Canada Removes Restrictions for Carry On Baggage and Introduces Behaviour Observation Program

Here is some happy news for anyone planning to travel to the United States. Last week, Canada’s Transport Minister John Baird announced that, effective April 8, 2010, airline passengers traveling to the United States from Canada will be permitted to bring two carry-on bags and one personal item along for their travels.

The Government of Canada recently tightened restrictions on the number of carry-on bags allowed on US-bound flights following the December 25, 2009 “Underwear Bomber” incident and the ensuing security measures by the United States government.  The Canadian government has now restored the pre-December 25 carry-on baggage policy.

In addition, the Transport Minister announced new measures aimed at bolstering Canada’s aviation safety system.  The most controversial of these measures appear to be the introduction of full body scanners (see our March 16 entry for more on this) and the implementation of a “passenger behaviour observation” program.  According to Transport Canada, the latter program focuses on identifying irregular or suspicious behaviour, such as “wearing heavy clothes on a hot day or sweating profusely”.

The Government will also look to strengthen the existing explosive trace detection system and provide new funding to enhance the aviation security budget in the coming year.

So go ahead. Pack your bags for your next flight south of the border, and prepare to be greeted by these new security measures.  Just don’t sweat it (or you might find yourself being interrogated by a Passenger Behaviour Observation screening officer)!

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