AMERICAS: Canada to screen cargo in passenger bellies

In a move mirroring steps already well underway in the US, the Canadian government has announced a C$96 million (US$88.8 million) plan aimed at improving the security of Canadian air cargo, citing the potential for terrorist attacks within the commercial cargo system. The new measures, to be phased in over five years, include additional screening […]


In a move mirroring steps already well underway in the US, the Canadian government has announced a C$96 million (US$88.8 million) plan aimed at improving the security of Canadian air cargo, citing the potential for terrorist attacks within the commercial cargo system. The new measures, to be phased in over five years, include additional screening technologies and more stringent security checks for companies that screen cargo. While all cargo will be subject to the new measures, screening methods may differ based on the type of commodity and its “risk class,” with a number of factors coming into play, from origin and destination, to packaging, to the type of aircraft on which it will travel.

All cargo that is carried on passenger aircraft will receive one of four possible methods of inspection, according to the announcement. Every piece of cargo will either be physically inspected, subject to a canine inspection, an explosive trace verification or, it will be subject to x-ray.

“We must remember that terrorism is not just something that happens somewhere else to someone else,” Transport Minister John Baird said at Toronto’s Pearson Airport. “We cannot and we will not be complacent.”

All cargo, “from computer chips to flowers” will undergo the more rigorous screening process, Baird said, in an effort to keep the Canadian system in line with major trading partners such as the US.