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Jul 9, 2018

Toronto lawyer files complaint against WestJet, says he was racially profiled

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TORONTO - The Canadian Transportation Agency is investigating a complaint from a Toronto lawyer who claims he was racially profiled by WestJet.

Selwyn Pieters, who is black, says the incident happened when he was trying to check in for a WestJet flight to Toronto on July 2, at the conclusion of a weeklong trip to Trinidad and Tobago, where he was doing legal work.

Pieters says the employee at the check-in counter told him he had been flagged by the company, as he was travelling with a one-way ticket, and asked him how he purchased his tickets.

He told The Canadian Press that he thought it was strange because WestJet would know he purchased tickets directly from their website. He also took video of the questioning on his cellphone.

Pieters says in his complaint that after he answered the questions, he was told he could not check in and police officers from The Airports Authority of Trinidad and Tobago "approached" and "surrounded" him. Pieters was eventually allowed to board his flight.

WestJet CEO Edward Sims emailed Pieters after receiving a copy of the complaint, apologizing for his experience and saying WestJet doesn't tolerate discrimination, adding he will respond further after reviewing the incident.