Biometric airport ID cards coming to Canada

Canadian officials said they intend to deploy a new biometric identification card for 120,000 aviation workers at 29 major airports by year's end.

Minister of Transport Lawrence Cannon proposed to implement the new Restricted Area Identity Card for airport personnel including flight crews, refuelers and caterers.

Authorized by Transport Canada and the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority, the card will incorporate fingerprints and iris scans, according to a Nov. 10 government news statement.

The card is touted as "the world's first-ever dual-biometric airport identification system," because it will use both fingerprint and iris biometrics, the announcement said.

"We are always exploring methods to continuously improve all aspects of aviation security," Cannon said in a statement. "Biometric technology is used around the world by security and police organizations to authenticate identity, and it will play an important role in helping to keep Canada's airports and skies safe."

Proposed amendments to implement the new card system were to be published Nov. 11, with a 15-day public comment period. The regulations were to include provisions on what data the cards would display; how they are to be issued, activated and deactivated; and how they would work with access control features, among other issues.

Airports to use the card include Calgary International; Charlottetown; Edmonton International; Fredericton; Gander International; Halifax International; Iqaluit; Kelowna International; London International; Moncton International; Montreal - Pierre Elliott Trudeau International; Montreal-Mirabel International; Ottawa Macdonald-Cartier International; Prince George; Quebec - Jean Lesage International; Regina; Saint John; St. John's International; Saskatoon John G. Diefenbaker International; Greater Sudbury; Thunder Bay International; Toronto City Centre; Toronto Lester B. Pearson International; Vancouver International; Victoria International; Whitehorse; Windsor; Winnipeg International; and Yellowknife.

About the Author

Alice Lipowicz is a staff writer covering government 2.0, homeland security and other IT policies for Federal Computer Week.

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