Passengers selected for secondary screening have the option of choosing the physical search or the full-body scanner (where available). Those selecting a full-body scan are invited to enter the scanner, stand with their feet apart and extend their arms over their head. The scan takes about five seconds. When the process is complete, passengers exit on the opposite side of the scanner.
A trained and certified screening officer examines the full-body scanner images from a separate room. This officer has no direct view of the passenger before, during or after the screening process, and receives no personal information that could associate the image to a particular person. To further protect passenger privacy, the images are deleted after they are viewed. Images cannot and will not be stored, printed or transmitted. The screening officer who assists the passenger during the scanning process never sees the image the scanner produces.
This imaging technology efficiently detects metallic and non-metallic threats, including weapons, explosives and other items that a traveller may be carrying on his/her person.
There are two types of full-body scanning systems: one uses millimetre-wave technology and the other uses x-ray technology. In Canada, only the millimeter wave technology is used. It works by projecting low-level radio frequency (RF) energy over and around the passenger’s body. The RF wave is reflected back from the body and from objects concealed on the body, producing a three-dimensional image.
Health and Safety
The millimetre-wave scanners do not pose a risk to human health and safety in single or repeated exposures. Health Canada has assessed the technical information on these devices and concluded that the radio frequency energy emitted by the device is well within Canada's guidelines for safe human exposure.