OTTAWA – Small scissors, nail clippers and tools, such as eyeglasses screwdrivers, are now allowed on board during air travel on flights originating in Canada.
Minister of State for Transportation Rob Merrifield made the announcement Thursday, adding that travellers no longer need to stress over small grooming items.
However, there is a six-centimetre limit for these items and knives of any length are still banned, in addition to liquids and gels.
It’s part of an effort to reduce hassles at airports, said Transport Minister Chuck Strahl.
“It’s the result of listening to the aviation security community and to travellers. The ultimate purpose is to achieve the best balance of aviation security and passenger convenience, and I believe we’ve made strides towards achieving that goal.”
“Granted all this has not been easy on passengers. Almost all of us understand the importance on security at our airports, but it’s a process that is more tolerated than enjoyed,” he added.
Other changes are in the works to speed up security screening.
“There will also be new dedicated lanes for families and those with special needs, with equipment specifically designed for bigger items like strollers,” he said.
There will also be new lines for frequent travellers pre-approved under the Nexus card program.
Moreover, other new equipment will be installed to make checking baggage more efficient.
He says the idea is to ensure security, while increasing convenience for travellers by speeding up the security process by 30 per cent.
“We’ve listened to travellers and the aviation security community, and we believe these initiatives achieve the best balance of aviation safety and security, and passenger convenience,” he said.
Strahl said he recognizes the frustration sparked by air security measures.
“It’s a process that’s more tolerated than enjoyed,” he said at a news conference at Ottawa’s airport.
The Transport Department noted in a news release that manicure scissors and miniature screwdrivers pose little threat in an era of reinforced cockpit doors and other routine security measures.
The new rules also bring Canada in line with international standards.
Regulations on acceptable carry-on items have shifted back and forth in recent years in response to attempts by terrorists to circumvent security systems.
For example, the government last fall banned the carrying of large cartridges of copier toner after an attempt was made to down a cargo plane with explosives packed into such a container.
The changes will cost a total of $1.5 billion.