Requirements for face coverings at screening checkpoints (non-passengers)

Screening Officers, and all passengers and non-passengers who require screening at Canadian airports.CATSA continues to closely monitor this unprecedented pandemic situation to ensure it can continue to effectively deliver on its mandate while safeguarding the well-being of its employees, Screening Officers, and all passengers and non-passengers who require screening at Canadian airports.

In response to the evolving situation and the latest guidance from public-health officials and Transport Canada, CATSA has instituted the following changes:

  • Passengers and non-passengers are required to wear a face covering during screening;
  • Screening Officers are required to wear a face covering in all positions at all checkpoints, and are required to wear a face shield, in addition to the face covering, if the individual being screened cannot wear a face covering; and
  • CATSA employees who work at the checkpoint or in functions where physical distancing is not possible, as well as those working in airports where face coverings are mandatory in all public areas, will be required to wear one.

CATSA is taking every step possible to support its employees, the screening workforce and all those who require screening at its checkpoints. Like all of its key partners and stakeholders operating in Canada’s airports, CATSA’s goal is to ensure that everyone working in and travelling through these airports does so as safely and securely as possible at this challenging time.

Questions and Answers

Q. Will CATSA provide non-passengers with face coverings?

A. No. Temporary regulatory measures brought in by Transport Canada require non-passengers to provide their own face coverings and arrive at screening checkpoints ready to cover their mouths and noses.

Q. What is an acceptable face covering?

A. Acceptable face coverings are those that cover the nose and mouth and are properly secured to the head, which include but are not limited to disposable face masks and homemade masks. Face coverings that are not acceptable include:

  • face coverings with exhalation valves or vents;
  • bandanas and neck gaiters;
  • militaristic masks such as gas masks; and
  • face coverings that cover the entire face.

Q. What if the individual being screened can’t wear a face covering?

A. If you cannot wear a face covering for medical or health reasons, you will be asked if you have a medical certificate signed by a medical professional confirming that you are unable to wear a face covering. Screening Officers will follow adjusted screening processes that have been created to accommodate these situations, including donning a face shield in addition to their face covering. Please be patient and follow Screening Officer instructions at all times.

Q. What if a non-passenger objects to screening that requires close contact such as a physical search, wanding or trace of person?

A. All non-passengers are required to wear a face covering when going through a non-passenger checkpoint (NPS) for the foreseeable future. All individuals who are subject to security screening at a non-passenger screening checkpoint may be required to undergo processes that require close physical contact. Non-passengers who do not have a face covering will be asked to leave and return with an acceptable option in order to continue with the screening process. Should individuals access the sterile area through a pre-board screening (PBS) checkpoint, they will also have to wear a face covering.

Q. What if an individual refuses to undergo screening or to wear a face covering during screening?

A. The airport authority will be contacted if any non-passenger refuses to undergo screening, and the non-passenger must surrender their RAIC and leave the checkpoint. Should they continue to enter the restricted area or become unruly, CATSA will initiate its emergency procedures.

Q. What if an individual subject to screening does not have a face covering?

A. Acceptable face coverings are those that cover the nose and mouth and are properly secured to the head, which include but are not limited to disposable face masks and homemade masks. All non-passengers are asked to arrive at the screening checkpoint with a face covering. Every effort will be made to remind non-passengers of this requirement in advance of the screening process (e.g. verbal reminders from Screening Officers, signage at the front of the screening checkpoint). Non-passengers who do not have a face covering will be asked to leave and return with an acceptable option in order to continue with the screening process.

Q. Will individuals be asked to remove their face covering during screening?

A. The partial or full removal of a face covering may be required for identification purposes, or to resolve an alarm that occurs in the head area during the security screening process. However, the Screening Officer will follow proper screening procedures in these cases to avoid face-to-face interactions whenever possible.

Q. Why has CATSA determined that face coverings are now necessary during the screening process?

A. CATSA is constantly monitoring the evolution of this pandemic, and closely follows the guidance of public-health officials. In the early stages of the outbreak, face coverings were not recommended except in specific situations. More recently, the Public Health Agency of Canada, Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer and others have recommended wider use of face coverings as an additional measure people can take to protect those around them. As a result, Transport Canada has issued an interim order requiring face coverings to be worn by passengers and non-passengers during security screening. It should be strongly noted that wearing a face covering does not replace the need to protect yourself and others by practicing proper hand hygiene, cough and sneezing etiquette, and physical distancing of at least two metres.