OTTAWA, Dec. 14, 2018 /CNW/ - The Government of Canada remains committed to a strong, secure, and efficient border with the United States (U.S.), while protecting our privacy and rights.
Bill C-21, An Act to amend the Customs Act, received Royal Assent on December 13, 2018. It provides the authority to the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) to collect basic biographic information on all travellers departing Canada by land and air. This initiative will help Canada make better, timely decisions on border management, law enforcement, national security, citizenship applications, immigration, and social services.
It will be a seamless experience for travellers. Once the regulations and information sharing arrangements are in place, Canada and the United States will be able to exchange basic biographic entry data on all travellers entering into one country at the land border, so that entry into one country serves as an exit record from the other. In the air mode, once the Entry/Exit initiative is fully implemented, Canada will collect basic exit information directly from air carriers through passenger manifests.
Information will be collected, used and disclosed in accordance with the Privacy Act and the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The use of exit information is restricted to specific purposes by law.
"Knowing when an individual has entered or left the country is a crucial aspect of effective border management. The Entry/Exit initiative will help us better manage our border, combat cross-border threats, ensure the integrity of our immigration system and protect our social programs—with all the robust safeguards Canadians expect."
– The Honourable Ralph Goodale, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness
- Currently, basic biographic entry information is exchanged with the U.S. on foreign nationals and permanent residents who cross at a land border. Canada also provides the U.S. with basic biographic entry information on U.S. citizens and nationals.
- Once the regulations and information sharing arrangements are fully in place, basic exit information will be collected to provide a complete picture of an individual's travel history (i.e., both entry and exit records) for all travellers, including Canadians.
- Information sharing arrangements will include safeguards and protections on information management and privacy protection clauses.
- Exit legislation aligns Canada with its international partners, including the United States, the European Union, Australia, New Zealand, who have, or are in the process of, implementing entry-exit information systems.
- People lawfully collecting social benefits will not be affected. Anyone who has spent at least 20 years in Canada after age 18 is entitled to receive the Old Age Security pension regardless of what country they live in.
The Government of Canada remains committed to a strong, secure, and efficient border with the United States (U.S.), while protecting individual privacy and rights.
The Government of Canada collects biographic entry information on all travellers entering the country, but currently has no reliable way of knowing when and where they leave the country.
Currently, Canada and the U.S. exchange biographic entry information on third-country nationals and permanent residents, so that entry into one country serves as an exit record from the other. Canada also shares with the U.S. biographic entry information on U.S. citizens and nationals. This collection and exchange has proven to be seamless to the traveller. There have been no delays at the border and no impact on traveller experience.
Bill C-21, An Act to amend the Customs Act, which provides the CBSA with the authority to collect basic biographic information on all travellers exiting Canada by land and air, received Royal Assent in December 2018.
Once the related regulations and information sharing arrangements are also in place, the CBSA will begin to collect biographic exit information on all travellers. These changes will not impact the movement of legitimate travellers (i.e., no anticipated delays at the border). Canada will know when and where someone enters the country, and when and where they leave the country by land and air.
The Government of Canada will achieve this by working closely with its U.S. counterparts and exchanging biographic entry information on all travellers (including Canadian citizens) at the land border. The CBSA will receive biographic entry information from U.S. Customs and Border Protection shortly after a traveller enters the U.S. The record of entry from the U.S. will serve as a record of exit from Canada. Similarly, Canada will also provide biographic entry information to the U.S. to create a record of exit for the U.S.
The CBSA will also collect biographic exit information on all air travellers, including passengers and crew members, when they leave or are expected to leave Canada. The CBSA will receive exit information directly from air carriers in the form of electronic passenger manifests. The CBSA will not exchange passenger manifest information collected in the air mode with the U.S.
In addition, Bill C-21 consists of new authorities for CBSA officers to ask any person leaving Canada to present themselves to a CBSA officer if they are requested to do so, and answer questions asked by the officer in the performance of their duties. CBSA officers will also be able to examine goods that are to be exported at any time up to the time of exportation.
Benefits of the Entry/Exit initiative
The Entry/Exit initiative aligns Canada with its international partners who have or are in the process of implementing entry-exit systems. The initiative will benefit Canadians by strengthening the efficiency and security of the Canada-U.S. shared border.
It will enable the CBSA and its federal government partners to:
- Respond to the outbound movement of known high-risk travellers and their goods prior to their actual departure from Canada by air (i.e., fugitives of justice, registered sex offenders, human/drug smugglers, exporters of illicit goods, etc.);
- Address time sensitive situations more effectively, such as responding to Amber Alerts and helping find abducted children or runaways;
- Help prevent the illegal export of controlled, regulated or prohibited goods from Canada;
- Identify individuals who do not leave Canada at the end of their authorized period of stay (i.e., visa overstays) and provide decision-makers with an accurate picture of an individual's complete travel history;
- Focus immigration enforcement activities on persons still in Canada by eliminating wasted time and resources spent on issuing immigration warrants and conducting investigations on individuals who have already left the country;
- Verify whether applicants for permanent residency or citizenship have complied with residency requirements; and
- Verify travel dates to determine applicable duty and tax exemptions and continued entitlement to social benefit programs.
Privacy safeguards and information sharing to better protect Canadians
The Government of Canada is committed to keeping Canadians safe while protecting individual rights and freedoms and has built privacy protections into the core of the Entry/Exit initiative.
Exit information will be collected, used and disclosed in accordance with Canadian law, including the Privacy Act, the Customs Act and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
Information sharing arrangements must be in place between the CBSA and its federal partners, and between the CBSA and U.S. Customs and Border Protection before any exit information can be shared. These arrangements will include safeguards and protections on information management and privacy protection clauses.
The Government of Canada has continued to engage the Office of the Privacy Commissioner (OPC) on the Entry/Exit initiative. The CBSA will submit a Privacy Impact Assessments to the OPC before implementation to ensure that potential privacy risks are identified and effectively mitigated before personal information is disclosed by the CBSA to its federal partners and U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
Stakeholder consultation will be undertaken as part of the regulatory development process to ensure Canadians and industry stakeholders have the opportunity to submit their views and comments on the proposed regulations following the pre-publication of the regulations in Part I of the Canada Gazette and by announcement on the Consulting with Canadians website.
For more information on the initiative in general, or to send your feedback or questions, please contact us at: [email protected]
Biographic information incudes elements such as: first name, middle name(s), last name, date of birth, citizenship or nationality, sex, travel document type, document number, and name of the country that issued the travel document.
Entry information (land mode)
Entry information includes biographic information that Canada and the U.S. currently collect on travellers at ports of entry. In addition, the date and time of entry, as well as the port through which the traveller entered, are exchanged as part of the Entry/Exit initiative.
Exit information includes biographic information. In addition, in the air mode the date, time, and location of departure as well as flight information will be collected from air carriers for passengers leaving Canada on outbound international flights. In the land mode, it includes the date and time of exit, as well as the port through which the traveller exited the country.
SOURCE Canada Border Services Agency
For further information: Media Relations, Canada Border Services Agency, 613-957-6500