Woman’s ‘genderless’ ID won’t fly in B.C.

A New Zealand woman was not allowed to fly out of the Kelowna International Airport with her genderless ID

Genderless identification just won’t fly, a New Zealand woman learned this week while trying to catch a domestic flight out of Kelowna International Airport.

Sharon Duley is a frequent traveler, and was booked on a flight to Vancouver Sunday when she realized she didn’t have her passport with her — it was in a bag with her husband who had chosen to drive the route.

She did a quick search on the airline website and learned that all needed to fly was valid government issued, photo ID.

“My New Zealand Driver’s Licence is a valid government-issued, photo ID … so I thought it was fine,” Duley said, from New Zealand.

She learned at the gate, and during a subsequently longer read of Canadian aviation regulations, that it wasn’t entirely the case. Information indicating gender is required on one piece of ID, so she was barred from the flight.

“The thing that gets me — and the law is the law — is there’s no way they are going to identify a person, especially in the current climate, by their gender,” she said.

At the airport Duley found out that the same thing happened to an Aussie the week before.

“It’s just not a good way to treat tourists,” she said. “When you come in legally on your passport and you’re flying domestically, it doesn’t say you need a passport.”

A witness to the situation also saw fault in how it was dealt with and detailed it on Facebook this week.

“In this day of gender neutrality….we are at the airport boarding a flight to Vancouver and they removed the bags of a lady from New Zealand and won’t let her on the plane because her Driver’s License doesn’t specify male or female,” said Blake Roberts.

“(They don’t specify there evidently). This poor lady is left crying and stranded alone at the airport in Kelowna. The federal government better get consistent in its law and the fact that the WestJet staff wouldn’t turn a blind eye for her? Poor form WestJet.” “

When flying a domestic flight passports, which have gender on them, aren’t required and licences can be used. But apparently not all of them are consistent and certain things are required.

RELATED: AIRPORT NUMBERS ARE SKY HIGH

“Although I cannot speak to this specific situation, in accordance with Transport Canada regulations, WestJet must check identification at the boarding gate for all guests 18 years of age and older,” said Lauren Stewart, a WestJet representative. “The name on the ID must match the name used on the reservation or ticket.”

At the boarding gate, a guest must present:

• Two pieces of valid government-issued non-photo identification with matching names, as long as at least one piece also includes the date of birth and gender; or

• One piece of valid government-issued identification with photo showing the name, date of birth and gender.

Jasmine Patrick, communications staff for the airport, couldn’t say if this sort of situation had occurred before and noted that City of Kelowna policies protect against any kind of discrimination among staff, this case is beyond their jurisdiction and is a question for the federal regulator, Transport Canada.

Transport Canada responded to a query and said that in August 2015, Public Safety Canada created the Secure Air Travel Regulations, which replaced previous regulations.

“In general, the purpose of this section of the Secure Air Travel Regulations is to ensure air carriers confirm the identification presented belongs to the travelling passenger in order to prevent circumvention of the Passenger Protect Program and the Secure Air Travel Act list,” reads the statement.

The Government of Canada is exploring an update of the Secure Air Travel Regulations should amendments to the Secure Air Travel Act be passed as part of Bill C-59.

To report a typo, email: edit@kelownacapnews.com.



kmichaels@kelownacapnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Alberni Golf Club reopens with new COVID-19 rules

J and L Mixed Scramble kicks off 2020 season

Help is available for Port Alberni businesses restarting after COVID-19 closures

Popular food truck finds a new location on Johnston Road

A LOOK BACK: recreation in Port Alberni’s downtown

Take a peek at Alberni Valley history with the Alberni Valley Museum

QUINN’S QUIPS: Port Alberni woman honoured for her love of helping

Carolina Tatoosh earns provincial honours for her work with Nuu-chah-nulth elders, youth

Mission prison COVID-19 outbreak ends, 9 new cases in B.C.

New positive test at Port Coquitlam care home

An ongoing updated list of Alberni Valley events affected by COVID-19

Has your event been cancelled or postponed? Check here

Man who bound, murdered Vancouver Island teen still a risk to public: parole board

Kimberly Proctor’s killer is still ‘mismanaging emotions,’ has had ‘temper tantrums’

VIDEO: Humpback whales put on quite a show

The ‘playful’ pod lingered by a Campbell River tour operator’s boat for quite some time

Getting hitched at historic B.C. gold rush town still on table during COVID-19 pandemic

Micro-weddings, online visits, offered at Barkerville Historic Town and Park

Stolen gargoyle returns to its perch on central Vancouver Island yard

Petey, a concrete gargoyle statue, was returned by Nanaimo RCMP after being found by city crew

Revelstoke woman finds welcoming letter on her Alberta-registered truck

There have been multiple reports online of vandalism to vehicles with Alberta licence plates

Spirit bear possibly spotted in West Kootenay

A local resident spotted the white-coloured bear while on an evening trail run near Castlegar on May 27

B.C. businesses ‘can’t shoulder burden’ of COVID-19 sick pay

Trudeau’s plan should be tied to federal emergency aid

Most Read