14/04/2018 9:27 PM IST | Updated 16/04/2018 9:10 PM IST

Yusuf Ahmed, 20-Year-Old Ontario Student, Helped Push The Canada Government To Fix No-Fly List

The Canadian Press
Yusuf Ahmed, 20, is part of the group known as No Fly List Kids, which pushed the federal government to introduce funding aimed at fixing Canada's no-fly list.

For the majority of Canadian travellers, heading to an airport earlier than needed is just a helpful precaution.

For Yusuf Ahmed and his family, it's necessary.

Since he was in a stroller, the 20-year-old recalls getting pulled aside at airports prior to boarding to be questioned. Ahmed, a medical sciences student at Western University, has become all too familiar with the frustrating dance.

First, he'd get "flagged" for sharing the name of someone on Canada's no-fly list. Then an airline staff member would pepper him and his family with questions while they got awkward stares from other passengers. Eventually, after answering those queries, they'd move on.

"We'd be waiting at the check-in counter for ... it seems like hours over the time we've travelled," Ahmed told HuffPost Canada.

"We'd be getting looks from passengers who were behind us, and there's definitely a stigma there,where you're travelling and you feel the looks around your shoulder. And you know you've done nothing wrong, but you're being treated like you are."

We ultimately wanted our voices heard and they got heard.

Fed up with the delays, Ahmed and his family banded with others across Canada to form No Fly List Kids, a grassroots organization that aimed to push Canada's government to fix its no-fly list.

After months of work and talks with MPs and cabinet ministers, Ahmed and the group got their breakthrough: the federal government announced it was allocating $81.4 million to fixing the no-fly list.

"This whole past few months has really restored my faith in democracy. It really works. You've just got to trust the process and people are there to work for you. We ultimately wanted our voices heard and they got heard."

Watch the video above for more on Ahmed's fight to fix Canada's no-fly list.