B.C. men challenge constitutionality of Canada’s secret no-fly list

Parvkar Singh Dulai says he received a “denial of boarding” notification under the no-fly program last May 17

Canada’s no-fly list faces constitutional challenges from two B.C. men who argue in a pair of court cases that the secret roster violates their Charter of Rights guarantee of fundamental justice.

The 12-year-old no-fly regime allows the federal government to bar someone from boarding an airplane because there are grounds to believe he or she would threaten the flight or travel to commit a terrorist act.

Under the system, air carriers must inform Transport Canada when a would-be passenger’s name matches that of a listed person. If the match is confirmed, the public safety minister can direct the airline to do additional screening or prevent the person from flying.

The names of listed people generally do not become public unless they take their cases to the courts. The government has repeatedly refused even to confirm the number of people on the list.

In a submission to the Federal Court of Canada, Parvkar Singh Dulai says he received a “denial of boarding” notification under the no-fly program last May 17 at the Vancouver International Airport.

READ MORE: Canada looks to United States for help on solving no-fly list headaches

He took steps to appeal the decision the next month and in August federal officials gave him an unclassified summary of information related to the case. Dulai was told the public-safety minister’s office would consider additional, classified information in the appeal.

Dulai received a letter in late January saying his name would remain on the no-fly list, prompting his application to the Federal Court.

He is asking the court for an order striking him from the roster or, at the very least, further examination of his case.

Dulai also seeks a declaration that the no-fly provisions violate his constitutional guarantee of freedom to enter, leave and travel within Canada, as well as his charter right “to know the case against him and the right to answer that case.”

Federal lawyers have not yet filed a response, and a spokesman for Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale declined to comment while the matter is before the court.

Rights advocates have long found the no-fly program problematic, denouncing the listing process as opaque and the redress process as inadequate.

The Canadian Civil Liberties Association has criticized the system for allowing use of hearsay and secret evidence without access to a special advocate who can test that information or represent the interests of the listed person.

The court challenges from Dulai and another B.C. man, Bhagat Singh Brar, were first reported this week by the National Post newspaper.

READ MORE: Parents, Muslim group welcome budget’s $81 million for federal no-fly fixes

In his court filing, Brar says he was barred from getting on a plane at the Vancouver airport last April 24. He also went through the appeal process and a decision to keep his name on the list came in December.

Like Dulai, Brar argues the no-fly regime violates his mobility rights and fundamental justice guarantee under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

No dates have been set to hear the substance of either case.

Jim Bronskill , The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

PHOTOS: Procession lets Castlegar seniors know they are not forgotten

A car parade travelled to local seniors homes this week.

Columbia and Western Trail reopens to the public in Castlegar

A rockslide closed a section of the trail on March 25

B.C. firefighters only responding to most life-threatening calls during COVID-19 pandemic

The directive comes after province spoke with paramedics, fire services, according to top doctor

Here’s how to talk to people who aren’t taking physical distancing seriously

Approach the conversation with empathy says conflict expert

B.C. clears more acute hospital beds as COVID-19 case growth slows

Province holding about 40% of beds empty for peak still to come

As 500K+ apply for emergency benefit, Trudeau says aid coming for Canadians left behind

Canada Emergency Response Benefit provides $2,000 per month

Wearing non-medical masks can stop spread of COVID-19 before symptoms start: Tam

Health officials had previously not recommended wearing them

UPDATE: UK PM Boris Johnson moved to intensive care after COVID-19 symptoms worse

He has been quarantined in his Downing St. residence since being diagnosed with COVID-19 on March 26

Travellers, travel agents ‘in agony’ over refund policies and customer service

Many Canadian carriers are offering customers flights rebookings or travel vouchers — but not refunds

Introverted and extroverted kids likely to react differently to COVID-19 restrictions

B.C. child psychologist says your parenting approach can’t be one-size fits all in social isolation

B.C. begins taking submissions for $2M COVID-19 research fund

Rural health, impact of shifting hospital resources among priorities

Most Read