Last updated: 05:09 PM ET, Fri July 10 2015

Majority of Flights Landing at Canada's Secondary Airports Going Unscreened

Impacting Travel | Patrick Clarke | July 10, 2015

Majority of Flights Landing at Canada's Secondary Airports Going Unscreened

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Security at Canada's smaller airports appears to be severely lacking based on current standards. 

According to CTV News, despite the fact that international flights are landing at the country's smaller airports on a daily basis, in most cases border agents aren't on hand to screen who and what is coming into the country.

Data uncovered by a Canada Border Services Agency audit shows that only 15 percent of the more than 442,000 international passengers arriving in the country via private jets and other light aircraft from April 2012 to March 2013 were screened by CBSA officers. 

The reason for the troubling figures is that the smaller airports typically have no CBSA staff.

At these airports, pilots are required to send passenger data, including names, nationalities and birthdates to the agency by phone or fax at least two hours before landing. But that policy has apparently been overlooked. According to government data obtained by CTV News, more than 3,000 flights have failed to provide complete passenger information to the CBSA since 2013. 

What's more, only three fines have been handed down in response to the thousands of violations. 

"The CBSA (has) identified this as a problem. That it continues is astonishing to me," Mount Royal University justice studies professor Kelly Sundberg told CTV News.

Despite the troubling trend, Canada's public safety minister Steven Blaney said the screening system is effective 99 percent of the time. 

"We expect that by the beginning of the new year, the efficiency of the program will be even higher, and in the meantime we fully expect that private airline companies will comply with Canadian regulations — especially on a matter of Canadian safety," said Blaney via CTV News.

Blaney said Canada has plans to shift to a new screening system that would require passenger information to be submitted 72 hours in advance, similar to how countries like the U.S. and Australia currently operate. However, citing sources, CTV News reports it could be as many as two years before such a system is implemented. 

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