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ARCHIVED - Entry Exit Initiative – Phase II
Privacy Impact Assessment (PIA) Executive Summary

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Protecting your Personal Information

In 2011, Canada and the United States (U.S.) issued the Beyond the Border: A Shared Vision for Perimeter Security and Economic Competitiveness document, which established a new, long-term partnership built upon a perimeter approach to security and economic competitiveness.  The Perimeter Security and Economic Competitiveness Action Plan (Action Plan), issued later that year, sets out the joint Canada – U.S. priorities for achieving this vision.  As part of delivering on their commitments in the Action Plan, Canada and the U.S. are undertaking the Entry/Exit Initiative.

The Entry/Exit Initiative falls under the Canada Border Services Agency’s (CBSA) mandate of providing integrated border services that support national security and public safety priorities and facilitate the free flow of persons and goods, including animals and plants, which meet all requirements under the program legislation.

The Entry/Exit Initiative will implement a system to exchange Biographic Entry Data between Canada and the U.S., such that an entry into one country is considered an exit from the other, thereby establishing a common and integrated approach to border management.  The coordinated investments in entry and exit systems will assist the Government of Canada in meeting its objective of effectively administering and enforcing Canada’s immigration program and border management practices.

The Entry/Exit Initiative will be accomplished through targeted investments in technology and infrastructure and a phased approach to the exchange of biographic 1  (i.e. name, citizenship) entry information. Three phases are applicable to travellers crossing the Canada- U.S. land border, and a fourth phase of the  Entry/Exit Initiative will be the collection of biographic exit information on travellers in the air environment. The Entry/Exit Initiative is outlined in the Action Plan and is summarized as follows:

  • (Phase I) September 30, 2012 – January 30, 2013: the implementation of a proof of concept to exchange the Biographic Entry Data of third-country nationals 2, permanent residents of Canada and lawful permanent residents of the United States, at four automated common land border ports of entry.  The proof of concept was deemed successful thus enabling the CBSA to move on to Phase II;
  • (Phase II) By June 30, 2013, the implementation of the Entry/Exit Initiative exchanging the Biographic Entry Data of third-country nationals, permanent residents of Canada and lawful permanent residents of the United States, at all automated land border ports of entry;
  • (Phase III) By June 30, 2014, the expansion of the Entry/Exit Initiative to include the exchange of Biographic Entry Data on all travellers at all automated 3 land border ports of entry; and
  • (Phase IV) With respect to air travel, by June 30, 2014, Canada will develop a system, under the Entry/Exit Initiative, to establish exit, similar to that in the United States. 

Exploratory work will be conducted for the future integration of entry and exit information systems for the marine and rail modes.

This Privacy Impact Assessment (PIA) is specific to Phase II of the Entry/Exit Initiative (hereinafter referred to as Phase II).  Phase II is scheduled for implementation on June 30, 2013 and will include the exchange of Biographic Entry Data regarding third-country nationals, permanent residents of Canada and lawful permanent residents of the U.S. at all automated land border ports of entry.  Subsequent phases may be applicable to additional categories of individuals, and may include additional personal information elements and/or additional uses for the information.  A separate PIA will be conducted for each of the subsequent phases prior to their respective implementation.

During Phase II exchanged Biographic Entry Data will be used to effectively administer and enforce the  immigration laws of Canada, by:

  1. Reconciling Biographic Entry Data received from the U.S. to Biographic Entry Data  previously collected by the CBSA;
  2. Facilitating the CBSA’s ability to focus immigration enforcement actions and investigations on warrants for Third Country Nationals or Permanent Residents who are suspected to  still be in Canada;
  3. Facilitating the CBSA’s ability to focus immigration enforcement actions and investigations on removal orders for Third Country Nationals or Permanent Residents who are suspected to  still be in Canada; and
  4. Facilitating the CBSA’s ability to determine the whereabouts of third country nationals or permanent residents for the purpose of admissibility determination to Canada, including those who may be a threat to Canada’s national security.

Process, data exchange and timeframe:

Entry information is routinely collected by the CBSA Border Services Officers (BSOs) and exit (U.S. entry) information by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Officers as a routine border processing when travellers present themselves seeking entry into either country.

At entry, each country presently collects the following data elements as agreed to for the Phase II exchange: Name (first, middle, last), Date of Birth, Nationality/Citizenship, Gender, Document information (type, number and country of issuance); these elements were demonstrated to be effective in reconciling entry and exit information in Phase I.  The only data to be exchanged, which are not already known to the receiving country, will be the date of entry, time of entry and the port through which the individual has entered.

Biographic Entry Data will be collected starting at 12:01am on June 30, 2013. The first data exchange is expected to occur on June 30, 2013.  After this date, the information will be exchanged between Canada and the U.S. in near real-time.

Canadian Biographic Entry Data is stored in the CBSA’s Passage History database and the transfer mechanism for the data exchange is an existing secure T1 line between Canada and the U.S.

Legal authorities for the collection, use and disclosure of Biographic Entry Data:

  • Canada Border Services Agency Act: subsection 5(1)
  • Immigration and Refugee Protection Act: subsections 4(2), paragraph 20(1)(b) and subsection 28(1)
  • Privacy Act: sections 4, 7 and subsection 8(2)

Policy Instruments relied upon to implement the exchange of Biographic Information:

  • The Annex regarding the Sharing of Biographic Entry Data to the 2003 Statement of Mutual Understanding on Information Sharing (hereby referred as the Annex to the SMU)
  • Beyond the Border: A Shared Vision for Perimeter Security and Economic Competitiveness Action Plan
  • Beyond the Border Action Plan Joint Statement of Privacy Principles

As a result of the analysis of the privacy related elements of Phase II of the Entry/Exit Initiative, addressed in this PIA, the CBSA is implementing the following measures to enhance the privacy protections of the personal information:

  • Updating the registered personal information bank (PIB) specific to the Entry/Exit Initiative with Treasury Board for publication in Info Source;
  • Limiting the data elements being shared strictly to those that are required to identify an individual and complete the reconciliation exercise;
  • Strictly controlling access to the internal databases holding the information;
  • Encrypting the channel and information exchanged between Canada and the U.S. during transmission;
  • The agreement of both Canada and the U.S. to an information sharing arrangement to provide a framework – including provisions outlining the primary and secondary uses, protection, retention and disposal of the information – to govern the exchange of information between the two countries;
  • Providing general notice via a series of communication vehicles, ranging from press announcements through to the publication of the Annex to the SMU;
  • Ensuring adherence to the Beyond the Border Statement of Joint Privacy Principles by the United States and Canada; and
  • Conducting an analysis on all uses of personal information by all parties involved.

At all times, the disclosure of all personal information exchanged under the Entry/Exit Initiative will be protected through existing privacy guidelines outlined in the Beyond the Border Action Plan: Statement of Privacy Principles by the United States and Canada  and will be governed by U.S. privacy laws.

The System of Records Notice (SORN) highlighting all uses by the U.S. is a publically available document accessible via the Department of Homeland Security’s Internet site.


There will be no biometric information (e.g. fingerprints) exchanged.

Third–country national means a person who is not a citizen of Canada or the U.S. or a Registered Indian in Canada under each country’s respective laws.  Of note is that citizens of Canada and the U.S. are out of scope for Phase II even though Canada and the U.S. are foreign nationals to each other.  The use of the term third-country nationals is meant to exclude citizens of either country.

An automated port is one that has network connectivity and access to technology, including the Integrated Primary Inspection Line (IPIL) system, to allow for the electronic capture of document information upon entry into Canada and to support the risk assessment of travellers.