"These changes to screening procedures will bring Canada in line with international standards and our partner countries, while continuing to keep passengers safe."
The Canadian government is to introduce more stringent rules relating to hand luggage at all its airports, prohibiting certain powders and granular materials with a volume exceeding 350ml, but also relaxing rules on bladed items.
Transport Canada’s amendments, made to “harmonize with international standards and partner countries”, will take effect on 27 November. Prohibited materials include bath salts, baby powder, cooking powder and sand, while knife blades under 6cm could now be included on carry-on luggage. Razor blades and box cutters remain on the banned list.
The new stance on short bladed weapons isn’t one shared by Canada’s US neighbours or Australia, where blades regardless of size aren’t permitted in any airports across the countries. They are allowed across Europe in line with EU standards.
Marc Garneau, the Minister of Transport in Canada, said the safety of its citizens was its main priority. “These changes to screening procedures will bring Canada in line with international standards and our partner countries, while continuing to keep passengers safe. The Government of Canada remains vigilant in continuously assessing security risks.”
Powders not covered by the ban include baby formula, protein powder, tea and coffee – all of which are now permitted in any quantity that falls within baggage weight allowance. The stipulation that liquid containers must hold no more than 100ml remains in place.
The decision to allow small bladed items was particularly welcomed by members of the Sikh community, many of whom choose to carry small ceremonial daggers – known as a kirpan – with them at all times. The organisation set up to protect Sikh interests in Canada, World Sikh Organisation of Canada (WSO), spoke earlier in the year about a proposed relaxing of the bladed items law and said it shared concerns with the Canadadian government over transport security for passengers.
Mukhbir Singh, WSO president said: “By adopting the European Union standard on blade length, Sikh travellers in Canada will be able to wear kirpans with blades of up to 6cm in length. It is important to understand however, that the size requirements will be enforced strictly and Sikh travellers wishing to travel with their kirpan meets the size requirements.”
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