Canadian government introduces Public Safety Act

by Canadian Shipper

The Government of Canada has introduced a new legislation package of public safety measures, the Public Safety Act, as part of its Anti-Terrorism Plan.

David Collenette, Minister of Transport, and John Manley, Minister of Foreign Affairs, announced the details of the proposed Public Safety Act, which includes amendments to a number of existing Acts.

This legislation, says the government, strengthens its ability to improve the safety of Canadians, to prevent terrorist attacks, and to respond swiftly if a significant threat should arise.

“This legislation will increase our capacity to respond quickly and effectively to threats posed by terrorists to the safety and security of Canadians,” said Collenette.

The Act would establish tighter controls over explosives and would provide for control over the export and transfer of sensitive technology.

It would clarify and, in some cases, strengthen existing aviation security authorities, deter unruly passengers (commonly referred to as “air rage”) by making it an offence to engage in any behaviour that endangers the safety or security of a flight or persons on board. Air carriers or those operating aviation reservation systems would be required to provide basic information on specific passengers or flights when it is needed for security purposes.

It would also speed the implementation of various security amendments already made to the Immigration Act; and deter irresponsible hoaxes that endanger the public or heighten public anxiety.

“Canada already has a solid legal structure to promote public safety, but it was not intended to deal with some of the threats that have emerged since 11 September. Many of the measures in this legislation are just plain common sense. Canadians want these measures in place,” said Manley.

The proposed amendments clarify and strengthen existing authorities. They also give the Government power to issue interim orders in extraordinary circumstances, where they are essential to safety or security.

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