Are children required to be screened?
Yes, all passengers are subject to pre-board screening.
CATSA has specific procedures for the screening of infants and very small children to accommodate for holding or cradling by a parent or guardian.
What screening options are available for minors?
All passengers must go through the walk through metal detector or undergo a physical search.
If secondary screening is required, passengers have the option of a physical search, a private physical search, or passing through the full body scanner, where available.
To use the full body scanner, children must be able to stand still and on their own for five seconds.
Passengers always have the right to refuse search; however, they will not be permitted to pass beyond the pre-board screening checkpoint.
What are the physical search procedures for minors?
A physical search involves an external pat-down over the clothes. At times, it may be necessary for a Screening Officer to move, shift or slightly lift the clothing to finalize the search. For more information, watch CATSA’s physical search video.
Regardless of age, the physical search of person may only be conducted by screening personnel of the same sex as the person who is being searched. For infants, the sex of the parent or guardian is the determining factor, not the sex of the child.
When the person being searched is a minor who is less than 12 years of age, a witness of the same sex is needed. Witnesses will be screening personnel or another independent third-party witness (e.g. airline representative, airport security personnel, police officer). In addition, a parent or guardian must also observe the search. If a parent or guardian is not present (e.g., unaccompanied minors), the airline representative must observe the search.
Minors 12 to 15 years of age are entitled to have a guardian, family member or escort observe a private physical search. Such passenger-requested observers do not replace the requirement for screening personnel or an independent third-party witness.
Is the full body scanner safe for minors?
Full body scanners do not pose a risk to human health and safety in single or repeated exposures. Health Canada has assessed the technical information on these devices and concluded that the radio frequency energy emitted by the device is well within Canada's guidelines for safe human exposure.