British Columbia

Travel delays for B.C. family who says daughter's name on no-fly list

Alia Mohamed's family has to provide proof of her identity when checking in on Canadian flights

Khaled and Alia Mohamed

Khaled and Alia Mohamed. (Amber Cammish)

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A Vancouver Island mother says air travel with her four-year-old daughter requires more time and more documents than the average child.

Amber Cammish recently traveled with her daughter, Alia Mohamed, to Terrace, B.C..

"They had originally requested a passport or her birth certificate ... both of those had to be copied, faxed, sent over to the border services," explained Cammish.

"They had to verify her identity and then get a manager from Air Canada to go ahead and print my boarding passes."

This Isn't the first time Cammish has been through this when checking in for a flight. She says it's because Alia's name matches one on Canada's no-fly list.

It's also affecting their future travel plans. Alia's grandmother was thinking of taking her to England for a family reunion. That plan has been shelved over concerns Alia wouldn't be permitted back in Canada.​

Redress system in the works

Dating back to 2007, Canada's no-fly list — officially called the Specified Persons List under the Secure Air Travel Act (SATA) — has been estimated to contain the names of as many as 2,000 people considered a threat, though government officials refuse to confirm any numbers.

Alia Mohamed

Four-year-old Alia Mohamed's mother suspects she is on Canada's so-called No Fly List. (Amber Cammish)

The American Civil Liberties Union has estimated the U.S. no-fly list contains more than a million names.

In a statement, a spokesperson from Canada's Public Safety department said, "a long-term solution is being developed that would allow Public Safety to electronically screen air passenger information against the SATA list, providing an effective approach to redress." 

The tabled legislation would put in place a system similar to the redress system in the United States. It would provide a number to those whose name matches one on the security list, clearing them from further screening.

Air Canada and the government also recommend affected travellers register for a loyalty card ,as that would help further confirm the travellers' identity.

Hopeful for delay-free travel

For Cammish, the redress system can't come soon enough. 

"I know it's such an easy solution ... we hope it can pass through budget this year ,so we can start this process," said Cammish.

"Every Canadian deserves freedom to travel within their own country."

Cammish is hopeful the redress system will be put in place before Alia is old enough to travel on her own.

Amber Cammish and kids

Amber Cammish (top) worries about future travel with her children because of the added security her daughter has to go through. (Amber Cammish)

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