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

WildSafeBC hires new co-ordinator for Cariboo region

Mareike Moore said the main message is keeping wildlife wild, communities safe

Are you sending your children back to school?

The weekly web poll for the 100 Mile Free Press

Parkside Art Gallery reopens to the public on June 2

Claudia Rings raises $2,500 from mask sales for Parkside Art Gallery

Boat stolen, funds extorted from elderly neighbour

The weekly police report for the South Cariboo area

From the archives of the 100 Mile Free Press

39 YEARS AGO (1981): RCMP and Search and Rescue co-ordinator John Delves… Continue reading

George Floyd asphyxiated by sustained pressure: family autopsy

Death sparked a wave of protests across the U.S. and abroad

COVID-19: B.C. commercial landlords can’t evict if they decline rent assistance

Emergency order ‘incentive’ for federal program, Carole James says

Investigators probe death of CN employee at Surrey rail yard

Transportation Safety Board is investigating an ‘occurrence that took place during switching operations’

Trans Mountain starts B.C. leg of pipeline twinning project

Mostly finished in Alberta, Burnaby terminal expanding

NDP getting COVID-19 wage subsidy ‘indirectly,’ B.C. Liberal leader says

Andrew Wilkinson says he’s heard no concerns from public

Love flourishes at Peace Arch Park, but COVID-19 concerns loom

South Surrey park becomes only place for international couples to meet

Most Read