Household of kid caught on ‘no-fly record’ hopeful new redress system will ease journey
A family in London, Ontario hopes air travel will not be as traumatic and time-consuming after the federal government introduced a new system to better identify those affected by Canada’s “no-fly list”.
“I’m glad we made a positive impact and that the government made an effort to work with us on it,” said Zamir Khan, whose son Sebastian has since been detained at airports for additional security checks, six months old.
It was several years before Khan and his family realized that his now six-year-old son was under special scrutiny because his name matches someone on Canada’s no-fly list.
On Wednesday, Public Security Minister Bill Blair said that in the coming days, certain travelers like Sebastian Khan will be able to apply for a Canadian Travel Number, a unique number that they can use when booking a flight to distinguish them from those people the list.
The no-fly list, formerly known as the Passenger Protection Program, was introduced in 2007 to prevent people believed to be a potential security threat from boarding commercial aircraft.
But because it’s based on names rather than unique identifiers like dates of birth or passport numbers, hundreds of innocent Canadians like Sebastian Khan have been mistakenly flagged as a threat, making travel much more stressful than usual with additional security checkpoints and invasive interviews.
“We were luckier because of Sebastian’s very young age,” said Khan, who advocates change with other parents in a no-fly list kids group.
“To us it looked like we could never check into our flights using the normal methods. We always had to show up at the check-in counter fairly early, and without us realizing we did.” A call is being made to a serious type of security member who would do this [have to give the] Okay that Sebastian was allowed to board the flight. “
“We have met other families who have older children and young men who have been detained and treated in less than acceptable ways as a result. This has created a lot of stigma for them,” he said.
Khan is confident the legal protection system will make it easier for him and other families with children on the list to travel.
“We’re not going anywhere at the moment and not for the foreseeable future, but we believe that we will then be able to fly normally with Sebastian without having to make a difference in our approach.”
According to the federal government, the online application for a Canadian travel number will be published in the next two weeks.
Afternoon drive8:22The London dad hopes federal changes will resolve issues related to Canada’s no-fly list.