We cannot provide any legal advice or offer help to individuals seeking redress.

Governments have set up mechanisms to help people caught on some of their watch lists. However published reports show that outcomes vary greatly. The following resources may be of help:

In Canada

If your name is on Canada's no-fly list (Passenger Protect Program) and you were prevented from boarding a plane, you can contact the Office of Reconsideration to request that it be removed from the Specified Persons List.

Please note that we do not know of any case that has been resolved through this process.

Transport Canada also lists on its website other options, such as filing a complaint with:

  • The Security Intelligence Review Committee;
  • The Canadian Human Rights Commission;
  • The Commission for Public Complaints Against the RCMP;
  • Or seeking judicial review in Federal Court.

Some community legal aid clinic may also be of assistance. You can access a list of legal aid clinics in Canada here

Or you may write to your Member of Parliament.

Your right to privacy

Do you think the federal government or a private sector organization is collecting too much of your personal information?

In Canada, your privacy rights are protected by two pieces of legislation: the Privacy Act and the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA). Under these laws, individuals have the right to complain to the Privacy Commissioner of Canada about any alleged mishandling of their personal information.

You can request information or file an official complaint under section 29 of the Privacy Act, and section 11 of the PIPEDA. These investigations are carried out by the Investigations and Inquiries Branch.

Find out more about your right to privacy and how to file a complaint with the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada.

Visitors applying for a waiver to enter Canada

You may be inadmissible to enter Canada. You may not be allowed because of your involvement in criminal activity, in human rights violations or in organized crime, and for security, health or financial reasons. Please see Canada's Citizenship and Immigration website for more information.

People who are inadmissible to Canada because of past criminal activity may apply for rehabilitation. The processing fees can range from CAD $200 to $1,000, depending on the seriousness of the offence. Applications for rehabilitation can take more than a year to process. The Citizenship and Immigration web site states that: "Receiving approval to overcome a criminal inadmissibility is only one part of determining whether or not you can enter or remain in Canada. Once you have been approved for rehabilitation, you will need to meet the requirements for applicants seeking entry as a temporary resident or permanent resident."

In the United States

If you believe your name is on the U.S. no-fly list you can apply to the Department of Homeland Security Traveler Redress Inquiry Program (DHS-TRIP).

Please note the Transportation Security Agency (TSA) uses two different watch lists. The best known is the no-fly list, a list of people who are not allowed to fly. The other, is called the "selectee list" and contains the names of people whose boarding passes will always be marked with SSSS, and who must undergo intensive extra-screening of their person and carry-on bags.

The TSA does not remove names from its no-fly list, but it can put names on a "cleared list", which can help travellers bypass red tape. Only law enforcement or intelligence agencies that put the name on the list can remove an erroneous listing.

Canadians wishing to applying for a waiver to travel to the U.S.

Canadians who have been denied entry to the United States in the past - or are likely to be denied admission - either because of their criminal history, their health or because they have overstayed a previous visit, may apply for a waiver of inegibility.

You may be denied entry if you have a communicable disease, including HIV/AIDS, if you have a criminal record for crimes of moral turpitude (examples include: rape, theft, bribery, forgery, aggravated battery, prostitution, and fraud), for possession of or trafficking in a controlled substance or might become a public charge because of limited financial resources, although this is not an exhaustive list.

U.S. Customs Border Protection warns: "The waiver application process can be lengthy (up to a year) and there is a cost of US $545 per application regardless of the decision on the application."