After being contacted by a Sikh whose turban was aggressively patted down during security screening at Toronto's Pearson International Airport, the World Sikh Organization of Canada (WSO) has been in contact with the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA) for a clarification on screening procedures for the turban in Canadian airports.
In response to WSO's inquiry, CATSA has clarified that all head coverings are screened. If there is an alarm in the area of the head covering, the screening officer will take steps to resolve the alarm. The passenger will be asked to remove the object (pin, emblem, etc) that caused the alarm. If the alarm persists, standard procedures will be used to resolve the alarm, which may include the use of a hand held metal detector, a visual inspection or a physical search. If the alarm still cannot be resolved, a further search of the turban may be necessary. The passenger will be offered a private search which may require the turban to be removed.
The turban should not be handled or touched at first instance and an opportunity will be provided to the passenger to remove any object which may be causing the alarm.
If you believe that you have been treated improperly during an airport security screening or that your turban has been inappropriately handled, please immediately contact WSO. CATSA maintains video footage of security screenings for 30 days and footage of any complaint can be reviewed and action taken.