Court Security Screening

Security screening is in place to protect all those who work in, attend or visit the courts. All visitors to the Federal Court of Appeal, the Federal Court, the Court Martial Appeal Court of Canada, the Tax Court of Canada must consent to screening as a condition of access, including lawyers, litigants, witnesses, media and observers attending a proceeding.

Our goal is a courteous, respectful and efficient screening process that protects the security of all those who work in, attend or visit the courts.

Court Screening Process

The screening process may include:

Screening of Belongings

Note: To avoid delays, counsel and self-represented litigants intending to submit items to the court as potential exhibits (other than documents) are asked to consult the Registry in advance. Based on the item, the Registry can advise whether special arrangements are required.

Screening of Persons

For a faster and more efficient process, be aware of the prohibited items list and tips on what to wear or bring to decrease the likelihood of triggering an alarm.

Please inform the screening officer if you have special needs such as a pacemaker or other medical device or you have items on your person or in your belongings requiring special consideration, such as religious or cultural items or clothing.

Resolving Alarms

If you trigger an alarm at the walk-through metal detector or if your belongings trigger an alarm at the x-ray machine, you may be asked to undergo additional screening. This may involve:

  • Displaying or disposing of items and passing through the screening equipment again
  • A screening officer using a hand-held metal detector to wand the area of your person that triggered the walk-through metal detector alarm
  • A partial or full physical search (pat-down) of your person
  • A partial or full physical search of your belongings

Privacy

Should a physical search be deemed necessary or appropriate, you will have the option to have the physical search conducted in a private area.

Important

Visitors are asked to arrive at least 30 minutes prior to the scheduled start time of the hearing.

X-Ray Screening of Belongings

For a quick and efficient screening process, here are the steps to follow:

1
Pack your trays neatly. This helps the screening officer see the x-ray image more clearly.
2
Place watch, coins, keys, cell phone, bags, parcels and any other metallic objects in a tray.

X-Ray Screening

3
Remove outerwear, including jackets and coats and place them in a tray.

If necessary to properly screen your belongings, you may be asked to remove or reposition items and send your belongings through the x-ray machine again.

Physical Search of Belongings

Court screening officers use a physical search of belongings in the following circumstances:

  • To positively identify an object(s) which could not be properly identified using the x-ray machine or which appears to be a prohibited item.
  • Where an x-ray machine is unavailable or inoperable

A physical search of a belonging may involve the following:

  • • A visual search by the screening officer to identify an article that appears to be prohibited
  • A physical search by the screening officer using touch and manipulation to check for prohibited items inside a belonging

Walk-through Screening for Persons

As part of the screening process, you will be required to pass through the walk-through metal detector. This process should be quick and efficient if you:

  • Consider what to wear (see tips below)
  • Put your watch, coins, keys, belt, cell phone and any other metallic objects in a tray for x-ray screening
  • Put your jacket or coat in a tray for x-ray screening

If you trigger an alarm on the walk-through metal detector you may be asked to remove metal items and pass through the walk-through metal detector again and/or to undergo hand–held metal detector screening

Please inform the screening officer if you have special needs, such as a pacemaker or other medical device, that prevent using the walk-through metal detector.

Tips

These tips will speed up the screening process through the walk-through metal detector:

  • Wear easy to remove outerwear, jackets and belts
  • Limit jewelry to small earrings, wedding bands/engagement rings and eyeglasses
  • Wear clothing without snaps, metal buttons or studs
  • Remove hidden body piercings

Visitors with Special Needs

If you require assistance or have any special needs, please inform the screening officer when you arrive at the checkpoint.

Tell the screening officer if:

  • You are pregnant and do not wish to be screened using the walk-through or hand-held metal detector.
  • You have a pacemaker, hearing aids, cochlear implants or other medical devices that may be affected by the walk-through or hand-held metal detectors. The screening officer will offer you a physical search.
  • You are not able to go through the walk-through metal detector unassisted. You will have the option to be screened using a hand-held metal detector search and/or a physical search as appropriate.

Special considerations

Religious or Cultural Items or Clothing or for Medical Reasons

  • When you enter the screening checkpoint, let the screening officer know if you are carrying or wearing an item of religious or cultural significance that requires special consideration.
  • You can undergo security screening while wearing a head covering for religious or cultural reasons or for medical reasons. For more detail, please see  Head Coverings.

Screening of Head Coverings

  • If you are wearing a head covering that is not worn for religious or medical reasons, you will be asked to remove your head covering and place it in a tray for X-ray screening.
  • If you are wearing a head covering that cannot be removed for religious, cultural or medical reasons, you may pass through the walk-through metal detector with your head covering. If an alarm is triggered, additional screening will be required. If a physical search is necessary, you will be offered the option to have the physical search conducted in a private area.

Hand-held Metal Detector for Persons

CAS screening officers use a hand-held metal detector to search a person (sometimes referred to as “wanding”) in the following circumstances:

  • For visitors who are unable to go through the walk-through metal detector
  • To resolve a walk-through metal detector alarm
  • If a walk-through metal detector is unavailable or inoperable

Hand-held metal detector screening (wanding) of a person may involve:

  • A visual search by the screening officer to identify an object that appears to be prohibited
  • Screening of your person using a hand-held metal detector

If the hand-held metal detector alarm is triggered and the alarm cannot be resolved by removal of items, the visitor may be asked to consent to a physical search (pat-down) of the area which triggers the alarm.

