated properly and respectfully at airports," Transport Minister Chuck Strahl told reporters in Ottawa.

The enhanced US screening methods, which have drawn complaints from some Americans and lawmakers, involve revealing full-body imaging scanners and intimate physical patdowns for travellers who opt out of the scans or raise security concerns.

Canada uses a different technology for the full body scanners that does not have the same radiation issues that have caused concern in the United States, Strahl said. Privacy screens will also be installed at airports for patdowns.

Passengers flying from Canada to the United States will have to go through the US-style screening. "That's an American requirement, not a Canadian one," Strahl said, adding there was no plan to expand it to domestic flights.

At least one senior politician said he has some sympathy for the airport screeners who have to see his images.