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Airport eye scanners for members { December 1 2003 }

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Halifax International Airport launches CANPASS Air

Halifax, December 1, 2003... The CANPASS - Air program at Halifax International Airport (HIA) was officially launched today.

Halifax is only the second international airport in Canada to implement the iris-recognition technology used in CANPASS Air. The CANPASS Air program allows the Canada Customs and Revenue Agency (CCRA) to manage risk effectively. This program permits pre-approved travellers to clear customs and immigration quickly and securely. It is a clear example of how the CCRA and Citizenship and Immigration are working collaboratively to strengthen our border and to protect the safety and security of Canadian citizens.

"CANPASS Air showcases our commitment to modernizing, securing, and streamlining the process for travellers," said Geoff Regan on behalf of the Minister of National Revenue, Elinor Caplan. "It is another example of how the CCRA implements programs that balance security with the free flow of travellers."

In conjunction with other new technologies, CANPASS Air checks clients against a security system as if they were meeting an officer in person and refers suspect clients for further inspection. Members of the program can now pass through Vancouver and Halifax airports quickly and without compromising security. CANPASS Air members clear customs and immigration by looking into a camera lens that recognizes the iris of their eyes as proof of identity. Reducing the time it takes for interaction with trusted clients allows Customs personnel to focus on people they don't know.

Any CANPASS Air member can now travel through both HIA and Vancouver International Airport, declare their goods, and pay duties and taxes at the CANPASS Air kiosks located in those airports.

CANPASS Air kiosks are scheduled to open at other international airports in Canada in the spring of 2004. The program has an annual membership fee of $50 CDN.

The CCRA expects that the CANPASS Air Program will be expanded into a joint program with the United States and that it will be piloted at the Macdonald-Cartier Airport in Ottawa.

CANPASS Air enables the CCRA to work with trusted and known clients to make their Customs experience quick and secure and allowing the focus to be placed on higher-risk cases.

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