Physical Search of Persons

Court screening officers use a physical search (sometimes referred to as a “pat-down”) under the following circumstances:

  • For visitors in wheelchairs or with mobility aids (metal braces, etc.) which preclude using the walk-through or hand-held metal detectors
  • For visitors with pacemakers or who are pregnant and do not wish to be screened using the walk-through or hand-held metal detector
  • If a metal detector alarm cannot be resolved by other means
  • If metal detectors are unavailable or inoperable

A physical search (pat-down) of a person may involve:

  • A visual search by the screening officer to identify an item that appears to be prohibited
  • A physical search by the screening officer using a pat down motion to check for prohibited items

Privacy

Visitors have the option to have the physical search conducted in a private area.

Gender of Searcher

When a physical search is necessary, visitors have the option of indicating their preference regarding the gender of the screening officer who will conduct the search.

Prohibited Items

Below is a list of items which are prohibited in court facilities.

Firearms. Devices designed to cause serious injury by launching harmful objects or items that could be mistaken for such a device, including:

  • Pistols, revolvers, rifles & shotguns
  • Compressed air and CO2 guns - including pistols, pellet guns, rifles and ball bearing guns
  • Toy, replica and imitation firearms that could be mistaken for real
  • Signal flare pistols and starter pistols
  • Bows, cross bows and arrows
  • Slingshots and catapults
  • Parts of firearms (excluding telescopic sights)
  • Firearms noise suppression devices

Explosives. Explosive or incendiary substances or devices that could be used to cause serious injury or threaten safety in the Courts, including:

  • Explosive materiel – including dynamite, plastic explosive (C4, Semtex, Deta sheet), nitroglycerine, acetone peroxide, TNT and ammonium permanganate
  • Propellant powder, gunpowder
  • Blasting caps
  • Detonators & fuses
  • Replica or imitation explosive devices
  • Mines, grenades & other explosive military supplies
  • Ammunition
  • Flares or fireworks
  • Canisters or cartridges that create smoke

Sharp-pointed or Edged Items. Objects with sharp points or sharp edges that could be used to cause serious injury, including:

  • Knives or knife-like objects of any length
  • Items designed for chopping – including axes, hatchets and cleavers
  • Ice axes and ice picks
  • Razor type blades – including box cutters, utility knives, and safety razor blades
  • Scissors with blades longer than 6cm as measured from the fulcrum
  • Swords or sabers (less Kirpan )
  • Hypodermic needles, syringes or auto-injectors unless it is for personal medical use, and the needle guard is in place. The person must possess medication that is to be administered by means of the syringe, needle or auto-injector
  • Bali Song or centrifugal knives such as flick knives or butterfly knives
  • Gravity knives
  • Constant companion (belt-buckle knife)
  • Martial arts equipment with sharp points or sharp edges (e.g.: shuriken throwing stars)

Blunt Objects. Blunt objects that could be used to cause serious injury when used to hit, including:

  • Martial arts weapons – including nunchaku, kusari & kubatons
  • Geometrically shaped hard weights or hand grips linked by a length or lengths of rope, cord, wire or chain
  • Metal or plastic knuckles
  • Sporting bats
  • Golf clubs, billiard cues, ski poles
  • Hockey sticks, lacrosse sticks
  • Whips or Chains
  • Clubs and batons - including billy clubs, blackjacks and night sticks

Incapacitating Sprays or Gases.  Including:

  • Mace
  • Pepper Spray and derivatives (Oleoresin Capsicum)
  • Tear gas or choking gas
  • Vomiting agents (Diphenylchlorarsine(DC))
  • Nerve agents (VX, Sarin or Cyclosarin)
  • Acid sprays
  • Animal repellent sprays

Devices Designed to Stun or Immobilize. Including:

  • Devices for shocking – including stun guns, tasers and stun batons
  • Animal stunners

Work Tools. Work tools that could be used to either cause serious injury or threaten the safety of personnel, including:

  • Crowbars or hammers
  • Drills and drill bits, including cordless portable power drills
  • Tools with shafts longer than 6cm (excluding the handle that could be used as weapons, such as screwdrivers and chisels
  • Saws - including cordless portable power saws
  • Blowtorches or gas torches
  • Bolt guns and nail guns

Questions, Comments, Complaints

Our goal is a courteous, respectful and efficient screening process that protects the security of all those who work in, attend or visit the courts. If you have questions, comments or complaints, please read the options below.

Before sending an enquiry, please review these options:

  • If your enquiry requires an immediate response, please call the number below.
  • If your enquiry is in regards to what items are permissible to bring to court, please check the Prohibited Items list.
  • If your enquiry is related to court schedules or Prohibited Items submitted as exhibits, please contact the appropriate Registry office.

If you are sending your enquiry by e-mail, please provide the following information:

  • Nature of the question, comment or complaint
  • Details of the question, comment or complaint (including date, time and location if reporting an incident)
  • Your name, contact information and preferred method of response (e-mail or telephone), if you wish to be contacted

CAS Security Services Contact Information:

Telephone: 1-866-556-2359 (toll free 24/7)

E-mail: Support-Security@cas-satj.gc.ca

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