Feds cancel turban pat-down screening for flights within Canada
BY CHERYL CHAN, THE PROVINCE JUNE 17, 2015
Ottawa has cancelled a new airport screening policy that subjected Sikhs to mandatory pat-downs of their turbans.
The policy was quietly implemented on April 15, but on Tuesday, Transport Minister Lisa Raitt’s office said the protocol will be reversed immediately for flights within Canada.
The reversal was welcomed by the World Sikh Organization of Canada, which hours before had put out a release condemning the policy.
“We are happy to see that the discriminatory policy requiring the mandatory secondary screening of turbans and other religious headgear for explosives has been reversed,” said Amritpal Singh Shergill, the organization’s president.
Shergill said he was shocked such a policy had been introduced without consultation or notice.
The group had sent a letter to the ministry in May outlining its concerns. Its requests to meet with Raitt were unsuccessful.
The procedure remains in effect for flights to the United States, but Raitt’s office said it is working on finding an alternative protocol for U.S.-bound flights.