Author ORCID Identifier

Sean Rehaag: 0000-0002-4432-9217

Document Type


Publication Date



refugee interdiction, eletronic travel authorization, racial profiling, Canadian immigration law, aviation law


On April 3, 2019, Andrea and Attila Kiss tried to board an Air Canada Rouge flight from Budapest to Toronto. Andrea’s sister was ailing, and the couple planned to visit Canada for two months to support her family. Their travel was legitimate and lawful. Their documents were in order. But when they lined up to check in, Andrea made a mental note of a fact that was about to become relevant: as members of the Hungarian Roma community, they were the only racialized people in line.

Andrea and Attila did not reach the check-in counter. They were stopped and pulled out of line by a private security guard. They were questioned, their documents were photographed, and—minutes later—a Canadian immigration official forbade the airline from allowing them aboard the plane. And so, the only racialized people in line trying to get to Canada were profiled, turned around, and sent home without even a ticket refund. Later, they found out the official reason for their deboarding: Canada thought that there were enough “indicators” to conclude that they were not planning on staying temporarily, but permanently.

How did this work legally? Exploring that question is this paper's purpose. We show how a little examined tool—the Electronic Travel Authorization—enables the overseas screening of travellers to Canada. Using evidence unearthed in litigation, we show how this tool is used to racially profile travellers and trace the origins of the program. Then, we ask a simple question, is any of this legal?


Forthcoming in Osgoode Hall Law Journal