Passenger Protect Program (PPP)

How the PPP Works

The PPP is an air security program that prevents individuals who may pose a threat to air security or who may travel by air to commit a terrorist act through additional security screening or preventing them from boarding a plane.

Passengers travelling to, from and within Canada are screened against the Secure Air Travel Act (SATA) list. In 2018, there were over 3 million flights by air carriers at major airports in Canada with over 156 million domestic and international air passengers.

The Secure Air Travel Act (SATA)

The SATA provides the legislative framework for the PPP. It enhances transportation and national security by providing the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness (or delegate) with the authority to place an individual on the SATA list.

The SATA List

The SATA list (sometimes called Canada’s “No Fly List”) is a list of people for whom the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness (or delegate) has determined there are reasonable grounds to suspect they could be a threat to aviation and/or national security and intend to travel by air for the purpose of terrorism.

The SATA list is an official government record which includes the name, any aliases, date of birth, gender and other information that serves to identify an individual.

For security and privacy reasons, the SATA prevents Public Safety Canada, and any partners, to disclose whether someone is on, or is not, on the SATA list. The Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness (or delegate) must review the SATA list every 90 days to determine whether the grounds for which a person’s name was added still exist and whether the person’s name should remain on the list.

How the SATA list is made

The Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness (or delegate), determines who will be placed on the SATA list based on information provided by an Advisory Group chaired by Public Safety with officials from Transport Canada, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada as well as the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA).

The Advisory Group considers information on individuals whom they suspect may pose a threat to transportation security, or who may be looking to travel by air for terrorism-related purposes.

The principles of Gender Based Analysis Plus (GBA+) are applied during the SATA listing process to ensure that any potential biases are eliminated during the decision-making process. Examples of information that is removed when considering whether to list an individual include the name, gender and photos of the person.

Deciding to list an individual is a rigorous process which includes meeting a certain legal threshold. When making a recommendation, an official must provide sufficient information to meet this threshold in order to support the addition of the individual’s name to the SATA list.

For example, an individual could be added to the list because there is evidence which clearly demonstrates that the person is affiliated with a terrorist entity. Religious affiliation is not a reason to be added to the SATA list.

How the SATA list is used in screening

Passengers travelling on commercial flights to, from and within Canada are screened against the SATA list.

If a passenger is on the SATA list, they are flagged to the commercial air carrier and actions are taken to prevent any potential risks. These actions may include additional security screening or preventing the passenger from boarding the plane.

If an individual is denied boarding under SATA, they receive a letter from the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness which contains instructions on how to apply for recourse and to request being removed from the SATA list. It is important to note that there are many reasons why someone may be denied boarding of an aircraft that are not related to the SATA list. Some examples include the presence of that individual’s name on other country or airline security lists and invalid travel documents.

Impact on travellers

In some cases, the SATA list causes delays for travellers because their name is identical or similar to someone who is on the list.

If you often have delays at the airport, visit "Understanding Your Travel Issues" to learn more.

Roles and Responsibilities

Public Safety leads the administration of the PPP and works with security agencies and other federal government partners to add and remove individuals from the SATA list.

The CBSA is responsible for the technology and infrastructure for the centralized screening of passengers for air travel, as well as the testing and onboarding of air carriers to communicate with the centralized screening solution.

Transport Canada works with Public Safety to manage potential matches against the SATA list and with air carriers to ensure compliance with the Secure Air Travel Regulations.

Laws and regulations

Date modified: